“Brielle! Girl! What just happened?” Popeye asked.
“The Sheriff! That lowlife bastard! Oh my God, Popeye! He pulled me over tonight and told me to get out of the car. I didn’t know what to think because I wasn’t speeding, hadn’t made any illegal turns, nothing! Then he starts in on me about Jane!”
“What’s his problem about Jane? She’s a wonderful little girl!” Popeye said, not sure where this was going.
“Jane got into a fight at school today. The other kids at school have been bullying her- ever since she started there and they’ve been making it worse and worse on her! Olivia is being picked on at her school too…anyway, two girls tried to jump Jane in the bathroom and Jane fought back and used her karate training to do it! She beat the two girls up pretty badly!” Brielle continued.
“Who were the two girls?”
“Breanna Lindsay and Audrey Crabtree.”
Popeye paused and the look of concern spread over his face.
“Oh, brother! As much as I hate to say it, Brielle! You’ve got big problems now! Breanna is Grant and Misty’s daughter, and Audrey is the sheriff’s.” He said in a statement that sounded more like a warning.
Popeye went on.
“Grant Lindsay, and Bobby Crabtree? ‘Them some mean peckerwoods! And dangerous! You don’t know what I know about those jokers!”
“I know more than you think. I’ve been filled in on a few things about them. Back to Jane’s fight at school- after she defended herself against Breanna and Audrey, five other girls jumped in and beat the crap out of her. They knocked her unconscious. The school doesn’t bother to call me or an ambulance for Jane. No. They carry her to the school nurse, Kristi McKay. And she’s a joke. I’m told she’s working as the school nurse because she’s been fired from every hospital and nursing home she’s ever worked at because she’s grossly incompetent! And then, to top it off, the school gives Jane a three-day suspension while letting Breanna and Audrey off scot free and giving the other five only a one-day suspension! How the hell is that fair?”
“Fair? Brielle, these people have absolutely zero sense of fair.” Popeye reminded her, “I don’t know if you knew this or not, but a lot of strange things have happened around here in the last year and are still happening now. Three people came up missing about six months before you moved back here. They haven’t been found yet.” He mentioned.
“Wow! Really?” Brielle asked.
“Yep! Sheriff Crawford died in a hunting accident, but everyone knows it wasn’t an accident. ‘Thing is, nobody can prove it. I think Bobby Crabtree had something to do with it. Sheriff Crawford was such a good and just man. And everybody loved him. But the Crabtrees were jealous of his popularity with the people.”
“Several people have told me about that! I went to school with Bobby, and he tried to hurt me and a few others even back then.”
“I’m not surprised. Bobby Crabtree’s a bad man- a real bad man. Just like his older brother. So, you watch yourself, Brielle. And watch over those babies. And since Jane’s being treated so badly in school, you be there for her, Brielle.” Popeye advised.
“I damn well intend to, Popeye.” Brielle vowed.
“Speaking of Bobby, I went to school with him, as I mentioned. I remember when the Thomasville Conspiracy happened with the McGregor’s. I was living in California when it all went down. And I also remember talking online and on the phone with people around here and they told me of the horrible rumors, the smears against Shannon and her kids. And all they wanted to do was fix the house, sell it, then go back home to Arizona. But the local cabal just had to go after them, didn’t they? They ended up overplaying their hand and getting caught in all kinds of criminal activity. Had they left Shannon alone and let her be, they probably would’ve avoided being caught in all the corruption and some of them wouldn’t be rotting in prison now.” Brielle explained.
Brielle and the Chaney’s
“I agree with you there.” Popeye said with a nod.
“I remember hearing of the explosion of the gas station and that the Crooke property was burned to the ground. They destroyed Crooke Hill. I remember hearing all this bad stuff about Shannon McGregor and her family. And I remember talking to Bart Chaney and his grandfather online. I knew them both when I was a kid, living here. They were great people. I remember seeing everything on the news later- the trials at the Federal Court in Memphis. I remember Bobby’s brother Johnny and his cronies being convicted and sent to prison. Shannon, the Bledsoe Brothers, and a few others uncovered a lot of bad things that happened here.” Brielle said in reflection.