John Perkins returns home to find that Katy, his wife, has had to visit her sick mother. This is the first time John has been without Katy, and he finds that life has suddenly lost all its meaning. He thinks about Katy, and how much better he will treat her in future. Then, unexpectedly, Katy comes back, and life returns to normal. But is John a better husband after that?
The stories in this collection are mostly about everyday problems and ordinary interests. We watch a busy, but forgetful, businessman in his office. We see a man who has lost everything he owns talking to a poor man who thinks he will soon be very rich. We even listen to a rather talkative ten-dollar note telling us about the life he has led. O. Henry shows us that ordinary life can be full of surprises.
O. Henry, whose real name was W. Sydney Porter, worked as a pharmacist, book-keeper, bank clerk and journalist, and even a cowboy on a cattle ranch. His life was a troubled one, but he became one of the greatest short story writers in America.