Summary: Chapter 25: Gender Dysphoria in San Francisco

The driver’s name is Bob Presto. He advises Cal that girls like a man with a deep, radio announcer’s voice. Presto notes Cal’s tenor and asks his age. Cal insists he’s eighteen.Presto admits he initially mistook Cal for a girl and asks Cal if he’s gay. Cal asks to be let out of the car. Presto apologizes and promises to take Cal to San Francisco. He drops Cal off in the Haight neighborhood. Presto says he’s in “the business” and understands all about transgender people. Cal doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Presto gives him his card and promises he can help Cal make money.

In New York, the police advise Milton and Tessie to return to Detroit in case Cal comes home. Tessie and Milton meet with Dr. Luce, who explains that Callie looked at her file and got the wrong idea. Dr. Luce finally allows them to read the file after Milton gets angry.

At home, Tessie looks over Callie’s room and wonders how it created a boy. She thinks about all the ways Callie never quite looked feminine and starts to understand. Then, Tessie starts thinking about Callie and the Object and doesn’t want to reflect any further. Milton decides that Callie is just a kid who doesn’t understand what’s going on. He devotes his energy to finding his missing child.

Cal eats ice cream at a café. A homeless kid approaches him, asking for money. He promises to show Cal a safe place to sleep if Cal buys him a cheeseburger. The kid introduces Cal to his friends, fans of the Grateful Dead who have set up camp in Golden Gate Park. Low on funds, Cal realizes he’ll soon have no choice but to call his parents. However, he knows they can’t truly help him.

Milton calls Chapter Eleven and begs him to come home because Tessie is so sad. Chapter Eleven has been working as a cook at a bar, and Milton suggests he could run Hercules Hot Dogs.

One night, the other campers go to a Grateful Dead concert, leaving Cal alone. Two homeless men attack him. They grab his student id and assume it’s his girlfriend’s. When they look closer at the id, they realize it’s Cal’s. They attempt to rape him but recoil after they take off his pants. They beat Cal until he faints. When Cal comes to, he calls Presto.