“Any you boys seen Curley?”
They swung their heads toward the door. Looking in was Curley’s wife. Her face was heavily made up. Her lips were slightly parted. She breathed strongly, as though she had been running.
“Curley ain’t been here,” Candy said sourly.
She stood still in the doorway, smiling a little at them, rubbing the nails of one hand with the thumb and forefinger of the other. And her eyes traveled from one face to another. “They left all the weak ones here,” she said finally. “Think I don’t know where they all went? Even Curley. I know where they all went.”
Lennie watched her, fascinated; but Candy and Crooks were scowling down away from her eyes. Candy said, “Then if you know, why you want to ast us where Curley is at?”
She regarded them amusedly. “Funny thing,” she said. “If I catch any one man, and he’s alone, I get along fine with him. But just let two of the guys get together an’ you won’t talk. Jus’ nothing but mad.” She dropped her fingers and put her hands on her hips. “You’re all scared of each other, that’s what. Ever’ one of you’s scared the rest is goin’ to get something on you.”
After a pause Crooks said, “Maybe you better go along to your own house now. We don’t want no trouble.”
“Well, I ain’t giving you no trouble. Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while? Think I like to stick in that house alla time?”
Candy laid the stump of his wrist on his knee and rubbed it gently with his hand. He said accusingly, “You gotta husban’. You got no call foolin’ aroun’ with other guys, causin’ trouble.”
The girl flared up. “Sure I gotta husban’. You all seen him. Swell guy, ain’t he? Spends all his time sayin’ what he’s gonna do to guy she don’t like, and he don’t like nobody. Think I’m gonna stay in that two-by-four house and listen how Curley’s gonna lead with his left twicet, and then bring in the ol’ right cross? ‘One-two,’ he says. ‘Jus’ the ol’ one-two an’ he’ll go down.’” She paused and her face lost its sullenness and grew interested. “Say — what happened to Curley’s han’?”