Maybe we better pass some laws real quick so Sam can save our butts legally.

—Howard during the Fire of Perdido Beach

Howard Bassem was part of Orc's crew and ran a black market, even while being a member of the Town Council. He was killed by Drake in Fear.


Howard is a small, "weaselly", sycophantic, smooth skinny black boy. Although very selfish and cowardly, and despite running what is essentially a black market, Howard is shown to have a moral center when on the Town Council, and often criticizes Astrid and Albert for being heartless, corrupt and hypocritical. Howard is also fairly intelligent, and enjoys mocking those around him if it comes at no cost to him. He is Orc's manager and "Satan", and they both use each other, but he is Orc's only friend and they have been shown to worry about each other.



Because of Sam's absence, Howard took advantage of the confusion and helped Orc come to power as appointed Captain, in charge of "stopping everybody running crazy" and "busting everything up, taking anything they wanted". Howard made sure that someone helped Mary get the necessary materials to take care of the prees as long as she knew that it was Orc's crew that helped her. 

Caine arrives and takes control. Howard then takes an important position under Caine's leadership, such as tying Sam up, guarding shops or trying to stop Sam and his friends from escaping, until Orc is maimed by coyotes. Howard makes a deal between Drake and Pack Leader, but runs away to find Orc. When he sees Orc's mutation due to his power, he is horrified but helps Orc.


Howard is seen acting as Orc's manager. He decides when Orc should work, and how much he gets paid, usually in the form of alcohol. He also spots Drake with a gun in the hole created by Sam at the power plant. This ultimately saves Dekka's life and probably many others.


Somehow, Howard has managed to weasel his way onto the town council, being Orc's representative due to Orc's cement body making him ideal for doing the more dangerous jobs. He also aids Edilio, Dekka, Computer Jack, Ellen and others in preventing the fire created by Zil and the 'Human Crew' from spreading across parts of Perdido Beach. After the fire has stopped he has a breakdown, crying in front of Astrid, Albert and Edilio, because he is not coping with everything that has happened. Through the book he starts standing up against Astrid, because he thinks she is a bad leader.


Howard is tasked with guarding Drake/Brittney with Orc. He later saves Albert's life and conceals a boy's corpse which Orc was responsible for killing.


Howard leaves the lake to check on his alcohol production at Coates Academy. He encounters Drake and his coyotes. Although the coyotes are starving, they are forbidden by the Gaiaphage to kill anyone (they could not discern who was "important" to the Gaiaphage's plans, like powerful freaks). Howard is strangled by Drake in order to feed the coyotes.


Sam Temple

Sam and Howard originally disliked each other. Howard was part of Caine's team before the Thanksgiving Battle, but joined Sam. After the events of Hunger, Howard began to work with Sam on the council. He and Sam began to respect each other more and work together better.

Howard understands the stress Sam goes through and Sam understands what Howard has to do to keep Orc relatively safe. An example of this is when Sam confiscates a bottle of alcohol from Howard, although he knows how many Howard has, and Howard shrugs, knowing that Sam is going to drink it, although Sam does not intend to at the time.


Howard was originally Orc's "number-one toady", giving him protection. However, when the coyotes maim Orc, Howard worries about him and tries to find him. He is horrified at Orc's new sand somewhat unfortunate power but helps Orc get beer, arranging for him to get it by doing dangerous jobs. Later, Howard goes looking for Orc when he gets drunk and tries to take the beer from him, but Orc hits him away. However, Howard still hides the body of Orc's victim. He also figures out where Orc went to hide. In Fear, Howard is frustrated that Orc has become a Christian, but Orc is furious and devastated when Drake kills Howard and vows to rip Drake apart. Orc describes Howard as his own Satan and tempter, but also his only friend, even though they used each other.

Astrid Ellison

Howard and Astrid disliked each other. Howard enjoyed annoying her, and Astrid didn't like how he ran the alcohol operation. However, Orc likes Astrid so Howard had to spend some time around her. They were on the council together, which Astrid hated and Howard enjoyed. Like his fellow council members John and Edilio, he does not want her as head of the council.

Drake Merwin

Howard was scared of Drake, but agreed to keep him locked up in his and Orc's basement. His fear is possibly strengthened when Drake goes up against Orc. No-one messes with Orc, and yet Orc couldn't manage to beat Drake. When Howard goes to fetch some of his homemade alcohol from Coates Academy and bring it back to Lake Tramonto, Drake strangles him to death in order to feed the coyotes. In his last moments, Howard tries to bring back Drake's sanity, but does not succeed.


  • Howard likes to dub things. It was him who invented the term "FAYZ", for Fallout Alley Youth Zone.
    • He has also come up with the names for 'Bertos (from Albertos), Sammy suns, zekes (from E.Z. killers), Cabka (from cabbage and vodka), Mary's Big Jump, and the Big Split.
    • The only FAYZ terms not made by Howard are the terms for mutants (such as moof, mutie, freak and chud), poof (first used by Edilio but dubbed by Quinn), and the flying snakes, greenies (named by Hunter).
  • According to Penny, Howard has his “own little fantasies”. She stops herself before revealing what they actually are.
  • Howard can drive with one hand.
  • His weapon of choice is a knife.


Howard at the Town Council:

  • "Yeah. Don't you know only Astrid is allowed to keep secrets?"
  • "Yeah, we get to lie because we're the smart ones. Not like all those idiots out there."