|Jacob Marley, the Christmas Carol|
I wish I had a picture of Kezia Hephzibah. But I only have one of Jacob Marley from the Christmas Carol. Keziah, not to be confused with any other Kezia Hephzibah, and there are others, perfectly innocent. This one comes attached with her daughter, Ana. Both are large. Ana is quiet--but she quietly, coldly backs her mother in court. Kezia is loud--over the top aggressive and foul-mouthed. She talks swiftly, words a hurricane, in something resembling a New Jersey accent. She explodes in your face.
People in Bellingham, WA, would love to have a mug shot of her, too. I don't. We don't. And so Kezia's still ransacking peoples' lives and leaving a wake of destruction in her path, and just this week someone asked, "Hey, you ever hear any more of Kezia?" and in the mail arrives a letter from an attorney in Rhode Island, asking me to give him a call.
For all of you who're wondering what the woman and her daughter are up to now? Here's the update.
Oops, a catch-up first for those of you who've somehow missed out on this fantastic story. Here it is; I'll try to put it in a nutshell.
A year and a half ago my son advertised in Craigslist for a renter. Enter Kezia and daughter Ana. Long story short, they refused to pay rent, slapped a restraining order on Blake for going over to introduce himself and trying to see what could be worked out, and filed so many false police reports that the police finally quit coming to my door--my door because Blake couldn't live in his condo: Kezia was. The story gets worse, "same song, second verse, a little bit louder and a whole lot worse." The details can be found in the Bellingham Court House under the pleadings of Blake Kent vs. Kezia Hephzibah.
Very quickly we realized that this is what Kezia and her daughter do. Establish residency, refuse rent, slap on restraining orders, file false police reports, write threatening letters citing "violation of landlord/tenant RCW code," take you for whatever you've got, and try to get your butt tossed in the klink. For Blake, it could at times be funny. He'd cross the Canadian border back into the States and the guard might say something like this: "Theatre class in Vancouver tonight, Blake? Or was it theology night?"
"Well, you're supposed to be in Bellingham violating your restraining order."
Or, it's me answering the door to the sheriff, again. "Where was Blake last night?" he'd ask. A nice man, a sexy man, so nice and sexy that I'd have married him on my next trip into the court house if he hadn't have been wearing a wedding ring. So instead I'd say "Chicago." Or "Thailand." Or "Colorado." Which at any given time was where Blake was. Mr. NiceMan Sheriff would then give me his sexy smile, pull himself off my porch, and amble to his car. "See you next time," he'd say, grinning still, ducking into his car.
The whole police department eventually figured out going after Blake was a waste of time, that it was distracting them from catching the violent amongst us, like the guys who shoot the mothers of their children or beat up their girlfriends and leave them for dead. Not someone who's knocking on his own front door trying to figure who's living there.
One time Blake and I were waiting for yet another court hearing over the restraining order or collecting rent (who can keep track?) when Mr. NiceMan Sheriff and a pal sat down at a table next to us. "You ever meet Blake?" I asked Mr. NiceMan Sheriff.
This miserable story nearly ended with Blake's goose cooked. Which is what it seems Kezia was after. Blake and I were in Alaska. He was helping me install a window in my old Gold Rush cabin when he got a recorded message from the Bellingham courts "reminding" him that he had a court hearing the next morning over a violation of his court order. If he didn't show up, they'd swear out a warrant for his arrest.
Get this, by sending her a copy of the summary judgment he'd won against her for $1,000, which he was required by law to do, Blake was also by law in violation of the restraining order. Wow, who would have thought? In America?
It just so happens that when in Skagway, Alaska, I hang out with the mayor's mother. So Ginny called Tom. Tom called Bellingham. Blake sent a friend in his stead and was granted a two-week reprieve based on Tom's intervention. For the next week, though, Blake called every attorney in B'ham. He was going to go to jail, every single one of them said. He'd violated the restraining order--which, incidentally, had an addendum attached to it by Judge Mura saying that although legal technicalities hindered him from throwing out the retraining order it was unfounded. Blake carries it with him to all job interviews. Still...that said, justice could only be served by Blake going to jail it seems.
He finally called the judge who was to hear the case. How Blake secured five minutes of the man's time, I don't know, but he did, and in five minutes Blake's goose was out of the oven. He did have to fly from Alaska to Belllingham, though, his dime (more expense thanks to Kezia), and show up for court, but in court the judge threw the case out of court. Finally, a year after it started, it was over.
So now I get a letter from an attorney in Rhode Island asking me to please call him at my earliest convenience regarding a landlord/tenant situation involving guess who.
Rumor around here was that once Kezia and her daughter were removed from Blake's condo, they moved in on an old man and were suing him for a portion of his estate. Not true. Though court records do reveal another landlord/tenant issue. Another rumor floating around town was that Kezia and Ana had finally moved on--Wyoming this time. What's known for sure is that they're now in Rhode Island raising Cain.
A rental agency put Kezia and Ana, via a Craigslist ad (all starting to sound familiar?) in a rental unit of a single mother. I used to be a single mother--raising three children on my own for seventeen years. I can't even imagine tangling with such a force back then. The attorney says Keziah was asked to leave; her deposit and first month's rent was returned. But she didn't leave, of course, and is busy slapping on the restraining orders. Of course. The attorney on the case managed to get them squashed and is preparing for a hearing on January 23rd to begin the long process of having Kezia and Ana removed. Again.
Yes, I wish I had a picture of this woman. So does Bellingham. And when I called the District Court in the RI city hearing the case, asking for more information? The clerk knew instantly who I was talking about. "Oh, yeah, odd last names, causing trouble wherever they go, yeah, here's the information." So I'm guessing people on the east coast are wishing they had a mug shot of Kezia, too.
First question: How can we even begin to say we live in a free country when someone can pop hook-or-by-crook into our homes and slap us with restraining orders, make us endure false police reports, force us to spend thousands to keep out of jail, and endure someone in our private homes?
Second question: Why can't women like Kezia and Ana be stopped?
Third question: Last week a TV protagonist asked a TV antagonist of Kezia quality, "Aren't you tired?" I ask the same. Aren't Kezia and Ana tired of moving from state to state, looking for their next mark, pouncing and choking the stuffing out of the innocent? They live in constant transiency, constant animosity, constant litigation and strife their bread and butter. When do they rest? When do they play? Laugh? Aren't they tired?
Fourth question: Who's really suffering here? Blake? The old man? This single mother? Blake's gotten over the shake-up. In time the single mom will too. Maybe even me. But Kezia and her daughter will again be on the run, again crisscrossing the country, again singing the same song, second verse. They don't travel lightly. Each new run for fresh bait is another chain of Jacob Marley fame. Fettered to ill-gotten gain, they carry the increasing weight and length of their need to destroy, never seeing the self-imposed prison of their own sad, boring, tiresome, and shadowed lives.
Jacob Marley woke up too late and did what he could to warn Ebenezer Scrooge. Is it already too late for Kezia?
Final question: Is this why Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies? A kind of Jacob-Marley-come-back-before-it's-too-late?
I don't know. I'm just asking.
NOTE: No, Keziah/Leslie has never paid the summary judgment Blake has against her. Maybe now he can go after her tax rebates. Or not.