Chapter 13 Summary

At ten o’clock that morning, two customs men approach Harry at Freddy’s place. They ask him about his boat. He claims that he does not know anything about it. They ask him of his whereabouts the previous night, to which he replies that he was at Freddy’s until it closed and then at home. The customs men tell him not to become upset (“plugged”). Harry says that he is not upset, though he would rather have his boat in the custody of customs where he has a chance of getting it back than have it stolen.

Hayzooz (a Cuban taxi driver) enters the café and is greeted by Big Roger. He tells about his newborn baby, whom Roger says is not his. Hayzooz says that he “bought the cow” so the “calf” belongs to him. He leaves, and soon Bee-lips the lawyer comes in to tell Harry that customs just went out to take Harry’s boat. Someone saw it hidden in the mangroves and reported it. Harry says nothing but is clearly in a killing mood. He simply says that customs ought to take better care of his boat if they are going to confiscate it. Soon they go in the back, and Harry tells Bee-lips that he is poison and everything he touches is poison. This was the last chance Harry had to make honest money. Bee-lips objects to being the butt of Harry’s anger. He says he told Harry about the boat as soon as he could. He also says that the Cuban revolutionaries now want to go late that afternoon because they are nervous about something, Bee-lips does not know what. Harry vows he will get a boat to carry them out. Bee-lips offers to help Harry despite being called poison. Harry tells him to be at Freddy’s at twelve o’clock with the money for the boat.

As Harry and Bee-lips leave Freddy’s place, Albert approaches them. Harry tells him that he cannot use him now. Albert promises to “go cheap,” but Harry says he has no need for him because he plans to go by himself. Albert begs, but Harry insists that he cannot use him. Harry buys a pack of cigarettes and asks Freddy about the shape of his boat. He asks Freddy if he could charter it. Freddy agrees only on the condition that the value of the boat is put up front: it is worth twelve hundred dollars. Harry offers to put up his house for security, but Freddy wants cash. Harry agrees and asks Freddy to tell Bee-lips to wait for him when he arrives.