Early morning at the Aliens Office, they give me Ticket No. 572 and tell me to sit down and wait. It’s a windowless hall already packed with people slumped on the benches, filling out forms and muttering in their alien tongues. Three officials in cages at the front call out numbers and deal with the cases in turn as they shuffle forward. Then they all pull down their blinds and go to lunch. The afternoon drags on. They get to me near closing time and lead me into a room at the back where my file lies open on a conference table. Instead of returning my passport, they issue me a chit and order me to come back in two months. In the meantime, I’m to report every week to my local police station.
on a hook
by the gas fire