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Mary Lou Finney and Ben Finney (the one who draws cartoons all day long) are cousins. Ben is staying with her family temporarily. Mary Lou also has an older sister and three brothers.
It's pandemonium. The boys run around squirting people with squirt guns, playing with basketballs, footballs, asking questions, you name it. Mr. Finney is reading his book in the bathtub, with his clothes on. Mrs. Finney is taking a nap on the roof. Hmmm.
Uptight Phoebe disapproves of this chaos (no surprise there), but Shmoop thinks it sounds kind of fun.
Meanwhile, Ben draws a picture of a salamander with long flowing hair and shows it to Sal. That's kinda sweet, right?
Phoebe and Mary Lou leave the room, and just as Sal is about to follow them, Ben leans in and kisses her collarbone. Hold up. Her collarbone? Sal doesn't know what to make of this at all (and can you blame her?). In fact, she is totally surprised. Did he mean to kiss her on the lips?
In all this confusion, she notices that his hair smells like grapefruit. Then, Ben takes the picture of the Salamander and flees the room without saying a word.
Later, when Sal and Phoebe get back to the Winterbottoms', they tell Mrs. Winterbottom about the "visitor" who came by earlier that day asking for her.
This news really disturbs Mrs. Winterbottom. She tells Phoebe not to tell her father about the visitor.
But why? wonders Phoebe. Sal guesses her mom is just protecting her from getting into trouble for talking to a stranger.
On the front porch, Phoebe and Sal discover an envelope with a small strip of blue paper in it, which says, "don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins" (9.28).
(Check out the "In a Nutshell" to find out where our author got that idea!)
This message totally confuses Phoebe and her parents. They try to figure out who the message is for and who sent it in the first place. They have no idea, but it seems a bit sinister.
Mrs. Winterbottom, in particular, is quite upset. Sal knows that she thinks the message is from the "lunatic" visitor who stopped by earlier that day.