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May 29, 2013
2013529日。

 

Going Up?

一路向上?

By Rodney E.J. Chang
 
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      Archie Pinkerton was a farmer who lived in a small town in Oklahoma.  He knew that his homestead during the past century had been lucky.  When one lives in “Tornado Alley” where the region averages fifty tornadoes a year, you not only had to be lucky, you continuously prayed to remain lucky. 

            阿奇·平克顿是住在俄克拉何马州一座小镇上的农民。他的房舍在过去的那个世纪中好运不断。这么说是因为他居住在龙卷风巷子,也就是一个平均一年刮50次龙卷风的地方时,仅仅有好运是不够的,你还得一直祈祷好运不离你而去。

 

     Not like the poor folks who happened to be in the path of that monstrous category-max that just came through Oklahoma City,  he thought.  Not that I deserved better, he secretly confided to himself. 

            那些可怜的人们啊,他们被经过俄克拉何马城的妖魔般的特大龙卷风带走,他想。而我却苟活着,他秘密地对自己倾诉。

           

 

     Archie had accumulated his share of sins, as an irascible country boy and then later as two-timing young husband who once too often went out on the town on weekends.  Fortunately, he remained married to loyal Bertha.  They lived together, working the farmland with their now grown son.  Henry, still single at 43, stayed on to farm the property that he looked forward to later inherit.

            阿奇的负罪感积累着,就好像一个暴躁的农场男孩,或者像一对个妻子不忠、经常在周末进城沾花惹草的丈夫一样。幸运的是,他还是对他的妻子伯莎忠心耿耿的。他们住在一起,和他们长大成人的孩子一起在农场工作。他叫亨利,已经43岁了,仍然单身并经营着农场的财产,并且期待着在未来继承。

 

        At the moment, Archie was watching the local weather report on television with his family.  Like so many other times, a storm was approaching with the possibility of the formation of a tornado.  Nothing new, the usual unfulfilled threat.  In the past, even if a tornado did manifest itself and approach their vicinity, the place had always been untouched. 

            在这个时候,阿奇和家人正在电视上看当地的天气预报。就像以前发生过很多次一样,一片暴风雨正在接近中,并且有着形成龙卷风的可能性。这是种毫无新意的、家常便饭式的威胁。在过去曾发生过,即使龙卷风已形成并且经过他家附近,他的房舍一点也不会受到影响。

 

     Archie looked out the paint-peeling wooden frame of the kitchen window, pouring himself another glass of whiskey.  The wind had picked up and the sky was darkened by looming black clouds in the distance.  Nothing spectacular.  Folks in this region in the belly of the nation’s mid-section were used to such foul weather.  The occasional boom of a thunder and bouts of steaks of lightening added to the ominous atmosphere.

            阿奇透过厨房那油漆已剥落的窗子望着外面,并且给自己倒了另一杯威士忌。远处天边的风已经起了,风像织布机一样卷集着乌云。没什么特别的。如果这个国家有个肚皮,那么这个地区的人就正好居住在肚皮的中央,他们早已习惯了这种坏天气。时而不时出现的雷声和闪电更加点缀着外面不祥的气氛。

 

         Nothing another stiff drink can handle, he chuckled to himself.  In a weird way, Archie welcomed the challenge of another tornado warning.  Over the decades  their homestead had  dodged the few that swirled close by.  But always his farmhouse had stood it ground.  The farmer started to think that there was an invisible shield around his property.  Such heavy drinking during weather warnings helped strengthen his sense of invincibility against nature's wrath.

            再喝一杯酒,忧愁自然走,他对自己暗笑道。奇怪的是阿奇欢迎来自龙卷风预警的挑战。在几十年中他的房舍好几次躲过那擦肩而过的漩涡,而他的房子却稳稳地站住了脚跟。这个农民开始思量,他的财产附近是否有一个隐形的保护盾。在预警天气中酗酒可以增强他对大自然震怒那种无敌无畏的自我感觉。

 

     Bring it on, you bitch! he even sometimes dared to think, when way too under the influence.

            倒是发威啊,你这个婊子!借着酒精的作用,他有时甚至更加大胆地狂想。

 

      But maybe this time things could be different.  On the old television, it appeared that a  potential tornado was in their vicinity.  If it did materialize, the funnel's touch down path was projected to be right over the location of  the acreage of the their  farmland and house!   It didn’t take long to discuss but family decisions had been made.  His wife Bertha, their live-in 43 year old son Henry, and their aged retriever Ray all hopped in the pickup truck and high tailed it from their homestead with their most important personal belongings.  Drunken Archie refused to leave, repetitively stating nothing would happen, like all the years of false alarms that resulted in  no direct hit of his place of shelter.  His kin knew better than to waste the time to urge Archie to join them in the truck.

            但是这次事情可能会不大一样了。老旧的电视屏幕上显示着一个潜在的龙卷风可能就在他们家附近形成。如果真的发生了,那么狂风形成的漏斗将会已几英亩的直径经过他的农场和房子!家人的决策并没有花多久就被制定了。他的妻子伯莎和他们43岁的儿子亨利,还有已经上了年纪的猎犬雷都希望乘坐他们的皮卡并带上他们最重要的家当溜之大吉。喝醉的阿奇却拒绝离开,只是一个劲地说不会有坏事发生的,这么多年的假预警都过去了,没有任何龙卷风哪怕碰到他居所的一丁点儿。他的家人们知道劝阿奇上车跟他们走也是浪费时间。

 

      “Don't cha worry, nothin's gonna happen as usual.  You all go on now if you must.  I'll be OK and see ya'll later.”  With that reassurance, the pick up took off and Archie then was alone.  Ah, now I can drink in peace without all this yacking and worrying about nothing.  Got this protective shield that they don't believe in.  It'll get me and the place through this one too, just like all the other ones.

            你们啊,都别担心,肯定啥事没有。你们要走就走吧。我肯定啥事没有,过会儿再见。他这么一保证,他的家人开着皮卡走了,只剩下阿奇一个人。啊,现在俺终于能安安静静地喝小酒儿了,再也没有这帮人在旁边磨叽了。我房子周围有这个保护盾,可他们都不信。这盾这次可能也会保我平安的,就像以前一样。

 

     “Huff, puff, and try to blow my house down,” he would joked, looking up at the stormy skies, as he still remained outside after saying farewell to his family.

            嘿哟,你倒是来推倒的的房子啊,他开始打诨,并抬头看天上的暴风,此时他刚刚跟家人说再见,人还停留在在室外。

 

     “C’mon, Mr. tornado, show me your stuff!”  Archie was so sure, as usual, it was a false alarm and he, as well as his place, would remain standing.

            来呀龙卷风先生,让我看看你有什么本事!阿奇可以肯定这是一次错误的预警,而他的家将会稳稳地站住脚跟。

 

     Not this time.

            可这次他大错特错了。

     Alone in the house and seated on the living sofa, a figure suddenly stood in front of him. 

            阿奇一个人在这孤独的房子里,坐在沙发上。突然一个身影出现在他面前。

 

     Too drunken to be alarmed, the farmer thought to himself,

            太多的酒精让自己无法警惕起来,他想。

 

     Hey, how about that, can this be happening.  It’s old Jensen, dead now for quite a few years, standing in front of me.  Can’t be, it's gotta be the booze.

            嘿,怎么样啊,怎么会发生这种事的。是老詹森啊,已经死了几年了,他正站在我面前。不可能啊,一定是酒喝多了。

 

     “No it’s not, Archie Pinkerton.  I’ve been sent to tell you your number is up.  This time the approaching twister is going to hit your place.  Just like it did mine.  And it’s going to be a mighty one.  A category 4, as they say.”

            不是你想的那样,阿奇·平克顿。我被差遣来告诉你,你的气数已尽。这次的龙卷风将会摧毁你的房舍。就像曾在我家发生的那样。而且这次的龙卷风相当厉害。就像他们所说的,是4级的。

 

      Still in disbelief, Archie, chided back to the vision,

            阿奇仍然无法置信,骂骂咧咧地对眼前的影像说,

 

     “At least it ain’t one of them monster 5s.” 

            至少不像5级那么可怕。

 

      “Don’t be so thrilled.  This one is large enough to turn your house and barn to kindle, and you into part of the tally of the dead.”

            别不以为是了。这次的龙卷风大得足以把你的房子和谷仓轰至渣,你也会加入死人的队列的。

 

      “That's pure nonsense.  Is that really you, Jake Jensen?  Or just the bottle?”

            胡说八道。真的是你吗杰克·詹森?要不就是我喝多了?

 

      “Not the one you knew – and the one that you stole supplies from over the years.  I’m his spirit sent on a mission.”

            我并不是你知道的那个杰克了——差点忘了说以前你一直偷我的东西。我是被派来通知你的灵魂。

 

      “You suspected me?”

            你怀疑是我偷你的东西?

 

      “That's not important anymore.”

            现在已经无关紧要了。

 

      “So you're here to save my ass?”

            所以你是来拯救我的?

 

      “No, just your soul.  You’re already a goner.”  Old Archie gulped down another jigger, then said,

            不,我只能拯救你的灵魂。你已经去世了。老阿奇咽下一大口酒,然后说道。

 

      “If this time it’s going get this place, isn’t there still time to lickey-split outta here?”  He was looking out the window and still saw no black funnel approaching.

            如果说这次注定要遭遇,那是不是还有机会离开这里?他望向窗外但没有看见龙卷风的漏斗。

 

       “And how are you leaving?  Like Elvis, the only wheels on your property has “left the building” fifteen minutes ago.  Sorry ol' buddy, this demon approaching has a 1-mile width of destruction.  Your dead meat.”

            现在你打算离开了?就像猫王一样,你唯一的车子已经在15分钟前离开演出了。对不住了老伙计,这个恶魔有着一英里的毁灭直径。你这次死定了。

 

       “Shit, now I must really be drunk.  I’m talking to a ghost who's messing with my head.  I think I’ll leave you now and go get me another drink.  This here bottle's empty.  That should clear the cobwebs from my noggin.”

            该死的,我就知道我醉了。我正在跟一个烦我的鬼对话。我打算不理你了,我要去再喝一杯。这瓶酒已经空了。我脑子里的蜘蛛网也该扫一扫了。

 

       “Suit yourself.  But I suggest that you recognize it your last request.  Any moment now that witch of a wind is a coming for you and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Better start praying too, neighbor.”

            你爱咋咋地吧。但是我觉得这会是你最后的愿望。那女巫般的狂风随时都可能来抓你,你无能为力。开始祈祷吧,我的邻居。

 

        “OK, let me play along.  If I’m going to die, where am I going? Up or down, heaven or hell?  I know what’s I’ve done in this here life time.”

            好的,让我猜一猜。如果我要死了,我将会死在哪呢?上边还是下边?天堂还是地狱?这辈子做没做亏心事我自己知道。

 

        “I highly recommend that you get into the old Buick that don’t run no more, the one in the back of your barn. Pronto! Be sure to lock the doors and belt up.  Then you will be tested.”

            我强烈建议你坐到你那辆不能再开的老别克里去,就在你的谷仓里。弹指一挥间的事!一定把车门锁上,系上安全带。老天会检验你的。

 

     “Huh?  I don’t understand…”

            啥?我不懂……”

 

     Before farmer Pinkerton could finish saying the sentence, he spotted the looming spiraling funnel coming straight towards his location, riping up everything in its path.  Now knowing “this was the one,”  he opened the front door, stormed out into the howling wind, ducked some flying debris that almost knocked off him off his feet and could have rendered him unconscious.   But Archie successfully reached the barn, flung open its large doors, and ran to and jumped inside the rusted remains that once was an automobile.  He buckled up and wound up all the windows as he had been instructed by what he know considered an angel, come to rescue him.

            农民平克顿话音还没落,一个卷集着的旋转漏斗正径直朝他的位置移动过来,并摧毁沿途的一切。现在他知道这不是闹着玩的了。他打开前门,跑到嚎叫的大风中,并躲避着那些差点把他打倒在地、不省人事的的四处乱飞的碎片。但是阿奇成功地到达了谷仓,摔开大门,然后跑到一辆破得不能再破的锈迹斑斑的汽车边并跳了进去。他关紧车门,摇上车窗,就像来救他的天使所说的那样。

 

    Thanks, Jake. Sorry I ripped off some of your farm supplies.  Guess best to let begones be begones, right ol’ buddy?  After all, if you had returned for revenge instead of saving my butt, yah wouldn't have steered me to what I also now see as the safest place to ride out the twister.

            谢谢你啊杰克。对不起俺偷了你农场的东西。过去的事就让它过去吧,对吧我的老伙计?毕竟你是来救俺的而不是来复仇的,没有你我真的不知道这车是躲过龙卷风的最好的地方。

 

    And what a ride it was!

            这次车乘可真够带劲的!

 

    With horror Archie watched screaming wind strip away, all at once, all the retaining walls as well as roof of the barnhouse.  For a split moment it reminded him of the lawyer in Jurassic Park sitting on a toilet when instantly the outhouse was gone.  But he didn’t have time to feel lucky that at least a T-Rex wasn’t upon him.  In a second the farmer was hurling up in the old sedan, as if in some sort of miraculous elevator car riding up swiftly in an elevator shaft!

            阿奇恐惧地看着惊叫的狂风袭来,在一下子之间把谷仓的墙壁和房顶掀起飞了。有那么一瞬间他想起来那个《侏罗纪公园》中坐在厕所上的律师,他也是在一瞬之间被掀飞了厕所的外壳。但是阿奇并不因为头上没有霸王龙就觉得幸运。一瞬之间,这个农夫连同老车一起被带到天上,就好像有一个奇妙的电梯带他们上升一样!

 

     After the rapid acceleration off the ground, the ride upwards seemed to slow down.  The vehicle with Archie belted in safely was ascending in the eye of the monster where it was a bit calmer than at the periphery of the swirling funnel of wind.  It was all so surreal to the drunken farmer, still not quite sure if he was in some sort of nightmare.  Especially when suddenly, looking at the driver side, he saw the ghost of his neighbor Jake sitting there and staring at him.

            在急剧加速离开地面之后,向上的旅程好像变慢了。系着安全带的阿奇在车子中稳稳地在这个龙卷风的中心上升,就好比在一个怪兽的眼中一样,而这里是漏斗中比较平静的部分。这个喝醉的农民处在一种虚幻的境况中,他不确定是否这是一种噩梦。尤其是当他望向驾驶位时,他看见他的邻居杰克坐在那里并盯着他看。

 

     “Told you so, Archie boy.”

            我说得没错吧,阿奇老弟。

 

     “I believe you know, dear Jake.  Oh, how do I believe you now!’

            现在俺信你了,亲爱的杰克。哦天哪,现在俺信了!

 

     “When I told you that a tornado was coming for you and your place?”

            你信我告诉有龙卷风往你这来啦?

 

     “Yes!”

            俺信!

 

     “Well that’s not what I’m talking about.  Remember I told you there'd be some sort of test?”

            有点跑题了。你还记得我说这是一种考验吗?

 

     “Yeah, but…”

            是的,可是……”

 

     “Well, my man, here it comes.”

            好了,我的伙计,要开始了。

 

     “Whatcha talkin' about?  What the...”

            你啥意思啊?哎呦我去……”

 

     Outside the window next to where Archie sat, belted up on the passenger side,  appeared a little girl, swirling upwards along with the car.  Like two cars moving in the same direction and at the same speed, it appeared that the frightened, screaming girl was motionless next to his window.

            就在阿奇身边的窗外,就在这乘客座位的外面,有一个小女孩和车子一起向上旋转。就像两辆同向同速行驶的车一样,那个吓坏的、尖叫着的女孩正一动不动的挨着他的车窗外。

 

     “Why don’t you wind down your window and save her?” asked the phantom.

            为什么你不摇下车窗来就她呢?鬼魂问道。

 

     “Hell, no! I ain’t going to stick my neck out to rescue somebody I don’t even know.  Besides opening the window might suck out the air in here and cause my car to start tumbling in this here wind tunnel.  Sorry, that poor girl is on her own.”

            那不是找死吗我才不呢!我可不会冒险就一个我连认识都不认识的人。打开车窗会让空气进来,然后我的车肯定会在这个风洞中乱飞。对不起,我帮不了这个可怜的女孩。

 

     “Wrong answer,” said the entity in the driver’s seat.

            回答错误啊,驾驶位上的那位说。

 

     “Watcha mean by that, Jake?” pleaded Archie with a worried look on his face.

            你啥意思啊,杰克?一丝焦虑的表情在阿奇脸上闪过。

 

     “I told you that you were going to die anyhow.”

            我的意思是你啊反正都要死。

 

     “Ah shucks, I thought this car was gonna somehow save my ass with the help of a guardian angel like you.”

            他妈的,我还以为你说说这车能救我的命呢,我还以为你是个天使呢。

 

     “It could have.   It was moving upwards to eternal life with the Lord.” 

            可能吧。它本来正向着上帝那儿,有着无尽生命之地行驶呢。

 

     “What do you mean it was?”

            啥叫本来啊?

 

     “Not anymore it ain't.  Because of your selfishness and lack of compassion for that  child, by the way also doomed, you, my dear friend, is now sentenced to … “

            因为现在不再是了。因为你的自私,而且对那孩子豪无同情心,你啊,我这注定殒命的朋友,现在将被宣判……”

 

      Archie thought it, was afraid to verbalize it, so the messenger vocalized it.

            阿奇想到了,但是他不敢言语,所以这个信使道出了它。

 

      “Yes sir, Archie Pinkerton, straight to hell.  You just flunked the test.”

            是的先生,阿奇·平克顿,直接下地狱。你这测试搞砸了啊。

 

      After that was declared, the tornado dissipated as abruptly as it had materialized.  Down when the vehicle that had protected Archie from the spiraling sharp debris within the twister’s funnel.  Having also functioned as a capsule that shot him high up into the sky, now, without the swirling updraft, it turned into a dead trap bolting downward at an ever accelerating speed.   Upon touchdown, it mashed itself as well as its contents into fiery smithereens, cratering deep, deep... very deep, below the surface..

            在宣判之后,龙卷风像它形成时一样,迅速地消散了。刚在在上升过程中,车子保护着阿奇免收漏斗中那些旋转着的锋利碎片的侵扰。现在呢,车子也像胶囊一样包裹着他他弹射到天上,由于没有了向上的气旋,阿奇现在置身于一个将使他高速坠地的死亡陷阱。着陆后,车被摔了个粉碎,它里面的东西也变成了火热的碎片,向下坠入陷坑之中,深深地……深深地陷入地表之下。

 

       Farmer Pinkerton felt the searing heat from the towering flames around him, due he thought, to the horrendous crash.  Then he heard a sinister voice say,

            农民平克顿感觉到四周来自高升的火焰的热力,他以为这热力来自于那可怕的坠毁。然后他听到了一个邪恶的声音说,

 

       “Welcome to Hell.”

            欢迎来到地狱。

   

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