Once Bill, Ignatius, and Razza get Scobie’s joke, they laugh uproariously (and Bill shoots strawberry milk out his nose). Ignatius, Razza, and Bill leave the room, leaving Ishmael with Scobie. Scobie assures Ishmael that he exhibited true St. Daniel’s spirit last night by standing up in the first place.
Since he’s Ishmael’s closest friend of the group, it falls to Scobie to comfort Ishmael. And to Scobie’s credit, he’s right: Ishmael did a really hard, scary thing by agreeing to get up and debate. Ishmael is still just too upset to see that he’s growing and developing through experiences like this.
That night, Ishmael tries to forget that he groped Kelly Faulkner, but it’s impossible. Maybe he’s taking things too seriously and should focus on all that’s good in his life. He still has his family and friends, and Barry isn’t tormenting him anymore. Things really could be worse—and before long, things get worse.
Again, bringing up the fact that Barry isn’t making his life miserable calls readers’ attention to this fact. Ishmael has been willing to grow and try new things without Barry scaring him all the time, which highlights how destructive bullying can be.