Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Fat of the Land

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men:
LENNIE: How long is it goin' be till we git that little place to live on the fat of the land?
GEORGE: I don't know. We gotta get a big stake together. I know a little place we can get cheap, but they ain't givin' it away. [CANDY turns slowly over and watches GEORGE.]
LENNIE: Tell about that place, George.
GEORGE: I jus' tole you. Jus' last night.
LENNIE: Go on, tell again.
GEORGE: Well, it's ten acres. Got a little windmill. Got a little shack on it and a chicken run. Got a kitchen orchard. Cherries, apples, peaches, 'cots and nuts. Got a few berries. There's a place for alfalfa and plenty of water to flood it. There's a pig pen....
LENNIE [breaking in]: And rabbits, George?
GEORGE: I could easy build a few hutches. And you could feed alfalfa to them rabbits.
LENNIE: Damn right I could. [Excitedly.] You goddamn right I could.
GEORGE [his voice growing warmer]: And we could have a few pigs. I'd build a smokehouse. And when we kill a pig we could smoke the hams. When the salmon run up the river we can catch a hundred of 'em. Every Sunday we'd kill a chicken or rabbit. Mebbe we'll have a cow or a goat. And the cream is so goddamn thick you got to cut it off the pan with a knife.
LENNIE [watching him with wide eyes, softly]: We can live off the fat of the land.
GEORGE: Sure. All kinds of vegetables in the garden and if we want a little whiskey we can sell some eggs or somethin'. And we wouldn't sleep in no bunkhouse. Nobody could can us in the middle of a job.
LENNIE [begging]: Tell about the house, George.
GEORGE: Sure. We'd have a little house. And a room to ourselves. And it ain't enough land so we'd have to work too hard. Mebbe six, seven hours a day only. We wouldn't have to buck no barley eleven hours a day. And when we put in a crop, why we'd be there to take that crop up. We'd know what come of our planting.
Isaak Levitan, Sunny Day