The yo-yo was John Kowalski's talisman. He held onto it for protection, comfort, and safety. The night of his mother's murder, he threw the yo-yo at the intruder before running to hide under the house. The toy was damaged when he missed and hit the wall instead.
Finch's Personnel File
Finch's record does not support Betucia's (Browning's) opinion of him. This has to do with Betucia's (Browning's) affair with Finch's wife. The Captain doesn't like Finch on a personal level, letting his emotions get in the way of his better judgment. Finch was dismissed "due to budget constraints" at the end of 1932, but the budgetary cucts to police personnel were still in the planning phases at that point. Finch was really let go for personal reasons.
The flask is Finch's crutch. He keeps it on him to store his booze so he can repress his painful memories. The pendant is inside the flask.
Finch's wife, Bethanne Cameron Kowalski, told Finch she received this pendant from her mother. The pendant is an old Roman symbol called the Mano Fico. It was used to ward off evil spirits of the damned during the Lemuria ritual, a cleansing performed before a feast. It was given to Bethanne not from her Scottish mother, but her Roman lover.
Inside the sweat band of the hat is a folded note:
- "Tara dona. Betucia. Recordes."
This roughly translates to "Your wife. Betucia. Remember." in Catalan, the primary language of Andorra, where Huber is originally from.
This was Huber's attempt to jog Finch's memory that Betucia (Browning) was having an affair with Finch's wife. Huber also implies that Finch knew of the affair at one point. Finch, however, blocked it out of his mind.
The file on Huber reveals he's from Andorra, the primary language of which is Catalan, the language used to write the note hidden in Finch's fedora. Huber is also connected to the Betucia crime family here, alluding to his access to personal information about Betucia (Browning) to which the public remains unaware. This connection also explains why Huber only spent 4 months in jail for assault, despite his status as a known gun-for-hire.
Finch's alibi is confirmed by a witness who saw him at 10:30 PM. Because this is his usual behavior, the police assume he was out drinking all night. But the clock on the nightstand was broken during the struggle in the bedroom, freezing it at 9:30 PM as seen in the photograph, when there is no witness to corroborate Finch's alibi.
In the photo of Bethanne Kowalski where the window is visible in the vanity mirror, a small mark can be seen which matches the sketch Sammy Jamfoot handed Finch in Huber's bar. Jamfoot knows what Finch has forgotten, but is too afraid to tell him in explicit terms.
The matchbook was given to Finch by Hellcat, who worked in the Madame Rouge Hotel, a thinly-veiled brothel. Hellcat and Finch developed a friendship, but Finch's interest grew. Hellat had to discourage him carefully to avoid setting off his temper.
The Captain seems to be a handsome young man, doesn't he? He's quite mysterious, too. This might make him quite a catch, but if people only knew the truth about his past.
The puzzle box given to Hellcat by Huber contains within it a telegram. It was given to Hellcat to avoid losing it to the wrong hands. Hellcat gave it to Finch as a display of trust.
The telegram explains that Browning is not, in fact, the Captain's real name. In fact, his last name is Betucia, a name that goes back to ancient Rome. The telegram exposes that Betucia had a lover and instructs Huber to find out who it is before he creates an "accident" to get rid of them.
Finch hated the new Captain, who in turn did not respect Finch as a detective or as a man. When Finch lost his job, his hatred grew and his drinking worsened. When he learned that his wife and the man he hated were having an affair, Finch flew into a drunken rage and murdered his wife.
Finch slumped into the bedroom. "That bastard, Browning," he said.
His wife, Bethanne, was sitting at her vanity in her nightgown. Her delicate fingers struggled to remove her earrings.
"What do you mean, dear?"
"You know what I mean. Dear." Finch replied.
The snow outside fell softly. Bethanne looked at him. "Did you go by the station again? I told you not to go by there anymore. It just gets you all balled up."
"It's not my fault," said Finch. He stood by the crucifix on the wall. Jesus looked down on him. "It's that guy in charge. You know he ain't done nothin' good for our neighborhood."
Finch squinted at the little Jesus figure. "People lie," he said.
Bethanne put her second earring in its place by the first and shut the drawer. She began to breathe in a shallow way. "Well, I trust these people, they wouldn't lie to me."
Finch turned from the crucifix and looked at his wife, who looked away quickly. "Who you been talkin' to?" he demanded.
At that moment, John, the couple's son, appeared in the dim bedroom doorway to find out what was wrong. He held his toy yo-yo in both of his hands. "Get back to bed, son," Finch barked. John began to cry.
"Now look at that," Bethanne shouted, "You've gone and made him cry. You. You brute! Johnny, honeydew, don't worry. Get back to bed and cover your ears and I'll tuck you in. Only a moment."
The boy didn't move.
"See that, there! He don't listen!" Finch pointed at their son.
Bethanne rose. "He listens fine!" she countered. "You're just scaring him stiff!Go take a cold bath, why don't you! Johnny, to bed, please."
"Me? I won't take no bath! Why don't you tell me who you've been talkin' to? Why you in your nightgown and still got your earrings in?"
Johnny wailed openly. His mother took a step back from her husband. She clutched her necklace to her breast and her eyes widened as he stepped closer.
"You ain't gotta hide it no more, doll. I know. I've known a while. I just don't know," he said, taking another step, "who."
"You're ccrazy, Finchy," she said.
"Who," he repeated, slower, letting the question melt off his tongue and through his teeth, molten and thick.
Bethanne straightened. She pulled her shoulders back and looked her husband in the eyes. "You know who," she said.
Finch knew. Every Friday since he lost his job he walked by the station and watched the men inside, coming in and leaving. Each time, he stood there with a bottle in a paper bag and got drunk like a bum. He was looking for one man. Browning, the man who took command and gave Cinch the boot. Finch would spot him, curse him, and walk off to go drink until late. It was the same day he couldn't find Browning that his wife kept her earrings in after changing into her nightgown.
Finch could not contain his rage. Bethanne's confession released him from any earthly abidance and he hurled himself toward her. He stretched out his hands and Bethanne screamed. She fell back over the bed and Finch came over her, his hands on her neck. He squeezed.
A bang from the wall drew his attention. He heard the sound of retreating footsteps but saw no one else in the room. But someone had been. He looked back at Bethanne and squeezed again. She struggled and pushed back on his chest. He looked at the picture of Roosevelt on the wall. He squeezed harder. She stopped struggling. She looked at him and did not blink.
"Oh, god," Finch said. "Bethanne. Stop. Don't look at me."
She would not stop looking at him.
"Stop looking at me!"
"Stop looking at me!"
It was always so scary when his mother and father fought. Johnny always knew it would happen, too. He would smell the alcohol before he could hear anything. Sure enough, he would then hear his father's shoes thump and slap on the floor. That's why Johnny had nightmares about his father. Tonight was scarier than usual, though. Johnny felt like he had to try to protect his mother, so he threw his yo-yo at his father. He missed. He couldn't save her.
Johnny smelled the alcohol and heard the shoes and he saw his father bumble down the steps, off the porch, and down the street. Johnny watched him go. He faded into the gray snowy night and Johnny began to feel safer. The snow was so delicate, so soft. Johnny watched it fall as he gently fell asleep.