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Graffiti Life

“Okay, just talk loud and clear when answering my questions,” she paused and continued seriously. “Don’t try to pull anything funny, they have people on the other side of the mirror and cameras. Tell me when you’re ready to start.” I fidgeted in my seat trying to move my wrists as much as possible even though they were cuffed to the chair that was secured to the ground.

Eventually I nodded and mumbled, “Okay I’m ready.” The detective nodded and talked to the recorder as I sat there silently. I was thinking about my life before that stupid night.

She interrupted my thoughts with, “I want you to tell me what happened to get you in this place, you can start by telling me the whole night up to your arrest.”

“My name is Mercy Hawkins, I was living in the empty building behind the wall…” I guess I didn’t realize I was shaking while I whispered this.

Detective Harris looked at me and said, “We can continue this tomorrow you should get some rest and rehearse talking so it’ll be easier.” I looked at her gratefully and waited for Officer Lyles to take me to my cell. He came and got me as he escorted me he tried to make small talk but I was sucked into my thoughts. As soon as we got to my cell I thanked him and crawled into the metal bed. It was more comfortable than the blanket and dirt I used to sleep on, but it was definitely not nearly as comfortable as a real bed.

I closed my eyes and went back in time to the dreadful night. I made an abandoned building my home three years ago, so now it was pretty homey. It had three rooms I only use one besides the bathroom. The walls were starting to fall apart in areas so I had to be careful. Other than that I made a pretty chill place with my art covering the walls. I was getting ready to eat dinner. Sitting on my cardboard box stirring a pot of mostly water and some vegetables, I found behind a restaurant, over a small fire I set up. I had been waiting for my boyfriend Carson to come over. Twenty minutes later I heard Carson coming, then I heard Ryan’s voice. I wondered why he was here, but then I remembered that they were coming to get me so we could paint the wall. Ryan had a can of hot pink in his hand and was shaking it. Carson came over and sat next to me giving me a kiss.

“You ready to do this, girl,” Ryan said excitement filling his voice. He unzipped his backpack showing me my favorite colors. I got up quickly and found my sketch books in my backpack so I could sketch the design out. I opened to a blank page and started sketching. The first one I sketched was the word “dance,” when I was almost done I shook my head and turned to a new page. I thought for a second and then sketched the phrase “express yourself” signing the bottom with “no mercy”. I colored it with some colored pencils and smiled. When I finished I held it up for them to see. They bumped fists and said, “Nice, Merc, this ones gonna be sick!”

“Hey, Carson, can you find out if we have to paint the wall with a base coat before we can do the gold background?” I enthusiastically asked. I took my sketchbook back and looked at the colors I used, and crawled over to Ryan’s backpack to pull out colors. Carson came back in frowning a bit, so I asked in a whisper, “What’s wrong, baby? Is there somebody out there?”

He shook his head telling me, “Don’t worry I’m just a little bummed, cause I have to wash the wall, there is a layer of soot on it.” I relaxed a bit and pointed over to a bucket with a rag in it and then to the faucet where he could fill it up. I finished picking out the colors I wanted to use: hot pink, silver, gold, purple, neon green, bright blue, lemon yellow, and neon orange. After I pulled them out I looked up at Ryan to make sure he was okay with the colors I chose. Ryan nodded and looked and the sketch one more time smiling. I finished my watery soup and washed out my pot. By the time Carson finished washing the wall off it was ten thirty, and Ryan was getting antsy. I grabbed the backpack full of the colors I chose and headed to the doorway missing a door. Ryan followed me out with the sketch in his hand mumbling to himself how it would be totally awesome.

I grabbed the first can of gold paint and shook it some then handed it Carson saying, “Go ahead and paint the base coat with Ryan make sure you cover a large area, and grab a ladder so we can make it cover the whole wall.” I handed the other gold can to Ryan, and sat on the curb while I waited for them to finish the first coat. When they were finished with that I got the purple out and started to spray “express” onto the wall while they got the other colors ready for me. I backed up an inspected the outline and nodded trading the purple for the green. I finished the green part and asked the boys, “How does it look so far?”

Ryan nodded and handed me the pink, and Carson energetically replied, “It’s amazing I can’t wait to see the finished product!” I kept trading colors out and finished around eleven thirty. It covered the whole wall thirteen feet high and twenty feet long. I used all my favorite colors that I picked out and added stars and fireworks around the words. It was truly amazing; I wish I had more time to admire it. I was just about to finish the signature when Ryan start whooping and hollering about how awesome it looked. Carson tried to shut him up while I finished my signature “no mercy”.

I finally turned to face the two of them and yelled, “Shut up! You two are gonna make someone call the cops!” They both became silent and we heard a voice whispering into a phone. I looked over at the next building; an old lady was on the phone with the cops reporting us. I looked at Ryan and viciously accused him, “This is your fault! You are so stupid yelling around like that! You knew the consequences if someone reported us!” I started throwing my sketchbook and the paints back into his backpack and ran inside the building to grab my jacket. I heard the sirens blaring a block away; I froze looking around. As they turned the corner coming down to where we were, I started to run. I ran to the fire escape and ran up onto the roof. Two cops were already hot on my trail. I dropped my things knowing I would be cold if I got away only wearing a tank top and skinny jeans, but I was faster without them. I ran to the edge of the roof the other building three feet away I jumped and kept running. The next building was six feet away, but two feet lower down. I looked behind the cops clearing the last jump. I took the risk and jumped missing the building, but I grabbed onto the edge. Trying to pull myself up the cops got to the edge and radioed for something to catch me. I started to slip and looked up with a plea in my eye. I was so scared; I didn’t want this to happen. I dropped thirty feet and landed on my feet then fell onto my hands. The shock from landing shook my brain and I just laid there on my stomach.

They tugged my hands behind my back as I cried and screamed. They pulled me up off the ground, and told me my rights. Once I was in the car the officer took a good look at my face he asked gently, “Do you have any parents or guardians I can call to meet us at the station?” I shook my head and looked at the other car next to me pulling away with Carson. I leaned my head against the seat and cried as we pulled up to the station. Ryan and Carson were in the first two cells sitting on the beds. The officer put me in the third looking at me quizzically and asked, “How old are you, Mercy?”

I looked up at him and replied quietly, “Almost seventeen. When can I leave?”

He looked into my eyes and said, “You can’t leave until we get the story straight about what really happened.” I shook my head knowing that Ryan probably tried to say we forced him to do it. They asked me a few questions and then walked out. I started to cry again as I lay on the bed. That’s when the officer brought in my mother who I hadn’t seen in three years.

She walked to the bars and looked at me with disgust as she lectured, “I told you long ago when your brother got arrested the night after teaching you how to do that stupid graffiti, I told you that you better stick to paper. Why can’t you ever listen to me? Instead you just ran off and did whatever you wanted.”

I got up and walked to the bar looking in her eyes as I screamed, “You let them take the only person who cared about us! I ran away from you cause your violent abuse hurt me! You come in here seeing me for the first time in three years, and don’t even tell me you’re sorry!” I turned around and walked to the wall hit it hard and then looked at her, “You know what you disgust me and I should’ve done something long ago to get away from you instead of living on the streets.” She left after that. I waited until they got me the next morning for interrogation.
I popped out of my remembrance of that night, as they were opening the cell to take me to get dinner. Thinking about my life before I ran away.





Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

speech.write.crazy said...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 11:48 am
I like it! I love how you started it with the interrogation. Good job! Please, look at my work. Thanks!
 
LASwan said...
Sept. 24, 2010 at 7:50 pm
Very engaging. You're not really sure what was going on until the end. Good imagery, as well. Mind taking a look at my works?
 
Healing_Angel This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 24, 2010 at 8:43 pm
Great job! Very engaging. Love the detailed descriptions. It draws you right in.
 
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