Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C11-7

Breaking news with brick going through glass window.

The next morning, fifteen-hundred miles away, Shannon and Chris were having breakfast at their home. The morning news was airing on the flat screen that was mounted on the wall in a nook in the huge eat-in kitchen. Chris sat a glass of orange juice in front of Shannon, then sat across the table from her.

“You know? I was thinking.” Chris said, “Those fertility treatments finally paid off and Taylor was born. And now, he’s in kindergarten. Time flies so fast at our age.”

“That it does. But being pregnant at forty-three wasn’t as easy as it was with the other kids. And Taylor ended up being a C-section baby because of the age-related complications. Having a baby really took a lot out of me the last time around. But we did it and he was worth it.” Shannon said.

Suddenly, they heard a knock at the door.

“Who is it?” Chris called out.

Shannon and the Bledsoes, Present Day

“It’s Daniel and Miles!” Daniel called out from outside.

Chris walked to the door and answered it. Daniel and Miles were on the doorstep carrying a big, oblong box. Daniel had one end of the box and Miles the other.

“Shannon! Looks like Taylor’s playhouse just arrived.” Chris called back to her.

He held the door open as his two brothers came in with the box. They then sat it down and propped it against the wall.

“You’re welcome to stay for breakfast. We have plenty to eat.” Shannon said with a smile as she stood next to the counter that separated the spacious living room from the huge eat-in kitchen, cradling Whiskers, the new kitten they’d rescued, in her arms.

“Sure. We can stay and eat.” Daniel said with a smile.


As they talked, breaking news aired on the television in the kitchen.

“I’m Gina Hutchins with breaking news. Two prison inmates have escaped from the Bedford-Campbell Federal prison in Bryson, TN. Forty-nine-year-old Johnny Ray Crabtree and forty-eight-year-old Jason Allen Eves broke out of prison just a few days ago…”

Chris paused, then spun around and went back into the kitchen. and Shannon’s mouth dropped open. She then slowly turned around and faced the television. She, Chris, and the brothers continued watching as the news anchor continued speaking.

“…a nationwide manhunt is currently underway as authorities continue to search for the two missing inmates. Tips have been rolling in and a sighting of the two men was confirmed this morning with a tipster claiming to have seen the men just the day before yesterday about twenty miles west of Amarillo, Texas. A previous confirmed sighting was just twelve hours earlier just west of Little Rock, Arkansas.”

Chris turned and looked at Shannon. Daniel and Miles looked at each other, then at Chris.

“Un-freaking-believable!” Miles said in a voice of high concern.

“’You think they’re headed to Mexico?” Daniel asked.

“Through, Amarillo?” Chris asked sarcastically.

“They were seen around Little Rock, then they were seen just west of Amarillo the day before yesterday. ‘Doesn’t sound like they’re going to Mexico!” Miles said.

“I’m going to make some phone calls,” Shannon told them. And she grabbed her smartphone and went down the hall toward the master bedroom.

Brielle Suddenly Becomes Alarmed

Back in Tennessee, Brielle, Grandma Bennett, Raina, and Kim stood in Grandma’s living room, watching the same news broadcast while the teenagers and kids sat at the kitchen table, working diligently on their home school lessons.

“I thought Popeye said that they were headed for Mexico,” Brielle said.

“That’s what I heard too,” Grandma agreed.

“Well, they can’t be headed to Mexico if they were spotted in Amarillo. That’s way up in the Texas panhandle. I came through there coming back home last year. It’s nowhere near the Mexican border,” Brielle said in a tone of concern.

“So, where could they be going?” Raina asked befuddled.

Just then, Brielle paused and got very still. A sobering realization hit her like a mac truck and a look of sheer horror crept across her face.

“Oh, my God! I bet they’re headed to Tucson, Grandma!” she said in a foreboding voice.

“What’s in Tucson that could possibly interest those two creeps?” Kim asked

“It’s not what’s in Tucson. It’s who! Grandma, where’s your computer?”


What Comes with Empowerment

Empowerment from bullying is the best feeling ever and I say this from personal experience. However, it comes with some personal responsibility. Why do I say this? Again, it’s because of experience. Before I could re-empower myself and send my bullies packing, I had to take a certain amount of responsibility.

I not only had to learn the mindsets of bullying and do my own investigations, but I also had to learn how to respond instead of reacting. I had to find ways to empower myself and realize that once you begin taking steps to do so, the bullying will get worse before it gets better. And I had to change my own way of thinking. In that, I had to stop seeing myself as a victim and start viewing myself as a target instead. Words do matter.

Empowerment means having more control over our lives. It means having the courage to make our own decisions, even if those decisions upset other people. If we’re targets of bullying and we aren’t careful, we may unwittingly and unknowingly allow our bullies to take those things from us.

Therefore, let’s talk more in-depth about the empowerment process.

What steps can we take to empower ourselves?

1. Find your purpose. Having a purpose is so empowering! However, it requires that you find out what it is. Think back to those childhood inclinations and try to remember what your strongest inclination was. Did you want to be a singer? A writer? This is one way.

2. Find your passion. What do you enjoy doing? What is your favorite hobby? How might it help you to make the world a better place? If you can answer these questions, then chances are, you’ve found your passion.

3. Read and learn about bullies and bullying. This requires getting abreast of your bullies’ mindsets and weaknesses. How you do this is to read all you can about bullying. And when you read, you must think about all the behaviors your bullies have displayed, then put two and two together. And once you do, you will finally see the bullies for the pathetic cowards they are, and your self-esteem will soar!

It Won’t Come Easy!

 Finding your purpose and passion are wonderful ways to empower yourself. It gives you something to do that will take your mind off the bullying you suffer. Therefore, the bullying won’t have the effect on you that it would have if you only sat around and dwelled on it.

However, it won’t come without resistance from those around you. Sadly, when we chose to follow our purpose, passion, goals, and dreams, it can induce jealousy and insecurity, especially in your bullies. Moreover, they will find ways to distract you from achieving your desired outcomes.

Also, getting knowledge of your bullies and of bullying can empower you. In fact, it’s one of the most empowering things you can do. And once you realize where bullying comes from and why bullies do it, it won’t have near the effort on your self-esteem that it once did.

Again, don’t think any of these steps won’t come with some resistance.

So, what are the things bullies and other people will do to get in your way?

1. They will fill you with doubt. If there’s one thing you should remember, it’s this: Those who fill you with doubt also doubt themselves. When their own self-doubt holds them back, they will project it onto you and hold you back as well.

2. They won’t be as excited about your dreams as you are. But don’t take it personally. Only a few people in your life will be as excited about your dreams as you and vise versa. You will only be as excited about the dreams of those you love most and wish well. And bullies will laugh at your dreams. This is a fact of life.

Therefore, don’t let that kill your excitement and don’t let it stop you. Because, if you’re not careful, it’s easy to let their lack of enthusiasm discourage you.

3. They may go a step further and discourage you. They may tell you that your goal or dreams isn’t worth pursuing. Maybe, they’ll tell you that you’ll only fail. This can inject fear in your mind and cause you to hesitate taking the first step to success.

 Playing Mind Games with Yourself

Understand that bullies and others who discourage you, do so based on their own limitations and failures. Their discouragement comes from their own worldview. And their worldview is that of failure and disappointment. In other words, their own limited self-beliefs stem from their own lack of success and their observation of others around them who failed to achieve their goals and dreams.

Some discourage you because they are afraid that you’ll succeed and, in that, force them to take stock of their own lack of accomplishment. But others, who may indeed care about you, may call themselves trying to spare you from the heartache of failure. For example, let’s say you want to go into the music business and others are piling on a mountain of discouragement.

Here are some questions you will need to ask yourself:

1. Does this person really know more about music than you do?

2. Does this individual understand you as a person? Have they even taken the time to do so?

3. Have they themselves worked hard and achieved any of their own goals and dreams?

If the answer is no, then you should give no consideration to anything they tell you. We must do what we love. In other words, we must follow our purpose and passion. Otherwise, the desire to do so won’t have an outlet and will only grow. Also, the bullying we suffer will have more of a chance of getting under our skin.

You will only continue to squelch those desires, only for them to resurface? Or worse, you’ll end up living with regret? You must realize that people who are determined to stay in their comfort zones also want you to stay in yours.

Comfort Zones Only Keep You Stuck

Realize that empowerment comes with personal responsibility. It comes with a ton of mind work and much re-framing. And when bullies are attacking you left and right, it can be extremely difficult to re-frame those attacks and keep that victim mentality from getting a grip on you. However, if you want to keep your power and move toward a better life, you must refuse to call yourself a victim. Instead, call yourself a target. Because you are a target. But you don’t have to be a victim.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C11-6

“Well first news first, Johnny Crabtree and Jason Eves broke out of the Federal pen in Bryson the day before yesterday. They’re on the run. A few radio stations in Memphis have reported it but no one else has said a peep. The television news channels in Memphis are so preoccupied with local politics in Shelby County. They don’t have time to report on little rinky-dink stories like jailbreaks anymore. And the newspapers here in Glover County are hush hush about it because Johnny’s a Crabtree and still has cronies and friends here who would have a fit if they did report it,” Popeye informed.

“Wow! Are you sure, Popeye?” Jo asked.

“Oh, yeah. They broke out and split,” Alvin confirmed, “The word is that they were seen in Little Rock, yesterday morning. Though the sighting hasn’t exactly been confirmed.”


“I’m not surprised people are so quiet about it,” Brielle said, “The Crier is owned by the Winchesters, Rita’s dad owns that paper! And the Winchesters are in cahoots with the Crabtree’s, the Lindsay’s, and the Poston’s. The Crabtree’s are bigtime farmers and have a little bit of money. Rita’s family is even richer and it’s the only reason Bobby married her in the first place, because of her father’s millions! Her mother’s side of the family are the Poston’s, who are political figures in this town, so Rita and Bobby have a lot of pull in this town.”

“Yep! And Johnny, he married Corrine Poston and had Stephen, then she died of pneumonia when Stephen was a baby. So, Johnny had to raise the boy by himself and he was pretty tough on the kid, from what I hear. That’s why he was such a danged old bully,” Alvin added.

“So, who’s raised him after his daddy went to prison?” Brielle asked.

Some Background on the Crabtree’s 

“Bobby and Rita,” Alvin answered, “The boy is in college now.”

“Do they know where Johnny and Jason might be headed? And does Bobby know about it?” Jesse asked.

“Oh, Bobby knows about it. He’s just keeping a tight lip. Do you think that crooked bastard would ever turn his brother in? Hell to the no!” Alvin said.

“But do they know where they might be? Or might be headed?” Atticus asked.

“I don’t know. But I’ll see what I can find out when I work my shift at the prison tonight. We usually get a lot of scuttlebutt about the goings on in Bryson from coworkers who have friends working at the Federal Pen,” Malcolm answered.

“Well, I don’t know how true it is, but I was told they were headed west. Maybe to Mexico. There’s a big manhunt underway. But so far, they haven’t found a trace of those two turds.” Popeye said.

An Unsolved Murder

“That’s scary. For all they know, those two could be hiding out right here under our noses,” Eartha said.

“That’s certainly possible. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Bobby was hiding them out. He’s that crooked! The nepotism runs deep in that family,” Kim said.

“Possible but not likely. Those two are too smart to stay here. Chances are, they’re out of the state by now!” Popeye said.

“Oh, it gets worse. I’ve heard many stories about when that Mark Bridges boy was killed years ago, after he got into it with the Conrad boys and the Dix Brothers down at Bulldog’s Bar in the bottoms. A week or two later, they found his body in the trunk of a car they pulled out of the River,” Raina mentioned.

“I remember hearing about that. But wasn’t Mark Bridges almost blind, and kind of slow. Some thought he was mentally disabled,” Brielle said.

“He was. That’s why those boys fucked with him every time he and his friend went to Bulldog’s Bar. The guy was only there to have a good time with his buddy. And because he was different, those Conrad’s and Dix’s was all the time messin’ with him, and finally they killed him. I’ll bet they were the ones who killed that boy. But no one in this county will dare even breathe a word about it. It’s all hush-hush. The whisper is that the Crabtree’s were either involved in the murder, or they knew about it,” Alvin said.

“So, they think Johnny and Jason are headed west, do they?” Grandma asked.

“Yep. That’s the whisper,” Popeye said.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C11-5

The following Tuesday was the court date for all the kids. One by one, Jane, Bruce, Roxie, Andy, and Brenda were herded into the juvenile court room, in front of Judge Poston. Just the day before, Jane had been released from the hospital and taken from there to the county juvenile facility. Having endured the longest three days of her life, Brielle, along with the Bennett, McCauley, Andretti, Schmitt, and Baxter families, sat in the public seating area, just behind the defendant’s table and railing.

Brielle could tell that Jane was still sore, seeing her walk with a slow gait and guarding her side and being careful not to aggravate her cracked ribs. She also noticed the dazed look in Jane’s eyes. A feeling of extreme concern overtook her.

Brielle then looked around and saw every member of the old clique sitting behind the plaintiff’s table, where the prosecution sat. All of their children- the bullies of Thomasville High, were also sitting with them in the courtroom, having been kept out of school for the sole purpose of getting to share in their parent’s pleasure of seeing these losers being escorted into the courtroom in chains and jail garb.

Brielle Reads the Room

Brielle noticed how they glared at her and the rest of the families, then looked at each other with smirks on their faces, seemingly filled with glee. The sheriff sat with them, along with Audrey, who smiled at Breanna. Breanna was visibly proud of what she had done, getting off on the power she had to ruin another person’s life. Sadly, that kind of power was highly addictive to narcissistic psychopaths like her.

As all the teenagers, dressed in grey jumpsuits, complete with shackles and chains, took their seats at the defense table, the old clique and the new clique took pleasure in watching the plights of these kids.

Behind the families of the young defendants, sat Raina, Kim, Popeye, Alvin, Eartha, Atticus, Jo, and Malcolm.

The proceedings moved rather quickly. And because the families of the marginalized kids had pooled their money together and hired a smart, bulldog Memphis attorney, Judge Poston had no choice but to grant bail after the kids plead not guilty. Thus, the case would go to trial a few months from this day.

After the families posted bail, the kids were allowed to come home and reunite with their families, which angered the sheriff and the rest of the town clique.

A Shocking but Pleasant Surprise

The families and friends of all gathered at Grandma Bennett’s house for another celebration. Family, food, and fun was top priority at the Bennett house that afternoon. Normally, they had always eaten in the kitchen at the oval oak dinner table. On this occasion, they ate at the long table in the formal dining room, under the crystal chandelier, which was strictly for special occasions.

Grandma Bennett, Marcelle, Brielle, Amy, and Melissa, the wives of Jesse and Jerome helped prepare a huge meal of fried catfish, slaw, white beans, fried potatoes, and hush puppies. As the remaining adults enjoyed togetherness in the living room, the kids gathered outside in the yard or on the front porch.

While the other kids played in the front yard, Bruce and Jane spent time together under the huge oak tree on the corner of the property, about fifty yards away. Bruce gazed into Jane’s eyes as he put his hands on her hips and she slowly ran her hands up his chest and laced her fingers around his neck.

“I was worried about you. When I got word that you were out of the hospital, I was relieved, although I hated that those creepy cops brought you to jail after you got out,” Bruce told her, “I’m sorry I couldn’t keep us from getting hit. I’m sorry I couldn’t keep you from getting hurt.”

A Happy Reunion

“There was nothing you could do. At least you pulled up on the emergency brake. The doctor said that if it weren’t for that, neither one of us would even be here now,” Jane said, “At least you kept me alive.” And they engaged in a long, passionate kiss.

When they finished kissing Bruce noticed that Jane’s eyes looked glazed.

“Are you alright, Jane?” he asked softly as he crooked his finger under her chin.

“A nurse gave me an injection the first night in the hospital. I don’t know what she gave me, but I haven’t felt right since,” Jane replied.

Later, as they were all eating in the dining room, Popeye spoke up.

“I got wind of a few things the other day that the local newspaper isn’t reporting. Those crooked reporters over at the Thomasville Crier and the Glover County Bulletin are silent as church mice about these things, and they’re huge.” Popeye said.

Everyone looked up from their plates and slightly leaned toward the messenger.

“So, what’s the news, Popeye?” Grandma Bennett asked.

Why You Should Befriend Other Targets

The old saying that “birds of a feather flock together” rings true. The Law of Similarity dictates that in order to find good friendships, you must establish common ground. Understand that those who share the same activities, experiences, perspectives, and attitudes have a high probability of developing close friendships. Humans are naturally drawn to those who share mutual interests.

How targets make friends is to find like-minded people to bond with. And nothing bonds humans like a shared contempt for the same things, people, and groups. Therefore, developing connections with other targets is not only necessary but wise.

When a target finds others who have been bullied by the same bullies, it not only confirms that he isn’t alone in the fight, but it’s a juicy opportunity to make friends and allies. And these new friends just might back the target up the next time her bullies come calling.

Commonalities Attract

Also, it reinforces the fact that the target is not a bad person. It says that, despite what bullies and most others have told him, he can make friends. It sends the message that the target is a likeable person and automatically discredits the bullies. Therefore, having friends who share the same experiences is a real self-esteem booster.

When targets unite, they share sameness and, therefore, are least likely to face conflict with one another. Each target in the group finally feels understood.

Case in point, sameness will always attract people to one another. People tend to become friends with those most like themselves. When targets begin to associate with and create ties with others whom the bullies have targeted, they immediately establish common ground. It is this common ground which quickly develops rapport.

A “Target Rich Environment”

If you’re a target of bullying and you find it difficult to make friends, you can create a “target rich environment” for  yourself by staying among other targets.

I cannot say this enough- we develop the best friendships with those who resemble us the most. We’re attracted to people with the same desires and pursuits. If you can find common ground, developing a positive relationship will be a cake walk!

So, how do you know that there’s common ground before you even talk to the person?

You start by noticing how the person dresses. Are there any similarities? If the person is wearing a tee shirt with the logo or picture of a rock group you like, there’s shared interest. And if they only have a slight interest in the group, you, at least, share a love of rock and roll music.

What a person is doing also gives clues. Also, their posture also has many tells in it. For example, if a person is sitting at the lunch table alone, slumps in their chair, and doesn’t interact much with others, you know that they have low self-esteem. And low self-esteem comes from bullying and abuse. So, don’t be afraid to go over and talk to them. You just might be the friend they’re looking for!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C11-4

Back at Grandma Bennett’s house, Brielle grew afraid after hearing Jane’s last words before the call was disconnected.

“Jane, what’s going on! Jane! Jane!” Brielle cried before putting her cellphone down and cupping her face in her hands. Malcolm snaked his arm around her and held her as she cried.

Back at the hospital, Misty glared at Jane. Seeing the look on Misty’s face Jane froze with fright.

“How did anyone get this number!” Misty roared threateningly.

“I don’t know?” Jane replied defensively.

“You are not allowed any phone calls nor visitors!” she dominantly demanded, “This by order of the sheriff!”

“This is bullshit and you know it! You’re violating my rights! Surely, you’ve heard of Patient’s Rights!” Jane shot back.

“You’re a smart thang, aren’t you? But the thing is, you’re in county custody, so any rights are automatically revoked!” Misty snapped in a taunting voice.

“You’re full of shit!” Jane snapped back.

Misty pulled out a syringe.

“I’m going to give you something to calm you down a little” she said as she pulled the cover off the needle.

Jane noticed the cloudy, foamy liquid inside and her eyes nearly popped out of her head.

Cut Off!

“No way! I’m not letting you inject me with that! As a patient, I have the right to refuse treatment! County custody or not!” Jane objected.

Suddenly, the sheriff bursted into Jane’s room and stood over her. He glared down at her as he folded his arms across his broad chest.

“You will take this injection, little lady! Or I can think of a litany of other charges to pin on you! I might even make sure that you become a ward of the state and that you don’t see your family for a long time! And before you come back at me with, ‘Well, I’ll get out of juvie eventually,’ let me remind you that we have ways of putting you in situations that just might extend your stay whenever it is that your release date draws near. Shit has ways of happening, you know? Couple of inmates jump you, you fight back with your martial arts, maybe maim one of the inmates? You know, shit like that? Then we make you look like the instigator? Oooh, I bet that’ll go over really well with the system. I’d say it would extend your stay for about six months, maybe a few years.” Bobby taunted evilly, “Imagine being on the inside of juvie with absolutely no privileges. That means no visitors, no phone calls, no going outside for an hour- nothing! That’s an awful long time not to get to see your momma, your grandma, your little friends, Roxie Andretti and those other punk-losers, your boyfriend, and oh! And your sisters, especially that sweet little baby. Oh, now what’s her name? Oh, yes! Sweet little Kennedy?” 

Medical Tyranny

“You’re so creepy,” Jane told him.

“Oh, sweetheart. Do you really think I don’t get that all the time? You are one naïve little firecracker.” The sheriff continued in a voice dripping with arrogance and haughtiness, “Because, you see? We may not be able to take you physically, but we can take you psychologically. We can make your life a living hell. Believe me, honey! We’re well-practiced in the arts of psychological warfare! Physically, you, your mom, and your sister, Olivia could kick our asses all over the county. But psychologically and politically, we hold the power. And, we have guns, bigger guns than your family has! We could wipe all of you off the face of the earth if we had a good reason to, or even took a notion to!”

Suddenly, he leaned down and got nose to nose with Jane. His eyes blazed and face twisted in psychotic anger.

My Body but Not My Choice

“You will! Take! This injection!” He growled with a deeper voice that almost sounded demonic.

Misty stuck the needle in Jane’s upper arm and suddenly, the room began to spin, and her head and ears began buzzing. Any movement in the room began to look strange and she became so weak that her arms and legs felt weighted with cinder blocks.

The shot made Jane feel like a zombie. She couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, and couldn’t even think. The fog in her brain was so thick it was indescribable. Finally, everything faded to black.

Your Wins are Your Bullies’ Losses

Always! Why? Because the last thing your bullies want is for you to succeed at anything. Let’s go deeper here. Understand that any success you enjoy, any accomplishment you make is a threat to your bullies. It’s a threat to their power- their perceived superiority over you and their spotlight.

Whenever you make an accomplishment and reach success, other people will give you recognition. This will take some of the spotlight away from your bullies. Remember that bullies love to hog the spotlight. They crave admiration. And when they watch you getting a piece of it, it infuriates them.

What it Does to Your Bullies’ Egos

Moreover, when people see you as inferior, and, all of a sudden, you’ve made this huge accomplishment and are wildly successful, your bullies begin to look stupid. Why? Because your success sends them the unspoken message that you’re not so inferior after all and that you’ve shown them up. It’s made them look like the inferior ones and they know it. They can feel it and it doesn’t feel so good!

Your bullies have such fragile egos that they’re constantly look for assurance that you are what they say you are. They need confirmation that you’re no good. Therefore, when you accomplish even the smallest goal or reach even a tiny bit of success, it automatically pokes holes in the narrative they’ve been peddling. Additionally, bullies see you as competition and they despise competition. This is why it doesn’t pay to tell others about any goals or dreams. Not until you reach them.

And once you do, watch your bullies become petty and childish. Watch them turn up the harassment and notice how they increase the name-calling, insults, and verbal abuse. Note that their attacks become more brutal and more painful. Watch as your bullies work overtime with the smear campaigns against you. Also, watch as many so-called friends turn against you.

Jealousy is demonic!

People you thought were with you and supported you suddenly turn cold. Any time these things happen to you left and right and you feel people are attacking you from every corner, jealousy and envy are most likely the culprits.

And here’s something else!

Many times, you may not necessarily need to be super-successful for other people to launch such demonic evil against you. All it times is for you to have potential and people know potential when they see it. Therefore, they may not be jealous of anything you have or enjoy at the present but they’re envious of your potential. They’re jealous of where you might be headed and of your capabilities and possibilities.

Your bullies are so afraid that you just might reach amazing heights later. They’re deathly frightened that your future may have great things in store for you. Most bullies aren’t dumb when it comes to scoping out intelligence. They can sense that you’re headed for great things long before you reach them. These bullies might have nice cars, clothes, money, and other material things but, again, they will be extremely jealous of where you may be heading in life. And they’re afraid that you just might pass them by.

Therefore, your win is their loss. Your happiness is their anger and your promotion, their demotion.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C11-3

Downstairs, Brielle dialed the hospital and managed to get the receptionist to give her the number to Jane’s room.

Back at the hospital, Jane had just awoken with a gauze bandage wrapped in a crown-like pattern around her head and one wrist handcuffed to the bedrail.

“What the…?” she said woozily as she looked puzzledly at the cuff on her wrist. She struggled against the restraint, pulling the cuffs taut as she made a couple of futile attempts to pull her wrist free. Her eyes then widened as she looked around the hospital room to see if anyone was there.

“Mom? Grandma? Uncle Jesse? Bruce?” she called out before letting out a mixture between a fearful sigh and a groan.

Suddenly, the bedside phone that sat on the bedside drawer began ringing. Jane stretched her body and both arms, fighting against the handcuffs as she reached for the phone. She could barely get her fingers around the earpiece. As the phone kept ringing, she drew a deep breath and make an extra effort to get a grip of the phone, grunting as she stretched as far as she possibly could. Her efforts paid off.

Brielle Sneaks a Call

As soon as she was able to grab the phone, she placed it to her ear, stretching the cord that connected the cradle to the receiver as far as it would stretch.


“Hey, baby! It’s Mom!” Brielle said as her voice broke.

“Mom! Oh my God, where are you? I need you right now!” Jane said as she began crying, “I can’t get out of the bed! I’m handcuffed!” Jane sniveled.

Brielle began crying.

“Sweetie, that sheriff wouldn’t let us see you! Oh, God, baby! I’d be right there, right now, if there was any way I could! But the cops aren’t allowing you any visitors!” Brielle said as she wept, “Oh, God, baby! I’m so sorry! You don’t know how this is killing me inside! You’re all I can think about!”

“I don’t understand, Mom! Why won’t they let you in here! Why can’t you stay with me!” Jane cried.

Jane is in the Hospital…Alone!

“I don’t know why, baby! But just know that I love you! I love you, so, so much! And I want to be there with you! God knows, I want to be there!”

“Mom, I figured that you were mad at me and that’s why you weren’t here! Mom, the cops say that they found weed in my purse! But I don’t know where it came from! Oh, God, Mom, I swear! It’s not mine! I don’t know how it got there! Somebody had to have put it in my purse without me knowing it! But I don’t know how! I had my purse with me the whole time!” Jane whimpered.

“Baby, I know that weed wasn’t yours and I could never be mad at you for this! What you got is a bullshit charge! Okay! Me, Grandma, Grandma B, we all know it’s a trumped-up charge and that it’s bullshit! Roxie came to the hospital earlier. She, Andy, and Brenda were all at the fair and they saw you and Bruce. They were about to come over and say hi to you when they saw Breanna Lindsay, the sheriff’s daughter, and the rest of those little shits walk past you and Bruce while you were both standing in line. Your backs were turned to them, Jane. Roxie and your friends saw Breanna put something in your purse while your back was turned. She swears up and down on it! Your friends from school called the sheriff and his daughter out in front of God and everyone in that waiting room last night,” Brielle assured.

Brielle Tells Jane about the Set Up

“Oh, my God! Mom, who the hell are these people!” Jane gasped.

“They’re sick people, Jane. And unfortunately, this world has a lot of them! But, baby, I promise you, we’re going to fight this! And we’re going to fight like hell! You just hang on, baby! Be my big, brave girl! Okay?”

Meanwhile, Sheriff Bobby stood beside Room 234, which was Jane’s room. Misty approached pushing the medicine cart with the MAR sitting on top of it. They met at the door. Misty made a quick glance around to see if the coast was clear, then the Sheriff handed her a rolled-up wad of one hundred-dollar bills.

Misty quickly stuffed the wad of benjamins deep in the pocket of her nurse’s uniform before Bobby handed her a syringe filled with a white, cloudy, and foamy substance.

“You know what to do,” Bobby told her.

Misty nodded before entering Jane’s room.

Misty Intervenes

Misty walked in and suddenly flinched when she saw that Jane was on the phone. She also happened to catch part of the conversation.

“I’ll try, Mom. I’m really scared,” Jane sobbed.

“I am too, sweetie. But we’re going to overcome this. I promise. Keep the faith, angel,” her mother’s voice vowed on the other end.

Jane looked up to see Misty coming through the door with the med cart and MAR.

“Mom, a nurse just came in. I think it’s Breanna’s mother!” Jane told her.

With that, Misty left the cart and rushed over to where the phone was sitting.

“Hey! What are you doing?” Jane cried as Misty snatched the phone away, then pushed down the plunger with one finger, disconnecting the call.

Is Little Kevin Bullied in “Home Alone?”

The first two “Home Alone” movies are a couple of my favorite Christmas flicks. Along with the hilarious “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” my family and I make a yearly ritual of watching them during the Holidays.

The character, eight-year-old Kevin McAllister, is smarter than his family gives him credit for. You’ve got to hand it to the kid. He isn’t afraid to call out Buzz’s shenanigans, or Uncle Frank’s being a jerk and moocher.

In the movie, poor Kevin seems to get “dumped on,” as he puts it. When Buzz admits to eating Kevin’s cheese pizza and taunts him over it, Kevin reacts. In his reaction, the boy causes a huge mess in the kitchen by shoving Buzz into the counter. Therefore, he angers his family. Afterward, his mother, Kate, marches him straight upstairs to the dreaded third floor as punishment, and Buzz gets off Scot free.

Buzz has a Way of Baiting Kevin into a Reaction

Although Kevin is the baby of the family, he sure isn’t treated like it. Amazingly, the rest of the family never seem to notice how Buzz taunts and digs at Kevin in plain sight. Or, maybe they do see it but choose to ignore it because Kevin is the youngest, smallest, and has the least power.

And who can forget the Christmas choir scene in the sequel, “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York?” In this scene, Buzz, who’s standing behind Kevin, pranks him with the Christmas candles and humiliates the poor kid in front of the entire audience as he sings his solo?

His family, who are sitting in the audience and watching it all unfold, only seem amused by Buzz’s cruel prank. When Kevin reacts and ruins the entire show, it’s his fault. Don’t get me wrong, it is funny, and it’s only part of the movie. However, one can’t help but feel sorry for the poor kid.

Even worse is later, when the family is sitting in the living room and expects Kevin to apologize. Buzz gives a beautiful show of remorse to keep himself out of trouble. However, when he turns his back to the family, he sneakily calls Kevin a “trout sniffer.”

Poor Kevin Can’t Seem to Get a Break

Again, no one ever mentioned how Buzz had humiliated his little brother in front of his fellow choir members and a packed auditorium of spectators. With the trout-sniffer remark, Buzz once again baits Kevin into another outburst, which only gets the poor little guy in trouble.

Here’s another thing that makes me believe that Kevin is a target. The family doesn’t seem to take his feelings, opinions, and thoughts into consideration. Instead, they only dismiss them.

But understand that this is what bullying looks like. When you watch the interaction between Kevin and his older brother Buzz, you’re watching a perfect example of bullying by baiting the target into a reaction.

Blue Christmas background; Christmas composition with Xmas decoration on snow

Sadly, bullies do this in the real world all the time.

Home Alone 1 and 2 are fantastic movies, and I would never downrate them because of the bullying in them. Sibling bullying is what makes the two movies! Without it, a sizeable chunk of comedy wouldn’t be there, and both flicks would be terrible!

It doesn’t trigger me at all, although it might some targets and survivors of bullying. I can only speak for myself on this. To me, the bullying aspect of the movie is what keeps the butts in the seats at the matinee during the holidays. 

My point is that these movies can teach you what bullying looks like and how to recognize it when it happens, which is only another added benefit to these two iconic holiday motion pictures!

So, grab yourself some popcorn and a soda- oops- maybe some Christmas cookies and eggnog would be more appropriate. Snuggle up by the fireplace after turning off every light in the house except your Christmas tree lights. Then bask in the relaxed ambiance as you enjoy these timeless Christmas classic comedies!

The Moral of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

“You can tell a man’s vises by his friends, his virtues by his enemies.” – Ben Domenech.

Often times, bullies attack your virtues. They make fun of your good qualities and make them seem as something bad- a defect that you should be ashamed of.

For example, if a person is kind and gentle, they may be bullied because they’re seen as weak or mistaken for being a suck-up. If a kid has a talent and is proud of his talent, it’s likely that he’s accused of showboating, then bullied and his talent devalued.

If anything should remind you of your value, even in the midst of bullying and persecution, it’s the story of Rudolph. His red nose made him different from the other reindeer and they bullied and persecuted him for it. Even the adult reindeer were mean to Rudolph.

But the very characteristic the other reindeer scorned and made fun of was the thing that would be of the most value later.

In the beginning, no one realized the beauty of Rudolph’s nose. But, in the end, that nose only promoted Rudolph to the lead reindeer to guide Santa’s sleigh through terrible weather conditions and saved Christmas from being cancelled.

Again, the thing that bullies tolerate, or more appropriately, denigrate, may later be the very thing people celebrate. You may be bullied and friendless now,  but don’t be so quick to condemn yourself to “the island of misfit toys.”

Why? Because Rudolph, Hermie the misfit elf who wanted to be a dentist, and the misfit toys eventually found acceptance and love.

And the thing about you that people ridicule and deem different now could later be the very thing that launches you to unimaginable heights!

The show is a children’s Christmas classic but it sends a very grown-up message.

Don’t give up. Stand strong. Value yourself even if others don’t. You don’t know what God has in store for you down the road.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Survival Mode

Tippy toe, tippy toe, I must walk ever so carefully

While looking up to Heaven I plea prayerfully

Walking through this toxic place is like walking through a minefield

They see me as worse than Newman on an episode of Seinfeld

In glee the bullies watch as they smile with their eyes twinkling brightly

Their unsolicited advice is for me to tread lightly

Constantly watching and waiting for the other shoe to drop

No end in sight, not even a sign that the bullying will stop

Knowing in my gut that something’s about to pop off

If I didn’t have hope for my future, I’d bust some shots off

Angry and contemptful eyes narrowed into slits all around me

Watching, waiting, and anticipating the next juicy opportunity

Looking at me, watching me, with their breath just a-bating

Like ravenous vultures, they continue waiting and anticipating

My stomach turns, flips, and draws up in knots

As they gather ‘round to make their evil pot-shots

Holding my head high, I continue to walk this proverbial death march

Like a cornered cat in preparation for attack, I feel my back arch

“Walking the Mile, Walking the Mile, Walking the Green Mile”

I walk with a brave face through a cesspit nest of creatures so vile

Making a point to be careful not to disturb and stir the hornet’s nest

On high alert, I see nothing but red as I try my level best

Just to blend in, be safe by only being another face in the crowd

Look, look! There she is! Get her! Get her! They all yell aloud

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, to escape this chilling cold

Forced, compelled, with no other choice but to live in survival mode

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C11-2

Later, all the adults had no choice but to leave the hospital. The powers that be were just too strong. They all met back at Grandma Bennett’s house. As they gathered in the living room, Brielle wiped away tears.

“Jesus God!” she cried as Malcolm took her in his arms.

“Brielle, honey, listen! Now, you have to calm down. It’s gonna be alright! Those brutes finally stepped over the line tonight and, just like old Johnny Crabtree, they’ll get theirs! Honey, The Lord’s got us! It’s going to be alright!” Grandma Bennett pleaded anxiously.

Brielle turned and looked at her grandmother.

“Really, Grandma? Is it really going to be alright? My job is burned to the ground! My fifteen-year-old daughter has had weed planted on her, then gotten into a car wreck with her boyfriend! She’s now in the hospital, and, along with her boyfriend, about to be charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell. And the law around here won’t let me see her! They won’t let me be with her! My daughter is in the hospital…alone! But they won’t let me see her! And all this shit has happened in one night! One night, Grandma! CPS and the Truancy department have been breathing down my neck over my homeschooling the kids and accusing me of keeping them out of school when they know damned well that they’re in an accredited home school! They’re looking for any reason- any reason to take away my kids!” Brielle went on pitifully as her voice continued to break, “And you stand there and tell me that it’s gonna be alright! Well, I don’t think so!”

Brielle’s Faith is Shaken

As Brielle talked, tears streamed down her face. Grandma Bennett calmly continued.

“Honey, you read the book, they did the same thing to Shannon McGregor. They took her kids too, but she got them back, Brielle. She got them back, honey!” Grandma explained.

“Yeah, she did, Grandma! But I’m not Shannon McGregor, Grandma! I don’t have the money that she had! Hell! I’m not rich! I’m just a middle-class, divorced, single mother busting her ass, trying to eek out a living to support my kids and put them through home school! And don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that Shannon had the resources to fight for her children and get them out of here before anything bad happened to them! I’m glad she got them all to safety and I’ll never begrudge her for that! But I don’t have those kinds of resources! I can’t pay for some marine warhorse and some ex-CIA guy to come rescue me and my kids! Shannon had the resources and the connections to fight those bastards! I don’t!” Brielle cried, “They burned me out of a job and Atticus out of business! All I have now is a house, a vehicle, and a four-thousand-dollar monthly child support check to keep us all afloat! That’s it!”

“Sweetheart, it could be worse. Just remember that, okay,” Grandma said softly.

“You’re right! It could be worse! And there’s possibility that it could get worse! What if they decide to burn my house down like they did Shannon’s? Yes, Grandma. I’m very aware that things could get worse…a lot worse. And to tell you the truth, I’m bracing for it!” Brielle said as she sat down on the sofa, put her face in her hands, and began silently sobbing. Her back and chest heaved with each sob.

Brielle Realizes that She is Powerless

Marcelle sat on one side of Brielle and pressed her head against her chest as she cried. Malcolm sat on the other side of her and rubbed her shoulder. Grandma knelt in front of her and placed a loving hand on her knee.

“I understand, honey. But pray about it. Just pray, Brielle! Get down on your knees, baby! And pray to The Lord and let Him handle it. Let Him be the One to rescue you and these babies,” Grandma gently suggested.

“I don’t have time to wait on God, Grandma. Sometimes, He runs a little slow! And sometimes He doesn’t act at all! I’ll try my best to believe but that’s all I can muster right now,” Brielle sobbed.

Brielle then leaned forward and put her elbows on her knees.

“They always go after the kids, don’t they? If they hate you, bully you, and can’t get you to bend or break, the next thing they do is come after your babies. They come after the people you love most,” she said as her voice trailed off, her eyes glazed over, and she seemed to drift off into space.

Upstairs, Jesse, John, and Jerome opened the gun cabinet. Jesse took out one shotgun.

Jesse and the Boys Prepare for the Worst

“Here ya go, Dad!” he said as he tossed the shotgun to him, before taking out another and handing it to Jerome. They opened the chamber to see two shells nestled inside, then closed it. Jesse took a third shotgun and also checked the chamber. He also took out a Glock nine and checked it too. He then looked at the other two men.

“I don’t know guys, but I have a feeling things are about to get reeeeal ugly,” he said in a dreadful tone, “we need to stay on guard around our homes at all times. I’m going to go fetch my wife, then be posted at Brielle’s house. Dad, you take that gun and stay with Mom. Jerome, you go get your wife and bring her here. Both of y’all can stay here with Grandma. If you see anybody strange poking around, don’t shoot but watch them. If they do any funny business or come inside any of these houses, you know what to do. But make sure they’re all the way in the house before you blast their ass!”

Jesse looked at the clock. It was three in the morning.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C11

Chapter 11
“They Always Go After the Children”

Not even a minute later, four more deputies entered the waiting room. Aaron grabbed Roxie, forced her hands behind her back and slapped on the cuffs. A second deputy, who was the father of Kevin Hearns, grabbed Brenda and cuffed her and a third did the same to Andy.

“What the hell are you doing!” Malcolm roared.

“Oh, really? Really???” Roxie shouted.

“Really!” Aaron growled, “We’re arresting you for fighting at the fair! You punks damn near caused a riot tonight!”

“That was no riot, and you know it! We were jumped when we tried to go over to Jane and Bruce and warn them about the dope drop! We only defended ourselves, you morons!” Andy shot back.

“Are you kidding me? This is so wrong!” Brenda cried as she was being cuffed from behind, “This is nothing but retaliation because we called out your rotten offspring!”

“Oh, no! You are not going to take these kids to jail!” Brielle shouted as another deputy came in from the hall with Bruce in handcuffs.

“Bruce!” Big Bruce cried as he darted up to his son and put his arms around him. But another two deputies grabbed him from behind and pulled him away.

Bobby Comes Up with An Excuse to Arrest all the Kids

The commotion at the hospital was deafening as the adults clamored to protect the kids.

“You’re a rotten sonofabitch, Bobby!” Jesse growled.

“Pieces of shit!” Big Bruce yelled.

“You’re going to end up paying for this!” Brielle shouted.

“Assholes! You’re not real law! You’re only criminals with badges!” Marsha McCauley yelled.

Bruce’s older brother Ryan and sister Karen tried to step between the cops and the kids but were violently shoved out of the way.

“You better pray that The Lord has mercy on you, come judgement day!” Grandma Bennett told them, raising her voice.

Ignoring the protests of the adults, Bobby looked at the arresting deputies.

“Get those punks outta here!” He ordered.

Then, there was Misty, standing there with a smug smirk, taking in all the drama and seemingly getting her cheap thrills from it all.

The Families Are Powerless to Help the Kids

All the kids were taken away and Marsha burst into tears as did Bruce’s sister Karen. Big Bruce put his arms around both his ladies. Brielle and Grandma also wept as Malcolm held Brielle and Jesse held Grandma.

Brielle suddenly remembered a quote from a history teacher she had admired and gotten along well with when she was in school.

“They always go after the children.”

 And the quote seemed to replay over and over in her head.

“They always go after the children.

They always go after the children

…the children

…the children…”

Brielle continued to sob in Malcolm’s arms.

Why didn’t they just arrest me! Why do they have to go after these kids!”

“Toxic Masculinity” is a BS Term

Bullying and gaslighting do not just happen to individuals in a school, workplace or community. It happens to entire nations and populations.

Lately, I’ve been hearing the term, “toxic masculinity” and truthfully, it is a term used to gaslight the masses into believing that all men who assume what is considered a strong, masculine role in society are bad people. This painted up, intellectual sounding term is also used to guilt men into toning down their masculinity or manliness.

It brainwashes many men into shirking their responsibilities. In short, the Radical feminists on the Left use the term to weaken the men of the free world ever-so-subtly. “Toxic Masculinity” is such a divisive and mendacious term designed to bait people into hating and resenting men who are awesome leaders in their churches, communities, and those who are father-figures.

Newborn baby booties in parents hands. Pregnant woman belly.

In no way, shape, or form am I suggesting that toxic men don’t exist because they do. Sure, there are men who are abusive to their partners and families. But to make out that all men are toxic is, in and of itself, sexist, unfair, and ignorant.

There are great men in the West and, believe me, these men look down on and despise the toxic men who are abusive to women and to their families. An abusive man is not a real man and there are abusive women as well.

Allow me to break it down and tell you what the goal behind the use of this “toxic” term really is:

To kill anything, you must cut off the head.

Men are ordained by God to be the head of the family and household. A good, responsible, hard-working man is the rock of the family. Not only does he keep order in the family, but he also provides for and protects them. This is how humanity has survived for thousands of years.

Take the man (the head) out of the family and you weaken the entire family! And to weaken an entire country or civilization, you start with weakening the family unit. It’s a process that happens so slowly and in such tiny bites that you won’t even know what’s happening until after it’s gotten so far out of control.

Everything starts with the family unit and ripples outward over time. Over decades, we have, ever-so-slowly and subtly, normalized divorce and single parenthood.

In that,

You normalize laziness in men.

You normalize parents giving their sons everything and take away their incentive to work for a living.

You encourage men to became more feminized.

You mass-incarcerate men (especially black men) for the most trivial of offenses to take them away from, and ultimately weaken their families!

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Understand that I’m not judging anyone who is divorced or is single and raising a family. My mother was divorced and a single parent as was I for a few years. For one parent to do a job for two parents is hard as hell and I salute all the single parents out there.

The point I’m making is this: Many of us are now recognizing a system which is out to destroy us. What has slowly unfolded over several decades only weakens the male population of The West and that’s what the Left and countries like China (yep! I said it!) want in order to destroy Western Civilization- freedom.

As I mentioned earlier, the best way to destroy a civilization is through the family unit and the best way to destroy the family unit is to take out the head of the family or simply, the father and any future fathers, by weakening them.

If this isn’t a form of bullying, I don’t know what is. To weaken someone or a group of people is to reduce or take away their personal power- to create an imbalance of power for the purpose of wussifying a population so that the corruptors- the biggest bullies of the world- can take control, dominate, and bully at will.

I love a good, strong, chivalrous man who is able to lead with love. I love it when my husband opens doors for me and pulls out my chair! He protects me and provides for me. And he loves me. So, I want him to take his place as the head of the household and would expect nothing less of him.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Importance of Forgiveness

Forgiving your bullies and anyone who’s ever wronged you isn’t easy, but it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself.

I know, I know! I can practically hear the groans of dread and scoffs coming from a few already. To be honest, I once had the same attitude myself anytime someone advised me to forgive.  I wasn’t ready to because I hadn’t healed yet.

Sometimes, you need time to process the abuse you suffered and heal before you can forgive. Completely understandable! And only you can know when you’re ready. Understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean that the transgression they committed against you is okay, nor does it mean that you have to buddy up with the person who wronged you. But when you’re ready to forgive, it will only benefit you, not your attacker.

Allow me to delve a little deeper:

Forgiveness is a must! It is a prerequisite for re-empowerment and happiness. It’s not about letting anyone off the hook; it’s about setting yourself free from the toxic feelings of anger and hate, which will hold you back.

This message is for targets of bullying today and for survivors of bullying. Forgive them when you’re ready. I can tell you that for me, the ability to forgive was like a huge weight that was lifted off of my shoulders. There’s truly no better feeling!

Anytime you hold on to grudges and hate for a person, that individual controls you whether you realize it or not. They may have exerted control over the years they bullied you, but you don’t have to let them control the rest of your life.

Let me put it another way, holding onto and carrying around anger and hate doesn’t hurt the person it’s aimed at. It hurts you. Because the people you hate and hold grudges against either don’t know about it, or they don’t care.

While you’re sitting around stewing over someone who did you wrong, that person could care less. They’re going on with their lives and not giving you so much as a thought. So, why should you allow them to take up space in your mind?

Forgiveness is the only solution to this problem. It’s the only way that you will be able to take back control of your life.

If you want to be happy, successful, and live in peace, forgive the people who wronged you. It’s the only way!

With knowledge comes empowerment!