The parking lot of the Gillian Kent Penitentiary was nearly full, so said the gate guard, it did not have room for a behemoth RV today. The gate guard also said that’s what he got for waiting until a popular visitation day to see an inmate. On another day, at a different place, with an unarmed person, Leon might have argued or said something unwise. Today he took his ID back, put the old RV in reverse down the road and found a generous shoulder on the interstate to park the thing.
Then he walked the mile back to the turn off and the other half mile to the gate wishing there was more to look then cars and the trees blocking any frightening government facilities. The gate guard made his take out his ID again. Leon kept his jaw shut as he pulled the slip of plastic from his jean’s pocket. “Who are you visiting?” The guard asked.
“Alexander Duke.” This wasn’t protocol. He’d have to do this all again when he got into the main building. “I’m on the approved list.”
“Buddy of yours?” The guard asked looking again at the name on the Leon’s ID. It didn’t say Duke. Leon’s fingers itched. He wanted his ID back.
“I’m his son.” It wasn’t as if that was a secret here. To get on that list you were required to hand over a legal name and declare a relationship, one of the thousand things he hated about Gillian State Penitentiary.
“Hmm.” The guard handed the license over without making the common yet annoying observation that they looked nothing alike. Leon took after his mother, or so his dad said, Leon didn’t remember enough of her to know if that was true or not. The guard leaned into his radio and announced that someone was walking up.
Check-in and security was busy. Girlfriends, mothers, siblings, and wives hustled children and each other past the different checkpoints with astounding levels of volume. Leon loitered at the back of the line enjoying the show. When it was his turn through the metal detectors he dutifully emptied his pockets and submitted to a hasty pat down.
The guards waved Leon through quickly, their attention drawn by less behaved visitors, who were loudly impatient to see their husbands, sons and fathers. He smirked back at the overly burdened security. Crowded visitation days were worth the walk.
Slightly preoccupied with the triumph he nearly walked strait into the man blocking the door into the visitor’s center. Warden Kilbourne looked down at Leon. “Good afternoon Mr. Almasi.”
“Warden Kilbourne.” Leon said, pleased with himself for keeping his smile in check. That particular nervous habit got him in trouble before.
The warden motioned for another of the guards. “Hone, I don’t think Mr. Almasi got the benefit of complete search.” The guard looked a little oddly at his boss but proceeded to pat Leon down again, checking his sleeves and pant legs more diligently now that the warden oversaw.
The guard straitened and shook his head. “Apologies, we can never be too careful. You understand.” Kilbourne said and moved out of the doorway. He assumed the attention was an educated guess on the warden’s part that Leon and his father were cut from the same cloth. Leon didn’t begrudge him the assumption; there wasn’t a whole lot he could say to refute the point.
Leon stepped past him. “Of course. We appreciate your efforts to keep everyone on the straight and narrow.” He gave a friendly nod which was returned with Kilbourne’s frown. Leon turned his back and entered the visitor’s center. It was already packed so he picked the one table open near a wall.
The prison was on a tight schedule today. They didn’t make Leon wait even a minute. When his dad came in it was like he was sauntering into a favorite bar despite the guard escorting him and the constant surveillance watching their every move.
The two of them exchanged grins as Alexander Duke slid into the seat across from his son, setting handcuffed wrists on the table. “Hey there kid.”