Chapter 3 Summary
Bud is alone in the dark shed behind the Amoses’ house. Frightened, he tries to make out what is inside. He is sure he can see the glowing eyes of three “monsters” next to the shed’s door knob. In the limited light from the house, Bud is able to see that the creatures are really fish heads that have been nailed to the wall. He hangs an old rag over them so they cannot scare him.
Bud does not want to lay on the floor—he is sure there are bugs. He recalls a friend who had a cockroach stuck in his ear. Everyone tried to get it out while Bud’s friend screamed. Eventually, the people at the Home had to take the boy to the emergency room. This was when Bud’s friend, Bug, got his nickname.
Bud climbs on the woodpile and entertains himself with shadow puppets he can make in the dim light from the house. Then he curls up with the pillow and blanket and soon falls asleep. When Bud wakes a short time later, the lights in the Amoses’ house are off. It is even harder to see now. When Bud looks up, he sees an enormous vampire bat hanging from the ceiling.
Surveying the situation, Bud concedes that there is a time when a smart person knows there is no point in fighting and a time when fighting is absolutely necessary. Bud has no intention of letting a bat get him, so he looks around and decides a nearby rake will serve as a suitable weapon. Referring to Rule 328 ("once you’ve made up your mind to do something, get to it before you have the chance to talk yourself out of it"), Bud attacks.
Bud swings the rake like “Paul Bunyan swinging his axe.” He expects to hear howls of rage from his defeated foe. Instead he hears a loud sound like a buzz saw. The first sting in his cheek reveals the truth: He has not killed a vampire bat. He has disturbed a very large hornets’ nest—and they are far from happy. While they sting him repeatedly, Bud tries, unsuccessfully, to break down the shed’s door. In a panic, Bud changes direction and crashes through the shed’s window onto the ground outside, slapping himself and rolling away from his attackers.
Stung and sore, Bud becomes furious. He is mad not only at the Amoses but at himself for believing there was a bat in the shed and for getting stuck in such a predicament with no one who cares about him to help him out.
With the taste of anger in his mouth and thoughts of revenge in his head, Bud climbs the back steps to enter the Amos house once again.