Let’s Play


Told by James Heath
(retyped by April Heath Pastis)
One day when we were coming home from school, we came across some kids playing in front of their house. Well like all kids would we stopped to say hi and pretty soon they asked us to come inside. So, we did of course and we went up to one of the sons’ room. There were three kids that lived there. We had a great time and pretty soon it was getting dark.
It was a rule that we should be home before the street lights came on, so we hurried out of there. They asked us to come back tomorrow and of course we did.
They didn’t live but three or four houses away from us and we spent a lot of time over there after school. It never occurred to me that I didn’t see them at school, I just enjoyed playing with them. As I recall they had a lot of great toys. We were poor and most of the toys we had had been made or carved out of wood. But these kids had store bought toys. They seemed to enjoy our company though they didn’t talk much.
Every day and weekends we’d go over to their house and hang out with our new neighbors. One Saturday, we were all Derald and I, were dressing quickly to get over there to do some serious playing. Kittie, who always tagged along, was rushing to catch up with us.
Well, my mom noticed that we were getting ready to take off again and she asked where we were playing these days that took up so much of our time. Well, we told her about the three kids who lived down the street.
“What house?” mom asked, trying to figure out what we were talking about.
With a look of puzzlement, she decided she’d walk over with us.I thought she was just being friendly and wanted to say hello to our new neighbors.
So, Derald, Kittie, my mom and I all walked down the street to the end of the Ridgeway. When we arrived there was nothing there. I mean there was a lot and a house foundation, but there was no house.
“Is this where you’ve been coming every day?” mom asked.
“Well, Yes and No,” I said. There was a house there and there were three kids that we played with.
“Jimmy,” my mom said softly, “I used to play there with three kids when I was little. But the house caught on fire and everyone, including the three kids, died in the house.”

Bug Eye

Told by James Heath
(as dictated to April Heath Pastis)
I spent a lot of nights sleeping at my grandparents house. One night,
I was getting ready for bed after making myself a sandwich. Back
then, we didn’t have our bread sliced and so I used a butcher knife
and sliced the bread before making myself a thick peanut butter and
jelly sandwich and a full glass of chocolate milk.
I wiped down the counter and put the knife in the sink before heading
downstairs to the basement which is where my grandparents had a small
bed for me to sleep on when I was staying there. My grandparents
weren’t home, but I made myself comfortable, reading a couple comic
books as I ate my meal.
After I finished, I got into bed and it wasn’t long before I heard
the back door, which was just beyond the basement door. I figured my
grandpa and grandma Sullivan had gotten home, so the sound of the
door didn’t bother me.
Suddenly, the basement door opened and I heard a gigling at the top
of the stairs. It was an insane, wicked giggle too. So, I jumped out
of bed. I realized that it wasn’t grandma or grandpa who had come
home, but someone had come into our house. Back then, we didn’t lock
our doors, so it would be easy to do.

I kranked my head down to see up the staircase, to hide from the
intruder but also to see who it was.
“He he heheh…I see you. He he hhehhe.” the intruder giggled.
I gulped and stepped out to see who it was. It was old Bug eye. Bug
eye was a kid, well really a man, who was retarded. He didn’t have
much smarts and he was really to hideous to look at as his eyes
bulged, litterally, buldged right out of the sockets of his eyes.
And, he was really black. I mean not just black like most African
Americans, I mean his skin was as black as they come, and accented
against those white eyes, he was quite a disturbing site. All the
kids in the neighborhood called him bug-eye.
But, bug eye, had lost it a couple years back and attacked his
parents with a knife. So that they locked him away in the Sanitarium.
I looked at him and he raised his hand and the reflection of that
butcher knife I had made my sandwich from glinted off my eyes.
“He he he” he kept giggling insanely.
I was scared to death. I was in the basement and there was no way out
of there. I was trapped. I knew he was going to kill me.
Well, Ol’ bug eye took a couple of steps down the stairs when
suddenly, the whole room lit up. It wasn’t coming from the light. It
was, I felt it, my grandma.
Bug eye felt it at the same time. He turned completely white, I mean
WHITE. He dropped the butcher knife, and sprang back up the steps,
past the basement door and through, I mean through, the back door–
taking it right off the hinges.
I felt my grandma give me a hug and I knew she would be with me
always. I took a couple steps to the bottom of the stairs and stopped
to see an ivory broach that was lying at the foot of the stairs. My
grandmother had been buried wearing that broach. It had been my
About that time, my grandparents were getting home. They usually came
in the back door and I heard my grandfather swearing as he discovered
the broken door. I knew I wasn’t get a chance to tell him what
happened and was going to get a beating.
Instead, he was stopped by some policeman. As it turned out, the
police man said they were looking for a man who’d escaped from the
Sanitarium and that he was capable of murder. They thought they’d
seen him running out of our house.
I know my grandmother saved my life.
Mentioned in this story:
grandparents: Norman G. Raymond Sullivan and Anna Ruth Buchanan
Grandmother who appeared: Ida Mae Dollins Buchanan