It is 4:30 AM. Berlin sits, keeping watch and thinking about Billy Boy. He decides that there’s nothing especially interesting or important about the fact that Billy Boy is dead. Berlin eats a can of pears, and when he’s finished with it, he throws the can towards the beach.
It’s often hard to understand Berlin’s “character arc” in this story—how does he change as a person from the novel’s start to its finish? While O’Brien doesn’t answer this question overtly, he suggests that Berlin makes progress by telling himself stories—convincing himself that, for instance, Billy Boy’s death isn’t scary, until this story becomes the truth.