Study Guide

Hoot Chapter 1

By Carl Hiaasen

Chapter 1

  • Roy first notices the strange boy when Dana Matherson smashes his face up against the school bus window.
  • The strange boy appears to be hurrying for the bus…but he isn't wearing any shoes or backpack.
  • The strange boy runs right past the bus. Looks like school is a no-go for him.
  • Roy's so caught up in watching the strange boy that he doesn't feel any pain from Dana bashing his head into the window. (That takes some serious concentration.)
  • Then all of a sudden, Roy sees the strange boy pull a Superman and leap over a dog, crash into some bushes, and then disappear.
  • Meanwhile, Police Officer David Delinko goes out to the future sight of Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House (yum) located on the corner of East Oriole and Woodbury.
  • Officer Delinko meets a man named Curly (which is an odd name, since he's bald).
  • Curly is also cranky, probably because of the vandalism on the property, which he reported.
  • The plot of land is just of a few acres of weeds, so there isn't too much to vandalize.
  • But when there's a will there's a way, and Curly points out how not only were all the stakes taken out and scattered, but all the holes in the ground were refilled by the vandals.
  • Delinko thinks it just some kids but remarks how refilling the holes is kinda weird.
  • Since there isn't any actual damage to the property (despite the annoyance of halting construction in order to restake the property), Delinko can't do much.
  • Back to the patrol car.
  • But on his way, Delinko trips on an owl hole. Time for Delinko to learn about the burrowing owls. Curly explains that the owls are about the size of a beer can, even though he's never technically seen one.
  • Delinko starts to fill out a report (where we learn that Curly's real name is Leroy Branitt and he's the supervising engineer of the construction site)
  • Curly doubts that the vandalism was done by kids, yet he doesn't have any suspects.
  • Anyway, the culprit doesn't matter much to Curly. He's way more concerned about the insurance company.
  • To appease Curly, Delinko labels the crime as trespassing and malicious mischief. Curly's satisfied with that.
  • Right before he bounces that popsicle stand, Delinko asks Curly what will happen to the owls once the construction starts.
  • Oh, silly Delinko. Curly just laughs and says "What owls?" (1.69).
  • Now we're back with Roy.
  • This guy's borderline obsessed with this strange boy, and is looking for him all day at school.
  • At lunch a boy name Garrett sits with Roy (which is a nice break from his usual lunch time party of one).
  • They talk about skateboarding and snowboarding and Garrett says Roy should get a skateboard so he could join him and his friends at the mall.
  • Roy doesn't really like shopping malls but he appreciates Garrett being friendly.
  • Garrett explains how they skate until they get chased out by security.
  • Roy asks if there are any other schools in the area and discloses to Garrett about the strange boy he saw earlier in the morning.
  • Eh, Garrett's not as intrigued as Roy and thinks the kid is probably in high school or a psycho.
  • Roy thinks the strange boy is more along the lines of an outlaw and he's determined to find him.

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