Chapter 9 Summary
Bell never sees Carla Jean again. He feels bad that the newspaper linked Moss with the girl, who turned out to be a fifteen-year-old runaway. He receives news from Odessa that he cannot believe. His father always told him to tell the truth. He may have strayed from this as a young man, but he has come back to following his father’s philosophy.
Chigurh returns the money to the dealer to whom it belonged. He wants to connect with the dealer in a professional way because the dealer evidently picked the wrong people.
Carla Jean’s mother dies in March. At her funeral, Carla Jean is surprised that her mother had so many friends. She returns home to find Chigurh sitting in her bedroom. She is not surprised. She does not understand how her life came to this point. Chigurh tells her that the choices she has made throughout her life brought her here. He gives her the option of calling heads or tails. At first she refuses; she says he makes the choice to kill her, not the coin. Eventually she gives in and calls heads. It is tails. He shoots her.
A car hits Chigurh at an intersection, breaking several bones. He climbs out of the car to sit in a lawn. Two boys come to check on him. Chigurh buys the shirt of one of the boys to use as a bandage and a sling. Chigurh gets up and walks down the sidewalk before the ambulance can arrive. As the boys pass Chigurh’s car, they find a pistol on the floor. They take and wrap it in the shirt of the boy who still has one.
Bell goes out to see his Uncle Ellis, who lives alone, confined to a wheelchair. Loretta had written to him that Bell was going to quit his job as sheriff. They talk of their family, beginning with Ellis’s brother Harold, who was killed in World War I. Another uncle, Mac, had been a Texas Ranger, and was killed on his own front porch.
Bell wants to confess something to Ellis, who is not sure he really wants to hear it. Bell tells him that he is not a war hero. He had been in a farmhouse monitoring radio signals. The next thing he knew he was lying outside in the rain, beside the rubble of the farmhouse. He could see German soldiers approaching, and he was ready to hold them off and hold the position. Instead, he ran off in the middle of the night. When he was presented with his medal, he refused it. The major told him to take it because the army wanted to make it look good. Ellis tells Bell that it is not that bad and that he should stop beating himself up about it. Bell cannot, however, because he knows his father would have stayed.