When I was a kid, one neighbor sold drugs and the other bought them. They would spend Sunday afternoons eating worms and crickets in the backyard. I think they were Puerto Rican.
I grew up, got a dog, and named her Rica. She only ran away once. I chased her a half mile up the street, discovering the world for the first time, the shadows and loneliness permeating the air, soaking the soil. The moonlight covered me as I walked to the nearest house. A floodlight hid behind a Magnolia tree. A figure stood over the ground, inspecting something. Then he raised a stick over his head and slammed the ground.
An animal was stamped in the pine straw, its organs smeared across the brick of the house and thrown into Magnolia branches. The man looked at me, sweating, his shirt sprayed with maroon streaks, the tip of his baseball bat soaked.
“Damn raccoons keep getting in the trash,” he said.
I didn’t know him and he didn’t introduce himself. He dropped the bat and walked to the garage. The door shut. The floodlight went out.
I found Rica a half hour later, running circles around a possum near our front yard.