The Little Psychopaths

When I was a little boy growing up in Edmonton, I had two close friends who lived on my street. I think we were borderline psychopaths at the time. Good thing there was a large empty field behind our homes to do our damage…

My one friend enjoyed playing with fire. He would steal boxes and boxes of matches from his father. We would go out into the field and hide behind some bushes with me on look out- for what I’m not sure, there was never anyone out there but us. But it was a small thrill for a seven year old. Here we were playing with matches lighting small piles of straw and paper on fire. To this day, I can light a fire with minimal effort.

Sometimes we would light small rolls of cap gun powder dots. The smell of sulphur burning still remains strong in my memory banks. Little boy giggles as the flames exploded in small burst filled us with joy. Soon after I moved away, this friend ended up lighting this field on fire. As well as his attic. No one was hurt.

My other friend enjoyed catching frogs, mice, flies and grasshoppers. Tormenting them as little boys do. Pulling the wings off of the insects or poking at the tiny animals with sticks. Never really harming to draw blood, but not sure what happened to the frogs and rodents after each catch. His family never owned any pets, so these creatures became something to play with. We also lived in an area that was constantly filled with mosquitoes in the summer. Much like Dexter’s intro, my friend would wait and watch the blood get sucked out of him. Only to crush the bug’s body squirting his blood everywhere.

Then there was me. Besides being an accomplice to my two friends, I enjoyed breaking stuff. Mostly my Lego creations. I enjoyed building and then causing accidents only to rebuild again. One summer day, my friends and I wandered to an abandoned home that we would pass on our walk to school. As any rambunctious boy would do- I threw rocks at the windows. As a stone flew through the air, the anticipation of the crash as the glass exploded would last an eternity.

This thrill came from the first ever accident I had with my bike earlier in my life. My bike had rolled down the stairs on our back porch and smashed into our basement window. Why my bike was up on the deck is beyond me. Why my father didn’t get angry this time was also beyond me.

All three of us have grown up and have families now. None of us are convicted criminals or psychopaths. It was just another part of childhood- the thrills of doing something forbidden and getting away with it. I wonder if our children did similar activities? Maybe I’ll find out one day.

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