Poprocks is fortunate enough to use the fortuitousness of cosmic timing to his advantage. Since his graffiti artistry occurred entirely while he was seventeen years old, his eligibility for youthful offender status looks good. He turned eighteen days after having been arrested, an occurrence beyond irony and cause for his own personal contemplation and subsequent call to duty. Youthful offender status is granted upon affirmation of many conditions, one of which is the certainty that all offenses occurred while the individual was younger than eighteen. And that fortune may well be his wooden cross to bear. Having experienced the psychological scare tactics in the police’s questioning room after he turned himself in, Poprocks could not bear witness to other graffiti artists. Primarily his outright lack of knowledge as to the others’ identity prevented him from revealing more than he knew. The police were most interested to know who the perpetrators of the defacement of the Mystic Academy building were. Anyone visiting the town-owned building recently is confronted with your more typical adolescent writings on the wall, of local romanticisms and rival town exchanges. Nothing new really, except the scale and all over saturation of the spray paint due to the building’s current limbo status. When the Board of education voted to close Mystic Academy at the end of the 1993 school year, the Town of Groton repossessed the building and its surrounding estate, and is presently trying to figure out its best use for the community.
And here we come full circle. Poprocks’ case moves into its final stages, as he awaits verdict in his application for youthful offender status. He seemingly meets all of the conditions for approval- he has no previous criminal or drug record of any kind. He will plead guilty to all charges against him in a trial without media publicity, and no matter what, he will not go to jail. As long as he is trouble-free until he is twenty-one, his future will not be shadowed by a criminal record. What he will justifiably get from the court system fulfills the monetary implications of his artwork, which includes his own role in community service. A role he has already impressively carved out for himself.
Photograph by Michelle Gemma
Coogan Farm, Mystic, Connecticut, USA