The gates close behind me. I inhale deeply. The airs not fresh, but it’s fresher than inside. There’s no-one here to greet me. Expected as much.

A year with nothing to do means I’m a lot trimmer than I used to be. Exercise in the yard, no junk food to speak of. I could really do with a beer, but I’ve got this crazy idea that if I start drinking, I’m not going to stop. And that would be bad.

No, the first thing I have to do is see a doctor. The prison Doc is little more than a glorified butcher with a darning needle. He deals with stabbings, busted teeth, the occasional heavy bruising. I’ve been coughing brown phlegm every morning for months now. And it’s getting redder. Not that they’d care inside, of course. Inside, I’m just a guy who works for 40 cents an hour. That’s all they care about.

I got used to being patient inside. So sitting for two hours in the waiting room, means nothing to me.

He’s got my results. It’s bad news, he says.

Lung cancer? I don’t even smoke.

Time to get that beer, I guess.

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