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Stucco Apocalypse: The Short Goodbye

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Ken Layne is serializing his new book thing right here on LAist. He's also the West Coast editor of Wonkette.

It’s a basic 1950s low-end ranch house of the sort you might have paid $659,000 to buy in Culver City last year — before the SoCal real-estate collapse was visible to the untrained eye. Although the people are gone and the windows are mostly broken out and boarded up, there are signs of a normal middle-class life within: a big refrigerator, the yellowed television listings from the newspaper, the skeleton of a La-z-boy recliner. Outside, the thin stucco is cracked and shedding to the point where you can see cotton-candy fiberglass insulation poking through.

This house is not a lone eyesore awaiting foreclosure or auction sale. The dumps on either side are just as rotten. The fencing between them has blown over or collapsed. Thin, sunbaked remnants of curtains flap against the glassless window frame of one house while what’s left of a screen door bangs from another ruin across the street … and the Southern California suburban street itself is reverting to desert, the pavement cracked and eroded and already outflanked by potholes that could swallow a Prius.