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Junior knows that his cartoons "will never take the place of food or money". He wishes he were magical and could make the things he draws - like "a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a fist full of twenty dollar bills" - real, but he knows he cannot. Junior dislikes being poor, because oftentimes he and his family must go hungry, but lack of food is not the worst thing about poverty.
The worst thing about poverty is not being able to help those you love. Last week, Junior's "best friend" Oscar got really sick. Oscar was "only an adopted stray mutt", but he was more precious to Junior than any person in his life. He told his mother that Oscar needed to see the vet, but his Mom regretfully told him there was no money for Oscar. Junior begged his Mom, offering to get a job and pay the doctor back, but then realized that there were no jobs that a reservation Indian boy could get. There was nothing he could do to save Oscar.
When Junior's Dad came home, he took his rifle from the closet and told Junior to carry Oscar outside. Junior was furious, but then noticed that his Dad was crying. Junior could not blame his parents for the family's poverty. They too once had dreams, but "they never got the chance to be anything because nobody paid attention to their dreams". Realizing that he was helplessly trapped in the cycle of poverty, Junior gently picked up Oscar and took him outside. He ran away as fast as he could so as not to hear the sound of the shot, but could not escape the "boom of (his) father's rifle when he shot (his) best friend". Bitterly, Junior reflects that a bullet "only costs...two cents...anybody can afford that" (Chapter 2).
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