A memory, before the fear that came with Gus’s love - that’s right - It took a while but that tiny crawdad got the best of the old man, and with love came the fear he never had for himself; fear of what the future had in store for his fragile boy, the hurt, the disappointment, the sharp promise of despair, failure and to top it off, the disease of death that already ran through his veins.
So Gus hadn’t killed Crawly, no, he slowly tortured him with his love. His was a promise to inure the boy against the pitfalls of life; a plan to keep the boy’s head as low as possible, eyes down, close to the ground, with bruises and stumbling incorporated. That was Gus’s love: Bruises and Stumbling Inc..
But before all that there was something else, a pleasant feeling, one that came without the residual violence after the vice. It was the nearness of that feeling and the close threat to it, in the form of that guy - suddenly that stinking, lousy guy sneaking out of Babe’s place - that made him go,
Crawly didn’t know any of that, but Babe did. And after that poor guy had his teeth in one hand and his jaw in the other she said this to Crawly:
“You want your Mama and that’s pathetic.”
That guy, he saw an opening in the startled look on Crawly’s face, made a weak fist and took a swing but missed. The weight of those two beads clamped in his hand was enough to throw him off balance, draw him forward off his feet and he went down a second time over Babe’s threshold, down into a bullseye of his own blood.