Holden gets off at Penn Station (in New York City) and decides it's just about time to give someone a buzz on the payphone. The only question is…who to call?
He ponders the possibilities: his brother D.B., his kid sister Phoebe, Jane Gallagher's mother, and finally this girl Sally Hayes he used to go around with.
Sally recently wrote Holden a "long, phony letter," the gist of which was an invitation to help trim her Christmas tree.
Unfortunately, Sally's mother thinks Holden is "wild" and would have a conniption if he called her house, not to mention she'd call Holden's mother and blab about how he's in New York four days early, which means he got kicked out of school, which his parents don't know yet.
So he ends up not calling anyone.
Instead, Holden gets a cab and accidentally gives his home address. About halfway there, he remembers he can't go home until Wednesday. Then he asks the driver about the ducks in the lagoon near Central Park: he wants to know where they go in the winter when the water freezes over.
The driver can't answer. Holden decides that, since this guy is corny, he should act corny, too. He has the driver take him to the Edmont Hotel, and the driver declines Holden's invitation to have a cocktail there.
Holden notes that he took his hunting cap off before going into the lobby, so as to not look like a "screwball," even though he later found out there were "screwballs all over the place."
Holden feels bad for the 65-year-old man who carries his suitcases up the room. What a crumby job, he thinks.
He looks across to the other side of the hotel and sees distinguished-looking gentleman putting on women's fine clothing and prancing about in high-heels.
In the room above that, he sees a man and a woman squirting water out of their mouths at each other.
Holden finds both occurrences to be entirely perverted. Stradlater, he thinks, would have been the King of a sexed-up place like this.
Which gets us right into a little digression on sex. Holden admits that the woman across the hotel is really attractive. He could go for some water-squirting himself, come to think of it.
Except the idea stinks. Holden says if you really care about a girl, you shouldn't horse around with her at all in such a crumby way. (Crumby = dirty, from what we can tell.)
He used to know a "crumby" girl himself, so crumby that he made a rule not to horse around with any girls anymore, which lasted about ten minutes.
Either way, he "doesn't understand" sex.
Holden contemplates calling Jane at her school. It's late, so he has a whole story planned out to tell whomever picks up the phone (it involves an uncle and a dead woman).
Holden's "felling pretty horny" by now, so he gets his wallet and digs out the address of a girl who isn't "exactly a whore or anything," but always good for a fun time. He got said address from a guy he knows that goes to Princeton.
So he calls up this girl, Faith Cavendish, tells her he's a friend of this Princeton guy, Eddie, whom at first she doesn't remember, tries to make his voice sound deeper than it is, and asks her out for a cocktail.
She's all, "Hmm, how about tomorrow?" and Holden is all, "Now or never!" so the upshot of the whole deal is that Holden gets nothing.