Yesterday, Paul slept through Erik’s game. He also slept through Thanksgiving dinner. The closest thing he gets to Thanksgiving dinner is a turkey sandwich around five-thirty this morning. About that time, the newspaper arrives.
The sports news is about Lake Windsor defeating Tangerine. Dad sits next to Paul on the floor and complains about Brian Baylor, the Lake Windsor center who is friends with Antoine Thomas. In the game, Brian made five bad snaps. Dad suggests that Brian wanted to make Erik and Arthur look foolish.
On the second page of the sport section, is a photo of the “All-County Middle School Soccer Team.” Dad asks if Paul is on it. Paul remarks that he was chosen All-County Benchwarmer. Dad gets irritated. Paul has some questions of his own, questions about Paul’s season. Dad apologizes for knowing so little about Paul’s season. But, more is riding on Erik’s season. His future is. Mom brings up the unthinkable: What if Erik has no future in football? Dad can’t believe that could be so. Mom suggests that Erik’s skill might not be enough. Paul wonders to himself whether Mom is aware of the truth about Erik.
Mom answers the telephone. Someone tells her that neighborhood mailboxes have been destroyed and the wall has been defaced.
Mom sends Paul out to see. He climbs the wall to see the other side. After crossing the perimeter road, Paul can read what is written. It says, “Seagulls suck.” Reading it, Paul remembers something. He faints. After Dad finds him and puts him on the couch, his parents keep asking him if he is okay. He keeps saying that he is, but really, he feels weird. However, he cannot remember why.
Mom sounds uncertain about Erik. This foreshadows the scene on December 3 where Mom tells what she knows.
All day Paul thinks about what Luis said would happen at three o’clock. But, when Erik comes home, it is obvious to Paul that it did not happen. Paul is thinking that it could still happen, only later, when the phone rings. It is Kerri. They make plans to meet Friday night.
Mom has a meeting planned at their house tonight. Not many people are interested in attending it. When Paul joins the meeting, he asks Mom what she is writing. She gets a pained expression as she tells him that it is a list of items reported stolen from the tented homes.
When the conversation turns to the disappearing koi, Paul gives his opinion. He says that it could be the ospreys. When he starts to sound believable, Mom wants to know why he has never mentioned this in the past. His answer is that no one ever asked him.
Next, the group discusses having a news report done on the muck fire. Dad jumps up and tells everyone that he cannot change the past, but is working on insuring that the future is better.
As Paul goes upstairs, he wonders what is going on in his father’s head.
Mom’s pained expression foreshadows the later scene where Mom informs her neighbors about what she has discovered.