Làm tốt thì tốt hơn là nói giỏi.

Benlamin Franklin

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Ebook "A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel"
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Tác giả: Haruki Murakami
Thể loại: Tiểu Thuyết
Biên tập: Truong Ngoc Tuan
Upload bìa: Minh Khoa
Language: English
Số chương: 44
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Chapter 20: Summer’S End, Autumn’S Beginning
y the time the limousine reached its destination, a pale indigo dusk had spread over the city. A brisk wind blew between the buildings bearing tidings of summer’s end, rustling the skirts of women on their way home from work.
I went to the top of a high-rise hotel, entered the spacious bar, and ordered a Heineken. It took ten minutes for the beer to come. Meanwhile, I planted an elbow on the armrest of my chair, rested my head on my hand, and shut my eyes. Nothing came to mind. With my eyes closed, I could hear hundreds of elves sweeping out my head with their tiny brooms. They kept sweeping and sweeping. It never occurred to any of them to use a dustpan.
When the beer finally arrived, I downed it in two gulps. Then I ate the whole dish of peanuts that came with it. The sweeping had all but stopped.
I went over to the telephone booth by the register and tried calling my girlfriend, her with the gorgeous ears. But she wasn’t at her place and she wasn’t at mine. She’d probably stepped out to eat. She never ate at home.
Next I tried my ex-wife. I reconsidered and hung up after the second ring. I didn’t have anything to say to her after all, and I didn’t want to come off like a jerk.
After them, there was no one to call. Smack in the middle of a city with a million people out roaming the streets, and no one to talk to. I gave up, pocketed the ten-yen coin, and exited the booth. Then I put in an order with a passing waiter for two more Heinekens.
And so the day came to an end. I could hardly have spent a more pointless day. The last day of summer, and what good had it been? Outside, an early autumn darkness had come over everything. Strings of tiny yellow streetlamps threaded everywhere below. Seen from up here, they looked ready to be trampled on.
The beer came. I polished off the one, then dumped the dish of peanuts into the palm of my hand and proceeded to eat them, bit by bit. Four middle-aged women, finished with swimming lessons at the hotel pool, sat at the next table chatting over colorful tropical cocktails. A waiter stood by, rigidly upright, crooking his neck to yawn. Another waiter explained the menu to a middle-aged American couple. After the peanuts, I moved on to my third Heineken. After it was gone, I didn’t know what to do with my hands.
I fished the envelope out of the hip pocket of my Levi’s, tore open the seal, and started to count the stack of ten-thousand-yen notes. It looked more like a deck of cards than a bound packet of new bills. Halfway through, my fingers began to tire. At ninety-six, an elderly waiter came to clear away my empty bottles, asking whether to bring another. I nodded as I continued counting. He seemed totally uninterested in what I was doing.
There were one hundred and fifty bills. I stuck them back into the envelope and shoved it back into my hip pocket just as the new beer came. Again I ate the whole dish of peanuts, and only then did it occur to me that I was hungry. But why was I so hungry? I’d only eaten one slice of fruitcake since morning.
I called the waiter, ordered a cheese and cucumber sandwich. Hold the chips, double the pickles. Might they have nail clippers? Of course, they did. Hotel bars truly have everything you could ever want. One place even had a French-Japanese dictionary when I needed it.
I took my time with this beer, took a long took at the night scenery, took my time trimming my nails over the ashtray. I looked back at the scenery, then I filed my nails. And so on into the night. I’m well on the way to veteran class when it comes to killing time in the city.
A built-in ceiling speaker called my name. At first it didn’t sound like my name. Only a few seconds after the announcement was over did it sink in that I’d heard the special characteristics of my name, and only gradually then did it come to me that my name was my name.
The waiter brought a cordless transceiver-phone over to the table.
“There has been a small change in plans,” said the voice I knew from somewhere. “The Boss’s condition has taken a sudden turn for the worse. There is not much time left, I fear. So we are curtailing your time limit.”
“To how long?”
“One month. We cannot wait any longer. If after one month you have not found that sheep, you are finished. You will have nowhere to go back to.”
One month. I thought it over. But my head was beyond dealing with concepts of time. One month, two months, was there any real difference? And who had any idea, any standard, of how much time it should take to find one sheep in the first place? “How did you know to find me here?” I asked.
“We are on top of most things,” said the man.
“Except the whereabouts of one sheep,” I said.
“Exactly,” said the man. “Anyway, get on it, you waste too much time. You should take good account of where you now stand. You have only yourself to blame for driving yourself into that corner.”
He had a point. I used the first ten-thousand-yen note out of the envelope to pay the check. Down on the ground, people were still walking about on two legs, but the sight no longer gave me much relief.
A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel - Haruki Murakami A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel