, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

by Salvatore Difalco

He spent an uneventful month at the Peninsula Youth Centre, waiting for trial, and during that time slept almost 20 hours a day — much to the relief of both staff and administrators — and spoke so infrequently and softly that staff psychologists suspected he suffered from some form of cognitive impairment. Subsequent tests proved this premise false, and that indeed he was reading and writing at a university level, a result that took everyone by surprise. He ate his meals without complaint, and spent his daily exercise hour performing yoga-type stretches in his cell. As for recreation, he enjoyed a game of chess on occasion with one of his counsellors, proving to be unbeatable after countless matches. During one of these chess games, the counsellor asked him why, a question hitherto unasked by anyone, including the arresting officers who had merely asked him if, not why. The youth explained to the counsellor that he didn’t really know why: there was a quarrel, he went into a rage — at most, a 30-second outburst — and it happened. “I’d do anything to take it back,” he said. Once he admitted to the police that he had committed the crime, the only other question they asked was where he had hidden the murder weapon. He told them he had not hidden it but simply returned it to its place in the workroom. “Momma said to always put things back after you use them,” he explained. Upon inspection, they found the crowbar in the workroom hanging from a nail in the wall, still bearing his mother’s dried blood and brain matter.

Salvatore Difalco’s work has appeared in many print and online journals. He lives in Toronto with frequent forays to Sicily.