youngest son lifts his eyes to the sky, he sees birds, not justice. In his
mind's eye he's looking down from inside one of their little heads, winging his
way free of all the rubble, fear and death. Birds are freedom. If there is
justice in the sky, a man can accept limits on his freedom. If there
He keeps his
pigeons on the roof of an abandoned building, depending on its ghosts and rats
to fend off intruders. When his birds are sick or newly hatched, he stays all
night on the roof, listening to the sirens scream, the pigeons coo. When it is
cold, he brings them inside the apartment. My babies, he murmurs as he strokes
Just now, Killer
smelled them. It's cold, and Mike has moved them inside the vacated apartment
next door. Killer is the Tysons' Labrador retriever. He noses open the lids on
their boxes, crushes 25 pigeons, one by one, between his jaws, and arranges
them in a pile. He has no desire to eat them; no, he does it simply because he
can. Mike walks in, screams out in grief, runs sobbing to his room. He hates
that dog; why can't he be more like him?
Please put it
down. A teenager, five years older and bigger, has one of Mike's babies, shakes
it in Mike's face. For no reason other than Mike's weakness—no reason different
than the dog's—the teenager's hands jerk, the pigeon's head is gone. Blood
pumps out and the bird still walks; its feet don't know it's dead.
All at once
Mike's hands and feet are kicking and gouging and punching—he's fighting back,
he's making the teenager bleed. He is justice! Instincts haven't made him
fight. Outraged innocence has.
For the first
time, when the beating of the teenager is done, Mike feels peace. Once a man
stops running, once he allows the frenzy and chaos out there to come inside
him, he and the world are in harmony. It seems so simple; how has it eluded
fun for him to beat up kids," says his sister, Denise. "Everyone was
afraid of him. His name stopped being 'Mike.' It became 'Mike Tyson.' Boys
would come to the door and say, 'Mrs. Tyson, is Mike Tyson home?' He was very
mean. And he was the sweetest, most compassionate boy you ever saw. My mother
lived in fear that he would do one of two things: Kill someone, or get
the best pickpocket in Brownsville. He'd shake your hand, and your watch, ring
and wallet would be gone. Little kids, adults, anybody. He was good. Real good.
Very, very good. We all dressed up as witches and ghosts for Halloween. Mike
dressed up as a thief."
What a discovery!
Anything the world inflicted on you, you could inflict on the world. If, if you
could bring yourself to do it.
There, on the
couch, his older brother slumbers. Mike takes a razor blade and makes an
incision on his arm so fine that Rodney doesn't stir. "Nurse," he
whispers to his sister, "alcohol." He pours it on the cut and dances
away as Rodney jumps up howling.