The boy had bitten a large chunk out of a neighbor and was heading for downtown. The state police were called and they surrounded him down by Miller’s pizza. First, they tried to talk to him, but that ended when Tommy went after a mother who was strolling her baby. They fired some rubber bullets that knocked Tommy back and sent him into a picnic table. “Tommy, we want to talk,” one said. “How can we help you, Tommy?” another said. “I’m sorry they did this to you,” a third said. That one seemed to get through. Tommy stopped drooling and growling and sat on a bench, crossing his legs with his hands clasped on top of them. “I’m ready to talk now,” he said. The officer put down his gun and sat on the other side of the picnic table. “What did they make you do?” he said. “They made me mad, so I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from eating that neighbor,” he said. “All you did was take a bite,” the officer said. “I didn’t kill him,” Tommy said. “Not even close,” the officer said. “Take this,” the officer said. He handed the boy a napkin to wipe his face. “Thanks,” the boy said. The boy’s mother arrived on the scene. She ran over to the table on all fours, drooling and screaming like a banshee. “See what you’ve done to him,” she said to the officer. “No mom, he’s all right,” the boy said. “You’ve brainwashed him. Don’t look at me like that,” she said. “Don’t let her take me officer,” the boy said. Before he could respond, she took a bite out of the officer’s arm and spit out the police patch. She slung Tommy over her shoulder and ran off into the trees at the edge of the power lines, where she climbed a transformer and let out the most horrible cry, sending the grackles up there scattering over the rooftops like an airborne disease. As usual, the blaming mother was as much a part of the problem as anybody.