While Paul is doing some research on his father’s computer, which is located near the great room, Mom warns him that there will be a loud meeting later in the great room. Mr. Costello has been receiving complaints, some about termites, some about recent break-ins. Mom asks Paul if he or Joey have heard any talk about kids being involved in the break-ins. Paul has not heard anything.
Mr. Costello is among the guests that arrive. As they exchange words, Paul notices that Mr. Costello looks tired. He has been looking tired since Mike died.
Someone brings up the subject of the Donnelly house. Mr. Costello explains that after the Donnellys received approval for the installation of a lightning rod, Mr. Donnelly installed ten of them on his roof. Mom says that he took advantage of the Homeowners” Association. She adds that the Architectural Committee has sent a letter to him.
Someone else mentions the disappearing koi. No one seems to know what has happened to them. Paul thinks that he has solved the mystery, but says nothing.
The next subject is the muck fire. Mr. Costello tells those gathered that a contractor was hired to dig four wells. Then, they pumped water onto the fire for a month. The fire never went out. Now, there is also a swamp that is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Starting tomorrow a truck will spray the development for mosquitoes every other night.
The discussion turns to the robberies. Guards should have been stationed around the tented homes. It’s the law. Mr. Costello said that all that can be done is for the victims to sue the exterminator. But, all the exterminator has is his pick-up truck.
With that depressing information, the meeting adjourns. As Paul’s attention turns back to the computer, he notices a file title, Erik-Scholarship Offers. Paul opens the file and finds the addresses of colleges along with the names of their head football coaches. There are no recent entries.
When Paul notices Dad closing the front door as the last guest leaves, he quickly exits the file.
When Paul doesn’t see Joey at Tangerine Middle School, he says to himself that Joey is back at Lake Windsor Middle School, where Paul feels that Joey belongs.
Before science class, Paul gives Theresa his research paper. She tells him that Tino will be able to play tomorrow. Luis talked to Dr. Johnson about the situation. Tino didn’t actually hit anyone. Dr. Johnson shortened his suspension. Then, Theresa told Paul to tell Joey to be more respectful toward Luis, not to talk about him like he did. Paul tells her that it looks like he won’t be a student at Tangerine Middle School anymore. Theresa gives Paul a map to their house and invites him to meet Luis after soccer practice.
After soccer practice, the last one without Tino, Paul gets a ride with Henry D. and his brother to Theresa’s place. Paul discovers that Henry D’s brother is Wayne, the fireman. When they get to their destination they see a grove of hundreds of trees. The trees are on higher ground than a nearby pond. Among the citrus trees are tall water sprinklers.
There is a group of buildings on the property. It includes a large house made of cement blocks. Another building is called a Quonset hut. It was surplus after World War II.
Tino is at the Quonset hut. He welcomes Henry D, but doesn’t acknowledge Paul. They go to meet Luis. Theresa is with him. As a group, they leave the Quonset hut. Luis leads the way, limping. They go to a grove that contains Cleopatra tangerines. Luis tells those who don’t know that his family sells the tangerines to citrus packers and companies that make juice from the tangerines. They have been doing so for forty-five years.
Next, Luis shows the group another product. They go to what looks like a miniature grove. It is called a nursery. These trees are not expected to bear fruit for Luis’ family to sell. Instead, the trees will be sold to other growers. Luis continues to spout information about the trees giving the group much that they can use in their report.
When Wayne returns to pick up Henry D. and Paul, Paul notices a trailer attached to Wayne’s truck. It holds a sprayer. The reason Wayne will be going to Lake Windsor Downs is to spray for mosquitoes.
When they get to Lake Windsor Downs, Wayne sees the blue tents along one street. He says that is where the citrus trees that were cleared to make room for Lake Windsor Downs were buried after they were burned.
Back home, standing at the breakfast bar window, Paul sees Erik and Arthur practicing in the back yard. Clouds of mosquito spray enter the back yard. Paul remembers their Huntsville back yard. He remembers a scene that, until now, his mind has been blocking out. He remembers Dad and Mom in the yard talking about Paul’s vision. Erik was there. When he heard that Paul couldn’t see him, he terrorized him. That made Paul cry. After Mom took Paul to get glasses, Paul could see. He could even see things that Mom and Dad could not see, things like how phony Erik acted for Mom and Dad.
The Fisher family has been busy these last four weeks. Dad is now the Director of Civil Engineering for Tangerine County. Mom is now the head of the Architectural Committee. She is also involved in the Neighborhood Watch as a block captain. Erik has been busy kicking field goals to help his football team win games. Paul has been playing soccer as part of a great fear-inspiring team, the Tangerine Middle School War Eagles.
Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on Tangerine".
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