Melinda’s parents decide that she can’t simply sit around the house during her Christmas vacation. She tries to work for her mother’s store, refolding shirts in the stockroom. The other employees view her with suspicion because she’s the boss’s daughter, and Melinda ends up reading rather than working. She realizes that her mother is upset because the store didn’t do well during the holidays, and feels guilty that she didn’t try to fold more shirts.
Melinda’s parents once again try to combat her apathy in an ineffective and incompetent way. Melinda acts immaturely and irresponsibly, goofing off when she should be helping her mother. Later, however, she feels guilty about her actions, marking her conflicting feelings towards her mother and towards acting grown up.
The next day Melinda goes to her father’s insurance office, but is angry about how much easier his life seems than that of her mother, who is exhausted and will soon have to fire many of her employees. Her father, meanwhile, “gets to work with his feet up,” speak to his friends, and order out for lunch. She wishes that her father had to fold shirts, and that she were napping or watching TV or “even going to Heather’s house.”
Confronted with the differences between her parents’ workplaces, Melinda firmly sides with her mother—yet another sign of how broken the Sordino family is.
Furious with her father, Melinda is given the task of closing calendars into envelopes by licking them. She cuts her tongue on one of the flaps, bleeding everywhere. As she feels the pain, she suddenly sees IT’s face in her head. Her father, meanwhile, is furious about how many calendars she has ruined with her blood. Melinda comments that at the end of vacation she is actually happy to go back to school.
As Melinda bleeds, IT’s face flashes before her, implying that she somehow associates him with blood, vulnerability, and pain. Her father, meanwhile, is completely clueless, caring more about ruined calendars than he does about his own daughter.