The next day, Garrett calls Roy to find out what had happened to Dana Matherson at Trace Middle School. However, all Roy will say is “No comment.” Then Roy gets on his bike and heads for the Leep home. He tries to talk with Beatrice, but she tells him it’s a bad time, a comment reinforced when Lonna comes to the door and treats him with rude contempt. he thinks Lonna is walking on thin ice with Beatrice who, he knows, could destroy her stepmother easily. He wonders if Mullet Fingers isn’t better off living on his own in the woods.
After that, Roy goes to Dana Matherson’s home where the bully’s father answers the door. The older man thinks Roy is there to be paid for doing Dana’s homework. However, Roy finally convinces him that he just wants to see Dana. Dana comes downstairs where he immediately threatens Roy. Roy gets him to come outside where Dana immediately takes a swing at him. Roy ducks and Dana strikes a fiberglass birdfeeder which makes his fist swell up and turn purple. Roy sincerely tries once again to get Dana to see how stupid his behavior is, but Dana refuses and threatens Roy again.
Roy’s next stop is the junkyard and the panel truck where Mullet Fingers is sleeping. They discuss the running boy’s commitment to the owls and he tells Roy that it’s just like Roy’s willingness to cross the line at the hospital. Roy cared about Mullet Fingers the same way that Mullet Fingers cares about the owls. He tells Roy how he wrote a letter to Mother Paula’s explaining that the owls should be protected and how he had received a form letter from Chuck Muckle. So he’s decided he’s there until they chase him out for good. He advises Roy that if he wants to be a part of the continued activity at the construction to be there that night with a socket wrench. Roy says that the stuff Mullet Fingers is doing won’t work, because a company as big as Mother Paula’s won’t give up. The boy says he won’t either. He doesn’t miss a normal life, because he’s never known one, and he believes he’s as smart as he needs to be to survive. Then, he tells Roy he has something to show him.
Mullet Fingers takes Roy to a half-sunken crab boat called the Molly Bell. It is a hidden sanctuary where Mullet Fingers tells Roy he has seen crocodiles there and the two of them sit quietly and watch all kinds of birds and other natural creatures. They even talk a little about the running boy’s mother and how he believes the problem is that they just never connected. Finally, Mullet Fingers demonstrates how he got his nickname by catching one of the swift fish and then releasing it back to the water. In the end, however, Mullet Fingers won’t tell Roy what he plans to do that night. Roy has to show up.
This chapter is a revelation of Roy as a mediator. He shows his talent for talking and helping even for those who refuse his help. He may not like Dana Matherson, but he’s willing to negotiate a truce with him. He may not like that Mullet Fingers lives alone in the woods, but he understands why he avoids his mother. His willingness to help also brings rewards: Mullet Fingers acknowledges that Roy cares about him and then he shows him the sanctuary at the sunken boat. He shares his world with Roy.