Monday, September 18
Paul attends his first day at Tangerine Middle. For his first day a girl called Theresa Cruz is assigned to him as his escort around the school. She is quiet and does not say much. Paul follows her around and goes to his classes. He notes that the school has a much tougher atmosphere than his former one. Theresa tells him that three of the school’s soccer players—Victor, Hernando, and her twin brother Tino, have been suspended for three days because of the incident at the carnival. She says the soccer team contains girls as well as boys, and the goalie is a girl named Shandra Thomas. After school Paul watches the soccer practice and meets Ms. Bright, the coach. She says he can be backup goalie, and he joins the practice. He finally feels hopeful that his life has taken a better turn.
Tuesday, September 19
In the lunchroom Paul meets Victor Guzman, the school’s star soccer player, as well as Hernando and Tino. Victor is aggressive and contemptuous of Paul, and Paul hears the story from them about their vandalism at the carnival. In the afternoon he goes to soccer practice. Victor is clearly the team’s leader and inspiration. Paul gets his turn in goal and makes a great save from a shot by Victor. Victor and Tino get into a fight. Paul knows he has joined a tough team but it is exactly what he wants to do.
Paul is now in the most challenging situation of his life. A visually handicapped new boy at a tough school (although he insists that he can see fine), he is determined to make a success of it, and he makes a good start. He is delighted to have a second chance. Tangerine Middle School is notable because unlike the white middle-class kids who made up the majority of Lake Windsor Middle School, Tangerine is “majority minority,” that is, there are a larger number of Latino students than whites. Paul does not mind this at all. He has no racial prejudice. He says he has always felt like a minority himself, because of his eye problem.
Wednesday, September 20
Paul gets his soccer uniform, and Joey comes over wearing his. Erik and Arthur come home and make disparaging, hurtful comments about Mike Costello and his brother Joey. After they have gone, Joey says he feels like a coward for not standing up to them, but Paul says that neither Erik nor Arthur is worth bothering about. Paul tries to persuade Joey to switch schools and join him at Tangerine Middle. Joey says he will think about it.
Every so often, the story comes back to show how despicable Erik and his sidekick Arthur are. It seems they do not have an ounce of decent human feeling.