What is the answer to the mystery observed by Lou Dimes in A Gathering of Old Men?
In the chapter "Albert Jackson - aka - Rooster".
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After he had arrived on the scene of the murder and waited with the men, Candy, and the sheriff for awhile, Lou Dimes noticed that the old men began
"leaving the front yard one at a time to go to the back. The only time they didn't move around was when Gil and (the) other fellow were here, but as soon as they left, the people started moving one at a time toward the back again. Each one would stay four or five minutes, return and nod, then another one would go. Mapes didn't pay them any attention, and neither did Candy".
Lou was mystified as to what the men were doing. He says, "I didn't know what was going on. I was just there" ("Lou Dimes").
A few chapters later, Rooster sheds light on what was really happening. Under the pretext of going to the toilet, the men were going over to a shoe box filled with shells that Clatoo had hidden under the house. The men were reloading their shotguns and taking a few extra shells each as well. Whereas before, they had all had one empty chamber in their guns to make it look like they had been the one to shoot Beau Boutan, now they were preparing for a confrontation should one ensue ("Albert Jackson - aka - Rooster").
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