Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! #4
To order a copy of
Introduction by William P. Tandy page 3
Reading Homicide: Train Encounters I by Benn Ray page 7
Baltimore by Blair Ewing page 10
Another Brick in the Walk by William P. Tandy page 11
Charm City Bites: The Smile, Hon Food Awards by Dan Taylor page 13
Marking Mount Vernon by Davida Gypsy Breier page 17
No Irish Need Apply by Michel E. Schuster page 19
MoRoTa by GeezerWal page 23
How Long Has It Been Since Your Last Confession? by Donny Smith page 25
No Pennies From Heaven at the 7-11 by William P. Tandy page 28
A Few Choice Words by Doug Parsons page 30
Fake Real by Nikc Miller page 32
Reading Homicide: Train Encounters II by Benn Ray page 34
Firewalkin After Midnight by William P. Tandy page 37
Shark by Blair Ewing page 41
Is There Something Wrong with You? by Michel E. Schuster page 42
Culinary Exploits at the 122nd Maryland State Fair by Davida Gypsy Breier page 45
Keeping the Blind Eye Well-Oiled by William P. Tandy page 47
About the Authors page 49
Notes page 51
Call for Submissions page 52
I have been Deputized.
News of my appointment arrived early Monday morning, when the Order came down from the Hill: an official request for my full "cooperation and assistance in detecting and preventing acts of terrorism" from no lesser authority than the Criminal Intelligence Section of the Baltimore Police Department. They wasted no time in coming to the point.
THE CRIMINAL INTELLIGENCE SECTION IS ASKING FOR ASSISTANCE IN IDENTIFYING ANY SUSPICIOUS PERSONS OR ACTIVITY WHICH MAY INCLUDE BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO:
Twisted rotting Jesus, I thought. This is serious - some heavy responsibility to drop on someone at the unfriendly hour of 8:00 a.m.
The first order of business, as it occurred to me, was to establish myself as a Force to Be Reckoned With. To be respected in any sense of the word, one must be taken seriously on some level. And for someone in my Position to be taken seriously, I would need to look the part.
I considered heading out to Hecht's and dropping whatever remained of my holiday gift card on a sturdy suede vest before placing an order with Brigade Quartermasters for the heaviest tin star in their line. This was, after all, a matter of National Security, and in the event I found myself a captive aboard some prison hulk in the harbor, doomed to script some neo-national anthem, I'd at least want it noted in the press that I'd done so with my pointed silver-toed snakeskin boots to the enemy.
In the end, however, I decided that a low profile was critical to my efficiency as an agent of anti-Terror. And so dressed-down, I began my rounds at the harbor and stumbled immediately upon an ugly scene near the National Aquarium involving a swarm of small children and a man wielding a vaguely foreign high-speed camera.
"Drop the hardware, son," I told him, wary of our proximity to both the World Trade Center and the Hard Rock Café.
"Pardon me?" He lowered the camera, eyeing me quizzically.
"You heard right, Junior - only the filthiest pervert or hard-bitten psychopath would be out here in this weather, herding fourth-graders for snapshots with the dragon boats."
"What in hell's name "
"If you'd just come along with me, sir," I said. "This is a matter of National Security."
"Kids, get back on the bus."
Damn, I thought - this could get ugly, and I'd not yet adjusted to the realities of my newfound Authority. Subduing the weasel until Reinforcements could arrive was not an issue, but how well would my intentions read in the full report at six o'clock, and again at eleven? Those liberal media whores would likely paint me as some backwards, xenophobic freak, incapable of self-expression beyond reactionary fits of violence. And how easily would the Baltimore Tourism Bureau explain the Situation to wary conventioneers? The Broadway production of Hairspray would likely be canceled and the cast members driven out of Manhattan by torch-carrying mobs in the torrents of anti-Charm City sentiment induced by the media frenzy.
"Stop right there, sir," I said, taking one more stab at diplomacy.
"I'm warning you," he hissed. "I'll call the law!"
"Fool!" I shrieked. "I am the law! But go ahead, if you insist, Mr. I'm-only-chaperoning-for-Miss Watkinson-Finkelstein's-fourth-grade-class. Muster the cavalry, and we'll see just how well your story holds up down at Headquarters."
But the fiend gave me the slip, diving into the departing bus in a singularly deft motion that belied his Guilt, shouting serious threats of what might happen should I ever "wander into [his] jurisdiction" as the bus disappeared into the irreconcilable traffic of Pratt Street.
But there were no hard feelings lost on the day. What I understand now is that there can be no Reasoning with These People. There is no other choice but to go Great White on the bastards - something that no one in the biz had ever managed until last week. Not the Who. Not the Pistols. Not G.G. Not even the Stones, in their prime, could do that. Not with hundreds of thousands of stoned and permanently confused hippies helplessly treading water amidst schools of hungry Hell's Angels. No, sir. The lethal dose was finally administered last week to nearly 100 unfortunates whose only crime was sharing Junior's nostalgic affinity for a time when Daddy ruled the world - an obviously lethal combination of a dingy little Rhode Island nightclub and a band 15 years past its "prime". As for the band, well those poor bastards will be lucky if they're not shipped out to the streets of Baghdad, which have a well-documented history of open pyrotechnics.
Ah, but wait - I've become distracted, and there is nothing more dangerous in the world today than to become Distracted, particularly for someone in my Position. We must remain vigilant to the point of paranoia, ever-watchful and ready to report
This is War, after all, and I have been Deputized.
Gotta story to tell about Baltimore?
Eight-Stone Press is interested in your stories, everything that defines what it means to live - or simply be - in Charm City. Work, home, neighborhoods, pastimes, nostalgia, Saturday night, Sunday morning, and everything in between, good, bad, and ugly.