Monday, April 12, 2010


My macho United States Marine Corps neighbor came over early one morning. I had just poured the first cup of Community Coffee, still in my pajamas, about to read the Sunday paper. I could not imagine what he was doing over so early, perhaps he needed to borrow a cup of coffee.

"Good Morning"

"LinMarie, now don't get mad, but look out your front window and check out the hooker."

Scot, went back home, leaving me to watch the act taking place outside my window.

When I first moved to my old house, I was a seamstress. I had a sewing and alterations business. I had erected a sign on my corner with the name of my company, "Yes I Can" and in smaller letters it read Sewing, Alterations and Classes.

Cathy was standing on my corner under the sign. Anyone in their right mind could tell she was high as a kite in a March wind. I did not know, at the time, which choice of high she was on - crack cocaine, marijuana, booze or perhaps a mixture of all. I did know for her to be out this early in the morning, that she'd never been to bed. Street girls mainly do their thing at night - thinking no one will see them.

At first sight, I was furious. But, after standing by the window watching her, I began to laugh. I watched her for a long time, as she would wriggle her butt in a circular fashion, raise her pleated mini skirt up over her white tee-shirt, point to the sign, and holler, "YES, I CAN!" She never had any "takers" or "johns" stop.

I watched as she began walking up the street, I figured Cathy had tired of her aerobics and cheerleading. Cathy headed for the middle of the street to play her version of dodge ball with her body and cars and trucks being the ball.

All of a sudden Cathy hit the ground. I could tell from my view point that she was either having a seizure or was in DT's from the drugs. I flew out my front door as fast as I could, down the stairs, one foot on top of a tree stump and over the fence I was. When I got to her she was as limp as a wet dish rag.

"What is it, Cathy? Talk to me. Don't you die on me." I yelled to the semi-conscious girl. I knew from the look of her that the attack wasn't a seizure.

She panicked, I suppose thinking I was going to beat the tar out of her for prostituting in front of my house, and began screaming - not in words just noise!

"Shut up screaming," I said. "I ain't going to hurt you. But, I am going to get off this street before you get both of us killed."

I threw that 95 pound girl over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes. I had no choice but to get us out of the road. Instinct, I was headed to my house. Street folk were watching. A group of thugs were piled together on the side walk. No one said a word for a long time. After I passed the group of thugs, one said, just loud enough for me to hear, "That crazy white bitch that stays in the big blue house gonna beat the crap outta that ho..." I ignored him.

The thoughts and opinions of the street people did not matter to me right then. I had other thoughts and other things to think about, like what was I going to do with Cathy. My main concern was to get her cleaned up, let her sleep off whatever she was on, and maybe try to talk some sense into her.

"Please don't call the po-po on me, just help me." she whispered before we ever got to my gate.

All I could do was pray. "God, just help me understand this girl. Maybe if I can understand her, I can help her."

I took Cathy in that day. she soaked for over two hours in a hot tub of water. She was like a kid that didn't want to get out. I brought her a robe and gown that swallowed her - it made her appear to be even more tiny than what she was - but they were clean.

"Can I sleep for just a little while?" she asked.

"Sure, take the bed in the back room."

I sat by the bed off and on the entire 17 hours that Cathy slept. I had heard from street talk that she was seizure prone and I suspected that she may have already had one. If that were the case, then I knew that she needed uninterrupted rest without a john or pimp pushing her to be back out on the streets. And, I knew none of them were brave or crazy enough to come to my house.

Around nine the next morning, Cathy began to stir. Being raise a good portion of my life by a grandmother, I could hear her saying, "Breakfast is your main meal of the day." I wondered if Cathy had a family and a place to go eat breakfast.

"Oh what the heck?" I thought.

On examining the fridge, I only found one egg and some really old milk. I think penicillin could be made with it or something of that nature. The bread was old, too, but I did know how to make biscuits from scratch. Okay, perhaps I secretly wanted to impress my house guest.

By the time Cathy got up, her clothes had been washed and pressed and a good breakfast of egg, sausage gravy and home made biscuits awaited her in my kitchen.

"You did this for me?" she asked suspiciously.

"No, for us. I plan to eat too." I said.

"You mean we eating together? We gonna sit here together?"

"If you plan to eat, we are. Trust me, I ain't going to try to poison you. You're not ....." damned my mouth. I started to tell her she wasn't worth me going to jail over her, but I retreated and said, "You're not going to get out of eating my cooking that easy. Sit down and eat."

I could tell she was hesitant. Even if I do say so myself, the smell was pretty appealing. We both dived into eating. No words were spoken for a long time. I could tell from the way she went after the gravy and biscuits she hadn't eaten for a while.

"What you got in this gravy?" she asked.

"I make mine with Cremora Coffee Creamer, it's cheaper and I'm allergic to milk sometimes."

"Get out of here! Are you for real? Coffee creamer?"

"Yes, why is it that bad?"

"NO, it's the best sausage gravy I've ever eaten."

We ate in silence for a while and of course, I found that I just could not sit there and wonder about the things I was thinking.

"Cathy, why do you sell yourself?"

"For rocks mostly."

"How much do you make?"

"What's with all these questions?"

"Just curious, that's all"

"You the police?"

"No, if I were, I would have hauled you in long before now."

"Then, what's it to you?"

"Nothing I just was trying to better understand you. That's all. Don't get your panties in a wad." Then I laughed because I realized she didn't have any on. All of a sudden, with the shock wiped off her face, she started laughing, too!

We ate more food. I served us more coffee and juice.

"No thank you," she said, "I've had enough. I wouldn't want to lose my girlie figure."

"Well," I thought to myself, "At least the little lady has been taught some manners, so I know somebody has raised her right."

"I make between $1.50 and $3.00 for each trick. Well, you, being a white lady would call it a blow job. My man gets the rest."

"What do you mean, 'your man gets the rest'?"

"Well, I charge between $10-$20 each time. They (the "date") rides around and I do my thing to 'em. Then I have to give the money to my john who been following us or he be where I'm to be dropped off."

"You mean "john" as in "pimp"?"

"Whatever you wanna call him - I just know I ain't messing with him and his money."

"Is he the one in that black car that follows not far behind you when you are on the streets?"

"How'd you know that?"

"Cathy, I may be white, I may not understand your life style, but I am not blind. I've seen you beat up and bruised. I cannot understand why someone with your education and personality would do something like that. Please get off the street."

"How you know I got a degree from Lamar?"

"I've done my homework too."

"Well I plan to get off the streets, they ain't nothing nice."

"Yeah? When?"

"One day soon. I gotta go or he's gonna be on the streets looking for me. Thanks for helping me and for the breakfast."

"Cathy, before you go, if you ever need my help, I am not the law, but I can help you or will try, when you are ready."

Cathy hugged my neck and said, "You know you really ain't such a bad white bitch like they say. Thank you for your help."

I thought of Cathy often after that. Every time she would pass the house, she would wave. Sometimes if other girls were working in front of the house, she'd holler at them to get to another street, because "a real lady stays in that house" She also passed the word that my place was a place to find solace and peace and that I would keep their lives and secrets safe within my walls.

I came to the conclusion that sharing the heart warming events that led to me cleaning up my neighborhood, winning a Jefferson Award for my efforts, may help someone else along the way.

Later that same year, Cathy was found murdered in a park in South Beaumont. She was having oral sex, got angry at the guy and bit him. He in turn, slit her throat.

It seemed like a senseless murder. She was so sweet, although confused. I learned her degree was an accountant. She was just that smart before the cocaine took over her body. I'm told that the first high from crack cocaine is unmeasureable. I'm told the body craves more and more. The craving will go to sleep, like a sleeping tiger, but when he awakes, raises his head and roars, he has to be fed.

Perhaps in her death, Cathy had found the peace that she really wanted all along. Over the course of the months after her death, I realized that Cathy was worthy of any one's attention, love and care. And, I regretted the day that I thought she wasn't.

I also thought that she was some one's child and that they would miss her. I knew that she had touched my heart and opened my eyes in a way that no one else had ever done nor any amount of schooling had ever come close to doing. She also had opened the communications line between others like her, the street girls, and myself.

I know Cathy was someone very special, because I know God doesn't make junk. It's been almost twenty years since Cathy and I had our first interaction - my streets and neighborhood are safe and clean - but I still miss seeing her and her beautiful smile...

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I had seen Kim working the streets since the beginning of my life in my old house. She was a really "sassy walker" to say the least. Street talk was she "could strut her stuff" or she was "doggin' it". Either way, those were mild understatements. She could twist her rear end smoother and faster than a Maytag washing machine.

It was a hot night in June. I'd worked on building my garage all day. If you don't know about Texas in June - it's hotter than a pepper patch - like when you walk outside and try to make it to your car, there isn't anything on you dry. Hot. I'd decided a long hot bubble bath, candles and a glass of wine would do the trick to relax my aching muscles.

I had been in that Calgon take me away about twenty minutes when I heard a scream. A woman was hollering, "HELP ME!! PLEEEEZE SOMEONE HELP ME!"

By this time in my adventure of living here, I had already endured a lot of "help me's" that were more like the little boy calling wolf when nothing had happened.. This one seemed to have a "Coca Cola" ring to it - like it was "the real thing". I jumped, grabbed a bathrobe and ran out of the house barefooted.

At first I thought the scream was from my front porch, but once outside, I realized it was next door. I jumped the fence, darn near got my robe caught on the prongs on top and got to the screaming gal laying on the ground. I'm sure my jumping the fence would've made the Funniest Videos! But, in a lurch, fluffy girls can run.

"Ms. Lin, you gots to help me you gots to help me!" she was screaming.

"Kim, if you scream at me one more time I'm gonna knock you out - now shut up screaming and tell me what's wrong."

"Ms Lin, he shot me in the butt!"

"WHO shot you in the butt - WHAT? Who shot you in the butt?"

"My date. He wanted oral sex and I didn't like what it looked like so I said no and when I got out of his car he shot me in the butt!"

Kim was laying on her stomach with both hands reaching toward her buttocks. Those hands were not 'just' on the buttocks, she had a grip on them like she had been switched with a young peach tree limb. Reminded me of a child's reaction after he really messed up and a mama went on the warpath and tore his hind-end up.

"Ohhh pleeeeze, Ms. Lin, help me it hurts."

I hollered at another neighbor to "call 9-1-1 and get me an ambulance out here."

"Ohhhh Ms. Lin, you can fix it you done sewed up a bunch of us when we got beat up you can fix it."

"Kim, I can't fix this - hold still - I'm gonna rip your britches and let me see the bullet wound."

"But, it huuuurrrts"

"KIM" I was shouting at this point, "SHUT UP! And, let me look"

I happened to have had my watch on. Took the blood pressure, checked the pulse - she was going to live, but was going into shock. I knew from the trajectory of the bullet and that it been a small hand gun wound and that the bullet had not come out the other side and was floating inside of her.

"Kim, is there someone we can call? Kim, don't you pass out on me now - wake yourself up - Kim..."

"Ma'am?" she was passing in and out.

"Who do we call?"

"My mama."

"What's her number"

I sent the neighbor to go call the Mama, "tell her to meet the ambulance at Baptist that's where I'd send her."

After he left, I realized that I had rattled off orders like a Marine Drill Sergeant and was fearful that the neighbor didn't grasp all that I had said. Nevertheless, he headed off for the phone.

I ripped her outer pants. I wasn't surprised that she didn't have any step-ins, er underwear on. Most of these street girls wouldn't waste the time to wear a second layer.

"Where is that ambulance?" I kept thinking. I've got my knee in the middle of her back keeping her still to try to keep the bullet from continue to float around inside of her. I figure the bullet was either inside her bladder or had torn her uterus up.

"Kim, tell me what happened again before the law gets here and shut up shouting and you better not go to sleep on me. Dammit you know better than to be out on the street like this and you know bad stuff happens. BE STILL"

I was getting frustrated with her. I kept check of her pulse. I ordered someone else to hand me a quilt or blanket or something. "Not mine, not on her" one person told me.

"If you don't get your skinny black butt in that house and get me something to cover her up you WILL NOT like me when I get done with her" I hoped that sounded forceful enough. I'd learned long ago to get the first bluff in and I'd probably be the winner and get what I wanted!

I got a blanket for her.

"Kim, what happened?"

"I wouldn't give him a blow job because.....ooooh it hurts so bad."

"Kim, did he pay you?"

"Yes, but it didn't look too good and I just didn't want to do it."

"Kim you gotta be still. You've got a bullet in you and from the looks of your lower abdomen that sucker is floating in there." I didn't tell her that she was swelling up like she was nine months pregnant. I figured she had some serious damages.

"Oh, Ms. Lin, please don't leave me."

"I thought you didn't like me"

"Ms. Lin you a real bitch sometimes, but I know you are a nice lady, please don't leave me"

"Kim, I'm not going to leave you, but SHUT UP SHOUTING! I know that it hurts but I'm right here and so are the medics"

Boy, was I EVER glad and grateful that the medics had finally gotten there, because honestly I didn't know how much longer I could have kept her still and lying down.

"LinMarie, what's her pulse rate" EMS had already taught me what to look for, how to do it, I'd bandaged and doctored many of these street girls, gardeners, ho-s - over the last year or so since I'd been here.

"Pulse rate is 135 ...subject has been shot in the left buttocks by a small handgun..small amount of bleeding.." I was spouting off what I had learned from the first incidents that had happened around this neighborhood.

"Good going, LinMarie. We'll take it from here."

"Kim the medics are here now. They're going to take you to Baptist Hospital. I've got your mama going there to meet you. You are going to be fine."

I wasn't sure she was going to be fine.

Here came the cops. "Did you see anything? What happened?" Questions from the three cops were swirling about in the night air. I did not have the answers, only what I was told.

All of these same questions have been asked hundreds of times over the years. I wondered if these people ever got tired of picking up hookers that had been beaten up or shot, and I wondered how this girl's mother was feeling.

I called her mother the next day to check on Kim. I learned she had been kept in ICU after having an emergency hysterectomy. Having undergone one myself, I knew that surgery wasn't a walk in the park. The bullet was from a .25 automatic. No suspect had been arrested. In fact, Kim didn't even know who the guy was that shot her. "Some dude in a fancy mercedes with lots of diamond rings - white dude."

The mother voluntarily told me that Kim was from a Christian home and family. I didn't need an explanation. This was none of my business. "You are the lady that Kim says helps the girls. Kim said you give them food and clothes and sew them up sometimes. I thank you for taking care of them."

Kim still works the streets. I pray that I won't pick up the paper one day and see her obituary. She wouldn't be the first to have died at the hands of the thugs of the streets and she probably wouldn't be the last.

I just pray that no one ever dies while I'm holding them in my arms. It could happen. I don't want it to, though. So, in the evenings, now, part of my prayers are for the girls of the streets. And, maybe in some small way, I've been a little help to them. Just maybe I've been called on to be here for that reason. So, maybe I had better stay here on my corner for a little while longer instead of fostering a desire to leave.


Frankie was one of the prettiest girls that worked the streets. To say that she worked the streets perhaps isn't really a fair overview of her. She worked the drugs. She stayed high. She had to prostitute to get the money for the drugs. She had a John that fed them to her like M&Ms. When she wasn't high, Frankie was one of the sweetest people that a person would ever want to be around or have in their home. She was basically good people, from a good family, with a good upbringing. Drugs happen.

Frankie lived in one of the three little houses at the end of my street. There were frequent visits there by local police officers - SWAT - jump out boys, not to mention the whores and crack heads.

When I first bought my house, the one I live in, it was extremely quiet by day. But that first night? Oh, it was nothing nice. Crack-hos and prostitutes everywhere. Gun shots would ring in the night air. It was from one of these houses that Frankie lived in that the first shot was fired my first night in my beautiful old historical home.

My phone rang late that night. "Are you okay?" Pam, my cousin's wife was asking. She was calling to see if I knew where the gunshot had come from.

"Yeah, I'm fine." I said. "I think it came from one of the three gray houses. I guess I'm gonna have to try to buy those to stop that crap."

What began to become a habit, a habit several times a day, I phoned the Police Department. "What is your emergency?" asked the dispatcher.

"Gunshots hvae been fired from the area of Pennsylvania and Royal Streets."

"Do you know who is doing the shooting?" she calmly asked.

"No ma'am I don't. And, I don't intend to go over and ask them either. Would you please send an officer over here now?"

Me and the dispatcher had no more hung up when the sounds of police sirens filled the night air. Hookers and pimps scattered like cock roaches when someone turns on a light. Crack pipes were extinguished. The "po po was here".

Lights and police cars and an ambulance started appearing from everywhere heading for the middle house. An officer that I knew came over to see if I was Okay.

"Yeah, I'm fine." I said "Just a little shook up to be awakened in the middle of the night like this. What do we have to do to get a good night's sleep in this neighborhood?"

"Look, I'm going to give you some names of people to talk to. Tomorrow morning, you be on the phone to them You may have to keep calling until they return your calls. Stay after them. You shouldn't have to live like this." he said.

The next morning I was on the phone before some even got to their jobs, much less had their first cup of coffee. After a dozen or so calls, I realized I was not going to get a return phone call. So, I bounced down to the police station and waited to see these guys face to face.

"You aren't going to dodge your job?" I asked one.

"Oh no ma'am," he replied.

"Good. Then since you are too busy to return my phone call I figure a face to face visit would be better. Let's talk."

I sat down with the nice Leuitinant . I was armed with dates/times of calls to the police department. I had photos of the "ho-s" who worked my streets, of the "Johns", names, car license plates..I was armed for bear. I was assured that action would be taken to assist in cleaning up this neighborhood.

Two weeks past. I began to harrass the police department again. "Sir, I'm not here to harrass you, but would you like for me to drive some of these girls to your street and let them work over there for a while?" I asked.

"Uhm no I wouldn't" he said.

"Then why is my neighborhood so special that we can't get them gone?"

After another few phone calls and a few interviews with the local television stations about our neighborhood plight, we began seeing results. Sting operations went into effect. My house was used as a surveillance point. I had cops in the attic staring out at the streets. When sitting out on the front porch, I had cops driving up and down the streets giving me signals that things were okay.

For some reason, after a while, I just knew that things were going to get better. But, I also knew we had a long row ahead of us to hoe and even with this much support coming through, I knew I couldn't just sit down. I wasn't going to be happy until it was all said and done adn folks could walk our streets again.

I had been watching Good Morning America . They had a legal advisor talking about a new law that was going into effect. They covered something about a landowner being aware that his property was being used to sell or harbor illegal drugs or acts that the property could be confiscated under a new federal law and some State laws.

Whoa! There was a new avenue! I figured it was about time to do something else. The police department was doing it job and just maybe with a little encouragement from yours truly, we could hit the landowner from the backside - his wallet. Perhaps that would expedite things.

I phoned Norris Batiste, U.S. Marshall for assistance - Norris would do what he could to help. I called the Texas Attorney General's office in Austin. Everyone wanted to ask me a hundred and one questions and all I wanted was one simple answer. After experiencing total frustration - I called the U.S. Attorney's office. There I was put in contact with a very intelligent and soft spoken female attorney named Mary Bradford. I told her what I was trying to do and why. She asked me to send her a copy of my letter that I was mailing to the landowner. She gave me her word she would follow up on the matter. I didn't trust a lot of folks, but for some reason, I trusted her.

I gathered information, names, addresses, dates and times of call outs by the police department. I began investigating. I could not type letters fast enough to Mr. Absentee Landlord, letting him know that if he didn't do something about the trash going on at his property, I planned to let the U.S. Attorney's office know about it. I quoted the law.

In all honesty, I knew nothing about the law nor how the sytem worked. I just knew I wanted this neighborhood cleaned up - and NOW.

I waited. I did not hear anything from him. I sent the letter on to Ms. Bradford. She would handle it.

Sitting at my sewing machine, working on a quilt, that bright sunny afternoon, I heard the unmistakable sound of gun fire. Then I heard a scream. I immediately grabbed the phone.

"What is your emergency?" dispatch asked. I had phoned so many times to dispatch that we were all on first name basis.

"Diane, this is LinMarie I just heard gunfire and a scream coming from the middle house on Pennsylvania and Royal."

"Did you see anything?"

"No ma'am, I was quilting. I just heard a gunshot and a scream."

Police were there within what seemed a seconds, followed by an ambulance. I knew something bad had happened that day in my neighborhood. And, I wondered if the landowner knew about it or would even care.

I walked over to the property line. I stood among the other street girls. A white girl in the midst of all the "girls". One was crying. I watched and waited. Yellow tape was put around the building. I knew there was a murder. Shortly a body bag was being hauled out of the house. This wasn't a good sign.

As one of the old timers in the neighborhood walked past, I hollered, "Joe what happened?"

"Some ole whore got shot and killed because she had called the jump out boys - he had her against the wall opened her mouth and put a 38 bullet in her head - brains is everywhere" he said.

For those of you who may not understand "jump out boys", those are men/women SWAT members who are rushed on to a scene, who jump out of a van, mostly masked, wearing black, heavy gun power, who kick in doors and do drug busts.

A cold chill went up my spine. She might have had her problems, but she never gave me any. She didn't deserve to be murdered. She had always waved and spoken to me each time she passed my house. What a difference one day to the other made.

She may have taken a bullet that belonged to me. I had called the jump out boys - many times. For a long time I wondered about Frankie, the bullet and f it were really meant for her.

Frankie's murderer turned himself in later that afternoon. There were two other girls in the house that witnessed it and knew the killer. There were articles in teh newspapers about her. Her family had put some writings in the paper about her.

I thought how, as a mother, no matter how much good or bad our children do, we worry over them, long for them to do the right things in life - and, we still love our kids.

I prayed for forgiveness that day. For some strange reason, inside of me, I felt responsible. Responsible, because I had started this clean-up effort. I had been the one making the calls and letting the cops stay in my house and do surveillance from my places. I just wanted a safe nice neighborhood.

About four years after this incident happened, through my cousin's wife, Pam, I was introduced to Pam Jardeen. Pam was Frankie's sister. She never had the chance to say good-bye to Frankie. She asked what I knew about that fateful afternoon. I told her everything and cried when I admitted that I thought Frankie might have taken the bullet meant for me.

Pam got up from my dining room table, hugged me and said, "It wasn't your fault."

At that moment I found the forgiveness I had been seeking and needed. I had since purchased the property that Frankie was killed in. I handed the keys to Pam. I told her to keep tham as long as she needed. Pam needed time in that house - to grieve - to cry - and to let go.

I think that day God opened eyes on all of us. He showed us that color doesn't matter, we all have feelings. He also blessed us that day. He took away the guilt and the grief from both of us. And, most importantly, He gave me a new friend, Pam, through such a travesty.

The Diaper Bandit

It was a young spring afternoon when I came home from work sick with the flu. I think that every bone in my body ached and I was running a very high fever. I had called my cousin, who was a nurse, to bring me some medicine. I was too sick to go to the doctor. I did not want to have to get back up, so I unlocked the burglar bar door that were on the outside of the door so that she could just come on inside once she got here.

I laid down and must have dozed off to sleep because I was awakened by a knock on the door. "Oh well," I thought. "She'll realize the door is open and come on in." I never got up. I laid there with my eyes closed. I heard the door open and felt the presence of someone in my room. I looked up and there stood a young black man looking at me. I noticed that he was very jittery. I stood up to walk toward him. My knees were shaking from the weakness that I felt from the flu and for some reason, I froze in place.

My first thought was, "Well LinMarie here you go. If God doesn't have your heart by now, this ole' boy is fixing to take it." I asked God to give me peace and strength to do what I needed to do. Still frozen in my tracks, I immediately felt coolness come over me that began at the top of my head. It went down my neck into my torso and arms and into my legs. It felt as if someone had poured cold water all over me. My movement came back and I came to my senses.

"What are you doing in here?" I asked in a surprisingly calm manner. The unwanted visitor threw his arms wildly about him. When he did, my eyes were drawn to the screwdriver in his right hand. A long screwdriver - not something that a woman would have in her tool box - at least an 18" screwdriver.

He said, "Look, lady, I got to have $450 for diapers. My kid needs diaper money."

"No problem," I softly said, "Just let me go to my room and I can help you out."

From deep inside me, I somehow knew I had to walk past this guy. Through my calmness, he seemed to begin to calm down as well. I walked past him as if he were an old friend. My gut was churning. I was almost nauseated. The bedroom was down the hall about 20 feet. He didn't follow me. I didn't hear him stirring about. I knew if I could just get to the bedroom I could use the phone and get my pistol.

I made it. I was safe, to an extent, in my own room.

I called 9-1-1.

"9-1-1 what is your emergency?" the operator asked.

"This is LinMarie. I have an intruder and I have him at gun point" I gave her my address then laid the phone down on the bed, keeping the line open. I was afraid to keep him waiting in the utility room for too long, for fear he would start to get angry and radical again. I slipped the handgun into my robe pocket. I put my hand in the pocket over the gun.

I walked slowly back to the utility room.

"Look, Bud, I would love to help you out, but I came home from work today sick and I guess that I left my purse in the car. If you'll follow me out I promise I will be happy to accommodate this situation."

"Please, " I kept thinking, "go outside and don't try to harm me."

I knew in my heart that I would kill him. Fear had engulfed me. I was running on pure adrenaline. What if the police didn't get here in a timely fashion? Stupid thoughts crept into play. What if I kill this man? What will my sons think? Don't shoot him in the house. You just got through painting the walls and refurbishing the utility room. Has this guy hurt someone in the past? Is he going to rape me? Does he have family? Is he on drugs? What if help doesn't arrive? Can you really kill someone? Can you live with yourself if you do? Would the police understand if he threatened me or tried to hurt me and I had to protect myself? What kind of ramifications could I face with the law? Thousands of other questions rolled through my mind as if I was watching a film flick of this scene or as if I were at a movie show and my life was racing in front of me.

As we walked towards outside, passing through the doorway, me leading the way, I kept thinking, "Just keep in control; don't let him know you are nervous too; keep him talking."

I had made it out the door, to the bottom of the stairs. He was behind me. He was out of my house. I heard a noise. I turned, to see him flop his buns down on the top step.

As I turned toward him, he shouted, "Look LADY," while raising his shirt over his head to show me, "I ain't got no weapon, no knife, no nothing. But you are gonna give me $450 for diapers." He started to lunge toward me.

I didn't even whence. I pulled my gun out, clicked a shell into the chamber and said, "You might not have one but I damn sure do and if you move one inch, I'm going to blow your balls off!"

"You're crazy," he screamed. "You're a crazy white just plumb ass crazy, crazy white bitch." He went ballistic. I knew that I now would have to hold my ground. If he did decide to come toward me, I knew I would have to back up my words.

He sat there for a while. Stiff. Sweat pouring from his brow. I kept thinking, "Where is the law?" I turned my head for just an instant beause I saw two people coming out of the funeral home across the street. I hollered, "Call the law. Please help me. Call the law. He broke into my house." They shook their heads "no" and went back into the funeral home.

When I turned around he was rising, he was lunging at me. No - he was running, he was running away. I put a dead aim on him. Then I realized that a stray bullet could hit someone next door if I wasn't on target.

He was running down the street. He was gone.

I ran back into my house, down the hall, to the bedroom and picked up the phone. The dispatcher was still there. "This is LinMarie. He just took off running toward Pennsylvania heading east. He is wearing a striped Polo type shirt and maroon sweat pants," I said through heavy panting.

"The police have him LinMarie. They are there. Go outside and meet the police and identify him," she said. I hung up the phone.

As I walked down the hallway to go outside, I laid my gun on top of the dryer in the utility room. I walked down the sidewalk to the gate of the fence that surrounds my property and saw an officer bringing him back toward the house. I could see three police cars in the back at the end of the street where they picked him up from, two police cars were in front and one on the side. I later found out that the time for the police arrival on that call was two minutes and 17 seconds. It seemed a life time.

Relief welled up in me and I was ready to cry. "No tears, LinMarie" I kept telling myself. I had stayed calm during the ordeal so far, yet, now, I was ready to bawl.

"That crazy white bitch gots a gun. She's a crazy m...f...." he was yelling to the officer. The officer stopped. My hands were still in my robe pockets.

"Do you have a gun?" the officer asked as he moved, who would later be referred to as The Diaper Bandit, in front of him as if to shield himself from any unexpected gun battle.

"Yes I own a gun. It is in the house on the dryer."

The officer ordered me to "put my hands on the fence."

All of a sudden my emotions turned to pure anger. How DARE this cop order me to put my hands on the fence when it was me who was the victim? I pulled my hands out of the robe, but did not put them on the fence. I reiterated to the officer that when I went back in to the house to talk with the dispatcher, I had left my gun on the dryer. That seemed to put the officer more at ease with the situation, and he moved more toward me with Diaper Bandit still being used as a shield in front of him.

During this time, The Diaper Bandit is hollering, "She a crazy white m....f.... bitch...she be real crazy.." His sounds became muffled as he was put into the back seat of a patrol car, after identifying the creep that had come into my house without permission and telling the officer what had happened. The scene was over. I was safe. Diaper Bandit was spitting at me from inside the patrol car. He was banging his head on the window, as if to break it out, to at least one more time tell me what he thought of me. I didn't care.

Relieved, I went back inside my home. My home. Not an intruder's home. My home.

A sergeant later came to the door and asked me to tell him again what had happened and everything that the guy had said to me. After I finished my story, the sergeant told me that this was the same motive that had been used on the lady three days earlier that had been raped in our neighborhood. My blood rushed. My cheeks got flushed. I felt sweat forming on my brow.
Reality set in. It could have been me, too. All I could say was, "Thank you, Sweet Jesus, for watching over me."

After going downtown, giving my statement to the detective division, I followed the saga of the Diaper Bandit through accounts published in the local newspaper. The other victim identified him as being the person who had raped her. There was also a lengthy rap sheet on the guy. He was out of jail on probation for drugs.

The smartest thing that he probably had ever done in his life was to plead guilt to it all. He won't have to worry about diaper money any more. He is now serving 258 years to run consecutively. After reading the articles, written in the newspaper, I wondered about his family, his mama, how I would feel if he were a child of mine. My oldest son is the same age as the Diaper Bandit.

It is a shame that kids throw away their lives, especially with drugs. The young twenty year old man's life was shot - and he could've easily been physically shot the afternoon he broke into my house. If he did happen to have a son, what future does the child have?

My own son came to see me the following weekend. I hugged him and could not stop wanting to touch him, hold his hand, touch the softness of his cheeks, pat him on the arm. He held my hand. I was grateful for life - for both my son's and mine. I was grateful that my son was and is the man he is today.

I hoped and prayed that my son would never be faced with the lifestyle of the Diaper Bandit.

I have also prayed for the family of the Diaper Bandit wherever and whoever they are. I realize that no matter what our children do wrong to us or in life, or how badly they may hurt us, they are still our children and we love them unconditionally.