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Hen House under the Chicken Hawk
A Frontline Tale of Urban Blight and Pallid Fright
Melody is a girl I knew from my ghetto grocer days, who achieved the great American dream of home ownership the very year that the federal housing authority dropped 30 fatherless, section eight households into her immediate neighborhood in Baltimore County. She would like to move but is stranded. The money she could get for her house would only pay rent in a safe portion of the suburbs for two years, then she would be homeless and on the street. Melody, you see, has also achieved another American dream, paid retirement, giving her just enough income to pay taxes and utilities on her home. Area supermarkets are now too dangerous for a female ghost pedestrian to work at.
What’s an unwilling ghetto girl to do?
Security doors, front and back—check.
Security windows in the street-level basement—check.
This cost the poor lady thousands, then she was tapped out and had yet to secure her back porch, which is raised and does not have a staircase giving easy access, but which any hoodrat could climb to gain access to the door and two windows there, portals easily kicked in.
Knowing that I had secured spaces in bad places before, Melody asked me what could be done, for say a hundred dollars.
I told her, “If you don’t mind something ugly, I can do it for less than fifty.”
“Fuck it!” she said. “I don’t want to be raped and killed by negroes in my bed.”
I said, “For ten dollars I could smear apoxy or sacrete on the rim of the porch where they would have to grab it—because jumping and grabbing the railing would snap their wrists on the concrete below—but if they got hurt you’d possibly lose your house in the law suit. Also, barbed wire or razor wire would leave you open to law suits.”
She was crest-fallen, angry that protecting her hard-won little house from predators was effectively illegal.
Since neither one of us had the means to transport materials of bulk or weight, she was curious, and I told her to order 50-feet of bailing wire, a hundred heavy zip-ties and 50-feet of six-foot poultry wire, delivered to her door by a home improvement center.
After stringing the initial bailing wire frame just below the roof of the porch, I had Big Ron, a man who understands construction, come by for an inspection and tips and he told me to triple the bailing wire bracing to prevent gargantuan hoodrats from pulling down the wire frame and to double up the chicken wire in order to double the time it would take a hoodrat with wire cutters to get through.
A consideration is that this would only take me two hours to cut out, but make Melody’s place the hardest nut to crack on the block. Bars on the windows would have to be removed to get a decent sale price when she does decide to sell, while wires can simply be cut away.
After a total of four hours work with heavy pliers Melody’s back porch now looks like some Mexican is raising fighting cocks on his porch. I took her outside and had her look up at the eye sore as the ghetto hawk [police helicopter] searched for renegade hoodrats overhead and she said, “It looks absolutely atrocious! I love it—it says, ‘Fuck you!’”
A Once Great Medieval City: 2016: Impressions of Baltimore Maryland
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