Bob, is the man standing in the doorway. He is antsy and nervous evidenced by his smoking. He also feels a need to engage in a conversation with the policeman who strolls up to him. As the reader reads the words that he tells the policeman, it becomes evident that he is a boasting type of fellow who is confident about the life he has chosen as a criminal. He initially left town to find his way while his friend stayed behind. He progressed from being a person in the neighborhood to someone who chose to take the illegal road in life. He has returned home out of curiosity and with an intent to brag about his success. His downfall is that he believes he can not get caught or he would not have allowed the policeman to see his face.
Jimmy is the second man who, unknown to Bob and the reader initially, has become a policeman. Bob talked about Jimmy not being very smart but Jimmy progressed into a law abiding citizen who serves the public as a policeman. It is ironic that the man who Bob put down is the one who has to make an honest decision and have him arrested. Emotionally Jimmy is sad and can not bring himself to arresting the man he had thought of as his friend. In the end, he is the smarter of the two who chose a better life.