Mouse called over to Danny to get on the phone when he had a minute. He was really asking Danny to talk to him in private through the vent. In the corner of his cell, behind the steel sink and toilet, Danny heard the familiar whistle of the phone ringing.
Danny took his perfectly folded winter blanket and tossed it on the floor to insulate him from the chill of the cement. With his mouth close to the ventilation grate Danny responded to his soon to be departing neighbor. “What's up Mouse?”
“How are you?”
“Ok” Danny said “Hey, what are you going to do with your stamps? Can I have them?”
“What for? We’re rolling out that front gate together” Mouse laughed.
“I don't feel it.” Danny said, his voice shaky and low.
“Ya and you won't until that gate opens up, but, me, I am feeling it for you.” Mouse asserted.
There was a long uncomfortable pause then Danny said, again in a low tone, “I had the dream again Mouse.”
Mouse responded quickly, without missing a beat, “Did you ask him what he was doing?”
“Yea, I did.”
“Did he answer you.”
“I told you he had something to tell you. What's on his mind?”
There was another long pause and Mouse could tell Danny was trying to compose himself. He would wait as long as his friend needed. He could hear Danny's breath rise and fall in his chest against the portal that joined the two cells. He sat in silence, giving Danny his space.
After a short while Danny spoke “It was my father.”
Mouse started to jump in then paused, deciding it was best to keep quiet and listen, and not interrupt.
Danny continued… “I asked him what he was doing and he explained he had everything ready for my Mom. I don't think I will be seeing her again. Hell, she could be gone already.”
Mouse shot back, before Danny's imagination consumed him. “No, you would have got the call. That's not what it is at all. Your old man is telling you it's okay, not to worry.”
“He wasn't old anymore, not much older than me.”
“You see, that's a good sign.” Mouse said, but he wasn’t sure who he was trying to convince more -- Danny or himself.
Before the conversation could get any heavier, White yelled for the count.