There wasn’t nobody in the park Monday, Billy and I checked. He stood lookout while I tagged the bin. I wanted to do a throw-up, but Billy says to lay low for a while since I just got busted last month. Won’t be no community service, them cops catch me again…judge says I’m goin’ t’ jail next time. But I ain’t no pansy. I ain’t gonna let worry infect me, keep me from writin’. I gotta practice, show some mad skills if I wanna get in with Billy’s crew.
But man, now I’m freakin’. Somebody been blowin’ up my phone since 2 a.m. with the same effin’ picture, over and over. Caller ID says UNKNOWN. CCed to UNKNOWN RECIPIENTS. WTF? Who’s doggin’ me like this? What’re they tryin’ to do to me? Who they sendin’ this picture to? If that judge sees this, he gonna lock me up for sure. If my mama sees it, I’m gonna wish I was in jail.
This post is a mash-up of challenges…First it’s a response to The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge regarding a mysterious photo coming through on a cell phone at 2 a.m. It also incorporates Trifecta’s Week 69 challenge to use the third definition of the word infect (3a: contaminate, corrupt b: to work upon or seize upon so as to induce sympathy, belief, or support ). Finally, it’s a shameless attempt to use one of my Iceland photos as a writing prompt. 🙂
NOTE: I am NOT up on the current lingo used by young graffiti artists. If anyone has any suggestions to make the vernacular more realistic, I’d be very appreciative!
March 19, 2013 at 10:23 PM
This was great! Tagging was a big problem at a school I worked at long ago. We didn’t prosecute–we made them paint over it. Being seen with the dreaded 5-gallon bucket of white paint was enough embarrassment to keep them from doing it again, at school anyway. Since they were one toe-length away from jail, we figured they would do better staying in school (the last school that would accept them), so prosecution was not a good option. Strange, what kids do. But when you get to know their lives, the strange becomes almost understandable, and very, very sad.
March 22, 2013 at 9:31 PM
I’m actually torn on tagging. While I totally disagree with the vandalism of public and private property, I have a lot of respect for some of these taggers’ artistic skills. I think this particular location, a local skate park, might have had the city’s approval as a “canvas” as there were some pretty complex murals that certainly didn’t go up in a few stolen moments in the dead of night. (If it wasn’t pre-approved, then I’m not getting a warm fuzzy about the astuteness of the local police force.) If it was approved, I’m not sure the city intended for EVERY available surface, like the litter bin, to be fair game, but I guess if it protects other buildings in non-designated areas from being defaced…
March 22, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Some cities allow it in confined areas. The tagging we experienced was gang related, so it didn’t go over so well with anyone. The taggers weren’t so much into the art of it as they were into the gang rivalry. I learned a lot from it.
I assigned some art projects … I taught math, but I had to figure out a way to get their interest … and the talent was amazing. Sad to see it was wasted on territorial marking and violence.
March 20, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Sounded pretty real to me. Not sure he’s say “infect” in that context, but you didn’t have a choice on that one. Lol! 🙂
March 22, 2013 at 9:24 PM
See, I’m thinking I can introduce some new lingo to the younger generation. Don’t you think infect would fit in nicely with phrases like “Man, that’s sick”? 🙂
March 20, 2013 at 1:51 AM
Quite like the voice here, the word choice and word order
March 22, 2013 at 9:22 PM
Thanks, it took a lot of rewrites to get that far, but as KymminBarcelona pointed out, I totally missed the grammatically correct Billy and I in the first sentence. Rookie mistake.
March 23, 2013 at 2:05 AM
Yeah, Billy and me much better
March 20, 2013 at 7:56 AM
I thought the language was very convincing. Nicely done.
March 22, 2013 at 9:20 PM
Think I could earn a place in Billy’s crew? Nah, my graffiti skills leave much to be desired.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
March 20, 2013 at 5:41 PM
Great take, and I love that picture.
March 22, 2013 at 9:19 PM
I was hoping he wasn’t going to catch me taking his picture…and he definitely did not have a buddy acting as lookout!
March 21, 2013 at 4:49 AM
I smell blackmail (:
March 22, 2013 at 9:18 PM
Actually, I was thinking it could be his mom sending the pics from a throw-away phone…a maternal attempt at scared straight?
March 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM
Brilliant use of another’s voice, if you ask me. It may not be current vernacular but it did not shake my belief or jar in any way you even managed to work in INFECT without it seeming out of character. I wish I could inhabit others like this. It always sounds so false when I attempt it
March 22, 2013 at 9:17 PM
I don’t know, infect sticks out like a sore thumb to me. Would be kind of fun to have an “expert in the field” read the piece and tell me how to improve the lingo.
March 22, 2013 at 11:35 AM
Fun piece and the voice is great (tho I’m no judge).
bit of crit: Billy and me in 1st line makes more sense. Or even (shocked intake of breath) me and Billy.
March 22, 2013 at 9:15 PM
Duh! You are so right…I didn’t catch that in the twenty or so times I reread the story. A young punk spraying graffiti in a skate park DEFINITELY isn’t going to say Billy and I! 🙂