Eubie and Ren-Dog tease Alex about his long, scruffy hair. Alex is terrified. He hasn’t heard the name “Tony Pavarotti” since he was talking to Tristan in Rikers years ago. Alex manages to say that he killed Tony by stabbing him in the neck. Eubie mentions that he’s been reading Alex’s essays in The New Yorker. Ren-Dog punches Alex in the face, and Alex laments that Jamaicans hold a grudge for a long time. Twelve years later, they’ve arrived to punish him for killing Tony. He explodes with anger, calling the men “fucking thugs who shoot women and children.” He says he doesn’t care that the men are intelligent and that they read. Eubie tells Ren-Dog to “deal with this pussyhole.”
While Eubie doesn’t care that Alex calls him and his crew “fucking thugs who shoot women and children,” he does care about the subtleties of how Alex has represented them in print. Alex, meanwhile, has given up on appeasing Eubie––perhaps because he thinks is about to die––and openly voices his negative opinions of the gang. The comment about Eubie being intelligent could be interpreted as a provocation to the reader––do we judge the gangsters less harshly because they are portrayed as intelligent, curious, and learned?