A boy raised by a gangster realizes his father-figure has gone too far. Will he elimina...
|THE MIGINGO ISLAND|
I left Vincent at his house. I decided to drive south on the Harbor Freeway. I went past the industrial gardens and over the big tall bridge before I reached The Migingo Island Federal Correctional Institution.
It is referred to as Migingo Island because it is actually on an island. It is a man-made island. Some people really have motives and ideas that develop our continents.But I still fail to understand how or why some people choose to sweat and spend money just to build an island to hold a prison. It could be understandable and sensible if the island was already in existence, but why go through the trouble of building a whole island? All the people around the beaches of Migingo were afraid that maybe one day, the presumably dangerous convicts could escape. This sent chills down everyone's spine. It, therefore, forced the authorities to beef even more security around the correctional facility.
I heard the music blaring loud. I was trying to ensure that I do not stay mad at Vincent. He was surely a good friend of mine, but despite being my friend, he was also damn. Vincent talked like... like I was just supposed to keep Jomo's cut.
The old man, Jomo, couldn't do anything because he was already in jail. And if my thoughts were that he was going to be a problem, the Boggies would take him out, on our order, for just a handful of dollars. The task would be just to locate the right guy as a hitman, pay him half of the agreed amount. He would then pick his team, do the job and come for the rest of the payment, and that would be the end of Jomo. Vincent knew exactly where to look if we wanted this right guy, but it couldn't be easy for me.
You see, Vincent did not understand. To me, as opposed to Vin's assumption, Jomo was not just some old fool who hang around us and got pinched. He had been in my life for long. We were always together since when I was a kid. He was like my godfather. He even helped to carry my father's coffin. He had acted the dad to me when I was growing up. I had much respect for him. I owed him a lot. How could I turn my back against him at this moment when he needed me most? Had he not taught me to be a man during tempting moments? I decided to take the bull by its horns. I had to brave the jail gate and see Jomo. That's where my steering led me to.
I reached my destination and got through security. I now had to sit by the scratched-up Plexiglas with the phone receiver on my hand, peering through the glass-wall to see my man. It was taking long, yet I had nothing to do but to sit there sheepishly and wait.
The shiny brown speckled tile made the floor look clean but generally, the room possessed that industrial government smell, like a book library or a post office. The fluorescent bulb above me flickered steadily, pinning my shadow to the ground. I waited. It took like forever for the disciplinary boys to bring Jomo out to see me.
At long last, he came. When I set my eyes on him, I was shocked. He didn't look good at all. The relaxer in his hair was wearing off, making it a frizzy mess. He had a shiny face, yes, but his eyes were hard and bloodshot. He looked terrified and homeless. Life had made him so distant here.
Jomo was always one of those older men who would stick to wearing a suit. He liked it with a different color vest matched with double buttons. He always wore a suit. Now he had put on one of those brightly colored orange prison jumpsuits bearing a black number, indelibly stenciled on the chest.
"I bet you have got my cut, boy?" he boomed into the receiver immediately he took his seat on the other side of the wall.
"Yeah, I have got your cut, pal."
"Where is it?"
"I've told you I got it."
"All fifty thousand?"
"No, not fifty, forty-five. Ten percent went to Vincent."
He looked at me with a rage. You would think that he wanted to punch me in the face. But that was the deal. He had made it himself. I had absolutely nothing to do with it. I stood blameless there.
After a while, he resumed talking, "I need you to get the money in here to me... a thousand at a time."
This proved to be tricky to me. I spun it in my mind for a few seconds. There was no way I was going to do that. Not one time and for sure not forty-five times.
"Jomo. Come on, Man. You that won't be any easy."
"Don't back-talk me." He hissed and pointed his finger at me, biting his lips, "I need my money in here."
"What in the name of spending are you going to do with all that money in prison?" I asked coolly, "Buy cigarettes?"
His eyes opened wider. He bit his lips and showed his yellow front teeth like a snarling hyena. "You just do it, you hear me?" Now the urgency in his voice scared me.
Jomo was this sort of guy who didn't trust anyone with his cash. He would rather hide it in his cell mattress than rely fully on somebody outside to keep it for him. He was extremely irrational and fearful, and when people get possessed by such traits, they can do crazy things.
He could see my thoughts. He could sense that I was not going to risk smuggling him his money into prison. His thin lips got tight and he clenched his fist. He needed me to get Stacy to come visit him. He could get Stacy to do anything for him.
I couldn't believe him. Locked up behind those tall walls, with his hair growing all crazy. But the worst is that he tried to scare me. What did he think I was, some ten-year-old boy? Why couldn't he just act nice like he used to? I could have surely helped him figure something out.
I promised him that I would talk to Stacy, and I left him still sitting there holding the phone receiver in his hand.
I drove north on the Island beaches, past those yellow-orange streetlights they have in the streets, and away from Migingo Island.
It's called Migingo Island because "Migingo" means the land of the ancestors. It means that those who are there are practically dead. He had at least eight years to serve. I would be twenty-seven before Jomo would be out, that's if he would get parole and be allowed to see the rising sun again.
I was not even imagining getting that old.
I didn't care for the music as I drove away. I just drove, thinking about Vincent and the Boggies.
And what I could do with forty-four thousand Dollars, that is after paying the Boggies one thousand dollars. I had made up my mind. I waved a sheepish bye towards the Island walls.