“There he is,” the guard, Terrence, said, “that’s your Daddy.” Terrence had known Mick for three years, and had seen great changes in him in that short time. Bev was coming around to him too, so much so that she had decided to bring Evelyn. The girl was bright, inquisitive, bold. Bev was a brash woman. She wore a Mickey Mouse pant suit for the occasion but her bust was still on full display. Evelyn faltered and Bev pushed the little blonde girl closer to her father.
“Can’t let you touch her,” Terrence said as Mick reached. Mick had a broken look on his face that had stuck there since he had walked in, his eyes were like wet marbles—no tears, just glass, and his mouth was stuck half-open. “Sorry, boss, thems the rules.”
Mick sat and Bev picked Evelyn up and plomped her onto the seat closest to her father, but the girl turned with a frown and began to cry when Mick leaned in with a broken, wobbly grin and cleared his throat to speak.
“Alright, alright,” said Bev, picking her up.
“She’s just scared,” said Mick, clearing his throat again. He was crying. “I was probably less scary with my beard on.” He ran a rough, tan hand over the stubble.
“You keepin’ busy?”
“Yeah. They got me in the kitchen Fridays. Been teaching a class on computers. Word, and Powerpoint and stuff.”
“Yeah, you was always good with the computer at home.”
“I’m always helping them here,” he said, pointing a thumb. “Not as good as with a pickaxe and a shovel though I reckon. Itchin’ to do some prospecting when I get out.”
“Well that aint’ gonna be for another few months.”
“Yeah but I’m still itchin’”
Evelyn had calmed down. Mick half rose in his seat to get a look at her and Bev turned slightly to bring her face into view. Evelyn sucked her thumb placidly, not looking, but with eyes not closed. She was somewhere in between maybe, Terrence thought.
“I’mma leave you two be,” he said, rolling the heel of his hand on the butt of his nightstick.
“Us three,” said Mick, smiling.
“You three,” winked Terrence. “Don’t be long.”