Chapter 28 Summary
Chapter 28 brings Frankie, the young, relatively homeless boy, back into the narrative.
After a disastrous attempt at helping Doc serve guests at a former party, Frankie made himself scarce. But eventually, even Frankie hears about the new party; everyone in Cannery Row is talking about it, and seemingly everyone is planning to attend.
Frankie learns that the party is to honor Doc on his birthday. Like everyone else, Frankie wants to do something special for the unofficial mayor of Cannery Row. He does not want to try to offer his help again, since he had failed so miserably before. In every conversation Frankie overhears, people are talking about what gift they are planning to give Doc. Frankie wants to give him a present as well.
Of course, Frankie, having no job, consequently has no money. This does not stop him from gazing into store windows and daydreaming. At one store, he spies something that captures his imagination like nothing else: in a jewelry store window sits the most wondrous clock Frankie has ever seen. Its body is made of black onyx; on the top, in bronze, is a little statue of St. George killing a dragon. The saint even has a little beard, much like the beard Doc sports.
For a couple of weeks, Frankie looks at the clock in the window. Although he had been admiring the clock for a month prior to hearing about the party, now his lust for the timepiece takes on a new urgency. More than anything in the world, Frankie wants Doc to have that clock.
One day, Frankie gets up enough nerve to go inside and ask the shopkeeper how much it costs. The owner quickly sees that this lad has no money, so he does not waste time with him. Gruffly he tells Frankie the price: fifty dollars. Frankie leaves the store without a word.
The thought of giving the clock to Doc will not leave Frankie's mind even though he knows there is no way he could ever buy it....
(The entire section is 522 words.)