Chapter 12 Summary

Harry returns home at night. He does not turn out the light but simply undresses (except for his undershirt) and goes to bed. His wife tries to question him, but Harry is short on conversation. He tells her that he is going to make a trip, possibly with Albert. She is concerned that he retrieved his boat illegally and worries that he will go to jail, but Harry insists that no one knows he has it.

Harry suggests that they make love. He asks his wife if his amputated arm bothers her, but she insists that it is he that she likes. He feels self-conscious about it and refers to it as a “flipper on a loggerhead.” As they make love, she asks him if he ever made love to a “nigger wench.” He says that he has, but it was “like a nurse shark.” He assures her that she is the best woman he has ever made love to, but she does not believe him. She wishes that he did not have to go back out on the boat. He tells her that he must leave before daylight. She tells him that, when he returns, they will take a trip to Miami and stay in a hotel like they used to. She asks why they cannot go to New Orleans. He says that maybe they will, but he needs to get some sleep now.

As Harry sleeps, his wife looks at him and thinks she is lucky to have him. He has had so many girls, but they do not know what she has for a husband. She thinks that it was a good thing Harry lost an arm. If he had lost a leg, it might have made a difference in her feelings. She thinks she could make love to him all the time if she could never sleep.

Two hours before daylight, Harry is getting gas for the boat from the storage units in the garage. Harry has a prosthetic hook attached to his right arm and uses it to load the boat. His wife brings him some coffee and offers to come with him to help him handle the jugs he is smuggling. He agrees, and they drive out through the country road. She asks Harry what he is worried about, but he is not sure; he is worried in a general way. His wife says she is thinking of letting her hair grow out; Harry approves. She is thinking of dying it a lighter shade on the suggestions of her daughters. He does not like that she is so easily influenced by them. She suggests again that they go to New Orleans when he returns, but he says that it will have to be Miami, leaving the girls behind.