Walk Down Misery Street

“Yes, weed, too.”

“Did you drink?”


“What kind of medical problems do you have?”

“Hypertension, I guess.”


“Eleventh grade.”

“Any relatives?”

“An ex-wife and daughter. We haven’t talked in years.”

“What were you convicted of?”


“And drug possession?”

“Yes, and drug possession.”



Move quickly, at a gallop—question, answer, x-marks, check marks in empty boxes. No time to look into their eyes.

It often seemed to me at such times that this was not me, but someone else who looked like me, sitting in that office behind the desk and posing question after question to ever-changing faces before him.

The process invaded my dreams. Each night I saw a medley of moving gray figures pacing the clinic halls, mumbling. Suddenly, my voice thundered through the indistinct whispers: “Let’s go to take your urine, sir!” These were my first dreams in English.