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Chapter 16: Scene 60: Not points. Not here, too.


       That bastard . I bang the phone down and stomp back into the parlor. I flop down in an easy chair and it scrapes along the hardwood floor.

       "Look here, young man!" Montgomery takes a couple of big steps over to me. "You'll lose points around here for that kind of behavior . You watch your temper."

       I groan out loud. "Not points. Not here, too."

       Montgomery grabs me by the arm and pulls me up out of the chair. I try to sit back down, but the old man holds on tight. I'm surprised by how strong he is.

       " You'll rue the day you defied me, boy. An apology is in order. Now."

       It gags me to say it. "Sorry,"

       "That's better. Now you go to your room and examine your conscience . I expect a repentant boy down here in the morning."

ThinkLink: Do think that John is lonely? What has made you feel lonely before?


I wad up a pillow and lay there for a long time, trying to figure things out. I had this one big thing in my life, getting back home, and now there's no home to go back to. It's like I went to bed in Oregon and woke up in Kansas. I punch my pillow and roll over and then back. Bed feels like it's got a board in it.

       When I hear talking downstairs, I get up and walk real quiet in my stocking feet out to the top of the stairs. A board squeaks under my foot, and I move off it quick. No one comes out in the hall to look so I lean over. I can see the front hall and a corner of the parlor. Sam's scrunched up in the corner of the couch, trying to stay out of harm's way. Smart guy.

       The old man's jawing at him. "Mrs. Montgomery and I don't believe in TV," he says. "You'll read books here. Books you can learn something from. We bought some at the flea market over behind the grocery store. Pick one from those shelves next to the window." I can't see Montgomery, but he must've turned away, because Sam rolls his eyes and makes a face.

       I listen for a couple minutes, but nothing more happens. I creep back into the bedroom, and go over to the window to look out over the porch roof. A street lamp on the corner gives off enough light for me to get a good look around. There's a strong-looking tree growing up over the edge of the porch. I see the moon coming up through the branches. I pull up on the window sash, but it sticks halfway. I tug on it, an inch at a time, until it's open as far as it'll go. The screen is easier. I pull out the hook at the bottom and wiggle the frame around to loosen it up. I push it free and it swings out on its hinges. The roof looks strong enough to hold me and not too steep.

       I sink back down on the bed. I can't go back to the ranch , for sure, now. And I don't even know where Mom is. Or where exactly in Philmont County Norman Ryan has his ranch. I get this hard lump in my throat and my eyes fill up. If I run, I know Mom'll feel bad, but if she doesn't have me to worry about, she and the kids can be happy at Norman's ranch.

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