Chapters thirty-six through thirty-eight concerns “Dinner at Dawn”. This story focuses upon Mr. Jonas and his wagon full of discarded objects that he totes around town in the very early morning, allowing people to take what they need from it at no cost; many of them donating some of their old items to the wagon before it moves on forward again.
On a scorchingly hot morning, with the cicadas buzzing louder than normal with the rising temperature, Douglas lies in his bed, burning up with a fever. Tom and his mother attempt to cool him down, to no avail. In his fever, Douglas has hallucinations of long-lost people and machines walking past, including Mr. Tridden and his trolley, Miss Fern and Roberts riding by on their Green Machine, and Colonel Freeleigh popping up like a clock, all waving good-bye to him, which makes him cry out loud.
At four o’clock in the afternoon, Tom tells Mr. Jonas about Douglas’ condition and says that he’s afraid that he might die. Mr. Jonas gives him a set of wind-chimes to hang by Douglas’ window, but they do not make a sound because there is no wind. Mr. Jonas visits the Spaulding residence to see Douglas at seven-thirty, but Douglas’ mother says that he is not to be disturbed. By nightfall, Douglas is no better, and his family takes him outside in a cot, in the hope that he will be cooled by a wind.
Finally, at twelve-thirty, Mr. Jonas makes a stop with his wagon where Douglas is sleeping and leaves him two bottles filled with air containing soothing vapor and smells from the tropics and moisture-filled areas, on the condition that he pass this favor on to someone else. The bottles of air appear to work, as Tom finds Douglas breathing the same refreshing air in and out of his nose.
The next morning, the heat and the cicadas finally fade down with the coming of rain, and Douglas is well enough to write in his tablet again of his experience.