Chapter 3 Summary

Eddie has always been told that the “good life” is centered on work and family; if one focuses on these things, the rewards will be unlimited. From his observations, however, Eddie concludes that “the working life [is] a scam.” Experience has shown him that “no matter how hard [he] trie[s] to live a straight life, [he will] still mess up.”

Remembering disconsolately how his aunt rewrapped the pistol she brought the night before and took it with her as she left in tears, Eddie drags himself out of bed. He is half-heartedly working on a bowl of cereal when Angel appears at the door. The wasted gangster invites himself into the apartment and looks around nervously. Before he can say anything, Eddie demands, “What did you do with the truck?”

Angel denies stealing the truck but admits that he has “snagged” an Acura. The car is parked outside, and he suggests that if Eddie will help him strip it down, they might be able to sell the parts. Angel then brings out a gun—the same one Eddie’s aunt had been carrying. Eddie cries out in shock and orders Angel out of the house; as he leaves, Angel turns and calls him a “sissy.”

Eddie goes to City College to sell back his air-conditioning textbooks. He stops at the cafeteria and meets Norma, a girl with whom he went to school. Norma mentions that she has heard about the death of his cousin, Jesus, and asks if he is “going to do something about it.” She then invites Eddie to come visit her sometime; there is a pool where she lives. Eddie goes out to the patio, where he sits and reads the campus newspaper and enjoys a cold drink. When he looks up, he sees “a Mexican guy” sitting at a nearby table. He notices that the guy is wearing yellow shoes and remembers that the person who stabbed his cousin had been wearing yellow shoes. Even though he has no reason to think this boy is the murderer, he follows him and accosts him in the parking lot, barking...

(The entire section is 692 words.)