Chapter 14 Summary

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The police took John and Lorraine home from the Pigman’s house. John, who was very drunk, was “out for the night,” but Lorraine pleaded with the officers to let them see Mr. Pignati. The officer refused, telling her that “the old guy’s crying” and informing her that she and John were lucky he had decided not to press charges. Lorraine told the officer that her mother would beat her when she got home, and he unsympathetically responded that she should have thought about that earlier.

At Lorraine’s house, one of the officers explained to Lorraine’s mother that Lorraine and some friends “had too much to drink at some old man’s house on Howard Avenue [and] almost wrecked the place.” Lorraine’s mother pulled her daughter into the house and slapped her; Lorraine screamed, causing the policemen to look a little sorry that they had brought her home. After the police left, Lorraine’s mother stared at her with “disbelief and disgust.” Lorraine wanted desperately for her mother to understand that it was just a party she had gone to and that she was growing up and needed to have friends, but her mother slapped her again. Lorraine’s mother then broke into tears, and Lorraine knew that she wanted her to run over and beg for forgiveness. Lorraine refused, thinking that it was the Pigman who needed to forgive her, not her mother. Later, Lorraine explained about herself, John, and Mr. Pignati. Just when she thought that her mother had understood a little bit, her mother asked if the old man had tried anything sexual with her, and Lorraine realized that things would never change.

As Lorraine lay in bed waiting to fall asleep, she hoped that Mr. Pignati would not think that she and John had deliberately betrayed his kindness toward them. She wanted to tell him that they had only been “playing,” and she remembered the night John had dressed up as a “handsome European businessman” and kissed her: “a boy with a moustache, a girl with a feather.” In the morning, Lorraine’s mother awakened her, inquisitorially demanding if she had done something “bad” to get the stockings she had bought her. She then left, telling Lorraine to clean the house and be there when she got home because she was “not through with [her] yet.”

John met Lorraine at about eleven o’clock. He looked “disheartened” and said that when the police had brought him home the night before, his parents had responded typically. His father had not said very much and his mother had simply scurried around, wiping up the snow that he tracked in. This morning, they had decreed that John would have to see a psychiatrist.

John asked Lorraine if Mr. Pignati was all right, and she responded angrily, “What do you care?” They went to a pay phone to call the Pigman, and when he answered weakly, John apologized for what they had done and asked if he and Lorraine could come by and help clean up. The Pigman said that he had done most of the work already, so John asked him if he would like to go to the zoo. When the old man hesitated, John reminded him that Bobo was probably missing him, and the Pigman finally agreed to meet them.

There was no smile on the Pigman’s face when he arrived at the zoo in a taxi. He had lost a great deal of weight and walked very slowly. When he saw John and Lorraine, Mr. Pignati forced a smile, and the two of them knew they had been forgiven. The Pigman was obviously still very ill, however, and instead of walking, the group took a ride on a “train-type contraption” over to the monkey house. When they got there, they were dismayed to see that Bobo’s cage was empty; an attendant informed them that the baboon had died. Mr. Pignati just kept staring into the cage, then he raised his hand to his face. Emitting a cry “like a puppy that had been stepped on by mistake,” he dropped to the floor, dead.

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