At 1:12 a.m., Christopher’s father, Ed, arrives at the police station, and Christopher hears him shouting at the policemen. Eventually, a policeman lets Christopher out the cell, and he and his father touch their hands together, their form of a hug that avoids too much physical contact, which Christopher can’t stand.
Ed’s violent reaction to Christopher’s imprisonment emphasizes the mildness of Christopher’s own reaction. The reader also sees Ed’s love for Christopher in his willingness to stand up for his son and his relief at seeing Christopher safe.
The policeman leads them to another room, where he questions Christopher about the events of the night. Christopher initially says that he did mean to hit the policeman earlier, but is given the opportunity to clarify that he didn’t mean to hurt him, and knows that he shouldn’t hit policemen. Furthermore, he tells the man that he didn’t kill Wellington, and that he’s always truthful.
Christopher’s dedication to truth gets him into trouble here, as he insists that hitting the policeman was no accident. He doesn’t understand the fine distinction between premeditated violence and violence committed in the desperation of the moment. At the same time, his truthfulness helps the policeman trust him when he insists he didn’t kill Wellington.
Christopher receives a caution, which means that he won’t be punished now, but if he gets into trouble again, circumstances will be more serious. He’s given his possessions back, and he and his father go home.
This caution will hang over Christopher’s head for the rest of the novel. Sometimes he will resist his natural reactions to situations because he remembers the caution and doesn’t want to get in trouble.