I’ll tell you so you can almost see it. . . .

FROM Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck

Lennie got up on his knees. “You ain’t gonna leave me, are ya, George? I know you ain’t.”

George came stiffly near and sat down beside him. “No.”

“I knowed it,” Lennie cried. “You ain’t that kind.” George was silent. Lennie said, “George.”

“Yeah?”

“I done another bad thing.”

“It don’t make no difference,” George said, and he fell silent again.

Only the topmost ridges were in the sun now. The shadow in the valley was blue and soft. From the distance came the sound of men shouting to one another. George turned his head and listened to the shouts.

Lennie said, “George.”

“Yeah?” “Ain’t you gonna give me hell?”

“Give ya hell?”

“Sure, like you always done before. Like, ‘If I di’n’t have you I’d take my fifty bucks—’”

“Jesus Christ, Lennie! You can’t remember nothing that happens, but you remember ever’ word I say.” “Well, ain’t you gonna say it?” George shook himself. He said woodenly, “If I was alone I could live so easy.” His voice was monotonous, had no emphasis. “I could get a job an’ not have no mess.” He stopped.

“Go on,” said Lennie. “An’ when the enda the month come—”

“An’ when the end of the month came I could take my fifty bucks an’ go to a . . . . cat house—” He stopped again.

Lennie looked eagerly at him. “Go on, George. Ain’t you gonna give me no more hell?”

“No,” said George. “Well, I can go away,” said Lennie. “I’ll go right off in the hills an’ find a cave if you don’ want me.”

George shook himself again. “No,” he said. “I want you to stay with me here.”

Lennie said craftily—“Tell me like you done before.”

“Tell you what?”

“’Bout the other guys an’ about us.”

George said, “Guys like us got no fambly. They make a little stake an’ then they blow it in. They ain’t got nobody in the worl’ that gives a hoot in hell about ‘em—”

“But not us,” Lennie cried happily. “Tell about us now.”

George was quiet for a moment. “But not us,” he said. “Because—”

“Because I got you an’—”

“An’ I got you. We got each other, that’s what, that gives a hoot in hell about us,” Lennie cried in triumph.

The little evening breeze blew over the clearing and the leaves rustled and the wind waves flowed up the green pool. And the shouts of men sounded again, this time much closer than before.

George took off his hat. He said shakily, “Take off your hat, Lennie. The air feels fine.”

Lennie removed his hat dutifully and laid it on the ground in front of him. The shadow in the valley was bluer, and the evening came fast. On the wind the sound of crashing in the brush came to them.

Lennie said, “Tell how it’s gonna be.”

George had been listening to the distant sounds. For a moment he was businesslike. “Look acrost the river, Lennie, an’ I’ll tell you so you can almost see it.”

Lennie turned his head and looked off across the pool and up the darkening slopes of the Gabilans. “We gonna get a little place,” George began. He reached in his side pocket and brought out Carlson’s Luger; he snapped off the safety, and the hand and gun lay on the ground behind Lennie’s back. He looked at the back of Lennie’s head, at the place where the spine and skull were joined.

A man’s voice called from up the river, and another man answered.

“Go on,” said Lennie.

George raised the gun and his hand shook, and he dropped his hand to the ground again.

“Go on,” said Lennie. “How’s it gonna be. We gonna get a little place.”

“We’ll have a cow,” said George. “An’ we’ll have maybe a pig an’ chickens . . . . an’ down the flat we’ll have a . . . . little piece alfalfa—”

“For the rabbits,” Lennie shouted.

“For the rabbits,” George repeated.

“And I get to tend the rabbits.”

“An’ you get to tend the rabbits.”

Lennie giggled with happiness. “An’ live on the fatta the lan’.”

“Yes.” Lennie turned his head.

“No, Lennie. Look down there acrost the river, like you can almost see the place.”

Lennie obeyed him. George looked down at the gun. There were crashing footsteps in the brush now. George turned and looked toward them.

“Go on, George. When we gonna do it?”

“Gonna do it soon.”

“Me an’ you.”

~~~~~~~~~~~❖❖❖❖~~~~~~~~~~~

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Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 10:10 AM  Leave a Comment  
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