Miami photos by Mint+Serf
I’m sleeping alone in the backseat of a parked rental car at 5 AM in a terrible neighborhood in Miami when the door opposite me clicks open and a grizzly old black drunk man slides in next to me, shutting the car door behind him. His eyes and skin are the color of urine, and he smells equal parts like sour beer and sweet death.
“AH!” I cried out, half-snapping awake. “NO!”
“It’s ooooo-kay,” the strange old man mumbles, and I am about to scream again when all the car doors open at once, and Mint, Serf, and BC the Kid, a 17-year-old “graffiti intern,” hop in. And maybe Same.
I glare at BC the Kid as he smooshes the man into the middle of the backseat between us. We drive exactly two blocks through this ridiculous ghetto and screech to a halt in front of a liquor store.
Nobody says anything for about ten seconds.
“What the fuck is going on?” I practically scream. The bum and I are pressed up on each other.
Serf turns around in the passenger seat, suddenly very grave in the face.
“Marnell,” he half-whispers. “We need you to give us $2.”
“What?” I hiss. “What did you say? You need $2?”
“Yes,” Serf whispers. “Two. Dollars.”
“Why? For what?” I hiss again. “You know… I don’t care.” I rummage through my purse, hand Serf the money. “Here. Two dollars. Take it.”
BC and the man get out; Serf gets out; BC gets back in. I watch through the window as Serf talks to the man and gives him my two bucks. Then Serf gets back in the car.
Nobody says anything. They know me; they’re waiting for it.
“WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?” I screech. “WHO THE FUCK WAS THAT? DO YOU KNOW HOW SCARED I WAS? WHY DID YOU LET HIM IN THE CAR FIRST? WERE THE DOORS EVER EVEN LOCKED WHILE YOU GUYS WERE OUT THERE BOMBING?! DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT?! I WOKE UP AND THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE!”
I take a second to breathe. CLANG CLANG CLANG go the spraypaint cans in the back of the car; the sound that has been giving me a headache the entire time I’ve been at Art Basel.
They aren’t really paying attention to me (duh—everyone is in bombing mode and I know this); they’re just focused on getting to the next spot.
“AND—AND—WORST OF ALL! WORST OF ALL! LET ME ASK YOU THIS! ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT I WAS SERIOUSLY THE ONLY PERSON OUT OF THE FIVE PEOPLE IN THIS CAR CAPABLE OF PROCURING A TOTAL—A TOTAL—OF TWO FUCKING DOLLARS?” I scream. “TWO DOLLARS?!"
Mint is eyeing the stereo. No one gives me any answers. They were just paying a dude to look out for the cops for them and promised him a 40 oz. I know the deal.
“You guys need to really get a grip on this Peter Pan shit,” I groan, suddenly exhausted. “I am serious. Two dollars…”
It’s currently 5:45 AM. “We” will be out bombing the slums of Miami until 7:30.
“Omigoddd, why am I friends with such freaks,” I whimper. “Why am I friends with such nightmares. I hate you guys.” I pull my hoodie over my head. I really do hate them all of the time. They are my only family and I love them, but I also fucking hate them.
Mint waits about ten seconds to make sure I’m done before he cranks up the music.
MAKE IT RAIN/ MAKE IT MAKE IT RAIN TRICK/ MAKE IT RAIN TRICK/ MAKE IT MAKE IT RAIN TRICK
That’s the stripper-singer. A coke headache hits me like a brick to the face.
What the fuck happened to me, I think. Why am I here. I just want to be normal.
I'MA MAKE IT RAIN BITCH/ I’MA MAKE IT RAUN/ UHH I’M THROW SOME 20S/ AINT GOT NO MUTHA FUCKING CHANGE BITCH
That’s whoever the rapper dude is. Travis Porter—whatever. The shit is blaring. I take a bag of coke out of my pocket, along with the straw I asked the bartender cut in half at the Shore Club, and snort a whole half gram right from the baggie until it’s empty so no one else can have any.
“You wanna see some ass?” the stripper-singer whines. “I wanna see some cash!”
And I lose it.
“I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE LOFT NOW!” I shriek. We are staying together in a loft in the Design District. “MY HEAD HURTS, WE’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR TWO HOURS. YOU ARE DRUNK DRIVING HIDEOUSLY, MIKE MINT, AND I AM DONE.”
MAKE IT RAIN TRICK/ MAKE IT MAKE IT RAIN TRICK
“CAN YOU FUCKING TURN THAT DOWN?” I scream. And Serf does.
“I can’t do this anymore!” I wail to no one. “I need to make some changes. GOD.” I press my forehead against the car window.
The slums of Miami are sunrise-glowy all around. “I need to get a boyfriend. A non-graffiti writer boyfriend. Someone I can, like, watch TV shows with. I need to learn to cook. I need to start eating. I’m gonna find a boyfriend and I am going to cook with him—”
Mint turns the music back on. I rummage through my blue Balenciaga for another coke bag and my iPhone. Wu-Tang is on now, and the sun is not quite up.
I start reading my Twitter feed: An ocean is stained with blood in a Japanese port city. Madonna has said she is afraid of not being “in control” and might be launching a nail polish. There’s a new disease they’re calling “the AIDS of the Americas” that can cause victims’ hearts to explode. Media Takeout has accused Mariah Carey of being shaped like a chalkboard eraser; I want to disappear, and everyone in the car knows that the only thing anyone could ever imagine me romantically cooking with a man is a ton of crack.
ADDENDUM FROM CAT: Yo! So portions of an earlier version of this story ran before in a zine that me and my friends made called SGU (Special Graffiti Unit). I told my editors about it, but they didn't think it warranted a mention because only 200 copies were printed, and we had no idea it had been published by this (apparently very thorough) website that digitizes magazines and zines. I'd be sorry if I did anything wrong, but I didn't. If you can track one down, get it because it's rad. Anyway, there is your full disclosure, kids. Happy Friday!