Mrs. Florene cooked George’s favorite meal last night. Pot roast with potatoes and carrots, Southern style sticky rice and gravy, green beans, and biscuits. She also cooked a chocolate pie which is also one of George’s favorite desserts.
“You would think you were on death row and it was your last meal,” I told him laughing as I ate a piece of pie myself.
Mrs. Florene smiled so proudly as she cleaned up the kitchen after supper and George and I talked as we sat at the table drinking glasses of delightfully sweet tea.
“It is hard to describe,” George said. “This prison thing. I thought I would go crazy every day with nothing to do. I’ve been to county jail before, but state prison was a whole ‘nother world.”
“You wrote to me a lot about prison gangs,” I replied. “Was it that bad?”
“It was terrible,” George said. “They censored my letters to you so I couldn’t write the truth, but gangs were rampant. If you weren’t in a gang then you were ostracized by the prison community. You always had to watch out for shanks – toothbrushes filed to a sharp point used as weapons.”
I could only imagine what George had been through. It must have been terrible, and by what he was revealing to me, it was.
“Tell me about my job," George then asked excitedly changing the subject to more positive things.
“I worked it for two months,” I replied. “You will be gathering and bringing in all the carts every early morning till the afternoon. It is a simple job, but satisfying. At least, it was for me.”
George thanked me for getting him the job. It was one of the prime deciding factors to him getting parole.
After dessert, George and I walked outside like old times so he could smoke. Only now, I no longer smoke which surprised George.
“Cigarettes were worth their weight in gold in prison,” George told me wistfully as he drew on his Swisher’s Sweet. “Certain guards would smuggle them in and they made a mint off them. Guards would smuggle in drugs as well.”
George said cigarettes were like a currency in prison and could buy you great favor. They were illegal and highly coveted.
As I was leaving, I gave George a big hug and he didn’t act funny about it. George can be kind of homophobic.
“So glad to have you home, man,” I said as we clasped hands and shook.
George chomped on his cigar with a vigorous grin.
“Now, it is time for some pussy. Just don’t tell momma.”
I burst out laughing. I was still smiling as I got in the car and drove off. Prison might have been hard, but George was still George. Some things will just never change.