Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 671
Chapter 13 returns to the plight of Mack and the boys, minus Gay, who went out to find a carburetor for the broken down Model T and failed to return. Eddie had also gone for a spell, but unlike Gay, made it back. He had noticed a construction site not...
(The entire section contains 671 words.)
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Chapter 13 returns to the plight of Mack and the boys, minus Gay, who went out to find a carburetor for the broken down Model T and failed to return. Eddie had also gone for a spell, but unlike Gay, made it back. He had noticed a construction site not far away and went to see whether perhaps he could find (or steal) a part there. He managed to acquire one. Mack, Hazel, and Jones were asleep when he returned and did not awaken. Eddie caught some sleep himself.
Mack is the first to get up in the morning and the other boys soon are up as well. They eat the bread while Eddie gets the new part installed. Soon, they are on their way again to look for promising pools in which to collect frogs.
As they travel, luck seems to be on their side. Eddie manages to hit a chicken, and Mack cleans it while they are on the road. They scoop up a bag of carrots that had tumbled off a truck and illegally acquire some onions. Eddie drives on, passing through the valley and crossing the Carmel River.
At the base of a cliff, they find a location that appears to be absolutely perfect. Soon, the rooster and his vegetable companions are boiling up over a fire, and coffee is percolating as well. It is time, Mack knows, to rally the spirits for the upcoming frog hunt. Everyone is ready to go and all anxiously await nightfall, when the frogs would come out of their hiding places.
As they wait, the chicken stewing on the fire smells more and more appetizing. The boys talk and Jones suggests that perhaps Eddie could stop mixing all the different beverages into one jug and instead separate them: all whiskey in one jug, all wine in another, for example. The proposal is met with horror and indignation by everyone else. Jones drops the topic immediately. Talk turns to Gay and what may have happened to him. While they do wonder, no one seems overly concerned. In the lives of Mack and the boys, people come and go and reasons may or may not be given. It is no one's business what another man does with his life, really.
Mack becomes concerned about the intended party for Doc and his own motivations. Yes, it is ostensibly for Doc, but Mack also knows that he and his crew will likely outdrink and outeat anything consumed or enjoyed by Doc. He wonders whether the party is more for them than for the object of their affections, and the thought bothers Mack.
It is getting dark and almost time to go, but a sound startles the would-be collectors of frogs. A man comes out of the shadows with his hunting dog, a rifle pointed at the four of them. He tells Mack that they are trespassing on private property.
Mack uses his considerable smarts and charm to talk his way out of a bad situation. He apologizes for trespassing and claims that they were not aware that they were doing so. He tells the man the reason for being on his land and adds that the frog collection is being conducted to help in cancer research. Finally, he compliments the man's pointer dog, and this does the trick.
The man loves his dog and bemoans the lack of respect for good hunting dogs anymore. Mack, of course, is quick to agree. Mack also notices that the bitch seems to have a hurt shoulder. The landowner tells Mack that she suffers from an embedded tick; he has tried to remove the parasite without success. Mack knows what to do: the bite must be soaked in Epsom salts. Mack offers to come back to the man's home and show him how to make a poultice for it. Gladly, the man agrees. Mack makes a point of telling the boys to put out the fire and tidy up the campsite and then follows the man and his dog home.