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‘Baltimore, My Home’
Recent Encounters in Harm City: 5/16/2023
© 2023 James LaFond
JAN/29/24
Last Thursday night, at 10:35, after two hours sparring, the Operator and I discussed the night’s blunt knife action and he said, “You, Mister James, with the stick, remind me of my training officer from back in the day. This dude was an old cat with 15 years on the force back then. He was the last of the guys that walked with the stick. In my opinion, the stick is what is missing in police work today. These days, you get your ass kicked, electrocute the prick, of shoot him—like everything else, less physical than it used to be.
Hands shape the scene as the man reaches back behind intense glazed eyes to yesteryear:
“He told me, one question, that’s all they got. We go out on the street, closin’ time, knuckleheads need to be off the corner, time to go home—this is the line, I drew the line, don’t cross it. Then, of course, some drunk loudmouth has to come up and give me the what to and the why for and ‘Bam!’ right between the eyes, staggering off holding his head. That was called the law, the old guys were all about the stick—the City guys even more so—jeese, what they had to deal with, same is what you have to deal with, these knuckle-draggers hunting you up through The Oaks on your way here…”
On the way to the car, “Brutha, I really appreciate you always hittin’ the legal angle on this knife action, reviewing that. ‘Cause, ya know, if I run into a cop now, I probably don’t know him. My crop has gone to the silo. These young people—sorry about the mess sir. Hey, I have two burgers left, gobblin’ down chow on the way here. They’re yours. [1]”
Driving across Joppa Road past a mostly empty used car dealership lot that used to hold over a thousand cars and now has two dozen:
“Jesus, look at that, bright as day under the lot light… Are they boosting those cars?”
It appeared so and then a car started gunning its motor behind us the passengers gesturing aggressively. We pull up at the light at Perring Parkway and the sedan, with three 20-something, drunk land whales of the ghost pod pull up making threats and then look into the trash strewn car as I turn to look at them and the middle aged hippie in the suit at the wheel looks at them…
The scene held.
Then the one behind the driver, a big mug, bloated at 25, said, “Hey, y’all, have a nice night.”
They then ran the red light, raced across and turned left down Satyr Hill.
“Mister James, I think—and I could be wrong, but probably not—that your engaging personality might have just saved me from explaining to whatever poor soul has taken my place in the ranks, why I had to shoot all three of those motherfuckers. Thank you, thank you!”
The next day, as I arrived across town on the East Side, Megan was late getting off work at that dealership and said, “Sorry Poppy, we lost seven cars off the lot last night. Some broke ass bitch has to call it in—yours truly!”
Yesterday, Monday the 15th, in Harford County, Incognegro was running five hours late getting me for a video shoot when he rolled up in yet another new vehicle, of which he owns many. He insists on loading my ruck and says, ‘Sorry james, this wasn’t CP Time. One of my guys dropped a TV at a very important client’s house and I had to make it right. We’ll reschedule. For now, I’ll take you into town and to the gym.”
“Nice car man.”
He sat down and grinned, knowing I didn’t understand why it was a nice car, and tapped the emblem on the steering wheel that read BMW, “I’d rather have something else, but this was the only collectible they had. I’ll drive it for a while and get rid of it. This holds its value and I’ll make a profit selling it. Speaking of which, I need to confess some racist thoughts and suspicions.”
"There is this guy that owes me down in East Baltimore, Monument and Biddle. Well, I know better then to pull up in this after dark. So I head down yesterday afternoon, at two o’clock on a Sunday, and I see two black guys with a jimmy opening a car door and my first thought is they are stealing it. Just like that, like Dave Chapelle, racist on my own kind. So I check myself and walk on by and nod to them respectfully, having altered my assumptions to them having locked themselves out of their car. Then one of them turns to me—we are just around the corner from the Police Station—and says, ‘Ma Man, could you check around the corner en make sure da poleese not done wit dey roll call yet?’
[laughter]
“Just like that, these criminals are going to include me in their negro crime!”
“So, I have a friend who does some work for me and he tells me that the new Kia and Hyundai can be broken into with a USB cord and a screwdriver and he isn’t available for work because he is replacing ignitions in these things all day long, just in this area.”
We drive into town and see The Brickmouse and Bride walking and I direct Incognegro to pull up as I wave. As they come over to the car and shake hands my host says, “Nice car!” and my driver responds, “Thank you,” and we pull off.
Incognegro insists on carrying up my ruck, regaling me with a story of sparring with the Mexican landscaper cutting his neighbors lawn and glancing at my emaciated form, “James, being a hobo and having women across the country is good for you—you come back in better shape every year. You always were a savage. You might pick up a win down in Tennessee.”
“Oh yes, I know you spend time out in the boonies. So I have this contract with a satellite TV and internet provider and a free year of air travel, including South America, which I’ll probably mostly use for Spanish bitches. So, you go anywhere out of the way, let me know, so I can visit. And if any of your hosts need TV, I’ll come out. I’m hitting people in Houston right now. If you end up there, definitely let me know. You sure you don’t want me to drive you to the school?”
“I’ll empty this and use it for the gear, which is light, and ruck it up there. It’s a good warm up. Thanks.”
“Okay, James—nice to see you and see you soon.”
Nurse Mother Lynn then texted me about my activity and health [she taking care of my medical emails and appointments] and I let her know what I’m doing.
She texts back:
“Nobody can do what you do. You deserve so much more. You should be born on a litter by melinated individuals.”
I texted back: “Five more bucks to go!”
Notes
-1. The Brickmouse Bride advised me on my late night meal as I threw away the fries, unwrapped the burgers, threw away the buns, and revealed 4 pickle slices and two wafer thin meat patties, “Looks like a job for pork rinds!”
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