So now that we established that no one believed us about the Red Faced Man prowling the streets of Havelock, one night Tommy Wolfe and I armed ourselves with baseball bats and set out on a mission to prove he existed.
We walked up Benton Street, determined to catch the Red Faced Man peeking in some unlucky lady’s window. But halfway up the dark street, all the bravado went out of our sails with a sudden whoosh! as another neighbor kid leaped out behind a car and scared the Be-Jesus out of us. I stood my ground, baseball bat raised to destroy. Tommy Wolfe, however, flung his bat in the air, dove to the ground, and screamed, “Mommy!” at the top of his lungs. So our mission for the night came to a screeching halt.
A few nights later, my dad and I were coming home from the Hinky Dinky grocery store on Adams, when the Red Faced Man walked past our drive-way. I stood and watched him blend in with the trees across the vacant lot next to our house. That image would forever remain in my head (and appear in several of my books later), for the Red Faced Man stood there in the blackness between the cottonwoods, silently smoking a cigarette, its cherry-red glow illuminating the creepy features of his face.
I directed my dad’s attention to the man between the trees, and while he took interest in him for a moment, when I said, “That’s the Red Faced Man,” my dad chuckled and walked back into the house. I quickly followed him.
A few minutes later, I was sprawled on my bed, reading comic books, while my dad was in the nearby bathroom shaving. I got the distinct feeling that someone was watching me from outside my bedroom window, and when I turned to look in that direction, there came a loud Boom! on my window.
I yelped and rolled off of my bed, hit the floor, and crab-crawled my way out into the hallway. My dad, standing at the bathroom sink, shaving cream plastered on his face, looked down at me and asked, “What are you doing?”
I gasped, “The Red Faced Man just banged on my window!” My dad simply snorted and continued shaving, once again believing the spook of the night was nothing more than my wild imagination.
The kicker came a few weeks later, when one night I was seated at the kitchen table. My mom was talking to my Aunt Darlene on the phone, standing at the sink washing dishes. I was eating a bowl of Lucky Charms, and I remember my mom turning at the sink and staring off toward the open back door. She muttered something to my aunt and then suddenly screamed!
I melted out of my chair, knocking my spoon full of Lucky Charms out of my bowl, and slipping to the floor. My dad came running from the living room and my mom began screaming, “There was a man standing there on the porch staring in at me!”
My dad went outside, my mom following him, the phone with my Aunt Darlene on the other line forgotten on the floor where she had dropped it. I crawled over, picked up the phone, and Darlene asked me, “What in the hell is going on over there?”
I whispered, “It was the Red Faced Man!”
to be continued . . .