Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond:
D’Sean was Bo-Bo’s father, and Vanetta thought she loved him. He was a good dad when he wasn’t drinking. The police had picked him up six months earlier for a parole volation linked to a drug-possession charge. As the judge weighed the facts of the case, he cited several 911 calls Vanetta had made when D’Sean got rough. “And then on October 10, a call from Vanetta Evans. And then on October 19, another call from Ms. Evans.” Mortified, Vanetta put her hands in her face and cried. She remembered those calls and what had happened after she kicked D’Sean out. He returned later, drunk, smashed the door down, and beat her. After that incident, Vanetta remembered the landlord taking her rent money with one hand and handing her a twenty-eight-day “no cause” eviction notice with the other. At the re-confinement hearing, the judge gave D’Sean eighteen months. Vanetta almost never drank, but that night she bought a bottle of New Amsterdam gin and passed out next to her children.
She slept through Crystal’s phone call. So Crystal hung up and dialed her cousins and foster sisters. Her arrangement with Patricia had come undone. Patricia’s fourteen-year-old daughter had taken Crystal’s cell phone to school and either lost or sold it. Crystal demanded compensation, but Patricia refused to pay. “I’m gonna get you out of my house!” Patricia yelled, drunk on wine mixed with E&J Brandy. Crystal called her people for backup. They waited in the car. The women took their argument outside, and Patricia lost her balance and fell to the ground. Staring down, Crystal lifted her foot and brought it down on Patricia’s face—again and again. Seeing this, one of Crystal’s sisters ran up and hit Patricia with a hammer. “Bitch, try it again!” she yelled before pulling Crystal away. In pain, Patricia lay still on the sidewalk, in a fetal position. Crystal asked to be dropped off at St. Joseph’s Hospital, where she spent the night.