I am sitting on a stool outside the bar where I work reading a novel, and moments ago a young man on a bicycle appeared at my feet saying he had “fucked up big time” because he had taken a hit of a joint and was meeting with his parole officer in the morning. Then he asked me for my urine, apologizing every few words. I told him, sorry dude, I’m on the clock—and also, uhhh, my stuff ain’t clean neither, if you know what I mean.

“Fuck. OK. Man, sorry. Fuck.”

He shot down the sidewalk and swerved back onto San Pablo towards West Oakland.

I thought, hell, best of luck to you, man.