Of Mice and Men
It had been a week since the incident involving Lennie. George was still getting used to the idea of living without him. It was hard, as he had been looking after Lennie, since they were children. George regretted what he did, but he knew it was for the best. The boss had hired two new hands, yet neither matched the working capacity of Lennie. Jimmy Montel was a small, well-built guy, with a good head on his shoulders. Fredrick Hammond on the other hand was rather average guy, with two tough arms.
“This, well… I… I… I got it caught in a machine, ’bout a week ago,” replied Curly uncomfortably, eyes fixed on his crushed hand. It was a warm summers night and Carlson, Fredrick, Slim, George and Curly were at a tavern in Soledad. The tavern was lit brightly and it was swarming with men.
“You’re pretty lucky, that’s what you are,” replied the girl, ” most guys, I know, get their entire han’ cut off. In fact, I ain’t never met a guy, who’s han’ was spared from a machine before.”
Curly was suddenly uneasy. He wasn’t sure whether Rose knew it was all a lie or whether she was just curious. Thinking hard, yet quickly, it struck him, he could use the story of the fight to his advantage and impress this girl. She stuck him like the type who he would get along with just fine.
“I was only foolin’ ya,” Curly started, trying to act like he was just playing around. ” I hurt it in a fight. Yeah, this punk was lookin’ for a fight, so I gave ‘im one. I’m Curly, and you are?”
“Well, hello Curly, I’m Rose. You sure are brave, ain’t ya,” Rose said, shaking Curly’s good hand. He no longer worn his Vaseline glove as he didn’t have a wife to keep it soft for. “What happened, I mean in the fight?” she asked, suddenly becoming interested, turning around on her stool to face Curly. Rose, the girl sitting next to Curly at the polished, wooden bar was probably in her mid-twenties as far as Curly could tell. She was dressed in a red lacy dress, red-pointed shoes with gold buckles. She wore her blonde, wavy, hair back with brown clips and had so much make-up on you could barely make out what her real features looked like. Lips as red as strawberries, eyes as blue as the sky and cheeks so pink it looked as if she had been out in the sun all day.
“Well, this guy I known, he was twice as tall as me, anyways he was always lookin’ to pick a fight with anyone he could, an’ I jus’ happened to get in his way. I was jus’ mindin’ my own business out in the barn one day an’ he walked up to me and chucked a right punch at me, cutting my face. I didn’t want to fight um, so I pushed ‘im away from me, but he was the stubborn type, so he comes runnin’ back throwin’ punches this way and that.” Curly took a deep breath, picked up his glass and drank. He slammed the glass down and continued to make up his story as Rose listened with profound curiosity.
“Yeah, the guy came runnin’ and punchin’ like crazy, but I jus’ blocked his punches. So ‘e grabbed this ‘ere han’ and tried to crush it. The punk wouldn’t let go, so I struck a couple ‘a times in the face, till ‘e let go. He almost broked all the bones in my han’, but I bloodied up ‘is face.” He continued, his eyes moving from his hand to the empty glass, to Rose’s feet, and up. ” The guy got fired and he’s off somewhere else now, probably regrettin’ he ever crossed paths wit’ me.”
“See this scar ‘ere?” Curly asked, pointing to his cheek, “well I got that from the fight too, yeah the punk, slashed my face with a left hook.”
“What scar? There ain’t nothing there.”
“Well, I guess it’s healed all up then,” lied Curly.
“You poor thing. Does it hurt much?” Rose asked sympathetically.
A sudden rush of excitement washed over Curly as he realised he had the girl under his spell. He had gotten her to feel sorry for him with a fake story and a broke hand. He smiled at her, and said, ” Its still hurts a bit, but not as bad as before.”