I don’t want no fi ghts,’ said Lennie. He got up from his bunk and sat down at the table, across from George. Almost automatically George shuffl ed the cards and laid out his solitaire hand. He used a deliberate, thoughtful, slowness. Lennie reached for a face card and studied it, then turned it upside down and studied it. ‘Both ends the same,’ he said, ‘George, why is it both end’s the same?’ ‘I don’t know,’ said George. ‘That’s jus’ the way they make ’em. What was Slim doin’ in the barn when you seen him?’
‘Sure. You seen him in the barn, an’ he tol’ you not to pet the pups so much.’ ‘Oh yeah. He had a can a’tar an’ a paint brush. I don’t know what for.’ ‘You sure that girl didn’t come in like she come in here today?’ ‘No. She never come.’
George sighed. ‘You give me a good whore house every time,’ he said. ‘A guy can go in an’ get drunk and get ever’thing outta his system all at once, an’ no messes. And he knows how much it’s gonna set him back. These here jail baits is just set on the trigger of the hoosegow.’
Lennie followed his words admiringly, and moved his lips a little to keep up. George continued, ‘You remember Andy Cushman, Lennie? Went to grammar school?’ ‘The one that his old lady used to make hot cakes for the kids?’ Lennie asked. ‘Yeah. That’s the one. You can remember anything if there’s anything to eat in it.’ George looked carefully at the solitaire hand. He put an ace up on his scoring rack and piled a two, three and four of diamonds on it. ‘Andy’s in San Quentin right now on account of a tart,’ said George.
Lennie drummed on the table with his fi ngers. ‘George?’ ‘Huh?’
‘George, how long’s it gonna be till we get that little place an’ live on the fatta the lan’ – an’ rabbits?’
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