Saturday, December 20, 2008

  Jim gave up trying to eat his hot stew.  "How are we going to go about it, Mac? What do we do first?"
  Mac looked over at him and saw his excitement, and laughed.
"I don't know, Jim.  That's the trouble with reading, you see.  We just have to use any materials we can pick up.  That's why all the tactics in the world won't do it.  No two are exactly alike."  For a while he ate in silence, finished off his stew, and when he exhaled, steam came out of his mouth.  "Enough for another helping, Jim?  I'm hungry."
   Jim went to the kitchen and filled his bowl again.
   Mac said, "Here's the layout.  Torgas is a little valley, and it's mostly apple orchards.  Most of it's owned by a few men.  Of course there's some little places, but there's not very many of them.  Now when the apples are ripe the crop tramps come in and pick them.  And from there they go on over the ridge and south, and pick the cotton.  If we can start the fun in the apples, maybe it will just naturally spread over into the cotton.  Now these few guys that own most of the Torgas Valley waited until most of the crop tramps were already there.  They spent most of their money getting there, of course.  They always do.  And then the owners announced their price cut.  Suppose the tramps are mad?  What can they do?  They've got to work picking apples to get out even."
- John Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle, Chapter 3

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