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The Worst Bar in Baltimore
Cedonia Inn, age 25


I learned as early as 1998, that interviewing people with a violent history takes a long period of intermittent conversations. For instance, the following account is a story that Ron did not think merited recollection, had not even regarded it as a self-defense or survival situation, but it was. What follows is the type of negotiated hostility that makes up much of the daily life of people who successfully live, work and travel in violent company.

It always looked closed, but it might still be open, so you don’t know. It’s a little shithole bar. When you walk in you see the bar with the plexi-glass on top of it about twenty-five, thirty-feet. I believe the two old white guys sold it and foreigners owned it and brought dindu help in. They did a lot of carry out. The carryout is on the side, when you go in, with your general forty ounces.

The bar was just bottles and cans. They had bar stools, wood, broken up stuff. I would stop in every once in a while. The floor was concrete. It was a dump. It was there a long, long time, going back to when it was all white. This was not a sanctuary bar, had a white open feel, whites and dindus going in, a heavy drug influence. It was not a place I would want to hang, it was shady. You didn’t have people looking after one another. Druggies don’t look out for other patrons and the workers did mostly carry out. I’ve been in there a couple times coming off work from ninety-five.

I was down thee one night had a couple drinks already and when I was leaving there was three dindus there. They were trying to collect taxes. Two of them were sitting down and one of them—the one standing—said, “Can you spare some change.”

I said, “I don’t have any change.”

I kept walking to the truck and he said to the other ones, “I’m sick of white people lying to me.”

So I went back and said, “I’m gonna slap you in your fuckin’ chicken hole.”

The other two dindus said, “Yo that white boy’s too much for you. You better run,” so he went dancing off around the corner.

They were testing the waters. They put the dummy out. You take him out quick and they laugh at him. Nobody wants to look like a fool. They want to look like The Man. So you play in a way that pushing things will put them in the fool’s chair. When you’re dealing with a group of Dindus, there’s two ways to go: the cool ass white boy that they like or the stone-cold, psycho-path, motherfucker that they always seem to be afraid of. If your young you start talking the talk and they like you. When you get older they are looking for the father figure. And then, like you, have an army of black children, the abused children of a sick society.

“In like sin”—they are very vain creatures.

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