Chapter 5 Summary

Pablo and Pilon buy two gallons of wine but never make it to Danny’s with it. They sit under a bush at Torrelli’s and begin to drink it all. They justify this by telling each other that Danny does not handle wine very well, plus it might damage his health. The city of Monterey settles in for the evening as the sun sinks, with fishermen coming in and going out.

Pablo and Pilon finish the first gallon of wine when they see Torrelli leave his house and walk down the street toward the center of town. When he is out of sight, they go into the house to flirt with Mrs. Torrelli, calling her “Butter Duck” and taking liberties with her. She is flattered but slightly tousled by their attentions.

They go back under their rose bush to finish off the second gallon of wine. They wait anxiously for Torrelli to return, knowing that Italians take their marital relations seriously when it is convenient for them.

They speak of returning to their own house, but there is no wood for a fire on this cool evening. Pablo steals some wood from Torrelli’s wood pile and the two men return home. They build a fire in the stove, light a candle in honor of St. Francis, and drink the wine out of fruit jars. The candle gives a holiness to their evening.

They are wondering where Jesus Maria has gone when he returns home, beaten and bloody. He tells them he was beaten up by soldiers while he was with Arabella Gross drinking some whiskey he found. Arabella also joined in the beating after a while.

Jesus Maria still has the bra he planned to give Arabella, so Pilon suggests that they give it to Danny as a gift to Mrs. Morales. As the evening progresses and the wine disappears, the three men fall asleep. The candle to St. Francis sets fire to a wall hanging, which in turns sets the wall and roof on fire.

The men awake to find their house in flames. They rush out of the house with only the bra in their hands. As they look inside the burning house, they see the unfinished gallon of wine. Jesus Maria attempts to go inside to rescue it, but Pilon stops him, saying that the loss of the wine is their punishment for leaving it inside the burning house.

The fire trucks arrive as well as all the neighbors. Pilon tells Jesus Maria to run to tell Danny that his house is on fire. Danny is not in his house but in Mrs. Morales. He tells Jesus Maria that if the firemen cannot control the fire, then there is nothing he can do. He goes back inside to Mrs. Morales, and the three homeless friends go back to the woods to sleep.