One sunny afternoon, Slim was sitting under a tree, relaxing. A gentle breeze was blowing, making Slim’s long, black hair stand up gently.
‘Slim, you have a letter!’ John shouted.
John was a new worker, who came from Weed. He had just arrived to be a hodman for only a few weeks. Everything was still unfamiliar to him.
Slim opened the envelope and took the letter out.
‘Who has sent you a letter, Slim?’ asked John eagerly, sitting down next to him. ‘I haven’t received any letters since I left my home. It has been two years already.’
‘Same,’ Slim answered coolly. In fact, inside himself, he was astounded, and so yearned to read the letter. Thus, he had no interest in chatting with John. However, John didn’t recognize it. He kept talking, ‘who has sent you the letter? Is it your girlfriend? Your mum? Your dad? Your brother? Your …’
‘Shush!’ Slim interrupted. ‘I dunno yet! Ask me after I’ve read the letter!’
Slim began to read. When he had read the first sentence, his mouth immediately dropped open. John looked at Slim in confusion. He had never seen Slim with such a look.
‘Who is it?’ John asked.
‘Quiet! Let me read the letter first!’
I’m George. Still remember me?
I hope this letter reaches you. You know, I have only got this address.
Is everything all right? Anyone leave the farm after I left? OR any new comers? Are you still playing horseshoes? Now, when I am free, I always play this God-damn good game. It is do easy to win because there is a hell of rubbish!
I have found a new job- a swamper on a farm in west California. God mighty, the wage is jus’ that damn 30 bucks! Still, it’s better than jobless.
When I am sweeping the floor, it reminds me of Candy. Is he still workin’ on the farm? If he is, how is he? I remember he was goin’ to get a new puppy from you. It must have grown big by now. Anyway, Candy must have been damn happy when he got a companion.
Aaah… Times run quickly. It has been a year since Lennie’s death. I wonder, did Curley allow Lennie to be buried? If he did, do you ever go to visit his grave?
It is strange that Lennie isn’t with me. In the past, I have to use plenty of my wages for his food. So, I di’nt have much left each month. But now, I hace quite a lot left. Though it’s pleasing, you know, I jus’ don’t know what to do with it. At first, I intended to save it to buy my own ranch. But, I ain’t goin’ to ’cause without that dumb bastard, owning a farm seems not to be meaningful anymore.
Last night, I dreamed Lennie said to me, ‘George, I’m lonely. No one ain’t goin’ to talk to me. They are bullying me, George. They punched me, and I ain’t gonna get in any trouble. I’m lonely. Why did you shoot me? If you did not shoot me, I would have had puppies. Puppies, George! Why you shoot me? Why you? WHY? …’
Slim, you know, I feel guilty now. Why didn’t I do the same like we did in Weed- running away?
But it was not to be. What’s happened can’t be changed. Slim, if you find youself in the state, the jerkline skinner fits you.
After he had finished reading, Slim stared at the blue sky, stunned. He sighed deeply and mumbled, ‘I’m sorry, George. Lennie is put into the river, and washed away.’
John frowned at him, even more confused. He asked, ‘What has affected you so much?’
Slim replied, ‘Life is full of suffering. Don’t worry. It’s only an old business.’ Then, he stood up and walked away, with John looking at him, puzzled.