On his second try, John-John has successfully found Weeper and tied him up inside his own apartment. John-John gives them both cigarettes. Weeper remarks that he knows everyone who works for Griselda but doesn’t recognize John-John; John-John responds with surprise that Weeper knows Griselda hired him. Weeper recounts how he and Griselda fell out, and adds that she is stupid for trying to kill him, considering what will happen when Josey finds out. He asks John-John what Griselda is paying him and offers to double it. He offers John-John cocaine, girls, or boys, depending on what he desires. However, John-John indicates that he’s not being paid.
At this point, Weeper still seems to feel pretty invincible. With a supply of cocaine, women, or men to offer John-John as well as Josey’s protection, Weeper has not had to fear for his life for most of the novel. However, the fact that John-John is not being paid––as we know, he is being blackmailed––is a bad sign. John-John cannot exactly be persuaded not to kill Weeper when the alternative is being killed himself.
Weeper reveals that Griselda is a lesbian who sleeps with gogo girls and then kills them. John-John explains that he’s being blackmailed into killing Weeper. He says he can’t wait to get out of New York, and Weeper asks the name of the girl he’s going back to. John-John replies that it’s Rocky, and Weeper asks if he’s cute. They talk some more, before John-John tells Weeper to stop stalling. He adds that it’s a shame, because Weeper is “the first man in this fucking city worth talking to.”
After the isolation and loneliness Weeper has experienced throughout the novel as a result of his sexuality, the conversation between him and John-John is strangely moving. There is a tragic irony to the fact that the two could have been friends or even lovers if John-John had not been charged with killing Weeper.
John-John presses the gun to Weeper’s head, but before he pulls the trigger Weeper shouts: “Wait!” He asks for one last hit of cocaine before he dies, and tells John-John that there is a bag nearby ready to go. John-John prepares him a line, but Weeper can’t snort it properly with his hands tied. Weeper starts talking about Griselda again, and John-John notes that he doesn’t think the order to kill Weeper came from Griselda herself. He adds that while he was in Miami, Griselda mentioned someone in New York, who he believes the order came from. Weeper is momentarily puzzled, before he realizes that it must have come from Eubie.
Once again, the strange morals of gangsters and hitmen emerge through characters choosing the lesser of two evils. Although John-John is going to kill Weeper, he is relatively kind in allowing Weeper to have a last hit of cocaine before he dies. Meanwhile, Josey is proven right in not trusting Eubie. It is clear by this point that Eubie is not actually interested in an allegiance with Josey and likely wants to take him out.
Weeper is deflated; he realizes that Josey will assume the Ranking Dons killed him and will never realize that it was actually Eubie. Weeper asks John-John to help him shoot up some cocaine, and guides him through the process, as John-John has never done it before. John-John sticks the needle in Weeper’s neck just as Weeper explains that the cocaine isn’t cut. Weeper falls to the floor and begins to spasm violently, his eyes rolling back. Although he doesn’t know why, John-John holds him tightly as he dies.
By manipulating John-John, Weeper asserts at least some level of control over his own death. Rather than being shot by John-John, he dies via an overdose of the drug he adores. The fact that John-John holds Weeper while he dies evokes the possibility of intimacy––and particularly queer intimacy––in even the direst of circumstances.