Leigh Anne - Chapter 14

Leigh Anne - Chapter 14
By Barbara Lynn Terry

Hampton Senior High School, having won the regional tournament, has earned a berth in the state semi finals and finals to be held at MSU in Lansing. The MSU tennis center* is a huge complex, and the players can play at an indoor facility. This being the month of January and very unseasonably warm, was the reason the tennis season was extended. But, now, the weather was starting to get a little chilly. The MSU Tennis Center is the place to hold the state semi finals and finals. The winning team of the state finals will go to the national tournaments in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Hampton Lady Tigers pulled up to Hampton Senior High School in a very orderly fashion. When they got to the girls gym, where the victory party will be held, they started letting out scream after scream that they had won the regionals. Now that they were on to the state tournaments, everybody breathed a little easier; including Leigh Anne.

“Leigh, that was some playing you did against Gaynor,” Patty Langston said, in a very cheerful tone.

“Yes, Patty, and when we go to state, I won’t be so on edge with every nerve saying, ouch.”

“Leigh, you say that now, but when you were out there, you didn’t let any of the Gaynor Lady Cougars frighten you. Well, not as you could tell anyway.”

“I know, Patty. But, I was a little scared that we wouldn’t make it. It was the combined skill of the entire team, and has taken us to state. Not only that, though, but we didn’t get overly emotional and lose our tempers, they Gaynor team did. They lost because they were their own worst enemy.”

“I agree, Leigh. It’s too bad you couldn’t get to play the final game with Geri Watkins. If she hadn’t been such a … a … uhm …”

“Biatch?” Leigh said and asked at the same time.

“Exactly,” Patty Langston answered her friend and team mate.

“Yes, it is too bad. I mean, she could have been Gaynor’s winning player. But, she got that superiority complex, and decided that she could do whatever she wanted.”

“Well, she is still in the detention center. Her boyfriend is being tried as an adult for felony endangering safety by conduct regardless of life. That was because he willingly threw that Coca Cola bottle at you.”

“How do you know all that, Patty?” Leigh queried.

“I never told you what my mom did for her work. Did I?”

“No, Patty, you never mentioned it.”

“She works in the clerk of courts office at the courthouse. Now, she isn’t supposed to be telling tales out of school, but, she did tell me that because it involved the whole team. I was waiting for now to tell you, so that you keep your mind on your game.

“Patty, did anybody ever tell you that you are a sneak?”

“Yes, Leigh, all the time.” Both girls giggled. “But, it worked. You were able to keep your mind on the game, and we won. Now we go to Lansing. Mrs. Madison said we will be playing at the MSU Tennis Center in Lansing.

The girls of the Hampton Senior High School, Lady Tigers, have two weeks to practice before the state tournaments begin. Since the tennis courts they will be playing on the same surface as they would a normal tennis court. There are multiple courts, where more and than two opponents can play simultaneously. There will be singles competitions as well as doubles.

“Leigh, did Patty tell you about Geri Watkins and her nutty boyfriend?” Asked Darlene Haskins.

“Yes, she did. In my opinion, they both deserve what they’re going to get.”

“Hey, you three, this is a victory party. C’mon, let’s have fun. No more gloomy talk. This IS a party, so party already,” Mrs. Madison told the three girls.

There was one of the Hampton high school bands that played every kind of rock ‘n’ roll there is. There was dancing and refreshments. The students and their parents and guests were having fun. Knowing that the regional tournaments were over for this season, the girls could relax and let off steam. If Leigh Anne Smythe wanted to be angry at Geri Watkins and her boyfriend, she could do it on the dance floor.

The party was going strong, when Leigh decided to make an announcement.

“I’m sorry everyone, but I feel like we have been robbed. We couldn’t play against Geri Watkins because of her cheating tactics. We couldn’t play against Debbie Adams, because of her clowning around. She pretended to have a sprained ankle so many times, she finally ended up with one. We may have won this time, but only because Gaynor’s two top players weren’t there.”

“Leigh, excuse me,” said Roger Dobkins. “But, this is like in football when the star running back, or quarterback or some other star player is injured. The team must play through, whether win or lose. This tournament is no exception. The Lady Tigers had to play through, or lose by default.”

“I guess you’re right, Roger,” Leigh said. “I just wish they had waited until after the tournament was over, to start their shenanigans. That is all I was trying to say.”

“We understand, Leigh.” Cheryl Masters added. “A lot of us feel the same way. But, Leigh, we are not going to let it ruin our victory celebration. Now, c’mon girlfriend, let’s PARTTTTTYYYYYY.”

Apparently the exuberant attitude permeating the girls gym was catching. Leigh got up and started dancing and having a good time. Leigh was dancing with Roger Dobkins, who had wished for this moment for a very long time. The tune the band was playing was Walk Like An Egyptian by the Bangles. It was one of Leigh’s favorite songs.

When the song had finished, and Roger and Leigh went to sit down, Roger said he would get some refreshments. He went over to the buffet table area, and got a hot dog for himself and a cup of punch. He got the same for Leigh, only he didn’t know if she liked ketchup and mustard or just ketchup. He took the refreshments to their table, and he set Leigh’s down in front of her.

“Compliments of the chef, m’lady,” Roger said, as he bowed.

“Why thank you, sir knight, I’m sure.”

“I didn’t know if you liked ketchup and mustard, or just ketchup.”

“I like ketchup and mustard. It gives the hot dog an actual flavor. The only other time it has a flavor besides with ketchup and mustard, is when it is cooked on a grill.” Leigh got up to put the ketchup and mustard on her hot dog and went back to sit down. Roger thought that this gal really knows how to do things on the spur of the moment. “I’m sorry, Roger, but, I can tell by the look on your face, that I should have asked you to do it.”

“No, it’s okay, Leigh. I like a girl who is independent; within boundaries.”

“Oh, and just what might those boundaries be, Mr. Roger Dobkins?”

Roger did the motion of loosening his collar, and giving a small “gulp”. “Erm, no, it’s okay, really. I meant only that there are times the man has to do things, and then the woman does things. Those … those are … are the only … bound … aries I was, erm, talking about.” Not too smooth, there, Roger.

Leigh stifling a giggle, said; “It’s all right, Roger. All you have to do is remember, your ideas are really my ideas, but, I will let you have your moment. See, when a man says ‘I will get to’ whatever it is they have to get to, we already thought about it. So, your ideas are actually our ideas.”

“Yes, Leigh, of course.”

If Roger Dobkins had a crush on Leigh before this night, he was crazy about her now. He knew she was a transgender person, but, he didn’t care. Leigh always conducted herself in a lady like manner. Even when she was on the tennis court, she conducted herself in such a way, that nobody who didn’t know her, could not say that she wasn’t a lady.

The band started playing again, this time it was Perfect Illusion by Lady GaGa. Roger got up, and held Leigh’s chair, while she stood up. He took her by the hand and led her to the dance floor. There, they danced, attempting to hold each other close, but getting a head shake and disapproving looks from Mrs. Madison. So, Roger and Leigh danced at a respectable distance from each other. But, Lady GaGa was they type of singer that you could dance your own steps to.

After they were done playing Perfect Illusion, the band went right in to Countdown by Beyoncé, and, without missing a beat, Roger and Leigh kept dancing. This was a night for both of them to remember. Leigh had two weeks of uninterrupted school, and after school tennis practice, to get ready for the state semi finals and finals.

“Roger, we’re going to be practicing at the courts across from the school. You’re welcome to come and watch.”

“Thank you, Leigh. I certainly will come and watch you.”

“Are you coming to Lansing to watch us play?”

“Where are you playing at, in Lansing?”

“At the MSU Tennis Center. Just ask where it is and you can’t miss it.”

“Is there someone I can ride with?”

“My parents are going. I’m riding with Patty and Darlene.”

“It’s too bad that I can’t ride with you.”

“There is no room, Roger. But, my parents would be glad to have you ride with them.”

“I’m not really that comfortable riding with the parents of my intended, without the intended being there.”

“Why, Roger Dobkins, you are scared of my parents. May I ask why?”

“No reason. It’s just that parents can ask some very embarrassing questions.

“Look at it from their side. You want to date their daughter. All they want to know is, are your intentions honorable. So naturally they will ask embarrassing questions. But, are they only embarrassing to you, or to everyone?”

“Point taken, Leigh. Alright, then, I will ride with your parents.”

“Of course, you could always ride on the bus with the rest of the squad.”

Roger made that motion of loosening his collar, again.

“Erm, no, that’s all right, Leigh. I’ll ride with your parents.”

Girls one, boys zero, Leigh thought to herself. It was nice dancing with Roger, but, one of these days, Leigh thought, we will dance close together. She couldn’t help but smile inwardly to herself, as to how she got Roger to ride with her parents. Of course, Roger knew he could ride the bus, but, without Leigh on the bus, it would be no fun.

“It will be all right, Roger. My dad isn’t an ogre, you know. He will ask you questions about the tournament, and what you thought about it. What I am saying is this; he will have a discussion with you. He will want to know what you think our chances at state are. Remember that we will be playing other schools from around the state. But only one school can go to the nationals. That is why we have to practice for the next two weeks.

“We want to be the best school, nationally. We have to be quicker and one step ahead of our competitors. So, we have to practice our lobs and aces.”

“Well, alright, then. I guess it won’t be so bad after all. I will come and watch you practice.”

“That’s nice, Roger, and we are playing at the courts across from the school.”

“That’s even better.”

The three hours they had to celebrate before the buffet style dinner was served, were starting to wind down. There was no school tomorrow in honor of the victory over the Gaynor Lady Cougars. So, to answer the question that was asked earlier; which is better, a tiger or a cougar, the tiger proved to be better.

The buffet style dinner was sliced roast beef, French fries or mashed potatoes, green beans, milk, soda, or, yes, unusual for a school cafeteria, but the other drink was cappuccino. It just goes to show that Hampton Senior High had a lot of faith in their Lady Tigers. Because dinner was being served at the school, the victory party was going to go until midnight.

Roger and Leigh danced every dance they could. They sat out a few, but not too many. The band started playing a 70’s tune called Knock Three Times by Tony Orlando and Dawn. Roger held Leigh’s chair while she stood up. They walked to the dance floor (the middle of the girls gym) and started dancing. Roger led Leigh around the dance floor until the song had ended.

The next song by Rihanna, was a favorite among Leigh and Roger’s age group. They danced to the song Love On The Brain. This was the song Rihanna sang at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards. They danced until they couldn’t any more and had to sit down. Out of breath, Roger said he needed a cup of punch, and asked Leigh if she wanted anything.

“I’ll just have a cup of punch, too, Roger.” Roger went to get the refreshments, and when he returned, Leigh told him, “thank you, Roger.”

They sat at the table talking about everything, including the upcoming practice sessions.

It was right after this song, that principal Thompson decided to make a small speech.’’

“Good evening, students, parents, guests. Today our Lady Tigers have won the regional girls tennis tournaments, and are on the way to the state semi-finals and finals at the MSU Tennis Center in Lansing. But, before then, our Lady Tigers have two weeks to practice their specialty plays, so that they can come away winning the state title of the best girls tennis team in the state. When our Lady Tigers win the state championship, they will be on their way to Jacksonville, Florida where they will come away with the best in the country of the girls tennis teams title.

“I have very good faith in our Lady Tigers and their star player, Leigh Anne Smythe.” It was at this time, Leigh raised her hand. “I see we have a question. Yes, Leigh, what is it?”

“Mr. Thompson, while I am on the Lady Tigers tennis squad, and while I am a good player; I want everyone to know that my team mates are also very good tennis players, and together we won the regional tennis tournaments. No one single player can win a tournament, unless that single player has the backing of each member on the squad. It takes the efforts of the entire team to put us where we are now. Thank you.”

“Thank you, Leigh, you are a very gracious winner. When the star player can give credit to the rest of the team, then you know our Lady Tigers will go to the state tournaments and come away with the state trophy. I want our Lady Tigers to know that we will be out there watching the practice sessions, and we will be with you at the state tournaments. Thank you, and the dinner is now being served.”

People were getting up, and going over to the buffet tables. Each person picked up a paper plate, a plastic fork, knife and spoon. They filed through the dinner line in an orderly fashion.

It was at that moment, that three of the Gaynor Lady Cougars came in to the Hampton Senior High School girls gym.

“You bitches cheated us out of our trophy, and we want it back.”

Cheryl Masters stood up.

“Listen, we won fair and square. If you don’t leave quietly, now, the principal will call the police.”

“That trophy is ours, and you had better give it to us, now!” Carla Rodriguez exclaimed.

“Why Carla Rodriguez, I never knew you were a smile in the face, stab in the back kind of person,” Mary Whithers said.

“That’s because I played with manners so my school wouldn’t be disqualified. But, you cheated. You have that faggot playing as a girl on a girls team. Now, either you give us our trophy, or there is going to be a problem right here, right now.”

Two police officers entered the gym.

“What is going on here?” Asked the burly officer, who investigated the bottle throwing incident.

“This school cheated. They have Leigh Anne Smythe playing as a girl, when he is a guy, not a girl,” Carla told the officers.

“Hi Leigh. I see your opponents are very sore losers.”

“Yes, and they have demanded we turn over the trophy to them, or there was going to be a problem.”

“I see. There are others outside of the school waiting to come in and start a fight. We have officers taking their identifications. So, Leigh, what does your doctor say?”

“She says that I am to go in to the hospital tomorrow morning. But, I don’t know if I can do that. I have to get ready for the state semi-finals and finals. I am going to ask her if it can wait until after school is over. She said it was a simple operation, but, it will keep me in the hosptal for at least week, if not longer. I have to practice with the team, so we know what each other is doing.”

“Summer vacation sounds good to me. Talk to your doctor, and see if she can postpone this ‘simple’ operation until after school lets out for the summer.”

“Thank you, officer. These three need to understand what losing graciously means. I mean, we could have lost our tempers, and played really bad. But, our coach Mrs. Madison, and the lady from the MHSAA, plus Gloria, Birn college’s head girl’s coach all told us the same thing. Relax when you are serving the ball and when you return it. They told us to let the racket do the hitting.”

“They’re right, Leigh. Apparently your opponents haven’t learned how to do that, yet.”

“The idea of the game, ossifler, is to win … at … all … costs. Manners be damned. We played well, and we want our freaking trophy and we want it now.”

“Alright, ladies,” the burly officer said to the three Gaynor students. “I want to see some identification, right now.”

“What if we don’t have any identification,” Carla Rodriguez said in a sarcastic tone.

“In that case, we would have no choice but to take you to the station and charge you with inciting to riot, which is a felony. So, ladies, which will it be? Show us your identification, or go down to the station?”

“Screw you, flatfoot, you can’t arrest us, we’re minors under the age of sixteen.”

“Ladies, you are under arrest for inciting to riot, for the purpose of stealing property that does not belong to you.”

“You wait, we will tell the judge about this pretend wannabe. We will get our trophy one way, or the other.”

“Because this trophy costs over one thousand dollars to make, it is a felony to take it, and keep it. If you take it and sell it, you and the person who bought it from you, can be charged with the same crime, and the person who bought it can also be charged with possesion of stolen property. Let’s go.”

“Our parents are outside, and they will stop you from taking us any where.”

“You seem to be the mouth of this group. What is your name?”

“Carla Rodriguez, ossifler.”

“Well, Carla, your parents may vouch for you before the court, but they cannot stop us from arresting you, and taking you to the detention center.”

“Wanna bet!”

“Yes, Carla, I’ll bet. If your parents try to stop us from taking you three to the detention center, they, too, will be arrested for interfering with an arrest, obstructing an officer, and whatever else we can think of. You should have been better losers than this, because I was also watching the competition. All I saw from your school were spoiled brats who couldn’t get their way. You will not get your way. Let’s go.”

The officers took Carla and her friends out in handcuffs, and one was tied behind her back with the plastic hat band from inside the burly officer’s cap. As they brought the three out the front door of the building, a man yelled from the crowd.

“Where are you taking my daughter? What has she done, that you have her handcuffed? Let her go, cop.”

The burly officer whose name is Anthony (Tony) Springer, motioned to another officer toward the man who was yelling. The other officer brought the man to Tony.

“What is your name, sir?” Inquired Tony.

“Chino Rodriguez, ossifler. Why do you want to know?”

“Your daughter is under arrest for inciting to riot, with intent to steal property that does not belong to her, obstructing an officer, and criminal trespass. I suggest that if you want her home, you talk to the judge in the morning.”

“I’m telling you,” Chino poked the officer in the chest. “That you had better let her go. Now!”

“Mr. Chino Rodriguez, you are under arrest for assaulting an officer. You have the right to remain silent, if you choose to give up that right, anything you say now, can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney during questioning, and if you cannot afford and attorney, one will be appointed to you by the judge. Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you?

“Now I am telling everybody here. Go home. The property you came after does not belong to you. If this trophy disappears from these premises, I, personally, will arrest everyone here, for whatever crime is involved with stealing this statue. Now, go home.”

With grumbling under their breath, the rest of the Gaynor tennis squad and their parents and friends left the Hampton Senior High School and went home.

“Now, Mr. Rodriguez, we are putting you in a lineup, to see if you can be identified by the victims of crimes committed by a person of your general description. I won’t influence the decision of the victims in any manner, because your attorney will be there to make sure the lineup is done correctly. All I will do, is see which number on their cards they circle.,

“It appears that the staff of Gaynor Senior High School does not know how to prepare their young students for life after high school.”

“Shut the hell up, cop. Nobody back here want to hear what you have to say.”

“You’re the only one back there. Your daughter and her friends were driven to the detention center. You, sir, are going directly to jail.”

“Jail? For what? Giving you a little poke.”

“That little poke, is by legal definition, assaulting a police officer

“Boy, you cops are never happy unless you are framing someone.”

“Mr. Rodriguez, I am not framing you for anything. You poked me in the chest. That is assaulting an officer.”

“Okay. What if I said I was sorry, and that it won’t happen again? Just let me go, and we can forget this incident ever happened.”

Tony turned and looked sternly at Mr. Rodriguez.

“We are not forgetting anything, and I am certainly not letting you go. You are going to jail.”

“But, I mean, nobody was hurt. Let’s just forget about all of this.”

“We’re here at the jail. You will spend the night here at the station’s jail, and in the morning you will be taken before the judge. I’m sure that if you make the same statement to the judge, he or she will let you go.”

“You really think so?” Chino Rodriguez asked.

“Sure, why not.”

“Anyway, sir, I do hope you have a good night.” David (Dave) Richards and Tony Springer left the station to resume patrol. As they were patrolling near Hampton Senior High School, they saw a man with a molotov cocktail. He was just lighting the makeshift wick. Dave stopped the squad and Tony got out, gun drawn.

“Sir, police officers, put the weapon down, or I will put you down.”

“Yeah, whatever.” The man made the motion to throw the molotov cocktail, and Tony shot him in the leg. The bottle with the kerosene and the cloth wick landed about ten feet away from the fallen man.

Tony and Dave ran to the man, and Tony quickly placed a tourniquet above the wound. Dave had already called for an ambulance, and the two officers waited for the ambulance to arrive. When the ambulance arrived, the driver of the ambulance, asked the officers what happened. Dave related the incident without leaving out any details.

“So, he is under arrest for attempted arson.”

“Alright, Tony. Are you going with him in the ambulance?”

“Yes, Steve, I am, seeing he is under arrest.”

The ambulance attendants got the man, as yet unidentified, in to the ambulance, and began placing a medical tourniquet on the man’s leg. Tony began asking the man questions.

“Sir, I am officer Tony Springer. I need to know your name, birth date and place of residence.”

“Screw you, cop. We of the Gaynor alumni don’t have to answer fascist pigs.”

“Oh, okay, have it your way. It is my duty to inform you that you hae the right to remain silent. If you choose to give up that right, anything you say now can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney to be present during questioning, and if you cannot afford an attorney, on will be appointed to you by the judge. Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you?”

“Yeah, whatever. What the hell am I being arrested for?”

“Attempted arson, a felony.”

“Man, you pigs are really amazing. Someone has a torch to light the way in the dark, and you think it’s arson.”

“Sir, there are plenty of street lights as well as lights on the school property. You cannot say that you were simply lighting a torch. If we could see you, you could see where you were going. Don’t answer that, you have the right to remain silent. I suggest you do just that.

“Remain silent for what?”

“Sir, pursuant to the language of the United States Supreme Court’s rulings on Miranda, you have just given up your right to remain silent. I warned you to stay quiet. But, now, we get to ask you questions, even without an attorney.”

“Screw you, pig.”

“Alright, we’re at the hospital. Since your wound isn’t that life threatening, we are going to grill you, until the nurses tell us to leave. But, make no mistake. We will have an officer just outside your door. We will return in the morning, right after court.”
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