Chapter 15 Summary
John, kneeling by the fallen Pigman, yelled at the zoo attendant to call an ambulance. He then said to Lorraine, “Get out of here,” because he was afraid of what her mother would do if she got into any more trouble. John checked Mr. Pignati’s wrist for a pulse, but there was none, and the old man was not breathing. John wanted to whisper to him, “Did you have to die?” but he knew the Pigman could no longer hear him.
As he waited for the ambulance with the Pigman, John reflected that, contrary to what Lorraine may have thought, he really did care about things. John was sickened by his awareness of the world as a place
where you can grow old and be alone and have to get down on your hands and knees and beg for friends.
He could not stand the thought that a person could end his life with only a baboon to talk to, and he wondered if they were all like baboons,
smiling away and not really caring what was going on as long as there were enough peanuts bouncing around to think about.
Maybe everyone, including his parents and Lorraine’s mother, were nothing more than “baffled baboons concentrating on all the wrong things.” It occurred to John to check Mr. Pignati’s wallet to see if he was carrying identification; then he could leave and not get further involved in yet another unpleasant situation. Even as he entertained this thought, he was ashamed and began to think of other things—“anything to get away from what was really happening.”
As he continued to wait for the authorities to come for Mr. Pignati’s body, John thought about the inevitability of his own death. Lorraine often chided him for drinking and smoking, telling him, “You must want to die.” In a way, Lorraine was right; John thought:
Maybe I would rather be dead than to turn into the kind of grown-up people I knew. What was so hot about living anyway if people think you’re a disturbing influence just because you still think about God and Death and the Universe and Love.
John felt sorry for his parents in that moment because they had ceased to care about what was important and were now living their lives by just going through the motions.
The ambulance arrived, and the doctor gestured that the Pigman was dead. As they took away the body, John quietly said,...
(The entire section is 617 words.)