One Man's Trailer Trash



My mother told me I’d end up in a trailer park. A bizarre thing to say to someone moving from Oklahoma to Colorado, but she was right. The Shady Grove Mobile Home Community is the trashiest trailer park I’ve ever seen, and like I said I’m from Oklahoma. I’ve seen trailer parks that had just been hit by tornadoes that looked nicer than this one. Despite its name, there was not a shade tree to be found, let alone an entire grove of them, only a pioneering ghetto palm rising from a crack in the pavement. Even with the trashiness, it was still divided into two classes of people: those who lived in a trailer park, and those who lived in a mobile home community, although the mobile-homers were a small but obstreperous minority.

I had just returned from Cañon City, where I served just under two years for prostitution at one of its plethora of minimum-security prisons. My ex-wife, Jen, found the trailer for me so I would be close to the house we had bought together, fixed up together. It’s nice to have a support network on the outside, even when the preeminent member of that network tells you, on the last visit she makes to you in the joint, that she hopes you get butt-fucked in the shower. For the record, it was not that kind of prison.

Jen hated me but was joyful at my return to society, not out of any sense of solidarity or justice but because it was almost May and Connal would soon be out of school for the summer. She needed me to watch the children. I would be saving her more than $2,000 a month and still paying child support. I can’t describe the feeling of being with my children again, Connal and Elle, so I won’t. Jen had not wanted them to see me in prison. They were different children. I cried a lot. We had great days. We played in the yard, we read books, I pedaled them around in my three-wheeled people-hauler. We rode to the park, to the river, to the Children’s Museum on its free days.

I hadn’t wanted to plead guilty, but my frazzled public defender convinced me that “I never got my dick wet” would not be a good defense.

“How about ‘No incarceration without penetration?’”

“Take the deal, dummy.”

Shady Grove was located on a food-desert island hemmed in by Alameda, which runs east-west, and Morrison Road, which runs southwest diagonally through Westwood so that commuters can get out of West Denver faster. For years there has been talk of renaming Morrison Road to Cesar Chavez Boulevard, but it’s not a good idea. Another hit-and-run today on Cesar Chavez Boulevard. This morning there was a shooting at a nightclub on Cesar Chavez Boulevard. Morrison Road is a municipal black hole in which neither businesses nor traffic laws can operate. The mobile home community had once been a derelict parking lot, with weeds sprouting up through the cracks, bathroomless people crawling under the fence to take dumps, feral cats using the space to hold their gut-wracking gangbangs. Until Stig Ostergaard bought it for taxes and crammed forty used trailers on it. I had a prime location on top of two handicap spots, lived in a nice singlewide with two bedrooms and a bath. The brown paint was flaking, but it was still one of the best-kept trailers on the lot. Its wheels were hidden by faux-stone siding, indicating that the previous occupant had been a mobile-homer. The trailers were laid out in a backward-F shape. My trailer was in the middle of the vertical line. A good location with a view of the dung-covered birdbath in the middle of the parking lot.

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About Alan Good


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I am an independent writer, which is code for someone who can't get an agent. But you know what? Agents are annoying. All they want is a bunch of YA and sexually confused zombies. My work has been published in Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Bookslut, Atticus Review, Perversion Mag, The East Bay Review,...read more The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Word Riot.
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