by Zuri McWhorter
The seventh summer breeze scattered magnolia petals around Queen’s perfectly primed bun. She wore a pretty periwinkle dress and peep toe pumps. No make-up today, though; she wanted to be au naturel.
Mo’ B wore his cleanest jumpsuit and his brightest smile. Fresh line up, waves on ‘Sippi. He got whodie to spit shine his shoes, and was sure to be proper about his tattoos, this time.
With bible in hand, Queen sat in the almost first row; she wanted to be seen, but modest. She closed her eyes in silent prayer, but the loud slam of the chamber doors interrupted. A black-robed white gentleman appeared and took his seat at the rostrum.
“Bennett Meaux,” he called.
Queen’s eyes brightened. She stood, and her white crown fell to pieces around her like delicate rain. Mo’ B entered with his hands clasped and cuffed, nodding politely to those in the room. As he approached his place behind the big oak table to the left, Mo’ B caught a glance at Queen, all dolled up. He lingered in the eyes of his wife, a look that would make the Devil blush.
“Mr. Meaux, may we proceed?” the black-robed white gentleman asked, politely.
Mo’ B snapped back, “Yessuh. Pardon me, suh.”
“Thank ya’. Now Mr. Meaux, the nice folk down at Parish say that you been acting real good lately, that right?
“Yessuh, das right. I try my best. I know I was hot headed befo’, but I since changed.”
The judge flips through some papers, smiles at them, then looks up over his glasses back to Mo’ B.
“Says you work hard, always polite, and you taught some fellas to read, yea?”
“Yessuh, I did.”
Judge nods with enthusiasm. Flip flip.
“Alright, nah! I must say, since the last time we did this here dance, you set yourself straight. And Mrs. Meaux looks incredibly proud of you, too.”
“Yessuh, dat’s bona fide Queen rite der, ain’t it!” Mo’ B sneaks a wink at her. She turns beet red and suppresses her giggles.
“It is my honest pleasure to inform you that this court has decided to reduce your sentence, based on your good behavior and cooperation with our ‘fine’ system. Within the next few days, you will be a free man. Best of luck, sir. You too, Mrs. Meaux.”
Queen jumps up out of her seat without hesitation.
“Hot damn! I mean…thank ya, sir! Thank ya, kindly.”
Judge chuckles, “Don’t thank me, your husband is good man,” he makes eye contact with Mo’ B, and smiles with understanding, “made some bad decisions, but a good man.”
Mo’ B bites his fist, fighting back tears. He keeps his back turned to Queen, but she knows. She always knows, and she cries right along with him. Glad I ain’t wear that make-up.