Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 453
Glen Papineau is having difficulty adjusting to his father’s death. He is drinking more, even in public, which he knows is not a good idea for a sheriff to do. He boxed up his father’s office and tries to sell it, but there are no takers. He meets Claude Sawtelle in a bar, and the two begin talking about Doctor Papineau. Claude remembers “The Hot Mix Duck Massacre,” in which a flock of ducks mistook the newly paved main street for a stream. Many ducks were killed, but some were only injured. Doctor Papineau treated them, and the ducks followed him around while they healed.
Claude wants to buy some of Doctor Papineau’s medicines. Claude had previously worked with the vet in treating the Sawtelle dogs so that the doctor did not have to come out to the farm for small matters. Glen gives Claude the medicine. The conversation turns to Doctor Papineau’s death. Glen’s official position is that his father fell down the stairs and Edgar, not being able to handle two deaths in the same spot, ran away. Claude casts doubt on this scenario, telling Glen that Edgar had become “wild” since Gar’s death. He also tells Glen that he heard “secondhand” that Doctor Papineau fell because Edgar ran at him with a perceived intention to attack. Glen is shocked to hear this, stating that this would be considered manslaughter. Claude says that Glen has the right to sue the Sawtelles since the death to place on their property, but this is something that Glen has no intention of doing. He ponders Claude’s account of Doctor Papineau’s death, however, and sees Edgar in a new light.
Edgar, after seeing the patrol car, knows that it is time for him to leave. Henry offers to drive him to the Canadian border. Edgar, knowing this will save him weeks of travel, agrees. As Henry, Edgar, and the dogs arrive at Lake Superior, they see three waterspouts out on the lake. When they move toward the shore, Henry points out some recesses washed out in the rocky ledge. One recess not big enough for all of them, they split up. Tinder automatically goes with Henry, while Edgar protects Baboo and Essay in the small cave. As the waterspouts move toward land, Essay escapes and stands on the shore, barking. Eventually, the storms retreat. Edgar thinks of Ida Paine’s words, warning him that, “It’s just wind.” He decides to head back. Henry drives him to the first cabin where he had found food. As he leaves, he decides to leave Tinder with Henry. Baboo also chooses to stay, so Edgar and Essay take off alone.