The time a kid tried to murder me

The Bible is a book Christians enjoy, but it’s got some difficult stuff inside.

There’s tons of wickedness: incest, adultery, kidnapping, perversion, murder, but worst of all, it says you have to love people.

However, there is good news in the Bible. One piece of good news is that God offers a release valve to help you endure the incredible pressure of loving everyone, even the Amish.

This release comes in the form of something the Bible leaves unsaid. Yes, you must love, but you don’t have to like anyone.

God is love. Scripture never says God is like. So, I don’t strive to be.

Love is all you need.

If you love someone, you would die for them. If you like someone, you’d hang out with them. Most people, I would rather die for.

Here’s a tiny list of people I’d rather die for:

  1. People who make sounds while reading.
  2. People whose hands are wet.
  3. People who think Doctor Who gives them an identity.
  4. People who bump into me. I’m high-strung. It frightens my crap every time. I wish whenever it happened your beautiful baby would rip out of sleep, screaming from a night terror. Why? Because my heart is a beautiful baby who wakes up screaming every time you bump into me.

I didn’t always know love is all you need. Let me tell you about a time I ventured dangerously far beyond the Bible’s bounds and tried to like someone.

In high school, my brother got a girlfriend and abandoned the world.

I lost a brother, yes, but I gained a best friend, his best friend Anthony, who became mine. My new buddy and I were an even stronger team because there was no risk of meever getting a girlfriend. My standards were too high: I wanted someone who wanted to be with me.

My mother always offered comfort, saying, “I’m the only woman who will ever love you.”

Anthony had a younger brother. We’ll call him Loco.

Loco was a skinny, little kid with anger problems. He punched walls, kicked guiltless potted plants to death, and chucked Hot Wheels cars at your eyes.

Once, Anthony and I tried to ditch Loco. We snuck out of the house, grabbed our bikes, and made a run for it. But Loco burst onto the porch and screamed, “Where are you going?! You will answer me!” Then another spirit entered him, his voice dropped an octave, and he roared, “I…hate…you!”

My friend and I rode away giggling, as kids will do in the face of profound suffering.

I felt bad. Sure, Loco was loco, but I knew what it was like to be abandoned, so I decided to start a little club with the kid. I would get to know him.

I set out to like him.

We made a fort in the woods, carved the name of our club into a tree — we called ourselves “The Dan Club” in honor of me — and we hung out.

But remember, he was Loco.

He had trouble untying his shoes once, fell over, and tried to bite my ankle. Another time, I told him we shouldn’t shoot cars with BB guns anymore, and he aimed the gun at my face and said, “I’ll shoot your mother.” Then there was the time he couldn’t find a baseball card in his room, so he threw everything out the window. Like he was breaking up with himself. I fled. I’m told his parents found him shining with sweat and lying naked on the bare floor, asleep.

Did he find the baseball card? Yes. But he was so angry by the time he found it, he ate it.

This was all on the first day of Dan Club.

I gave up. I could not like Loco. I would no longer attend Dan Club meetings. I have no idea what business and action items Loco discussed at the meetings alone in the following days.

Wait, yes I do:

“Mr. Chairman, I move that we murder Dan.” Loco’s motion was seconded by Loco.

One day, Anthony and I were at my house building bike ramps. We had cinder blocks, plywood, nails, and for a hammer, we used an ax.

I happened to look up and saw Loco on the road, walking. He’d walked all the way from his house to mine in the burning, summer sun. 3 miles. Why didn’t he use his bike? Because, the week before, he’d beaten it into the afterlife with a golf club.

His creeping pace was deceptive. If I looked too often, he seemed to make no progress. But when I forgot about him and looked only now and then, he moved in huge jumps: he was a quarter mile away, a hundred feet, then ten yards from us, crossing the lawn.

He stopped.

“Dan?” he said, almost whispering, “it’s our meeting time. We don’t have a quorum.”

I don’t know where this kid picked up terminology from Robert’s Rules of Order for business meetings, but I do know the word “quorum” coming out of a little kid’s mouth was the evilest thing I had ever heard.

“Sorry,” I said, “I can’t today.”

Loco smiled then turned with the eerie, sluggish speed of a music box ballerina, and he walked away. Anthony and I laughed like monsters then got back to work.

After a while, I glanced up to see where Loco was on the road. But he wasn’t on the road. He had reached the end of the yard and halted. He stood there with his back to us. Frozen.

I watched him, wondering what he would do next. What he did next was this: he spun and faced us. Then he ran. He ran fast in a line as straight as the flatline of a dead heart, directly at me. His skeletal form was a blur of movement, but his black eyes were steady as stars. They were huge and seemed dead, like the eyes on moth wings and king cobra hoods. Eyes of a living corpse. The eyes of Loco.

Anthony and I stood there. We were frozen now. People who go bananas are mesmerizing. It isn’t charisma, just bad wiring, but it’s enormously entertaining, even if you’re about to be entertained to death.

Loco ran up close, five feet away, and stopped…again so still.

At that moment, Anthony said, “Go home.”

These words seemed to change Loco, though there was nothing to see, only a feeling. His aura must have sprouted heads and horns. The air died, inhaled by the lightning about to strike.

Loco lunged. He lunged for the ax lying on the ground at our feet.

I was stuck. Fascinated. I had never been a part of a murder before.

Thankfully, Anthony wasn’t stuck. He jumped to action. In a blink, he was standing on the ax, both feet planted.

Loco grabbed the handle but couldn’t lift it while his brother was on it. He was like King Arthur trying to lift Excalibur while his brother’s standing on it.

Loco let go and straightened up. Then he leaned forward and hissed the f-word at me like it was a plague he hoped to spread.

It wasn’t fair. I wasn’t the one who stood on the ax and stopped him. I was the one who tried for a whole couple hours to like the ungrateful kid. I only gave up because it wasn’t possible.

I, like all condemned holy-folk, ask, “What is my crime?”

After the f-word left Loco, he seemed exorcised. He sauntered away, back down the sunny road.

If this was fiction, that night in a sudden storm, during a ghostly flash of lighting, I’d see Loco standing at the foot of my bed, holding the ax.

Between each killing hack, amidst splashes of blood, I would struggle to say, “I’m sorry.”

I should clarify. It’s me murdering him in this scene. Are you kidding? He was a little, skinny kid; there would be no contest. I don’t care if an army of Locos was in my room. Kids have never been that great at murder. It’s not their fault. They’ve got heart, just no hand strength.

You see? This is what happens when you apply to life an incorrect understanding of the Bible.

Therefore, love one another. Love strangers. Love your neighbor. But that’s where you’d better draw the line.

All you need is love. Anything else is deadly.

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Daniel Williams

A poverty-stricken, soft Batman by night. Illustrator and writing teacher by day. Previously: McSweeney’s, Slackjaw.