Another alleycat pissed our bloc

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Lilithniahm

Senior Member
italiano
Hello.
From Marc Laidlaw's short story 400 Boys:

There is fresh paint on the walls that still stand, dripping red-black like it might never dry. The stench of fresh death blows from center city. Another alleycat pissed our bloc.

As far as I know at this point of the story, we are in a post-apocalyptic city which has been devastated by giant beings, but it is still unclear who they are. The story is centered around a team/gang of 12 people who have survived the attacks. They are now exploring the destroyed city and describing what they see. The bloc is their zone, their part of the city. And then there is this reference to an alleycat which has not been mentioned before. The story goes on with more descriptions of the city, and the alleycat that pissed their bloc doesn't appear anymore.

I understand that the underlined sentence is not to be read literally, but I can't grasp its meaning. Maybe, an "alleycat" is another word for "gang member" that has deserted the zone, but it seems out of context to me. Also because it's ANOTHER alleycat, implying that there have been more of them. But again, it's never mentioned. Also, the story emphazises the loyalty to the gang; a disertion appears unlikely.
How would you explain the sentence?
Thank you.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    My best guess is that by "alleycat" the narrator means "despicable person", and the idea is "another despicable person despoiled our part of the ciry".
     

    Szkot

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Seeing the mention of fresh paint, I read it as meaning that another gang had 'marked' their territory by painting on their walls. (I don't know if cats actually urinate to mark their territory but some animals do.)

    Is there any other indication of where the paint came from?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Seeing the mention of fresh paint, I read it as meaning that another gang had 'marked' their territory by painting on their walls. (I don't know if cats actually urinate to mark their territory but some animals do.)

    Is there any other indication of where the paint came from?
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    That was my first thought too. Nothing else seems to make sense in this context.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Reading the story up to that point, my guess is that it's a reference to blood, which often takes a long time to dry and and is often described as red-black when partly dried.

    This scene takes place shortly after an attack, by whatever creatures/aliens these are, in which entire buildings were smashed and lots of people died. The group have left their secret hideout, which was destroyed in the attack (although they all lived) and they are observing the aftermath.

    I don't have a clear idea of the meaning of the alleycat reference. There is a lot of unexplained vocabulary in the story, including invented words.

    400 Boys - Marc Laidlaw

    Note: There is a movie of the same name but it appears to have a completely different plot.
     
    Last edited:

    Lilithniahm

    Senior Member
    italiano
    Seeing the mention of fresh paint, I read it as meaning that another gang had 'marked' their territory by painting on their walls. (I don't know if cats actually urinate to mark their territory but some animals do.)

    Is there any other indication of where the paint came from?
    No reference to paint whatsoever, but your guess makes sense.
    Thanks everybody.
     
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