Chapter 9 Summary
Albert (Al) and Harry Morgan are sitting in Freddie’s café when a lawyer comes in looking for “Juan.” Harry is sure the lawyer is there on some other business, but the lawyer says he has a job for Juan. The lawyer looks at Morgan’s amputated arm and asks about it. Morgan says he did not like the look of it, so he cut it off. When the lawyer asks too many questions, Morgan tells him to go bother someone else. The lawyer wants to talk to him privately, so they go back to the booths. They return, having arranged to meet later.
Morgan asks Al what he is doing. All tells him he is on relief, digging the sewer and taking up the old streetcar rails. Morgan asks him if he wants to go on a “trip” with him. They leave the café and go out to Morgan’s car and drive off. Morgan explains that some strangers want to charter his boat. Al points out that Morgan’s boat is tied up by customs, but Morgan says customers do not know that. The trip is to take someone over to Cuba to do some “business.” Al is reluctant, especially because Morgan has not said how much money is involved. Morgan says Al is working for only seven and a half dollars a week. He cannot go on relieve because he cannot use a shovel with only one arm, and his children have to eat. In addition, he tells Al that the government is intending to drive the “Conchs” (natives of Key West) out so they can turn it into a tourist spot.
As they drive along, Al considers the proposition. He always liked Morgan, but he has changed since losing his arm. Al agrees to work with him, but he resents how Morgan talks down to him all the time. They stop at a house and enter. Freda Richards is cooking a meal for her husband, Bee-lips. They find Bee-lips, the lawyer, and four Cubans sitting around a table. The Cubans want Morgan to take them to Cuba. Morgan agrees to do so for a fee of three hundred dollars. The Cubans feel it is too much. After some argument, Morgan agrees to take them to Cuba for two hundred dollars with a guarantee of a thousand dollars should anything happen to the boat. The Cubans agree, and the arrangement is made to leave the next evening. Morgan takes Al back home, where Al’s wife berates him for staying out drinking.