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‘A Child’s Thought’
Drinking and Driving with Nero the Pict

"Maryland was the capital of rye whiskey at one point. Production moved to Kentucky and now has been halted in favor of something for export. I’ve stocked up what I can…'

So began our 8-our reverie about Baltimore, by the end of which I was convinced that Nero knew more interesting Harm City characters than I did, and significantly was attacked by a member of the same BASH [Baltimore Area Skin Heads] gang of which I knew two platform members, one of whom, Tony C., tried to have me killed. Nero’s experiences in Baltimore follow Big Ron’s by only a few years and, geographically overlap in Northeast Baltimore, where Ron and I have had most of our experiences. Nero has lived and worked in areas of Central and West Baltimore where Ron and I have slight experience. Adding Nero to the rogue’s gallery of working class characters through whom I hope to acquire a true view of this dying city, I put the book pitch to him and he agreed.

On the sober, morning drive back into Baltimore my host mused over the course his life had taken, since the time in Cumberland, Maryland, when his mother dropped from the upper floor of a burning house to break her back and the hospital X-ray discovered his formative self curled up in her womb, effectively dropped on his head even before his birth, emerging rightly distrustful of the titled world.

Driving through Cecil and Harford County, Maryland, he rambled as he traced the asphalt trails to his onetime home:

“A child’s thought of life without a family, or having a dad that wasn’t there hardly ever—but when he was, was cool—being stuck living with a mother that believed all the liberal bullshit that society fed her, I hated everything round me. I wanted family and never had. That said, many I knew growing up had it worse in that latch-key life as a kid. I was at least able to have army men and a beebee gun. I knew a kid who was not even allowed to play with army men.

“Sure, being a little dude and being devastated and having the world at large come down on you in many ways, that was bad. But my Younger Self recalls the men that were there for me, the scout leader, the guys that cared and wanted to pass on their interest in whatever—history, music, gaming, shooting—gave me a sense of what could have been with my father, who was himself homeless at times. Then, later in life, meeting people in the punk rock/skinhead scene and tending bar, who had it infinitely, soul-crushingly worse than I had, made me determined to leave Baltimore by any means, at first to travel, and later to get Cutie into a place with some modicum of decency. So, although I may not share their faith, these Christian Soldiers we spent the weekend with back there, training with those guys, coming from a punk rock background, shows me a healthier frame-of-mind and helps elevate my thoughts out of the past."

And the city that had once mindlessly tried to devour him soon sprawled around us, squat and brooding on this late summer morning, as he coasted his vehicle along a sparsely traveled street.

When You're Food: Raw:

A Fighter’s View of Predatory Aggression: The Forever Autumn Press Edition

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the woodsmanJuly 28, 2017 1:44 PM UTC

that vignette is a real gem. very well written.