One year, my Uncle Mellie traveled from Fresno to New York. Before he got aboard the train, his uncle Garol paid him a visit and told him about the dangers of travel.
“When you get on the train,” the old man said, “choose your seat carefully, sit down and do not 1)look about.”
“Yes, sir,” my uncle said.
“Several moments after the train begins to move,” the old man said, “Two men wearing 2)uniforms will come down the 3)aisle and ask you for your ticket. Ignore them, they will be 4)impostors.”
“How will I know?”
“You will know. You are no longer a child.”
“Before you have traveled 20 miles, an amiable young man will come to you and offer you a cigarette. Tell him you don”t smoke. The cigarette will be 5)doped.”
“On your way to the diner, a very beautiful young woman will 6)bump into you 7)intentionally and almost 8)embrace you. She will be extremely apologetic and attractive, and your natural 9)impulse will be to 10)cultivate her friendship. Dismiss your natural impulse and go on in and eat. The woman will be an adventurous. Go on in and eat. Order the best food and if the diner is crowded and a beautiful young woman sits across the table from you, do not look into her eyes. If she speaks, pretend to be deaf. The woman will be an adventurous.”
“A what?” my uncle said.
“A lady of easy virtue,” the old man shouted. “Do you understand what I am talking about? Go on in and eat. Order the best food and if the diner is crowded and the beautiful young woman sits across the table from you, do not look into her eyes. If she speaks, pretend to be deaf.”
“Lretend to be deaf,” the old man said. “That is the only way out of it.”
“Out of what?” my uncle Mellie said.
“Out of the whole 11)ungodly 12)mess. I have traveled. I know what I’m talking about.”
“Let’s say no more about it.”
“Let’s not speak of the matter again. It’s finished. I have seven children, my life has been a full and 13)righteous one. Let’s not give it another thought. I have land, vines, trees, cattle and money. One cannot have everything except for a day or two at a time.”
“On your way back to your seat from the diner,” the old man said. “You will pass through the smoker. There you will find a game of cards in progress. The players will be three middle-aged men with expensive looking rings on their fingers. They will nod at you pleasantly and one of them will invite you to join the game. Tell him, ‘No speak English.’”
“That is all.”
“Thank you very much,” my uncle said.
“One thing more,” the old man said.
“When you go to bed at night. Take your money out of your pocket and put it in your shoe. Put your shoe under your pillow, keep your head on the pillow all night and don’t sleep.”
“That is all.”
The old man went away, and the next day my uncle Mellie got aboard the train and traveled straight across America to New York. The two men in uniforms were not imposters. The young man with the doped cigarette did not arrive. The beautiful young woman did not sit across the table from my uncle in the diner, and there was no card game in progress in the smoker. My uncle put his money in his shoe and put his shoe under his pillow and put his head on the pillow and didn’t sleep all night the first night, but the second night he abandoned the whole 14)ritual.
The second day, he himself offered another young man a cigarette, which the other young man accepted. In the diner, my uncle went out of his way to sit at a table with a young lady. He started a poker game in the smoker and long before the train ever got to New York, my uncle knew everybody aboard the train and everybody knew him. Once while the train was travelling through Ohio, my uncle and the young man who had accepted the cigarette and two young ladies on their way to Vasser formed a 15)quartet and sang at a Wabash blue. The journey was a very pleasant one. When my Uncle Mellie came back from New York, his old Uncle Garol visited him again.
“I see you are looking all right,” he said. “Did you follow my instructions?”
“Yes, sir,” my uncle said.
The old man looked far away in space. “I am pleased that someone has profited by my experience,” he said. CE
1) look about 四下环顾
2) uniform [5ju:nifC:m] n. 制服
3) aisle [ail] n. 走廊，过道
4) impostor [im5pCstEr] n. 骗子，冒名顶替者
5) dope [dEup] v. 掺毒品或麻醉剂
6) bump into 撞上
7) intentionally [in5tenFEnEli] adv. 有意地
8) embrace [im5breis] v. 拥抱
9) impulse [5impQls] n. 冲动，刺激
10) cultivate [5kQltiveit] v. 培养
11) ungodly [Qn5gCdlli] a. 荒唐的，不可思议的
12) mess [mes] n. 困境，混乱
13) righteous [5raitFEs] a. 正直的，正义的
14) ritual [5ritFuEl] n. 礼节，礼仪
15) quartet [kwC:5tet] n. 四重唱