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Part 3, Chapters 9–12 Summary

In a Kansas City laundromat, Perry is washing clothes while Dick is out passing bad checks. Perry begins to worry that Dick has been caught; perhaps someone has realized the checks are bad, or perhaps he has been stopped for a minor traffic violation during which it was discovered that the car is stolen. He imagines the police soon arriving at the laundromat to arrest him. His legs begin to ache and he becomes sick to his stomach from the pain and the fear. When he goes outside, Dick arrives and kids him for being worried. He had some luck passing checks; he even got an old friend to cash one for him. They are heading for Florida that night.

Alvin Dewey has a nightmare in which he is chasing Dick and Perry. He corners them at the Clutters’ grave and shoots them, but they refuse to die. Instead, they become invisible. He wakes up and receives a phone call from Harold Nye, who has tracked Dick and Perry to Kansas City. A pawn shop owner wrote down the license plate number, which identifies the car as stolen with stolen plates. Dewey wonders why he does not feel as elated as he should. He realizes that he does not believe the killers will ever be caught; he believes they are invincible.

Dick and Perry reach Miami Beach, Florida, and find a cheap hotel. On Christmas Day, they sit outside on the beach. Perry reads an account of the murder of a nearby family and wonders if it is a copycat crime based on their murder of the Clutters. Perry feels sensitive about his crippled legs and refuses to wear swim trunks. Dick, however, walks along the beach. He strikes up a conversation with a young girl, about twelve years old. He regrets that he feels sexually attracted to pubescent girls; he has seduced several in...

(The entire section is 487 words.)