Ozzie Ausband

Not Enough Middle Fingers

They drove the yawning expanse of concrete that wrapped the city of Los Angeles in a tight grasp. Snarled. Lips curled and cursed as people frantically jostled for position; switching lanes, slowing down and switching back again. The sun glittered on chrome and glass. Frustration rose up with exhaust fumes. Dirt gathered with heaped trash along a guardrail. Someone had sprayed lime green spray paint on an ivy-spangled wall leading down an offramp. It looked like it said, “Not enough middle fingers” The two guys in a silver Toyota truck laughed between themselves. They were skateboarders and they were pool hunting. It struck them as a pretty funny thing to spend time spray painting… The one told the other about some graffiti he saw recently in downtown Los Angeles. It said, “Homeless people + Empty buildings = Society fail.”

They talked about skateboarding and the saturation of fake tough guys. Society is full of them. There always seemed to be an abundance of them.  They both agreed that there was a definite shortage of brains in Washington DC lately. During the election, social media had exposed a good many people for what and who they really are. The two skaters laughed and thought that some of those people may have wanted to keep their opinions to themselves. They cut a slow arc across the San Fernando Valley and started running the grid of side streets and alleyways in the west end. Trash spilled from dumpsters, ice cream vendors pushed little colorful carts in the hot sunlight. Dark eyes flashed from under wide-brimmed hats. They saw a few empty pools but nothing really worth getting into. They’d try and talk with homeowners. If someone lived there, they’d attempt to reach an agreement. Yard work, house repairs, a little cash or some beer… whatever worked. They were stopping for a cold drink and one of them punched up the satellite. A few houses down, he spotted a teardrop shaped pool. It looked pretty good.


A few minutes later, the homeowner was standing outside speaking with them. He didn’t seem to understand. He thought that the two skateboarders were there to fine him for the dark green sludge and water that festered in the deep end of the pool. “No sir, we want to empty it for you and skate in it.” The owners daughter came out and explained…Sometime in the next week, they received permission to drain, clean and skate the pool. It was an old one. Blue tiles with fish on them, red bullnose coping, palm trees scraping the hot sky… The skaters were putting away the pump and laughed as the homeowner came out and tried to pay them for cleaning the pool out. “No thanks. Your money is no good here. We are getting to skate the pool… We need nothing else.” So, it was. On a hot summer day, in the San Fernando Valley. Like it always was and always will be.

Charlie Blair / Deathbox

Brad McClain / Disaster

Thank you to MRZ and Deville for the images. Skate - Ozzie