It was impossible to explain how one day Leeotta was working as a filing clerk and the next day she was frontpage news.
Not like the good kind, her mugshot was there for her son, mother, grandmother, dad, brother, nephew, bitch sister-in-law to see.
Her left eye barely focused on her swollen, blackened right eye in the metal of the toilet seat of the holding cell.
Her neighbor was sitting in her truck when she returned from work the day before. To all appearances, he was the model citizen, Deacon Albert. For Leeota, he was a dirty skulking thug of poison words and dirty tricks.
It started out harmless enough, he was so, well, precise with what he wanted and then did another.
He asked to trim her rosebushes. They were growing through the fence. She said of course, let her know and she would help him.
She came home from work and the roses were gone.
His response, "No mam, I do what I say. I said cut them down."
What do you do? Have a big ass fight or live with it.
Leeota's maiden name was Smith. Her dad had said there might be a whole lotta Smiths; but a real Smith had forged steel as character. Leeota knew someone had to take control and she would. There was no argument. She would keep her cool. After all, she would manage his true nature.
She had had three dogs, Sassy, Bean, and Guadelope. Guadelope was Sassy and Bean's mother. She just disappeared one day. Leeota let her out as she prepared dinner for visiting family.
Sassy and Bean were nuisances enough, just let Guadelope stay outside. At the end of dinner, no Guadelope was at the door. Guadelope was old and blind. Her brother Rick said she probably went off to die. She never found a trace of Guadelope.
Opening the front door, Sassy and Bean spilled out and began barking uncontrollably. Albert was in his yard. She saw the pistol as she walked to get the dogs. His finger curled around the trigger as he held it sideways in his palm.
“I’ve warned you about these dogs. I will shoot them if they come in my yard.”
Leeota would have left but her 11 year old son comes out.
“Go in”, she gently tells her son.
As he repeats himself with his spiteful smile, Leeota thought of six pound Guadelope.
Albert would call the dogs some mornings and the dogs hate him.
The anger rushed; she takes the shovel in the flowerbed and slams it against Albert’s arm. The gun falls, He reaches for it, she slams him again with the shovel. Running around the fence, she gets the gun.
A sharp pain pierces her back. Leeota throws the gun as far as she can.
He is pummeling her. She picks up a brick and hits him as hard in the face with it as she can, over and over again.
He is just lying there.