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Adolescent Addendum
My Quest to Meet Baltimore’s Best Street Boxers

There were two things that I forgot to cover the last time, before we get on with my quest to become a street-boxer, someone who could take care of themselves with minimal trouble. I never for a minute thought about packing a gun or carrying a knife. I had no ambition of being one of these fools caught up in the prison system.

Dayna, a Life Lesson [age 10]

Dayna was a local Wu Shu Kung Fu instructor. The author had purchased sparring equipment from him during this period, a handsome, long-haired fellow that did very well with the young ladies and was well-acquainted with Ron Bone, the author’s former roommate, who appears in various Harm City books. James knew Anthony Goh, the owner, a mild-mannered man who now lives in China and is licensed by the Chinese Government to sanction Wu Shu events on the East Coast of the U.S.

I was about ten. I don’t know the man [Dayna], never met the man. This friend of mine Tony, same age as me, talked his parents into paying for him go to Goh’s Kung Fu for some lessons. He probably didn’t want to do things their way—a smart mouthed Windu. Him and Dayna have a problem and Dayna smacks him and Tony takes off and snatches the tai chi sword off the wall—out of spite, I guess—cussing at him while he's running out the door.

We were only about ten. Later on me him and his brother are hanging out front of his house and the guy Dayna comes up in his hippie van and we ran to the side, "Oh shit it’s the kung fu guy.”

He goes up and knocks on the door. His dad was a decorated Korean War marine, a half-whop half-Irish drill instructor that grew up in Pig Town—Mister Lee, a hard man. Dayna knocks on the door and we’re peeking around. His father answers the door and Dayna introduces himself and says he wants the sword back.

His father asks, "Are you the one who hit my son?”

Dayna says, “Yeah, I wanted to apologize for that,” and Mister Lee throws a quick overhand right, cracked him, and he fell down on his ass down the steps and he was laying there with his feet on the steps.

He woke up after a while and ran and got in his van and drove off—down the street in his hippie van.

Mister Lee drove Tony down to Goh’s and made him give the sword back. Tony was Bridgette’s half-brother through his mother—we’ll get to her later in the stripper section. His dad was an old-school tough-ass veteran. Guys like that kept the city in line back in the day.

Fight with Karate Guy [age 16]

I was at Tony’s house, we had a tent in the yard, me, him and another friend, and this guy Rob, who we weren’t sure about who was coming around. He trained at TaeKwonDo and karate. We knew a group of guys who saw him give a pretty good beating on this big dindu on Erdman Avenue. Rob was about five-ten to six-foot, stocky guy, dark hair. The crazy thing is we became good friends after this. His father was another Korean War vet, a German from East Baltimore. We had a case of cheap beer we were drinking, staying in this tent in the yard in the summer and he’s making these smartass comments and we’re talking back and forth. We went to the 7-11 on Oak Crest Avenue where the funeral home is. Then we're coming back from the 7-11 on the sidewalk and he wants to fight. So I said, “Let’s do it right here."

We pulled our shirts off, squared up on the sidewalk in front of these people’s front lawn.

I hit him with a one two right in the face.

He took it and started coming at me with straight punches and I parry and he comes up with a kick and I catch it and throw a right hand and we’re on this car and he goes down and I kicked him in the head as hard as I could and drove it [his head] up into the fender.

His hard head doesn’t feel a thing, so we’re back up on the lawn. He’s hopping and throwing kicks. He caught me in the ribs real hard and I hit him with a jab, straight and a hook and all three hit him and he bull-rushed in and I stiffed armed off of him and we clinched up.

I had him in an underhook or overhook with the left and was hitting him with short smashes to the face. We went through an aluminum storm door these people had there and I was smashing his face. Then I drove one to the body [demonstrates long, reaching uppercut]. I’m not sure where it hit him, but he doubled over. Then I ran his head through the storm window and it split his scalp open. I shoved him to the ground, hit him until he stopped moving.

My two buddies are standing there saying, “We gotta go,” the neighbors were out, police sirens were coming.

In Tony’s yard I got into the pool and washed all the blood off—it was only 500 feet up the street. He was already leaking from the punches and when I ran his head through the door it was a mess by then.

We ran down to the woods behind Keys Field on Moyer Avenue and built a campfire and stayed the night there. There’s a creek down there—kids find out all the nooks and crannies. We already had a fire pit. We went to those woods, the Blind School woods, over to Double Rock Park. Up where I live now I couldn’t tell you nothin’ about those woods—maybe the kids could, at least I hope they could. Landscape appreciation is something that goes as an adult, especially when you start driving you lose track of everything that’s off the road.

He was knocked out, all fucked up, parametics working on him, but he wouldn’t talk to the cops. The neighbors was talking and he said, “I don’t have nothing to say.”

We became good friends. He was one of the very few I knew as a teen that didn’t become a junky. He went into construction work. Me and him ran into each other on the same job site years later and he was telling the guys on the crew about this big fight we had and parted his hair and they were like, “Goddamn, you’re still friends after that?” He was hardheaded German. Oh, and I broke my right hand on that head too, boxers fracture, probably when I was pounding him on the ground.

That all went into my desire to learn about how men, with boxing training like I had, took care of business. I knew that the kind of trade I was headed into was going to come with its share of danger and confrontation and the Dindu invasion was well under way be then [early 1990s] so I well knew that anywhere I found myself there might be that to deal with.

Waking Up in Indian Country: Harm City: 2015

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