Chapter 6

 

Chapter 6

            On Dill’s last night with us that summer, before he went back to Mississippi to start school, Dill noticed Mr. Avery on his front porch.  Dill said, “Golly, looka yonder.”  At first we saw nothing, but then we saw an arc of water falling from the leaves and splashing into the yellow circle of the street light ten feet away.  Dill said, “Mrs. Avery must drink a gallon a day!”  So I realized that Mr. Avery was peeing off his porch!!  And then Dill and Jem argued over which one of them could pee further, and of course I felt left out again being a girl and all.

            Later that night Dill and Jem said they were going to peep in the Radley’s window to see if they could get a look at Boo.  They said that if I didn’t want to go with them I could go straight home and keep my mouth shut about it.  I said, “Jem, don’t…”

            Jem said, “Scout, I’m telling you for the last time, shut your trap or go home – I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!”  So, I shut up and joined them.  We snuck under a barbed wire fence and through a creaky gate into the Radley’s yard.  We had to be very quiet, and I was so nervous!  We gave Dill a boost up to look in the window, but he didn’t see anything.  So we went around back and Jem crept across the porch and peeked in a window.  That was when I noticed the shadow.  It was the shadow of a man with a hat on, and it was moving towards Jem!  The moonlight was bright enough to make shadows that night.  Dill noticed it too, and then Jem.  We were petrified!!  The shadow stopped about a foot beyond Jem.  Its arm came out from its side, dropped, and was still.  Then it turned and moved back across Jem, walked along the porch and off the side of the house, returning as it had come.

            We all made a run for it!  We ran to the gate, and as we ran through the collards, I tripped.  Then I heard the roar of a shotgun!  We all scurried toward the barbed wire fence, but Jem got caught in it as he tried to go under.  His pants were caught and he couldn’t get them free, so he kicked his pants off and started running in his underwear!

            After resting for a minute, we realized that because of the shotgun noise, the whole neighborhood was standing around in the Radley’s front yard to see what was going on.  We realized that we had better show up or else people might start to realize that it was US sneaking around in their yard!  When we got there we saw Mr. Nathan Radley (Boo’s older brother ) standing with a shotgun by his side.  Atticus was there, and Miss Maudie, Miss Stephanie Crawford, Miss Rachel (Dill’s aunt), and Mr. Avery.

            “What happened,” asked Jem, as if he didn’t know.

            Miss Maudie replied, “Mrs. Radley says he shot at a Negro in his collard patch.”

            “Did he hit him?”

            “No,” said Miss Stephanie.  “Shot in the air.  Scared him pale, though.  Says if anybody sees a white n****r around, that’s the one.  Says he’s got another bullet waitin’ for the next sound he ears in that patch, an’ next time he won’t aim high, be it dog, n****r, or – Jem Finch!?”  Miss Stephanie had just noticed Jem standing there without any pants on!

            “Yes, Ma’am?” asked Jem.

            Atticus spoke.  “Where’re your pants, son?”

            Dill spoke up quickly.  He thought of a good excuse so nobody would suspect that it was really US in the Radley’s yard.  He told everyone that he had won Jem’s pants from him in a game of strip poker.  Jem and I relaxed, thinking this was a good excuse.

            But Miss Rachel, Dill’s aunt, was very upset.  She didn’t think we should be playing poker!!  Gambling was a bad thing!!  But we said we were only betting with matches, not with real money.  So they calmed down a little.  Sure, matches were dangerous, but gambling was really dangerous!!  Kids shouldn’t be gambling!  It is kind of ironic that they’re more concerned about us playing with cards than about us playing with matches!!

            In the middle of the night, Jem had to sneak out to go back and get his pants, which were still stuck in the Radley’s fence.  If he didn’t get the pants back, Atticus would know that Dill’s strip poker excuse wasn’t true.  He didn’t want Atticus to find out what he had done because he knew Atticus would be very disappointed in him.  Jem said we shouldn’t have gone to the Radley place like that.  It was wrong.  I was scared to let Jem go back there alone in the middle of the night, but he went anyway.  After a while, he came back and crept into bed.   Thank goodness!