Cut From the Same Cloth: Part 1 was posted last week.
“How’s prison?” Leon asked. It was the question he always led with.
He leaned back in the plastic chair, relaxing a little. It was still good to see his dad acting like incarceration was all part of some grand plan instead of the inevitable fuckup they’d all known was coming.
His father certainly sold it that way. “Not bad. Food’s disgusting and it’s boring as backwater. So keep your nose clean.”
“You know me.” Leon said. The warning wasn’t intended in the traditional sense. His father was ordering him to not get caught.
His dad flicked his eyes towards the guards at the corners. “I do, that’s why I’m letting you know. Your sister told me she couldn’t get a hold of you. Something go wrong in Ashville?”
Leon leaned forward and rested his elbows on the metal table, also keeping the ever watchful guards in the corners of his vision. “Yah. They did actually. Next time you send me one of your fresh prison buddies, tell him to shake probation first.”
His father chuckled. “Yelner was never any good with authority.” Mossy green eyes flicked to the prison guards. “Sorry kid, figured he might have been able to help.”
Leon rolled his eyes, it’d been a fun couple days until the probation officer got wise. Yelner wasn’t the first of dad’s many friends to find Leon and call in old promises Alexander Duke once made. “He did honestly. Swearing, screaming and throwing things at the cops while they broke down a motel door served as a decent distraction. I got out fine.”
His father grinned at him and Leon smirked back. He’d been the one to get out, true but he’d still learned everything from his dad.
“Good job kid. Would have liked to see that, damn. How was the take?”
“Good, it’ll get me to Orleans. Got something I think I can run there.”
His dad raised a brow. “You can try big city trade. But if you’ve got a good take to start you wanna go to Hobbs Creek.” His father leaned in and proceeded to tell him why Hobbs Creek was the way to go. Leon nodded along with the advice, slouching a little in his chair to itch a scratch on his ankle. Maybe it was Kilbourne’s earlier stunt, but he suspected the guards watched their table more closely than the rest.
“You’re distracted.” His father commented.
It was a soft reprimand, like Leon was a kid again and had forgotten to unlock a back door or pull a security tape.
“Killbourne doesn’t like me.” Leon said. Not that he blamed the man, but the constant observation made the space between his shoulders itch. Despite a philosophy that good thieves avoided attention and better thieves used it, Leon had no desire to tempt fate here. The consequences of any move gone wrong was glaring in his father’s orange jumpsuit and every camera, checkpoint and armed guard.
His dad sent the warden a smile which was not returned. A few of the guards around Kilbourne chuckled. Leon got the idea this might be running joke and wondered how many were on their supervisor’s side and how many his father had managed to charm. “Doesn’t like me either. He likes your sister though.” Leon’s father said.
“Of course he does.” Leon rolled his eyes. Lore could melt harder men than the warden, he’d seen her do it many times. She had a talent for determining exactly which angle to take, lost waif, bad girl, preacher’s daughter…. but Lore wasn’t the type to pull anything so heavy handed here. One of them didn’t have the exit every good con required. “Lore’s in sin city now, last I heard.”
His dad nodded. “It’s about time you both caught up. I don’t like the idea of the two of you not talking. You’re family, remember that.” He pointed a finger at Leon. “And you’re smart enough to figure out how to keep in touch.”
He was smart enough. Leon just knew Lore wouldn’t appreciate her very crooked brother messing anywhere near her now legitimate ventures. It was a courtesy they’d learned from the close quarters of the RV as kids. If Leon wanted his many vices left undisturbed in his bunk, he’d had to curb the impulse to read her diary.
“Yah, I could head that way.” Leon agreed without any intention or promise to do so. His dad let it rest there and turned the conversation to business. After an in-depth and hushed discussion regarding the latest logistics of prison economies, which Leon was always curious about, his dad flicked another glance to the guards. “Speaking of which.”
Leon smirked again to hide the sudden anxiety constricting his stomach. “Which one this time?”
“Thick mustache, hound dog eyes.” His dad described one of the guards waiting by the door. Leon nodded. There wasn’t much else to do. He’d already eased the three small bags from his shoe into his sleeve. They had to go somewhere before he passed through security again.
His father motioned, indicating they were finished to the door guard.
Leon stood. “See you dad.”
“See you kid, keep your nose clean.” They smirked at each other over the odds of that happening before the guard came over to escort his father back into holding.
It was an easy pass. Leon brushed past the guard as he walked out of the visitation room, slipping the three bags into the guards pocket with less than a twitch of fingers. He didn’t know if his dad planned to lift the product once he’d been cleared back into holding, or if the guard was in on it. But that wasn’t his part to play.
Security found nothing on him of course and he was let back into the lobby. He made sure to give Kilbourne a smile before he started the long walk down the prison road back to his RV.