Part 1 is called "the message" (Zusak has some real beef with capitalization in this book), and it opens in the middle of a bank robbery that isn't exactly going as planned. It's got all the right ingredients: a gunman, a crowd of scared people, and a nervous robber… but the robber's a little pathetic.
Ed and his friends, Marv, Audrey, and Ritchie are all there, waiting for the gunman to do his thing.
Their biggest concern? Marv is worried about getting a ticket because he's parked in a fifteen-minute zone. That wouldn't exactly be at the top of our list if we were in a bank when it was robbed, but to each his own we guess.
Ed and Marv start arguing about the car. Ed's all your car stinks, man and Marv just can't take it. So what if it's older than he is? Nobody disses his blue Falcon.
Naturally the gunman gets annoyed with all the arguing in the corner—he's nervous it's about the robbery—so he tells them to shut it.
Robber dude has got the money and is making a run for it, but just then he notices his getaway car pulling away… without him. So he turns to Ed and Marv. Since they were being real wise guys before, he decides to take their car.
Marv is more than a little upset about this—that car's his baby, after all—but what choice does he have? He hands over the keys, and the robber's on the move.
Here the thing: Marv's car is actually really old and rundown. So the robber tries to start it again and again… and again…but no dice.
At this point, he's dropped the gun and can't get the car to start. So Ed gets up from the bank floor and goes after him. Wait, what?
Ed's no hero or anything. He just decides to do something instead of sitting around, though he can't explain why.
Ed fires the gun, but winds up shooting Marv's car by accident; needless to say, his buddy is definitely not happy about this.
The cops show up, arrest the bank robber, and Ed is declared a local hero. The only thing Marv cares about, though, is the fact that his car is more ruined than it already was.
Then Ed tells us he gets a message that changes everything. We don't learn anything more about it, but boy are we interested.