When she was 11, Marzena’s 35-year-old father died of cancer. Four years later, her mother, at age 37, also died of cancer. Relatives decided that 15-year-old Marzena would leave Poland to live with her father’s sister in the United States.
Imagine you’re inside a bar in San Diego. Let’s say it’s in the attic of a shoe-repair shop in a part of town where you don’t want to walk around at night. You can get the password only by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to a post-office box.
I half-expected to see bomb payloads raining down on the
mundane suburban street. But it wasn’t a large-scale war that had come
to Clairemont that afternoon; it was one unemployed tweaker’s war
against his own nightmarish web of powerlessness, and I’d just missed