Blue Ridge Revisit
After her shift at Vespa’s, Eunice hitched a ride with Gabrielle to Mike Watts’ Blue Ridge cabin.
“Eunice girl, before we get into it, tell me what’s really going on with Sam. Is he recuperating alright?” Gabrielle asked.
“Yes. He’s getting better. I’m more worked up about this than he is, it’s really gotten me crazy. We must retaliate with something fierce,” Eunice said.
Gabrielle smacked her gum, as she drove while intermittently looking over at Eunice.
“I’m not too worried about Sam. He’s sore all over but he’ll be okay. We will focus on our original mission. I hope Mike has some information,” Eunice said.
“You got it. Eunice please keep in mind you can have different passions, still be crazy and have a good man at home,” Gabrielle interrupted, reassuring her.
The gang was all there, when they arrived. Eunice’s instinct was to take charge, with strong opinions. It was imperative they take action with a single goal, rather than diluted demonstration messages.
Given the events of Todd and Sam, there was enough anger and unrest pent up all over town fueling Eunice’s motivation to act now. She saw it as a perfect storm of real life tragedy and public outrage.
“It’s incredibly important we make this count, for so many reasons ya’ll know about. Let’s do it for Todd who last I heard is still in a coma. Let’s do it for all the victims of klan discrimination. We’re gonna need something that scares people into action. Less demonstration and more, ’kill every motherfucker I see!’” Eunice sang the lyrics to a Nina Simone protest song.
“Can you believe Principal Butler’s folks got parents and teachers involved? Even your mom’s involved Jax? How lame is that?” Patty ridiculed.
“Never mind, the entire First Street Baptist congregation. They have got the church ladies working overtime,” Jaxon jeered.
“Now now, you guys, remember their intention is the same as ours. Think MLK vs. Malcolm X, two styles,” Arisbel said.
“Not for long. I’ve got some feelers out, don’t you worry Eunice! We’ll have plenty of back up,” Lil Red said.
“God love Sam’s gang of saints but even they will appreciate our muscle. We’ll avenge what happened,” Eunice said.
“How about we let them do their thing and we do ours. Let’s make a pact that anything discussed at Mike’s cabin, stays at Mike’s cabin,” Arisbel said.
“The Mother Teresa route might not be cutting edge but they probably won’t have WSFA-12 News, documenting every move they make like we will,” Eunice said.
“CNN is already here. Don’t you think we should just partner with Butler and Sam?” Gabrielle asked.
“No way man! We’ll blow the lid off this thing. No offense to Sam’s work but they’ll fall for negotiations far too easily and it’ll be over. Think of them as the opening act to our show,” Terrence said.
“Trust me, Sam doesn’t want militant vigilantes near him and we’re okay with that,” Eunice said.
“Keep it clean. It all blows up if we break the law and get ourselves arrested,” Mike said.
“Mike’s contacts say town officials have been aware of the Skull’s drug operation for the past three months. Yet, for some god-awful reason they did nothing about it,” Eunice said.
Over the weeks since the Skulls took over the area in Centennial Hill, there had been no police presence.
“We should call attention to the disgusting school grounds. Riff raff has taken over! Especially on weekends when staff and students aren’t there,” Eunice said.
“A guy I know says the Skulls paid off the cops. ‘The drug money rolls in handsomely,’ were his exact words,” Mike said.
“Imagine cops getting paid to do less,” Patty said.
“It works right into city councils reason for not funding Booker T. With students hooked on dope and gang bangers crawling everywhere. It makes the school easy to write off. Why throw good money after bad?” Mike said.
“It’s another quid pro quo, amongst the powers that be!” Eunice said.
“My buddy says they make jokes at his office about the rate of overdose deaths. Spikes in O.D’s are favorable to their budget spend and they can justify using the surplus, to educate younger kids before they get hooked,” Mike said.
“Sounds noble on the surface,” Gabrielle said.
“They don’t patrol the place. It gives dealers free reign. It’s a school for Jesus sakes! We’re going to need artillery!” Terrence said.
“It’d be suicide if we started shooting. These guys are rough. We don’t want to come between them and their drug money! Too dangerous!” Mike said.
“No guns, Terrence!” Eunice said.
“You have my word, Babycakes!” Terrence said, using the same pet name Sam used. Was it coincidence?
“Mike’s right. This could be the break we’ve been waiting for but it’ll be risky. We’ll show the world the difference between right and wrong. They’ll know who I am when we’re done! We need something to take over the victim narrative. Ante up the stakes and raise awareness about Todd Sheppard’s story,” Eunice said.
“Until there is more evidence the media will forget the story,” Jaxon said.
“And it’ll go back to the way it’s always been. Like through history where no one gives a shit about people,” Terrence said.
“Eunice you are such a great person, to fight for justice,” Jaxon said. His admiring smile was different, as if he regarded her as their leader.
“Thanks Jax. It’s a team effort,” she beamed feeling powerful, with a laser sharp focus. If she shut her eyes, she could see the scene playing out before her. This would blow the lid off of the godamned klan. Those redneck idiots! Fox, CNN and all the outlets would be there.
“Booker T is fast becoming another Vineyard. Did you hear? Neighbors signed a petition to have more police presence and someone burned that bungalow to the ground,” Patty said.
“Okay, do I hear agreement? It’s time to take a stand on drugs and the destruction of our high school right?” Eunice said.
“I don’t know what’s worse drugs or guns. You know I’m in Eunice,” Patty said.
“The trouble is guns are integral, to the operation and flow of drugs,” Lil Red said.
“We’re in, right boys? Terrence asked.
“Lil Red stood up, “I’m willing to go the extra mile. I say we go Mach 10 on their asses. Skull dealers are making a base camp out of the place. It’s gonna be a bloodbath,” Lil Red said.
“Easy Red, don’t forget they’re hooked on drugs! No violence against the addicts. They literally don’t know any better,” Eunice said.
“Alright, alright I’m just messing around,”
Lil Red said.
“Red, I know what happened to Sara! I totally get you man. Juliet was like a sister to me,” Gabrielle said.
“Red only meant wreak havoc on Manny’s guys. If we don’t get to the dealers this thing goes on and on,” Terrence said, staring at Lil Red.
Eunice found the intensity between them curious. Red was related to Sara, the former student whose story had been a cautionary tale in high school.
“It sounds like a plan, let’s huddle y’all. Red, you too, you mushy thing!” Arisbel said.
The meeting was over by 10:00 p.m.
“Eunice, would you mind hanging back a minute?” Mike asked, with a curious look on his face.
“Uh, yea sure but I got a ride with Gabrielle,” she said.
“Not to worry, I’ll make sure you get home ASAP! It won’t take long,” Mike said.
“You good Gab?” Eunice asked.
“Ya! see you tomorrow,” Gabrielle waved at them, “or call me later if you want.”
Eunice was alone with Mike.
“I just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you. It’s like I’ve watched you grow up ever since our musicology days,” Mike said.
“Thanks Mike, that’s sweet. You didn’t hold me back to say that. What’s up?” she asked, becoming less comfortable. She sensed he was about to ask for her hand in marriage or try to kill her.
“Kooky beautiful girl. I asked you to hang back as a favor for a friend,” he swung the door open and in walked her father.
She burst out laughing, “Daddy what are you doing here?”