At first Evie thinks that Tim is just another "vacation" friend of hers but she soon realizes that Tim will be staying with his grandmother. Evie goes regularly to Mrs. Cameron's backyard to play war games with Tim and always, Tim plays the role of his father who tries to save his buddy Hank, played by Evie, and in doing so, also gets killed. Tim's mother gets to stay with them and sometimes Evie sees her observing them at play. Tim's mother has at one point wanted to chastise them for all their screaming but is stopped by Mrs. Cameron. , Tim and Evie decides to sneak into the house and scare the hell out of Mrs, Cameron, or TiThey invent variations in their games but the plot is always the same. Then one fateful day, out of boredom, Tim and Evie decide to sneak into the house and scare the hell out of Mrs, Cameron, or Tim's mother. They frighten Mrs. Cameron, who is coming down on the front stairs and the old lady fall backwards and slid down all the way to the concrete walk. Mrs. Cameron cuts her arm and there is blood all over. Tim calls her mother and instructs Evie to call 911. She encounters Tim's mother in the front porch and the latter grabs her, then spanks her and gives an outburst almost blaming Evie for the mishap. This scares Evie and she runs out of the house and asks for help. Everything turns well but for Evie it was a realization that she may only be eight years old and does not know yet the implications of the Vietnam war but she is at that very moment of encounter with Tim's mother is very close to war.
The story is set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, an era in the American history that has given the American people a lot of pain. The characters in the story have their own wars themselves, their own inner conflicts. Evie knows that she was behaving badly around Mrs. Cameron's house but because of Tim's lead, and perhaps, so as not to antagonize her friend, she no longer bothers to be polite to Mrs. Cameron. She says in the story, "I began to grow bold around Mrs. Cameron. Though I didn't dare shout at her or order her around as Tim did, I often ran past her without answering when she spoke to me, and - following Tim's lead - no longer bothered with thank you or please. If I behaved so badly at my own house, I would have got a spanking - but somehow I understood that Mrs. Cameron wasn't going to tell." The conflict here is that she knows what is right but because they get away with it and she does not want to displease her friend, she follows his actions. Tim, for Evie, is different from her other friends and she feels that his seriousness makes him her natural soulmate. Tim, on the other hand, at the start of their friendship has established that he is in charge. During one of their games, they heard Tim's grandmother call: "Why don't yall go play on the swings"
"Because we don't want to," screamed Tim and he orders Elvie not to leave when he sees her getting up. Somehow, Evie, eager to maintain their friendship, allows Tim to order her around even if she knows that it affects her sense of right values. Evie, when asked by her mom if they ever play rough or misbehave over at Mrs. Cameron's house feels guilty. "I was troubled all the rest of the evening, and that night, as I lay in bed, I resolved to act better at Mrs. Cameron's house. Even if Tim was bad, I would be good. But by the next day - I had forgotten all