After returning home from the police station, Asia is emotionally as well as physically exhausted. She lets the boys, who are also very upset about what happened, get a snack, and then puts them to bed. They
we’re actually out after curfew because of going to the barracks to see Troy. She knew they would go past the permissible time, but she didn’t care, all she wanted to do was see her husband, that’s why she asked for the escort home. She wonders about the amount of times, and many people that this same situation has happened to as she plugs her phone in to be charged, and falls asleep. The ringing of the phone wakes her up and before she can reach for it, it stops. The voice mail must have kicked in she thinks as she stretches and yawns, and then reluctantly gets out of bed. It seems that she never gets enough sleep, whether she goes to work or not. Swinging her feet over the side of the bed, she slides them into her comfy slippers, grabs her phone, and heads to the bathroom. She wants she and the kids ready early so they can get to the courthouse before Troy’s arraignment. While sitting on the toilet, her phone goes off again, “damn, who’s blowing me up?”, she croaks, as she picks it up off the sink, and looks at it. She has a plethora of texts and messages from family and friends, and she doesn’t know who to respond to first.
As she’s scrolling through her messages, then listens to the voicemail, Asia hears a message from Chasity and there’s an urgency in her voice. There’s also a message from her brother stating that
their parent’s funeral will be on Friday as previously planned. Oh, no, she thinks, this can’t be happening. It’s already Wednesday and she doesn’t know how long they’re going to keep Troy nor when he’s getting released. She tells herself to stop stressing, takes a deep breath in, counts to ten, then slowly exhales. As she sits there waiting for her heart to calm down, Junior knocks on the bathroom door. “Mom, are you alright?” “Yes, Junior, I’m okay. I’m glad you’re up because I need you to get you and your brother ready as soon as possible. We have to leave in a little while to go for your dad”. “Okay mom, I’m on the case, lickety split”. “Thanks, Junior, I love you!” “Love you too mom”, and with that, he wakes his brother up and gets them ready. Asia showers, gets dressed, puts on her make-up, grabs a few items, including three hundred dollars cash money hoping it’s enough, looks the boys over to make sure they look decent, then heads for the door.
Junior and Beary wave to their friends waiting for the school bus as Asia drives by. The parents and kids give them a curious look as to say, why aren’t the boys going to school? The boys notice the inquisitive stares, but their mom does not. Asia is in a trance like state that is focused on only one thing, and that is getting to the courthouse in time for her husband’s arraignment. She doesn’t want to be slowed down with any distractions, nor stopped for any nonsense, so she cautiously passes by the bus stops, and drives out of the community without so much as a nod to the neighbors. She’ll deal with their angry, nosy, attitudes another time, because it’s more important to concentrate on her mission. And once again, she feels the Lord is favoring her for she makes it to the courthouse in record time. There aren’t any accidents, traffic flowed smoothly, and she finds a parking space around the corner from the building she needs to go to. She and the boys get through the security check without any problems, and are seated in the front row of the courtroom when they bring in Troy and Max. They must be arraigning both of them at the same time.
It can clearly be seen that Troy had a restless night for his usually, neat appearance is not present this morning. His clothes are wrinkled
and disheveled, his hair uncombed and unruly, and when he looks over at she and the boys, she sees his eyes are blood shot red. She knows he must not have slept a wink. Nevertheless, he gives her a reassuring smile and she lightly smiles back trying not to show the frightened nervousness that’s boiling up inside of her. It takes all the restraint she has in her body not to yell out and run and hug him. She tells herself to remain calm for she can sense the boys feel her pent up energy. Max seems to be in the same scruffy condition he’s always in, and relatively placid, except for a small tic at his left temple that can only be noticed if you stare at him for a few seconds. The judge walks in and everyone is told to stand up as he takes his seat behind the high courtroom platform desk. He bangs his hammer on it and everyone then sits down. A court officer brings Max up to the judge first. The judge reads out the crime that Max is being accused of and asks him if he would like a public defender or would rather defend himself. “I would like to defend myself judge, and also explain for my buddy over there”, he says pointing to Troy who’s seated on a side bench.
Motioning to the court officer, the judge says, “bring up the other defender so I may ask him the same questions”. After being questioned, Troy says, “yes Max can speak first, but then I’d like to also respond, if your honor permits”. The judge is surprised at and unexpectedly taken aback by Troy’s respectfully, thought out response, so he grants both of their wishes. Max explains that there was a misunderstanding on the troopers’ part about Troy’s involvement in the whole situation. Max was approached by two men who he had a previous disagreement with while out one day hunting. They saw him at the gas station, approached him, and began arguing with him. Troy came along to defuse the argument, literally stopped him from throwing a punch, and was also attacked by the two assailants. The troopers arrived just as Troy was dodging a blow to the side of his head, and mistook what had occurred. “Judge, sir, I am in debt to my buddy for stopping something that could have blown up into something more than it was”. And Max reaches over and hugs Troy after he has finished. Troy hugs him
back and patting him on the shoulder says, “it’s okay, Max, you don’t have to thank me, I would have helped stop the fight even if I knew it was gonna lead up to this”. Once again, the judge is impressed by the sincere actions of the two friends and says, “okay, I’ll just fine you two especially because of what I know, this is your first offense. But I don’t want to see either one of you in this court room again”. And with that, he bangs his hammer on the desk again and says, “a fine of one hundred dollars a piece, and releasement on their own cognizance”.
The court officer escorts Max and Troy out the courtroom and directs them to the bailiff to pay their fines. Asia takes out two hundred dollars and pays the fine for both her husband and Max for she knows that Max doesn’t have a hundred dollars on him. And she’s right for he thanks she and Troy for everything, and for all their help and consideration he offers Troy a handgun for free, which should cover the cost and square them out evenly. Troy accepts the offer and they all head first to the gas station to retrieve Troy’s jeep, and Max’s truck, and then to his house to get the firearm. And Troy thinks, he has come full circle, for this is where he was first headed when he left home yesterday. After seeing to his father, Max says he’ll be over to their house later to show Troy how to use the gun. He gives the boys a high five, kisses Asia on the cheek, and shakes hands with Troy, then once again disappears into his house. As Asia drives she and the boys home, she begins humming, then singing the victorious hymn, “I really love the Lord, I really love the Lord, you don’t know what He’s done for me, He’s given me victory, oh I love him, I love him, I really love the Lord!” The boys join in and they all sing to the top of their lungs until they reach their house.
One down and two to go, Asia thinks as they walk into the house after Troy’s release. One problem has been taken care of and two still remain. She tells Troy, “my parents’ funeral is still on for Friday, so we have to go back to the city tomorrow, and my friend Chasity called - she sounds like she’s in more distress than we are”. “When did you find out about your parents?” “My brother must have called last
night, and I listened to his message this morning before going to the courthouse”. “Oh, I see”, Troy responds as he heads to the bathroom, “I’m in desperate need of a shower”. “Yeah, well at least you know it, and I hope Max knows it too, because he smelled like he wanted to, no needed to be alone”. They both burst out laughing as she gets a towel from the closet and hands it to him. Taking the towel, Troy then closes the bathroom door, strips off his clothes, sits on the toilet, and lets out a gigantic sigh of relief breath. Lord is he glad to be home! He never spent the night in a jail cell before, and he never wants to ever again. The nasty, dirty, cold, steel toilet bowl in the corner stunk, and the crusted up cot was hard. He can’t imagine how thousands of incarcerated brothers endure those debilitating conditions every day, but they do. Man oh man, he thinks as he steps into the shower, turns on the hot faucet full blast, and lets the water soothe his aching muscles and tense nerves.
Asia first makes sure the boys are settled down by putting one of their favorite Dragon Ball Z movies in the VCR for them to watch, before returning Chasity’s call. She might as well take advantage of the few minutes she has for herself, while Troy’s in the shower, to speak to her friend in privacy and find out what’s going on. So, she goes into the bedroom, closes the door, and calls Chasity. “Hello, dear sweet Jesus, Asia is this you? The Lord is so good!” Chasity quickly begins talking right after answering her phone, like she was waiting for Asia’s call. She continues talking nonstop like she always does when she’s nervous and anxious, “I’ve been waiting for you to call me back because I never got a chance to tell you why I called you in the first place”. And Asia did wonder about that, but only a little because deep down inside, she knew why she all of a sudden heard from her friend. She knows it has something to do with the Mark of the Beast nightmare she’s been having. She never gets a chance to say this for Chasity is still incessantly talking. “Asia God has told me to contact you a long time before, but things just got in the way. You know how life happens, and time goes by without you knowing where it went, and now here we
are. I’m gonna ask a big thing of you and your family”. And before she could say another word, Asia replies, “you and your family can come live with us”. She doesn’t really know where that came from, it came from somewhere out in left field, but it flies from her mouth before she knows what she’s saying. A few seconds of silence passes by before Asia asks, “Chasity, are you still there?”
Chasity is stunned into silence. She’s flabbergasted at Asia’s response, but she’s not entirely surprised for she knows this conversation was already ordained by the Lord. She knows she and her friend have been connected since they were little girls, and had once again become connected as adults when the dreams began. Releasing a big sigh and feeling like a huge weight has just been lifted off her shoulders, she says, “girl, you don’t know how much your words mean to me. They are music to my ears! I have been stressing out over your response it seems like for over a year now”. “You’ve been wanting to ask me this for a year”? “Well, I’ve had it on my mind for a long while now, but I didn’t know how to approach you, so I procrastinated until I couldn’t any more”. “What happened”? Chasity can no longer hold her emotions in, and she bursts out crying, “girl, everything has been happening, Asia, from the curfew, then the terrorists’ attacks, then the storms and hurricane, now to my husband’s stabbing!” “What!? Chasity, your husband was stabbed?” “Yes, he was stabbed two days ago and is still in the hospital”. Asia can’t believe what she’s hearing. Here it is she thinks her trials and tribulations are bad, but Chasity’s sound just as bad as hers, if not worse. And she says this out loud. “Listen, my family and I are coming back to the city tomorrow. You know about my parents, and their funeral is Friday”. “Yeah, I thought so, so I was confused when I went to their house and the home attendant said you went back to Pennsylvania”. “Yeah, well that’s a story I’ll tell you about another day. Get you and your family’s stuff together, and I’ll speak to my husband and boys and let them know”. “We’ve been packed up for some time now”, Chasity replies with a smile on her face. “Okay, I’ll call you when we get to my parent’s apartment”, and with that Asia clicks Chasity off for Troy walks into the room and catches the end of the conversation.
The confused look on his face says it all, so before he even opens his mouth, Asia knows she has some explaining to do. “What’s that all about?” “Um, well, it was my friend Chasity, you remember, my childhood best friend, the one who told me about the Mark of the Beast”. Asia is also speaking fast like Chasity was, which is showing her anxiety too. “She, um, well she…” “Come on Asia, just say it”. “My friend Chasity and her family wants to move up here with us”. “Up here where?” “Up here in the Poconos”. “Oh, they’re buying a house up here too? Heck, that’s great, and I’m glad for them, finally escaping from the city”. “Yeah, well they actually want to move with us in this house”, Asia finally bursts out. Troy quietly stands there for a few seconds, looking at his wife, and letting what she just told him sink in before replying, “you’re serious about this”. Not asking, but stating what he knows, and using a declarative sentence to show it. “Yes Troy, she and her family have been having a hard time since the curfew, and with everything else”. “Asia, everyone’s been having a hard time, but sheeze, I’ve never imagined anything like this coming our way”. She knows this is a big thing because he’s not using her pet name, he’s using her given one.
In a kind of advocating and pleading tone, Asia begins explaining what Chasity and her family has gone through and ending with, “Troy, her husband just got stabbed and is in the hospital”. Once again, Troy just stands there trying to soak up all of what his wife is telling him, and then responds, “Asia, do they know we don’t have a large house?” “I don’t know what they know about our home, but I can tell you that they don’t care. They just want to get out of the city as soon as they can, and then deal with whatever comes after that. And Troy, we do have the basement if push comes to shove”. He mumbles, “yeah, push is going to come to shove”. “What, hon? What did you say? I didn’t hear you”. “Nothing, I was just being facetious”. And she hopes he is because she needs him to understand the importance of this request of just not her, but of God. She thinks this is a test, no, not thinks, but knows this is a test from the Lord, and she doesn’t want to fail it. She says this to her husband knowing that it will hit a sensitive part of his conscience and it does, for he begins coming around to her request, and feeling its significance.