Chapter 19 Summary

Outside, the windstorm starts to die down. Miles begins making quail sounds, and Lucky does not have the energy to make him stop. Eventually he stops on his own. He puts his head down on Lucky’s towel and cries.

Lucky sighs and tells Miles it is time for dinner. This gets his interest, and he asks what they are having. Lucky offers hard-boiled eggs, but Miles only likes eggs “when the white part and the yellow part are mixed up together.” Lucky points out that there is no stove, fridge, or pan for cooking. Miles asks for gravy instead. Lucky tells him sternly that they are having beans. She gets out her single can of beans and realizes there is no can opener.

Rather than admit to Miles that she does not know how to feed him, Lucky says that they are going to open the can the way the old miners used to do it. Miles does not look impressed, and Lucky says:

Miles, do you realize we’re having a big adventure? This is going to be a lot of fun, but we have to be adaptable, like Chesterfield and the other burros.

Miles thinks this over and tells her he cannot “run away overnight” because he is “not allowed to.” Lucky ignores this comment and looks for a way to open her beans. She searches through the dugout until she finds an old screwdriver. She rubs it clean with sand, then presses it to the lid of the can and pounds the handle with a rock. This makes a little puncture. She works her way all around the can, making puncture after puncture until she can peel back the lid.

When she is finished, Lucky shows Miles how to put beans and ketchup in a spoon and eat it, just like the old miners. Miles, however, does not have the coordination to squeeze ketchup into a spoon without spilling it. “Don’t the old miners have a plate?” he asks. Lucky does not, so she tells him to squeeze ketchup straight into his mouth and then put in some beans. Miles does as she suggests. He spills beans and ketchup in his hair, but he does not complain or cut himself on the can. He says her cooking is almost as good as Short Sammy’s.

By the end of the meal, Lucky takes stock and decides she is doing a good job of running away. Even with the windstorm and Miles and the cholla burr and all the other problems, she has managed to keep going and stay in charge. Plus she looks grown up in Brigitte’s dress. Just as she is congratulating herself, Lucky feels “a little fluttering in her ear.” Without thinking, she slaps at it. Instead of flying out, the bug in her ear canal goes deeper, gets stuck, and bites. Lucky grabs her head and screams.