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A Pack of Camels
© 2012 James LaFond
“I have these Baltimorean sensibilities that simply will not go away. Once you live in Harm City, Harm City lives in you.”
-e-mail from an exiled Baltimorean hip-hopster
I was picking out my drink early this morning at a 7-11 just below the city line. Then in came a man who was obviously shaken. The clerk behind the counter said, “Are you okay, man?”
The man, looking ashen and manic, exclaimed, “I haven’t smoked a cigarette in four years, but I’m smokin’ a whole pack of camels tonight!”
As I got in line behind him the clerk, veteran of numerous robberies, sensed a brush with violence, and took a calming approach, “What happened?”
“I was at the light, waiting to cross Moravia on Harford, when these three dudes come running out into the street shooting at someone. They’re shooting and we—me and the cars behind—are backed up and can’t get out! Jesus! They run on, blasting away, and I U-ey back up this way—flag down a cop.
Know what the cop says?
He says, 'Get in and go back down with me'."
"Fuck that! I’m not goin’ back down there! He gave me a number and told me to call in a complaint about the shooting.”
Heads where shaken and transactions completed.
It rained an hour later, rained hard. I imagine, sitting here in the rain this morning, a few blocks away from the scene, that any blood spilled might have already drained into the Chesapeake Bay, the city’s signature behavior becoming one with it’s greatest natural resource.
James LaFond, Friday, October 19, 2012
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