Chapter 24

Tonight at the camp, excitement is in the air. Everyone is getting ready for the Saturday dance, young and old, dancers, musicians and the ones just watching and enjoying themselves. People from other camps are invited as well.

 Ingeniously, the men managed to make a light system for the dance floor, out of bits of electric wire, friction tap and bottle necks, for protection.

 The Central Committee gathered to discuss the news : they have heard about trouble makers joining them and starting a riot. The Committee recruited more men for the evening, to keep their eyes and ears open, ready to intervene if they see any sign of agitation. They want to keep things under control. They know that a riot would give deputies a chance to eventually close the camp. The deputies are watching them outside the gates…waiting for the riot.

 The men know they are seen by locals as taking away from them when receiving relief “what us taxpayers put in an’ goddamn Oakies take out.“  A little man will answer back to them, arguing that they pay taxes on sales, gas, tobacco. He adds that farmers, railroads and shipping companies draw subsidies from the government, therefore getting relief as they do.

 Hmmmmmm…this sounds familiar.

 Sadly enough, the trouble makers are migrant themselves, doing it for money, and the squad will ask them : “Don’t knife your own folks. We’re tryin’ to get along, havin’ fun an’ keepin’ order. Don’t tear all that down. Jes’ think about it. You’re jes’ harmin’ yourself.“

 After the agitators are sent back over the fence, to disappear into the night, the risk of riot is over and there is no reason for the deputies to stay.

 The squad goes back to the dance floor and “Ol’ Dan Tucker“ is playing. The migrant men danced far into the night.

Dancing at the Camp