Study Guide

The Orange Houses Chapter 6

By Paul Griffin

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Chapter 6


  • At the market, twenty-two days before the hanging, Mik inventories the stock while Joe Knows has a cigarette.
  • Mik works there part time after school, and Joe pays her more than he should since she's saving up for her ear surgery.
  • She's not even sure she wants the surgery, but her mom is working overtime and saves every penny so she can get it.
  • Even Mik contributes to the fund. She keeps her homework money to herself, though—that's just for her art supplies.
  • A woman takes a carton of milk to the counter, but doesn't have enough pennies to pay for it. While she's taking it back to the fridge, Jimmi shows up and gives her the extra cash. At first she doesn't want to accept, but he insists.
  • Jimmi remembers a couple years back asking the police captain if he could paint over the graffiti in the city to make it more welcoming. Surprisingly, the cops went for it.
  • He painted colors and lines from poems all over the city. A bunch of them are painted over now, but he sees one that reads: "Love kills time."
  • Has Mik ever played the "If game"? Nope. Jimmi explains to her that if she imagines a place and then puts an "if" in front of it, she can be there.
  • She closes her eyes, stands on the skateboard and imagines she's on a train. He rocks her back and forth a little and it almost becomes real.
  • When Mik opens her eyes, she's not sure what she sees. There's her mom, yelling to get away from that crack head, then there's Jimmi running away from her, plus a newspaper girl standing there watching everything.
  • Mik's mom scolds her for playing with Jimmi and tells her to get home.
  • The newspaper girl stops and uses sign language to talk to Mik. She says "Hello, goodbye, I love you." Then she gives Mik a paper angel before she leaves.
  • Once home, her mom says sorry for freaking out… But that doesn't mean she can hang out with Jimmi.
  • Mik knows her mom hates Jimmi, but she doesn't think he's as bad as everyone says. She asks if the newspaper girl can come over to dinner—she felt a connection with the newspaper girl even though they just met.
  • Plus, she knows sign language, and Mik's pretty excited by that. 

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