The Bad Seed

I met Eddie Ducomin in the third grade, he was only 3 months older than me, but seemed way older. He taught me how to smoke. He's steal a pack of Camel cigarettes from under the front seat of his dad's car, and we'd go down by the river and smoke. One hot summer Sunday he showed me a hunting knife that he'd bought from the local army surplus store. Stroking the blade with his thumb, he asked me if I'd ever seen Margret Hooper. Margret Hooper was a retarded girl of about ten or eleven that lived on a farm in the middle of a corn field, across from Eddie's house.

"No, I said, "I've never seen her."  Eddie grinned, "Come on, we're gonna have some fun."  We dashed across the road and into the corn field. I followed Eddie, moving from row to row, as we made our way toward the Hooper house. Through the corn row we could see the low white clapboard house, badly in need of paint. Near the house stood a tall old cottonwood tree, and hanging down from a thick limb was a rope swing. The rope looped through two holes in the wooden seat and back up to the limb. We stood at the edge of the cornfield until we were sure there was no one home.

"Come," Eddie ordered, and took off running. I followed him to the swing. He picked up the wooden swing seat and handed it to me. "Here, hold this," he said. I started to sweat. I looked around, expecting to be yelled at at any moment. With his hunting knife he carefully cut halfway through the rope beneath the seat. He tugged on the rope, to make sure it didn't part easily. "Perfect," Eddie said, "Come on." We ran back to the protection of the corn rows, and sat down to wait. "What's the big deal," I asked, "She sits down and the rope breaks, so what?" Eddie said, "You just wait and see." We sat in the corn field for quite some time, but then heard the Hooper car working it's way down the long dirt driveway to the house.

The Hoopers had been to church, and were all dressed in their finery. Margret was the first one out of the car, a bible clutched in her hand. Mr and Mrs Hooper went into the house, and Margret went directly to the rope swing. She sat down in the swing, wrapped one arm around the rope and was looking at, or reading the bible. She was wearing a pink dress, and shiny black shoes, with white socks. She began to pump the swing, going higher and higher. Eddie punched me on the arm, grinning ear to ear.

Margret was about as high as she could go when the rope parted. She sailed forward, her arm twisted in the rope. She turned sideways, then fell forward, one arm outstretched. Even from where I was, I could hear her arm snap, and see the bone protruding from the skin. Eddie grabbed my shoulder, and laughing he ran.

Eddie was proud of what he's done, and whenever he told the story he would double over laughing.

I quit having anything to do with him then, and was not surprised when, years later I heard he went to prison for breaking and entering. 

The End

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