Barry Lyga

Jazz spent a chunk of the day fantasizing about ways to kill his grandmother, plotting them and planning them in the most excruciating, gruesome detail his imagination would allow. It turned out his imagination allowed quite a bit. He spent the rest of the day convincing himself–over and over–not to do it.

In baseball, when you get into the batter’s box, that’s it. It’s just you. It’s one man against the world. All that matters in that moment is your individual achievement and your individual skill. There is literally nothing that anyone else on your team can do for you. Hell, they’re all sitting on the bench, waiting to see what happens, just like the fans in the crowd! It’s just you and your bat. And the ball.

…called nine-one-one,” Howie was saying, “and then I heard something in the alleyway, so I went back there and” –Howie coughed– “and valiantly attacked his knife with my guts, to no avail.” “Did you get a good look at him? Could you describe him?” Howie smiled wanly. “Yeah. He was about yay long” –he held up his hands, four inches apart– “thin, made of steel. Pointy. Sharp.

Don’t be stupid. You’re a child. You don’t know what it means to be in love.” And she flung open the car door as if she wished she had the strength to rip it from the hinges, and stalked off to the house through the rain. That night, I lay in bed, troubled by what she’d said, blocking out the sounds of argument from my parents’ room. Was love what my parents had? Yelling at eachother, worrying about money? Never smiling? Never happy? If that was love, then I didn’t want it.