Joey had been sitting "wedged in a corner, beginning to doze" at Shotgun Cheatham's wake when the commotion began. The gauze that hung down over the open coffin lid inexplicably began to move. Grandma "rocketed out of her chair" to get her twelve-gauge Winchester, hollering to the deceased, "Whoa, Shotgun...You've had your time, boy...you don't get no more!" She then shot both barrels in the general direction of the corpse, causing the reporter and Mrs. Wilcox to run for their lives. Mary Alice, who had been asleep, did not move, no doubt thinking "that Grandma had killed her". Joey, the only other person present, says, "Every hair on my head stood up" when the gauze began to ripple, but aside from that, it seems he pretty much stayed where he was in the corner of the room during the whole chaotic proceedings.
Although Joey was apparently too stunned to move from his spot when Grandma shot her gun over the coffin, he was aware enough to notice everything that went on. In addition to observing the reactions of everyone present in detail, he alone besides Grandma noticed when "her big old snaggletoothed tomcat" streaked out of the coffin after the first shot. It was the cat who had caused the gauze over the dead body of Shotgun Cheatham to ripple, precipitating the whole incident (Chapter 1 - "Shotgun Cheatham's Last Night Above Ground").