Some Saturdays the two white men did not hunt, but would sit nearly motionless on the front porch of the little lodge, with the bourbon and the bucket of ice cubes between them on the floor, staring somberly off toward the rows of houses which had crept out from the city to menace their land. On such days they were short-tempered and mean as old dogs sitting in the sun, snapping at each other and at Leroy, the Negro whom they always brought with them to carry and clean the game.

Leroy had gone on these excursions for so long that in some ways he knew the men better than anyone else did, including their wives, and he could predict what their mood would be from the moment they picked him up in town. This winter noon the very blast of their horn in the street outside alarmed him. He had just sat down in the kitchen to eat a plate of grits and bacon fat for lunch, when, too soon and too loud, the deep note rolled through his daughter’s flimsy little house as though to level it. Leroy rose straight up from the table, propelled on the sound. “They here!” he said, his hands fluttering before him in quieting motions. “Oh lord, oh shush,” he muttered, but again the horn called.