I was down on my luck, living on my own in deplorable conditions. My bedroom was a windowless concrete cell in a dark, dank building inhabited by transients and others on the margins of society.
To make matters worse, a nondescript woman had followed me back to my room. There was no romance involved — if anything, I had taken just enough pity on her to let her spend the night, but nothing more. I left the room to try and find some pajamas so as not to give the wrong impression.
Down the hallway, I came upon a similar room, one that apparently had been recently inhabited by one of my sons. It had the appearance of being hastily abandoned, as there was quite a bit of clothing left behind — most of it in poor shape. I found a pair of ski pants and a worn out t-shirt to complete my wardrobe for the night.
Lastly, I tried to find a bathroom. I came upon a vast cinder block room on the top floor of the building. There were porcelain fixtures that appeared to have once been toilets, plugged up with sand and ash, some of them utilized despite the fact that they were clearly not in working condition.
Three men came up the stairs and entered the room. I was more than a little alarmed.
“Who are you?” I demanded.
“I own this shit-hole,” one of them snarled.
“Where’s the bathroom?”
The man laughed and turned around, leading the other two men out of the room and back down the stairs.