One time in the Burnside Ave apartments my friends and I had the bright idea that it would be OK to spray paint the back wall of the complex. It was a plain gray flat wall that was maybe 20’ wide and about 6’ high up until the brick started. I don’t even remember where we found the spray paint but we all took a section of the wall and laid down our best graffiti. We had all sorts of weird 9 year old drawings up there and my crowning jewel was a big ugly peacock and under it just so everyone knew what it was I wrote “NBC peacock” Trust me, if you didn’t see what I wrote you would have never guessed that it was a peacock.
When Mayland’s father (the superintendent) found what we did he yelled and screamed at us asking why we thought that was a good idea. Again, don’t argue with 9 year old logic – it was a back wall, hidden and who would know? He did. He had us go out there with old socks and rags and try to scrub it off. We scrubbed for what seemed like hours and it wasn’t coming off. It faded at best but it wasn’t coming off. I don’t remember how exactly it ended but I do know that wall ended up with a fresh coat of gray paint. He didn’t make us paint it (gee I wonder why).
Burnside Ave was not considered by me to be very rough at all but to some it was seen as hard. I was growing up there so to me it was normal. Even looking back now it doesn’t seem all that bad. We had our fair share of fights though. One time this kid that lived in the apartments across the way had a beef with me and he was a little guy. He came right up to me and punched me in the jaw and it barely even moved my face. I didn’t know wtf his problem was, maybe one too many yo momma jokes. Then there was the time I got punched in the nose right in front of my apartment. It caught me by total surprise and I got pissed and went right at this kid. I took him down quick and he said – “I was just playin, don’t hurt me but make it look good in front of my friends”. They had all come to watch him fight me. We wrestled for a while and then it got broken up. You never forget the first time you get punched in the nose though.
Then there was the fight that taught me what not to do in a fight. It was against this kid who lived on the street across from my apartments and I truly didn’t know how to fight at this point in my life. We started doing the circle where you just walk slowly around and around staring at each other. I had my arms down and hands up around my chest with the “put up your dukes stance like I thought I was a 1920’s style fighter. He had his hands up and before I knew it – bam right in the eye. We stood back and circled again and then BAM again in the same eye. I rushed him and tried to put his head up against the wall but he stepped back and BAM again in the same fucking eye! I stood back and felt my eye all puffed out and knowing I was going to be in the talent show the next week said “that’s it, I’m done, you win”. I went home and my Mom asked me what happened. I said that I fell off my bike and the handlebars turned so I hit my eye on the end of the handgrip. Hey if I was gonna try and lie about it I might as well make it a whopper.