فصل 11

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فصل 11

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  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

Megan

Her eyes held mine for a second and I thought, “no wedding ring on her finger.”

It was Friday afternoon. I knew Mordecai could get me out on bail, but some very bad things could happen to a good - looking white boy in prison over the weekend.

In the police car to Central, I tried to think about all the great people who had spent some time in prison - like Martin Luther King. But then I thought of my parents. Their son in prison would be the end of their world. My friends already thought I had ruined my life. I didn’t know what Claire would think, especially as she had a new man now.

At Central, Gasko led me like a lost dog. They took everything I had in my pockets and I signed for it. Then my photograph and fingerprints were taken. There were police everywhere but only one other white face - a man who was very drunk.

We were walking to the cells. I was scared. “Can I get bail?” I asked.

“I think your lawyer’s working on it,” Gasko said.

The cell door closed behind me. There were five other prisoners in the cell with me, all black, all much younger than me. I sat on the floor.

In the cell opposite, I could see the drunk white guy and hear him shouting. Two large black men had him in a corner of the cell. They were hitting his head. Minutes passed. One of the young guys in my cell walked over to me. This was the end.

“Nice jacket,” he said, touching my jacket with his foot as I sat on the floor.

“Thanks,” I said, trying to sound like I meant it.

He was eighteen or nineteen. Thin. Probably a gang member who had spent his life on the streets. “I could use a jacket like that,” he said, giving me a kick with his foot.

“You shouldn’t be a low-life street gang member then,” I thought.

“Would you like to borrow the jacket?” I asked. I wasn’t going to fight back. If I did, the other four would help the first one.

“What did you say?”

“I said, Would you like to borrow…”

The kick caught me in the head and I shouted from the shock.

“My friend said he could use a jacket like that,” said one of the other four. “A gift would be nice.”

I quickly took off my jacket and held it toward the young gang member who had kicked me.

“Is this a gift?” he said, taking it.

“It’s whatever you want it to be.”

He kicked me again, hard in the head.

“Is this a gift?”

“Yes.”

“Thanks, man.”

I sat in a ball on the floor. My face hurt. The floor was getting cold. What would happen when I needed the toilet?

“Nice shoes,” said a voice above me. I gave them to him.

Mordecai got me out on bail at 7 P.M. My bail was ten thousand dollars.


My friends at Drake and Sweeney had told the newspapers about my stay in prison.

Lawyer out on bail. Was it theft ?

I read, the next day. They took a photo of me when I first joined Drake and Sweeney and that was there too. They were trying to ruin my life. I wondered which client was paying for all the hours Rafter and Arthur Jacobs were spending on me. A client was definitely paying. A client paid for every hour of every lawyer’s time. RiverOaks, probably.

I went in to work at 14th Street. Ruby was asleep in front of the door.

“Why are you sleeping here?” I asked. She didn’t answer. She was hungry. I unlocked the door, made coffee, and went to find the cookies.

The phone rang. It was Megan. Ruby had left Naomi’s.

“Are you taking drugs again?” I asked Ruby.

She didn’t look at me.

“No,” she said.

“Yes, you are. Don’t lie to me, Ruby. I’m your friend and your lawyer and I’ll help you see Terence. But I can’t help if you lie to me. Now will you go back to Naomi’s?”

“Yes.”

“Good. I’ll take you.”

“OK.” She took another cookie, her fourth.

On the way back to Naomi’s, she said, “You were in prison.”

“How did you know?”

“You hear stuff on the street.”

When we arrived, Megan took Ruby into the women’s group and then asked me to stay for coffee. She threw a Washington Post to me. “Bad night, huh?” she said with a smile.

There was my photo again.

“It wasn’t too bad.”

“What’s this?” she asked, pointing at my face.

“A guy in my cell wanted my shoes. He took them.”

She looked at my shoes. Old Nikes.

“Those?”

“Yes. Good shoes, aren’t they?”

“How long were you in there?”

“A couple of hours. Then I got my life together. I’m a new man now.”

She smiled again, a perfect smile. Her eyes held mine for a second and I thought, “No wedding ring on her finger.” She was tall and a little too thin. Her hair was dark red and short and well-cut. Her eyes were light brown, very big and round, and nice to look at. She was very attractive and I wondered why I hadn’t noticed it before.

I told her about me. She told me about herself. Her father was in the church in Maryland. He liked baseball and he loved Washington. As a teenager, Megan had decided to work with the poor. It was a job - but a job she liked.

I told her the story of Mister and how I had started working with the homeless. She was very interested and asked lots of questions. Then she asked me to come back later for lunch. If the sun was shining, we could eat outside. I liked that. I thought it was romantic. You can find love anywhere, even in a shelter for homeless women.

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