Block D Cell number 4 had been Ryan’s home for the last six months. His heart still pounding at runners pace, unable to calm himself and growing angrier as the sun sat on day. Orange hung just above the tree line as he heard a rapping on the oxidized iron bars.
Ryan rose from the thin cot to meet his brothers eyes. He stood leaning, his rigid body against the cold wall. Andrew said nothing, he didn’t have too, it screamed from his eyes. The disapproval, the disgust, the anger, but it also held something else, the understanding, the respect, the love. Andrew had always had a habit of wearing his feelings on his shoulder. It was a habit that Ryan saw as weak at times and tried to teach his brother to alter, to contain his emotions.
Dragging people across a border for money can be a rough business and Ryan felt that his brothers emotions could be a liability but he promised to take care of him, and he had lived up to that promise, even once the days began.
“Supper is ready in the hall.”
“No thank you, give my share to a kid.”
“Ryan, you need to eat.”
“We got close today.”
“Nothing was gonna happen.”
“You don’t know that. I saw that guy and he was a good three to four hours from turning.”
“We wouldn’t have let him in.”
Ryan stood and placed his hand on the iron bars next to his brother. “You were going to. I could see it in your eyes, Andrew. I have seen that look in your eyes before, and we know how that ended.”
“New Orleans was a long time ago, and a lot has changed.”
Andrew turned. “Like I said, your supper is ready in the hall.”
“Andrew,” his brother paused, “You are going to have to change, or it could be Elizabeth you get infected.”
“Mayor Chandler would like to have a word with you,” then he continued on his path.
Ryan lay back down on his cot with springs poking his back and as the darkness fell consuming what light there was left of the day he looked out his cell window into the starry night. The stars reminded him of the ocean nights. He missed those days, as bad as they were, as scary as they were, as dangerous as they were. He would give anything to have those days back.
His ears flooded with the sound of the lapping water of the river slapping the walls of the prison. It sounded similar to the slapping of the waves against the side of the boat hull filled with Cuban refugees. Truth was Ryan enjoyed those trips down 55 to New Orleans were he and Andrew would take the boat he owned to just outside Cuba and load up with ‘Merchandise’, take it through the gulf back to the Big Easy where they would load the men, women and children into the box van and take them to St. Louis. Gateway to the West, the promise of a better tomorrow. Bullshit, Ryan thought, bullshit.