Junior is fourteen, and is happy about starting high school. He is especially anxious to take his first geometry class. Unlike his sister, Mary Runs Away, Junior is excited about school and life in general. When Mary finished high school she "didn't go to college...didn't get a job...didn't do anything". Although she is "beautiful and strong and funny", she spends her days alone in the basement.
Mr. P, Junior's geometry teacher, is "a weird-looking dude". The tribe houses all the teachers at the reservation school in cottages on-site, and sometimes Mr. P forgets to come to school, and, when summoned, ends up teaching in his pajamas. Junior has had some strange teachers before, but Mr. P isn't like them. He is "just sleepy". Junior thinks Mr. P "is a lonely old man who used to be a lonely young man", who, like many lonely white people "love to hang around lonelier Indians".
When Mr. P passes out the geometry books, Junior is ecstatic. He cracks it open with great anticipation, and is stunned to read inside the front cover, "This book belongs to Agnes Adams". Agnes Adams is Junior's mother, and Junior is horrified when he realizes that the books are "at least thirty years older than (he) (is)". The awareness that he is not important enough to merit anything better than that "old, old, old...geometry book" hits Junior's heart "with the force of a nuclear bomb", and his "hopes and dreams (float) up in a mushroom cloud" (Chapter 4).