Heath Bobbins

12 Oct

When my group of friends and I were in our early teens, there was an 18 year old bloke that always used to be in the local park on his own, listening to heavy metal music loudly on his Walkman. Scary to look at, we avoided him as much as we possibly could. This was at a time before paedophiles had been invented, so we couldn’t accuse him being one. Instead, he was known as the Crazy Man.

During one summer holiday break we got talking to him, and although he was quite strange, we would hang around with him despite protests from all of our parents. I shall call him Heath, not that it is his real name, but it does sound very similar, and if you were one of the people that also knew him, he will be instantly recognisable from this story. Heath was a loner, but he looked out for us once we’d ‘made friends’ – giving us money he’d stolen from his mum so that we could buy multi-packs of Chewits and numerous packets of stickers for our sticker albums. He would let us try his cigarettes, and sometimes, if he was in a good mood, even give us a can of beer.

To say Heath was unhinged would be an understatement; I’d seen him flip out and go mental on numerous occasions; be it at someone who had told him to pick up his rubbish, or at one of us for taking the piss out of him too much. Despite this, we grew to like Heath, and a lot of the time made a concerted effort to laugh with him, rather than at him. Sometimes though, it was just too hard not to, for we witnessed some truly spectacular Heath events. In no particular order, these are some of the wonderful things Heath did during the time I knew him:

– After getting fed up with his life, he tried to hang himself from a tree in the park with his old school tie. When in the tree we begged him not to do it, but he jumped anyway. The tie snapped. A month later he tried the same thing with one of his dad’s ties and the same thing happened, the tie snapped again.

– We made a small bike ramp over an old tree stump which we were riding over. Heath came over and asked to have a go. After taking an almighty run up, he hit the ramp, crashed, and broke his collar bone.

– From my mate’s kitchen window, we saw Heath coughing and spluttering outside during a hail storm and called him over. He could barely talk and it looked like he was struggling to breathe. He then started rubbing his throat frantically and after about 30 seconds said, “Ahh, that’s better”. When we asked him what had happened, he told us that he’d swallowed a hail stone the size of a golf ball and it had been stuck in his throat, so he had to melt it by heating his larynx up.

– He had a (not serious, but rather ugly) cyst removed from on his face, between the top of his nose and the corner of his eye. The cyst was about the size of a malteser. It grew back, three times.

– When the resident of one of the houses that backed onto the park told Heath off for being too loud, Heath started trying to climb over the high wooden fence to get to him. When he realised that he couldn’t get over, he picked up his own bike and threw it into the man’s garden in a fit of rage. He never got it back.

– He actually had a girlfriend for a brief period, a large girl by the name of Sarah. Quite disgustingly, he would get his todger out, hold it between his thumb and forefinger, and then waggle it at her saying, “Come and have a play”.

– Heath hated frogs, so much so that he would seek them out at the stream that ran at one end of the park, and then pull them in half by their back legs, or throw them against a wall to kill them. It wasn’t until we all turned on him and called him a fucking sick bastard that he stopped. His hatred for frogs before this was very disturbing.

– Heath liked to collect batteries; used batteries that no longer worked. In fairness, he did get through a packet every couple of days, such was the amount of time his Walkman was on, but I don’t really see the point in collecting batteries. I remember him bringing out his collection one afternoon and he had hundreds of them.

– He found a bit of work with one of the local builders, doing a spot of laboring. One job he helped on was the construction of a base for a conservatory. Heath was instructed to mix up the sand, cement and powdered dye so that the two builders could get on with the brickwork, which he did, and the base was built in a day. Three days later however, the builders were called back because when it came to installing the conservatory, the brickwork moved about and still hadn’t set. Opening up the garage, they found the reason why. Heath had just mixed up the sand and dye with water. No cement had been added.

– He once knocked the turban off the head of the owner of the local corner shop, put it on his own head and started doing a weird Bollywood type dance.

– When he got really angry, or when trying to impress the younger kids, Heath would see how many times he could wrap a swing around the top support pole in one push, and then walk away with his hands in the air, fingers pointing skywards, nodding his head enthusiastically.

– Someone once sold him icing sugar instead of cocaine. Heath was not a happy bunny. Two weeks later they sold him mixed herbs as weed.

– We once gave Heath one of those ‘comedy’ exploding cigarettes. After it had disappointed us with its tiny bang, we had to run away from Heath for half an hour as he chased us, intent on revenge.

– He would climb onto the church roof and sing heavy metal songs to the empty graveyard, as if he was in concert. He once did this on a Sunday morning, when a service was on. Inevitably, he got told off, but Heath responded in the only way he knew how to; by running into the church and shouting ‘GOD’s NOT REAL’ over and over again.

– We built a rather impressive base in the woods, complete with roof. We went back the next day to find that Heath had demolished the whole thing in a drunken rage, and taken a poo on top of the debris.

Despite these incidents, we all grew to love Heath in a weird way. He was part of the town furniture, something that you could guarantee a visitor they would always see. Heath’s whereabouts nowadays are unknown. I did see him years ago when he must have been about 24, and he recognised me instantly. Wherever he is now, or whatever he is doing, I hope he’s happy, because he certainly entertained me on numerous occasions throughout my youth. Not in that way, you pervert

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