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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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