Chapter 11 Summary

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Buddy tries to drive away, but the car chugs and dies. The driver asks Bud to lower the window so they can speak. Because he is a respectful young man, Bud complies. The car’s owner inquires as to why the boy is taking the vehicle. Bud explains that he knows a vampire when he sees one: the man is carrying containers of blood in the back seat.

The man laughs to himself and then explains that he could not possibly be a vampire. He asks Bud if he has ever seen a vampire drive a car. The youngster considers this, and while he is not completely certain, he feels safe enough to unlock the car door. The blood in the back seat is for the hospital in Flint, where someone is having an operation, and the driver is deeply concerned about getting it there.

The driver introduces himself as Mr. Lewis. He fulfills his end of the deal and feeds Bud because he has come out of hiding. Dinner consists of red pop, a sandwich, and an apple; Bud is delighted. He listens carefully to everything Mr. Lewis says until the man has to assure him that he is joking so Bud will not take everything he says so seriously. When Mr. Lewis asks his passenger if he wants to nap, the youngster figures if he pretends to do so, his companion will stop asking questions. Before the boy knows it, however, he has really fallen asleep.

The next thing Bud knows, a woman's voice is calling his name, trying to wake him. One of his rules is that if you wake and do not know where you are, it is a good idea to pretend to sleep. He is thankful that he does so because Mr. Lewis and the woman are speaking. She is concerned that Bud does not seem to have been taken care of—he is unhealthily skinny. Mr. Lewis starts to talk about Herman E. Calloway, Bud’s “father,” and the boy is happy to listen for what he may be able to find out.

When breakfast is mentioned, Bud pretending he has just woken up. Mr. Lewis introduces the woman as his daughter, Mrs. Sleet. She provides Bud with a change of clothes from some things her son has outgrown. (Bud is glad to wear long pants: no more knickers!) Then she invites him to join the family for breakfast.

Bud meets Kim and Scott, Mr. Lewis’s grandchildren. Kim asks a lot of questions, but Scott is a little more grown up and chides his sister for badgering their guest. Mr. Lewis enters with Mrs. Sleet, and it is soon obvious that Bud’s new protector jokes with absolutely everyone. Although some of the food is unfamiliar to our protagonist, Bud enjoys the meal immensely. He is amazed at how much everyone talks and how much they laugh. As the meal progresses, Mr. Lewis starts to make fun of Mrs. Sleet’s cooking. She goes into the kitchen and returns with a wooden spoon that she uses to smack the back of her father’s head—for his humor.

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