Walk Down Misery Street

“Sir, you still have a positive result for cocaine.”

“C’mon, doc! Really? No way . . . “

In short, a stream of grief merged with a stream of lies.

I already knew I shouldn’t believe what I was hearing. Ears are unreliable instruments for ascertaining honesty. The tongue is also a very doubtful means. Words mean nothing and aren’t worth a penny.

I can only believe what I see with my own eyes. The test stick tells the truth. To me, a red line means that trust is lost. This man has no future. The only road for him leads to prison.

If the red line doesn’t appear, the man is clean. His conscience is clean. His eyes are clear. I can trust him. Today.

But what about tomorrow?

In my new vision, the thin red line separates the world into two: the clean and the dirty, the positive and the negative, those who have a future and those who do not.




Adam was a thin, tall, Jewish man with a thick head of graying hair, combed back. He often smiled, but his smile had a tone of “Jewish sadness.”

Every morning he brought a hot-off-the-press New York Times and Wall Street Journal. His reading interests were wide: U.S. foreign and domestic policy, local events, and sports.

His grandfathers and grandmothers, a hundred years ago, immigrated to the States from the Jewish shtetls of Poland and Hungary and brought up their children in the traditions of pre-war Eastern European Jews. Adam’s parents preserved many of the traditions of their ancestors and placed their only son in a yeshiva. Adam graduated from the yeshiva, but did not become religious; he attended synagogue only on major Jewish holidays.

Adam was a Vietnam War veteran. Here is the story of how he found himself serving in the U. S. Army.