Deacon King Kong

by

James McBride

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Deacon King Kong: Chapter 19: Double-Crossed Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The following night, at 2:00 AM, Elefante and his men are unloading a shipment of TVs at his dock when Joe Peck shows up to talk to Elefante. Peck’s car frightens Elefante’s men, who immediately hide, thinking Peck might be the police. Even the boat captain flees the scene, despite the fact that there are still more TVs to unload. This angers Elefante. Joe Peck gets out of his car and makes his way toward Elefante, clearly angry himself. Immediately, Elefante chastises Joe for interrupting him while his men were in the middle of unloading a shipment. Joe dismisses Elefante’s concerns and tells him that he’ll pay for whatever Elefante didn’t get to unload.
Elefante always works in the middle of the night to ensure that the police don’t interrupt his business. However, Peck’s presence interrupts him and messes up his shipment. Normally this would cost Elefante money, but Peck promises to pay him back. This suggests the Peck has arrived on serious and urgent business. Additionally, it indicates that money is not an issue for Peck; shelling out the money for multiple TVs on a whim is no big deal to him.
Themes
Race and Power Theme Icon
Elefante doesn’t know what Peck is so upset about and cannot imagine why he came to see him, since he already told him he wouldn’t help him with his drug shipment. When Elefante asks Peck what he wants, Peck thinks that Elefante is messing with him. He tells Elefante that the police are all over him now because of what Elefante did. In response, Elefante swears that he has no clue what Peck is talking about.
Although Elefante is usually up to date on what goes on in the Cause, he clearly has yet to hear about the shooting at the docks. However, his connection to Sportcoat makes him seem suspicious to Peck, who is convinced that Elefante is trying to mess up his business.
Themes
Race and Power Theme Icon
Peck tells Elefante about the shooting at the pier and assumes that Elefante had something to do with it. Surprisingly, this is the first that Elefante has heard of the matter, and he insists that he had nothing to do with it. At first, Peck doesn’t believe Elefante. Peck is under the impression that the shooter was Sportcoat (Peck knows that Sportcoat works for Mrs. Elefante). Elefante once again insists that he is not involved and finds Peck’s telling of the story unlikely. He thinks Sportcoat is too old and too much of a drunk to be able to effectively dispatch multiple young men with a gun.
Although Elefante does not know Sportcoat well, Peck knows him even less. Peck seems to assume that the old deacon is a capable killer, which is completely false. Sportcoat couldn’t even kill Deems at point-blank range. Like Sister Gee, Elefante knows that there is something about the story that is not quite right.
Themes
Substance Abuse Theme Icon
Race and Power Theme Icon
Still, Peck remains suspicious. The pier where Sportcoat supposedly shot Deems and his bodyguard was the same place where Peck planned to receive his large heroin shipment. Now, the police are swarming the area, and Peck thinks it will be difficult for him to get his hands on the shipment. Eventually, Elefante convinces Peck that he had nothing to do with the shooting. Because Peck believes him, he also lets Elefante know that Potts is the one investigating the case.
This is the real reason that Peck is angry. He does not care that his men were killed or injured. He only cares that the incident is preventing more heroin from flowing into the Cause. Although Peck is a hothead, he is not a stupid man. He eventually realizes that the facts don’t add up and that Elefante must not have ordered the shooting.
Themes
Substance Abuse Theme Icon
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