Heath Rushing interview #2
Friday, October 29, 2021 – 11:45 a.m.
Heath Rushing is a board member of the Yoknapatawpha Players.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee spoke to him again at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Heath Rushing
Detective Magee: Mr. Rushing, I trust you're clean and sober for this interview.
Heath Rushing: Yes, sorry about the last time we talked.
Detective Beckwith: How much of the last interview do you even remember?
Heath Rushing: I'm not gonna lie—not much.
Detective Magee: All right, let's start with your name and address for the record.
Heath Rushing: Heath Rushing. 112 St. Andrews Road in Oxford.
Detective Magee: Let's walk through what you remember about the play a couple of days ago. What do you remember about that day?
Heath Rushing: The board members of the Yoknapatawpha Players were going to be the audience for a dress rehearsal for the new show. I got there late, I know, but I don't know precisely what time it was.
Detective Beckwith: When did you take the mushrooms?
Heath Rushing: It must have been before the show.
Detective Magee: You don't remember?
Heath Rushing: Not particularly. I'm not even sure whose mushrooms they were.
Detective Magee: How's that?
Heath Rushing: Um, well, I guess I couldn't tell you if they were mine or not.
Detective Beckwith: Why? Your stash is that big that you can't tell if you dipped into it?
Heath Rushing: I'm not implying that.
Detective Beckwith: Did you take all of the mushrooms you had, or did you leave some at the theater?
Heath Rushing: I'm not admitting to anything.
Detective Magee: Do you remember the beginning of the show?
Heath Rushing: No.
Detective Magee: Do you remember that the audience members were divided into groups at the beginning of the show?
Heath Rushing: No.
Detective Magee: Do you remember ripping the arm off a prop corpse during the show?
Heath Rushing: I did that?
Detective Beckwith: You did that.
Heath Rushing: Why?
Detective Magee: I don't know. My guess would be probably because you were high. Do you remember being placed in a quarantine room?
Heath Rushing: That, I wish I could forget.
Detective Beckwith: Explain that.
Heath Rushing: If I wouldn't have panicked in the quarantine room, Scott would still be alive.
Detective Beckwith: Can you remember why you panicked? Was it just the drugs?
Heath Rushing: No, it was because Janet locked me in the room. I tried to get out, but the door wouldn't move. I'm sure that it wasn't jammed. I kicked it. It had to be locked. I kicked the walls. That's when the back wall fell down on top of Scott. It was a total accident. At the time, I didn't even know he was under there.
Detective Beckwith: Once the wall fell, do you recall what you did next?
Heath Rushing: It's fuzzy, but I climbed over the wall and ended up backstage.
Detective Magee: Did you see anyone back there?
Heath Rushing: Yeah, I saw Martin running with a club.
Detective Magee: Where was he running to?
Heath Rushing: I don't know. Back to the performance area, I guess.
Detective Beckwith: Did you see anyone else?
Heath Rushing: I can't remember for sure. I do remember trying to get back to the performance area, but when I got to where I thought Martin left from, I couldn't see a way back to where everyone else was.
Detective Magee: What did you do?
Heath Rushing: I walked backstage as far as it went. It was kinda dark. It always seemed like there was some movement in front of me, but I just can't say for sure what it was.
Detective Magee: Did you ever leave the backstage area?
Heath Rushing: Yeah. Out of nowhere, Cammy Stargel popped out of a hidden door in the set. She helped me back to where the rest of the cast and crew were.
Detective Beckwith: Did you find out then that Scott was under the wall that you knocked down?
Heath Rushing: I guess so. I was really out of it. Somebody said Woody found him, and everyone in the east lobby was all excited and rushing around. I just laid there, tripping balls.
Detective Magee: It was a bad decision to take mushrooms before an intense immersive play like this.
Heath Rushing: All right, you can say that, but how would I know Kessler's stupid play was going to be about an all-out zombie invasion. I thought I was going to be in the audience for some competent theatre. Mushrooms usually just calm me down.
Detective Beckwith: So you didn't know the play was immersive from the start?
Heath Rushing: No, I knew it was going to be immersive, but I didn't know the show was going to take place in some sort of third-rate haunted house attraction with zombies everywhere. If so, I would have never taken any mushrooms at the beginning of it. Zombie attacks and being locked in a claustrophobically dark room are enough to cause a bad trip for anyone.
Detective Magee: And you blame Anna Kessler for this?
Heath Rushing: Yeah, and Denis Goodman. It's their play. They were told to come up with something good, and they give us "The Simpsons" Treehouse-of-Horror version of "The Walking Dead."
Detective Beckwith: Who told Anna and Denis to come up with something good?
Heath Rushing: Cherie did. Well, the whole board did, actually. We wanted something we could sell, something that would make money. Instead, what we got, got someone killed.
Detective Beckwith: With your help.
Heath Rushing: Don't you think I know that? Damn, it was an accident that didn't have to happen, okay? That's what I'm trying to tell you.
Detective Magee: What kind of play was the board expecting?
Heath Rushing: Not this immersive crap. Not a play that would end in us renting a whole warehouse to put it in. Cherie told Anna it wouldn't sell, that Anna should be less experimental and stick with the stuff that worked in the past. But, no, Anna was going to be Anna, and now look where we are.
Detective Beckwith: Sounds like you agreed with Cherie's outlook for the theatre troupe?
Heath Rushing: That's because she was right. She's right most of the time.
Detective Magee: Yet, most of the board must've been with Anna if she was able to go in the immersive play direction, right?
Heath Rushing: I don't see it that way. I think the board just wanted to give her one more chance to do things right, Cherie included—and she blew it.
Detective Beckwith: All right, I think we're going to end things here for now. We'll have more questions for you, Mr. Rushing, so expect a call.
Heath Rushing: Fine, but don't think that I'm the only one taking the fall for this accident. My dad is getting me a lawyer.
Detective Magee: Whatever you think you need to do, Mr. Rushing.
Interview ended – 12:03 p.m.