Max and Kevin/Freak have been at the local fair on the Fourth of July when they have an argument with Tony D./Blade and his gang of bullies. They pick on Kevin due to his size and disability. Max and Freak walk away, and Max puts Freak on his shoulders to watch the fireworks. As they are leaving, Freak still on Max's shoulders, they realize they are being followed by Blade and his gang. Max runs into the water of a muddy pond, where he starts to get stuck and sink because the mud is loose, oozy, and sticky. The bullies start throwing rocks at them, but Freak, still on Max's shoulders, whistles loudly enough that some police in the area hear him. The mud is so sticky that the police have to use a rope in order to pull Max loose.