Chapter 2 Summary

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Bud’s time in his foster home has begun much as he predicted: the Amoses’ son, Todd, is beating Bud badly. When Mrs. Amos comes into the room, she watches as Todd changes his kicking foot. Instead of stopping him, she says his name softly. Todd goes through a sudden transformation and starts to pretend he is having an asthma attack.

Between breaths, Todd lies to his mother, saying that he had only tried to wake Bud to make sure he went to the bathroom—Mrs. Amos hates bed wetters. The mark of Bud’s palm across the side of Todd’s face is enough to prove to Mrs. Amos that Todd is the victim, despite the blood flowing from Bud’s nose. Bud realizes that Todd is a very good liar.

Bud starts mentally goes over the list he has made up to keep from repeating his mistakes. He calls it Bud Caldwell’s Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself. Todd seems to know Bud’s Rule 3, which is to make sure that your lie is simple enough to remember. Bud notes that it does not count for much because Mrs. Amos is bound to listen to anything Todd tells her anyway. Bud’s perception of Mrs. Amos is quite accurate; she does not consider what she has seen at all.

For a moment, Bud pauses to recall how the problem began. Bud had been sleeping when he felt a pain in his nose. He woke up to see Todd standing over him with a pencil in his hand, congratulating Bud because the pencil had gone up his nose to the R in Ticonderoga. Without thinking, Bud smacked Todd across the face. Todd, with a wicked gleam in his eyes and diabolical smile on his face, crossed the room to retaliate. Bud quickly concludes that being brave is great in principal, but because Todd hits like a mule, Bud tires quickly of being brave and curls himself into a small ball much like a turtle with his head tucked inside his shell. This was where Mrs. Amos walked in.

Mrs. Amos helps Todd to his feet and declares that Bud will not spend another night in their house. She soon comes back with Mr. Amos, who has Bud’s suitcase. This causes Bud to grow concerned: he can tell they have opened it because they retied it differently, and he fears something may be missing.

Mrs. Amos declares how awful Bud is. She warns that he may have ruined it for other potential foster children to stay with her. She promises to return Bud to the Home in the morning; he will spend the night locked in the shed outside. Bud is only half listening, worried about his suitcase, which Mrs. Amos refuses to give to him. She knows he will not try to leave without his things.

Mrs. Amos tells Bud he must apologize to Todd or she will whip him with a razor strap. Bud has no misgivings about doing so, and he throws out “apologies like John Dillinger shoots out bullets.” When Mrs. Amos repeats her intent to send him back to the Home, Bud follows his Rule 118 and begs her not to do so. He wants to return to the Home more than anything, and he expects that Mrs. Amos will do exactly the opposite of what she thinks he wants.

Todd takes a parting shot at Bud, describing vampire bats and spiders in the shed. Mrs. Amos does not correct her son but cautions that he will upset himself by talking. Mr. Amos takes Bud outside and gives him a pillow and blanket. He nudges the young boy a few steps into the dark shed. Bud tries very hard not to appear cowardly. He notes that sometimes the brain has ideas about bravery but the mouth does not always cooperate. Just about the time he feels a string of panicked pleas rise to his lips, Mr. Amos closes and locks the door.

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Chapter 1 Summary


Chapter 3 Summary