Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! #6
To order a copy of
Introduction by Ed Stankhouse, Jr. page 3
Shopping in Baltimore: Three Experiences by Benn Ray page 6
Duckpins by Tracy Pickle page 10
This is Bowling. There are Rules. by Davida Gypsy Breier page 13
An Afternoon Delight by Audrey Poole page 16
Hep, Cat! by William P. Tandy page 18
Baltimore from the Sidewalk by Pat Yevics page 23
Beautiful Decay by Michel E. Schuster page 31
View from the Exterior by Eric Lyden page 29
I Want You...to Play Ball by Dan Taylor page 30
Bawlmer Haiku by Jen Sanford page 34
HonFest by Davida Gypsy Breier page 35
An Old West Sunday Morning by William P. Tandy page 38
Letter to Michael Olesker by William P. Tandy page 40
Footfall by Susan Beverly page 42
Bullhorn with Teeth by William P. Tandy page 44
About the Authors page 48
Notes page 51
Reasons to Smile page 52
Call for Submissions page 52
No sooner had Rhonda's crimson mane (and matching lips) boldly gone where no man had gone before than the phone rang.
Damn it, I muttered, hitting the pause button. Always at the good parts.
"Pinkie's," I answered.
"God hates Florida."
It was Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! Editor William P. Tandy.
I should have known.
"You rat bastard," I grumbled. "You always interrupt me during inventory."
"Hell, man, we've got more important things to concern ourselves with - what am I cutting in on, anyway?"
"Beaver Lodge #19, starring Rhonda Bushmaster."
"She the body-mod one with the forked tongue?"
"Yeah. Lighting's kinda shitty. Not bad overall, though - none of that first-timer bullshit. What's the deal with Florida?"
"The Almighty hates them down there," said William P. "There's no other way to explain it. Ivan came back to haunt them, now it's this Jeanne thing. By now it should be obvious that He wants a printed voting record. Jeb must not be returning His calls."
"And He's got their number, to hear them tell it," I said.
"Oh, He's got their number alright."
"That's fucked up."
"I would have said the same thing a few weeks back," he admitted. "But let me tell you, if that bastard Ivan had banked left and gone for Texas I would have been the first one in line for Confession. But shit, man, that's old news. I'm just calling to let you know, in case you hadn't heard, that City Paper named Smile Hon Best Zine."
"You're shitting me."
"I shit you not. Of course, it figures I'm down here in Carolina, so I'll miss out on the big party."
"Fuckin' A - Carolina?"
"Yeah - Outer Banks," he said. "Been here bunking on the third dune in for the last week, nursing a bottle of Myers's over C-Span and the Weather Channel. Speaking of Jeb, he's called out 3,700 National Guard to tend to that mess down there."
"Where the hell'd he get them?" I wondered aloud. "I thought we were at war."
"Someone has to keep the felons away from the polls."
"What's this about Smile Hon?"
"Oh, right," he said. "I just got word that City Paper named it Best Zine for '04. Davida got a mention. And moreover, so did you."
"Not bad for a first-timer. And to think you were reluctant to let me publish that piece you wrote."
"Well, I'm not really a writer."
"The hell you're not," he insisted. "You've got the knack. Besides, just think of what this will do for business. Trust me, man - all those horny people on Harford Road will be beating a path to your door for that new kinda kick."
"At least the ones who haven't been towed."
"They'll find a way to get there if they want it badly enough. They always do. And believe me, they want it. Bad."
"In that case, looks like I'd better start mopping up."
"Good call. They like it clean - the irony gets them off."
"Better go to the bank for some quarters, too. They'll be needing change."
"That's it - just wanted to say thanks for raising the bar for Smile Hon oh, and don't get your feet wet."
"No problem there," I said. "You stay out of nature's path."
I hung up the phone and stared at the freeze-frame on the wall-mounted 19-inch Panasonic that came from the Edgewood Thrift. Smile Hon. No shit. I punched up the City Paper website and, sure as hell, there it was in black and white, for all the world to read.
And so was I.
The Best of Baltimore.
And then the idea hit me hell, I thought, the inventory could wait. I opened up a fresh Word document and laid into the keyboard.
I just might get the hang of this writing thing yet
Copyright 2004 by Ed Stankhouse, Jr. Reprinted with permission.
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