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Chapter 2 Summary

Motes does not arrive in the city until the next evening at 6:00. This morning he got off the train to get some fresh air, and when he was not paying attention, it slipped away. He started to run after it, but his hat blew off and he had to retrieve it. Fortunately, he had taken his duffel bag off the train with him, afraid someone might steal something from it. He waited six hours at the junction stop for another train into Taulkinham.

The first thing he sees are flashing neon lights frantically blinking and moving, advertising everything imaginable. Motes paces the station, duffel in hand. He walks slowly and appears determined under the brim of his hat. No one who is watching could know that he has no place to go. He feels the need for some privacy and finally goes into the white-only men’s bathroom.

It is a dingy room, marred with graffiti. He enters one of the only stalls with a door and sits there for a long time, examining the inscriptions and writings in the “narrow box.” On the left, next to the toilet paper, he sees a name and address—Mrs. Leora Watts, 60 Buckley Road—and the testimony that she has the “friendliest bed in town!” Soon he writes down the information and goes out to find a taxi.

After hearing the name and address, the taxi driver wonders how Motes knows the woman, since she does not usually have preachers visit her. Motes explains that he simply saw her name in the bathroom—and that he is not a preacher. The driver insists he is dressed like a preacher, especially with the hat, and Motes gets angry, asserting he is not a preacher and it is just a hat. As they pull up in front of a small, one-story house, the taxi driver sees something in the man’s face which indicates Motes is, indeed, a preacher. When he stops, he tells Motes that even preachers are not perfect, and they can often talk about how terrible sin is if they experience it. Motes is adamant and says he does “not believe in anything.”

The house is not much more than a shack, but a warm glow emanates from the window. The door is unlocked, and he...

(The entire section is 594 words.)