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Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

Page 9

Lennie’s eyes were frightened. “I don’t want no trouble,” he said plaintively. “Don’t let him sock me, George.”

George got up and went over to Lennie’s bunk and sat down on it. “I hate that kinda bastard,” he said. “I seen plenty of ‘em. Like the old guy says, Curley don’t take no chances. He always wins.” He thought for a moment. “If he tangles with you, Lennie, we’re gonna get the can. Don’t make no mistake about that. He’s the boss’s son. Look, Lennie. You try to keep away from him, will you? Don’t never speak to him. If he comes in here you move clear to the other side of the room. Will you do that, Lennie?”

“I don’t want no trouble,” Lennie mourned. “I never done nothing to him.”

“Well, that won’t do you no good if Curley wants to plug himself up for a fighter. Just don’t have nothing to do with him. Will you remember?”

“Sure, George. I ain’t gonna say a word.”

The sound of the approaching grain teams was louder, thud of big hooves on hard ground, drag of brakes and the jingle of trace chains. Men were calling back and forth from the teams. George, sitting on the bunk beside Lennie, frowned as he thought. Lennie asked timidly, “You ain’t mad, George?”

“I ain’t mad at you. I’m mad at this here Curley bastard. I hoped we was gonna get a little stake together — maybe a hundred dollars.” His tone grew decisive. “You keep away from Curley, Lennie.”

“Sure I will, George. I won’t say a word.”

“Don’t let him pull you in — but — if the son-of-a-bitch socks you — let ‘im have it.”

“Let ‘im have what, George?”

“Never mind, never mind. I’ll tell you when. I hate that kind of a guy. Look, Lennie, if you get in any kind of trouble, you remember what I told you to do?”

Lennie raised up on his elbow. His face contorted with thought. Then his eyes moved sadly to George’s face. “If I get in any trouble, you ain’t gonna let me tend the rabbits.”

“That’s not what I meant. You remember where we slep’ last night? Down by the river?”

“Yeah. I remember. Oh, sure I remember! I go there an’ hide in the brush.”

“Hide till I come for you. Don’t let nobody see you. Hide in the brush by the river. Say that over.”

“Hide in the brush by the river, down in the brush by the river.”

“If you get in trouble.”

“If I get in trouble.”

A brake screeched outside. A call came, “Stable — buck. Oh! Sta-able buck.”

George said, “Say it over to yourself, Lennie, so you won’t forget it.”

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