TURN COAT

(1995/ revised 2001)

A man faces terminating his aging mother's life support. He buys a new coat to wear to her funeral. The coat becomes a surrogate comforting mother until it is "tagged" one night by a young gang member with indecipherable graffiti which appears to infect the coat. He finds drug paraphernalia in its pockets and the coat seems to take on a life of its own. In a hallucinatory showdown he confronts young gang members who have taken over the expanded lining of the coat. Issues of urban territorially and personal security are explored in this symbolic tale.

The genesis of this story goes back to my time as a late night cab driver in San Francisco. I would watch the graffiti come and go - from the hip hop puffy lettering to indecipherable "tagging." There was one peculiar bit of graffiti though. In all areas of the city, in poorly scrawled lettering that suggested a novice, was the name "Tom Mosh." I saw his name everywhere, from the downtown financial district to Golden Gate Park to the docks of Fisherman's Wharf. In pondering this name and doing anagrams with it, I came up with the central drama of the story. Another friend at the time had recently dealt with his mother's death and having taken the responsibility to remove her life support. So these elements converged to form "Turn Coat" - initially intended to be a film.

Tom_Mosh_graffiti

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