I hate kids.
They make up names just to see someone cry. They do wedgies, swirlies, nuggies, and smack plastic combs on knuckles. They twist titties and fart in each other’s faces. They start rumors of love and sluts. They laugh at changing bodies: pencil moustaches, menstruation, high voices, and boob buds. They torture small animals, rip fireflies’ asses off, and burn ants.
I never had neighbors with kids for very long. I’d play white power music. I’d rent porn and turn it up real loud. I’d catch the kids in the hall after school and tell them Jesus was a fraud and give them genocidal history lessons.
Parents hated me almost as much as I hated their little parasites.
When the Serbians moved in next door with their one son, I thought it would be easy to get rid of them.
The father was an average man. Average eyes, average hair, average build adorned with average clothes. He wore a wool fedora hat and always tipped it as he passed.
His wife was an attractive woman if you considered a woman who stunk of cabbage and had teeth that looked like an unkempt chicken coop attractive.
They had one boy. Loud. Obnoxious. Awful.
I hated him. I tried all my usual tricks, but nothing worked. The family seemed impervious to them. I didn’t know what to do.
I couldn’t eat. I lost hair. At night, I’d try and come up with new ways to make them as miserable as I was, and all I got out of the deal was dark circles under my eyes and a mind that couldn’t focus. For months, I was hopeless.
Once I saw the girl across the hallway try to give the kid a plastic pistol. As he reached up for it, the mother smacked his hand then shooed him in the apartment where he threw a fit. All night. He cursed and broke things and cried.
The mother explained, in her thick accent, that the boy knew about war first-hand, so he didn’t need to be playing it.
The next day I told the kid I put a cap gun in the basement and he could play with it anytime without his momma’s intervention. He smiled. It was a big, goofy disgusting grin.
Downstairs, the kid was ecstatic, pointing and shooting. Caps were popping in rapid succession, releasing a distinct aroma in the air. He’d fall to one knee and fire; I’d hold my chest.
The plan was simple: knock him out and take him somewhere, drop him where no one would find him. Eat. Sleep. Become a human being again.
Behind him, I held up a plumber’s wrench. I felt a weird sense of relief.
Then I saw black.
When I woke up, my hands and feet were taped to a chair. I shook but couldn’t get free.
I looked around and I glimpsed him. He carried a worn leather case that he set on the floor. He placed his old wool fedora next to it.
“My wife,” he said in a thick accent, “doesn’t want boy to have gun or play war. Says it is bad for him. But all boys play war. They want to be men.”
He opened the case and gazed inside.
“I don’t have such feelings. My boy knows this. He asked me to come down and play. A good parent must take time out of his day to play with his child, yes?”
I watched him pull out long stainless-steal scissors. I shook, screamed, shook more. Nothing.
“When you’re looking for trouble, trouble is easy to find. We said this when I was in the army. Soldiers would always look for trouble in Serbia. Sooner or later, they find me.”
Piss dribbled down my legs and soaked my pants. He looked down and smiled.
He was upon me; when my eyes flittered open, he was holding a small bloody sack. My sack.
Before my eyes flittered closed, I understood. We just never grow up.