Fiction by Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre
Arte Público Press, June 2022
Mikey and Lurch are worlds apart, even if they’re from the same Mexican neighborhood in West Los Angeles. Mikey just graduated from UCLA and is determined to get out. Lurch, the leader of the Culver City gang, loves the hood—its projects, beat-up apartments, and crackheads—more than his own life. They hook up with a doctor, who is from the same area. He put himself through medical school selling dope and now is back, running a clinic across from the Mar Vista Gardens housing project. All three notice changes. Suddenly there are outsiders everywhere: white people with beards, wearing V-neck sweaters and plaid shirts, running in jogging outfits or riding bikes with helmets, oblivious to the gangbangers. They’re artists, students, developers and entrepreneurs; a plague, pushing people out of their homes. Old people on fixed incomes start getting evicted or foreclosed on and the residents of the projects are being relocated, but some of the locals aren’t going to sit by without a fight. Soon they are fortifying the housing projects and stockpiling assault weapons! This absorbing novel follows a group of people who are determined to save their homes and neighborhood from gentrification, even if it means turning to violence.