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what do you do when there's nothing left...?

(9/11/2005; 11:45pm) - what do you do when there's nothing left...?

the outside looks just like your mom's house,
excepts for the long yellow water marks tracing the buildings,

and the smell.

and inside?
spoiled furnature, ps2s, TVs, toys, refrigerators on the floor,
and the most amazing mold crawling up the walls...

what do you do when there's nothing left of a huge city like New Orleans?

it's fucking surreal as anything can ever get.

it's like being in a giant IMAX movie with surround sound...
that's fucking 100 degrees and stinks like marsh and mold and rot.

it's almost enough to make you vomit just standing there.

you check houses and spray paint people's doors, windows, cars...
a big florecent X with information about the home, right there for anyone to read:

SPCA F/W 9-12

spca X 0

the 0 to the right means no bodies.
i didn't have to go anywhere with any numbers on the right.

when you break into someone's home, their shit is everywhere... it's been floating and now it's a giant smooshie, rotting pile of pillows and tables etc... the TV's knocked over, the computer looks find despite the mold. the controls to the ps2 or still attached...

the kitchen's disgusting, if you haven't fallen through the floor on your way there.
the fridges are all knocked over the same way, door side up. perfect photos of kids and report cards are untouched, still waiting for the family.

if you have to go through any doors, forget it! if they're cheap, they're all swollen in their frames... you can turn the knob but nothing happens. the good news is that the nails don't hold in either... so you can just kick them, and in the fall.
(sorry, i just knocked you're door in, my bad!)

if they had a good quality door, then you're not going anywhere, because there's always shit on the otherside. so you squeeze it open a few inches, enough to shine you're flash light in... see if there's anything in there, or anywhere to go. (that's my least favorite part. i'm always afraid that the infantry and police didn't get in that far... that maybe i'll find something i don't want to see, or worse that what i find will be young.

so you climb back over the fridge and the chairs and the couch and some more stuff and you climb back out the window and the door so you can take off your mask so you can breathe.

you have to wear a mask inside because of the mold...
you're never seen mold like this... it's like bread mold had sex with cheese mold and then got irradiated...
every earthtone color is streaming up the wall. browns, greens, grays, yellows... there's white spots where the mold is sporing... it's all thick, but is particularly 3-D over those places. You can squeesh it down with your finger, and your fingerprint is deep into this growing slime. and it doesn't get inside things that arn't wet, so it frames the pictures on the wall, which still look perfect. you're keys on the rack, just fine, while the mold eats the wall out from behind the rack...

so you climb back out the window, climb back off the porch into the sludge that is still the back yard.
gray dust/dirt/grime covers everything, every blade of grass... the bottom steps... the railings...
you squish-squish back to the front of the house, through some sludge, it's not water... it's yellow... and leaves a trail of jet black behind your boots. some bug's figured out how to live in it... looks like a spider crossed with a cockroach... where the water's dried out a bit there are dead fish... some tiny, some big... like guppies (even a few 3-4 inches) who knows when they sufficated... when they got swept into the city or when the water drained out.

you climb, i mean climb, you can't walk in N.O. everything is under something, be it water or thick mud or debris
so you climb back to the front of some one's house... a house you've just broken into, climbed over their furnature, kicked their doors in and you're now about to spray paint all over the front.
you pull off you're latex gloves... you have two boxes and you throw them right there, on the side walk in front of the house... coming home present.
really, what are you supposed to do with them...
my partner and i thought of everything... no trash cans. you can't bring anything outta the city, it all has to be decontaminated...
fuck, i should have been decon'ed but that would require organization.
you're car and boots get washed in bleach, you get naked in the car on the way home and throw everything out the window, with you're gloves.

i'm really sorry, to whomever's couch i walked on.
and i didn't know what else to do to get through you're doors.
i'm sorry about you're parakeet, it didn't make it.
but you're cat was still there, hiding on the top cabinet in the bathroom...
i brought him out of your house, out of New Orleans... now i hope you can do everything in your power to find him.
and don't worry.
you don't need to go home...
(there isn't anything left)

after a relief trip to NO, Sept '05