He was the dirty kid. Smelly and inclined to eat boogers. He walked hunched and kept his head on a swivel, scanning for danger which probably wasn't there. Except at home, there was definitely danger there.
We played ball together, me and John. He was a nice kid but he didn't talk much. His spirit had been beaten out of him by his father with a PVC pipe. I don't remember how we learned that he was abused, but we learned it too late. John was underdeveloped socially, physically, and spiritually. He was much more like a wild animal than most people - a prey animal.
His father would smile at baseball games and cheer John when he got a hit. But there was something he brought with him, this sense of creepy danger. You could see right through it. And while I must admit the darker part of me would like to give that man a taste of what he gave his son, it wouldn't do any good. God will sort him out, one way or another. I am probably supposed to pray for him, but I never have.