Early on an October morning in 2006, I received a call from a man I had never heard of before: Paddy Scarmada of Erasing Paddy, a man I would find later explain to me was an Italian immigrant who worked at two small butcher shops in Southeast, over a few in-depth conversations over a week.
To be fair, he was a complete and utter mystery. The name Paddy, I learned, meant “a child of God,” something that he obviously adhered to. He also, as I learned, was a political activist who would go on to become the founder of FACT, Fighting Facism. It was Paddy Scarmada’s job to provoke, he explained to me in a phone conversation, and that is what I was to do. The first order of business: locating Frank’s Bar & Grill. It was either Frank or a different business, the Red Table Lunch, that I would later find out is near Paddy’s home in Hyattsville. It had been over a decade since I had been to Frank’s, so I asked Paddy about it. He told me that Frankie, Frank’s bar and grill, had gotten into financial trouble, was closing, and their business partner was out of town. Paddy then took me to the apartment complex where Frankie lived (although I didn’t know that yet), to do a search for possible signs of Frank’s (which did not occur).