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  • “I didn’t mean to kill Brownie,” I said.

    “Don’t need to tell me nothin'. I know you meant no harm.”

    “Why didn’t he get up? He saw me. I know he saw me.”

    Brownie had lifted up from his bowl and stared with brown-gravy eyes before the surging garden tiller caught him. He didn’t budge. He didn’t even try.

    “He was old,” Grandpa said. “You get tired when you get old.”

    The old man stirred the gravel with his shovel handle. He stared across the hay meadow and spit tobacco juice between two fingers. I watched an overlooked potato, hard as stone.

    “Blame don’t change a thing, you know,” Grandpa said. “It's poison is all.”
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