Bunch Moon sits and looks out the window of his apartment. He likes this window because he is able to see several blocks in each direction. Therefore, it is a good defensive position—he’ll always know if someone is coming for him. After spending several minutes making sure no one is coming for him, Bunch turns around to talk to Phyllis.
Here, Bunch is not paranoid; rather, he is looking out for very real threats that are a part of his everyday existence.
Phyllis, whose real name is Haroldeen, has come to collect her payment for killing Deems and his bodyguard. However, because Deems is still alive and the job is not yet finished, she only expects to receive half. Bunch immediately asks Haroldeen many questions about the failed hit. He tells her that he doesn’t plan to pay her for doing such a poor job. If anything, he thinks, she’s only made more trouble for him.
Haroldeen’s request is more or less reasonable; she’s completed part of the job, so she expects part of her payment. However, it’s a little odd that she would feel entitled to receive payment for a job she didn’t complete, which may suggest that she has ulterior motives for visiting Bunch. Meanwhile, Bunch is angry because he’s gone rogue in ordering Deems’s murder, and he knows there will be consequences.
Haroldeen doesn’t take kindly to Bunch’s attitude and insists on getting half of the money. She does not like people in the drug trade; as a child, people involved in the drug trade sexually exploited Haroldeen and Haroldeen’s mother, who had a drug habit. Nonetheless, Haroldeen tries to deal with Bunch civilly. She tells him that she promises she will complete the job because she needs the money to go to college.
Finally, Bunch gives into Haroldeen’s demands and tells her where she can collect the money. He also tells her to leave out the basement door so that no one will know they met. Haroldeen does as she is told. She goes down to the basement, collects her money, and then departs. However, on her way out, she purposefully leaves the basement door open for Joe Peck’s men. As she walks away from Bunch’s house, Haroldeen hears Peck’s men shooting Bunch.
Here, the reader discovers Haroldeen’s ulterior motive for visiting Bunch: she has allied herself with Peck and allows his men to kill Bunch. Peck likely kills Bunch because he ordered a hit on Deems without Peck’s permission. Bunch’s swift death is the logical conclusion to his overly aggressive approach to the drug trade.