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逃窜

2006-03-01 00:00

  GETAWAY

  Whenever I get sleepy at the wheel, I always stop for coffee. This time, I was driving along in western Texas and I got sleepy. I saw a sign that said GAS EAT, so I pulled off the road. It was long after midnight. I expected a place like most of the rest-where the coffee tastes like copper and the flies never sleep.

  每逢开车想睡的时候,我总会停下来喝杯咖啡,我这次是在德州西部驱车前行,很想睡,看见路边有个牌子,上面写着「加油.餐饮」,于是就离开了公路。是时午夜已经过去很久,在我的预料中,这地方也会跟大多数别的地方一样,咖啡喝起来有铜味儿,苍蝇从来不睡觉。

  What I found was something else. The tables were painted and clean. They looked as if nobody ever spilled ketchup on them. The counter was spick-and-span. Even the smell was okay. Really.

  我所发现的却是另外一回事。桌子都漆过,很干净,就好像从来没有人把蕃茄酱洒在上面过似地。餐台一尘不染,连气味也还差强人意。的确是不错。

  The man behind the counter was the only person in the diner. I judged him to be about forty years old. His hair was just starting to get gray above the ears. I sat down at the counter and ordered coffee and apple pie. Right away he got me feeling sad.

  餐台后面那个男子是餐厅里仅有的一个人。照我的判断,他大约有四十来岁,两须刚开始灰白。我在餐台前面坐下来,点了咖啡和苹果派。他立刻使我感到难过。

  I have a habit: I divide people up into two groups winners and losers. This guy behind the counter belonged to the group of people who mean well; they can't do enough for you. But their eyes have this gentle, faraway look, and they can't win. You know? With their clean shirts and their littlle bow ties? It makes you sad just to look at them. But take my advice: Don't feel too sad.

  我有一种习惯:把人分成两大类-赢家和输家。有一种人心地善良,处处替别人着想,但他们的眼里却带着这种温和、茫然的神情,他们无法成为赢家,餐台后面这个家伙就是属于这种人。你知道吗?你知道那些穿着干净衬衫、打着小领结的人吗?只要一看到他们,你就会觉得难过。不过,且听听我的忠告:不要太难过。

  He brought the coffee steaming hot, and it smelled like real coffee. "Care for cream and sugar?" he asked.

  他拿上来一杯热气腾腾的咖啡,气味香纯。「要加牛奶和糖吗?」他问道。

  I said, "Please." The coffee was the best I had tasted for months. The pie was good too.

  我说道:「好。」有好几个月没有喝过这么好的咖啡了,苹果派也很不错。

  A car pulled up outside. The man galnced out to see if the people wanted gas, but they didn't. The two men came right in. The tall one said, "Two coffees. Do you have a road map that we could look at?"

  有部轿车开到外面来。那人向外瞄了一眼,看看那些人是不是要加油,他们不是来加油的。那两个男人立刻走了进来,其中一个高个子说道:「来两杯咖啡,你可有道路图让我们瞧瞧?」

  "I think so," the man behind the counter said. He got their coffee first and then started looking through a pile of papers by the telephone, trying to find a map. It was easy to see he was the type who would go out of his way to help you. He was always pleased to be of service.

  「有呵。」餐台后面那个人说道。他先给他们咖啡,然后在电话旁边的一堆报纸里翻来翻去,寻找地图。显而易见,他属于那种热心助人的人,随时乐意为别人效劳。

  I'm the same type myself, if you want to know. I watched him hunting for a map, and I felt like I was looking in a mirror. 不妨告诉你,我也是那种人。我看着他寻找地图,就像是在一面镜子里看着自己。

  After a minute or two, he came up with one. 一、 两分钟之后,他拿着一份地图走上前去。

  "This one's a little out of date, but……" He put it on the counter, beside their coffee cups.

  「这份地图有点过时,不过……。」他把地图放在餐台上,就在他们的咖啡杯旁边。

  The two men spread out the map and leaned over it. They were well dressed, similar to the people who sell animal feed to farmers. The tall one ran his finger along the Rio Grande River and shook his head. "I guess there's no place to get across to Mexico this side of El Paso."

  那两个人把地图摊开,俯身查看。他们衣着整齐,像是向农人推销饲料那种人:高个子用手指沿着里奥格兰河移动,摇摇头说:「我想厄尔巴索这边没有路可以通到墨西哥。」

  He said it to his pal, but the man behind the counter heard him, and his face lit up like a light bulb. "You trying to find the best way south? I might be able to help you with that."

  "How?"

  他是在向他的朋友说话,但是餐台后面那个人也听见了,他的脸像电灯泡似地突然亮了起来。」「你们想找一条往南走的最好的道路吗?我可能帮得上忙。」

  「怎么个帮法呢?」

  "Just a minute." He spent a lot of time going through the papers by the telephone again. "Thought I might have a newer map," he said. "Anything recent would show the Hackett Bridge. Anyway, I can tell you how to find it."

  「等一等。」他又在电话旁边的报纸里翻了半天。「总觉得有份比较新的地图,」他说道。「任何一份新出的地图都会标示出哈奇特桥的。不管怎么说,我可以告诉你们怎样去找那座桥。」

  "Here's a town called Hackett," the tall one said, still looking at the map. "It's on the river, just at the end of a road. Looks like a pretty small place."

  「这儿就是那个叫做哈奇特的市镇,」 高个子说道,仍旧看着地图。「市镇是在河边,就在路的尽头,看起来是个很小的地方。」

  "Not any more. It has just about doubled in size since they built the bridge." 「现在可不算小,自从兴建那座桥以后,那个市镇差不多有从前两倍大了。」

  "What happens on the other side?" The short one asked the question, but both of them were paying close attention.

  「河的对面怎么样?」是矮个子在发问,可是他们两人都在聚精会神地听着。

  "Pretty fair road, clear to Chihuahua, Mexico. It joins up there with the highway out of El Paso and Juarez."

  「河对面有条非常好的道路,一直通到墨西哥的吉花瓦,在那儿衔接从厄尔巴索通往瓦里斯的公路。」

  The tall man finished his coffee, folded the map, put it in his pocket, and stood up. "We'll take your map with us," he said.

  高个子把咖啡喝完,把地图折好放在口袋里,然后站起来。「我们要把你的地图带走,」他说道。

  The man behind the counter seemed startled. However, he just shrugged and said, "Glad to let you have it."

  餐台后面那个人好像有点吃惊,但他只是耸耸肩膀说道:「乐意让你们带走。」

  The two men had a little conference on their way out, talking in whispers. Then they suddenly whipped around, reached inside their jackets, and pulled out guns. "You sit where you are and don't move," the tall one said to me. "And, you, back up against the wall," he said to the man behind the counter.

  那两个人出去的时候低声商量了一会儿,突然转过身来,把手伸进夹克,拔出枪来。「你就坐在原处,不许动,」高个子对我说道。「你,往后退,靠在墙上,」他对餐台后面那个人说道。

  Both of us did exactly as he instructed. I told you we were a lot alike. 我们两人乖乖地服从他的命令。我说过,我们两人十分相似。

  The short man walked over to the cash register. "Every little bit helps," he said, and he scooped the money out of the drawer. The tall man set the telephone on the floor, put his foot on it, and jerked the wires out. Then they both ran to their car,got in, and took off.

  矮个子走到收银机前面去。「每个铜板都很管用,」他 说道,并且把抽屉里的钱拿走了。高个子把电话放在地板上,用一只脚踩在上面,猛一下把电线拉了出来。接着,他们两人就奔向他们的车子,跳上去,开走了。

  I looked at the man behind the counter. He seemed a little pale, but he didn't waste any time. He took a screwdriver out of a drawer and squatted down beside the telephone. I said, "It doesn't always pay to be nice to people." 我看看餐台后面那个人。他的面色有点苍白,但他并没有浪费时间。他从抽屉里拿出一把起子,在电话旁边蹲下来。我说道:「真是好心没好报。」

  He laughed and said, "Well, it doesn't usually cost anything," and went on taking the base plate off the telephone. He was a fast worker. In about five minutes, he had a dial tone coming out of the receiver. He dialed a number and told the police about the men and their car. "They did?" he said, "Well, well, well……No, not El Paso. They took the Hackett turnoff." After he hung up, he said, "It turns out those guys robbed a band in Wichita Falls."

  他笑笑,然后说道:「嗯,好心通常不会有什么损失。」他一面说一面继续把电话的底板拿掉。他的动作很快,大约五分钟以后,听筒里就有嘟嘟嘟的声音了。他拨了一个号码,把那两个人和他们的车子告诉警察。「是他们干的吗?」他说道。「嗯,嗯,嗯……不对,不是去厄尔巴索,他们是从哈奇特的岔路走的。」他把电话挂断后又说道:「原来那两个家伙还在维契托佛尔抢了一家银行呢!」

  I shook my head. "They sure had me fooled. I thought they looked perfectly all right."

  我摇摇头,说道:「他们真把我给骗了,我还以为他们是好人呢。」

  The man got me another cup of coffee and opened himself a bottle of soda pop. "They fooled me, too, at first ." He wiped his mouth. "Then I got a glimpse of their shoulder holsters when they leaned on the counter to look at the map. Anyway, they had mean eyes, I thought. Didn't you?"

  那人给了我另一杯咖啡,并且为自己开了一瓶汽水。「起初他们也把我给骗了。」他擦擦嘴。「后来他们在餐台上俯身查看地图的时候,我瞥见了他们肩上的手枪皮套。不管怎么说,我觉得他们有点贼眉贼眼的。」「你难道没有那种感觉吗?」

  "Well, I didn't at the time."

  「嗯,我当时并没有那种感觉。」

  We drank without talking for a while, getting our nerves back in shape. A pair of patrol cars went roaring by out side and squealed their tires around the Hackett turnoff.

  我们默默地喝了一会儿,慢慢平静下来。有两部警车风驰电掣地在外面驶过,车子的轮胎在哈奇特的岔路上发出吱嘎吱嘎的声音。

  I got to think, and I thought of the saddest thing yet. "You knew there was something wrong with those guys, but you still couldn't keep from helping them on their way."

  我在想,我在往最坏的地方想。「你明明知道那两个家伙有问题,可是仍旧无法阻止他们,不让他们上路。」

  He laughed and said, "Well, the world's a tough sort of place at best; that's how I look at it."

  "I can understand showing them the map." I said. "But I wouldn't have told them about the bridge. Now there's no chance of catching them. If you had kept your mouth shutm there would at least be some hope."

  他笑笑,然后说道:「嗯,这个世界是个十分险恶的地方;这就是我对它的看法。」

  「拿地图给他们看倒是可以谅解的,」我说道。「但我绝不会告诉他们那座桥的事。现在没有机会抓住他们了。你要是不曾吐露半个字,至少还会有一点希望。」

  "There isn't any ……"

  「根本就没有……」

  "Not a shred," I went on. "Not with a car as fast as they've got."

  「一丝也没有,」我继续说道:「他们的车子跑得那么快,哪还会有希望呢!」

  The way the man smiled made me feel better about him and me. "I don't mean there isn't any hope," he said. "I mean there isn't any bridge."

  那人微笑的样子,使我觉得我和他的心情变得轻松多了。「我并不是说毫无希望,」他说道:「我是说根本就没有桥。」

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