Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Round Here--Part Three: An Incident I Remember

The girls of Towson Street and environs grow up fast. The middle schoolers cuss on the street, worse than I do now, in private, when I am drunk and talking about the Administration. They smoke, in that disturbing, histrionic way children handle cigarettes. Their mothers smoke, too, and I suppose the kids learn the mannerisms in part from the elders. Isn't much of smoking done for emphasis anyway? Nothing like waving around a bundle of leaves on fire to make sure people understand that you really mean this.
One night we were walking back home down Fort Avenue, and a group of the girls was flitting about the steps of Good Counsel, smoking and cussing. Not the usual conversational South Baltimore cussing, but a harder, meaner, direct cussing. They were cussing at (with? against?--prepositions are the most difficult thing, apparently, for foreign speakers to learn in English.) an older man taken to drink too much and sit on the bus stop bench. An American Flag was involved. I don't know where the girls had gotten it, but each one took a turn treating it roughly: jamming it into the yew planter on the corner, jabbing it with a cigarette, threatening to throw it into the street...and all the while the old guy on the bench across the street sat there in a writhing conniption, yelling in a cigarette-burned voice that "you goddamn girls should know better...have some goddamn respect...OH! GOD! Why are doing this?..." All the while the girls were running around, each one with some new idea of an outrage to inflict on the flag in order to torture this man. Also all the while, of course, they were yelling back at him with obscenity-littered explosions, waving their cigarettes in the air. It looked and felt like a variation of the LP cover of the copy of the Symphonie Fantastique we had when I was little. Hieronymus Bosch would have done something really nifty with the scene.
This was, if I recall correctly, a school night.


Anonymous stickymcbiscuit said...

Pineapple City, where humans are animals and animals come in cans.

5:11 PM  

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