At breakfast, Roy is curious about how Mullet Fingers has managed to escape punishment for not going to school, but his questions about truancy to his parents stop short of revealing what he knows about the running boy. Then, his father reads a newspaper article about the vandalism at the pancake house construction site. They laugh about the alligators and the spray-painted squad car, but Roy also puts together the fact that the site is right near Beatrice Leep’s bus stop.
The scene shifts to Officer Delinko’s appearance before his captain for falling asleep and allowing the squad car to be spray painted. The captain insists that they all follow the lie about Delinko having fallen asleep due to medication he was taking for the flu. He also inserts the bill for cleaning the car into Delinko’s personnel file which worries the officer that it will keep him from a promotion. He is commended for having been at the site on his own time; nevertheless, he’s assigned to desk duty for a month. This is better than being suspended, but Delinko hates the thought of sitting at a desk. He’s allowed to keep his squad car for traveling to and from work, so he decides to use it to take an alternate route past the construction site. Also, he can take his sweet old time getting to work if he leaves early. His investigation is still on.
The next day, Dana Matherson is still absent from school. Roy has thought a lot about the situation. He knows that another confrontation is inevitable, and because he has this stubborn pride, he has no intention of spending the school year sneaking through the halls to avoid Dana. At school, Garrett tells him that the kids are taking bets on how many times Dana will beat Roy up. However, Roy also recognizes that two good things have come out of the Dana Matherson experience: he has successfully tailed the running boy, and he has been booted off the bus for two weeks.
After school, he heads once again for the golf course on his bike with a shoe box in his hand. He stops to look at the construction site and is chased away by Curly who thinks he’s one of the vandals. Then, he leaves his bike (forgetting to lock it up) and goes in search of Mullet Fingers. He is determined to persuade the boy that he is someone to be trusted, but the camp is cleaned out, and Mullet Fingers is gone. Unfortunately, he has no time to explore, because a thunderstorm crops up, and so Roy heads back to his bike. When he arrives at the spot where he left it, the bike is gone and now the rain is pouring down. Roy knows that he won’t get home until dark, and his parents will be frantic. So, he just starts trudging home in the downpour. He’s about to venture into the road when he’s stopped by Beatrice Leep who wants to know what’s in the shoebox.
This chapter serves to advance the plot and Roy’s obsession with the running boy. We see that his instincts about Beatrice and her bus stop are correct and that she does know something about Mullet Fingers.
We also are able to add more to our understanding of Roy. He is a proud young man who has had to face many new situations. His maturity won’t allow him to give in to the bullies and he knows he has eventually face Dana.