Monday, October 2,
At school, Tino, Theresa, Henry D., Paul, and Joey form into a group for a science project. Joey is unhappy about it because he does not like Tino. He also confides in Paul that he has quit the soccer team and wishes he had not made the switch to Tangerine Middle. There are too many nonwhite students there, he says.
Unlike Paul, Joey is unable to adapt to the new school environment. He does not like the fact that there are so many black and Latino students at the school. It is not what he is used to. Paul, who does not worry about racial differences, makes it clear to Joey that he does not share this attitude. The incident reminds the reader of how different are the two school districts: the affluent, middle-class, mostly white Lake Windsor, and the poorer “minority majority” of Tangerine.
Tuesday, October 3
The group meets and discusses their science project, about “an agricultural product that is native to this area of Florida.” Theresa explains that they can write about a new variety of citrus called the Golden Dawn tangerine that has been developed by her brother Luis. Luis thinks it has the capability to restore Tangerine County to its former status as “the tangerine capital of the world.” Tino thinks Luis will become famous for it. Tino and Joey get into a squabble, and Tino lunges at him. Joey says he is leaving the group, and he has angry words for Paul too. He thinks Paul is too accepting of the bad treatment he gets from Tino and his friends, and calls him a coward. Joey finds another group and Tino is suspended for three days.
The science project opens up a new theme that will be developed in the remainder of the book. Up to now there has been a theme of environmental destruction and the eclipse of the former citrus industry, as growers sold off their land to developers. Now there is the prospect of a revival of the traditional cultivation of citrus trees through the ingenuity of Luis Cruz.
Wednesday, October 4
There is a meeting at Paul’s house of the Homeowners’ Association. There are some complaints. Mr. Donnelly has installed ten lightning rods on the roof of his house, and people complain that it is an eyesore. Also, the muck fires are still burning and efforts to extinguish have produced swamps in which mosquitoes are breeding. Now they must spray the neighborhood with powerful insecticide to kill the mosquitoes. There have also been robberies in five of the houses that were subject to fumigation.
This section is a marked contrast to the previous one, which held out the hope of environmental revival through the development of a new tangerine. In this section, all the environmental problems that have arisen as a result of the hasty destruction of the trees and the building of new homes in the area are highlighted.
Thursday, October 5
Paul and Henry D. are invited to Theresa and Tino’s house so they can meet Luis and gather material for their science report. They are driven east until they reach a sign that says THOMAS CRUZ GROVES/NURSERY. Luis greets them in a friendly manner and shows them around. He shows them his experiments in creating scions, in which a bud from one tree is grafted onto the rootstock of another to create something new. He points to a field of baby trees that are the new type of tangerine called Golden Dawn. Paul rides back home with Henry in the truck driven by Henry’s brother Wayne, who is about to start spraying the pesticides that will kill the mosquitoes. Wayne puts on a gas mask as he starts out on the trip.
The contrast between the creative work done by Luis in developing a new fruit is again contrasted with all the bad consequences of cutting down the citrus trees in the name of development.