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As is often the case in Maycomb, Harper Lee's fictional town in her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, when in doubt, blame it on the black man. It was Dill's last night in Maycomb before he returned home, so he and Jem decided they would try one last time to get a peak at Boo Radley. Scout was finally convinced to join them. After looking inside one window and viewing only curtains, Jem climbed on the porch to try another window.
Then I saw the shadow. It was the shadow of a man with a hat on. At first I thought it was a tree... but tree-trunks never walked... and the shadow, crisp as toast, moved across the porch toward Jem.
... He put his arms over his head and went rigid.
The shadow stopped about a foot beyond Jem. Its arm came out from its side, dropped, and was still...
Jem leaped off the porch and galloped toward us.
As the children escaped through the collard patch, Jem tripped and fell. At that moment a shotgun blast roared overhead.
Caught in the barbed wire fence, Jem removed his pants in order to make his escape. By the time they had returned home, a group of neighbors had massed in the street.
"What happened?" asked Jem.
"Mr. Radley shot at a Negro in his collard patch."
However, Miss Stephanie embellished the story further.
"... Shot in the air. Scared him pale, though. Says if anybody sees a white nigger around, that's the one."
Only after her decidedly off-color remark did she become the first to notice that Jem was standing in his underwear.
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