Roy learns that Mullet Fingers real name is Napoleon Bridger, a name that totally amazes him. Meanwhile, his mother is cutting out all the articles about the protest to make a scrapbook for her son. They learn as they read the articles that Mullet Fingers had gone home to his parents. Roy’s mother then tells him that his father wants to see him before he goes to school, and because Roy hadn’t seen him the night before, he’s worried that somehow he’s in trouble. His mother reassures him that his dad respects what he did. His mother also tells him she’s not sure if the Pancake House will be built now or not. Apparently, after the kids left the scene, Chuck Muckle tried to choke a reporter when she asked the same question.
Then, the doorbell rings, and it turns out to be the same reporter who had been choked by Chuck Muckle. She starts to ask Roy all kinds of questions until his dad intervenes and has Roy give her a folder that turns out to be the file that was missing from City Hall. It seems his father had borrowed the folder and made copies of all the permits. He discovered that there was an E. I.S. missing from the file. That’s an Environmental Impact Statement, which was required by law to be in the file. The fact that it’s missing indicates the company had never done one or they lost it on purpose. That’s when Roy knows that his dad cares about the owls, too.
Once again, Roy learns how lucky he is to have such great parents. Not only have they taught him about integrity and good character, but they have shown by their own example how to live the right way.
In the weeks that follow the protest, the Mother Paula’s story turns into a full-blown scandal. It’s discovered that an E. I. S. had been completed, but the document conveniently disappeared when Councilman Bruce Gandy took money to hide it in his golf bag. Kimberly Lou quits her role as Mother Paula in protest against the company. It seems she has a lifetime membership in the Audubon Society. The incident jumpstarts her career, while the stock of Mother Paula’s drops like a stone.
Chuck Muckle is demoted and forced to take anger management classes. He fails the course and eventually has to take a job as a cruise director in Miami. The company agrees to preserve the spot where the owls are living and gives $50,000 to the Nature Conservancy. Roy and Beatrice are interviewed by Tom Brokaw for the national TV news, but Roy is upset that Mullet Fingers isn’t receiving his share of the credit. Unfortunately, the boy had only lasted 48 hours with his mother and then took off again. He got caught when a nosy neighbor saw Beatrice lower him out of the bathroom window and the cops too him to juvenile detention when Lonna accused him of taking the toe ring that Beatrice had bit off her toe. In juvenile detention, he met up with Dan Matherson whom he convinced to escape from detention with him. It was a perfect plan, because Dana couldn’t run as fast as Mullet Fingers, and the cops stopped to handcuff Dana.
Beatrice knows where her brother was hiding, but she won’t tell Roy, because she took a blood oath never to reveal the truth. Roy knows he will never see Napoleon Bridger again unless he wants to be seen.
When the Eberhardts take a drive to the construction site, it’s as if Mother Paula’s company had never been there. Officer Delinko and Curly and his family are also there. Patiently, they wait until eventually the owls appear. Curly admits that they’re “kinda cute.”
One Saturday, Roy goes to one of Beatrice’s soccer games where Roy accepts the fact there’s no change of seasons like in Montana, only mild variations of summer. However, he has been dreaming less and less about Montana anyway. He sees Beatrice score several goals and thinks about how ironic it is that Beatrice the Bear offers thumbs up to Tex the new kid. Then, he’s reminded of that wonderful afternoon with Mullet Fingers on the sunken boat and he decides to head there on his bike. When he arrives, like the running boy had done, he stretches out into the water until a school of the mullets begin to swim toward him. As quickly as he can, he grabs for one just like Mullet Fingers and for one thrilling moment he actually feels it in his hands. But it’s too quick and too slippery and gets away. he wonders if the running boy had actually captured one or if it was just some trick or illusion.
The, Roy hears a noise like a laugh and calls out, “Napoleon Bridger, is that you?” Nothing happens. Reluctantly, he slides off the wreck and lets the tide take him to shore. As he’s getting dressed, he notices one sneaker missing. He soon finds it half-submerged in the shallows. When he reaches over to pick it up, he sees that it’s securely entwined around a barnacle-encrusted root. He carefully unties each meticulous knot and discovers inside the shoe a baby mullet. He empties it from his hand and releases it into the water. He looks around, but the running boy is already gone. He laughs to himself, because now he knows it’s not a trick. You can catch a mullet barehanded. He decides he’ll just have to come back another day and try again. After all, that’s what a real Florida boy would do.
The epilogue serves to ties up all the loose ends of the story and summarizes all that the characters have learned. Unscrupulous politicians are caught and punished; movie stars jumpstart their careers; some adults are caught in lies by the children who listen to their stories; other adults are loving and respected by their children; and young people learn how important it is to stand up for you believe.
As for Roy, this young man’s coming of age has come full circle. Not only has he found the balance between his head and his heart, but he’s also learned that life is all about change and how we adjust to it. He loved Montana and ached to return there, but now he’s found that Florida offers a life of interest also; it’s just different than Montana, not any less valuable. He’s a part of this new environment now, and he’s all the better for it.