I was so angry at Richard Lacanatto, though now I cannot actually remember why, that I just hauled off and hit him on the back of the head with his brother’s softball bat and the “ping” of the aluminum when it connected surprised me, a trivial sound layered on top of the more serious crunch of Richie’s skull breaking and he was hurt, oh for sure and badly, and I knew, at 9-years old, that I was a now and would forever be a murderer and that I was going to jail and to hell, straight to my room and to the electric chair, and cops were going to beat me up and my dad was going to spank me and who knew what Mrs. Lacanatto would do?
This I pondered, sort of frozen in a building anguish, as I watched Richie begin to weave his way home, confused and saddened by my attack, too physically hurt to completely cry but tears of betrayal nonetheless leaked from his eyes. He made a noise like “Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.”
So, of course, I never said anything and I never have said anything and I never will say anything after Richie stumbled into the street and was immediately struck by Mrs. Stellarman, returning from a card party in Ronkonkoma and more than slightly drunk. Richie died in the ambulance, they said, before even reaching the hospital. Mrs. Stellarman got in a lot of trouble but, since she was married to Mr. Stellarman, not a whole bunch happened to her but they did move away soon afterward. The Lancanattos were bereft. And I never told anyone what I had done and, even now, it’s just your word against mine.