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Tropic of Cancer[北回归线][En/Cn]

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第3节

第二天中午时分我去敲他的房门,他已起床了,在抹肥皂刮胡子,从他脸上看不出什么来,甚至看不出他会不会对我说实话。阳光从敞开的窗子里倾泻进来,小鸟在吱吱叫,却不知怎么搞的,屋子比往常更加显得光秃秃的、更穷酸。地板上溅满了肥皂泡沫,架子上挂着那两条从来不曾换过的脏毛巾。不知怎么搞了,卡尔也一点儿变化都没有,真叫我大惑不解。今天早上整个世界都该发生变化,不论变好变坏总得变,剧烈地变。可是卡尔却站在那儿往脸上抹肥皂,全然不动声色。

Around noon next day I knock at his door. He's up already and lathering his beard. Can't tell a thing from the expression on his face. Can't even tell whether he's going to tell me the truth. The sun is streaming in through the open window, the birds are chirping, and yet somehow, why it is I don't know, the room seems more barren and poverty-stricken than ever. The floor is slathered with lather, and on the rack there are the two dirty towels which are never changed. And somehow Carl isn't changed either, and that puzzles me more than anything. This morning the whole world ought to be changed, for bad or good, but changed, radically changed. And yet Carl is standing there lathering his face and not a single detail is altered.

 

  “坐下……坐在床上,”他说。“你会听到一切的……不过先等等……等一会儿。”他又开始抹肥皂,接着磨起剃刀来。他还提到水……又没有热水了。

"Sit down… sit down there on the bed," he says. "You're going to hear everything… but wait first… wait a little." He commences to lather his face again, and then to hone his razor. He even remarks about the water… no hot water again.

 

  “喂,卡尔,我现在很焦急。你如果想折磨我可以过一会儿再折磨,现在告诉我,只告诉我一件事……结果是好是坏?”

"Listen, Carl, I'm on tenterhooks. You can torture me afterward, if you like, but tell me now, tell me one thing… was it good or bad?"

 

  他从镜子前扭过身来,手里拿着刷子,朝我古怪地笑笑。

He turns away from the mirror with brush in hand and gives me a strange smile.

 

  “等等!我要把一切都告诉你……”

"Wait! I'm going to tell you everything…"

 

  “这就是说你失败了。”

"That means it was a failure."

 

  他终于说话了,字斟句酌地,“不,既没有失败,也没有成功……对了,你在办公室替我安排好了吗?是怎样对他们讲的?”

"No," he says, drawing out his words. "It wasn't a failure, and it wasn't a success either… By the way, did you fix it up for me at the office? What did you tell them?"

 

  我看出试图从他口中套出话来是不可能的,待他收拾好了会告诉我的,在此之前却不会。我又躺下,一言不发,他则继续刮脸。

I see it's no use trying to pull it out of him. When he gets good and ready he'll tell me. Not before. I lie back on the bed, silent as a clam. He goes on shaving.

 

  突然他没头没脑他说开了—起初有点儿杂乱无章,后来越来越清楚,雄辩、有力。把事情都说出来得费一番周折,不过他似乎打算要把一切都讲清楚,仿佛正在把压在良心上的一个重负卸下。他甚至又令我想起上电梯前他曾那样瞥了我一眼,他反反复复提起这一点,像是要表明一切都包含在这最后一秒钟里,像是要表明如果他有力量改变局面,他就绝不会跨出电梯。

Suddenly, apropos of nothing at all, he begins to talk – disconnectedly at first, and then more and more clearly, emphatically, resolutely. It's a struggle to get it out, but he seems determined to relate everything; he acts as if he were getting something off his conscience. He even reminds me of the look he gave me as he was going up the elevator shaft. He dwells on that lingeringly, as though to imply that everything were contained in that last moment, as though, if he had the power to alter things, he would never have put foot outside the elevator.

 

  卡尔上门时伊雷娜穿着晨衣,梳妆台上摆着一桶香槟,屋里很暗,她的声音很好听。他给我讲了屋里的全部细节,香槟酒、侍者是怎样把它打开的、酒发出的声响、她走上前来迎接他时那件晨衣又如何沙沙作响—他告诉我一切,唯独不谈我想知道的。

She was in her dressing sack when he called. There was a bucket of champagne on the dresser. The room was rather dark and her voice was lovely. He gives me all the details about the room, the champagne, how the garçon opened it, the noise it made, the way her dressing sack rustled when she came forward to greet him – he tells me everything but what I want to hear.

 

  他去找她时大约是八点,到了八点半,一想到工作他便局促不安。“我给你打电话时大约是九点是不是?”

It was about eight when he called on her. At eight thirty he was nervous, thinking about the job. "It was about nine when I called you, wasn't it?" he says.

 

  “是,差不多。”

"Yes, about that."

 

  “我当时很紧张,你瞧……”

"I was nervous, see…"

 

  “我明白。往下讲……”

"I know that. Go on…"

 

  我不知该不该信他的话,尤其是在我们编造了那些信之后。我甚至不知道是否听清了他的话,因为他讲的内容完全是荒诞不经的。不过,若是知道他就是这类人,他的话倒也像是真的。接着我又想起他在电话上的声音—又恐惧又开心的古怪调子。现在他为什么不更开心一些呢?他自始至终都在笑,活像一只红润的、吸饱了血的小臭虫。他又问一遍,“我给你打电话时是九点钟,是不是?”我厌烦地点点头,“是的,是九点。”现在他肯定当时是九点钟了,因为他回忆起曾掏出表来看了看。再次看表已是十点钟,到了十点钟她正躺在长沙发上,两手握着自己的乳房。他就这样一点儿一点儿他讲给我听。到了十一点他们便拿定了主意,他们要逃走,逃到婆罗州去。去他妈的那个丈夫吧!她从来没有爱过他,若不是他年纪大了、缺乏激情,她根本就不会写第一封信。“后来她又对我说,‘不过,亲爱的,你怎么知道以后你不会厌烦我呢?’”

I don't know whether to believe him or not, especially after those letters we concocted. I don't even know whether I've heard him accurately, because what he's telling me sounds utterly fantastic. And yet it sounds true too, knowing the sort of guy he is. And then I remember his voice over the telephone, that strange mixture of fright and jubilation. But why isn't he more jubilant now? He keeps smiling all the time, smiling like a rosy little bedbug that has had its fill. "It was nine o'clock," he says once again, "when I called you up, wasn't it?" I nod my head wearily. Yes, it was nine o'clock. He is certain now that it was nine o'clock because he remembers having taken out his watch. Anyway, when he looked at his watch again it was ten o'clock. At ten o'clock she was lying on the divan with her boobies in her hands. That's the way he gives it to me – in driblets. At eleven o'clock it was all settled; they were going to run away, to Borneo. Fuck the husband! She never loved him anyway. She would never have written the first letter if the husband wasn't old and passionless. "And then she says to me: 'But listen, dear, how do you know you won't get tired of me?' "

 

听到这儿我大笑起来,我觉得这话很荒谬,忍不住要笑。

At this I burst out laughing. This sounds preposterous to me, I can't help it.

 

  “你怎么说?”  “你指望我说什么?我说,哪一个男人会厌烦你呢?”

"What did you expect me to say? I said: 'How could anyone ever grow tired of you?' "

 

接着他向我描绘后来发生的事情—他怎样俯身亲吻她的乳房,怎样在热烈吻过它们以后又把它们塞进胸衣里去,总之就是塞进那玩艺儿里去不管她们叫它什么。过后,又喝了一回香槟。

And then he describes to me what happened after that, how he bent down and kissed her breasts, and how, after he had kissed them fervidly, he stuffed them back into her corsage, or whatever it is they call these things. And after that another coupe of champagne.

 

  到了午夜前后,侍者送来了啤酒和三明治—鱼子酱三明治。据他讲,在此期间他一直急着要撒尿。他曾勃起了一回,不过又软下去了。他一直感到膀脱就要胀破了,可他是个狡猾的小滑头,认为眼下的场面需要谨慎从事。

Around midnight the garçon arrives with beer and sandwiches – caviar sandwiches. And all the while, so he says, he has been dying to take a leak. He had one hard on, but it faded out. All the while his bladder is fit to burst, but he imagines, the cute little prick that he is, that the situation calls for delicacy.

 

  到了一点半她提议租一辆车去逛波伊思公园,卡尔心中却只想着一件事—如何撒泡尿。“我爱你……我崇拜你,”他说。 “你说到哪儿我都跟你去 -伊斯坦布尔、新加坡、檀香山,只是现在我一定得走了……太迟了。”

At one thirty she's for hiring a carriage and driving through the Bois. He has only one thought in his headhow to take a leak? "I love you… I adore you," he says. "I'll go anywhere you say – Istanbul, Singapore, Honolulu. Only I must go now… It's getting late."

  

  卡尔就在这间肮脏的小房间里向我讲述这一切,太阳照进来,小乌在疯了似的吱吱叫。可我仍旧不知道她是不是漂亮,他也仍不知道她是否漂亮。这个白痴,他连自己都不了解。他宁愿认为她不漂亮,那屋里太暗,还喝了香槟,他的神经又疲惫不堪。

He tells me all this in his dirty little room, with the sun pouring in and the birds chirping away like mad. I don't yet know whether she was beautiful or not. He doesn't know himself, the imbecile. He rather thinks she wasn't. The room was dark and then there was the champagne and his nerves all frazzled.

 

  “可你应该了解一些她的情况- 假如这些不全是你他妈的编造出来的。”

"But you ought to know something about her – if this isn't all a goddamned lie!"

 

  他说,“等一下,等一下……让我想想!不,她并不漂亮,现在我敢肯定这一点了。她前额上有一缕白头发……我想起来了。这还不算很糟—你瞧,我还差点忘了。她的胳膊 胳膊很细……细而且干瘦。”卡尔开始走来走去,可忽然又站住了。

 

  “若是她年轻十岁我或许不会考虑那一缕白发……甚至也不注意她的细胳膊。可是你瞧,她太老了。这样的女人每过一年都会老一大截,明年她就不是老了一岁,而是老了十岁,再过一年就老了二十岁。我却会显得越来越年轻,至少在五年之内。”

 

"Wait a minute," he says. "Wait… let me think! No, she wasn't beautiful. I'm sure of that now. She had a streak of gray hair over her forehead… I remember that. But that wouldn't be so bad – I had almost forgotten it you see. No, it was her arms – they were thin… they were thin and brittle." He begins to pace back and forth. – Suddenly he stops dead. "If she were only ten years younger!" he exclaims. "If she were ten years younger I might overlook the streak of gray hair… and even the brittle arms. Buc she's too old. You see, with a cunt like that every year counts now. She won't be just one year older next year – she'll be ten years older. Another year hence and she'll be twenty years older. And I'll be getting younger looking all the time – at least for another five years…"

 

 “可这事儿是怎么拉倒的?”我打断他又问。

"But how did it end?" I interrupt.

 

  “这事儿根本没 -没完,我答应星期二五点左右去见她。你知道,这很糟!她脸上的皱纹在白天会显得更难看。我估计她是想叫我星期二跟她睡,大白天睡 -没人会跟这样一个女人在大白天睡,尤其是在那样一家旅馆里。我宁愿在不上班的晚上干……可是星期二晚上要上班。还不止这些,我当时还答应要给她写封信的。现在怎么给她写信呢?我没有什么好说的……屁,只要她年轻十岁。你认为我该跟她去吗?去婆罗州或别的什么她想带我去的地方?我不会射击,我怕枪和所有那类玩艺儿。再说,她会要求我没日没夜地跟她睡觉……除了打猎就是睡觉,别的什么也不做……我办不到!”

"That's just it… it didn't end. I promised to see her Tuesday around five o'clock. That's bad, you know! There were lines in her face which will look much worse in daylight. I suppose she wants me to fuck her Tuesday. Fucking in the daytime – you don't do it with a cunt like that. Especially in a hotel like that. I'd rather do it on my night off… but Tuesday's not my night off. And that's not all. I promised her a letter in the meantime. How am I going to write her a letter now? I haven't anything to say… Shit! If only she were ten years younger. Do you think I should go with her… to Borneo or wherever it is she wants to take me? What would I do with a rich cunt like that on my hands? I don't know how to shoot. I am afraid of guns and all that sort of thing. Besides, she'll be wanting me to fuck her night and day… nothing but hunting and fucking all the time… I can't do it!"

 

  “也许事情还不像你想的那么糟,她会给你买领带之类的东西……”“也许你愿跟我们一道去,嗯?我把你的情况都告诉她了。你有没有说我很穷?有没有说我需要东西?”

"Maybe it won't be so bad as you think. She'll buy you ties and all sorts of things…"

"Maybe you'll come along with us, eh? I told her all about you…""Did you tell her I was poor? Did you tell her I needed things?"

 

  “我什么都说了。见鬼,只要她年轻几岁一切都好了。她说她快四十了,这就是说五十或六十了。这跟同你妈睡觉差不多……不能这样干……这不行。”

"I told her everything. Shit, everything would be fine, if she were just a few years younger. She said she was turning forty. That means fifty or sixty. It's like fucking your own mother… you can't do it… it's impossible."

 

  “可她准还有一些迷人之处……你说你亲吻了她的乳房。”

"But she must have had some attractiveness… you were kissing her breasts, you said."

 

  “吻她的乳房 -这有什么?再说光线暗,我告诉你了。”

"Kissing her breasts – what's that? Besides it was dark, I'm telling you."

 

  卡尔正穿裤子,一只纽扣掉了。“你瞧,这见鬼的西装全烂了。我已经穿了七年了……不过没有掏钱。以前是套不错的衣服,现在却发臭了。那个女人还要给我买西装哩,这是我最想要的。可我不喜欢叫一个女人替我付钱,这种事我一辈子也没有干过,这是你的主意。我情愿一个人过日子。屁,这是一个不错的房间吧?有什么毛病?比她的房间瞧着要好得多,是吗?

Putting on his pants a button falls off. "Look at that will you. It's falling apart, the goddamned suit. I've worn it for seven years now… I never paid for it either. It was a good suit once, but it stinks now. And that cunt would buy me suits too, all I wanted most likely. But that's what I don't like, having a woman shell out for me. I never did that in my life. That's your idea. I'd rather live alone. Shit, this is a good room isn't it? What's wrong with it? It's a damned sight better than her room, isn't it?

 

  我不喜欢她住的豪华旅馆,我反对建那样的旅馆,我对她说了。

I don't like her fine hotel. I'm against hotels like that. I told her so.

 

  她说她不在乎住哪儿……说只要我要她来,她就来跟我住在一起。你想象得出她带着大箱子、帽盒子和所有那些她随身带来带去的废物搬到这儿来的情景吗?她的东西太多了—太多衣服、瓶子和其他东西。她的房间像一个诊所,她的手指头上划破了一点儿便不得了啦,她要找人来按摩,头发要烫过,不能吃这个,不能吃那个。我说,乔,只要年轻一点点她就很理想。

She said she didn't care where she lived… said she'd come and live with me if I wanted her to. Can you picture her moving in here with her big trunks and her hatboxes and all that crap she drags around with her? She has too many things – too many dresses and bottles and all that. It's like a clinic, her room. If she gets a little scratch on her finger it's serious. And then she has to be massaged and her hair has to be waved and she musn't eat this and she musn't eat that. Listen, Joe, she'd be all right if she were just a little younger. You can forgive a young cunt anything.

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