Chapter 3 Summary

The next day, Pilon moves into his rented house, which is similar to Danny’s house only smaller. He feels that he is moving up the social scale now that he is renting a house. He never pays the fifteen dollars rent, but neither does Danny ask for it. The two friends are often together, especially when one of them has found food or wine.

One evening, Pilon is given a dollar by a man at the hotel to fetch him four bottles of ginger ale. Pilon takes the dollar and buys a gallon of wine, with which he lures two girls into his rented house. Danny passes by and hears the noise, so he enters and shares the wine and one of the girls.

Afterward, Danny and Pilon fight, with Danny head-butting one of the girls, who takes off running. The other girl leaves as well, but not before stealing two cooking pots. Danny and Pilon discuss the perfidy of women.

The fact that he has not paid any rent bothers Pilon to the point that he works for Chin Kee cleaning squid for a day, for which he earns two dollars. He intends to take the money to Danny as partial payment for his rent, but he ends up buying two gallons of wine instead, thinking this will show Danny how grateful he is.

As he walks toward Danny’s hand with a gallon of wine under each arm, he feels clean and righteous. He watches the sea gulls, which make him think of the tamales that Mrs. Pastano makes, which makes him hungry. He sits on the curb and thinks of how drunk he could get on two bottles of wine.

He is surprised when his friend Pablo walks up, since the last he knew Pablo was in jailing for stealing a goose. Pablo says that he was let out on parole because he ate more than three men.

Pilon sees Pablo’s arrival as an escape from selfishness. He invites Pablo to his house to drink the wine. He suggests that Pablo sublet the house for fifteen dollars a month, with only Pilon’s bed reserved for the exclusive use of the “landlord.” Pablo agrees, although has no intention of paying the fifteen dollars. Pilon knows this, but at least he can tell Danny, should he ever ask for the rent, that he will give it to him as soon as he gets it from Pablo.

The two men slowly sink in sad nostalgia as they get progressively drunker.