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时间:2006-09-22 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:clian1   字体: [ ]

     It was just an error, a stupid error, the kind anyone could make. Only now Earth is never going to have another visitor from space. Not ever.



The Watery1 Place

Issac Asimov

1     We're never going to have visitors from space. No extraterrestrials will ever land on Earth -- at least, any more.
水 乡



2    I'm not just being a pessimist2. As a matter of fact, extraterrestrials have landed. I know that. Space ships are crisscrossing space among a million worlds, probably, but they will never come here. I know that, too. All on account of a ridiculous error.

3    I'll explain.

4    It was actually Bart Cameron's error and you'll have to understand about Bart Cameron. He's the sheriff at Twin Gulch3, Idaho, and I'm his deputy. Bart Cameron is an impatient man and he gets most impatient when he has to work up his income tax. You see, besides being sheriff, he also owns and runs the general store, he's got some shares in a sheep ranch4, he's got a kind of pension for being a disabled veteran (bad knee) and a few other things like that. Naturally, it makes his tax figures complicated.

5    It wouldn't be so bad if he'd let a taxman work on the forms with him, but he insists on doing it himself and it makes him a bitter man. By April 14, he isn't approachable.       要是他让税务人员帮他填表就不至于那么糟糕,可他非得要自己填,于是填得他牢骚满腹。每年到了4月14日,他就变得难以接近。

6    So it's too bad the flying saucer landed on April 14, 1956.

7    I saw it land. My chair was backed up against the wall in the sheriff's office, and I was looking at the stars through the windows and wondering if I ought to knock off and hit the sack or keep on listening to Cameron curse real steady as he went over his columns of figures for the hundred twenty-seventh time.

8    It looked like a shooting star at first, but then the track of light broadened into two things that looked like rocket exhausts and the thing came down without a sound.

9    Two men got out.

10    I couldn't say anything or do anything. I couldn't choke or point; I couldn't even bug5 my eyes. I just sat there.

11    Cameron? He never looked up.

12    There was a knock on the door. It opened and the two men from the flying saucer stepped in. I would have thought they were city fellows if I hadn't seen the flying saucer land. They wore gray suits, with white shirts and dark red-brown ties. They had on black shoes and black hats. They had dark complexions6, black wavy7 hair and brown eyes. They had very serious looks on their faces and were about five foot ten apiece. They looked very much alike.

13    God, I was scared.

14    But Cameron just looked up when the door opened and frowned. He said, "What can I do for you, folks?" and he tapped his hand on the forms so it was obvious he hadn't much time.
      可卡默伦只是在门开的那会儿略一抬头,皱了皱眉头。 “有什么事吗,伙计?”他边说边用手拍着税单,显然正忙着呢。

15    One of the two stepped forward. He said, "We have had your people under observation a long time." He pronounced each word carefully and all by itself.

16    Cameron said, "My people? All I got's a wife. What's she been doing?"

17    The fellow in the suit said, "We have chosen this locality for our first contact because it is isolated8 and peaceful. We know that you are the leader here."

18    "I'm the sheriff, if that's what you mean, so spit it out. What's your trouble?"
      “我是治安官,这是你要说的吧,有什么话就直说, 你们遇到什么麻烦了?”

19    "We have been careful to adopt your mode of dress and even to assume your appearance. We have also learned your language."

20    You could see the light break in on Cameron. He said, "You guys foreigners?" Cameron didn't go much for foreigners, never having met many outside the army, but generally he tried to be fair.

21    The man from the saucer said, "Foreigners? Indeed we are. We come from the watery place your people call Venus."

22    Cameron never blinked an eye. He said, "All right. This is the U.S.A. We all got equal rights regardless of race, color, or nationality. I'm at your service. What can I do for you?"

23    "We would like to have you make immediate9 arrangements for the important men of your U.S.A., as you call it, to be brought here for discussions leading to your people joining our great organization."

24    Slowly, Cameron got red. "Our people join your organization. We're already part of the U.N. and God knows what else. And I suppose I'm to get the President here, eh? Right now? In Twin Gulch? Send a hurry-up message?" He looked at me, as though he wanted to see a smile on my face, but I couldn't as much as fall down if someone had pushed the chair out from under me.

25    The saucer man said, "Speed is desirable."

26    "You want Congress, too? The Supreme10 Court?"

27    "If they will help, sheriff."

28    And Cameron really went to pieces. He banged his income tax form and yelled, "Well, you're not helping11 me, and I have no time for wise guys who come around, especially foreigners. If you don't get the hell out of here straight away, I'll lock you up for disturbing the peace and I'll never let you out."

29    "You wish us to leave?" said the man from Venus.

30    "Right now! Get the hell out of here and back to wherever you're from and don't ever come back. I don't want to see you and no one else around here does."

31    The two men looked at each other.

32    Then the one who had done all the talking said, "I can see in your mind that you really wish, with great intensity12, to be left alone. It is not our way to force ourselves or our organization on people who do not wish us or it. We will respect your privacy and leave. We will not return. We will put a warning around your world and none will enter."

33    Cameron said, "Mister, I'm tired of this garbage, so I'll count to three -- "

34    They turned and left, and I just knew that everything they said was so. I was listening to them, you see, which Cameron wasn't, because he was busy thinking of his income tax, and it was as though I could hear their minds, know what I mean? I knew that there would be a kind of fence around earth, keeping others out.

35    And when they left, I got my voice back -- too late. I screamed, "Cameron, for God's sake, they're from space. Why'd you send them away?"

36    "From space!" He stared at me.

37    I yelled, "Look!" I don't know how I did it, he being twenty-five pounds heavier than I, but I heaved him to the window by his shirt collar.

38    He was too surprised to resist and when he recovered his wits enough to make like he was going to knock me down, he caught sight of what was going on outside the window and the breath went out of him.

39    They were getting into the flying saucer, those two men, and the saucer sat there, large, round, shiny and kind of powerful, you know. Then it took off. It went up easy as a feather and a red-orange glow showed up on one side and got brighter as the ship got smaller till it was a shooting star again, slowly fading out.
      他们正在进入飞碟,就是那两人,飞碟就在那儿,知道吗,大大的, 圆圆的,亮晶晶的,挺有气势的。接着飞碟起飞了。它轻轻巧巧地上升,像根羽毛似的,一侧发出一道桔红色的光芒,那光越来越强烈,飞碟变得越来越小,最后重新变成一颗流星渐渐消失。

40    And I said, "Sheriff, why'd you send them away? They had to see the President. Now they'll never come back."

41    Cameron said, "I thought they were foreigners. They said they had to learn our language. And they talked funny."

42    "Oh, fine. Foreigners."

43    "They said they were foreigners and they looked Italian. I thought they were Italian."

44    "How could they be Italian? They said they were from the planet Venus. I heard them. They said so."

45    "The planet Venus." His eyes got real round.

46    "They said it. They called it the watery place or something. You know Venus has a lot of water on it."

47    But you see, it was just an error, a stupid error, the kind anyone could make. Only now Earth is never going to have another Venusian visit us. That dope, Cameron, and his income tax!

48    Because he whispered, "Venus! When they talked about the watery place, I thought they meant Venice!"






1 watery bU5zW     
  • In his watery eyes there is an expression of distrust.他那含泪的眼睛流露出惊惶失措的神情。
  • Her eyes became watery because of the smoke.因为烟熏,她的双眼变得泪汪汪的。
2 pessimist lMtxU     
  • An optimist laughs to forget.A pessimist forgets to laugh.乐观者笑着忘却,悲观者忘记怎样笑。
  • The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.悲观者在每个机会中都看到困难,乐观者在每个困难中都看到机会。
3 gulch se6xp     
  • The trail ducks into a narrow gulch.这条羊肠小道突然下到一个狭窄的峡谷里。
  • This is a picture of California Gulch.这是加利福尼亚峡谷的图片。
4 ranch dAUzk     
  • He went to work on a ranch.他去一个大农场干活。
  • The ranch is in the middle of a large plateau.该牧场位于一个辽阔高原的中部。
5 bug 5skzf     
  • There is a bug in the system.系统出了故障。
  • The bird caught a bug on the fly.那鸟在飞行中捉住了一只昆虫。
6 complexions 514dc650e117aa76aab68e5dbcf1b332     
肤色( complexion的名词复数 ); 面色; 局面; 性质
  • Dry complexions are replenished, feel soft, firm and smooth to the touch. 缓解肌肤的干燥状况,同时带来柔嫩、紧致和光滑的出众效果。
  • Western people usually have fairer complexions than Eastern people. 由于人种不同,西方人的肤色比东方人要白很多。
7 wavy 7gFyX     
  • She drew a wavy line under the word.她在这个词的下面画了一条波纹线。
  • His wavy hair was too long and flopped just beneath his brow.他的波浪式头发太长了,正好垂在他的眉毛下。
8 isolated bqmzTd     
  • His bad behaviour was just an isolated incident. 他的不良行为只是个别事件。
  • Patients with the disease should be isolated. 这种病的患者应予以隔离。
9 immediate aapxh     
  • His immediate neighbours felt it their duty to call.他的近邻认为他们有责任去拜访。
  • We declared ourselves for the immediate convocation of the meeting.我们主张立即召开这个会议。
10 supreme PHqzc     
  • It was the supreme moment in his life.那是他一生中最重要的时刻。
  • He handed up the indictment to the supreme court.他把起诉书送交最高法院。
11 helping 2rGzDc     
  • The poor children regularly pony up for a second helping of my hamburger. 那些可怜的孩子们总是要求我把我的汉堡包再给他们一份。
  • By doing this, they may at times be helping to restore competition. 这样一来, 他在某些时候,有助于竞争的加强。
12 intensity 45Ixd     
  • I didn't realize the intensity of people's feelings on this issue.我没有意识到这一问题能引起群情激奋。
  • The strike is growing in intensity.罢工日益加剧。
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