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Brick-Faced Sewer
Ninety-Minutes in Wilmington, Delaware, 2:30-4:00 P.M., Saturday, 10/29/16
© 2016 James LaFond
The overall impression is of the center of a small Pennsylvania town suddenly inhabited by the denizens of the ghettos of West Baltimore—people somewhat less violent yet more slovenly. Structurally it is as if Highland Avenue in East Baltimore has been placed between Route #83 and Reservoir Hill in West Baltimore.
Rolling in off the highway, Mescaline and I cruised up and down the asphalt fouled hillside, set with jagged concrete and brick stained in the sooty patina of the Eastern United States.
There are boarded and graffiti-graced vacant houses.
Corner grocers advertising soft drinks lend a sparkle of gaudy industry.
Barred doors and windows grace the rugged street.
Slovenly negroes, lazier and less menacing than their Baltimore cousins, lounge about on curbs, sidewalks, stoops and porches.
The occasional Puerto Rican brood waxes loudly on its porch.
The hilltop is crowned with ancient mansions, still presumably home to humans with ideals, or at least ideas.
Not a police officer is in sight.
We stop at an empty parking lot before Lancaster Liquors and enter a bullet-proofed kill box, surrounded by three firing ports, the space for customers one quarter of that reserved for the untouchable displays. I buy a quart of Yeungling from the Pakistani merchant through the armored lazy-susan as a tiny woman, somewhere between 25-55, with a punctured voice box and skin that could be Puerto Rican from heritage or squalor, snarls rusty-voiced for her smokes.
Two Dindus observe us exit, attentive to our presence.
As we pull off, two separate white trash guys in grunge attire are seen hurrying by.
The center of town is dominated by the latrine—a Taco Bell-KFC, where the local homeless use the bathroom and hip hop aspirants crowd the empty dinning area with their muffled chants. The drive through business is brisk, but only the homeless, two hip hoppers and Mescaline and I—who discuss racial politics—use the carryout counter.
As we leave, a young black man with backpack and spare boots strapped to it, stands with his back to the eatery, looking cagey-eyed and swivel-necked about. He nods to me respectfully and I say, “Hey man,” as Mescaline and I depart this blight of the eye. Three young Dindus, that have been eying Mescaline and I with concern from across the street, now approach the young man with the backpack, who notices their attention and takes evasive action, rolling out around the building with a good stride.
As we drive up the main drag again, for a second time I am amazed at a totally enclosed house front, porch and all done in elaborate wrought iron, rusted and grimy, the great cage enclosing the large porch with an outward sweep.
At the top of the hill, where upper scale housing of old languishes among churches that seem like estates, we marvel at no less than two of these houses once devoted to worship, that now declare themselves devoted to receiving refugees. Mescaline shakes his head, “Fucking whores, bringing the enemy in for a profit. There’s got to be a special hell for these fucking people.”
Wanting to lighten the mood a bit, I decided on a cheery benediction, “I hope the Dindus wipe them out, paint the church steps with their blood.”
The Mescaline fist pumped air in grim solidarity as the interstate ramp came into sight and we rocketed away from the wretched den of blight that was once Wilmington, Delaware, but is no simply another nameless satrapy of Dindustan.
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