Chapter 15 Summary

Preparations are in full-swing for Hooten Hall’s Halloween party. Naomi and Dolores are relatively safe as they serve spiked punch behind a table. The evening is going tolerably well until Eric, one of the boys from another dorm, thinks that it will be great fun to pick on Dolores. He grabs her by the wrist and pretends to dance with her, becoming more sexually aggressive with each passing second. Dolores reacts instinctively and knees Eric hard in the groin. He collapses in pain. Dolores runs away.

Dolores thinks about the immediate aftermath of Eric’s assault. She remembers how she hid behind a dumpster, shivering for hours. When she finally returned to her dorm room, she discovered that Eric had trashed all of her possessions. Her mother's painting was not spared; he broke the frame and split the canvass in two. He did not find the hidden pictures of Dante, or the money she still had from Arthur Music, the man who had accidentally killed her mother. The damage to the painting is viscerally painful to Dolores, and she cries out, “Ma!” Shakily, Dolores grabs a pair of scissors and salvages whet she can of the painting, a square which depicts a “green tip of a wing against the cool blue sky.” She stuffed the square into her backpack and ran out to Dottie’s waiting car.

Dottie has bought them both dinner: greasy, fried clams. Their pungent odor permeates the car. Once they arrive at her home, Dottie opens beers for them both and shows Dolores her fish. Dolores notices a picture of a small boy above one of the tanks. He is clearly disabled. Dottie snatches it down when Dolores looks away, but later tells her the child is her son. Dottie had to have him institutionalized. He died at fourteen months old.

Dolores thinks about Dottie and her loss as she washes up their dessert dishes. Dottie comes up behind Dolores and puts her chin on her shoulder. She tells Dolores once again that she loves her. She begins rubbing Dolores in a very sexual manner. She tells Dolores no one will care what “two big fat mamas” do and kisses her. Dolores lets her do so. Before long, Dottie has led Dolores to her bed. They take turns pleasuring themselves to orgasm.

Dolores awakens before Dottie does. Dolores is horrified by what she has done. She pours bleach into Dottie's fish tanks, killing them instantly. Dolores then summons a taxi and, with the money she still has from her mother’s killer, asks the driver to take her to New York. She offers the man $400 to do so.