We're inside of little George's head for this chapter, and character names are coming at us fast and furious, so get ready.
George is a young kid who, at the start of this chapter, is sitting around a table with two older kids named Minnie and Toddy having dinner.
Gram Mon—a way Louisiana way of saying "grandma"—is the one serving the food.
She hears another character, Candy, call to her from outside, using the name "Aunt Glo" (this tells us that Candy is a relative but is not one of Gram Mon's grandkids).
Because he's curious, George tries to get up out of his seat to see what's going on.
Gram Mon tells him to mind his own business.
As Gram Mon goes to see what Candy wants, Toddy grins at George as a way of making fun of him.
George tells us this ticks him off, but Toddy apparently caught him playing "mamma and papa" in the weeds nearby with a little girl, and threatened to tell on George if he doesn't let him do whatever he basically wants to him—laugh at him, hit him, steal his candy, whatever.
Once Candy has Gram Mon's attention, she asks if "Snookum" is around (remember: Snookum is George's nickname).
Gram Mon asks if Snookum has done anything.
Candy just repeats that she needs Snookum to get out there quick.
Snookum gets up, and Toddy and Minnie start to get up, too.
Gram Mon tells them almost the same thing that she told Snookum earlier, and that they need to sit and eat their turnips. (Mmm, turnips…)
Toddy mouths off, and says he's no turnip-eating machine. (Really, who is?)
Gram Mon tells him that he better turn into one if he knows what's good for him.
Toddy says, apparently to nobody in particular, that George can act as cool as he wants, but that he's got something on our new pal Snookum.
Gram Mon gets Snookum on out to see Candy, and it's pretty clear that she's worried or scared about something.
She tells Snookum to run and get hold of Rufe, Corrine, and Reverend Johnson and tell them to get to Mathu's house ASAP.
Candy also wants him to get to Miss Merle and have her call Lou and for the two of them to get to Mathu's—again, ASAP.
Candy says Snookum may have to have Janey call for both Lou and Miss Merle if neither of them are there.
Being a kid, Snookum is naturally curious about all these directives, so he asks Candy what's going on.
She tells him it's none of his business and he needs to get on it.
So, Snookum takes off running.
Pretty soon, he sees the front of Mathu's house, and figures that—even though Candy told him not to tell Mathu anything, he should let him know a few folks are coming over.
As he goes to find Mathu, he notices that Charlie, somebody who helps the old dude harvest sugar cane, has left two fat bundles of cane tied to a tractor, but that Charlie is nowhere to be seen.
Snookum goes around to the yard, and sees this guy Beau lying there covered in blood.
He notices that Mathu is standing nearby with a double-barrel shot-gun.
Mathu tells Snookum to stay away from Beau.
Noticing that the motor to the tractor is running, Snookum asks where Charlie is.
Mathu tells him it's none of his business, and that if Snookum doesn't get out of there quick, he'll whip his backside with a switch.
As Mathu starts walking toward him, Snookum runs off, pretending he's riding a horse.
He finds Rufe and delivers the message.
Rufe stops what he's doing and runs like crazy.
Snookum finds Corrine and delivers Candy's message.
Corrine is way less concerned than Rufe was.
He runs over to find Miss Merle, and on the way to where she works—the Marshall House—he's calling for a whole bunch of people to come to old Mathu's place. (Snookum isn't one for following directions too closely).
He finds Janey instead.
She tells him to calm down because her bosses, the Major and Miss Bea, are trying to sleep.
Snookum tells her why he's there, and that Candy wants her to call Lou.
Janey tells him he needs to have some manners and call them both Miss Candy and Mr. Lou.
Snookum repeats his message again, throwing in a "Miss" and a "Mr."
Janey wants to know why Candy's going to all this trouble.
Snookum tells her it has something to do with Beau.
Janey says she remembers hearing a shot, and asked if that was it.
Since nobody wants to tell Snookum anything, he says he doesn't know.
Jane is convinced that something terrible has happened, and that someone she calls "Fix" is going to show up with his crew of evil-doers and terrorize the people living in what she calls "the quarters."
Snookum asks for a treat for running all the way up there. (Eyes on the prize, kid.)
She's so worried that Janey doesn't even respond. She just goes inside the house.
Snookum is disappointed he didn't get a nickel or some kind of candy, but he's satisfied that he knows something that Toddy doesn't about what's going on.