In Jack Finney's story, the main character, Tom Benecke has invested all his leisure time lately on a project he hopes will earn him a big raise. But, after his yellow sheet with all the data in which he has invested this time blows out of his high-rise apartment window, Tom, in an obsessive move, goes out on the ledge to retrieve it. When his window closes, locking him out, he empties his pockets and drops the coins, hoping someone will look up from the pavement far below. But no one does.
there was nothing left but the yellow sheet. It occurred to him irrelevantly that his death on the sidewalk below would be an eternal mystery; the window closed--why, how, and from where could he have fallen? No one would be able to identify his body for a time...Contents of the ded man's pockets, he thought, one sheet of paper bearing penciled notations--incomprehensible.
Then, Tom imagines how the police report would read. As he does so, he ponders,
Contents of the dead man's pockets, he though with sudden, fierce anger, a wasted life.
This phrase that is the title is also the moment of truth for Tom Benecke. For, he realizes that he has been so caught up in climbing the corporate ladder that he has neglected his wife; tonight he even sent her on to the movies alone. After this moment, Tom sets his priorities on having a happy marriage and living--something much more important than the yellow sheet.
This realization that there would be no explanation for his death, a senseless death, is the lever for Tom's change of priorities. It is, therefore, fitting that this phrase be the title of Jack Finney's short story.