A Slideshow of Pictures Taken in Cleveland, Ohio, just after the Height of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis by Mike Wendling

This one, you can see what happens when they don’t board up the windows. Up there. The kids get a free shot. That piece of paper right there in the corner, pasted to the mailbox – that’s the actual foreclosure notice.[private]

Big, huh? Nice shade of green. You put that house in Shaker, in Lakewood, 200k, easy. One-fifty at least. The saddest thing here I think is that makeshift railing on the porch right there. You can tell that at some point, not too long ago, somebody cared. They didn’t just leave the porch to rot, they tried to fix it. It was going to be temporary, just a stopgap, until they got a bit of money, to fix it for good.

Yeah, that is a bit hard to make out but you can see across the park there, those four houses in a row, all boarded up.

I don’t know what that’s doing in there.

Right there, check it out, the graffiti on the side. A gun, shooting bullets that look bigger than the gun itself. No sign of a hand gripping the gun, etcetera. Below, the word – Dacon, Darcon? Somebody’s tag probably.

No, that’s over on the west side. A pretty nice neighbourhood, if you can believe it. There’s a new coffee shop behind me. It had just started to snow.

This one I don’t think is recent. That had to be a ruin long ago. I thought, maybe I’ll get out of the car, check out that basement, you can see right in – see there? See? But no, I thought, not a good idea to get out of the car right now.

Sorry, this one’s a bit blurry but you can get the drift. That guy in the right-hand corner there is the first person I saw since crossing East 55th. And here I’m somewhere in the 80s. It was Sunday morning, but not that early, I mean come on. Right before I took this one I asked him, I said, I want to get over to Shaker Avenue, which way? He just laughed and pointed, like I had asked him where was Timbuktu or China or something. I said thanks, drove off.

Oh no. That one’s just too sad.

There’s somebody still living in that one. You can see the condensation on the window, right there. Can you imagine? What’s that? I don’t know who they are, what they’re doing there. No, I don’t know. They’re getting by, somehow.[/private]

Mike Wendling is a writer, journalist and radio producer. He’s a past winner of the London Writers Award and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel, and the London Short Fiction awards. Originally from the midwest of the U.S.A., he lives in London. In addition to the day job, he’s currently working on his first novel, while also editing the new audio magazine 4’ 33’’.

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