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Chapters 17 and 18 Summary

Iggy takes Max and his father down a back alley to another apartment whose door has been “busted in.” He explains that it belongs to an “old bat” who is away visiting her sister for the holidays. When Iggy leaves, Kenny Kane sits Max down so they can talk “man to man.”

Kenny tells Max he understands that “a boy who don’t know his own father might be dumb enough to run away.” He then ties Max’s feet and hands, looping the end of the rope around his own waist so he will be alerted if Max should try to escape. Kenny then goes to sleep, advising Max that he should do the same, but a little while later, he wakes Max to assert again that he “never killed anybody.” He then asks his son if Grim and Gram had given him the presents and letters he sent over the years. Max, of course, has not received anything, and Kenny uses this as proof that Grim and Gram hate him “on account of [his] appearance, and because he wasn’t good enough for their precious daughter.” Max’s father goes on about the injustices that have been done to him, and he swears on a Bible that he did not murder Max’s mother. After this conversation, Killer Kane goes back to sleep, but Max lies awake until the sun comes up, trying not to think about “things [he doesn’t] want to remember.”

In the morning, Loretta Lee comes over with a box of pizza. Kenny is clearly edgy and tells her to put the box down and get Iggy. Loretta looks at Max, who is still trussed up, then leaves through the back of the apartment.

When Loretta is gone, Kenny tells Max that they “can’t eat anything touched by her dirty hands.” They search the cupboards and end up feasting on cornflakes and water. Killer Kane tells Max that this is only “a temporary situation” and outlines plans that will allow them to “live like kings if [they] play [their] cards right.” Kenny plans to get a bus and masquerade as “The Reverend Kenneth David Kane.” According to his plan, he and Max will tour the country, telling people his story—that of “a bad man who has redeemed himself.”...

(The entire section is 581 words.)