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‘Bust a Move’ Baltimore
On Baltimore City Buses from Penn Station, Charles Street to Hamilton: June 5, 2023
© 2023 James LaFond
[Unknown at the time, this bus ride ruptured a disc in my back, pinched the femoral nerve and damaged my knee and hip, injuries that yet prevent me from walking. -9/1/2023]
I wait outside of Penn Station for 15 minutes. The Orange Line heads to Towson Town Center in the County from somewhere deeper in the city. I board the bus with my ruck and it is fairly crowded. It is an elongated accordion bus. So I stand with my back to the accordion material on the spinning disc between the front and back portions.
The back deck is packed with Gro punks.
The mid regions are populated by working black men and women.
The front section is crowded with cripples, gimps, crazies, retards, mamas and babies.
At North Avenue a stocky dark rap gawd boards with his white bitch, both rapping to his phone, which is their studio.
At 25th an older, fatter version of the rapper boards and the rapper waxes ecstatic:
Westside Nigga, Eastside Nigga, Northeast Nigga…
Watchyah gonna do when I goez upside yo Jew [1] wit deese!
They rap insensibly on in a rapture of feral negrotude. Culturally, this unattractive white woman is the most Africanized creature on this bus of some 70 souls. They are two feet from me, her in an erotic trance rapping “nigga-nigga-nigga-nigga” in a duo to his “bitch-bitch-bitch-dick-hungry-bitch,” as all three primates gyrate and the bus spins. Then comes the conversation…
Nigga: “OG—what up!”
OG: “Heard yo was back in da game, Nigga!”
Bitch: “You heard right.”
OG: “Who you, bitch?”
Nigga: “She my bitch, OG. She white.”
OG: “Don’t care ‘bout dat race shid—is she a good bitch?”
Nigga: “Da bes’ OG. She done dropped a baby just da udder mont, second one she dropped fo me, and my fatha en me beefin’ ‘cause my bitch be white, en he all wit dat hate, so we on da street en dis bitch bring it.”
OG: “So I hears it. But a bitch ain’t got no race but da race o’ da dick run up in ‘er. I’ll tell yo fatha dat when I sees ‘im. Now whats dis I hear about my Nigga’s bitch steppin’ up?”
Bitch: “Look, OG, dat big-ass no account nigga up dare at Penn North gotta problem with ma man an dey both grown-ass men en it ain’t my place ta interfere. Dare was a poleese watchin’ da entire time but he weren’t gonna do shit wit deese niggas throwin’ hands, nor me—nigas is, niggas does.”
Nigga: “Lookie here, OG, dis nigga big, long, tall en swole. He give it en I take it en give it back—throw of muvafuckin raw ass hands. Den he keep reachin’ in his pocket en I keep hittin’ him en he reachin’ still—punk-ass nigga fo show.”
OG: “In front a da poleese? Dat a stupit nigga, dat nigga needs capped in da head fo he gotz no sense!”
Bitch: “See, OG, I gots my bottle, vodka in day Polish glass bottle, hard and square wita handle. So I see dat no account nigga pullin’ some shit on my man—and bam! Bam da fuck down! Now, I throw some hands wit bitches, done beat shit outta many a bitch. But a lady don’ throw no hands wit no big nigga, no she don’t, she bring da bottle!”
Nigga: “Yeah, den down go dat nigga en da knife go clatterin’ en my bitch is bringin’ down da bottle again an I bringin’ the shoeleatha...gettagettagetta, fuck a fuck ‘er betta!”
The phone is being clicked with a silver watch band and used as a rattle to keep rhythm as the three primates gyrate and rap:
OG: “Nigga-nigga-nigga!”
Bitch: “Bigga-bigga-bigga!”
Nigga: “North en Penn poleese frontin’ niggaz!”
End song.
OG: “Now, I needs ta know, is da poleese still skulkin’ up at dis 7-11 across Nort Ave.?”
Nigga: “Sho is. Gotz da boyz countin’ stash up oba da way down by where da devil pray—feel me, OG.”
OG: “Feel ya right—ged off here. I’ll stop next stop en double back hine da poleese.”
The ciphers of savagery soon depart as a mob of six foot hair hatted high school girls pile on the bus and crowd around the accordion area. A tall, thin, gay kid, light of skin, wearing yellow smiley face slippers and carrying a pink purse, hides behind me from the ireful glares of the big dark sisters.
Up and up, ever slower, the bus progresses under the red sun up the steepest hill out of Baltimore, past City College and 33rd street up Loch Raven Boulevard. It takes a total of an hour for the bus to make it from Charles and North Avenue to Loch Raven and Taylor a hundred yards over the county line.
I offload and cross to the south side of Taylor and the bus shelter. A homeless black man with wheely cart and a tall KFC Rite Aid clerk are there with two light skinned twins, a boy and girl of perhaps 14. A big beefy wigger with black hat and backpack is there and sees an old drunk with a bottle and a wheely seat and says, “Ole Man, watch you doin’ drinkin’? Dat ain’ no good for you.”
The old wastrel snarls, “What is Eddie doing dating your wife—answer me that?”
“I ain’t got no wife—I am DE-VORCED!”
The young fellow gets up and goes to stand next to the old wastrel, “I’ll help you get on the bus old man. Here, listen to this to cheer you up.”
The kid, about 25, then turns up his smart phone and it sings out a rap song, “I got da bird flu!”
The light-skinned twins think it is a great song and begin to sing, and laugh and dance to it, “I got da bird flu!”
A harried black woman of 40 years, losing her figure to those years, came shedding tears past me as she begged, “Anybody got a cigarette I can buy?”
She was in great pain and I coldly ignored her like the rest.
She yells, splashing tears and crying, “I didn’t ask to be give one—I just need to buy one! Don’t ya’all care? Does anybody in dis worl care!?”
She looked at me, tears gushing down her face, as I noted that she had three full grocery bags, one with assorted boxed cereal, [2] one with Irish Spring soap in shoplifted quantity and the other with clothes. “Please, mister, have a heart en sell a bitch a cigarette!”
She cried effusively in great spasms as we cringed collectively, the mute audience in the sad theater of her demise, “A bitch ain’t got no life in dis worl! I broke! I alone—no man! I’m a good bitch, I am! Please, somebodydydydydy—I’m dyin’ in my mind—please! Somebody-anybody, can ya’all buy some Irish Spring—as cheap as you want? Please, some-bod-eeeee! Ahhheee, please help a bitch out!”
She turned and looked up into my face, hoping that I wasn’t a total creep like the rest of Baltimore, that perhaps I really was an outsider, “Please, please, I beggin’ some-bod-eeee! Help dis bitch out—I got ta bust a move!”
And with a great sigh of pain, she whirred by me, her bags spinning as she cried loudly walking east on Taylor, unable, I sensed, to bear any longer the fact that we did not care.
The wigger started his music back up, “I got the bird flu!” and the twins began to dance and sing… and so the sorrowful woman was erased from the collective mind.
The #54 bus pulled up and we boarded. I kept the ruck on and sat longways on two seats by the back door and waited another 15 minutes for the various people headed home from work and to work to board and offload. Some of the young women dressed up at 2:00 to work the afternoon shift were quite easy on the eyes. I would have helped one of these women out. One of them had a small boy with her who kept looking at me and saying to her, “There is a pirate on the bus!”
At Northern Parkway and Old Harford Road I offloaded to take my hike to the wonderful Brickmouse House. Behind me the boy, all of five, declared, “The pirate is gone—will he be back?”
It took 2 hours to get from Trenton New Jersey to Baltimore City by train, then 2 hours by bus in Baltimore to get from Charles Street and North Avenue to Northern Parkway and Harford Road.
-1. Head? Wallet? Surely some Natsy can translate this.
-2. Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios, two Kellogs and 2 General Mills brands.
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