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After Oscar's death, Junior considers "crawling into a hole and disappearing forever" (3.1).
His best human friend, a rough and tumble kid named Rowdy, talks him out of it. "It's not like anybody's going to notice if you go away," he says (3.3).
Rowdy is as tough and mean as a snake. His father is an abusive drunk who hits him. Junior's parents are drunks too, he tells us, but they would never hit him. Rowdy spends a lot of time at Junior's house because it's a safe place.
Rowdy asks Junior if he wants to go down to the powwow, the Spokane Tribe's annual Labor Day weekend celebration. Junior really doesn't want to go. Why? Because, more than likely, he'll get beat up. Junior tends to get picked on quite a bit around the reservation.
Rowdy, who was "born mad" (3.33) and who has fought everyone who crossed his path since kindergarten, says he'll fight for Junior. So, Junior agrees to go.
The two boys walk the three miles to the powwow. Junior wants to go see the chicken dancers (fig 3.1), but before that can happen Rowdy trips and jams his shoulder on a minivan. Junior laughs, which is a big, huge, terrible mistake.
Angry, Rowdy shoves Junior down to the ground. He then throws an empty beer bottle at the minivan, and then, if that weren't enough, he grabs a shovel and beats the vehicle with it. (Temper, temper.)
Choosing flight over fight, Junior runs away—straight into the camp of a set of very cruel triplets named the Andruss brothers. The three men (who are 30, by the way) start making fun of Junior and shoving him around and eventually knee him "in the balls" (3.96). After that, they just walk away.
Rowdy finds Junior on the ground and vows revenge against the triplets. He does so later that night when the men are asleep. He sneaks into their camp, shaves off their eyebrows, and cuts their braids. (A huge deal for Indian men.)
Junior feels guilty that Rowdy took revenge for him, but heck, it all felt pretty good.
Junior tells us more about Rowdy. Though he might seem like a tough guy, he is super into goofy old comic books like Archie and Casper the Friendly Ghost (fig 3.3). He has a big hearty laugh, and loves Junior's cartoons.
Junior tells us how close he is with Rowdy, how the two share their fears and dreams, and how Rowdy is probably more important to him than his family.
According to his calculations, Rowdy and Junior have spent "40,880 hours in each other's company" (3.129). The two are, according to Junior, "inseparable" (3.132).