The Day of the Locust Summary
Tod Hackett, a recent graduate of Yale art school, has moved to Hollywood to work as a costume designer. He had almost quit painting after graduation, but he finds himself reinvigorated by his new L.A. friends, like Abe Kusich. Abe helps Tod get his first apartment, where he meets his new neighbor, Faye Greener.
Faye is a seventeen-year-old wannabe starlet, and Tod is head over heels. Faye? Yeah. She's less enthused. She's got tons of other suitors to choose from, after all, like the fake-cowboy Earle Shoop and the simple-minded Homer Simpson. Tod actually sparks an unlikely friendship with Homer, who's as dull and dumb as bricks.
After Faye's dad dies, she moves in with the forty-something Homer in what she claims is purely a "business" relationship. This upsets Tod, but it's better than the alternative: Faye had initially turned to prostitution after her dad's death. Everything isn't perfect on the home front, though, as Earle and his buddy Miguel have moved into the garage, and Homer lacks the backbone to kick them out.
Everything comes to a head when Miguel hosts a cockfight at Homer's house. The party gets pretty raucous: Earle and Abe come to blows, while Miguel and Faye get frisky. The following day, Tod learns that Faye and Miguel ended up doing the deed, and both of them (along with Earle) are missing. Homer, devastated, claims that he's going home to Idaho.
Tod heads out for dinner but gets caught up in a wild movie premiere, where he spots Homer looking straight-up insane. Homer eventually attacks a small child who tries to play a trick on him, which sparks a huge riot and presumably gets him killed. Tod is beat up pretty badly, too, but he's helped out of the chaos by several police officers who give him a ride home.
For some reason, though, Tod gets it into his head that he's making the sound of the police siren as they drive away. He laughs when he realizes his mistake and starts gleefully imitating the siren.
And on that utterly ambiguous note, we fade to black. Yeesh—West didn't exactly tie this one up with a bow, did he?
- Tod Hackett is about to end his workday when a sudden commotion prompts him to look outside his window. What he sees is pretty crazy, if you ask us.
- Outside, there's a massive throng of people dressed in antiquated military garb from England and France. This is already confusing. Suddenly, we see a man with a... polo shirt. Huh?
- Oh, okay—we're in Hollywood, folks. This is just a film shoot. Turns out that Tod, a painter with a fine arts degree from Yale, has recently got a job as a costume designer.
- Tod's also going to make a painting called "'The Burning of Los Angeles'" in the near future (1.8). We guess that's going to be important.
- Anyway, Tod has left and is walking down Vine Street. He spends a lot of time observing the weirdos who stroll by, who also happen to provide him with artistic inspiration. He calls them "the people who come to California to die."
- Tod had almost quit painting after seeing the reality of the life of an artist. In fact, that's why he took the costume job in the first place.
- As he walks home, Tod notices the strange architecture of the city, each building built in a completely different style and one plopped next to the other without rhyme or reason.
- Tod lives in a modest apartment building called San Bernardino Arms. He walks up to his third floor apartment but pauses on the second floor because someone named Faye Greener lives there.
- There's a promotional card stuck in Tod's door from Honest Abe Kusich with an incomprehensible message scribbled on the back. Because this is making so much sense so far.
- Tod actually knows Abe—sometimes he even paints him, as he does Faye and her father Harry.
- Tod met Abe when he was living in a hotel called "the Chateau Mirabella" (2.13). Returning home one day, he stumbled across a mess of blankets in the hallway that he assumed to be covering a small dog.
- The blankets were actually covering a dwarf. An angry, mostly naked dwarf, no less. This dwarf had apparently been kicked out of his lady's apartment while still in his birthday suit.
- Tod knocked on the woman's door and managed to get Abe's clothes. Abe was off-putting and hostile, but Tod eventually learned that this was just the guy's personality.
- Tod and Abe ran into each other a few days later, and Tod told Abe that he was looking for a new place. Abe demanded that Tod move into his apartment complex: San Bernardino Arms.
- Though hesitant, Tod signed on the dotted line as soon as "he saw Faye Greener in the hall" (2.83).
- Tod naps until eight and follows it up by obsessing over a photo of Faye. Seems like a charmer, this one.
- The photo is from a movie Faye played a bit part in. She was awful. She looked good, though, which is all Tod seems to be concerned about.
- Tod rambles about Faye's expression looking "closer to murder than to love," which confirms our suspicions—this dude is nutso (3.8).
- But, sadly, we can't do this all night folks—Tod has to get to a party at Clade Estee's house.
- Claude is a "successful screen writer" who lives in a garish reproduction of a Southern plantation house (4.1). He even pretends to be an old Southern gentleman. It's weird.
- Tod ends up chatting with Claude's wife, Alice, and her friend Joan Schwartzen. Their conversation is so heavy on the slang that we might as well be reading A Clockwork Orange.
- Joan grabs Tod and leads him to a group of men she assumes are talking about sex. They're actually talking about business. Disappointed, Joan takes Tod to the pool.
- Joan proudly shows Tod the Estee's latest architectural feature: a "life-size, realistic reproduction" of a dead horse at the bottom of the pool (4.36). Joan is shocked that Tod isn't impressed.
- Later that night, Tod and Claude are chatting in the library. Tod wants to go home, but Claude convinces him to come to Audrey Jenning's place—which we assume is a whorehouse.
- But the guys are not going there for "sport," as Tod says; they're going to watch a movie.
- Claude raves about Audrey on the ride over. She had been a prominent silent film actress back in the day, but she became to a professional pimp-ess after the talkies took over.
- Audrey runs a tight ship, taking half of each $30 exchange. But she earns it, Claude argues, especially because she's such a classy lady.
- Claude and Tod end up in a small room filled with a bunch of people. The cameraman has some trouble, but he finally turns on the night's first film: Le Predicament de Marie.
- Marie is a sultry servant to "a middle-class family" (5.22). Everyone in the family wants to get with her, but Marie only wants to get with the young daughter.
- The scene shifts to Marie's bedroom, where she's kissing the young girl. There's a knock, and the girl hides in the closet. The father enters, and Marie kisses him to cool his suspicions. Then there's another knock. The father hides under the bed. Listen, you get the picture, right?—this happens two more times with the son and the mother.
- There's another knock after the mother arrives, but the film abruptly cuts out. The crowd starts rioting while Tod sneaks outside for some fresh air.
- While he's outside, Tod sees Faye's best friend Mary Dove. Hmm... could Faye work here?
- The answer, apparently, is no. Mrs. Jenning has never heard of Faye. Luckily, Tod has another plan of attack: he'll befriend Faye's father, Harry, who is currently sick and bedridden.
- Harry was a vaudevillian clown back in the day. He often shows Tod a positive review of a show he had once done, though the reviewer carefully noted that Harry did not have a future in films.
- These days, Harry sells "silver polish, which he made in the bathroom of the apartment" (6.15). He fell ill on a recent sales trip—the same trip during which Faye met her latest suitor, Homer Simpson. (Really, his name is Homer Simpson).
- Homer Simpson looks like a "person who comes to California to die," though Tod eventually concludes that he isn't (6.17).
- Tod first meets Homer when Homer stops by and drops off flowers for Faye and wine for Harry. Upon seeing Tod, Homer hands over the gifts and scurries away.
- Tod and Homer run into each other a few days later. Tod tries to say hi, but Homer once again scurries away. They repeat this ritual several times until Homer grows comfortable with Tod's company.
- Homer is from Waynesville, Iowa, where he "worked for twenty years in a hotel" (7.1). He got pneumonia some years back and moved to California on his doctor's recommendation.
- Homer's lives in a strange home in Pinyon Canyon. Remember when we pointed out those homes with weirdly contrasting styles? Well, Homer's house is like that, only this one has a different style in each room.
- Homer is done unpacking in "only a few minutes" (8.1). Although he tries to resist it, he quickly falls asleep.
- Homer wakes up. His body is a bit slower than his mind, it seems, so he waits for all his limbs to boot up. Everything works but the hands. He turns on the tub so he can give them a quick soak.
- Suddenly, Homer starts crying, overwhelmed by some repressed memory.
- When working at the hotel, Homer had once been propositioned by a drunk woman who was late on her rent. Though he acted aghast, he was secretly excited.
- Home tried to avoid the situation, but he was forced to visit the woman's room to make her pay up. She was in tears when he arrived.
- Suddenly, Homer dropped his wallet in the woman's lap and started hugging her. She resisted but quickly started responding positively to his advances.
- That's when the phone rang: it was Homer's manager. Homer got off the phone quickly, but he realized that he couldn't go through with it with this woman and left.
- Later, as we know, Homer caught pneumonia. He had a lot of money saved up, which made it possible to move to California.
- Homer gets out of the tub, gets dressed, and goes to the store to buy food. He gets "a can of mushroom soup and another of sardines," along with "a half-pound of soda crackers" (9.15).
- Homer has literally nothing to do all day, but he doesn't mind. He loves to sit in the backyard, though he oddly chooses to face the back of his house rather than the gorgeous view at his back.
- He especially loves watching a lizard. The lizard chills on a cactus all day, utterly failing to catch flies. This sight amuses Homer greatly.
- Homer has been living in his new place for a month when Harry Greener shows up at his door, begging for a glass of water. Homer lets him in.
- Harry immediately launches into a silly slapstick performance before offering Homer a can of "Miracle Solvent, the modern polish par excellence" at a discounted rate (11.16).
- It isn't long before Homer has offered to buy two cans. Something has snapped in Harry, however, and he starts freaking on spasmodically.
- Harry lies down on the couch and asks Homer to grab his suitcase from the front step. Homer does what the man says and spots Faye outside when he grabs the case.
- Harry tries to get up, but he collapses. He asks Homer to get Faye, who immediately runs over to her dad in a melodramatic fashion.
- (Also, we learn that Faye is seventeen. Oh, man, gross.)
- Homer offers Faye a lunch of "salmon salad," which she happily accepts (11.88). They move into the kitchen, and Faye starts flirting hardcore.
- After the meal, Homer and Faye check up on Harry. When Faye tries to talk to him, however, he starts laughing maniacally. She responds by... singing. This family is nuts.
- Faye punches Harry in the face to stop the laughing. It works. In the kitchen, she explains that Harry uses laughter to punish her—and that punching him was her only choice.
- Faye also tells Homer that her father and mother are both actors, and that she too will be a famous actress soon. If she doesn't, she says, she will commit suicide. Talk about commitment, huh?
- Faye and Harry return to the living room, and everything is just dandy between Faye and Harry. They gather their things, say their thank yous, and are off.
- Homer, of course, can't stop thinking about Faye. He's crying even more than he used to, which is saying a lot.
- Finally, Homer gets up the courage to walk by the Greeners' apartment, though he doesn't have the chutzpah to knock. The next day, he returns with flowers and wine.
- Tod (remember him?) visits Harry every night, but the dude isn't getting any better. He sleeps a lot lately, which is usually when Tod creeps to Faye's bedroom to talk.
- Faye spends a lot of her time "making up stories" (13.7). Really. lies lays back in bed, cranks up the tunes, and dives headlong into the realm of imagination.
- One day, Faye tells Tod one of these stories: she will become a famous, successful, and mega-rich screenwriter. The details are a little blurry, but she seems fully confident.
- Faye even gives Tod her first pitch. It's about a rich girl who falls in love with a brash ship hand on her father's yacht. They're eventually stuck on an island and get married.
- Tod isn't paying attention. Instead, he's thinking about the "dreamy repose" in which he will depict Faye when he paints "The Burning of Los Angeles" (13.28).
- Homer Simpson isn't Faye's only suitor—there's also Earle Shoop. Earle is from Arizona and works at "a saddlery store on Sunset Boulevard" (14.2).
- Earle also happens to be dumb as bricks. Luckily, he's also ridiculously good-looking, so Faye is along for the ride.
- Oddly, Faye invites Tod to one of her dates with Earle. This must happen often, because Tod complains about always having to pay.
- That doesn't stop Tod from coming along, though. He has an awkward conversation with Earle and Earle's cowboy friends while waiting for Faye at the saddlery store. Finally, she picks them up.
- Surprise: Earle doesn't have any money. He suggests that they all go to his camp in the canyon where they can score some delectable grub.
- When our heroes arrive, they meet a Mexican fellow named Miguel, who immediately starts bragging about his top-notch chickens. He and Earle steal a couple birds and commence the cooking.
- The gang chows down and drinks tequila that "smelled like rotten fruit" (14.111). Tastes good, though. Before long, everyone is drunk, and Faye is making googly eyes toward Miguel.
- Suddenly, Miguel starts singing. Faye joins in, and they start dancing. It's getting hot and heavy in here, folks.
- Earle tries to join Faye and Miguel but find himself rebuffed. Seconds later, he grabs a bottle and strikes Miguel over the head.
- Faye doesn't see the attack, but she starts sprinting away. Tod follows close behind. He starts thinking about what it will feel like to pull "her to the ground," which is kind of creepy (14.132).
- Tod eventually loses Faye and collapses onto the ground. In order to distract himself, he thinks once again of his painting and of how he will depicts the flames in the sky of Los Angeles.
- Tod visits the Greeners' apartment the following day, but Harry informs him that Faye is at the movies with Homer. The two men sit down and chat about the movie biz.
- Tod notes that Harry seems to enjoy suffering. For example, he has a habit of going to bars and confessing his sad life story to the fellow patrons.
- Faye returns home at the end of the night and doesn't seem interested in talking to Tod.
- Tod returns home the following day to find a crowd surrounding the Greeners' apartment. Harry is dead.
- Tod enters the Greeners' apartment and finds Faye crying in her room. Before he can say anything, Mary Dove bursts in and gives her friend a hug.
- Upset, Faye claims that she killed Harry. Uh-oh. But that's not entirely true: she believes that she killed him by mentioning Ben Murphy, an old peer of his.
- There's a knock on the door—it's Mrs. Johnson, "the janitress" (16.24). Funerals are apparently her specialty, so she immediately begins planning Harry's.
- There's just one problem—Faye is broke. She refuses Tod's and Mary's offers of money, saying instead that she wants to work at Mrs. Jenning's whorehouse.
- Tod tries to convince Faye otherwise, but the girls are giggly and pay him no mind.
- Tod shows up drunk to Harry's funeral. He hasn't seen Faye since the day after Harry's death.
- Tod sees Faye and pulls her into an empty room. He makes a rambling argument about why she shouldn't be a prostitute, telling her that venereal diseases will destroy her beauty.
- Understandably, Faye runs off in tears. Tod hesitates for a moment before returning to the funeral parlor for the service.
- The only people who want to look at Harry's body are the Gingo family, a group of Inuit actors to whom Harry had "been a good friend" (17.19).
- As other people line up to look at the body, Tod takes the opportunity to hightail it out of there.
- Faye moves out of the apartment the following day. Tod doesn't see her again until he spots her at the movie studio one day wearing "the costume of a Napoleonic vivandiere" (18.1).
- Faye must be working as an extra, presumably for the new film about the Battle of Waterloo. She spots Tod and waves before walking away.
- Tod rushes out of his office to follow Faye. He starts running through film sets, which is pretty trippy because he's basically traveling through different time periods.
- Finally, Tod ends up on the edges of the Battle of Waterloo. He leans on a tree and watches the fake-soldiers fake-fight each other with tons of fake-enthusiasm.
- The soldiers charge into Mont St. Jean, a small hillside community that played a big role in the real-life Battle of Waterloo. That's when everything goes wrong.
- The hill abruptly collapses, sending the extras into a large pit as they "screamed with agony" (18.25). Tod watches as they're pulled out in stretchers.
- Tod returns to his office to find Faye waiting. She happily announces that she's quit the whorehouse and now lives with Homer Simpson.
- But the relationship is completely platonic, Faye assures Tod. Homer is simply providing assistance for her career as an actress, assistance that Faye will pay back (with interest) once she becomes successful.
- Tod visits Faye and Homer for dinner. Although he's pretty jealous, he doesn't get too upset, because he has a great deal of affection for the "humble, grateful" Homer (19.15).
- Tod and Homer are chilling outside when a woman approaches, shouting incomprehensibly. After chatting with her, they realize that she's looking for her kid, Adore.
- Adore is a wee little actor, and this lady (Mrs. Loomis) seems like a classic stage-mom. She proceeds to talk about her raw food diet as if it were the word of God.
- Suddenly, Adore appears "from around the corner of the garage" (19.82). Mrs. Loomis, relieved, praises Adore's manners while the kid is simultaneously making faces at Tod.
- Seeing this, Mrs. Loomis makes Adore sing a song. It's weird. After he's finished, the kid runs off with his mom close behind.
- Finally, Faye, Homer, and Tod go the movies. This experience proves to be too much for the lovesick Tod, prompting him to leave early and promise to never think of Faye again.
- Tod's plan works pretty well, actually. He spends his time either painting or going to church, presumably to get more inspiration for his paintings.
- It isn't long before Faye is completely bored with Homer, who's as wimpy as a "cringing, clumsy dog" (20.3).
- Tod learns this firsthand when Homer and Faye show up at his apartment unannounced, telling him to join them for a night on the town.
- Faye is feeling some type of way. She demands that Homer drink booze, despite the fact that he doesn't, and even forces the liquid down his throat when he refuses.
- Tod and Faye start dancing. Tod lays his cards on the table, begging her to "sleep with [him]" (20.32). Faye says no—she doesn't love him.
- The dance ends awkwardly, and Tod and Faye return to the table to find Homer wasted. After a while, a man comes up and asks Faye to dance, which she accepts readily.
- Homer asks Tod if he knows Earle Shoop, a guy he speaks of with derision. He also complains about Miguel and the "dirty black hen" he's always walking around with (20.79).
- To Tod's surprise, Homer reveals that both men now live in his garage—Faye had convinced him to do it after Earle and Miguel lost their jobs. Homie is such a pushover.
- Tod suggests reporting the chickens to the authorities, as it's illegal to raise them in a city neighborhood. Homer seems hesitant.
- Faye returns, and it's clear that Homer isn't going to mention the whole garage thing. Tod doesn't care, though, and shoots straight.
- Faye is aghast—if the Earle and Miguel go, she goes, too. Plus, she says, they host killer cockfights. Tod should come over the following night and check one out.
- Still, Tod notices a definite change in her mood and a sudden increase in her affection towards Homer.
- Tod tells the story about Earle and Miguel to Claude Estee, who decides he simply must come along to the cockfight. The two men arrive at night and see a group of people gathered beside the garage.
- It's Abe, Miguel, and Earle. They've got bad news: the cockfight was cancelled because the competitor was a no-show.
- The men sit down. Abe is being a grump, as usual, causing Earle to laugh at him, which makes Abe even grumpier.
- Miguel shows off his fighting bird to Claude. This excites Claude, and he offers to buy a bird to challenge Miguel's because he "just wants to see a fight" (21.40).
- Abe immediately deems himself Claude's manager. He inspects the bird Miguel chooses for them, scoffing when he sees a hairline crack on the bird's upper beak.
- The fight begins. Miguel's bird dominates easily, even tearing off the other chicken's beak after several exchanges. Although Claude's chicken fights hard, it's killed.
- Fast-forward to drunk o'clock. Homer emerges from the house and invites everyone inside for more drinks.
- Faye is inside waiting, wearing skimpy pajamas that left "a good deal of her chest [...] exposed" (22.2). Homer serves drinks, and Faye stands in the center of the room seductively.
- Faye then suggests that they all smoke cigars. But there aren't any cigars in the house. Which means that Homer needs to go to the store to buy some. Of course.
- That leaves Faye alone with her gaggle of love-struck men. She flirts with Claude (who's loving it) and eagerly rambles about her future career after she learns that he's a filmmaker.
- Homer returns home. Something about his expression bothers Tod, prompting him to go outside for fresh air.
- Homer follows him. Tod is annoyed by Homer's pushover nature and refuses to talk; Homer sits uncomfortably and plays with his hands.
- Tod and Homer can hear Faye singing loudly. Homer complains about Earle and Miguel again, leading Tod to promise to "report them to the Board of Health" tomorrow (22.78).
- Homer grabs Tod's hand. This infuriates Tod for some reason, and he angrily calls Faye a whore. Without another word, Homer goes back inside.
- Tod returns to find Abe, Earle, and Claude gathered around Miguel and Faye as they dance in a highly erotic fashion.
- Tod watches for a second before checking up on Homer in his bedroom. Homer refuses to open the door.
- Now the music "had been changed to a fox-trot," and Earle's the one grinding on Faye (23.15). This seems to infuriate Abe, who wants his turn with the lovely lady.
- Abe tries to squeeze in, but Earle kicks him away. Abe responds by slamming Earle in the crotch and grabbing two handfuls of his manhood with a vice-like grip.
- Miguel attacks Abe, releasing Abe's hold, before grabbing Abe by the ankles and slamming him against the wall. Tod stops him before he can swing the dwarf a second time.
- Everyone calms down and tends to the wounded. Claude wants to go home, so Tod wakes Abe up and tries to take him with them.
- Abe ain't done yet, though—he wants to "go see some girls" (23.41). When both men refuse, Abe hops in his car and drives away.
- Tod wakes up as hung over as a fraternity pledge. He decides to check up on Homer and apologize for the way he acted last night.
- Faye's car is missing. So are the chickens. Nobody responds to Tod's knocks, but the door is unlocked, so he creeps inside.
- Homer is "sitting on the couch and staring at the backs of his hands" (24.4). Tod tries to talk to him, but Homer won't say a word.
- Tod goes to make coffee. He also sneaks a peek at Faye's room, which is now completely empty.
- Homer tells Tod that he's going home to Waynesville. Then he starts crying. He finally admits that Faye left him, and he tells Tod what happened in a rambly, near incomprehensible way.
- After Homer stormed back inside last night, he hid in another room to watch Faye dance. Earle had tried to kiss her, which sent her scurrying to the exact spot where Homer was.
- Faye got ticked off when she found Homer. The two got into a huge argument, which prompted Faye to put on more makeup and Homer to crash into a depressive funk.
- Homer checked on Faye again after the fight. She was lying in bed and "called him Daddy and kissed him and said that she wasn't angry at him at all" (24.46).
- Homer woke up later to the sound of Faye moaning. Confused, Homer opened the door and found her in bed with Miguel.
- Earle had heard the moaning, too, and he stormed in, attacking Miguel. The two men fought in the hallway, and Homer went back to his room to sleep.
- When Homer woke up, everyone was gone. The only things that remained were "Earle's boots in the hall" (24.46).
- Tod checks up on Homer—he's asleep on the couch in the fetal position.
- Tod decides to grab some grub and check up on Homer again when he's done.
- Before getting food, Tod stops by the saddlery store to find out what happened to Earle. Earle's coworkers reveal that he had been there an hour earlier and told them about the fight, though he claimed it was about "dough" (26.24).
- So Tod still doesn't know what happened to Faye. Still, he isn't worried; he's somehow convinced that this seventeen-year-old girl can weather any storm.
- Tod arrives at a restaurant and orders food. The waiter is pushy and irritating, so Tod keeps sending him away.
- Still upset, Tod angrily imagines what it would feel like to attack and rape Faye. Oh, man...
- Tod imagines "lurking in the dark in a vacant lot" (26.37). He sees Faye getting out of her car and spotting him. He thinks about the bottle he's going to use to bash her on the head and...
- Tod's disturbing rape fantasy is interrupted by the waiter. Tod sends him away again but finds himself unable to dive back into his twisted thoughts.
- Tod leaves the restaurant and sees a massive commotion on the street—there's apparently a movie premiere going down at "Kahn's Persian Palace Theatre" (27.1). He decides to kill time by checking it out.
- It's a chaotic scene. The police are having difficulty holding back the celebrity-hungry mob, many of whom mock Tod as he walks past.
- Tod's not scared of them, though—they're just a bunch of seemingly harmless, middle-class Americans. Tod thinks about how they "slaved at [...] full, heavy labor" all their lives only to realize that retiring to California is the most boring thing on the planet (27.18).
- Just as Tod is wondering what happened to Homer, he spots the big galoot traipsing through the crowd. He has a rigid look on his face and is carrying two suitcases.
- Tod runs over. Homer claims that he's going to Waynesville, though this isn't the way to the station. Tod tries to get him a cab, but Homer walks away.
- Tod follows Homer to a bench. He tries to grab his suitcase, but Homer's shouts of "Thief!" make him move a short distance away.
- That's when Tod sees Adore Loomis (the actor-kid we met a while back) standing by a tree, holding a string attached "to an old purse that lay in front of Homer's bench" (27.41). Apparently, Adore is trying to get people to grab the purse, only to pull it away at the last second.
- Homer ignores Adore's purse, however. Suddenly, the kid takes a stone and throws it at Homer's face. SMACK. Homer freaks out and attacks Adore, stomping on his chest.
- Tod tries to stop Homer, but he's violently pushed away by the crowd. He sees "Homer rise above the mass for a moment" before getting pulled back down in agony (27.48).
- Tod is swept away. He gets slammed around pretty hard and his leg gets messed up.
- That's when Tod comes across a crying little girl with a torn dress. Tod steps back to give her room, but she clings to him, making Tod realize that she's being molested by an old man.
- Tod attacks the old man and tries to tear his ear straight off. He succeeds in freeing the girl, but she's immediately grabbed by another predatory guy and swept away.
- Tod ends up on a street where "no one was hysterical" (27.57). He hears people discussing two potential causes of the riot: first, that somebody thought that Gary Cooper had arrived, and second, that a "pervert attacked a child" (27.61). Presumably, these people are talking about Homer.
- The crowd starts moving again. Tod clings desperately to a metal railing, fighting the pain in his leg by thinking about "The Burning of Los Angeles."
- Tod now imagines the picture itself: Faye, Harry, Homer, Claude, and himself running away from a mob that isn't much different from the one he now finds himself in.
- Tod is interrupted mid-mental paint by a police officer. When Tod proves himself too weak to walk, the officer offers to give him a ride to Claude's place.
- The siren goes off while Tod is in the police car, and "at first he thought he was making the noise himself" (27.86). He laughs when he realizes what the sound actually is and begins imitating it.