“This is Slagle speaking . . .”
We finally get a peek into what Gatsby’s illegal life looks like. This Slagle from Chicago assumes he is talking to Gatsby, and tells him that someone that they’re associated with is in trouble with the law. This scene just serves to confirm once and for all that Gatsby was a criminal involved in more sinister things than drugstores.
Note that when this Slagle finds out about Gatsby’s death he doesn’t even take a moment to pay respects. He just hangs up out of fear that the illegal activities he was talking about will be traced back to him. He puts himself first and doesn’t even care about his fallen associate.
Note also that Gatsby appears to be dealing in stolen or counterfeit bonds; Nick comes to New York to work selling and buying legitimate bonds, and quits the job at the end of his Gatsby summer. Both men, then, are wrapped up in the tangled thicket of extended credit which will eventually bring the American economy crashing down.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “The Great Gatsby (Chapter IX)” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and leave a comment on the lyrics box