This book contains strong sexual themes and content not suitable for persons under the age of 18. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or ac- tual events is purely coincidental.
Text copyright © 2016 by S. Diggs
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
ISBN 10: 1-945491-04-3 (Mobi eBook)
ISBN 13: 978-1-945491-04-7 (Mobi eBook)
ISBN 10: 1-945491-05-1 (ePub eBook)
ISBN 13: 978-1-945491-05-4 (ePub eBook)
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Published by 2 Tigers, LLC, USA Cover design by 2 Tigers, LLC
“Maurice… Is that you?”
He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. He stared down at the woman in front of him whom he noticed was wearing heavy makeup, most noticeable under her eyes. He smiled as he drunk her image in.
“Well, you call the name of the devil enough and he shall appear…”
1 year earlier…
“Shaw, pack your stuff. Your bus leaves in two hours,” bellowed the corrections officer outside the dormitory door. Maurice turned around and smiled. “Salazar I know you ain’t worried about me missing this bus. I will climb the fence to leave this muthafucka.”
“Well you better get the rocks out your ass and get to moving boy!”
Maurice cringed inside at being called a boy. He was 20 years old and was leaving prison after 5 years. He thought about all he’d missed on the outside and how he was gonna make up for lost time. “Sir I already packed last night while these dudes were sleeping,” he started while gesturing toward the empty bunks in the dormitory. “And check out is near complete. I have my exit physical and I am done. My appointment is in half an hour.”
Sergeant Salazar was impressed with the young man. Maurice Shaw was if nothing else thorough. He had been working the state prison system over 20 years and he rarely ran into an inmate that was so universally respected and loved by the inmate populace and administration alike. But he was definitely the most distant as well. There was a glimmer of light that was always missing from his gaze. Some guys had a shade of darkness in theirs. Maurice’s had neither. His gaze was a piercing one, one that exposed all your weaknesses while his showed he had none.
“Well let’s go man.”
After the physical, Maurice was escorted to the admin offices to claim any property and turn in all prison issued items. He was still shocked that the nurse measured him at 6’3″ and 235 pounds. He looked at the paperwork before him and realized he checked in at C.Y.C. almost a hundred pounds lighter and 8 inches shorter. He chuckled and filled in the proper spaces.
As he made his way through “Heaven’s Walkway” as the inmates called the exit corridor, Desoto Pop, the elder of the prison made his way to the gate. “Reese… Reese… Reese,” he called out as Maurice turned and saw him. He had looked out for Maurice while he was there. “Remember what I told you about being a repeat offender. Don’t nobody come back here unless they want to. Take ya second chance and make good on it.”
“Most definitely man. I will drop you a line when I get settled.”
Desoto Pop nodded as he watched his young friend finished his walk down Heaven’s Walkway and get on the bus. He would wait on that letter. He looked forward to it. But the only day he looked forward to even more would be the day he realized Maurice wasn’t writing back. It would signal that change and redemption would have taken place.
As Maurice rode the bus back to civilization, he thought about the letter he had received from his mother about 8 months earlier.
How are you these days? I know I should have wrote you sooner but I have always been thinking about you. I was just telling Pastor Moore about you and how I looked forward to seeing you again. Leon is grown up and playing basketball at the high school and is getting votes for Mr. Basketball across the state. I was wondering if you would add me and Leon to your visitation list. He missed his brother and I miss my son. Plus I don’t know how to keep telling people at the church especially that my own son doesn’t want to see me. I think about you smile a lot and I miss your laugh. If you write me back please send me some information to send money. I love you my son…
The letter was almost sincere he thought as he had memorized every word and laughed to keep from crying or letting his rage consume him. That one letter almost made him lose all his good behavior time. The only relevant part of the letter was that his brother was doing well. His mother, Leona Maxwell, could walk off the tip of the earth and he wouldn’t blink. He thought about the last time they saw each other.
4 years earlier
Maurice had walked into the courtroom and took a seat in the defendant’s box. His lawyer had the corrections officer walk him over to the defense table. They greeted each other.
“Morning Maurice, how is it in there?” He asked him that every morning they met.
“Just ready to get this over with Mr. Levy.”
The judge banged his gavel as he called the courtroom to order. “Mrs. Rothman I believe you stated that some agreement was already in place regarding the defendant?” The state attorney spoke first.
“Your Honor, we have spoken to the defense and we have agreed upon a sentence of 4-7 years for attempted murder in the second degree as well as possession of a firearm and battery with the intention to maim.”
“Defense you have any rebuttal?”
Levy gave Maurice a look that asked for reassurance. “Man that’s better than the 20 they was talking before,” he replied to Levy’s stare.
“No Your Honor we have no rebuttal.”
“Is there anything else from the state on this case?
“The wife of the victim would like to speak to the offender in open court.”
The judge allowed it and Mrs. Maxwell walked up to the podium. She had a look of disgust on her face and her eyes held balls of fire directed at Maurice. She stared at him holding pure fury in her face.
“Good morning thank you for giving me this opportunity. Mr. Shaw, you caused severe harm to my husband, Pastor Rondell A. Moore, a pillar of our community and a man who took you in when your own father couldn’t. What you did was of the most disrespectful, vile and evil things that walk this earth. While I pray for you to get better with whatever struggles you have, my husband and I are filing a restraining order as to prevent you for causing further harm to him, our home and our union as man and wife. So while I wish you find some sort of redemption and atonement for your actions and your spirit, my other wish is for you find it somewhere far away from my family and I. Good luck on your journey and may you not ruin any other lives along the way.”
Maurice and his lawyer were appalled by the decidedly cold speech by his mother. The judge sat up in his chair on the bench and turned his attention to Maurice.
“Will the defendant please stand?” Maurice stood up along with everyone else in the courtroom.
“Son that redemption she spoke of can begin with an apology. If you are contrite, we can maybe make the sentencing portion more favorable for you.”
Maurice looked at the judge and without any hesitation replied as truthfully as he could.
“Your Honor, with all due respect to your courtroom, Fuck them!!”
Maurice thought about his brother and if he was good. He was proud of his brother. He had all of his newspaper clippings detailing his prowess on the court. He remembered playing until after dark shooting free throws with his brother and how he is now a 91% free throw shooter. The bus pulled off the highway and into the Miami afternoon traffic surrounding the airport. Minutes later they were in the bus station and he saw his father. He smiled as he left the bus and found himself in a massive hug.