Chapter 18 Summary
Lucky realizes immediately that the person in the road is Miles. She does not want him with her right now. He is all wrapped up, and he has not seen her. If she leaves him behind, nobody will ever know. She turns and starts to leave, but on her way back to the dugouts she realizes that if she does not help him, she will not be very happy when she has to do her “searching and fearless moral inventory of herself.” She goes back to help him.
Miles wraps his arms around Lucky and presses his snot-covered face into her dress. He explains that he was hoping Chesterfield would find him, and he claims a coyote snuffled him. Lucky tells him that there was no coyote, only HMS Beagle, and that the dugouts are not far away. Miles cannot walk because he has a burr from a cholla cactus stuck in his foot. Lucky knows from experience that this is extremely painful, but there is no way to get the burr out with her fingers. She carries Miles piggyback, staggering under his weight.
Lucky did not think to bring pliers along with her supplies, so she fishes through her backpack looking for something else to use to pull out the cholla burr. While she looks, Miles drinks up the last of her Gatorade, and HMS Beagle drinks most of her water. Lucky concentrates on the problem at hand, but she does not know what to use to remove the burr.
As Lucky frowns over the supplies, Miles says she looks “pretty and kind of…grown up” in Brigitte’s dress. Lucky wonders if he is making fun of her, but he seems to be sincere. He sees the parsley grinder and asks if Brigitte is coming to make dinner. Lucky explains that she ran away and only took the grinder as a keepsake. However, the topic gives her an idea, and she takes the grinder apart and tells Miles to hold still. Carefully, she uses the part with the spokes to pry the burr off Miles’s foot. Miles shouts out in pain, but Lucky examines his foot carefully and sees that he his lucky: all the spines have come out. She knows it will keep hurting for a while, so she tells him to be brave.
Miles tells Lucky that he did not mean to run away; he was just looking for Chesterfield. Lucky tells him he will not be in trouble, but she is worried. Taking care of herself is hard enough. Taking care of a little boy is going to be far more difficult.