Sunday, April 11, 2004

After Your Father Was Murdered By Dissidents, You Turned To Graffiti Day!

But we're skipping a few chapters of course. First you turned to Clara, who you loved. Clara turned you on to a truck that could take you out of Nicaragua. The truck driver turned you on to a boat to the coast of Florida, and a woman named Pilar turned you on to a whorehouse where you could get work pulling drunks out of beds once their pockets were turned out. Freddy, a junk dealer, turned you on to Heroin.

You don't know who turned you on to New York City. You just woke up there one morning. Bobo, your new girl in New York (she dug junk too) put the spraycan in your hand and told you to declare your love for her on the security gate of a drug store. You wrote, "Bobo Is Mutts."

You meant to write "Mutt's" but you missed the apostrophe and you put the S too close to the T to try to squeeze one in. Bobo gave you the nickname "Mutt" because you have a pug nose. Because she gave you the name very loudly at a party, it stuck.

That night you went home and made love to Bobo and when you woke up the next morning you saw the word "MUTTS" spraypainted on the wall beside the bed with an arrow pointing down at you. You laughed and made a point of putting the spraycan in your bag before leaving her place.

You were awake for twenty one hours that day. Within those twenty one hours, MUTTS was spraypainted on five apartment house doors, the brick wall of a hospital, two bus sidewall posters, and the stump of one tree. Within three months, you'd stopped shooting up (Bobo split) in order to have more time covering the city in your moniker. The word MUTTS was by this point as ubiquitous as the scaffolding. You were everywhere.

And then one day, that overlooked apostrophe started finding its way home. But it showed up after the S instead of the T. Old tags you'd forgotten about were being extrapolated upon. The first one you saw was scrawled across the boarded up windows of a condemned building. It read MUTTS' father was assassinated 1981.

You knew that. You hadn't thought about it because your father, and any bearing he had on your life, was dead as far as you were concerned. You knew he was assassinated, probably by one of his own men. But who else knew.

MUTTS' father dreamed of free Nicaragua was on the back of a bench in Riverside Park. You let go of Nina's (girlfriend, pretty, straight) hand and crouched your knees to read it real close, trying to find some identification in the loop of the scrawl. You used to worry about being spotted by the cops. But now, clearly, someone in the city knew who you were, what you were doing, and who killed your father.

MUTTS' father saw the bullet of Miguel Maya's gun, found on the post-board wall of a construction sight one Friday early evening. Your father was the son of a revolution for which he cared more than anything in the world. You were the son of a revolutionary and you couldn't have cared a damn. But someone either assumes you care, or needs you to care. He's in the city, and he's drawing you to him. You only have to decide whether or not you're going to answer. He clearly knows who you are and might be following you right this very minute, so he's apparently not going to walk up and tell you what he wants. Perhaps he's giving you the chance to decide whether you give a damn.

Happy After Your Father Was Murdered By Dissidents, You Turned To Graffiti Day!