As Curley’s wife lay their motionless, her golden curls draping around her petite neck while her crisp, white blouse ruffled gently as the breeze blew through the barn door. The golden sunlight of the setting sun bathed her in an orange glow; her lifeless face was lit up as Lennie sat their on his haunches muttering the same words over and over again, “lady, hey lady, lady… ” He still didn’t realise that she was, dare I say it, dead. Once again a something so full of life has returned to the Earth from whence it came, and all of this was the fault of Lennie.

The big guy was just sitting there, not knowing what to do he just sat there, his cropped hair and stubble looking orange in the sunlight, his big nose, eyes and mouth unknowing and not moving began to change his expression as his slow brain began to conform to what he had done. Murdered ! He began to cry out, “George, George, help me George, please help me! ” Meanwhile George was in the local brothel setting ’bout a while watching the ladies dance.

The sunlight was gradually fading as it dropped behind the clouds just above the horizon, George looked at his wristwatch, all battered and scratched from the many years of ranch working it had endured, and decided that it was time to leave, Slim acknowledged that he was leaving and followed him out of the door. Just as they arrived back the tip of the setting sun dropped below the horizon, the time was approaching half past eight, and the air was chilling slightly, George pulled his jacket tighter around himself as they both walked into the ranch.

Lennie was sitting on his bunk, as George walked in Lennie looked up at him. Straightaway George knew that something was the matter, not knowing what was up George asked him “what’s the matter with you Lennie? ” “N… Nothin’ George, honestly, nothin’ “. This reply indicated to George that something was definitely the matter with Lennie. “C’mon Lennie, somethin’s up, you can’t hide it from me I know you too well,” “Uh… uh, I didn’t mean to, honestly George… ” “Maybe you’d better just show me huh Lennie? ” Lennie walked out of the door closely followed by George.

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As the two of them walked out Slim walked in after a game of toss the horseshoe, puzzled he followed the two of them to the barn. Lennie stood at the door of the barn and pointed inside without looking in. George and Slim looked at each other and walked inside not knowing what they would find. “Where’s he gone? ” George cried in surprise, he was standing here not two minutes ago. While George and Slim had been inside Lennie had made a break for it! “I cannot believe this,” said George, “he’s never thought for himself before”.

Lennie had run into the forest and hidden in the brush right where Lennie had told him to go if anything had happened, which it had, and he had actually done it! He couldn’t believe Lennie had done something off of his own back. They decided they should tell Curley as soon as possible, they knew Curley would want to kill Lennie and so they thought they should tell him so he couldn’t blame them for keeping it from him. “What! I can’t believe it! ” He was both in a state of disbelief and anger. He couldn’t believe his wife was dead, and yet he seemed more intent on hurting somebody else because he was hurting himself.

His face was twisted and contorted with rage, his eyes were bloodshot, his lips were tight with resentment, his face was beetroot red, he wanted revenge and he was gonna get it. He got up, nobody stood in his way, they didn’t see the point, he was so intent on slaughtering Lennie that he left without saying a word, he picked up his luger and headed out into the woods. “He can’t be far,” he said, “I’ll get the son of a bitch, I’ll get him alright “, and with that he left.

George and Slim decided to round everybody up to try and find Lennie before that savage beast which had erupted inside of Curley found him and slowly killed and maimed him. Where is he? ” said George, by this time he was getting a bit worried and thought that maybe Curley had already gotten to him. “Don’t worry” Slim said, “I’m sure we can reason with Curley and try to sort it, “no way! He’s so mad not even God himself could reason with him now! ” They ran on and eventually, thanks to George’s intuition found Lennie in the brush where he had told him to go only a few weeks earlier. “Lennie, my God, he’s huntin’ you down,” “but, but… I didn’t mean to George, I swear,” “Okay Lennie I believe you, but he won’t listen, he’s so clouded with rage he jus’ won’t listen to anybody. Slim decided to leave George and Lennie to talk over what they should do.

George went over the plans in his head while Lennie sat there, thinking of what could have been, “the poor lummox” thought George, “he has no idea, the dumb basta… ” suddenly it came to him, “I know Lennie” “what George, what? ” George knew he couldn’t tell Lennie his plan, it would take too long, especially as Lennie would have been to thick to work it all out, “quick Lennie, turn around and look up to those mountains,” as Lennie slowly turned around to look up to the mountains George put his plan into action.

Lennie” he said, “in a few seconds you’ll be on the floor, don’t move and don’t say a word until I come back tonight to get you,” George was unable to tell if Lennie had understood or not, but surely it would be worth a try. He kicked Lennie’s legs out from underneath him, as Lennie fell to the ground George pulled out a luger from under his coat and pulled the trigger. Lennie hit the ground the shot rang out around the mountains. It was completely still after the animals and birds had fled in terror. George just collapsed onto his haunches, Slim had heard the shot and was first to get to George, “what’s happened? he asked. “I’ll tell ya later” he replied. As he finished his sentence Curley and the others turned up.

Candy took off his hat and held it to his chest, some of the others did the same, there was a few moments silence before Curley cried out “you dumb asshole! I was supposed to kill him, he killed my wife,” pointing to Lennie’s body on the floor. George quickly began to defend Lennie saying “he didn’t mean to, he’s just a big dumb nobody, you wouldn’t have taken any pleasure from it anyhow! ” Curley didn’t have a reply to this; he thought he had probably acted too rash causing the death of somebody else.

Curley may be heartless when it comes to beating people up, but killing someone is a little harsh, even for someone like Curley. As they walked away Curley and Candy were chatting about what they could’ve done on the farm, Candy was close to tears, George couldn’t stand it any longer, he couldn’t keep a secret from someone he had grown trust. He told Candy “he’s not dead” “what’re you talking ’bout” replied Candy, “he’s not dead” George insisted, “how? You shot him in the head, or so you told me,” “did you see any blood stains or bullet holes,” “you underhand, sly son of a… “I just couldn’t think of any other way,” he told Candy.

“This cannot get out among the other ranchers,” said Candy, “I know, I know” came George’s reply. George and Candy went into one of the other barns alone so they could talk over what to do about the ‘undead’. They decided to leave that night, Candy would clear out his bank account which he had been saving for so long and George decided to do a big heist on the ranch that night. He knew they wouldn’t be able to buy a farm or ranch of their own with Candy’s money alone. They couldn’t stay and work there any longer because Lennie would die if he were left in the forest alone.

They decided to do it that night and enrol the help of a few of the old hands. George went and spoke to Slim about the possibilities of this so-called ‘job’ Slim went along with it, but would Carlson. Candy went and spoke to him, he was in. Slim’s guilty conscience suddenly kicked in, “what about the others? ” “What about the others? ” Candy said.

“Well, if we take all the money from here then they’ll lose their jobs and have no money,” “he’s right ya know” George said. “Well that’s it then,” said Carlson, “maybe not, why don’t we ask them all to help out? “That’s a great idea George,” “but what if one of them refuses and grasses us up to Curley or even the boss! ” “I think that’s a risk we should take. ” “I agree, we might as well, we won’t have enough money if we don’t. ” “What if Curley… ” “What if Curley what? ” “What if he got jumpy and whacked one of us? ” “Again, a risk we gotta take, now enough of the what if’s lets do this thing,” said George. “Yeah! Lets do it,” they all said in unison. That evening there was a bustling of activity and organisation. By nine thirty they were all in, all that is except the ‘nigger’.

They had to try and persuade him as well, because after all everyone deserves a chance, no matter of race, colour or creed. They entered his lone bunkhouse; he was agitated by this mass gathering and was a little jumpy, there was a bead of perspiration running over his furrowed brow, he didn’t know what they wanted, he thought they may harm him in some way, but he relaxed when they told him their plan. He was in. He was so happy that someone had wanted to include him, after all, he’d been dismissed as a ‘nigger’ thousands of times, no-one had ever asked him to help with anything big before.

They were all in! One by one they came up with suggestions and plans and ways and means of achieving their goal. By the time the plans were finalised it was one thirty. The moon was just above the horizon; it looked larger than normal, the craters and the ‘seas’ were extremely bright. The whole ranch was lit up, all the stars were visible, and there was not a cloud to be seen in the night sky. “What a night,” said George, “I just hope that Lennie hasn’t run off,” “maybe one of us should go check on him,” said Crooks, “nah! Replied George, he’ll be just fine. And with that they began their operation.

The ‘nigger’ was on lookout as was Whit, one at the entrance and one by Curley’s bunkhouse hidden in the bushes. George was the brains of the operation and had been secretly observing, over the few weeks he had been there, where Curley was taking the money at the end of the day. He had first had the idea of raiding the ranch when he’d come back late from walking one night and saw Curley through the window putting money into the safe, he never thought that his idea would actually come of age, but quite a lot had changed since that day!

Slim was George’s rear guard, because he was the most trusted member of the ranchers, who went in while George ‘cracked’ the big, black safe to which nobody but Curley knew the contents of, and watched his back. There would be no guns except for one because it would be too much of a risk. Carlson was to be the only man with a gun as he was the most experienced member of the group and could handle guns sensibly and was not trigger-happy.

While all this was happening the remaining members of the ranch would be ready, in case there was a problem with Curley, or anyone else for that matter, and were ready to pounce and sort out the problem, no questions asked! So the plan was sorted. No one was without a job; everyone was in place, ready and waiting. George and Slim crept out of the bunkhouse wearing their darkest clothes. George had black trousers; a black shirt with a black waist jacket and a dark brown peaked hat, slim was wearing all black with mud on his face.

They could hardly be seen in the shade of the moonlight, but when they came out they were a little more suspicious. Bushes and other buildings were their only cover, and they had to creep right outside Curley’s window, would he be asleep or would he still be awake planning what to do with his wife’s body, it still lay where it had last come to rest at the fate of Lennie. Luckily for them Curley had drifted off to sleep in his armchair with a whiskey bottle in his hand, probably trying to drown his sorrows, poor bastard! He thought, he won’t rouse ’til mornin’ for sure, but as he said that he stepped on a twig.

There was a metaphorically speaking ‘deafening’ cracking sound. George and Slim stopped instantly, petrified, they were stuck to the spot, not one of them dared move for fear of Curley. Neither wanted to turn around in case Curley was sanding there with a luger in his hand pointing it straight at one of their heads uttering the words ” what the hell d’ya think you’re doing? ” It felt like an eternity passed before George turned his head and looked around his shoulder at Slim, whereas it was only a matter of a minute or two.

He can’t have waken,” said Slim looking over the window sill to confirm this, “nope, sound as a baby! ” “Thank the lord above for that,” said George. They continued their journey and eventually arrived at the office. George put his hand up to the knob and turned, he pushed the door but it wouldn’t budge. “What! ” exclaimed Slim when George told him the bad news, “however the good news is that I spy a window on the other side that looks to be open, I can’t be sure but it’s definitely worth a try,” he said to Slim, “lets go” Slim replied.

They made their way around to the other side of the office finding that the window was open he pushed it upwards causing a lot of noise in the process. “Damn it George! ” “I couldn’t help it,” he replied irritably. They waited to see if Curley had heard, meanwhile Whit was staring intently at Curley, he saw him stir and then drift into a deep drunken sleep again. He breathed a sigh of relief as he looked over to the office and saw George and Lennie staring transfixedly at him waiting for a signal that everything was okay, he gave them the thumb’s up and they proceeded to climb in through the now open window.

Inside George began the tedious operation of cracking the safe. He had managed to embezzle a stethoscope out of the doctor’s emergency room so he could listen to every turn of the code-wheel inside the safes portly door. Slim looked down to his watch as he looked out of each window of the office in turn he saw it was getting quite early, the time was now twenty past four, the sun would be rising soon and that meant that their cover would be blown and the game would be up. He also noticed that his ageing hairy hands were perspiring rather more than they should be.

For the first time in his adult life he was nervous and was becoming very irrational. George tried to calm him down as he worked on the safe; luckily Slim sat down and calmed himself. George had made two successful turns of the knob and was onto the final and most crucial turn, he concentrated so hard that even an earthquake or tornado could not have disturbed him. The final click came to George’s ear, he pulled the lever to open the door only to find there was yet another door, this time requiring a key. George felt like screaming out but contained himself.

He told Slim to stay where he was, George had come this far and he wasn’t about to give up easily. He clambered out of the window making no noise at all. The sky had clouded over slightly and the moon was now gone, he noticed over the horizon the black of the night sky turning dark blue, he realised that dawn was approaching and knew he didn’t have a lot of time to find that key, the key to all of their freedoms and work-free days, and also to Lennie’s rabbit farming plans.

“I can’t let them down,” George said to himself, “especially not Lennie! He arrived at the door to Curley’s bunkhouse, he slowly turned the doorknob and ‘yes’ thought George to his amazement, the door clicked open and with a light push George opened the door. Curley was sitting in the same armchair as he was before. His position had changed slightly but nothing was going to put George off of finding that key, that key that was hanging round Curley’s neck, it glinted in his eye almost wryly smiling at him as if it had one their metaphorical game of hide and seek. It was the biggest setback to the heist so far.

George rubbed his sweat-covered hand over his stubbly chin. There was only one way to open that safe, there was only one way to get the key that would that, he would have to go right up to Curley and lift it off of his neck. He inched his way up to Curley’s chair bit by bit, not making a sound, not breathing, when all of a sudden Curley’s head rose, he drew breath and then lolled his head forward. George’s prayers had been answered, the key now hung loosely around Curley’s neck instead of being pulled taut about his chest.

George moved swiftly, he pulled the chain off and was out of there in a flash. Whit looked at him in amazement from his hideout in the bush and just gave him the thumb’s up as he wiped his own sweat-covered brow. Back inside the office Slim noticed that the time had moved on quite considerably since he had last looked, it was now a quarter past six and the sun was beginning to poke it’s proverbial yellow head over the horizon. Slim rubbed his bleary eyes and told George who by now was loading his bag with cash. Holy cow George! That’s enough to feed a village for a month,” “you’re telling me” replied George, “he must have been keeping it all for himself, greedy git!

” We’ll show him, lets take the lot and keep the key, he’ll never know how much we got and by the time he sobers up we’ll be long gone. ” “You’re right, we’ll give him a taste of his own money, he kept our hard earned cash away from us so we’ll keep his not so hard earned cash away from him, permanently! ” “Yeah! “Let’s get out of here,” said George. They both got out the window and crept their way over to the exit, Whit followed slightly behind them, he caught up to them and said, “well you guys have used up at least three of your nine lives tonight,” “tell me about it,” said Slim, “I got so nervous at one stage I almost bottled-it! ” “Anyway, how much was there in that safe,” “we don’t know” George told him, “we didn’t really hang around to count it! ” “‘Course not, I understand,” replied Whit.

Lennie had stayed in exactly the same position for the whole night, when they saw him lying there they thought that something was wrong with him, but amazingly he had carried out George’s every word to the letter, he hadn’t moved, not even an inch, since George told him not to, he had no idea about the raid on the safe he hadn’t a clue that they all planned to help make George’s idea of buying their own ranch a reality. He couldn’t believe it when they told him, he was to have a new life, new friends, new rabbits, he was overjoyed and he was speechless, probably a good thing, because nothing intelligent ever came out.

All in all it had been a satisfying end to a hard nights work. They were all shocked to find out how much Curley had had stashed away in there. “That must’ve taken him a good few years and a good few tax evasions to rack up that much,” exclaimed Carlson when he saw how much there was. There were many comments like this as the group walked down the road to their freedom, the sun had just risen straight ahead of them, George and Slim lapped up the praise as they walked into their new lives and their ‘new-found’ wealth. “I just feel sorry for Curley,” said Candy. “Nah! ” they all said in unison.


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