Dad, Mom and Paul go to the Senior Awards Night early because Erik has to be there early. And, Erik goes there in Arthur Bauer’s Land Cruiser.
Preparations for the event are still being made. The tree that is to be dedicated to Mike Costello is brought into the gym. In the process, dirt is spilled on the gym floor. Joey helps Paul clean up the dirt spill.
As they are led into Coach Warner’s office to clean themselves up, Joey asks Paul if he and Kerri need a ride to the Costello home later. Paul says that they do.
The crowd settles down and the proceedings begin. After a song by the chorus and band, Mr. Donnelly talks about sportsmanship and about Mike Costello. He ends with some lines from a poem.
Mr. Donnelly calls on the president of the Student Council for a statement. About this time, Paul spots Tino and Victor at the east entrance to the gym.
After the Student Council president is finished, Mr. Donnelly begins introducing the senior football players alphabetically. As Mr. Donnelly says Erik Fisher’s name, Tino and Victor head toward the group.
Tino gives Erik a karate kick that knocks the wind out of him. This is followed immediately by Tino’s knee hitting Erik’s face. With much emotion, Tino makes a comment about doing Luis’ light work similar to the comment that Erik made about Arthur doing his light work after Arthur hit Luis.
Almost everyone in the gym is frozen in place. Arthur, however, starts to move toward Erik. Victor stops him short by putting his head into Arthur’s stomach. This is followed by Victor pummeling Arthur.
At this point, Coach Warner’s voice is heard telling his players to get a hold of Victor and Tino. The players do grab Victor. The coach grabs Tino. Victor manages to get away and escapes through an emergency exit.
Coach Warner twists Tino’s arm into a hammerlock and heads toward his office with him. They pass by Paul, who jumps on the coach’s back. This causes the coach to lose his grip on his captive who, like Victor, heads out the door and out of sight.
Coach Warner demands to know who the two are. Paul only stares back at the coach. Dad joins in on the coach’s side. Paul stares him down, too. Finally, Dad tells the coach that his wife thinks that the guys are Paul’s teammates.
Now, it is Paul’s turn to exit the building. Once out of the building, he keeps running. He doesn’t stop until he reaches the wall behind his house. At the wall, in pain from his exertion, he looks at the place where “Seagulls suck” is now only faintly visible.
After some time passes, the Land Cruiser pulls up. Arthur and Erik get out of the vehicle, leaving the powerful headlight on and the motor running. Even though the two are not in the light, Paul can see that Erik has a metal baseball bat.
Paul knows that they expect him to be afraid, but, instead, he acts as he has seen Luis do. Arthur now has the blackjack in his hand. Paul’s new attitude helps him to see Erik’s threats and Arthur’s echoes of those threats as lame, not terrifying.
Paul tells Erik and Arthur that he saw Arthur kill Luis Cruz. Erik says that Paul is blind and, therefore, not believable. Paul replies that he was not the only witness. Arthur just wants to leave.
Erik smashes a headlight on the Land Cruiser. Then he shouts at Arthur “Shut up, Castor.” Shortly after that the two drive away, leaving Paul with the word, Castor, out of the past, hanging there. That name is a key that unlocks Paul’s memory of another wall in another housing development. Castor is the name of a boy who filled the role in Erik’s life that Arthur Bauer now fills. As memory comes back to him, Paul knows that his eyes were injured when, with Erik’s help, Castor sprayed paint into them in retaliation for something that Paul hadn’t even done.
Paul goes into the house and confronts Mom and Dad. He wants to know if they remember Vincent Castor. He can tell by their reaction that they do. Dad tries to change the subject to what happened tonight. Paul insists on getting answers to his questions.
Mom tries to focus on how happy she had been that Paul would not be blind. Paul wants to know if she had seen the paint on Erik’s hands. She says that she saw it. And, she did know what happened. Dad explains that they had wanted to keep him from hating Erik. Then, Dad cries.
After Paul goes upstairs, Joey calls to find out if Paul is all right. Paul is better than that.
Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on Tangerine".
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