Vẻ hào nhoáng sang trọng là thứ mà mọi người luôn ao ước, nhưng chính sự trưởng thành trong khó khăn mới thực sự làm người ta ngưỡng mộ.

Francis Bacon

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Tác giả: Haruki Murakami
Thể loại: Tiểu Thuyết
Biên tập: Truong Ngoc Tuan
Upload bìa: Minh Khoa
Language: English
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Chapter 19: The Limo And Its Driver, Again
ill you be returning to your office? Or to somewhere else?” the chauffeur asked. It was the same chauffeur from the trip out, but his manner seemed a bit more personable now. Guess he took to people easily.
I gave my arms and legs a full stretch on the roomy backseat and considered where I should go. I had no intention of returning to the office. Technically I was still on leave, and I wasn’t about to try to explain all this to my partner. I wasn’t about to go straight home either. Right now I needed a good dose of regular people walking on two legs in a regular way in a regular place.
“Shinjuku Station, west exit,” I said.
Traffic was jammed solid in the direction of Shinjuku. Evening rush hour, among other things. Past a certain point the cars seemed practically glued in place, motionless. Every so often a wave would pass through the cars, budging them forward a few inches. I thought about the rotational speed of the earth. How many miles an hour was this road surface whirling through space? I did a quick calculation in my head but couldn’t figure out if it was any faster than the Spinning Teacup at a carnival. There’re many things we don’t really know. It’s an illusion that we know anything at all. If a group of aliens were to stop me and ask, “Say, bud, how many miles an hour does the earth spin at the equator?” I’d be in a fix. Hell, I don’t even know why Wednesday follows Tuesday. I’d be an intergalactic joke.
I’ve read And Quiet Flows the Don and The Brothers Karamazov three times through. I’ve even read Ideologie Germanica once. I can even recite the value of pi to sixteen places. Would I still be a joke? Probably. They’d laugh their alien heads off.
“Would you care to listen to some music, sir?” asked the chauffeur.
“Good idea,” I said.
And at that a Chopin ballade filled the car. I got the feeling I was in a dressing room at a wedding reception.
“Say,” I asked the chauffeur, “you know the value of pi?”
“You mean that 3.14 whatzit?”
“That’s the one. How many decimal places do you know?”
“I know it to thirty-two places,” the driver tossed out. “Beyond that, well …”
“Thirty-two places?”
“There’s a trick to it, but yes. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, nothing really,” I said, crestfallen. “Never mind.”
So we listened to Chopin as the limousine inched forward ten yards. People in cars and buses around us glared at our monster vehicle. None too comfortable, being the object of so much attention, even with the opaque windows.
“Awful traffic,” I said.
“That it is, but sure as dawn follows night, it’s got to let up sometime.”
“Fair enough, but doesn’t it get on your nerves?”
“Certainly. I get irritated, I get upset. Especially when I’m in a hurry. But I see it all as part of our training. To get irritated is to lose our way in life.”
“That sounds like a religious interpretation of a traffic jam if there ever was one.”
“I’m a Christian. I don’t go to church, but I’ve always been a Christian.”
“Is that so? Don’t you see any contradiction between being a Christian and being the chauffeur for a major right-wing figure?”
“The Boss is an honorable man. After the Lord, the most godly person I’ve ever met.”
“You’ve met God?”
“Certainly. I telephone Him every night.”
“Excuse me?” I stammered. Things were starting to jumble up in my head again. “If everyone called God, wouldn’t the lines be busy all the time? Like directory assistance right around noon.”
“No problem there. God is your simultaneous presence. So even if a million people were to telephone Him at once, He’d be able to speak with everyone simultaneously.”
“I’m no expert, but is that an orthodox interpretation? I mean, theologically speaking.”
“I’m something of a radical. That’s why I don’t go to church.”
“I see,” I said.
The limousine advanced fifty yards. I put a cigarette to my lips and was about to light up when I saw I’d been holding the lighter in my hand the whole time. Without realizing it, I’d walked off with the sheep-engraved silver Dupont. It felt molded to my palm as naturally as if I’d been born with it. The balance and feel couldn’t have been better. After a few seconds’ thought, I decided it was mine. Who’s going to miss a lighter or two? I opened and closed the lid a few times, lit up, and put the lighter in my pocket. By way of compensation, I slipped my Bic disposable into the pocket of the door.
“The Boss gave me it a few years ago,” said the chauffeur out of nowhere.
“Gave you what?”
“God’s telephone number.”
I let out a groan so loud it drowned out everything else. Either I was going crazy or they were all Looney Tunes.
“He told just you, alone, in secret?”
“Yes. Just me, in secret. He’s a fine gentleman. Would you care to get to know Him?”
“If possible,” I said.
“Well, then, it’s Tokyo 9-4-5-…”
“Just a second,” I said, pulling out my notebook and pen. “But do you really think it’s all right, telling me like this?”
“Sure, it’s all right. I don’t go telling just anyone. And you seem like a good person.”
“Well, thank you,” I said. “But what should I talk to God about? I’m not Christian or anything.”
“No problem there. All you have to do is to speak honestly about whatever concerns you or troubles you. No matter how trivial you might think it is. God never gets bored and never laughs at you.”
“Thanks. I’ll give him a call.”
“That’s the spirit,” said the chauffeur.
Traffic began to flow smoothly as the Shinjuku skyscrapers came into view. We didn’t speak the rest of the way there.
A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel - Haruki Murakami A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel