Chapter 17 Summary

At Freddy’s, Harry cannot bring himself to tell about his plans. He decides that Freddy would not stand for his boat being used for the illegal purpose of transporting revolutionaries to Cuba. Perhaps in the old days before the Depression he would have, but not now. It is not until he thinks about telling Freddy of his trip to Cuba that he realizes how bad this plan is. He explores the possibility of staying at Freddy’s and not going to the boat when the Cubans arrive. The only problem will be that his gun is on board, but there is no way the gun can be linked to him because he bought it in Cuba. He thinks, however, of his wife and children, how they may go hungry if he does not finish this job. Not only is there a Depression and jobs are in short supply, but jobs are even more rare for a one-armed man.

As he asks Freddy to give him a drink, Harry thinks about selling the house and renting a place to live until he gets some kind of work. He could go to the bank and tell them about it, but he knows all he would get is a thank you. To his mind, he has no other choice but to complete the job. He had wanted to tell Freddy so there would be someone else who knew what he was doing, but he knows Freddy would take back the offer of his boat. Freddy’s financial position is secure with his café, so he would not be sympathetic to Harry’s plight. He must take the trip alone with Albert, who is in an even more precarious position than Harry is.

Harry asks Freddy for a couple of quarts of rum. He tells Freddy that he is taking some Cubans over to Cuba, perhaps that night. They may want to go fishing that afternoon. The tall tourist and his wife enter; the woman immediately flirts with Harry. He takes only a look at her and tells Freddy that he will be back. He is going down to the boat in case the Cuban party wants to go fishing. The tourist’s wife begs him not to go. Harry tells her that she is comical and leaves.

Down the street, Richard Gordon is going to the Bradleys’ home, hoping that Mrs. Bradley will be alone. Most likely, she will even be expecting him because she “collects” writers as well as their books. Mrs. Gordon is on her way home from the beach, not having run into John MacWalsey as she had hoped. Perhaps, she thinks, he will come by the house.