Charlie has steeled himself to the point where he can go and meet with Wolcott over this business of Wild Bill's last letter. Wolcott greets him politely, saying he can't guarantee the authenticity of the letter, though it seems to be so, and that surely Wild Bill "would want her to have it." Charlie: "To his wife, then?" Wolcott confirms this, and says that prudence dictates that he ask in return for the letter a full account of what Joanie must have told Charlie to cause the beatdown of earlier in the day. "The prudentest thing you can do is not name that girl again with me in the fuckin' room," Charlie says. Wolcott gets around it, asking if it was this "nameless she" who set Charlie on him. Charlie looks like he's about to reprise the earlier ass-kicking, and Wolcott holds him off by quoting passages of Bill's letter to his wife. Charlie realizes he's dealing with a loon, at this point, and closes the door, threatening to throw Wolcott out the window if he doesn't shut up. Wolcott again says he wants to know what Joanie told Charlie. "And I'm promisin', I'd sooner blow off your fuckin' head and take the fuckin' letter from your corpse than confide any fuckin' particulars..."
Wolcott: "...To me."
Charlie: "...To any-fuckin-one, when I give my word I wouldn't."
Wolcott sighs and removes Bill's letter from the desk, saying, "Thank you, Mr. Utter, that's what I wanted to know." Now, one might think he's relieved to learn that, though Charlie may know the details of the Chez Amie massacre, he will not spread it around camp. OR, one might surmise, if one thinks Wolcott is crazy enough, WHICH HE IS, that all he really wanted to know was IF Joanie said anything at all, and now he does, so he's going to kill her. We can only watch and wait.
In any case, he gives Charlie the letter, and the man is thrilled to receive it. He leans over Bill's handwriting, mourning the loss anew. Charlie turns to leave, and looks back at Wolcott sitting alone at his desk, holding his ribs. "Open or closed?" he asks, about the door, and Wolcott graciously asks that it be left open.
Also alone, and also in the open, is Joanie, back at the Chez Amie. She sits in the middle of her empty place, unprotected and without a friend.