And of course, it was a significant event in his life—the “cuckoo doctor” coming to visit. Doctor Adam himself! After all, even his own mother, father, friends, or girlfriends (although he did not have this last) did not visit him. Only shelter security came to check on him, along with exterminators and court-appointed social workers overseeing his treatment.

In his room there was a strong odor of chlorine, unwashed clothes, and weed. There was an old computer on the table. All the walls were decorated with posters containing images of scar-faced gangsters holding guns and knives.

Completely out of place with this gallery of violence was a small picture of some holy Catholic figure in the far corner.

“Yeah man, it’s a tad creepy in here.”

All of a sudden a huge roach ran out from under the floor rag and raced towards the heater. I attempted to squish it with my foot, but he slipped out from my shoes. I chased him ready to strike until he disappeared in the crack beneath the floor baseboard which had come unglued.

My roach hunt greatly amused Francis; he even burst out laughing. So much fun—the “cuckoo doctor” chasing cockroaches around the shelter!

“The rascal got away,” I complained.

“Roaches are the least of my worries. Let them run around; they don’t cause any harm. As long as it’s not bed bugs. I remember when I lived in another shelter once with my mom and sister. Now that was a real fucking nightmare! Every morning we woke up in bloody blisters from bedbug bites, and no ointment creams helped. We took off all our clothes and slept naked on rubber mats. No matter how much my mom yelled, demanding to have them exterminated, nothing happened. In another shelter there were fucking mice. We sprinkled poison around the whole room and then found dead mice everywhere, even in the oven.”

“That’s why you dislike your mother so much?”