Max and Kevin met for the first time when they were both in day care. Max was an angry kid called Kicker because he kicked everyone, while Kevin called himself Robot Man because of the leg braces he had to wear. Then Kevin stopped coming to day care, and the boys lost contact until they saw one another briefly in third grade.
The summer before eighth grade, Kevin and his mother moved in next door to Max’s grandparents’ house, where he lived in the basement. The boys meet again when Max helps Kevin get his mechanical bird from the tree where it is stuck. The two boys become friends, and the two families start visiting back and forth.
On the Fourth of July, the boys are on their way to see the fireworks when they run into Tony D. and his gang of teenage thugs. Kevin teases them, and the situation potentially turns dangerous until a police car shows up. The boys have a great time watching the fireworks, with Kevin sitting on Max’s shoulders, but as the crowd breaks up, Tony D. and his friends find them again. Kevin guides Max as the pair runs away, leaving Tony and his gang stranded in a muddy pond.
Max’s grandparents are happy that Max was there to help Kevin (though Max knows it was really Kevin whose quick mind helped him). This starts a happy and extended partnership between the two boys. Every morning Kevin comes over to rouse Max, who carries Kevin all over town. They have imaginary quests, such as looking for dragons, and as they do, Kevin encourages Max to think, dream, and read. On one of these quests, Kevin guides Max to the hospital’s medical research building, claiming that the hospital staff is developing robot bodies and when they are ready Kevin’s identity will be transplanted into one.
Their quests become real one morning when Kevin arranges for Max to get up at 3 a.m. and dress all in black. Kevin then guides Max to a sewer grate where a purse has fallen. They return it to the owner the next day, which means going into the tenement housing on the far side of the pond, a poor and crime-ridden place. The purse’s owner, Loretta Lee, lives with Iggy Lee, head of a local motorcycle gang. The adults tease the boys a bit and talk to them; they recognize Max because he looks so much like his father, Kenny “Killer” Kane, who is currently in jail.
When school starts, Kevin’s mother gets the school to agree to let Max and Kevin be in the same classes so that Max can help...
(The entire section is 937 words.)
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Chapters 1 and 2 Summary
In the summer before their eighth grade year, Freak moves in down the block from the house where Max lives with his maternal grandparents, whom he affectionately calls “Grim” and “Gram.” Max had met Freak in daycare a long time ago, but his memories of the past are confused. As Freak says:
Remembering is a great invention of the mind, and if you try hard enough you can remember anything, whether it really happened or not.
Max recalls that back then, he had had a reputation for “booting anyone who dared to touch” him. Having just been taken in by Grim and Gram, he had been an angry child who quickly earned the nickname “Kicker.” Max remembers that Freak had not attended daycare regularly; when he did show up, he got around on crutches or with “shiny braces strapped to his crooked legs.” Little Freak would pretend that he was Robot Man and quickly made it clear to everyone that despite his small stature, he was not someone to “mess with.”
Max does not recollect seeing Freak again after daycare until “like...the third grade or something,” when he caught a glimpse of “this yellow-haired kid scowling at [him] from one of those cripple vans.” By that time, Mad Max, as he was most commonly called, had a variety of nicknames; ironically, the name he hated most was his real name, Maxwell. Max had once overheard his grandparents whispering about how much “Maxwell was getting to look like Him.” He knows that Grim and Gram were talking about his father, whom they referred to as if his name was “too scary to say.”
Grim has built a small room in the basement, which Max calls his “own private down under.” Even though he describes himself as “this critter hiding out in the basement, drooling in [his] comic books,” Max actually enjoys having a room of his own where he can escape the scrutiny of others. Max does not think of himself as being a very smart person, and he makes frequent references to his perceived intellectual deficiencies. He concludes that he had “never had a brain until Freak moved [in] down the street.”
Freak moves back into the neighborhood on the first day of July. Max is “hanging out” in his backyard when he sees the moving van. He notices Freak’s mother, who “looks like some kind of movie star” and seems vaguely familiar. His attention is then drawn to “this crippled-up...
(The entire section is 515 words.)
Chapters 3 and 4 Summary
In the dim down under, Max thinks about “this crippled little humanoid” who has just reentered his life, and after a while he goes back outside to “check [things] out.” Max finds Freak standing under a tree behind his new home, furiously trying to jump up and hit a branch with his crutch. Frustrated, the little boy crawls over under the steps and laboriously pulls out a standard American Flyer red wagon. When he gets it under the tree, he climbs up and “whacks” at the branch again, but he still cannot reach whatever it is he is trying to get.
Max notices that there is a “small, bright-colored thing...like a piece of folded paper” in the tree and goes over to get it down. Staying clear of the flailing crutch, he offers the “bird-thing” to Freak, who happily explains that it is “an ornithopter...an experimental device propelled by flapping wings.” Max, who does not understand half the words the little boy is using, is amazed at how smart Freak is. Freak winds up the elastic band that propels the mechanical bird and lets it go, and Max chases it and brings it back; the two boys continue in this activity until the elastic breaks after almost an hour. Freak then amiably asks Max, “You live around here, earthling?” In response, Max points to Grim and Gram’s house and mentions the down under. Picking up the handle of the wagon, he tows Freak over; Freak sits up in the wagon, “happy as can be.”
Freak “hump[s] down the stairs” to the cellar by himself, but the effort leaves him short of breath. He is impressed with Max’s living quarters. When Max explains about Grim and Gram, he notes that “Grim” must be “a sobriquet for [Max’s] grandfather, based on his demeanor.” This is too much for Max, who clearly does not understand what his new friend is talking about. Freak merrily apologizes for his vocabulary and explains that “sobriquet means ‘nickname,’ and demeanor means “expression.’”
Max, who has noticed that Freak refers to his mother as “Fair Gwen of Air,” asks if this is a nickname too. Trying to suppress his laughter, Freak says that he is actually calling his mom, whose name is Gwen, “‘Fair Guinevere,’ from the legend of King Arthur.” Freak enthusiastically goes on to tell Max the story of Arthur, who was “this wimpy little kid” who was able to yank “this magic sword...[from] a big stone” when no one else could do it.
(The entire section is 615 words.)
Chapters 5 and 6 Summary
After the Fair Gwen runs off precipitously with Freak, Max goes back to the down under and lies under his bed, where it is
cool and empty...[and] you don’t have to think about anything... you’re not even there.
He is soon interrupted by Gram, who knocks on his door and says she has just had a call from Gwen Avery, who wants to apologize to him. Gwen had been stunned to see how big Max has gotten and thinks she may have offended him by her reaction. Gram explains that Gwen had been a good friend of Max’s mother. She is “delighted” to know that he and her son, Kevin, are going to be friends and has invited him over for dinner.
Max, who really is “bigger than most people,” asks if he has to accept the invitation, and Gram responds gently that it would be “the right thing to do.” She tells Max that it was not him who scared Freak’s mother—but when Max asks, “Then who was it?” Gram evades the question and says she will “leave that to Gwen.”
Dinner with Freak and his mother turns out to be “not so bad” after all. Gwen talks a mile a minute, telling Max that she remembers him as a baby, when she and his mother and their group had been living over in the tenements. Freak bluntly mentions the growing resemblance between Max and his father, who is in prison, and Gwen looks uncomfortable. When Max asks Gwen if she had known his father personally, Gwen says, “Not very well.... He made it...difficult for your mother to have friends.”
The Fair Gwen makes hot dogs and potato salad, and everyone eats on paper plates outside in the backyard. Freak tells funny stories, and Max laughs so hard he chokes on his hot dog and ends up trying to sneeze it through his nose. Max has a great time and marvels at how happy he is when he goes back to the down under. To his surprise, however, when he lies on his bed, he is “crying like a baby.”
On the Fourth of July, Max is allowed to go to the fireworks display down by the millpond with Freak. On their way there, the town bully, Tony D. (“alias Blade”), and his gang of punks harass them. When Freak realizes their tormentors are not going to go away, he boldly stands up to Tony D., calling him a “cretin.” Fortunately, a police car comes by at just that moment, and Blade and his gang make a quick getaway.
When they are gone, Freak asks Max, “You can take...
(The entire section is 605 words.)
Chapters 7 and 8 Summary
With Freak still on his shoulders, Max heads over to the food carts when the fireworks are over. Freak marvels at the “amazing perspective” he gets on the world from sitting up so high, then he suddenly warns Max that Blade and his gang are coming after them. He directs his friend to an escape route with his little feet “like he’s digging into a horse.” Max runs at a full gallop through the crowd, but eventually Blade and his punks surround them. Not knowing what to do, Max looks to Freak to make a decision, and Freak comes through, pushing Max to run right over one of Blade’s smaller gang members and straight into the millpond.
The mud at the bottom of the pond is “really oozy and deep,” but Max just keeps on going; he is in the water up to his chest before he realizes Freak is telling him to stop. Turning around with difficulty because of the thick mud, which is up to his knees, Max sees that Blade is in trouble, with just his head above the water. When his “punksters” finally manage to rescue him, the angry and humiliated gang leader begins to throw rocks at Max and Freak.
As the rocks rain around them, Freak puts his fingers into his mouth and emits a whistle that is so loud and piercing it hurts Max’s ears. A passing cop car is alerted, and Blade and his punks run away. Max is so deeply entrenched in the mud that the cops have to use ropes to pull him out. When the two boys are safely back on the bank of the pond at last, one of the cops recognizes Max as “Kenny Kane’s boy” and wonders to his partner if “Old Killer Kane” is still in prison. When the policemen ask Freak for his name, the little boy, still on Max’s shoulders, proudly announces, “We’re Freak the Mighty!”
The cops take the boys home and make a big deal about Max and treat him like a hero “for rescuing the poor crippled midget kid.” Max thinks this is funny because, in his mind, Freak rescued him—or perhaps it was just the combination of Freak’s “genius brain and [Max’s] big dumb body.” Gram, a worrier, is concerned about the close call the boys have just had and issues the usual warnings. To Max’s surprise, Grim actually seems proud of him and calls him “son” for the first time ever.
The summer on the whole turns out to be “pretty cool” in Max’s estimation. Freak comes over every morning to wake him up, hollering:
Get outta bed, you lazy...
(The entire section is 616 words.)
Chapters 9 and 10 Summary
Freak and Max travel all over the neighborhood and beyond that summer, with Freak riding high on Max’s shoulders and using his little feet to steer. As they journey, Freak makes up stories that seem so real Max sometimes forgets where he actually is. One day, as they head off “yonder,” which “always lies over the next horizon,” Freak directs Max to an especially distant destination he calls “the Fortress.” It turns out that the Fortress is a new building added to the back of a hospital; the sign over the door of this building says “MEDICAL RESEARCH.”
Swearing Max to secrecy, Freak excitedly tells him that studies are being conducted at this location “to develop a new form of bionic robot for human modification.” At “some future time as yet undetermined,” Freak declares that he will enter this facility and become “the first bionically improved human.” Freak has been coming to this place every few months for tests. He announces that he is being fitted for a bionic transplant. When the time comes, he will receive a “whole new body...only enlarged and improved.”
Although he can see how passionate Freak is, Max is skeptical about what his friend says and is actually “pretty worried about the whole deal.” He suggests to Freak that it might be dangerous to be the first subject in the experiment, but it is clear that Freak has thought a lot about this. He answers gravely, “Life is dangerous.”
During that summer, Max grows even more, and Grim comments that “carrying poor Kevin around” all the time must be stretching out Max’s legs. Max is annoyed that everyone seems to feel so sorry for Freak “just because he didn’t grow,” and he points out to Grim that the little boy is the smartest person he knows. Grim agrees that Freak is “a rather remarkable boy,” but he gives Max the feeling that there is something about Freak that Max just does not understand. Max wants to tell Grim that he is wrong about Freak but decides to keep his mouth shut instead.
One day, Freak comes to the down under with a very special quest in mind. He explains to Max that there is a treasure in the sewer and that they will have to wait until “optimum darkness” to search for it: specifically, three in the morning. Overcome with a sense of anticipation despite himself, Max does not sleep at all that night. Promptly at the appointed time, he appears as directed at Freak’s bedroom...
(The entire section is 610 words.)
Chapters 11 and 12 Summary
Freak and Max discover that Loretta Lee lives in the New Tenements, a seedy establishment irreverently dubbed the “New Testaments.” Max has specifically been forbidden to go there. Freak convinces him that since they are on a quest it will be all right to disobey in this case, so the boys venture into the neighborhood, a “big, falling-apart place with a bunch of apartments” that look “busted up” and sad.
When they find the address, Freak begins to “reconsider this particular quest” because the environment is so dismal, but Max hesitates, and the apartment door is opened by a slovenly, “scrawny, yellow-haired woman.” After cussing them out, the woman calls loudly to her companion, “Iggy, come here and see this!” A “big hairy dude” with tattoos and a huge beer gut joins her at the door, demanding to know who sent Max and Freak. The woman, staring at Max, remarks that he looks very familiar.
Max realizes that the woman is Loretta Lee, and the man is Iggy Lee, the leader of a notorious motorcycle gang. When Freak says that they found Loretta’s purse and tosses it to the couple, Iggy orders the boys inside, where he regards them harshly and asks for their names. Loretta suddenly realizes why Max looks familiar to her. She and Iggy had known Max’s father; with this information, they deduce that “the midget or dwarf or whatever he is” must belong to Gwen, whom they remember too.
Loretta and Iggy begin reminiscing about “Killer Kane,” recalling “what a tough hombre” he was. Loretta mentions that Kane is in prison for life, but Iggy says he might be getting out someday because “life ain’t life.”
Iggy then orders the boys to leave. Before they do, Loretta grabs Freak and rubs her knuckles on his head for luck. She then cruelly tells him that his father was a magician: “as soon as he heard the magic words ‘birth defect,’ he disappeared.”
Max runs back home with Freak as fast as he can. Later, Freak affirms that what Loretta said about his father is true. Max and Freak never talk about “good old Killer Kane.”
September arrives, and Max dreads the start of school, even though this year he will be in all the “smart classes” with Freak. Freak has made the Fair Gwen go in and talk to the administration, arguing that it would be good for him to have someone with him all day to help him get around. Grim and Gram sign papers...
(The entire section is 663 words.)
Chapters 13 and 14 Summary
By October, everything seems to be going well at school for Max and Freak. The two of them are “like this unit”; Max helps Freak get around everywhere by carrying him on his shoulders, and Freak assists Max with his schoolwork. The arrangement is producing surprisingly positive results. If Max does not know an answer, Freak tells him what it is “in a way he can understand.” Max’s reading skills tutor is amazed with his progress, and his regular teachers find that if they do not require him to speak in front of the class but instead test him in a one-on-one setting, he can usually provide the proper responses, which proves he is quite capable of learning.
On Friday the thirteenth of that month, however, two catastrophic things happen. First, Max is called to the office and Freak is not allowed to go with him. Max is terrified that he is going to be placed back in the learning disabled class and vows to run away if this is suggested, but the real reason for his summons by the principal is much worse. The principal informs Max that a request has been forwarded to the school by the parole board on behalf of his father, but the mere mention of his absent parent causes Max to go into a hysterical fit. When the principal is finally able to calm him, Max finds himself hunched in the corner of the room and does not remember how he got there. He fears that he may have hit the school nurse, who is crying, and wonders what else he is capable of doing without realizing it.
Later, in the cafeteria, something even worse happens. Freak is eating one of his favorite foods, “American chop suey,” when his face suddenly gets “all red and swollen up” and he cannot breathe. Max runs to get the school nurse, who ministers to the victim. Fortunately, by the time the ambulance comes, Freak seems to be all right again. The principal comes to restrain Max when he tries to get into the ambulance with his friend. When she expresses sympathy for him because of the traumatic day he has had, Max immediately says that it is not him who needs comfort, it is Freak. Touched by his selflessness, the principal thoughtfully considers Max for a moment and says, “You’re going to be okay, Maxwell Kane.”
Freak is upbeat when he comes home from the hospital the next day. He refers to what happened to him the day before as a “minor incident...easily corrected by biogenic intervention.” He explains that his problem is that he is...
(The entire section is 599 words.)
Chapters 15 and 16 Summary
Freak and the Fair Gwen spend Christmas Eve with Max, Grim, and Gram. After a wonderful supper and time spent listening to Grim tell stories about Christmases when he was a kid, everyone gathers to open gifts. Grim receives a woolly sweater from Gram, and Gram gets a bracelet made of shells from Max. Max gives Freak a thoughtfully chosen “gizmo” made up of “a whole bunch of little screwdrivers and wrenches and even a magnifying glass.” Gram gives the Fair Gwen a beautiful, dark red scarf that matches the blouse she is wearing. Finally, when it is Max’s turn to open a gift, he chooses the one from Freak.
The gift to Max from Freak, of course, is unique, packed in a pyramid-shaped box covered with the Sunday comics. Freak excitedly tells Max to take all the paper off first because as there is a “special way to open it.” Following the arrows drawn on the sides of the pyramid, Max gets to a sign that says, “PRESS HERE AND BE AMAZED.”
When Max pushes at the spot indicated, all four sides of the pyramid, which is made of pieces of cardboard taped and clipped together into a mechanical masterpiece, fold down at the same time. Inside the pyramid is a book Freak has made—it is a dictionary of all his favorite words, with definitions that evidence his distinctive brand of quirky humor. Getting that dictionary from Freak is Max’s favorite part of Christmas.
That night, Max is dreaming about “a little snowman who looks like Freak” when he is awakened by the sound of someone breathing. A giant hand covers his face, and the voice of Killer Kane ominously whispers, “I came back...like I promised.”
Max listens, “paralyzed,” as his father whispers that he has come to get his son, whose mind has been “poisoned against” him. Killer Kane swears that he “never killed anybody” and announces that they are leaving on an “adventure.” He forces Max out into the snow without even giving him time to get a jacket. Everything seems “just make-believe” to Max, and he does not resist. When they are standing under a streetlight a few blocks away, Killer Kane studies his son and is amazed at how much Max resembles him. As they make their way down the quiet streets, Max is overcome by a sense of dreadful amazement at the raw power of his father. He senses despairingly that “no one can ever beat him, not even the brave Lancelot.”
Max is not surprised when he realizes...
(The entire section is 546 words.)
Chapters 17 and 18 Summary
Iggy takes Max and his father down a back alley to another apartment whose door has been “busted in.” He explains that it belongs to an “old bat” who is away visiting her sister for the holidays. When Iggy leaves, Kenny Kane sits Max down so they can talk “man to man.”
Kenny tells Max he understands that “a boy who don’t know his own father might be dumb enough to run away.” He then ties Max’s feet and hands, looping the end of the rope around his own waist so he will be alerted if Max should try to escape. Kenny then goes to sleep, advising Max that he should do the same, but a little while later, he wakes Max to assert again that he “never killed anybody.” He then asks his son if Grim and Gram had given him the presents and letters he sent over the years. Max, of course, has not received anything, and Kenny uses this as proof that Grim and Gram hate him “on account of [his] appearance, and because he wasn’t good enough for their precious daughter.” Max’s father goes on about the injustices that have been done to him, and he swears on a Bible that he did not murder Max’s mother. After this conversation, Killer Kane goes back to sleep, but Max lies awake until the sun comes up, trying not to think about “things [he doesn’t] want to remember.”
In the morning, Loretta Lee comes over with a box of pizza. Kenny is clearly edgy and tells her to put the box down and get Iggy. Loretta looks at Max, who is still trussed up, then leaves through the back of the apartment.
When Loretta is gone, Kenny tells Max that they “can’t eat anything touched by her dirty hands.” They search the cupboards and end up feasting on cornflakes and water. Killer Kane tells Max that this is only “a temporary situation” and outlines plans that will allow them to “live like kings if [they] play [their] cards right.” Kenny plans to get a bus and masquerade as “The Reverend Kenneth David Kane.” According to his plan, he and Max will tour the country, telling people his story—that of “a bad man who has redeemed himself.” Cynically counting on the gullibility of the good-hearted populace, Kane figures they will collect a lot of donations because “folks will give to a man of God.”
Suddenly the blue lights of a cop car start flashing against the curtains. Killer Kane grabs Max by the neck and shoves him to the floor. The car eventually goes away, but Iggy comes into the...
(The entire section is 581 words.)
Chapters 19 and 20 Summary
Max’s father decides that they will hide out in an abandoned building on the other side of the alley until Iggy gets them a car. The inside of the building, which has been gutted by fire, is “black and wet and dripping,” and the stairs to the basement are rotting away. Killer Kane forces Max down the treacherous steps and ties him up agains “this old busted-up boiler.” He then puts a gag around his mouth so he cannot call for help and slips back up the stairs.
Left alone, Max attempts to get loose from his bonds, but his hands are swollen from the tightness of the ropes, and he is unsuccessful. After awhile, he hears someone on the steps and is much relieved when Loretta Lee appears with a flashlight. Loretta removes the gag from Max’s mouth, then she begins to work on the ropes around his hands and feet. The knots are tight, however, and her hands are shaking; Loretta finally is able to free Max by cutting his restraints on the ragged edge of the boiler.
Just when she manages to get Max’s feet loose, Killer Kane bursts out of the darkness and starts “squeezing [Loretta’s] neck...[with his] two big hands.” Even though Max knows “no one can stop him,” he tries anyway, desperately trying to push himself between them. Reality blurs in Max’s mind, and visions of his father’s hands around his mother’s neck juxtapose themselves with the scene before him. Unable to get his father to let go of Loretta, Max begins screaming:
I saw you kill Mom...I saw you do it! You killed her and I’ll never forget, not ever!
When Max’s words begin to register in Killer Kane’s head, he releases Loretta and puts his hands around Max’s neck instead. He tells his son that he couldn’t possibly remember those things because he had been only four years old, but Max insists, “I can’t ever forget it, no matter how much I try.”
To prove that he recalls everything, Max tells Killer Kane exactly what he had been wearing when he killed Max’s mother. Max describes how he had tried to stop him but could not and how Kane had carried him back into his room afterward and told him he had been dreaming. Realizing that his son really does remember what happened, Killer Kane reluctantly mutters, “I have to clean this up,” and tightens his hands around Max’s neck. Just when Max is about to lose consciousness, he hears Freak’s “faraway” voice...
(The entire section is 638 words.)
Chapters 21 and 22 Summary
Things are quite chaotic in the aftermath of Max’s kidnapping and the capture of Killer Kane. Max has to spend a great deal of time at the police station, telling his story over and over. Everyone says that this time “they’ve got Killer Kane where they want him”; the list of his latest violations is long and grave. Loretta Lee was “hurt pretty bad,” but although Kane broke a bone in her neck, her prognosis is good and it looks like she will be all right.
Gram will no longer let Max sleep in the down under, and the Fair Gwen “just about [throws] a fit” when it is all over because Freak had disobeyed a “direct order” in sneaking out to rescue Max. She feels especially anxious about the whole thing and warns her son repeatedly:
No more crazy adventures or dangerous quests...you have to be careful...extra careful.
Freak has trouble catching his breath more frequently now and has to go into “the medical research place” with greater regularity. When Max asks him when he will be getting his new “robot body,” Freak always answers evasively, “The bionic research continues...the work goes on.”
Freak seems to love the attention he and Max get at school as the result of their experience. Max, however, is completely unnerved at the thought of testifying at Killer Kane’s trial and would “just as soon forget about the whole thing.” Fortunately, Killer Kane strikes a bargain with the court, so Max does not have to testify against him. Kane pleads guilty and will serve the rest of his original sentence plus ten more years; he will be an old man when he is finally released. The incident with Killer Kane torments Max in another way as well: Max is worried that he might turn out to be like his father and is terrified at the thought of growing up.
Freak and Max are “walking high” around the neighborhood on the day school gets out. From his perch atop Max’s shoulders, Freak contrasts the lush, late spring greenery to his memories of the Ice Age, “when glaciers covered the earth.” Max points out that Freak couldn’t possibly recall what it was like then because he was not even born, but Freak, in a testimony to the power of imagination, sagely responds:
If you want to, you can remember anything, whether it happened or not...you don’t need a time machine if you know how to remember....
(The entire section is 653 words.)
Chapters 23-25 Summary
Although he cannot visit Freak the next day, Max goes to the hospital anyway. He runs into the Fair Gwen, who greets him tearfully. Gwen tells Max that Freak wants to see him despite the fact that he is not allowed visitors. Because Freak is so insistent, Dr. Spivak has given permission for Max to see him for a little while.
Max is surprised when the Fair Gwen takes him into the intensive care unit at the regular hospital instead of the Medical Research Building in the back. Freak looks very small on the bed, and he has a hole in his throat that allows him to breathe. Although his voice is faint and “whistly,” he seems to be as sassy as ever—but when Max asks when he will be coming home, Freak gravely responds, “I’m not coming home...not in my present manifestation.”
Freak then gives Max a book similar to the dictionary he made for him, except all the pages are blank. Freak tells Max that he wants him to “fill it up with [their] adventures.” When Max protests that he cannot write, Freak says that he would do it himself but he “won’t have the time.” He tells Max just to “write it all down like [he’s] talking...the story of Freak the Mighty.”
Freak then begins to cough; Dr. Spivak and several nurses come in, and Max has to leave. The next morning, Max runs back to the hospital to see how his friend is doing. When he gets there, all the nurses are crying, and Max must face the truth that Freak is dead.
Screaming incoherently, Max turns and races down the halls, “ready to just blast anybody who dares touch” him. He runs until he gets to the Medical Research Building and breaks through the glass on the door. When security officers finally corner him, Dr. Spivak arrives. As she bandages his hand, Max accuses her of lying to Freak about the new body he would get from the Bionics Unit, but Dr. Spivak quietly tells him, “You couldn’t lie to Kevin.”
Dr. Spivak tells Max that Freak had known “from a very young age that he wasn’t going to have a very long life.” She conjectures that, despite his courageous acceptance of his fate, he had needed “something to hope for” and so had “invented this rather remarkable fantasy” about receiving a bionic transplant. When Max finally asks, “What happened to him really?” Dr. Spivak answers simply, “His heart just got too big for his body.”
Max withdraws into the down under “for days and...
(The entire section is 673 words.)