by Paul Zindel
John's dad is one stressed-out guy. First of all, he has an incredibly stressful job as a commodities broker on the Coffee Exchange, where he works with John's brother, Kenny. This is how John describes the Exchange: "They gather around this circle and bellow out bids all day long" (7). John's father's frequently-expressed opinion that John should join him and Kenny at the Exchange is a source of deep conflict between father and son. When John tells his father that he wants to be an actor, his father's response is: "Don't be a jackass" and "Thank God Kenneth isn't a lunatic" (7).