The buzzer sounded loudly, and then a heavy metal door slammed behind them.
“I’ll take this paper to the guard, you find us a seat.” Ms. Netta said to Mills.
Mills looked over the crowded prison visiting room until she found three empty chairs in the corner. She quickly sat down.
“He should be down soon.” Ms. Netta said as she came over to sit next to Mills. “The guard just told me that we came just before count.”
A few minutes later, the door which the inmates used opened, and out stepped Truth. Mills laughed as she looked him over. It had been almost four years since she had seen him, but he looked the exact same aside from growing a goatee. Ms. Netta stood so that he could see where they were sitting. He nodded, and headed over to them.
Mills joined Ms. Netta in standing to greet him, and he hugged them both tight.
“Look at you two.” He smiled. “Looking like the sunset.”
Ms. Netta laughed. “The sunset?”
“Beautiful.” He said seriously.
Over the next three hours, Mills and Ms. Netta laughed at Truth’s prison war stories as he told them about all of his fights; his encounters with power-hungry correctional officers, and the times he had to wrap magazines around his stomach which were hidden under his jump suit to keep him safe from being stabbed to death in the yard.
“I’ve calmed down a lot now.” He said. “I had to set the tone when I first got here though.”
Truth had always been very tough, and very fearless. Ms. Netta had been his foster-mother too, but he was gone before Money came to live there. He and Mills hated each other when they first met, but after Mills learned why he was so angry, she opened up to him, and they became good friends.
Truth’s mother was a hustler, and she was locked up when he was a child. He lived with his aunt for a short while, but she gave him up because his behavior wasn’t worth the check the state was paying her to keep him. He had a real problem with authority, so he bounced around group homes most of his life until Ms. Netta found him. He stayed with her until he was 17. After that, he was in and out of jail.
“So what have you been doing, Mills?” He asked.
“Well, I just bought a house, and I’m about to start a tv show.” She smiled.
He smiled and nodded as if he expected nothing less. “That’s what’s up. I’m proud of you.”
“So, what about you, Truth?” Ms. Netta asked. “You’ll be coming home next year, do you have a plan yet?”
“I don’t know yet, Ms. Netta.”
He folded his arms as he sat back in the chair. He had the demeanor of a boss. It was clear to see that he in fact had set a tone in the jail because he was well-respected. Most of the inmates in the visiting room had either given him a head nod of acknowledgement, or they were watching him.
“I know I’m gonna flip this money though.”
He immediately looked over at Mills to see her reaction, and she rolled her eyes.
“Flip it?” Ms. Netta asked.
“Haven’t you had enough of this?” Mills asked.
She motioned her hand referring to all of the men in the room. So many lives were there behind the cage. Wives, children, and parents were all there with their loved ones.
“Of course, Mills.” He said as he looked at her seriously. “I meant flip it in some kinda legit business. You got ideas?”
“Of course.” She said as she glared at him.
Truth had received a settlement from a lawsuit while he had been locked up, so he was going to have a nice lump some of cash when he was released.
“We can talk business,” She continued.”but have you ever thought about boxing?”
“Naw not really.” He said scratching his chin.
“You should.” Ms. Netta encouraged. “You like fighting, and you’re good at it.”
“I’m not in favor of being kicked in the face.” He said still serious.
Mills cracked up laughing. Even when he wasn’t trying to be funny, he just was.
“Visiting hours will be over in 15 minutes.” The guard announced.
Mills looked over at Truth. “Think about it.” She said. “UFC is where they kick. Not boxing.”
“I will.” He said.
Mills and Ms. Netta stood to leave, so he stood up as well. He hugged Ms. Netta tight, and then he turned to Mills.
“You keep your head up, Mills.”
She stopped and looked at him. She wondered what made him say that. In most cases, the person leaving the jail would say that to the one they were leaving behind.
“I will.” She said. “You do that too.”