Excerpt from: Crossing Sydney
The first time I killed someone it was an accident. I was angry but not so angry that I didn’t know what I was doing. I wasn’t in an uncontrollable rage. My only excuse is that I was pissed off because he wouldn’t give me back my baseball.
So, at the age of twelve, when I picked up that baseball bat and hit Herb in the back of the head, I knew exactly what I was doing. I just didn’t know he would die.
I only hit him once, but it was a mighty swing and he went down and stayed down. It seemed that there was an awful lot of blood gushing out of the back of his head. The sight of blood had never bothered me before but the amount pooling under his head made me just a little queasy.
The sound of my name being called blew through the wind and reached my ears. It was time to leave the little park and get home. I looked around but saw no one watching. I glanced down at Herb. He had not moved. I had never seen a dead body but I was pretty sure I was looking at my first.
My heart started pounding with excitement. I wanted to touch him. I wanted to know what a dead person felt like. As I started to bend down to touch his face I heard my mother calling me once more. I turned away from him and ran the short block to my house where everyone was piling into the car. We were heading out on vacation.
“I just need to use the washroom before we leave,” I yelled at my mother and ran into the house. I was still holding the bat so I headed down to the basement to put it back in its proper place. Then I noticed a little patch of brown hair mixed with blood on the end of the bat. The laundry sink was right there in the same room, so I turn on the faucet and did a quick wash off of the bat, making sure there was no blood or hair left in the sink.
As soon as I put the bat away I was up the stairs, out the door and in the car ready to leave for our summer trip out west. We were three miles out of town before I remembered that I had left my baseball in the park. It was still lying on the ground next to Herb. I figured I was fucked.
Our family spent the next two and a half months vacationing in Montana. By the time we arrived back home the talk about Herb’s death was old news. Of course, our family was shocked that such a thing could have happened so close to our home.
We were told that Herb had been found by a vagrant late in the afternoon the same day that he was killed. The vagrant was questioned and finally released as there was no solid evidence against him. The murder weapon was never found and Herb’s death was never solved.
After I found out that Herb had died I wondered if I would have been caught if we hadn’t been leaving to go on vacation a few minutes after I hit him. The timing was beautiful and no one even knew we were still in town when the killing took place. No one investigating the murder even considered that the baseball might be a clue. They just figured it was Herb’s baseball, so there was no follow up and this information was discarded.
I knew I had lucked out. I also realized that I better start to control that feeling that came over me when someone pissed me off. I just might not be so lucky the next time