Chapter 6 Summary

Harry Morgan is smuggling liquor to the Florida Keys. He is accompanied by Wesley, who is referred to as the “nigger.” They encountered a storm in the night, so they are unsure of their location when day breaks. When they see a tanker coming down the Gulf of Mexico waters, they at first think it is a cluster of buildings on land.

Morgan tells Wesley that he should have more confidence in Morgan’s steering, but Wesley has lost his confidence since Morgan shot him in the leg. Wesley complains of the pain, but Morgan dismisses this and tells him to keep it clean and wrapped up, and it will heal by itself. Morgan then turns his attention to piloting the boat toward Woman Key, where they will hide out during the daylight hours. Wesley continues to grumble about the pain in his leg. He lies on sacks of liquor, which are piled everywhere. The bottles are broken, and liquor has run all over.

Wesley, still in intense pain, is growing angry with Morgan both for shooting him and for ignoring his pain. Morgan promises to fix him up, but Wesley wants nothing to do with him. Morgan actually likes Wesley, but there is nothing to do for him when he is in a state except to hit him, and Morgan does not want to hit him. Wesley asks why they did not stop when the shooting started; he says a man’s life is worth more than liquor. Morgan reminds Wesley that they will go to prison if they are caught. Wesley says he does not mind jail but he does mind being shot. Morgan is tired of hearing Wesley talk and asks him who is shot worse, him or Morgan. (Morgan had been shot in the arm.) Wesley admits that Morgan is shot worse, but he has never been shot before.

The boat draws close to Woman Key, and Morgan pilots it inside the shoals and into the channel. Wesley continues to ramble, asking why they are smuggling liquor now that Prohibition is over. They come to an acceptable spot and with difficulty slide the anchor over the side. Morgan goes down to the cockpit to examine the mess of blood and broken liquor bottles. He tries to dump the liquor over the side. Morgan becomes dizzy from loss of blood and pain from his bullet wound. He lies down and listens to the wind. He thinks the strength of the breeze will keep anyone from coming to look for them. Wesley continues to complain about his pain and threatens to kill Morgan, who continues to slide bottles over the boat’s side.