Pigs in Heaven

by: Barbara Kingsolver

Chapters 22–24


Chapter 23: Secret Business

Annawake has a secret plan. She goes over to Letty's house, with the pretense of bringing back a pie plate. She finds Letty in her garden, who tells her that Boma Mellowbug has antagonized the ostrich farm owner by getting a hold of one of his ostrich feathers. Annawake finally gets around to telling her that Cash Stillwater, her brother, has a secret admirer—Alice. Letty claims she would never intrude, a promise that Annawake and the reader know to be impossible for her to keep.

Chapter 24: Wildlife Management

When Taylor's rent collector comes over to her apartment, she writes him a check dated for a day after payday, and then tries to distract him from noticing. He works for city parks, and has a truck filled with goose-catching equipment. He explains in detail how he helps reroute geese to their natural habitat, from the lake in Seattle to eastern Washington.

Taylor substitutes on a Handi-Van shift during which she drives a man in a wheelchair named Steven Kant. He eventually asks her on a date. Taylor is excited, mostly at the thought of having a delicious meal, and tells him up front that Turtle will have to come, too.

Meanwhile Jax is playing a gig in Tucson when he gets a message to call Taylor immediately. Taylor is feeling desperate, and misses Jax terribly. She tells him of her job: Taylor has to keep an eye on Turtle while she is working, and now her supervisor says Taylor needs to dress more nicely. She tells him, "Poverty sucks." Jax does not think Annawake will come after her, and suggests that she come home; Taylor responds that she does not have the money, and does not want to take anyone else's. They joke a little bit about Gundi and Taylor tells Jax she is not in love with Steven. In the end, Jax feels like he has no idea what to say to ease Taylor's anxiety.

Taylor and Turtle go on their date with Steven. The entrance to the locks reminds both Taylor and Turtle of the angel statues at Hoover Dam. The three watch the boats rise from the level of the ocean to the lake level, through the locks then go on to look at the fish ladder, where the salmon swim upstream from the ocean to the lake. They watch the pathetic scene of struggling fish, salmon trying to return to their home to lay their eggs, only to be met by sea lions at the top of the ladder. Taylor feels like her life is just like the fish's journey.

Chapter 25: Picking

Cash has invited Alice on a date. While Alice waits for him to pick her up, she finds she cannot remember meeting him, but Sugar insists that she has, and that Cash is interested. Alice follows him into his truck when he pulls up, and they set off to go berry picking. They have a nice conversation in the truck. Cash is related to Sugar through marriage; Sugar and Cash's sister Letty married two brothers. He talks about his family a little, and Alice finds out that his daughter is dead. He explains his move to Wyoming by saying that he used to think "being close to good times [was] like having good times." Alice tells him immediately of Harland who lived vicariously through the T.V. Cash also relates dreadful memories of attending a boarding school meant to inculcate Indians into white culture. At the end of the evening, he gives Alice an arrowhead to keep. Alice feels giddy, and happy to have found a man who knows how to talk.