Being the new kid, Roy always sat alone, at the end of the table, whenever he was in the cafeteria. (1.73)
Hiaasen sets the stage by letting us know that Roy has no friends in Coconut Cove. Depressing, we know. But on the bright side, you can't have less than no friends—so it can only go up from here.
Roy decided not to tell his parents about his encounter with Mullet Fingers, the running boy. Being in law enforcement, Roy's father probably was required to report all crimes, even truancy. Roy didn't want to get the kid in trouble. (6.13)
Even though they're not officially friends yet, Roy is still looking out for Mullet Fingers. And he'll continue with the considerate acts of kindness, too.
"Look, the kid needs shoes. He could step on broken glass or rusty nails...or even a cottonmouth." (7.40)
Not many people go that far out of their way to care for a stranger. But Roy isn't like many people. This makes Beatrice (and us) question why Roy cares so much about Mullet Fingers. But Roy doesn't have an answer; he just cares.
"Dude, listen to me," Garrett said. "I don't care how you think you feel. You're sick. Really sick, okay? You need to call your mom and go home."
"What have you heard?"
"He'll be waiting after seventh period." (9.5-7)
Garrett goes straight to Roy when he hears that Dana's on the warpath. And just like any good friend would do, Garrett gives Roy the heads up and advises that he makes himself scarce.
Roy stood rooted in the center of the road. He had an important decision to make, and quickly. From one direction came the police car; running in the other direction were his two friends...
Well, the closest things to friends that he had in Coconut Cove. (11.32-33)
Even towards the middle of the book, Roy isn't sure what to label his relationship with Beatrice and Mullet Fingers. But he sure does act like a friend by following Beatrice and getting Mullet Fingers to the hospital.
"They were asking him all kinds of nosy questions, Mom, and meanwhile he's about to keel over from the fever," Roy said. "Maybe what I did was wrong, but I'd do it all over again if I had to. I mean it." (13.90)
This is quite the declaration. Roy is flat out telling his mom that he is willing to lie for his friend. And while lying isn't a good habit to fall into, going to such lengths to help a friend is certainly a strong statement to make.
"I talked to my dad and he said they can build whatever they want on that land, long as they've got the legal papers. There's nothing we can do."
Mullet Fingers grinned. "'We?" (14.96-97)
And the bromance begins. Mullet Fingers picked up on it and so did we. With one little word, Roy indicates to Mullet Fingers that he cares about the owls and the two of them are a team now.
"You crossed the line, and why? 'Cause you cared about what happened to me," he said to Roy, "just like I care about what happens to them weird little owls." (14.104)
And for those of you taking notes, Mullet Fingers cares a whole lot about "them weird little owls." So it's a pretty hefty comparison to say that Roy cares about him just the same. But he also makes a great point. Roy wouldn't have lied for Mullet Fingers at the hospital if he didn't care about him.
"I'm sorry about this, I really am," Beatrice said. "It's just, uh, things got kinda hairy at home. I didn't know where else to go." (16.122)
Being a star soccer jock, you can bet that Beatrice has loads of friends. But when she needs a place to crash, she turns to Roy for help. And like a good friend, he lets Beatrice stay the night.
"You can't stop him, Roy. He's too darn thickheaded."
"Then I guess we've gotta join him." (16.144-145)
It's official. Roy and Beatrice are teaming up with Mullet Fingers. Prior to this, Roy certainly sided with Mullet Fingers and believed in the cause. But now, Roy is ready to take action just like his friend.
"What are we going to do?"
"You, me, and Beatrice."
"Forget about it man. I'm not draggin' you two into the middle of this mess."
"Wait, listen to me," Roy said urgently. "We already talked about this, me and Beatrice. We want to help you save the owls." (18.130-134)
Mullet Fingers is quite stubborn when it comes to accepting help. But that doesn't stop Roy from insisting that he and Beatrice want to participate.