Time rolls. I don't know who the fuck said that first, but it does; it rolls on. There's that moment, every cycle, of the disoriented-and-nose-burning that happens when you try to turn a somersault underwater; a few minutes here, a few minutes there, and then BAM you're out of the chair trying not to look like a nervous asshole, sniffling to clear the hot prickles of shock and anger from your nasal sinus cavities.

reset.

All I ever wanted to be, man, all I ever wanted to be.

What?

First, vato. First. Numero uno. The one in front. Head of the queue.

What happened?

The same shit that always rolls around with that time shit. I end up standing in a puddle of my own bullshit wondering why nobody will come near.

Go back to being first.

Shit. Okay. First, as in not the best, but the default, right? Mira, the one that she sees when she opens her eyes, even if I'm not there with her.

...

Ah, fuck it, homes. You can't know.

Why?

Cuz you ain't got no ties, man! No links. No chains of flesh and bone. You got family here? No, of course not. You some stranger comes in here on a day job, right? You don't got no ties at all. We got 'em, though, baby. We all got 'em in here. Him, me, her, her, her, him...well, that, whatever it is, yo, and him...we got bindings on our po' li'l depraved cabooses.

Do you mean 'deprived?'

Shit, see, there you go,assuming I don't know what the fuck I'm saying. Did I say 'dee-prived?' Shit no.

I'm sorry. Why do you say you're depraved?

Yo, at what point does this whole thing flip back, man?

I'm sorry, I don't understand.

Like, you supposed to be here to help me, right, man? What point we stop talking about shit you wanna talk 'bout, start talking the other way like you talks to me about how to help my ass?

That's what we're doing now.

Bull-shit, mang. You know thas' the first thing you said to me that didn't end in like a question mark? How is that helping me? I mean, shit, I know you going to write a paper, some shit, I be in it just like your little what's her name, man...

Whose name?

If I knew that I'd know it, right man? Hang on...her name, that doc had it all over her and she dies, right, but she makes him famous?

Richard Kimble?

Aw, fuck you, man. I can' believe we having this conversation. I'm trying to talk with you about shit that you do, right, shit that you should know 'cuz you ed-u-ca-ted and all that, and you be goin' on like I don't even know my own ass from a movie or TV show. Shit. Fuck this.

No, no, I'm sorry. I didn't mean-

Yeah, you motherfuckers never do, right? Oh wait. I got it. Dora.

...Dora...?

Christ, man. Which of us fuckers went to school, homes? DO-RA. You know, famous patient and shit. Ess something.

Freud?

YES, Freud, man, shit I thought you wasn't gonna get it.

I did, though; you didn't.

Ha! Hah. Yeah, that's right, Doc. But check this.

What?

I knew that shit all along. I just wanted to know how you was gonna treat me, and you gave me yoour answer, si? Yeah. Like Dora, baby, I wanna be first. first first first. When I gets outta here, i wanna go home, see, and I wanna be there with her and bound to her. I want her ties to me to come first, man, like I'm alpha in her blood. You prolly never had a woman you felt like that about, man, you so stuck up and shit, I guess that makes two whole concepts I just done talk about you can't even get your Harvard head around. Oh sorry, man, you went to Yale, right? I see that blue and yellow shit on your binder.

Blue and Gold.

Hah. yeah. Right. Gold. You get a gold star from teacher for sayin' you'd come in here and talk to the po' Spics 'bout our problems? You got guilt cuz you think maybe its your family, yo daddy and shit, yo whole fuckin' school, maybe, that represents the kind of shit the brown man has ridin' down on his back? Fuck, you's aaaaallllll the way up there in Connecticut, yo, and we here in East L.A., and behind more bars than I ever seen, and even now...even now, some motherfucker trying to sneak north into this Great Country, right? But he don't know he's just shit, and though he can feel that weight settling on his shoulders he think it's just John Law, but no, man, it's the weight of all you fat asses sitting on John Law's shoulders. You prolly think this stupid, man, but I don't mind cops. I feel bad for cops. Really. You know why? Because no matter how bad they got it havin' to deal with shit like me, the reason they gotta deal with shit like me is cuz a' shit like you. Sittin' up there, you don' like the smell or some shit, and you send li'l boy John to clean it up. Well, John gots to spend his time down here with us, bro. What makes you think he gonna listen to you?

Look, you're...you're getting quite upset. I think we should resume this...

Oh fuck, no, Doc, you just thinks you should get yo ass outta here pronto and worry about me and my shit later when you safely in some nice restaurant, right? Right. Well, I gots some news for you, white boy. Yale ain't here. YOU here, and I here, and we gonna chat about all that shit. Oh yeah, I see your arm move, man, you push the silent button, right? Okay. Okay. Let's wait. Let's see what happens. You gonna have yo dogs throw my ass back in the can? Okay. Fine. It's yo' world, Deuce.

if you'd just calm down...

...what? See, I waited, 'cuz I knew you wasn't gonna have nothing to say at the end of that. It ain't like there's 'better thing' or 'better deal' we could have if I was calm, right? You just sayin' that shit to get yo' own scared ass outta here, but you fuck up, right? See, I'm between you an' the door, homes. Didn't they tell you, yo, never let the con-vict in between you and the door? See, i bet they did, right before you come in here, but you thought you all that, they like some L.A. freakouts and you the Yale Doc, right? heh...oh, hi, Officer Krupke.

(Laugh) Come on, Ricky, you know that ain't my name.

Heh. Yeah, but Slick over there don't. Look at him, man, his mouth open about to call you that, 'cuz again, he think I'm too stupid to try some shit like a cul-tu-ral REFrence, yo. Shit, man, you pathetic for a white boy. Din't you never see West Side Story? You should, man, it's all about people like me living under people like you.

Okay, that's enough. C'mon, Rick, let's go on home. That's right, stand up, nice and easy.

Thank you officer; I'm sorry I had to call but the inmate was getting...

Shut up, Doc. This inmate (keep walking, Ricky) is just going back to his cell. What was he getting? He was getting the better of you, that's what he was getting. See, what d'you think they do in here? You think they just pump iron and hump each other's heinies? You probably do, don't you. Okay, Jensen, here he is, take him back. Rick, you okay?

Yeah, man. Thanks fo' rescuing me from this guy, homes.

Not a problem. See you later. C'mon, Doc, let's walk you out.

So fine, if you're all so knowledgeable and contemptuous about me and what I do, tell me. What *do* they do in here?

(Laugh.) You ever read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Doc? there's a line 'bout what the kids used to do before television...no? You didn't? Man, Ricky was right about you...well, the line goes 'they...used...to...read.' See, how much shit did you actually read at school? Did you go there to learn or be a doc? See, Ricky (all right, Enrico Cruz), he can't be a doc. Only reason he got to read is 'cause he wants to learn, which puts him ahead of you, I think.

I don't have to take this kind of shit. Look, I'm just trying to do my job, right, and I don't need you siding with some over-read loser convict to make me feel like an asshole. I just don't have to take that. Excuse me if mister Wetback over there reads a lot; I'm glad he's got the time on my tax dollars...

(Hard laugh) HEY! RICKY!

(faint, down the corridors)whassup man?

WHERE'D YOU GO TO SCHOOL?

(faint)Harvard Class of 98, motherfucker! wigglesworth and all, yo!

...

Well, here's your door, doc.

So he can claim whatever he wants, what does it matter?

(continuous laughter)You just don't get it, do you, Doc? you're like the fifth one. See, he doesn't have to lie. Yeah, he's a 'wetback' like his Dad was, right? His dad used to pick grapes and shit and get kicked around, but he didn't go home to Mexico, nope. He saved his money, and eventually, when his son was seventeen and miraculously hadn't fired a gun or taken anything that wasn't his, he put that son on the dog up north, man, and let me tell you, I watched him cry when his son didn't come back on the return bus. Proud, man, proud, he was.

You're totally fucking losing me here.

I know. It's okay, doc. See, his dad never was more than a grape picker. He works downstairs in the loading dock now, which is better, he says, 'cuz he can be with his son, sort of.

Oh, wonderful, I hope they're just happy as clams together in convict heaven.

(laugh)Oh, they are. See, his boy's getting out of here in maybe a year. Even people like you can't make 'Protesting While Brown' carry more than maybe one or two, with no 'extenuatings.'

I'm getting in the car now.(SLAM)You and he have fun in fantasyland down here, Sergeant.

We will. See, you still don't get it.

GET WHAT?

He did go to Harvard. For a master's, as well as undergrad. He's tutoring half my guys in here to get GEDs or college credit. Even the other cons leave him alone, 'cuz he made it out, and he works with them, too, to pull their asses out of the hole you people made for them. And you know what? I read your file.

So fucking what? Then you know i went to Yale, I wasn't lying about that.

Oh, no, I didn't think you were. See, it's just that his GPA is perhaps a full point and a half over your best. Have a nice day, Doc; careful with that bimmer at stoplights round these parts. My advice, don't get out of the car, even if they mess with your bodywork, okay?

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