By the time Richie finishes the story about the smoke-hole, everyone is nodding. Eddie reaches for an Excedrin. Five years earlier, he goes to the doctor for a routine check-up. The doctor notices an old break in his arm and asks if he fell out of a tree as a child. Eddie responds that it was something like that. Going down memory lane, Eddie mentions that it was Henry Bowers who broke his arm and asks if the others remember. Mike nods and says that the break occurred before Patrick Hocksetter appeared. Eddie gives the date as the 20th of July. Eddie mentions that Hocksetter was with Henry and the other bullies that day, and it was the last time Eddie saw Hocksetter alive.
The Excedrin pill triggers the memory of Eddie’s broken arm. For some reason, Eddie lies to the doctor about how he broke his arm. He probably does not want to confront the painful memories of being bullied by Henry, which will lead him to other memories of Mr. Keene telling him that he does not really have asthma and his pivotal memory of his mother’s visit to the hospital.
Beverly remembers that all of Henry’s friends died on July 20th. She and Bill prompt Eddie to tell them the story of how his arm broke. Eddie remembers, too, that Beverly knows something important about Patrick Hocksetter, and she agrees to tell everyone after Eddie tells his story. Suddenly, Eddie’s aspirator rolls across the table by itself. Bill tells him not to touch it. They then notice some balloons tied to the microfilm recorder, displaying a message: “ASTHMA MEDICINE GIVES YOU CANCER.” Below the slogan are some grinning skulls. Eddie thinks back to being in the Center Street Drugstore and how Mr. Keene tells him something.
The message on the balloon seems to prompt Eddie to remember the source of his pain. It is able to do this due to Its access to Eddie’s thoughts. The message is a play on Eddie’s future knowledge that his aspirator does not really contain any medicine at all, as well as the fear of cancer that he earlier expressed to Richie and Beverly in response to their smoking habits.
Eddie revisits the memory of Mr. Keene inviting him into his office in the back of the pharmacy. Mr. Keene offers Eddie an ice-cream soda on the house. Eddie reluctantly agrees to a chocolate soda. Eddie is a little worried about what Mr. Keene wants to tell him. Mr. Keene asks his counter-girl, Ruby, two make two ice-cream sodas—one chocolate and one coffee—and bring them to the office. Mr. Keene then says something so peculiar that Eddie doesn’t know how to respond: “This has gone on long enough.” Mr. Keene asks Eddie how old he is, then asks if he knows what a “placebo” is. Before explaining, he is interrupted by Ruby tapping at the door. She sets down the sodas.
Eddie is initially wary of going into Mr. Keene’s office alone. Mr. Keene’s statement to Eddie is “peculiar” because it suggests that Eddie has either been trying to fool someone or is being made into a fool. Mr. Keene tells Eddie that it is the latter. He starts with an objective explanation to help Eddie understand the nature of his problem.
Mr. Keene continues with his explanation, but Eddie wishes that he were down in the Barrens fighting monsters. Mr. Keene has encouraged Eddie to relax because he is not going to hurt the boy, but Eddie somehow feels that he will be hurt, and he has no idea how he will fight that. Mr. Keene again tells Eddie to “loosen up.” He says that Eddie’s trouble comes from being stiff all the time. Mr. Keene takes out a balloon, which he asks Eddie to pretend is his lung. Eddie asks for his aspirator, which Mr. Keene says he will provide in a moment. He says that, in a healthy person, the lungs expand. However, in a stiff person, the muscles work against the lungs rather than with them.
Eddie would rather be fighting with monsters than having this uncomfortable human interaction. Mr. Keene is very real, however, and he has information that Eddie does not have. Eddie believes that this information will cause him harm—and he is right, for what Mr. Keene tells him will dispel an illusion on which Eddie relies for support. Mr. Keene’s use of a balloon as a prop unintentionally relates to the clown’s more sinister ballons.
Eddie is listening only dimly. He desperately wants his aspirator. He leans over the desk and grabs for it on the ink blotter, knocking over the glass which held his soda. He slams the aspirator into his mouth, triggering it off. He then apologizes for knocking over the glass. Ruby comes in to ask if everything is okay, and Mr. Keene sharply tells her to leave. Mr. Keene tells Eddie not to be concerned about the glass. He then says that he promises not to tell Eddie’s mother about the glass if Eddie promises not to tell her about his and Mr. Keene’s talk. Mr. Keene asks Eddie if he feels better. Eddie insists that he does because he has had his medicine. Mr. Keene then tells Eddie that he has not had any medicine at all. If it is medicine, it’s only head-medicine.
The sight of the balloon, as well as his sense that Mr. Keene is going to tell him something that he does not want to hear, gives Eddie anxiety. Mr. Keene does not want Sonia Kaspbrak to know about his conversation with Eddie because she will deny the point that Mr. Keene wants to prove: Eddie does not have asthma. Mr. Keene’s description of the medicine as “head-medicine” instead of lung medicine is to illustrate that Eddie relies on the aspirator to alleviate mental tension, not asthma.
Eddie begins to think that Mr. Keene is telling him that he is crazy. Mr. Keene launches into a story about a famous placebo test to prove to Eddie that most illnesses start in the head. Mr. Keene explains that the entire medical community is complicit in giving people placebos, as long as it helps them believe that they feel better. Eddie insists that his medicine works and Mr. Keene agrees that it works in Eddie’s chest because it works in his head. He then explains that the aspirator contains nothing but water with a dash of camphor thrown in to make it taste like medicine. Mr. Keene then drinks some of his soda, but Eddie stands up, wanting to leave. Mr. Keene asks that he be permitted to finish, and Eddie sits back down.
Eddie perceives Mr. Keene’s mention of “head-medicine” as an accusation that Eddie is mentally ill, and so he refuses to believe what Mr. Keene tells him. However, his obedience to his elders also prompts him to sit back down when Mr. Keene asks. Eddie also continues to listen, probably out of some interest in what Mr. Keene says, even though it is upsetting his sense of order in the world.
Mr. Keene then goes on to say that part of the problem is Russ Handor, Eddie’s doctor. Mr. Keene says that Dr. Handor is weak. Eddie insists that he isn’t crazy. Mr. Keene says that Eddie can think what he likes, just as Mr. Keene will think what he likes. Still, Mr. Keene insists that Eddie’s lungs do not have asthma, but his mind does. Mr. Keene tells Eddie that he is not really sick. Eddie’s mind whirls but he wonders why Mr. Keene would lie. As an adult, sitting in the library with his old friends, he would wonder why Mr. Keene told him the truth.
Dr. Handor, Mr. Keene thinks, is unwilling to stand up to Sonia Kaspbrak. Mr. Keene tells Eddie that he can continue to think that he is sick, which would please his mother, even though physically Eddie is not sick. In hindsight, Eddie wonders why Mr. Keene would tell him this, knowing that it would fuel mistrust of his mother and mistrust of Eddie’s own understanding of his body.
Mr. Keene then asks Eddie about the new friends he has made and assumes that his mother, Sonia Kaspbrak, does not like them. Eddie lies and says that she likes them just fine. Mr. Keene suggests that Eddie talk to his friends about his “asthma” problem. He then stands up, saying that their conversation is finished. Mr. Keene apologizes if he upset Eddie, saying he was only doing what he thought was right. Before he can say anymore, Eddie grabs his aspirator and the bag of pills and nostrums for which he also came and bolts from the Center Street Drugstore. He senses Mr. Keene standing behind him in the doorway of the store, smiling “his dry desert smile.”
Mr. Keene rightfully senses that Sonia does not like Eddie’s friends because they challenge him to do things and are sources of love and comfort outside of Sonia herself. Mr. Keene does not exactly tell Eddie what he needs to know out of sympathy—otherwise he might have been gentler. He does it instead out of misanthropy and resentment for Sonia’s imposing nature, which he senses will prevent Eddie from maturing properly. To retain his sense of order, Mr. Keene tells Eddie the truth.
Eddie wants to do the thing that Mr. Keene suggested: go into the Barrens and tell his friends everything. Then again, his mother is at home and expects the medicines. He gets halfway up Up-Mile Hill and takes out his aspirator. Eddie looks at the label and sees something he never noticed before. It reads: “Administer as needed.” This strikes him as odd. If it were real medicine, it would not say that. Suddenly, he feels betrayed. He thinks about throwing it into the sewer grating. However, in the end, his habit is too strong, and he keeps the aspirator with him.
Eddie wants to tell his friends the story because he thinks that they, and particularly Bill, will know what to do. He is torn between wanting to go to his friends for comfort and answers and wanting to do what his mother expects so that she will continue to love and protect him. Eddie finally reads the label that he had always ignored out of blind trust of his mother. He now knows that the aspirator is not medicine, but he also knows that he still needs it.
Eddie comes out of Costello Avenue Market with a Pepsi and two candy bars twenty minutes after talking to Mr. Keene. He then sees Henry Bowers, Victor Criss, "Moose" Sadler, and Patrick Hockstetter “kneeling on the crushed gravel to the left of the little store.” On an ordinary day, he may have gone back into the store and asked Mr. Gedreau, the owner, if he could leave by the back entrance, but today, he simply freezes where he stands. Victor sees him and elbows Henry. Then, Patrick looks up. Henry mentions how Eddie threw rocks at him before. Now, Eddie decides that he wants to go back into the store, but it is too late and Patrick grabs him. Eddie asks to be left alone and Henry mocks him. Henry then sweeps up a handful of gravel and smashes it into Eddie’s face, cutting his cheeks, eyelids, and lips.
Eddie goes into the market, probably to give himself more time to think before going home and facing the prospect of confronting his mother about all that he has just learned. King suggests that this day is out of the ordinary for Eddie, not only because of Mr. Keene’s revelation but because Eddie will soon learn that he is not as physically fragile as he thinks. As painful as the vengeful confrontation with Henry is, it is also a form of “medicine” that treats Eddie’s self-imposed belief in his own weakness.
More gravel gets into Eddie’s teeth. He feels it lacerating his gums and activating his fillings. Through half-closed, tear-blurred eyes, Eddie sees a large hand come down on Henry’s shoulder. It belongs to Mr. Gedreau, who owns the store. He tells Henry to leave, but Henry shoves him and tells him to “get inside.” Mr. Gedreau says that he is going to call the cops, but he still obeys Henry. Henry prompts his friends to “get” Eddie, who starts to run quite fast. Then, Eddie trips over a boy on a tricycle. Henry catches up with him and jerks his wrist up behind his back. Eddie can hear others approaching behind him and the boy on the tricycle starts to cry. In spite of the pain, Eddie begins to laugh.
Eddie laughs from the absurdity of the situation. Everything that occurs on this day disrupts his previous understanding of reality. First, Henry challenges and frightens an adult. Second, Eddie is enduring Henry’s violence but is not yet dead or completely broken. Eddie is also laughing at how crazy Henry is, despite believing, just a short while ago, that he was the crazy one. Eddie realizes that everything Mr. Keene says makes sense, but Henry’s obsession with the Losers’ Club makes no sense at all.
Henry then twists Eddie’s arm so hard that it breaks. Eddie hears a crack in his arm and shrieks. He is on the ground now and rolls over on his back, looking up into the faces of his bullies. They look impossibly tall, “like pallbearers peering into a grave.” Eddie hears himself say that Henry’s father is crazy and so is Henry. Henry draws his foot back to kick but the sound of a nearby siren stops him, and his friends prompt him to leave. Patrick Hocksetter stays behind for a moment to spit phlegm into Eddie’s sweaty, bloody, upturned face. Eddie tries to wipe it off with his good arm, but that, too, causes him pain. Incredibly, he finds himself laughing again.
Out of spite for being called “crazy,” Henry breaks Eddie’s arm. For an instant, Eddie has the feeling of being dead and is in so much pain that he is willing to say anything to Henry, feeling that the bully cannot do much worse. Even the phlegm that Patrick spits in Eddie’s face, which would have once horrified Eddie, causes less concern because Eddie knows that he is not really sick and is no more vulnerable than any other kid.
The cop car approaches and Eddie hears Mr. Nell’s voice. Mr. Nell rides with Eddie in the ambulance and asks how he is feeling. Eddie’s eyes shift past Mr. Nell toward the driver who has a big, leery grin and eyes as shiny and big as quarters. It is Pennywise. Eddie gestures at the driver and Mr. Nell assures him that they will soon be at the hospital. He then offers Eddie some of his whisky. Eddie drinks some and coughs. He looks again at the driver, who is now just a guy with a crewcut. He drifts off to sleep again.
Eddie hallucinates a vision of Pennywise driving the ambulance. The clown’s big, silvery eyes indicate the “deadlights,” which will figure prominently later and are a symbol of being trapped with Its evil.
Much later, in the Emergency Room, a nurse wipes Eddie’s face and he can hear his mother bellowing. He tries to tell the nurse not to let his mother in, but she prompts him not to talk. The nurse is young and he can feel her bosoms pressing against his arm. For a moment, he has the idea that the nurse is Beverly Marsh. Eddie drifts away again and wakes up to see his mother talking to Dr. Handor. She bursts into “honking sobs” and Dr. Handor tells her that if she cannot control herself she will have to leave. She refuses and is astonished and hurt when Eddie agrees with the doctor. Eddie then asks for his aspirator and his mother gives it to him, explaining to the unimpressed nurse how he struggles with asthma.
Eddie conflates the nurse with Beverly Marsh because Beverly is the only other female in the novel who will hold Eddie. She will cradle Eddie in her arms at the end of the novel, while Eddie is dying. Despite his mother’s obsession with his health, Sonia never offers Eddie any real comfort. Sonia’s histrionics have less to do with Eddie and more to do with her own fears of being left alone or vulnerable.
Dr. Handor touches Eddie’s arm and Eddie feels enormous pain, despite how gentle the doctor is being. Eddie feels like screaming but is afraid that his mother will scream, too. Sonia Kaspbrak then yells for the doctor to stop hurting Eddie, who is too “delicate” to handle “that sort of pain.” The nurse looks furiously into Dr. Handor’s tired eyes, as though to prompt him to send Sonia out of the room, but the doctor will not. Eddie looks at his mother and thinks of how her eyes are “almost predatory,” like those of the leper at 29 Neibolt Street. Dr. Handor gently puts his hands around Eddie’s arm and squeezes. The pain causes Eddie to pass out again.
Sonia reiterates her belief that Eddie is “too delicate,” which is less plausible after the pain that Eddie has withstood from Henry. Dr. Handor’s refusal to send Sonia out of the room is also proof of his cowardice, which is what Mr. Keene warned Eddie about. Eddie realizes that Sonia’s presence in his life is not protective but consumptive and unhealthy. She wants Eddie to believe that he is sickly and fragile so that she can use him to assuage her loneliness.
The nurse and doctor give Eddie some liquid to drink, then Dr. Handor sets the fracture, telling Sonia Kaspbrak that it is a common greenstick fracture. He says that kids who climb trees get it all the time. Sonia refuses to believe this and wants the doctor to tell her the truth about how bad it is. The nurse then gives him a pill and Eddie can see that she is still angry. He wants to tell the nurse that his mother is not the leper and is only eating him because she loves him.
Eddie knows that the nurse senses Sonia’s unhealthy attachment to Eddie. In a mature display of sympathy, Eddie wishes to explain that Sonia wants to keep Eddie small and weak because she loves him and does not want him to leave her. He wants to believe that Sonia’s habits are not selfish, even though they clearly are.
Eddie goes to sleep again and thinks that he has a dream in which the rest of the Losers’ Club arrives at the hospital (he later finds out that they did actually show up). He sees Bill and Richie riding double on Silver. He sees Beverly wearing a green dress, though she never wears dresses. He sees them coming at 2:00 PM, during the visiting hours. His mother shouts at them, refusing to allow them to come in. Meanwhile, the clown appears and starts jumping, doing splits, and smiling. The clown is getting exactly what he wants. He does a “double barrel-roll and burlesques kissing [Eddie’s] mother's cheek.” Bill tries to explain about the bullies, but Mrs. Kaspbrak chastises him for talking back to her. An intern then goes into the waiting room and tells Mrs. Kaspbrak that she will have to be quiet.
Eddie believes that he is dreaming about the Losers’ Club visiting him in the hospital, but they have actually come to visit and have actually been turned away by Sonia. No one but him seems to see the clown, but that does not make his presence any less real. Eddie realizes that the clown wants to see the group disperse, since they are weaker alone. Sonia, though she has not been possessed by It, is doing Its work. She wants Eddie to be left alone so that she can keep him to herself, but this will also make it easier for It to kill Eddie.
Eddie then sees the clown’s face change into the mummy, the bird, the werewolf and all of the other ghosts that now inhabit his imagination. Finally, he sees the face of his mother. He screams, “Not my ma!” No one hears, and he begins to think that he is dead.
The clown changes into all of the glamours that have been put into Eddie’s imagination as a result of hearing the others’ stories. He sees the face of his mother due to his belief of what Mr. Keene has told him.
To Sonia Kaspbrak’s horror, she sees that one of Eddie’s friends is black—or, in her mind, “a nigger.” She tells herself that she has nothing against “niggers” and thinks that they should be able to ride buses and eat at lunch counters. They are fine, she figures, as long as they are not bothering white women, but she does not think that they should associate with white children.
Sonia is a racist but does not believe that she is racist because, unlike “Butch” and Henry Bowers, she has no violent hatred against black people, just no wish for her son to interact with them. She also expresses the commonly held racist belief that all black boys and men want to violate white women.
Then Sonia looks over at Beverly Marsh, who “[flashes] a pair of decidedly slutty jade eyes at Sonia.” Sonia thinks that she must be from Lower Main Street or somewhere even worse. She also decides that if Beverly says a word to her, which she does not, she will tell her what she thinks about girls who run with boys.
Sonia is intimidated by Beverly because she is a pretty girl, thereby reminding Sonia of her fear that Eddie will one day fall in love with someone and leave her.
Sonia thinks of how she is sending these children away for Eddie’s sake. She thinks that he will be disappointed in her at first, but he will soon understand. Except now, her sense of relief is marred by the fact that Eddie is awake and looking at her. Like his friend Ben, he has the ability to look at a face “as if to test the emotional weather brewing there, and glance just as quickly away.” However, Sonia does not know this about him. Eddie speaks to her flatly: “You sent my friends away.”
Eddie does not speak to his mother with anger, because he pities her too much to be angry with her. Sonia believes that being an adult gives her the wisdom to know what is best for Eddie, but Eddie no longer believes that his mother’s actions are selfless. He sees that her satisfaction with her actions has almost nothing to do with Eddie’s well-being.
Sonia flinches at the accusation, wondering how Eddie knows. She ignores him and asks how he is feeling. Eddie does not respond. She repeats the question and he still does not respond. that Dr. Handor says that Eddie will be fine, but if he isn’t, they will go to see the finest specialist in Portland or even Boston. Again, Eddie says that she sent his friends away. Sonia relents and admits that she did just that. Sonia explains that, if it were not for them, Eddie would be at home watching TV or working on his soapbox racer to enter in a competition in Bangor. If he wins, he gets an all-expense paid trip to Akron, Ohio. Of course, Sonia would never allow him to go, due to the dangers of riding an airplane as well as riding in a soapbox going downhill.
Sonia pretends to be a concerned mother, but Eddie does not fall for what he now knows is an act. She keeps it up by offering to take Eddie to specialists, but this is merely another way of convincing Eddie that he is sicker than he actually is. She mentions that his friends may have spoiled his chance to compete in his soapbox competition, though in reality Sonia would never allow Eddie to do anything risky or to make a trip that would take him any real distance away from her.
Eddie tells his mother that his friends did not break his arm, and if he had been with his friends, this would not have happened. That brings up Sonia’s rage and she remembers a comment from her neighbor, Mrs. Van Prett, about how it is safer to have friends. Sonia refuses to accept this and says that Henry broke Eddie’s arm because his “friends” crossed him somehow. She says that, if Eddie had listened to her and stayed away from them, none of this would have happened. Eddie disagrees and says that he thinks that something worse could have happened.
Eddie tries to help his mother understand that he is stronger and better protected, particularly from delinquents like Henry, when he is with his friends. Sonia refuses to acknowledge this, though, because she wants Eddie to believe that she is the only person he needs for support and protection.
Eddie then tells his mother that Bill and the rest of the Losers’ Club will be back and, when they come, she will not stop them. Sonia is “flabbergasted and terrified” and tears well up in her eyes. She says that Eddie must have learned from his “friends” to speak to her this way. Eddie looks at her and she sees a look of adult sorrow in his face. She thinks of what would happen if Eddie decided not to go to college close to home and come home every night after classes. He thinks about Eddie falling in love with a girl and getting married, and wonders where the place would be for her in all of that. She wants to tell Eddie that she can take care of him for the rest of her life.
Sonia’s greatest fear is to be left alone after Eddie grows up. Her fear has resulted in an unnatural attachment to him that keeps him from growing into a fully functioning adult. Her tactic to keep Eddie close to her is to convince him that he is helpless—not only unable to maintain good health without her support, but also unable to cook for himself or even select the right kind of company.
Eddie says that he loves his mother, but he also loves his friends and that she is making herself cry. Though Sonia tells Eddie how much he is hurting her, he pleads with her not to make him choose between her and his friends. Sonia screams, “in a near-frenzy,” that they are “bad friends.” She stands up and says that she will return in the evening when the shock and pain of the accident subside. She insists that Eddie’s friends are not appropriate for him—not their sort. Sonia realizes that she is now running away from her son. Eddie then tells her how Mr. Keene told him that his asthma medicine is just water. This information stops Sonia in her tracks.
Eddie refuses to take responsibility for Sonia’s histrionics, knowing that she is being manipulative. He is sympathetic but unaffected. Sonia insists that Eddie is unwell, which is the only way she can cope with his disobedience and its possible consequences for her. She runs away from her son in order to avoid enduring more of his pity and disapproval.
Sonia Kaspbrak screams that Mr. Keene has told Eddie a lie and she wonders why he would lie like that. Eddie thinks there is truth to what the pharmacist says, otherwise there would be a warning on the bottle. Sonia clasps her hands over her ears, not wanting to hear anymore. Eddie says that she must have known this, too. After all, it is her job to protect him. Her lips tremble, but she is no longer crying. She is too scared to cry. Eddie says that he does not know why she would want him to think that water is medicine. She thinks about explaining to Eddie—a delicate child—how it is better for him to think he is sick than to get sick for real. However, she thinks it better to say nothing.
Sonia tries to avoid confronting Eddie’s increasing awareness of her manipulation. He speaks to her knowingly but sympathetically, but Sonia is afraid of the maturity in her son’s voice, knowing that it indicates that he will not rely on her as much as she wants him to. Sonia convinces herself and wants to convince Eddie that she was actually worried about him becoming ill, but she says nothing probably because she knows that her expression of concern would be inauthentic.
Eddie tells his mother that he will continue to hang out with his friends and help to protect them from the bullies. In exchange, he will continue to take his asthma medicine. Sonia Kaspbrak senses that this is a sort of blackmail. She knows one thing for sure: she will never set foot in Center Street Drug Store ever again. Eddie then asks her for a hug. She hugs him, carefully so as not to hurt his arm. She then thinks, “what mother would kill her son with love?” Eddie hugs her back.
Eddie allows his mother her illusion of Eddie being fragile and helpless in exchange for her not interfering with his friendships and allowing him a social life outside of her. Her rhetorical question to herself is then ironic. Sonia’s form of love is not exactly “killing” Eddie, but it certainly threatens to stunt his emotional growth.
Sonia leaves just in time. Eddie starts to feel breathless. He grabs for his aspirator, not caring that it is a placebo. He breathes freely, however, for the first time since his mother has left. He lies back on the pillows. Eddie feels scared. He thinks about how he spoke to his mother and how, in a way, he did not feel like himself. There was some force working in him and through him and he thinks his mother felt it, too. He saw the acknowledgment in her eyes and in her trembling lips. The reason why he told her that she could not cut him off from his friends is because he knows that he cannot face It alone. He cries a little, then drifts off to sleep.
Eddie was cool and calm during the confrontation with his mother, but the scene has actually made him very anxious. Eddie’s fear comes from the fact that he is growing up and learning to assert himself. Eddie realizes that, as mean as Mr. Keene’s act seemed, he was right to tell Eddie the truth. Eddie does, indeed, need to have friends, particularly since he can only face It with the combined strength of his friends.
Bill and the rest of the Losers’ Club returns to the hospital in the evening. Their faces look solemn when they ask Eddie how he is doing. They still plan to make a silver bullet using one of Ben’s silver dollars. Beverly says that Bill wants her to shoot It with a slingshot, due to her being such a good markswoman. Bill then says that everyone should sign Eddie’s cast. After everyone signs, Bill invites Eddie to go over to his house the day after tomorrow, if he can. They leave at seven fifteen. Eddie watches the storm clouds that threatened rain separate and drift apart. The rain comes the next day, not long after Beverly sees something terrible happen to Patrick Hocksetter.
The Losers’ Club appears “solemn” because they regret not being present to help Eddie confront Henry and the other bullies. They don’t wallow in this feeling, however, because they have a much bigger task to perform. Bill’s choice to make Beverly the one who will shoot at It in the house on Neibolt Street is a reversion of his previous belief, during the smoke-hole ceremony, that she should be excluded from participation as a girl.