Victor desperately needs some money so that he can travel to Phoenix, Arizona, to collect his father’s remains. He does not have any money to travel to Phoenix because he has just lost his job at the BIA. Also, his father has left behind some money in a savings account,...
Victor desperately needs some money so that he can travel to Phoenix, Arizona, to collect his father’s remains. He does not have any money to travel to Phoenix because he has just lost his job at the BIA. Also, his father has left behind some money in a savings account, money which Victor hopes to claim. Since all his neighbors and friends are as poor as he is, he decides to accept some money from the Tribal Council, which often has a fund set up to assist members of the tribe to bring back the remains of their dead relatives to the reservation. However, the Tribal Council is only able to give him one hundred dollars. This is barely enough to pay for his plane ticket. Thus, Victor is desperate for help of any sort from anybody.
Thomas Builds-the-Fire is the only person who offers to help Victor. However, Thomas is a square peg in a round hole, shunned by most people in the reservation because of his penchant for telling the same stories over and over again. The two had been childhood friends but went their separate ways in their teens. Victor is tormented by thoughts of the awful things he did to Thomas, after their separation; like when he totally beat him up for no reason at all. Thus, accepting Thomas’s help is a last resort for Victor.
Also, after they drive all the way back home, Victor does not really know how to thank Thomas for his help. He feels like he cannot repay Thomas’s kindness, and is even more embarrassed by his inability to rekindle their friendship after their trip. When he offers Thomas “the cardboard box which contains half of his father” as a gift, he is using an extraordinary option to address the problem at hand, so that it can be said that “desperate times call for desperate measures."