Large black letters spray painted onto the garage door read “KEEP OUT”. The grass is neatly trimmed, the landscaping barren. The house number is painted over to render it illegible. I park on the street out of habitual reverence, although I suspect the garage is and will remain empty. I secretly pray that the house is as abandoned as it appears.
A large dog barks as I approach the porch. I brace myself before I hear “Rover, Shaddap,” and the door opens. A tall, lank man with a week’s worth of stubble appears holding a large black dog by the collar. He has me wait in the living room while he crates the dog. The room is large and sparsely furnished with a china cabinet and a small writing desk. The man returns and conversation begins. After a minute, he pulls out a wheelchair for me to sit in. As an afterthought, he lifts the footrests so my feet can rest on the floor. I wonder where this wheelchair came from, if the man himself needs it at times. I think back to a former client, frail and wheelchair bound. I hardly recognized him after he was released; when properly medicated he was robust and healthy. That man had been declared “not guilty” by the court. I wish my job here were as straightforward.