Published on October 27, 2014
“They’d nibble an’ they’d nibble,” said Lennie, “the way they do. I seen ‘em.” “Ever’ six weeks or so,” George continued, “them does would throw a litter so we’d have plenty rabbits to eat an’ to sell. An’ we’d keep a few pigeons to go flyin’ around the win’mill like they done when I was a kid.” He looked raptly at the wall over Lennie’s head. “An’ it’d be our own, an’ nobody could can us. If we don’t like a guy we can say, ‘Get the hell out,’ and by God he’s got to do it. An’ if a fren’ come along, why we’d have an extra bunk, an’ we’d say, ‘Why don’t you spen’ the night?’ an’ by God he would. We’d have a setter dog and a couple stripe cats, but you gotta watch out them cats don’t get the little rabbits.” Lennie breathed hard. “You jus’ let ‘em try to get the rabbits. I’ll break their God damn necks. I’ll . . . . I’ll smash ‘em with a stick.” He subsided, grumbling to himself, threatening the future cats which might dare to disturb the future rabbits. George sat entranced with his own picture. When Candy spoke they both jumped as though they had been caught doing something reprehensible. Candy said, “You know where’s a place like that?” George was on guard immediately. “S’pose I do,” he said. “What’s that to you?” Candy went on excitedly, “How much they want for a place like that?” George watched him suspiciously. “Well—I could get it for six hundred bucks. The ol’ people that owns it is flat bust an’ the ol’ lady needs an operation. Say—what’s it to you? You got nothing to do with us.” Candy said, “I ain’t much good with on’y one hand. I lost my hand right here on this ranch. That’s why they give me a job swampin’. An’ they give me two hunderd an’ fifty dollars ‘cause I los’ my hand. An’ I got fifty more saved up right in the bank, right now. Tha’s three hunderd, and I got fifty more comin’ the end a the month. Tell you what—” He leaned forward eagerly. “S’pose I went in with you guys. Tha’s three hunderd an’ fifty bucks I’d put in. I ain’t much good, but I could cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some. How’d that be?” George half-closed his eyes. “I gotta think about that. We was always gonna do it by ourselves.” Candy interrupted him, “I’d make a will an’ leave my share to you guys in case I kick off, ‘cause I ain’t got no relatives nor nothing. You guys got any money? Maybe we could do her right now?” George spat on the floor disgustedly. “We got ten bucks between us.” Then he said thoughtfully, “Look, if me an’ Lennie work a month an’ don’t spen’ nothing, we’ll have a hunderd bucks. That’d be four fifty. I bet we could swing her for that. Then you an’ Lennie could go get her started an’ I’d get a job an’ make up the res’, an’ you could sell eggs an’ stuff like that.” They fell into a silence. They looked at one another, amazed. This thing they had never really believed in was coming true. George said reverently, “Jesus Christ! I bet we could swing her.” His eyes were full of wonder. “I bet we could swing her,” he repeated softly.