Pinkie is standing at the top of the stairs at Frank’s boardinghouse, looking down at the spread-eagled dead body of Spicer at the bottom. Prewitt is there, too, wondering how it happened. Pinkie says it was the faulty staircase, combined with Spicer’s heavy suitcase. Spicer must have put his suitcase on the rail. Then the rotten rail gave way. Prewitt is horrified and tells Pinkie he will not get mixed up in this. Pinkie tells Prewitt that, as his lawyer, he’ll just have to say that it was an accident. Prewitt goes to Pinkie’s room with a headache. Cubitt has Spicer’s suitcase. He asks Pinkie where Spicer was headed. Pinkie tells him the Blue Anchor in Nottingham. He supposes they should call. The Blue Anchor people might want to send flowers.
Ever since Hale’s death and Spicer’s torn feelings about the murder, Pinkie has wanted Spicer out of the equation. In the end, Pinkie opts to kill Spicer himself and he does so by throwing him down the stairs. Pinkie has a ready explanation for what happened, but no one, including Prewitt, is buying it. Pinkie’s suggestion regarding the Blue Anchor patrons and flowers harkens back to Hale’s funeral, where there were no flowers.
Pinkie starts to leave the scene. He has things to do. Prewitt can’t believe Pinkie would leave now. There are too many details to take care of before the cops come. Pinkie reminds the old lawyer why he came to Frank’s in the first place: Pinkie’s upcoming nuptials to Rose. He has to propose. Pinkie lingers for a moment, as if waiting for Prewitt to give him some fatherly advice about marriage, but Prewitt says nothing.
Pinkie’s behavior, while shocking to Prewitt, is completely consistent with his selfish quest to save his own life at others’ expense. That he can think of proposing on the heels of murdering his own man reveals just how little he cares about both Spicer and Rose.
At Snow’s, Pinkie bribes a waitress to tell him where Rose is. He climbs the stairs to her bedroom, overhearing Ida telling Rose that she needs to come clean about what happened to Hale. It is the right thing to do, Ida says. Through the slightly open door, Pinkie sees Rose defiantly refusing to give Ida any information and he realizes that he and Rose are, indeed, made for each other. She is good, he is damned. He needs her. Pinkie goes in and asks Ida why she’s pestering his girl.
This isn’t the first time it occurs to Pinkie that he and Rose need each other to be complete. However, seeing her stand up to Ida, the feeling strikes him now with more force. He wants Rose to save him, but all he has to offer her is damnation—not a very good bargain.
Ida tells Rose not to give in to a wicked man like Pinkie. Rose tells her that she doesn’t know a thing and that she had better leave her and Pinkie alone. Ida leaves, but as she goes she tells them she’s not finished with them and that she has friends. When she’s gone, Rose tells Pinkie she’d do anything for him. He replies that it’s not what you do but what you think. Goodness, he suggests, is in the blood. He supposes that when they christened him, it didn’t take somehow.
Pinkie claims to have been born bad, but then tries to have it both ways by suggesting that evil isn’t in what one does but how one thinks. He has the right thoughts, he argues, which makes the fact that he kills people to get what he wants somehow less sinful.
Pinkie asks Rose to marry him. She says she wants to, desperately, but that the church will never let them. He tells her there are ways; he has a lawyer. Rose admits that the proposal isn’t quite what she’d dreamed of, but that it doesn’t matter. She loves him and will marry him and will never let him down. Pinkie leans down to kiss her. She smells sweetly of human skin. He’s slightly revolted. He wishes she smelled like a chemical compound. Then the idea of the marriage obligations would be easier for him to take. He manages to smile at her, but he can’t help but feel a small stab of shame.
Rose is sixteen and had harbored dreams of a romantic proposal, but she loves Pinkie so much she quickly gets over her disappointment. Pinkie does not know how to connect with Rose on a human level. Anticipating the honeymoon night, he is overcome with feelings of revulsion. He wishes Rose were synthetic, like a doll. Then he wouldn’t have to pretend to feel something for her.