I saw it as soon as I started backing into my driveway. It sprang out at me in the rear view mirror. Thirty feet back, on the white cinder block wall of my garage, was an oblong black blob about two feet tall and eight inches wide. What the...?!!
Graffiti spray painted on and running down in messy drips. I couldn't read it but the cop I summoned to take the report (in case there's a pattern of such vandalism in my neighborhood) could. MS13. When he said it, I too could read the hurried, messy lettering.
My house marked by a violent Latino gang. Here in the 'burbs. At the head of my driveway. Some crazy punk stood at the exact spot deep in my yard where I always park my unlocked car for the night, six feet away from the rear door that I always use exclusively and often leave unlocked when I sleep at night or go for a run.
"It's a lousy job," said the cop. "Maybe it's just a local kid wannabee. Usually it's much more artistic. But I'd get it off right away."
I thought darker thoughts about the Section-Eight house next door, between me and the strip mall bordering my neighborhood. The house at which there was a shooting a couple of years ago. The house at which there is a constantly shifting influx of people.
There had been a large gathering with many cars there on Saturday morning when I drove away to join my running group, perhaps evidencing a large Friday night party. No cars were left by the time I got back after noon to find the monstrosity spray-painted on my garage.
"I haven't seen this on a neighborhood house in the city before," continued the cop. "Usually this is confined to Fairfax [further to the west]. Over there on the brick wall of that strip mall across the way is painted 'SSL,' which just showed up. That stands for 'South Side Locos.' If there were a war, they'd be allies."
"Little bastards," I kept muttering the next day as I scrubbed the offending mark off my cinder block wall, having coated it first with graffiti removal [sold at Home Depot for about seven dollars].