Chapter 3 Summary

John concedes that he is, in fact, very handsome, but he says this does not get him very much except perhaps with Miss King, his English teacher. Miss King always laughs a little when she talks with John and calls him “a card”; John thinks her behavior is fake and finds it annoying. The thing that John and Lorraine appreciated most about the Pigman was that he did not act like that. Instead of trying to be up to date and “cool or hip,” he was unafraid to be himself, and he often said that John and Lorraine were just “delightful.”

John wants to be a great actor when he grows up, while Lorraine aspires to be a famous writer. John speaks harshly about Lorraine's mother; he says she goes out of her way to tear her daughter down. John thinks that Lorraine looks fine and that all she needs is “a little confidence.” He is especially drawn to her “interesting green eyes that scan like nervous radar.”

The incident with the Pigman began when John and Lorraine, along with two other friends, Dennis Kobin and Norton Kelly, were amusing themselves by doing “phone gags” last September. John and Lorraine could only meet for these phone sessions at Dennis’s or Norton’s houses. Lorraine’s house was off limits because her mother did not have unlimited service and was a “disinfectant fanatic” anyway. The phone at John’s house was unusable because John’s father had put a lock on it to prevent his son from abusing his phone privileges; in an act of defiance, John had put airplane glue in the keyhole of the lock so no one could use it at all.

The idea of the “phone marathon” was to choose a number at random from the directory, call it, and see how long one could keep whomever answered talking on the phone. John, who pretended he was calling from a television quiz show, was not very good at this game because he would always burst out laughing. The record for the longest call belonged to Dennis; he had picked an old woman “who lived alone and was desperate to talk to anyone.” His phone call lasted for two hours and twenty-six minutes.

It was Lorraine who picked the Pigman’s number when it was her turn to use the phone. In a statement of foreshadowing, John says that he thinks the old man would have died anyway. He admits that he and Lorraine might have “speeded things up a little,” but he insists that, surely, they did not murder him.