But one day Marley messed up big time. We're talking called in to the principal's office, cops consulted (though they didn't have to come), parents summoned, the whole nine yards. When Marley's dad, Mr. Brown, finally showed up--he couldn't be torn away from work until an hour and a half after the school called--he was greeted by a red-eyed Marley. After speaking with administrators, he took Marley home and went back to work; didn't say much, but you could tell he was upset--though it's unclear whether it was because Marley had been so bad or because he had been interrupted at his big important job.
Marley wasn't too worried about his dad's reaction, or his mom's later that night. What he really dreaded was what the Chans would say. So he didn't go over there for a whole week. He avoided Mike at school. Mr. and Mrs. Chan were getting worried and pressured Mike into getting Marley to come over again. Finally Mike cornered Marley before school and got him to promise to come over that afternoon. There would be fresh-baked cookies.
Marley walked very slowly the four blocks north and one block west to the Chans'. That last left turn was especially hard as the modest one-story came into view. But he did it. He missed the Chans too.
It didn't take long for Mrs. Chan's motherly affections to get Marley to cough up what happened. They were surprised but knew that Marley was sorry and that it wouldn't happen again; they quickly and completely forgave him. But he still wasn't any happier. They asked what the matter now was, and his answer tore at their heart-strings:
"I feel like I've dirtied your family's reputation. People almost think of me as a Chan because they know you guys take care of me and now that they've seen what I've done they'll think less of you. That's what really eats me up inside! I'm a terrible member of your family!"
The room was quiet, nobody quite knew how to console him for a moment. But Mr. Chan was able to give voice to what all of them were thinking:
"You're a good Chan, Marley Brown."