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The faces of the dope fiends were bathed in a warm light given off by the hibachi grill.

They were cooking barbeque on the front porch of the rotten house located directly across Verona Street from the tidy home of Ken Burman. Across the way is Pulaski Elementary School.

The junkies were cooking sausages by the smell of it.

The abandoned house has become a magnet for suburban drug addicts, a sort of low-level gentrification. All the amenities they need are within walking distance. A gas station to buy hot dogs and copious drug houses to score cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.

The ghost house across from the elementary school actually belongs to the Detroit Land Bank Authority, which answers to City Hall, naturally.

The neighbors like Ken and Frank and Al have been complaining about the eyesore for years. Now it has become a public safety nightmare. The school staff are afraid. The parents are incensed. The junkies nod out in the garage, sometimes.

“The city owns this and they need to do something,” wheezed Ken, who totes around a canister of oxygen. “But the city only takes care of its friends, and not the people.”

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