Chapters 63-64 Summary
Jack tunes out the teacher until she begins assigning partners for the science project. She puts August and Jack together and reminds them to get together to choose a topic soon. Before Jack can react, the bell rings and August disappears.
Not knowing what to do, Jack just stands there. Julian comes over and teases him about being stuck with his “best bud.” Jack tells Julian to shut up, but Julian suggests asking the teacher for permission to switch. Jack says no, but Julian approaches the teacher and explains that he and Jack really want to work together on a cool idea they have for the project. The teacher seems about to grant permission, but Jack says he does not want to switch, and he runs away.
Moments later, Julian appears, looking annoyed. “You don’t have to be friends with the freak if you don’t want to, you know…” he says.
Jack does not stop to think. He punches Julian in the face.
A few minutes later, Jack finds himself sitting in front of Mr. Tushman, totally unable to explain why he hit Julian. He knows he would say everything wrong, so he says nothing at all.
Mr. Tushman tells Jack that he is supposed to expel kids for fighting. In this case, expulsion seems like a bad idea, but Jack does need to explain himself. Jack's mom, who has come from work, pipes up to encourage him to speak. She seems to be “going back and forth between being really mad and really surprised.”
The adults say they thought Jack and Julian were friends, but Jack says they are not. When Mr. Tushman mentions that Jack knocked out a tooth, Jack says, “It was just a baby tooth.” This makes his mom angry, but Mr. Tushman keeps his patience and again presses Jack to explain why he did what he did.
Jack is scared to tell Mr. Tushman what Julian said about August. Julian might repeat what Jack said, and Jack cannot let that happen. He starts to cry, and he cries even harder when Mr. Tushman threatens expulsion again.
Eventually Mr. Tushman offers a deal: He suspends Jack until winter break, which is just a few days away. He says that Jack can come back after the vacation with “a clean slate” if he writes a letter of explanation to Mr. Tushman and a letter of apology to Julian.
With that, Jack and his mom leave, thanking Mr. Tushman on the way out.