Bad Man

One time I killed someone.

I was a third grader at a private school in the next neighborhood. I had a girlfriend who had a Gameboy, but I also had a crush on my English teacher. From the bottom bunk in my bedroom, past the cherry tree, I could see whitecaps on the open water. On sunny days, bumblebees would land on the purple flowers in our garden. I’d trap them between my palms and keep them in a glass jar until they died. Both my parents were doctors, so I went to the hospital with them sometimes to see sick people.

One time my dad’s wallet went missing from his bedside table. My parents called the police a lot.

One time my nanny Kimberly told me not to tell my parents.

Mom and dad always arrived home at dinnertime, so Kimberly and I had lots of time to play. She’d read Goosebumps to me and give me back rubs after school. Sometimes I’d take a nap on her lap, and other times we played Monopoly. We ate yogurt together in the living room even though mom said no food outside the kitchen. Kimberly’s daddy drowned when she was nine, but she was a Mormon and said it happened for a reason.

One time Kimberly found a dead dog on the Indian trail and buried it in our yard. Kimberly and I had lots of secrets.

One time mom was angry for two whole days.

She told me to tell the truth about her missing sunhat and the yogurt containers she found hidden in the closet. When I told her I did nothing, she put me on timeout for three hours because she didn’t believe me. Mom swore that she would get to the bottom of it. Kimberly said that a bad man was the one doing these things. Kimberly told me not to worry because God is good.

One time when I got home Kimberly was naked and riding my bike in the yard.

One time police cars were blocking our street and the bus driver made me walk the rest of the way home. I cried because I was scared.

Kimberly told the police how a man with a black ski mask tried to break into my house. He smashed the side glass door with a baseball bat, but she was loud and brave so the man ran away down the beach. The police couldn’t find him, even with a helicopter and police dogs. Kimberly told me that he looked like the bully with the crooked jaw from Goosebumps. Later, I walked my dog in our garden and he found a baseball bat in the hedge.

One time the police told my parents shoot to kill. One time when I was playing hide and seek, I found a gun under my parents’ bed.

One time Kimberly arrived home late and smelled like mom’s bourbon whipped cream.

Kimberly made me tell her exactly what I had said to mom, even though I never said anything. She screamed that the bad man would get me unless I told the truth. I locked myself in my room, but she wouldn’t stop banging on the door. I climbed out my window and hid behind the cherry tree. When she found me, I ran my fastest to the beach. She followed me into the ocean, so I screamed my loudest and swam freestyle towards our buoy. The water was so cold that I couldn’t breathe. I saw my neighbor standing on his deck before Kimberly shoved me underwater. No matter how hard I tried to float, we both sank deeper and deeper. When I started drinking the salt water, I pushed off her neck. She let me go, but I stopped remembering before I could reach the surface.

One time I woke up at midnight and Kimberly was there by my bed in the dark.

One time I dreamt that Bad Man is still out there.

In the hospital they told me I didn’t kill anyone, but I know I did. They don’t know where Kimberly’s body is, but I know I miss our secrets.

One time I dreamt that I am Bad Man.