Mark, who was appropriately named, was the ‘black sheep’ of the family. Every family has/needs one and like they say, if you can’t identify your own family’s ‘black sheep’, it’s probably you. Black sheep are not necessarily ‘bad’ but they do stand out against the ‘herd’.
Today is Thanksgiving and Mark is standing outside his family’s home, still wearing a bright orange jumpsuit, on a special furlough from prison. He’d toyed with various alternative outfits, but all would be hard to manage with the barrier of an ankle bracelet so, in his usual style, he decided to “keep it real” in order to lift the awkward fog over what everybody already knew.
Mark needed to pause a bit longer on the step to regain his composure from a fit of ‘the giggles’ after slipping on a homemade green hat with a pumpkin stem. He’d made up his mind that he wasn’t going to allow everyone to be sullen when he had the opportunity to make them laugh. His time left was 8 months for a crime he’d committed but wasn’t a bit sorry for. The “whys” differentiate “bad guys” from “good guys” all of the time.
Once Mama wrapped him in the tightest hug and wiped tears of joy from her cheek, he knew he was indeed Home. The family got a big laugh over his costume with many of them saying with a shrug, “Some things never change.” and “Leave it to Mark.”. It became the best day, and the food was amazing!
That evening he reluctantly went back to prison. Mark had made friends with most of the prison guards and staff, so proper prison protocols were frequently suspended just for him. As he re-entered the prison after the holiday furlough, he wore the green hat again prompting audible laughter from every guard tower.
Eight months wouldn’t be so bad a wait after all.