Chapter 29 Summary

In Chapter 29, the day of the party has finally arrived. It is late afternoon and Doc is finishing securing everything that can possibly be secured. Doc tries to foresee every possible scenario for destruction. He locks up his records and makes sure no rattlesnakes are anywhere close to where a curious, inebriated guest might find them. Doc does not want the party to be boring, but he does want it to be as safe as it can possibly be, for both himself and his guests.  

Doc brews a pot of coffee and puts a record on the phonograph. He takes a shower and puts on clean clothes. No one has yet told Doc the party is indeed happening on this particular day, but Doc feels certain that today is the day. All day long, he senses that people are watching him. He resolves to act surprised when people eventually do turn up. 

Cautiously, Doc peers out the window, but no one is yet making their way toward the laboratory. He decides to head over to Lee Chong's and pick up a little more beer even though he has already purchased quite a bit of alcohol for the party at the bigger market in town. Even at Lee's, Doc can sense the "suppressed Oriental excitement," further confirming Doc's suspicions. Doc goes home but still the streets are empty.

Back at the Palace Flophouse, Mack and the boys are consumed with excitement. It is very hard to wait, but they decide that at eight o'clock, they will head over to Doc's. The cats they have collected are yowling in their crates in the corner. There are far too many of them to cart over to the laboratory, so the consensus among the housemates is to tell Doc about them and let him come to look them over at his leisure. 

Anticipation is coming to a crescendo over at Dora's Bear Flag as well. Some are disappointed, though, as the house cannot be left empty and the girls must go to the party in shifts. This means that girls who drew later shifts will not be afforded the pleasure of seeing Doc open the quilt they had all worked so hard on making for him. Still, they bear up their lots with aplomb and look forward to their turn. The only one who will not be able to go at all is Alfred, the bouncer. While he understands the reason, he is still gravely disappointed to miss such a great occasion. Seeing how much he is hurting, Dora relents a bit. She tells him that he may come later so long as he promises to watch the house from the window. Of course, Alfred readily agrees.

The sun goes down and Doc is still waiting. He pours himself a shot of whiskey and tries to be patient. He puts another record on the phonograph. He has another shot. And still he waits.