Of Mice and Men and Melancholy

March 12, 2012
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An evening breeze had swept across the farm, scattering loose frays from hay bales into the cool night air. Trees, rich with deep oranges and reds that marked the approaching fall, shivered in the midst of rustling leaves and half bare branches. Chimes, hung precariously off of a nail on the bunkhouse door, rung in eerie synchronicity to the tune of the whistling wind.

Lennie stood just outside the bunkhouse, his large shadow cast an ominous looking figure on the side of the building and he was dressed only in overalls despite the bitter cold. He leaned against the bunkhouse wall and slowly slid down until he was sitting on the ground. He held a mouse in his left hand, and his right hand delicately stroked its soft fur. “Ima take you to the farm with me an George,” Lennie whispered softly in the mouse’s ear. “And you can help tend them rabbits with me,” he smiled, “An we gonna live off the fat a the land.” The mouse lay still in his hand, stiff and unmoving. Lennie smiled as he pictured the mouse in the front pocket of his overalls as he fed the rabbits. “I promise,” he whispered.

There was sudden movement from within the bunkhouse and a light was turned on. Lennie raised his head to see George close the door to the bunkhouse and walk outside. George and Lennie’s eyes met, and Lennie looked down knowing he had done something wrong.

George walked closer to Lennie and looked sternly at him. Lennie looked up but couldn’t meet George’s eyes. “Lennie!” George said sharply. “Lennie what you doin out here all alone? You know I don’t like it when I don’t know where you are.”

Lennie continued to look down in shame. “I ain’t meant to do no bad George,” Lennie paused and looked up. “Really George, I ain’t done nothin bad by comin out here.”

“Yeah well you shouldn’t be out here all alone Lennie,” said George. “It’s cold out here you could catch something and that wound’t be no good would it.”

“I ain’t done nothin bad,” Lennie sniffled.

“I know Lennie, you ain’t done nothing bad I’m just lookin out for ya. Don’t want you to catch no cold or nothin and be outta work. What good would that do Lennie.” George noticed Lennie’s left hand curled up in a fist. “What do you got in there Lennie,” he asked suspiciously.

“In where George?”

“In your hand Lennie what do you got in there?”

“Nothin George, just a mouse that’s it I ain’t done nothing bad George I swear.”

“Lennie!” George said sternly. “What did I tell you about them dead mice, they ain’t no good Lennie!”

“It ain’t hurtin nobody by me havin a mouse George,” said Lennie.

“It’s not clean Lennie, here,” George outstretched his open hand, “Give it here.”

Lennie shook his head. “No George, Im gonna keep it and it will help tend to the rabbits with me.”

“Lennie now look, there ain’t gonna be no rabbits unless you get rid of that thing.” An idea formulated in Georges head. “I want you to throw that mouse away or else you ain’t ever gonna tend to no rabbits Lennie.”

“You don’t mean that George,” said Lennie horrified. “You, you gonna let me tend to them rabbits, and, and we gonna live off the fat a the land together,” Lennie recited. “Right George,” Lennie said desperately. “You said George, you said I get to tend to the rabbits George I remember.”

“Yeah well you ain’t gonna tend to no rabbits unless you throw that damn mouse away Lennie,” said George, his voice rising and his patience waning.

“Please George, please let me tend to them rabbits George,” Lennie pleaded.

George’s voice softened. “Ok Lennie. I’ll let you tend to the rabbits as long as you just throw that mouse away.”

“You promise George?” Lennie said. “You promise I get to tend to them rabbits?”

“All of em Lennie, all the rabbits you want.”

Lennie smiled, but it faded as he looked down at the mouse in his hand. “I’m sorry” he whispered sadly in the mouse’s ear. “I’m sorry I can’t keep my promise and bring you to the farm, I really am.”

Lennie stood up and threw the mouse into the brush and it was gone all too soon; without grace or warning.

Lennie hung his head down in bitter remorse.

“When am I gonna be able to tend to the rabbits George?”

“Soon, Lennie, soon.”

They sat against the bunkhouse wall together, reminiscing in the cold night air, and Lennie rested his head on George’s shoulder.
“I don’t like it here George,”

“Me neither,” said George softly

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