Slim looked up questioningly. “What you want me to read that for?”
Whit said, “Go on. Read the name at the bottom.”
Slim read, “’Yours for success, William Tenner.’” He glanced up at Whit again. “What you want me to read that for?”
Whit closed the magazine impressively. “Don’t you remember Bill Tenner? Worked here about three months ago?”
Slim thought..... “Little guy?” he asked. “Drove a cultivator?”
“That’s him,” Whit cried. “That’s the guy!”
“You think he’s the guy wrote this letter?”
“I know it. Bill and me was in here one day. Bill had one of them books that just come. He was lookin’ in it and he says, ‘I wrote a letter. Wonder if they put it in the book!’ But it wasn’t there. Bill says, ‘Maybe they’re savin’ it for later.’ An’ that’s just what they done. There it is.”
“Guess you’re right,” said Slim. “Got it right in the book.”
George held out his hand for the magazine. “Let’s look at it?”
Whit found the place again, but he did not surrender his hold on it. He pointed out the letter with his forefinger. And then he went to his box shelf and laid the magazine carefully in. “I wonder if Bill seen it,” he said. “Bill and me worked in that patch of field peas. Run cultivators, both of us. Bill was a hell of a nice fella.”
During the conversation Carlson had refused to be drawn in. He continued to look down at the old dog. Candy watched him uneasily. At last Carlson said, “If you want me to, I’ll put the old devil out of his misery right now and get it over with. Ain’t nothing left for him. Can’t eat, can’t see, can’t even walk without hurtin’.”
Candy said hopefully, “You ain’t got no gun.”
“The hell I ain’t. Got a Luger. It won’t hurt him none at all.”
Candy said, “Maybe tomorra. Le’s wait till tomorra.”
“I don’t see no reason for it,” said Carlson. He went to his bunk, pulled his bag from underneath it and took out a Luger pistol. “Le’s get it over with,” he said. “We can’t sleep with him stinkin’ around in here.” He put the pistol in his hip pocket.
Candy looked a long time at Slim to try to find some reversal. And Slim gave him none. At last Candy said softly and hopelessly, “Awright — take ‘im.” He did not look down at the dog at all. He lay back on his bunk and crossed his arms behind his head and stared at the ceiling.
From his pocket Carlson took a little leather thong. He stooped over and tied it around the old dog’s neck. All the men except Candy watched him. “Come boy. Come on, boy,” he said gently. And he said apologetically to Candy, “He won’t even feel it.” Candy did not move nor answer him. He twitched the thong. “Come on, boy.” The old dog got slowly and stiffly to his feet and followed the gently pulling leash.
Slim said, “Carlson.”