Chapter 20 Summary

Lucky has always worried about getting a bug in her ear, but the real thing is even more painful and terrifying than she imagined. The noise of the insect’s fluttering is so loud she can hardly hear. Miles offers to dig the bug out, but Lucky thinks that is a bad idea. She grabs her mineral oil, lies down with her ear pointed up, and tries to pour the oil into her ear.

Lucky wants to drown the bug, but on her first attempt, she spills most of the oil on her hair and neck. For a moment, she is devastated, thinking that she has wasted it all. Then she sees that she has a little left. She pours again, more carefully this time, and gets the oil in her ear. She holds still, trying to stop herself from panicking. Will her plan work? She can still feel the bug fluttering. If she fails to drown it, she knows she may end up at a doctor's office. The doctor will dig it out with some scary tool. That is certain to feel far worse than a little oil, so she keeps still and waits.

Miles announces that he is going back to town to get help, but Lucky asks him not to leave her. She offers him a Fig Newton, but he says he should get help first. Lucky begs him to stay and read to her. He reminds her that he does not know how to read most books yet, but Lucky tells him she has exactly the right book in her bag. At first Miles thinks she is trying to trick him, but when he finds Are You My Mother, he eagerly sits down to read.

The bug is barely moving anymore when Miles starts the story. By the time it is over, Lucky cannot feel it moving at all. She decides it is safe to turn her head and drain her ear. When she tips her head, a little puddle of oil comes out, along with a tiny white moth.

As Lucky drains her ear, Miles asks if his mother is really in jail. When Lucky says yes, he thinks it over and decides it is better this way. If she is locked up, he reasons, “she’s not staying away from me on purpose.” Lucky does not know what to say at first. When Miles worries that his mother will be mad at him for running away, Lucky promises to say how brave he has been. Then they look up and see Lincoln coming to find them.