In the chapter "One Way Ticket," Gilly has finally stolen enough money to run away to California to find her mother. However, Gilly gets caught and is taken to the police department and Mrs. Trotter is called as is Ms. Miriam Ellis. Ms. Ellis is a case worker for the Department of Children Services. She visits Mrs. Trotter and tells her that they will take Gilly and place her somewhere else.
In the next chapter, page 113, Mrs. Trotter and Ms. Ellis are arguing over the placement of Gilly. Ms. Ellis wants to move Gilly because she is a "troubled child." Mrs. Trotter won't hear of it and says it is time for someone to "favor Gilly."
"Gilly sits in the back seat of Miss Ellis' car, blowing a large bubble and listening to her social worker discuss a former guardian who has been hospitalized because of bad nerves. The bubble explodes. Miss Ellis flinches, and Gilly tries to pick bits of gum from her face and hair. The casual way the bubble explodes on Gilly foreshadows other events that backfire. Asked to get rid of the gum, Gilly maliciously spreads it under the car-door handle. This incident draws the reader into the story."