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Mechanical Shadows
Walking in and out of Northeast Baltimore, Monday, 5/11/20
Down I went, out of The Oaks, an old Bendix employee settlement from WWII. I did not turn on the phone to start taking pictures until I was out of the safe house ¼ mile radius. I really think it’s a slim chance I’ll be tracked by whoever that was in the black pickup truck last December. But I do not want to draw police attention.
The few ebons I run into are tamed and masked.
The ghost people are fearfully masked, except for a man holding a road sign at a work site without the mask his fat ghost coworker is wearing. He says “hey,” as I walk by as do I.
[On the walk back I will see him being masked up by a female supervisor.]
A BPD pig comes cruising by with lights flashing but no siren, just letting the peasantry know that the knight is about in the fields of toil on his destrier.
I take many pictures on this unseasonably cool May day and send them to my editor out west.
I note a black pick up truck parked on the other side of the secondary street I take into the city. A chill hits me but, this stopped truck is not much different looking than many other pickups out and about, working vehicles accounting for half the slim traffic.
A half mile on a black pickup passes me on my side as I am on a sidewalk with my back to oncoming traffic. It could or could not be. I’m just not that good at identifying vehicles and that was 5 months ago.
I cross the primary street into an alley behind a church and trace the secondary street Sensei Steve lives on from there. A black pick up passes me from behind. Could it be? I can’t even be sure it’s the same one I saw 5 blocks back let alone 5 months ago.
I spend some time with Sensei Steve and he breaks down the Dread Minus numbers reported in the Sun paper, showing this mighty fright for the moral scandal it is. Yesterday he was in my old grocery store speaking with my comanager, Duz, wearing his mask, when a big muscular cop who I know by his description as a ranking Baltimore County Officer, was “all masked up, buying into the whole thing, but seemed like a nice, conservative, personable guy,” began discussing his latest duties. These included going out with a squad of cops to break up a pick-up football game engaged in by young men at a park.
Steve then broke open the Sun Paper to the death toll for Cordova Minus in Maryland and cynically deconstructed the numbers, which showed that 1 in 1,000 people that got it died, that none of them were children or teens, that most of them were elderly and that the balance had largely self-inflicted preconditions like hypertension, #2 diabetes and obesity.
With an agreement for us to meet for sessions of Anzio, the very first step-loss hex game, with me bringing a slave girl to cook on Saturdays, I walked home after an hour visit.
On the way back I saw a black pickup pass me from behind.
Was it the same pickup?
I’m not trained in such things.
Outward from the city I walked and spotted a black pick up on the other side of the street, some ways off and could not make out if it was or was not occupied, my bad eyes and sunglasses inhibiting the exercise of my non-existent James Bond skills.
Then, as I crossed the city-county line a black pick up passed me from behind and it sounded just like the other two this day.
I took the first left into the back streets off the secondary road it had passed me on, then took a right, and low and behold, that same black pickup was stopped, on my side of the road, on an empty stretch of side street, across from the 8th Marine Combat Engineer Reserve Battalion, armory which had a third of its parking lot filled behind the iron fencing [this workplace being more heavily staffed than usual while most are empty], their tail lights on, the front tire cocked and back end out slightly as if they just zoomed in from a U-turn. It is the same shinning backend of a pickup truck that had just passed me, that might or might not be for work, while the one from December was slightly different and surely a working pickup, the paint unmarred but not shinny like this.
All I had was my knife—this was four hours ago before Ron came over for a six-pack of beer. Were these the same guys as had staked me out and tailed me and than did a hard U-turn when I stopped and confronted them visually from a block’s distance back in December?
It was not the same vehicle.
I was determined not to be a sucker and walk up to the passenger side and get shot, but wanted to walk past and look in and get a read on their faces and eyes.
Then, as soon as I got to the taillights, the truck sped off.
If these guys were cops—as Big Ron just assured me—they would have eye-fucked me at least. This is not dominant behavior, especially since there were two of these guys, as one was viewing me in the passenger side mirror. I could only tell that much, a driver and a spotter.
I then got to the cross street, Moore, between old Harford Road and Perring Parkway, the bottleneck getting from the city to the county, and saw this same truck—I think—I’m just not good with vehicles, parked in the gas station lot up hill and to the left of me. So, I decided to buy Big Ron’s six of Bud here, so I’d be stopping at someplace less busy than Pappas and have something to throw through a window.
As I continued down to the creek and the main road crossing I stopped and saw the truck pull out. So, I ducked into an overgrown walkway and waited and the truck sounded like it was going south, circling back, and did not come past.
I continued and crossed west over the six lane parkway, and when I hit the far side I saw that in the far lane of the northbound avenue [100 yards to my southeast] was that same pickup with two dim figures in it, heading north, not turning after me.
Was I imagining things?
I am only definite that the sighting crossing the city line and the next one where the truck awaited me and sped off were the same vehicle. The others might just be conflated observations, miss-identified black pickups seen from a distance by my non-driving pedestrian ass.
Would it U-turn again and come back for me on Oakliegh as I headed north?
As I marched up the hill and crested it on the bend, I noticed that on the second side-street on the left hand [west] side—and I was to the right [east]—that a small gray sedan was stopped, not parked, next to an extended grassy yard lot and that the driver was observing me through his side-view mirror.
As I crossed my end of that same side street and paused to view the license plate and determine if there was a passenger, the vehicle sped off, not peeling tire, just easy like. The pickup had also eased off quickly, not gunning the engine or squealing tire, as the pick-up back in December had.
Three or four, probably three, men had been tracking and observing me in two vehicles with either a desire to intimidate me in a skittering way or with a lack of observatory skill.
After relating this, Ron thinks these are not cops, but some kind of “right wing, nut job stalkers, maybe connected to cops, as most criminals are.”
Perhaps this is related to the biker article and appearance on the Myth of the 20th Century, which the Hell’s Angels panned on YouTube with record thumbs down and pressured a man I had interviewed into asking me to retract an article. Also, the book that those articles were tagged under, Barbarism versus Civilization, was banned before publication on the POD platform’s back end. And anyone following Myth, The Third Rail podcast or my site, would know that I had returned east in April.
This makes me less fearful of being snuffed and more fearful of them harassing non-combatant associates. If these were PIGs I could not imagine them being afraid of me, but rather eye-fucking me or giving me shit, since I have been so vilifyingly critical of their kind and since they are compulsive bullies.
Who are these guys?
I made my way via side streets to the Land Lady’s house, with my phone off. I think the phone as a tracker is less likely. If these are feds, than they know who I am staying with based on her smart phone data. And they have not shown up here. If they do, I’ll put a sledge hammer through their windshield.
I might break for another state this Sunday, or perhaps skulk another week.
It will depend on whether or not they amp up the observations.
I cashed my stimulus check and it’s a 9-mile walk to Megan’s to give it to her and bring some presents for Emma. Some of that way will be on now little travelled stretches of open road.
I may have Sensei Steve drive me down to White Marsh.
What a man.
When most folks are afraid to shake your hand, the 68-year-old man who had his spleen shot out in 1971, not only shook my hand but had told me, “I might be napping. The front door will be open and just walk in and wake me up,” still hoping that some Bruce Leroy might wander into his tower of death and enable him to realize his karate versus ghetto fu fantasy.
We shall see what tomorrow brings. But I did not spot the grey sedan or the black pickup for the final 1.5 miles of backstreet and alley skulking.
Big Ron’s suspicion that these might be right wing [as lefties have poor self-control and can be expected to be more aggressive in contact and no one was tracking me in Portland unless they were professionals] internet guys is partially based on the fact that twice, meet-ups scheduled with such types were backed out of by them and the last one was scheduled for the Raven Inn in this neighborhood, and my paper address, who anyone who knows a social security employee or cop could get, is in the adjacent area. But most importantly, he thinks cops would be overcome by their bully impulse and not drive hard away from me when I made them but rather grill me.
I am really doubting local cops based on this, as well as feds, who would have this place staked out and have sophisticated means of electronic observation.
I am entertaining a fourth and second most probable notion, that these men might be private goons working for an NGO that are either sloppy at police style observation work or are intentionally intimidating me in a subtle way towards an eventual demand, that I might later be served, in terms of my writing.
I just don’t know.

The second part of my tracing experiment will be posted next week, titled:
Back at It
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
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