Study Guide

Going Bovine Chapter 28

By Libba Bray

Chapter 28

Which Treats of My Visit to a Keg Party and of My Chance Encounter with the World's Grumpiest Yard Gnome

  • Cam can't sleep so he walks to the nearby gas station to call his folks; his dad says some really sweet stuff about how Cam is his boy, and that he'll always be a part of him. Aw.
  • It's not really clear whether this is really a phone call or a moment in the hospital room when Cam is pseudo-cognizant of his surroundings.
  • Cam attempts to shoplift some stuff, but he has another attack and the clerk kicks him out for suspicious behavior.
  • Outside the mart he meets a girl named Tara who gives him advice on shoplifting etiquette. Her (ex?) boyfriend, Justin, swings by in his obnoxious SUV and uses his possession of cigarettes to lure her to a party. Keepin' it classy, we see. They get Cam to tag along.
  • They all get high together, and Cam's relieved to feel numb again for a little while.
  • On the way to the party they go mailbox smashing, and then break into an acquaintance's pool to go skinny-dipping. Cam vacillates between being turned on by a semi-nude Tara, and acting like a lovesick puppy about Dulcie, though we don't think he's quite aware of his feelings for her at this point.
  • They get to the party and it's kind of sketchy. It's basically two kegs, some guys trying to make a drug deal, and people getting so drunk they're either blindly hooking up or passed out on the couch. Fun.
  • While taking a tour of the place, Cam knocks over a yard gnome and apologizes to it absent-mindedly… only to hear the yard gnome talk back. Say what?
  • Turns out the yard gnome is Balder, a Norse god cursed by Loki into his current form until he can find someone who understands his true nature and lead him to his ship, Ringhorn. If he can make it to the sea, he'll find Ringhorn and his curse will be lifted.
  • Balder tells Cam that if he takes ownership of him and grants him use of all his faculties then he'll be as alive as anyone else. Obviously Cam goes along with this, and now he has a certified Viking god as a new sidekick. Cool.
  • Balder robs Carbine of his drug stash—worth about three grand—and after Cam saves him from further indignities at the hands of drunken dudebros, their cab shows up to take them back to the seedy motel.