A Story in Three Parts Summary  

Part I Doll

Big Time Henson comes to Miss Pat’s house to ask for money.Miss Pat is an old friend of Big Time to whom she eagerly tells stories about the past.As Big Time comes in quickly asking for money, she interrupts him with small talk and starts with a story of a slave woman named Doll.Miss Pat tells that this slave woman was working under a kind old plantation owner, and throughout the whole story Big Time repeatedly asks for the money immediately or at least shows some interest in order for her to finish the story quickly.

Miss Pat keeps continuing her story as long as Big Time keeps asking for money.She tells of Doll being okay as a slave, until the plantation owner is forced to sell slaves to keep away from debt.Doll begs her owner not to sell her away especially to some place far from her family and friends, and the owner agreed.Doll and other slaves that stayed were content, until they figured out that their master was selling their children.The slave women tried to save their children.Doll asks the mistress of the farm to hug her children once more before they can go, and the mistress allows her.Doll does so happily.When the speculator wants to move on quickly, the mistress comes into Doll’s cabin to get the kids.In her horror, the mistress finds Doll has killed her children from being taken away.She is then whipped.

Miss Pat gives Big Time money after finishing her story.Miss Pat remarks how she finds it weird she can only think of Doll being whipped more than Doll killing her children.Big Time leaves her heading to Sweet Jimmy.

Part II Sweet Jimmy

Big Time arrives at Sweet Jimmy’s hangout, an old abandoned bicycle shop guarded for the police not to come.He is permitted inside and has a little small talk with the guys inside.Big Time then is directed to Sweet Jimmy and hands him money.It is revealed the Big Time was paying for a syringe to inject drugs into him.Big Time gets high from the stuff.He becomes dizzy while Sweet Jimmy is talking about her sister trying to get into a great college by avoiding association with the home neighborhood.Big Time falls asleep.

He wakes up with Sweet Jimmy asking him to do a favor for his sister and him, to “hook her up with the S.A.T.”Big Time agrees and walks home nauseously and tired.


Part III The Roof

Big Time arrives home with his mother questioning where he’d been all week away from school.Big Time just quietly leaves not answering and climbs an abandoned building’s fire escape.He notices a small boy is on the roof, goes up to him, and learns his name is Benny.They have a small conversation about each other, and Big Time stops talking feeling sleepy.

Suddenly, a huge explosion sounded, and they both figure out some people were smoking cocaine in one of the floors of the building they’re standing on.Those people accidently started a big fire scorching one whole side of the building, the side with the fire escape.Benny becomes frightened and excited, which agitates the tired Big Time.Big Time tries the door to the staircase and finds it’s locked.

Big Time just about gives up and remarks how he doesn’t mind burning up.The inferno rises up to the level of the roof, and a whole side of the building goes down.Benny becomes even more panicked trying to open the door and running to the other side other building yelling and crying for help.The flames get closer to them.

Big Tim decides to maybe helping this boy, and climbs the side of the building away from the intensifying heat.Thinking that the firefighters don’t know about this fire yet, Big Time plans to get Benny to the side of the building and jump to the next building’s roof.Benny is scared, but they try it.Benny surprisingly makes it with Big Time hanging on for his life on the side of the rood until he could get himself up.

Benny becomes calm again, and they make it to the ground floor to see firefighters taking out the blaze.Big Time is exhausted and sore.Both of them tell say they will see them around later around the neighborhood.Big Time goes home while thinking about Benny.He thinks also how maybe he might change his life around with a big maybe.