Thursday, November 7, 2019

Dooper and Dangle – Part 1 of 2 Parts blog post #361
Courtesy of Prexels
The posting this week is my adaptation of Mark Wildyr’s original story published several years ago in a STARbooks anthology called Homo Thugs. Yes, Mr. Wildyr gave me permission to fiddle with his writing. Hope you enjoy it.


Adapted from a Story by Mark Wildyr

I seen Dooper down at the old railroad roundhouse this morning. He ain’t been around much since Mayor Dude declared war on graffiti. I don’t mind Slick Feathers bashing tagbanger gangs or toys or even throw-up guys, so long as he leaves me alone. I’m a piece artist, and I ain’t in no gang. Hell, I’m my own gang. I live for the art, man. The art! I got skill. Damned near half that big mural on the concrete arroyo Mayor Dude promoted a few years back as a place for paint artists is my work. Earned me some fame; local papers run flicks of my stuff.
But that ain’t the point. Art’s what I do; who I am. I’m Up! I’m All City! Go anywhere in Albuquerque and you’ll see my tag. Even if Mayor Dude gets out a army of uptight volunteers to scrub ever neighborhood ever frigging week, you’ll catch my work if you look for it. Dangle’s my sign, but I do it wildstyle so nobody who don’t read graffiti’s got a clue. The handle comes from the way I write with lots of drips. Not the wack, accidental dribbles a toy makes, but bold drips I draw on purpose.
Dooper’s a black kid my own age, but he hangs with a crowd that calls themselves the Highsiders. APD calls them gangsters, but really they’s just dudes that like to sling paint. Might be into boosting their spray cans, but who don’t? Dooper’s a fair writer, hisself, but he ain’t as good as me. His real handle’s Sooper Dooper, but it got shortened to Dooper real quick ‘cause he ain’t as fly as he claims. Before Slick Feathers got reelected Mayor Dude by declaring war on graffiti, I used to trip over Dooper’s raggedy ass all the time. We battled more’n once in hard get-up duels with some of the crews acting like judges. Coupla times they screwed up and said his work was better, but mostly they done it right and give me the burn. Got so intense there was some bad blood. We scrapped once, and I give him a mouse, but it looked more like a purple prune on his chocolate skin. Fucker split my lip and wrenched my arm so I couldn’t bomb for a week. I didn’t mind that so much, but it put me wrong with the Highsiders, and some of them dudes is dangerous. Had to watch my back after that.
This morning, he was hitting up a piece on a inside wall of the roundhouse. The big abandoned railroad engine turnaround is a cool place for taggers. Dooper’s mural was pretty wild, if you go for old fashioned bubble letters and 3-D styles. Me, I like blockbuster with a little computer mixed in. I do fades and clouds and fly colors when I bomb. Still, old Dooper had technique, sort of.
He slunk out the door when I showed up, so I examined his piece real hard ‘cause a couple of colors caught my eye. Like I said, the Highsiders usually racked their paint, but Dooper sure as shit didn’t steal Icy Grape and Jungle Green ‘cause Krylon don’t make them no more. Blended them, likely. Done a good job, too.
I may be all about art, but a guy’s got other needs, too… know what I mean? I ain’t no fag, but Dooper’s long legs and bubble butt sorta get to me. I can’t just come out and tell him that, so I laid a piece back-to-back with the work he done a few minutes ago. Right in the middle I painted a picture message he couldn’t miss. Wasn’t pornographic or nothing… at least not to nobody but another tagger. Just so there wasn’t no mistake about it, I signed my tag, drips and all!
I’d come out of there peddling my bike funny, my prick riding high and getting in the way. Maybe I’d look up Juanito before heading home. I got in this young Mexican’s pants a couple of years back, and him and me still get together ever few weeks. First time I seen him, I thought he was a girl… or a boy. But he was a small, whip-thin, full-growed man that just looked like a pretty girl.
Sorta felt sorry for Juanito. His culture’s got all that machismo bullshit, but that don’t mean his buddies don’t get to him, they just mess him up some after they do. He come over a year back beat up so bad I asked why he didn’t call the cops. He just grinned the best he could through split lips and told me he got the whole gang… all eight of them.
Guess I’m a rainbow sort of guy. Handsomest, buffest, manliest dude I ever seen was a Indian. Met him five years back when I was barely eighteen. Showed up one night when me’n some guys was setting around a campfire down by the yards swigging beer and swapping lies. Just walked out of the night and plopped his ass down beside us. When the beer played out, we pooled our change and AmerInd—that’s what I called him ‘cause that’s how them anthropologists, or whatever they is, labeled his people—donated his last quarter. Before the night was out, everbody flaked out and headed home or to his spider-hole except me’n him. I hung around because I was in love; he probably stayed put because he didn’t have nowhere to go.
When AmerInd got drunk enough, I talked him out of his britches, but he was was a mean drunk. I never seen him again, likely went back to wherever he come from. He wasn’t no New Mexico tribesman. Come from Montana or Wyoming or Oklahoma where they grow them big, tall, good-looking Plains Indians.
And now, I was hankering after old Dooper. Brown, red, black. Not bad for a white boy. Course, I hadn’t landed the black guy yet, but I wanted him, and that’s what counted.

I got me the sweetest setup in the State of New Mexico. A year back, I found this old, abandoned adobe sitting right in the middle of a fallow field in the South Valley and squatted in the dark for a couple of weeks before I fixed up the shack and moved in permanently. Now I had a safe place to stow my piecebook and plan out my patterns without nobody bothering me or looking over my shoulder to bite my work before I hit it up someplace.
I slept like a baby that night after seeing Dooper, dreaming about how he was gonna react when he spotted his my piece beside his on the roundhouse wall. Woke up bright and early, found enough scraps to make a breakfast, and then washed up in the old bathtub. I decided against shaving; hell, my beard was only three days old.
When I wheeled into the roundhouse that morning, Dooper was already there, looking up at my piece with balled fists planted on his hips. That butt I admired was sorta trembling, and I don’t think it was from getting hot over my art; hot under the collar maybe. Some glass crunched beneath my boots, and he whirled like he was ready to get it on. I tried to make it casual.
“Lo, Dooper. Wha’ cha doing?”
“Reading your filthy work,” he snarled, white teeth gleaming. “You’re a motherfucker, Dangle! A motherfucking motherfucker!”
“You know what they call that? Redundancy. I remember that from—”
“Screw you’n your fancy words! What you mean putting that up there like that?”
I’m an artist and all that, but I never seen so many shades of black. One minute he was standing there, a black man with sort of a mahogany hue, and then he went shoe-polish black. Finally, he aped one a them East Indians that look like they dusted themselves with soot. He wasn’t taking this too good.
Don’t know what woulda happened if we didn’t hear tires scrunching on rocks right then. Cops and Mayor Dude’s men make the rounds now and then in a losing battle to keep bums outa the old roundhouse. I still had my bike in my hands, so I hightailed it out a far door. I don’t know what the hell Dooper done, but I didn’t really give a rat’s ass, neither.


Well, well, well. Competitors. Perhaps in more ways than one. If you can put up with all the tagger talk, tune in next week to see what happens between the two.

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