Chapters 13-14 Summary
Inside, Milo opens the envelope and finds a considerable sum of money and a stack of correspondence between Purdy and his secret son, Don. In a lengthy email riddled with racist comments, Don unabashedly asks Purdy for money. He intimates that Purdy has no understanding of his life, particularly in the service.
In a note to Milo, Purdy asks Milo to be the courier to deliver the payments to Don. He also wants Milo to find out what Don is all about and if he has any master plan in his pseudo-blackmailing of Purdy. Purdy is terrified that his wife, Melinda, will find out about Don and realize that Purdy has been dishonest with her.
Milo laments his lack of connection with Maura, particularly the downturn in their sex life since Bernie was born. Milo then masturbates to an online site he discovered on Francine’s computer at his mother’s house, Spreadsheet Spreaders.
Later, Milo picks up Bernie from Happy Salamander, his ultra-progressive school, and expresses concern when one of the teachers is about to attach a clothespin to Bernie’s nipple. She explains that it is part of a new pedagogical goal about teaching children the harder edges of life and chastises Milo for not reading the email that laid out this new plan.
After putting Bernie to bed, Milo watches a sappy romantic comedy (produced by the governor’s daughter who took his father’s knife back in college) and finds himself weeping shamelessly at the end. In the past, he would have preferred sports and chastised Maura for wanting to watch a rom-com.
He notes that his relationship with Maura, however unconventional, seems to be the right one. He remembers his earlier relationships, particularly one with Constance, one of Purdy’s exes. He had cheated on her mercilessly, and it made him feel like his own unfaithful father.
Milo also carried on a relationship with his instructor, Lena. One day, late in his last semester, Milo and Lena made love in Milo’s makeshift art studio. He pressed Lena to appraise his work, especially in comparison to his rival, Billy Raskov. Lena deferred the comparison and told Milo that his work was good enough, but then she wondered if he was prepared for what would take to be a working artist (which most likely would not include fame and fortune).
A confused Milo stormed out to see Purdy across campus sitting on a bench with a girl he didn’t recognize. She seemed to be holding her stomach protectively.