They sat by the fire and filled their mouths with beans and chewed mightily. A few beans slipped out of the side of Lennie’s mouth. George gestured with his spoon. “What you gonna say tomorrow when the boss asks you questions?”
Lennie stopped chewing and swallowed. His face was concentrated. “I.... I ain’t gonna.... say a word.”
“Good boy! That’s fine, Lennie! Maybe you’re gettin’ better. When we get the coupla acres I can let you tend the rabbits all right. ‘Specially if you remember as good as that.”
Lennie choked with pride. “I can remember,” he said.
George motioned with his spoon again. “Look, Lennie. I want you to look around here. You can remember this place, can’t you? The ranch is about a quarter mile up that way. Just follow the river?”
“Sure,” said Lennie. “I can remember this. Di’n’t I remember about not gonna say a word?”
“’Course you did. Well, look. Lennie — if you jus’ happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you to come right here an’ hide in the brush.”
“Hide in the brush,” said Lennie slowly.
“Hide in the brush till I come for you. Can you remember that?”
“Sure I can, George. Hide in the brush till you come.”
“But you ain’t gonna get in no trouble, because if you do, I won’t let you tend the rabbits.” He threw his empty bean can off into the brush.
“I won’t get in no trouble, George. I ain’t gonna say a word
“O.K. Bring your bindle over here by the fire. It’s gonna be nice sleepin’ here. Lookin’ up, and the leaves. Don’t build up no more fire. We’ll let her die down.”
They made their beds on the sand, and as the blaze dropped from the fire the sphere of light grew smaller; the curling branches disappeared and only a faint glimmer showed where the tree trunks were. From the darkness Lennie called, “George — you asleep?”
“No. Whatta you want?”
“Let’s have different color rabbits, George.”
“Sure we will,” George said sleepily. “Red and blue and green rabbits, Lennie. Millions of ‘em.”