Eight-Stone Press


Show Me Yours Show You Mine (Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! #8.5)

Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! COVER

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Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore!
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Table of contents


Introduction by William P. Tandy
Spitting Down the Barrel of a Gun by William P. Tandy
Le Tour de Falls by Dan Reed
Stitches for Xmas by Davida Gypsy Breier
Three Pages by Susan Beverly
Three Scar Poems by Matt Crocamo
Concrete Blonde by Rahne Alexander
Under the Water by J. Gavin Heck
The Man with the Broken Arm by Susan Beverly
Static Cling by William P. Tandy
The Letter by Anonymous
Scars by Keith Webb
All-Scar Performance by Mike
Making Dinner by Andrea Calabretta
Lost Blueroom by J. Gavin Heck
Shampoo Confessional by Nikki Verdecchia
Come Down to Greene Street, Joey Doyle by William P. Tandy

Le Tour de Falls
by Dan Reed

Prologue

As the name of the establishment suggests, the brewing was indeed artful. I, however, was a mess.

By nine o’clock, there was a good three hours of Resurrection Ale slogging through my veins. For a person on foot, this was significant. For a person on bike, potentially devastating. As such, I abandoned my normal ride home up Charles Street (and over to Hampden), opting instead for the closed-to-traffic Falls Road, where I’d make my way without having to share the road with those on four wheels. ’Cause I’m partially responsible like that when I’m drunk.

I was no more than 30 seconds down Falls Road when I rolled up on a group of four young black kids. All riding bikes! My fellow travelers ranged in age from, I’m guessing, six to 14, and bubbled with the enthusiasm of youth. Which suited an intoxicant like me just fine. So I cycled alongside them and started making small talk. ’Cause I’m chatty like that when I’m drunk.


Mountain Stage

I eased off my pace and we chatted about things like “How much your bike cost?”, “How fast can you go?” and “You been drinkin’ beer, mister?” And after about five minutes, we’d made the climb to the top of the Falls Road hill when I stopped and asked them if they knew how fast they could go. ’Cause I’m adventurous like that when I’m drunk.

I explained to my new friends that the $1,000 worth of CAD-designed bicycle I was sitting atop included a computer that told me how fast I was going. And that if we wanted, we could all start at the top of the hill, and then haul ass to the bottom, just to see what we were made of. Obviously they all thought it was greatest idea in the world. ’Cause I have the ability to turn normal people into fools like that when I’m drunk.

After a brief realigning of our bikes, off we went!

Time Trial

Accelerating down the hill, I called out the speeds at what I thought were exciting intervals.

Seven miles an hour!

Eleven miles an hour!

Seven miles an hour!

Sixteen miles an hour!

And all five of us were pedaling and zooming and giggling and having so much goddamn fun that the years that separated the oldest (me) from the youngest (them) vanished in a blur of Falls Road ecstasy. And then it happened.

Interestingly, it wasn’t me that went down. It was the two youngest, who bumped rims and hit the road in a gut-wrenching cacophony of spluts, grunts and metal grinding on asphalt. And suddenly, the difference in our ages was very much back and very much flashing through my mind. ’Cause I’m well-acquainted with “Oh shit, what have I done?” when I’m drunk.

My body offered a mass-dump of adrenaline into my bloodstream, and all traces of my once kid-friendly buzz instantly disappeared. “Time to be an adult again, jackass,” screeched my brain. So I raced back to the two bodies lying in the middle of the deserted road, expecting the absolute, utmost, unthinkable worst.

Do I have my cell phone?

Will an ambulance be able to reach us?

Have I broken any laws?

How many laws have I broken?

Does this make me a racist?

Am I going to get sued?

Why is the one kid screaming?

Why is the one kid screaming!

I sprinted to the screamer, kneeled and made eye contact, and faked as much calmness as I could.

“Look at me. We’re going to be okay. Tell me what hurts.”

And then it became clear. He wasn’t screaming. He was laughing. Laughing his little hit-the-ground-at-16-miles-per-hour head off. Godbless him. He kept laughing as he rose to his feet, and we both turned our attention to the non-screamer.

Suddenly, it occurred to me just how quiet he was.

Why isn’t one kid making any noise!

The kid was scared. Which I could see in his face. Once again and very instantly, so was I.

“Are you okay?” I dared.

Silence.

“Lemmie see where it hurts,” I said.

He held out a lightly-scraped hand.

“Okay, nothing too bad there,” I reassured. “Where else?”

He extended a lightly scraped knee.

“Not too bad there either,” I again assured. “Anything else?”

He thought for a second, and was shaking his head no when his other friend who hit the pavement barked out, “Check it out! You scraped the whole way down to the white meat!”

There it was.

Standing out angrily from his otherwise smooth, brown skin was a deep scrape on his elbow that . . . well, dug the whole way down to where the flesh appeared pinkish white.


Champs-Elysees

The scrape was deep, but hardly life-threatening. And nothing that wouldn’t appear at least once a year on one’s resume of childhood bumps and bruises. I popped open my bike’s water bottle and squired some liquid on the damaged area to expel the gravel. We all regrouped. And one of them suggested they head home to get a bandage on his injury, which seemed like a good idea. So we remounted, made our way up the trail, and parted ways on good terms, each with our own good story to tell.

And while I’ve no idea if my actions caused him to have a scar, I have a feeling that “You scraped the whole way to the white meat” is going to stay with me for the rest of my life. ’Cause I’m impressionable like that when I’m drunk.

DAN REED drinks beers. Rides bikes. Will never put on a lifejacket again. Tries to justify life using Shane MacGowan lyrics. (Actual results vary.)

Copyright 2007 by Dan Reed


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