Literature Study GuidesItDerry The Third Interlude Summary

It | Study Guide

Stephen King

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It | Derry: The Third Interlude | Summary



Mike recounts a story from Mr. Keene, the pharmacist, about an incident from October 1929. A mobster named Al Bradley is hiding out near Derry with his gang. The FBI is searching for them. Bradley comes into Lal Machen's sporting goods store in Derry and places a large order for ammunition. Machen takes the order and asks the gangsters to return the next afternoon to pick it up. In the meantime, Machen notifies everyone in town about Bradley's scheduled return.

When the gangsters arrive the next day, every man in Derry is waiting on Main Street with a gun. They shoot the gangsters, and their women, to bits. The newspapers credit the FBI and State Police for taking down the Bradley Gang. Mr. Keene says the story isn't news because "it happened in Derry, not New York or Chicago. The place makes it news ... "

Mike asks Mr. Keene if he saw anyone unusual that day. "The clown, you mean?" Mr. Keene replies. He describes Pennywise wearing overalls and says he might have been someone in disguise or a real clown from a traveling carnival. Mr. Keen says his friend saw Pennywise hanging out of a second-floor window with a gun during the shootout, as if he were floating up there. The clown cast "no shadow at all."


Mike's third entry of Derry's history provides more evidence of Derry's propensity for violence as a city, moving a little further back in time from the fire at the Black Spot detailed in Derry: The Second Interlude. All the men of Derry have guns or access to guns and are willing to use them. Even though Al Bradley is a violent criminal in his own right, the Derry residents outnumber Bradley's gang by a large margin. With their firearms they could easily subdue the gang and turn the criminals over to the FBI and State Police, who are publicly credited for the shootout. Due process would follow, and it is possible—given the time and place—Bradley and his cronies would be executed.

Instead the men of Derry leave nothing to chance. They open fire on the two cars without knowing who is inside. The gangsters' girlfriends, whose involvement in direct criminal activity is unclear, are killed alongside their men. Mr. Keene gives little thought to them, thinking the women deserve what they get because of the crowd they run with. Still, there could have been other innocent victims inside those cars, a hostage or hostages perhaps. The men of Derry don't wait to find out.

This story also provides the first evidence at least some adult residents of Derry are aware of Pennywise's existence. Mr. Keene knows exactly who Mike is asking about when Mike wants to know if anyone else was at the shootout, which implies Mr. Keene knows something is off about this clown, even though he has ignored the implications of a floating clown at a shootout for decades since.

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