Thief

来源:www.putclub.com 2019-02-13

 

He is waiting for the airline ticket counter when he first notices the young woman. She has glossy black hair pulled tightly into a knot at the back of her head-the man imagines it loosed and cascading to the small of her back-and carries over she shoulder of her leather coat a heavy black purse. She wears black boots of soft leather. He struggles to see her face-she is ahead of him in line-but it is not until she has bought her ticket and turns to walk away that he realizes her beauty, which is pale and dark-eyed and full-mouthed, and which quickens his heart beat. She seems aware that he is staring at her and lowers her gaze abruptly.
   
    The airline clerk interrupts. The man gives up looking at the womanhe thinks she may be about twenty-fiveand buys a round-trip, coach class ticket to an eastern city.
   
    His flight leaves in an hour. To kill time, the man steps into one of the airport cocktail bars and orders a scotch and water. While he sips it he watches the flow of travelers through the terminal-including a remarkable number, he thinks, of an unattached pretty women dressed in fashion magazine clothes-until he catches sight of the black-haired girl in the leather coat. She is standing near a Travelers Aid counter, deep in conversation with a second girl, a blond in a cloth coat trimmed with gray fur. He wants somehow to attract the brunettes attention, to invite her to have a drink with him before her own flight leaves for wherever she is traveling, but even though he believes for a moment she is looking his way he cannot catch her eye from out of the shadows of the bar. In another instant the two women separate; neither of their direction is toward him. He orders a second Scotch and water.
   
    When next he sees her, he is buying a magazine to read during the flight and becomes aware that someone is jostling him. At first he is startled that anyone would be so close as to touch him, but when he sees who it is he musters a smile.


    “Busy place,” he says.

    She looks up at himis she blushing? —and an odd grimace crosses her mouth and vanishes. She moves away from him and joins the crowds in the terminal.
   
    The man is at the counter with his magazine, but when he reaches into his back pocket for his wallet the pocket is empty. Where could I have lost it? he thinks. His mind begins enumerating the credit cards, the currency, the membership and identification cards; his stomach churns with something very like fear. The girl who was so near to me, he thinks-and all at once he understands that she has picked his pocked.
   
    What is he to do? He still has his ticket, safely tucked inside his suitcoathe reaches into the jacket to feel the envelope, to make sure. He can take the flight, call someone to pick him up at his destination-since he cannot even afford bus fare-conduct his business and fly home. But in the meantime he will have to do something about the lost credit cards-call home, have his wife get the numbers out of the top desk drawer, phone the card companies-so difficult a process, the whole thing suffocating. What shall he do?
   
    First. Find a policeman, tell what has happened, describe the young woman, damn her, he thinks, for seeming to be attentive to him, to let herself stand so close to him, to blush prettily when he spoke-and all the time she wanted only to steal from him. And her blush was not shyness but the anxiety of being caught; that was most disturbing of all. Damn deceitful creatures. He will spare the policeman the details-just tell what she has down, what is in the wallet. He grits his teeth. He will probably never see his wallet again.   
   
    He is trying to decide if he should save time for talking to a guard near the X-ray machines when he is appalled-and elated-to see the black-haired girl. She is seated against a front window of the terminal, taxis and private cars moving sluggishly beyond her in the gathering darkness: she seems engrossed in a book. A seat beside her is empty, and the man occupies it.   
   
    “Ive been looking for you,” he says.
   
    She glances at him with no sort of recognition. “I dont know you,” she says.
   
    “Sure you do.”
   
    She sighs and puts the book aside. “is this all you characters think aboutpicking up girls like we were stray animals? What do you think I am?”
   
    “You lifted my wallet,” he says. He is pleased to have saidlifted”, thinking it sounds more wordly than stole or took or even ripped off.
   
    “I beg your pardon?” the girl says.
   
   “I know you didat the magazine counter. If youll just give it back, we can forget the whole thing. If you don't, then Ill hand you over to the police.”

    She studies him, her face serious. “All right,” she says. She pulls the black bag onto her lap, reaches into it and draws out a wallet.   
   
    He takes it from her. “Wait a minute,” he says, “This isnt mine.”
   
    The girl runs, he bolts after her. It is like a scene in a moviebystanders scattering, the girl zigzagging to avoid collisions, the sound of his own breathing reminding him how old he isuntil he hears a womans voice behind him:
   
    “Stop, thief! Stop that man!”
   
    Ahead of him the brunette disappears around a corner and in the same moment a young man in a marine uniform puts out a foot to trip him up. He falls hard, banging knee and elbow on the tile floor of the terminal, but manages to hang on to the wallet which is not his.

    The wallet is a womans, fat with money and credit cards from places like Saks and Peck & Peck and Lord & Taylor, and it belongs to the blonde in the fur-trimmed coatthe blonde he has earlier seen in conversation with the criminal brunette. She, too, is breathless, as is the police man with her.

    “Thats him,” the blonde girl says, “He lifted my billfold.”

    It occurs to the man that he cannot even prove his own identity to the policeman.

    Two weeks laterthe embarrassment and rage have diminished, the family lawyer has been paid, the confusion in his household has receded-the wallet turns up without explanation in one mornings mail. It is intact, no money is missing, all the cards are in place. Though he is relieved, the man thinks that for the rest of his life he will feel guilty around policemen, and ashamed in the presence of women.

 

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(参考译文)

小偷

他第一次注意到那个年轻女人,是在他到航空公司售票处排队买票的时候。她的乌黑发亮的一头秀发在脑后紧紧地终成一个结。那人想象着那头秀发披散开来瀑布般落在腰间的情形,只见那女人穿着皮外套的肩上挎着一个沉甸甸的黑色坤包,脚上穿着一双黑色软皮靴。他竭力想看到她的容貌,她就排在他的前面。但是,一直到她买好票走开,他才睹她的芳容:雪白的皮肤,马里发亮的眼睛,丰满的嘴唇。他心族摇荡,狂跳不止。那年轻女人代乎察觉到他在注视着她,便突然垂下了眼睛。

售票员一说话打断了他的想象。他不再看那女人——他想她可能有25岁左右——然后买了一张到东部一个城市的二等往返机票。  

飞机过1个小时才起飞。为了消磨时间,他走进机场的一家鸡尾酒吧,要了一杯兑水的苏格兰威士忌、他一边慢慢地喝着酒,一边望着大厅里川流不息的乘客——他想,其中有好多一定都是未婚的漂亮女人,她们穿的是时装杂志上介绍的那种衣服——直到后来他又瞥见那个穿皮外套的黑发姑娘。她站在旅客服务台旁边,和另外一个姑娘眉飞色舞地聊着什么。另外那个姑娘金发碧眼,身穿一件镶着灰色猫皮的布外套。不知怎么的,他想引起黑发姑娘的注意,想趁这个姑娘要乘的飞往什么地方去的班机还没离开之前,请她喝上一杯。然而,尽管他认为她向他这边张望了一小会儿,但他在酒吧的阴暗处,吸引不了她的秋波。过了没多大一会儿,这两个女人就分手了,都没有朝这个方向走来。他又要了一杯兑水的苏格兰威士忌。

当他再次看见她的时候,他正在买一本杂志,以便在飞机上看。突然,他觉得有人挨近了他。他先是吃了一惊,怎么会有人靠得这么近碰到他的身体呢?但等看清是谁之后,他的脸上浮起了微笑。  

“这地方人可真多,”他说。  

她抬眼看着他——她是害羞脸才红的吗?——她的嘴角掠过一丝奇怪的表情,转眼就消失了。她从他的身边走开,加入了大厅的人流之中。  

他拿着杂志站在柜台边,但当他将手伸进后边的口袋拿钱夹的时候,发现里边什么也没有了。他在心里想着:我可能是在什么地方把它弄丢的呢?他开始在脑海里清点装在钱夹里的信用卡、钞票、会员证、身份证等东西。一种酷似恐惧的感觉使他的胃部剧烈地痉挛起来。那个姑娘挨我那样近,他想——他立马明白了,是她偷了他的钱夹。

怎么办呢?飞机票还在,装在上衣内袋里是万无一失的——他将手伸到衣服里面,摸了摸装机票的纸袋,心才落了地。他可以乘这班飞机,到达目的地,叫人来接。他连坐公共汽车的钱都没有了。完事之后,再乘飞机回家。但是,在此期间要对那些信用卡失窃采取措施——要打电话,让妻子将放在写字台最上面抽屉里的信用卡号码取出来,和一家家信用卡公司通电话——真是麻烦死了,要全部办完,准会要命。怎么办呢?

首先找警察把事情经过以及那年轻女人的模样告诉他。这女人真可恶,好像对他很有意思,站得离他是那样近,听他说话时她的脸红得是那样妩媚动人——却要挖空心思想偷他的东西。原来她脸红不是因为害羞,而是做贼心虚。这是最恼人的。这该死的骗人的娘们。这些细节还是不给警察说好——单讲她所做的事情、他的钱夹里有什么东西就行了。他咬牙切齿。很可能他再也见不到自己的钱夹了。  

他正在考虑为了节省时间,就跟那个站在金属探测器旁边的保安员谈一下。突然,他眼睛一亮,喜出望外——吃惊地看到了那个黑发女人(报纸上会说:“长着一头乌黑秀发的女贼。”)靠坐在大厅的前窗。在她身后渐浓的暮色中,出租车和私车在慢慢腾腾地移动。她好像在全神贯注地看书。她旁边的座位空着。于是,他坐了下来。  

“我正在找你呢,”他说。  

她瞟了他一眼,似乎没有认出他是谁。“找不认识你,”她说。  

“你不会不认识我的。”  

她叹了口气,将书放在一边。“你们这些人怎么光想这个。好像我们女孩子是迷路的小动物,随随便便就能搞到手似的。你把我当成什么人了?”

“你摸走了我的钱夹,”他说。他很得意地说“摸走”,他觉得这个字眼比“偷走”、“盗走”,甚至“掏走”,听上去更加贴切。  

“你在说什么呀?”那女孩说。

“我知道是你干的——在杂志柜台边。只要你还给我,事情就一笔勾销,否则就把你交给警察。”  

她仔细打量着那人,神情非常严肃。“好吧,”她说着,将她那只黑包拉到膝盖上,手伸进去,掏出了一只皮夹。  

他从她手里一把拿过来。“等一下,”他说,“这不是我的。”  

那女孩撒腿就跑,他在后面穷追不舍,真像电影中的场面——周围的人纷纷避开。那女孩飞快地左拐右转,避免发生碰撞。他的喘息声使他想起了自己的年纪——后来听到一个女人的喊叫声从背后传来:  

“抓、抓贼!抓住那个男人!”  

前面,黑发女人已经转过拐角,不见了踪影。与此同时,一个身穿海军陆战队制服的年轻人伸脚一绊。那人猛地跌倒,膝盖和胳膊肘都重重地砸在大厅的地板砖上,但他的手里仍紧紧地攥着那个不属于他的皮夹。

这只皮夹是一名妇女的,鼓鼓囊囊地装着钞票和像“萨克”、“佩克与佩克”、“洛德与泰勒”这种公司的信用卡。皮夹的主人是那个穿皮毛镶边外套的金发女人——他早先看到在和那个作贼的黑发女人交谈的金发女人。她也跑得气喘吁吁,像那个和她一同赶来的警察一样。  

“就是他,”金发女人说,“是他偷了我的皮夹。”  

他突然想到,他甚至无法向警察证实自己的身份。  

时隔两星期之后——他不再那样尴尬和恼怒,家庭律师的报酬已经支付,家里的风波也已经过去——他的钱夹在上午送来的邮件中意外地出现了,没有附任何解释。皮夹原封未动,钱一点也没少,所有的证卡都在。尽管松了口气,但他觉得,在自己今后的人生旅途中,他在警察旁边会感到内疚,在女人们面前会感到羞愧难当。




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