It is Beatrice who has saved Roy yet again. She left Dana stripped to his underwear and then tied him to the flagpole in front of the administration building. She has “borrowed” a bicycle, installs Roy on the handlebars, and takes off again. She tells him she’s taking him home where he can do a favor for her. Roy agrees, and Beatrice tells him she needs bandages, tape, and medicine to prevent infections. Roy worries that something bad has happened to the running boy. Once they are at the Eberhardt home, Beatrice charms Roy’s mother and convinces her that they are working on a science project together. As a result, they leave together with the medical supplies and two pounds of hamburger for their experiment on “cell decay.” Roy is totally clueless, and his mother falls for it.
Beatrice tells Roy that she lives with her father, Leon “Lurch” Leep, a former professional basketball player who’s done little or nothing since his retirement. She chose to live with him, because her mother is a cockatoo trainer at Parrot Jungle, and she also doesn’t believe that her father can survive alone. Then, Leon remarries a woman named Lonna who is Mullet Fingers’ mother. Lonna doesn’t get along with him and ships him off to military school. Every attempt to make him “normal” fails, so when he runs away the last time, she decides not to look for him at all. However, Mullet Fingers and Beatrice have quietly forged a bond, and it’s she who takes care of him and keeps him under the radar. When they arrive at the old panel truck, Roy sees that the boy’s arm is purple and swollen, and he learns that it’s the result of a dog bite. Mullet Fingers had been bitten as he was releasing the snakes in an opening in the fence at the construction site.
The three of them then take the hamburger and leave the truck. Mullet Fingers begins running, wearing the shoes Roy brought him, to Roy’s satisfaction, and Beatrice and Roy take off on the bike. Roy thinks the meat is for the dogs, but he soon learns the truth: Mullet Fingers had never intended to hurt the dogs, and in fact, actually taped the mouths of the snakes shut; Roy is totally confused until he watches Beatrice and her stepbrother distribute the hamburger in little balls at the entrances of several owl burrows. The little owls come out to eat, and Mullet Fingers turns to Roy and asks, “Now do you get it?” Roy answers, “Yeah. I get it.”
This chapter is the one that creates a bond between the running boy, Beatrice, and Roy. They all help each other in some way or another and it’s obvious that they will soon be working together to save the owls.