Friday, February 22, 2008

The Return of the Revenge of the Son of Lord of the Flies

Shorties takin' over.

One of Baltimore's largest employers values the safety and security of the employees. They do this by aggressively opening offices outside of Baltimore. Unfortunately, most of the employees are still condemned to living a half-life of toil and terror, earning their paycheck in Charm City. All they get is a lousy crime bulletin in their email.

In the span of 30 hours, security sent out three bulletins about three separate robberies involving youths of 8 to 14 years of age. All occurred after school hours- good to know that elementary and middle-schoolers in Bawlmer City are applying themselves both as scholars and entrepreneurs.

The alerts (slightly anonymized):

Attempt Armed Robbery

WHERE: 800 block of Rutland Ave.

WHEN: Monday, February 4, 2008; approximately 5:40 p.m.

HOW: An employee was walking to his vehicle (which was parked on
the 900 block of Rutland Ave.) and talking on the cell phone when he
was approached by six African-American male juveniles, two of which
were armed with knives and demanded his cell phone. A Public Safety Officer observed
what was happening, responded and shouted to the juveniles which
caused them to run without obtaining the cell phone. The juveniles ran
into the Target City development.

WANTED: 6 African American Males, between 8-14 years of age. No
further description.

Attempted Armed Robbery

WHERE: 1600 Block E. Madison Street at N. Broadway

WHEN: Tuesday, February 5, 2008; approximately 7:00 p.m.

HOW: An employee was walking westbound on the north side of E.
Madison at Broadway when two juveniles approached him. One of the
juveniles displayed a knife and demanded money. The victim refused to
comply and continued to walk westbound. The suspects fled the area.

WANTED: 2 African American Males, between 8-14 years of age; wearing
dark hoods and dark pants. No further description.

Armed Robbery

WHERE: 1600 Block E. Madison Street at N. Broadway

WHEN: Tuesday, February 5, 2008; approximately 10:35 p.m.

HOW: A student was walking westbound on the north side of E.
Madison at Broadway when 6 to 8 juveniles approached him. One
juvenile displayed a knife and demanded money. An unknown juvenile
pulled the victim's wallet from his rear pocket and the victim grabbed
it, ultimately giving them his cash ($40.00). The suspects fled
westbound on E. Madison Street. The victim went home and called the
Baltimore City Police Department which took a report.

WANTED: 6 to 8 African American males, between 8-15 years of age;
wearing dark hoods and dark pants. No further description.

As a side note, what the hell is wrong with a town that would make them think naming a housing project "Target City" could possibly be a good idea?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Beating the traffic cops at their own game

Now and then, I enjoy taking my life in my own hands and riding a commuter shuttle to work. The afternoon passengers are typically weary workers with spirits crushed by life in Baltiless but the ride to work is more raucous. The driver told me once that methadone maintenance patients ride that route in the mornings in order to get to the clinic first thing.

One young lady was using the ride to finish her morning toilette, including applying a coat of heavy makeup in a minibus that's hurtling over the Crappiest Roads in America. The effect was....stunning. Eventually, she finished getting all dressed up for the clinic, and joined in on the hootin' and hollerin' and carryin' on, to use a favorite phrase of my grandma's.

On this particular day, the conversation had turned to DUI convictions. Most people seemed to have them, often coupled with charges of reckless driving and/or driving without a license. They wondered how to get out of them, and how on earth they could possibly avoid them. How indeed, readers?

Our protagonist had a suggestion. "Last time I was pulled over for a DUI, the cop let me off because I was pregnant."

Friday, February 8, 2008

Ace of Cakes

One beautiful Baltiless morning, I was walking from one building to another on my employer's campus. On a tray, I was carrying a styrofoam cooler with a test tube rack sticking out of the top, some pipets and some vials of liquid. In short, it looked pretty much exactly like a science experiment, which it was, and pretty much nothing like something to eat, which it was not.

A disheveled elderly man was walking towards me down the sidewalk. His face was red, his gray hair yellowed and sticking up in all directions. His massive grin displayed most of his remaining teeth. As I approached, he began to grin even more widely and slowed from an amble to a slow wander. Soon he had stopped walking entirely and stood directly in front of me, looking me full in the face with an ecstatic grin. What could I do? I paused too.

He cheerfully announced "I watch that show, Ace of Cakes!"

I answer "Oh really?", attempting to convey surprise, dismay, profound disinterest and l'esprit du please-leave-me-alone while also making him aware that he was breaching social etiquette, all in just two words. It didn't seem to work.

"Yeah! Do you?" he asked. I was forced to admit that I did not. "Well, I watch that show" he explained enthusiastically, "and I thought you was carryin' one-a them fancy cakes, but now I see you ain't." The excitement was palpable.

I acknowledged that I ain't and started walking again. He remained in place as I passed and turned to watch me go, carrying my fancy cake.