Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Small Case of Attempted Murder

Do kids run away any more? I'm talking about the silly seven-year-old kind. Not the teenage, steal your mom's cookie money, hop on a bus to Laughlin, Nevada, turn a few thousand tricks and come back home pregnant and tweaking. Not that kind. Ick.

We kids were playing at some girl's house down the street from ours. I don't remember her name, so let's call her Agnes. I coveted Agnes' bike and it must have shown because she let me ride it, as long as I stayed in the driveway which ran down the side of the house. The bike was a little big for me, so when her little brother stood in my path, I mowed him down, unable to brake or steer clear of the kid. He cried. I jumped off the bike, happily turning the weapon over to Agnes. As panic and overwhelming guilt flooded my senses, some sort of fight-or-flight response took over and like a weasel, I skulked away.

I was a fugitive. On the lam. I wandered around the neighborhood, too scared to go home and face the consequences of attempted murder. Mortifying images danced around my head: confrontation with both sets of parents, our family becoming the shunned ones, jail, and OHMYGOD, ... probably an apology! There was no way I could face the victim's family.

Adrenalin hopped, skipped and jumped through my body. I turned down this street and went down that alley. Where could I go? I was seven and had never traveled by foot more than four blocks to school. I did not do well with the unknown, so I sat on the sidewalk at the edge of my frontier and I shook and cried. I think I was stalling, sure that my parents would have found out by now and might be looking for me. I wanted my mommy but at the same time, I couldn't face her. She would be ashamed of me and that made me feel even worse about the whole ordeal. It would be easier if someone just caught me.

Fifteen or twenty minutes must have passed since the tragic incident when I heard the dull roar of my father's truck coming down the street. He pulled up next to me and I left my fate in his hands.

"Come on," he said.

The judge was lenient. I was released on my own recognizance and apologized to poor little Timmy (or whatever his name was) after being told by his mother that he required however many stitches on his face. Her feeble attempts to make me feel bad about what I'd done were puny and tardy. I was embarrassed and guilt-ridden beyond her wildest dreams.

And that was the end of it. This was, after all, the 50s, before people sued the crap out of each other for everything. Back then, shit just happened. You got your nose rubbed in it and then you moved on. Judgment was rendered by parents and neighbors, for free. Not courtrooms and lawyers, for thirty percent.

1 comment:

kenju said...

Ah, yes, I remember it well - and I long for those days!