What is “evil?” I have often pondered the question. Spelled backward it reads “live.” Is it the opposite of “to live?” Does it mean “to die?” Here is the story of what happened to me when I was 13. You decide.
At age 11 I lost my father. He died from a heart attack. Tragic, but not ordinarily considered evil. After a period of grief my mother, still a young woman, met Clyde and remarried. At first Clyde and I got on well enough. But I never really bonded with the guy. There was something inside him ... something sinister ... that put me off.
For the first year of their marriage I didn’t know what that something was. But sometime after that my mother was called out of town to visit her ill sister. Clyde and I were left alone to hold down the fort against youngsters dressed like ghosts and goblins. For it was Halloween.
We were ill at ease, watching TV, but I couldn’t quite decide why. Anyhow, at 9 pm I told him that the last of the hallo-weenies had probably gone home, and that I was bushed and turning in. I got into my pajamas and fell asleep, wishing that my bedroom door had a lock. Sometime around midnight I woke up with a start. Someone had slipped into my bed and was fondling me.
“No! No!” I yelled, springing out of bed with clenched fists.
“Come on,” Clyde begged thickly, “don’t be a puritanical little jerk.”
“You go to hell,” I screamed, bolting from my room and flying down the stairs.
I tore the front door open and ran out into the safety of the darkness. It was cold, and all the trick-or-treaters had indeed long since gone home. I cowered down behind the big oak tree in our front yard. Clyde’s figure appeared in the doorway. He had put on a robe to cover his nakedness.
“Come on, Timmy, come back inside,” he gently begged.
“Fat chance!” my mind screamed silently.
Just then a second figure appeared in the doorway behind Clyde. In my confused state of mind, it looked just like my father.
Without saying a word, the stranger raised the Louisville Slugger I kept behind the front door and brought it down with a mighty swing on the back of Clyde’s head. I can still hear the whack in my mind. It sounded like when a major leaguer meets a fast ball with the sweet spot on his bat, and drives a ball right out of the park.
I silently watched with eyes of wonder as Clyde pitched forward. Without a word the stranger returned the bat to its place behind the door and dragged Clyde’s limp body out to a car parked in the street. He looked around in the dim light of a street lamp, stuffed Clyde’s body into the trunk, and drove off. I never saw the car or Clyde again.
On trembling legs I re-entered the house and crept up the stairs. I opened my scrapbook and took out a faded gift tag.
“Dear Tim,” it read. “Every boy needs a good bat. Here’s one of the best. Love, Dad.”
Was the stranger really my father? I was old enough to know it couldn’t have been. Yet it sure looked like him in that Halloween darkness. And whoever it was, he had saved me from evil, and perhaps had even saved my life with a grand slam home run second to none.