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Tadpole and Sol
Big Ron's Baltimore

Sol, was hired twice and fired once by the biographer. Sol was also put out of a house by his landlord, a karate instructor and friend of the author, so that the author could have his room. The author now lives in Sol’s old den, which required 20 hours of cleaning to make it habitable. Sol’s oppressor does not feel a shred of guilt, and has fond memories of Sol, whose idiot lot is a state of oppression.

They would play guitar—Sol, long hair, guitar, dirtball, and Tadpole, dreadlocks and he was a dirty fuck too—in front of Inchon John’s liquor store. I would see them all the time within a quarter mile of Hamilton and Harford, panhandling, flying signs, jamming on the guitar for spare change. That was their hustle. I saw all this while delivering pizza. I delivered pizza right next door to the other pizza shop, at the news stand and also, right across the street, there is a little door that goes up the steps to an upstairs office—not open to the public—they would have meetings and order food and you would call the phone and they’d let you in the door and you’d carry the food up the steps.

I did a lot of business up and down Harford Road, but that was the center of gravity and just down the street from the shop—good lunchtime trade.

Tadpole and Sol would panhandle and at the end of the day they would bring their bucket of change up to the pizza shop and the owner would give them greenbacks for it and they would high tail it up to the crack houses on Bayonne. You could look right out the window and see where they were going.

One time I was on a delivery and they were at Hamilton and Harford, panhandling with a little plastic bucket. Sol was playing the guitar and Tadpole was there. And some dindus come up and a dindu tries to rip it away and the change gets spilled and Sol is wielding his guitar like baaseball bat, but the dindu was getting out of the way, basically bumping and moving. There was some pushin’ and grappin’ between Tadpole and the other dindu and Sol came a runnin’ with the guitar and he ran off. They got on their knees while I was at the traffic light and were gathering up the change. No big deal to them, just the cost of doing business.

They were good buddies, panhandlin’ partners. They stunk like hell. Especially Tadpole—goddamn he stunk.

Thriving in Bad Places

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