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by Edward Bloor

Tangerine Part 3, Chapter 9 Summary

Friday, December 1

  • Paul stays home from school, but he goes to the Senior Awards Night.
  • The seniors carrying the memorial tree for Mike Costello spill a bunch of dirt on the floor of the gym, so Paul and Joey clean it up. Joey is acting friendly again.
  • The ceremony starts, and after they talk about Mike, they move on to the awards.
  • Paul notices that Tino and Victor are there, and freaks. What are they planning?
  • In front of everyone, Tino walks up to Erik, kicks him in the gut, and then knees him in the face. He tells him that was for Luis.
  • Victor tackles Arthur, and starts beating him up, too. Chaos breaks out!
  • Coach Warner grabs Tino, but Victor escapes through the emergency exit, which makes the alarm go off.
  • Paul gets into the fray, too, leaping onto Coach Warner so Tino can escape, as well.
  • His dad and the coach demand to know who those boys were. Paul doesn't say a word.
  • As soon as he gets the chance, Paul takes off running, too.
  • He makes it to the wall behind their backyard, when Erik and Arthur drive up.
  • Something has changed, though. Paul isn't afraid of them anymore.
  • He confronts them, even challenges them to hurt him, and then realizes that all their threats and bluster are just… dumb.
  • He tells them he saw Arthur kill Luis, and that he's not the only one.
  • That freaks Arthur out, and he starts pleading with Erik to leave. Erik replies, "Shut up, Castor!" (3.9.79), but gets in the car. They drive away.
  • That name—Castor—hurls Paul into another flashback. But this time, it's the memory. The one he's been trying to remember almost his entire life.
  • Castor had been Erik's sidekick in 5th grade. They had spray-painted something on the development wall of their old neighborhood, and had gotten in trouble for it.
  • They thought Paul had told on them—he hadn't—so they cornered him in the garage.
  • Erik held Paul's eyes open while Castor sprayed white spray paint into them.
  • Paul's mom tried to rinse his eyes out afterwards, but ended up having to drive him to the hospital.
  • That's it.
  • He remembers.
  • Now that he knows the truth, he storms inside and confronts his parents, who have just arrived, and are about to yell at him for attacking the coach.
  • He finally gets them to admit what really happened. They tell him they thought it was best for him if he didn't remember, so he wouldn't hate his brother.
  • He asks accusingly if they thought it was best for him to hate himself, instead, and his mom and dad both break down crying.
  • He leaves them there to answer a phone call from Joey. No date with Kerri for him tonight! But he feels all right. Finally.

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