CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and NINETEEN
“There was a time in Denver where a lot of ‘smart people’ were getting out of affordable housing,” Jacob said. “I bought apartment buildings so people like our employees would have a safe, clean place to live.”
“Preach it,” Blane said with a laugh.
Smiling, Jacob continued, “It seemed dumb to me that we needed all of these people to work our site and they couldn’t find housing.”
Rodney nodded. Nervous, Rodney scratched at his neck, just under his chin.
“Listen,” Jacob said, reading Rodney’s gesture. “Do you need a place to live? We certainly still have space here. Every apartment has a guest bedroom, and …”
“No, no,” Rodney said with a laugh. “Everything’s fine with me and Yvonne.”
Rodney put his hand on his heart in reference to Yvonne. He sighed.
“Honey was telling me about the place you helped her and her husband put together,” Rodney said.
“That place has really come together nicely.” Jacob nodded. “It’s a miracle, really. We’re putting one together south of here, near Craig Hospital. We haven’t even finished that one and they’ve asked us to make another — for families of injured.”
Jacob shook his head.
“Crazy,” Jacob said. “The demand is crazy.”
“I see,” Rodney asked. He nodded his head for a moment.
Seeming to have heard his answer, Rodney fell silent.
“He wants to make a place like the one you made for Honey and MJ,” Jeraine said.
“He does?” Jacob asked.
Blane turned to look at them. Seeing he had both Blane and Jacob’s attention, Jeraine continued.
“He wants to make one for the men coming out for prison,” Jeraine said. “You know, they are letting out all of these dudes caught on a weed charges. Since weed is legal and all.”
Jacob looked at Rodney. Jacob had worked with Rodney for a long time. He’d seen Rodney look just like he looked right now — as if he wanted to melt into the floor with shame. Jeraine pressed on.
“Some of these dudes went in when they were kids,” Jeraine said. “They’ve got no skills and sometimes no education. They are poor, come from poor families, were in gangs or went to gangs for protection in prison.”
“These boys have struggled with every pestilence known to man,” Rodney said.
“Just men?” Jacob asked.
“Women, too,” Rodney said with a nod. “But the men … they …”
Rodney flushed with overwhelm. Jacob glanced at Jeraine.
“He wants to start with the men,” Jeraine said. “Men — only at first and then maybe families. But for now, he wants to help them when they get out of prison, get them ready for the world, you know, life skills and some legal way to make money.”
“Education,” Rodney managed to say.
“Is there state money for it?” Jacob asked.
“I can pay,” Rodney said.
“No matter how much money you have, we’d run right through it in no time,” Jacob said. “We’d need something to sustain it.”
“I don’t know,” Rodney said. “I just don’t know.”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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