Lizzie doesn’t have much, but she does have a high school education. After graduation, she walks home alone to find her step-father “moonshine blind,” half dressed and shooting out the windows of her house. Her mother is inside.
Charlie LeMasters was awake and out of his head when I got home. I saw him before he saw me, and I hid behind the sycamore. He was standing in the middle of the road in nothing more than his pissy yellow shorts. It was awful because everyone could see everything. Plus, he was firing his gun in the air and shouting that a thief had broken into his house and stole all his money, and as soon as he found them, he’d put a bullet in their head. I stayed where I was. All the people who’d been to graduation came to see what the noise was about, so besides seeing me, they saw my step-father, who’d never claimed me more than a stray cat, shooting in the air. Then, he started shooting out the windows in his house, yelling that the thief was still in there. I hid, even though I knew Momma was still inside and might be lying dead. All those men had trucks, and those trucks had loaded guns inside. They called the sheriff, but by the time the sheriff got there, he didn’t have nothing to do because Charlie LeMasters was lying in the middle of the road, hog-tied, with his wattle hanging out.
Well, no one wanted to see that, so the women stayed in the trucks or studied the hills, but later some came in our house and put their arms around Momma, and told her how much she’d been in their prayers, living with a crazy man. Momma didn’t know what to do with so much love so she sat there and cried, but not before Jenny Jenkins, who had relatives on Bear Creek and knew about Momma’s life, made her promise to come to Laurel Baptist and sing. I watched her think that over, she who said she loved Jesus, because she was still afraid of Charlie LeMasters even though he was lying in the road trussed like a Thanksgiving turkey with his wattle in the dust. That got to be a big joke around Laurel. The men said that was the reason Charlie LeMasters was so mean; he’d always been disappointed in himself.
Silver Bottle is available on Kindle and Amazon.