Of Rats and Men


Of Rats and Men
by Joubin

At about ten o’clock in the morning the sun threw a bright dust-laden bar through one of the side windows, and in and out of the beam flies shot like rushing stars.

The wooden latch raised. The door opened and a tall, stoop-shouldered old man came in. He was dressed in blue jeans and he carried a big push-broom in his left hand. Behind him came George, and behind George, Lennie.

“The boss was expectin’ you last night,” the old man said. “He was sore as hell when you wasn’t here to go out this morning.” He pointed with his right arm, and out of the sleeve came a round stick-like wrist, but no hand. “You can have them two beds there,” he said, indicating two bunks near the stove.

George stepped over and threw his blankets down on the burlap sack of straw that was a mattress. He looked into his box shelf and then picked a small yellow can from it. “Say. What the hell’s this?”

“I don’t know,” said the old man.

“Says ‘positively kills lice, roaches and other scourges.’ What the hell kind of bed you giving us, anyways. We don’t want no pants rabbits.”

The old swamper shifted his broom and held it between his elbow and his side while he held out his hand for the can. He studied the label carefully. “Tell you what—” he said finally, “last guy that had this bed was a blacksmith—hell of a nice fella and as clean a guy as you want to meet. Used to wash his hands even after he ate.” - Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck



Today brought the shameful news that further underlined Man's fall from grace. Cain hid his face in shame, lowered it, lowered his face, even though he knew (was he not told this repeatedly?) that he was to stand upright and to only lower his gaze. Crest fallen fallen man. This time he had no accusation, no excuse, to make. And anyway, He wasn't having any of it.



Cain remained silent. Damn this internet and damn those scientists, with their white coats, with their manicured fingers, with their edu-cay-tion, poking, testing, recording. That's what he was thinking. Pub-li-shing results. Damn their labs, and damn their rats, and damn their cho-co-lates.



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