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约翰·格里森(John Grisham)

美国'最喜欢的讲故事的人

漂白剂摘录

星期二

通往雷克菲尔德(Rake Field)的道路穿过学校,经过古老的乐队大厅和网球场,穿过由助推器种植并支付费用的两排完美的红,黄枫树的隧道,然后越过小山到达覆盖的较低区域足够一千辆车的沥青。道路在巨大的砖头和铁艺大门前停下,宣布存在雷克菲尔德(Rake Field),在大门之外是一串链环围栏,环绕着圣地。在星期五晚上,整个墨西拿镇都在等待大门打开,然后冲向露天看台,那里声称有座位并遵循紧张的赛前仪式。拉克菲尔德(Rake Field)周围黑色的铺好的牧场会在开幕式开始前很长一段时间内溢出,使城外交通进入学校后面的土路和小巷以及偏远的停车区’的自助餐厅及其棒球场。反对派球迷在墨西拿度过了艰难的时光,但不及对战球队那么艰难。

Driving slowly along the road to 耙 Field was 尼利 Crenshaw, slowly because he had not been back in many years, slowly because when he saw the lights of the field the memories came roaring back, as he knew they would. He rolled through the red 和 yellow maples, bright in their autumn foliage. Their trunks had been a foot thick in 尼利’s glory days, 和 now their branches touched above him 和 their leaves dropped like snow 和 covered the road to 耙 Field.

十月的傍晚,北方的微风使空气凉爽。

他把车停在大门附近,凝视着田野。现在所有的动作都很缓慢,所有的想法都被另一种生活的声音和图像所压倒。他参加比赛时没有名字。不需要。墨西拿(Messina)的每个人都将其称为“田野(The Field)”。“这些男孩今早在场上,”他们会说在市中心的咖啡馆。“我们什么时候打扫田野?”他们会在扶轮社问。“瑞克说我们需要新访客’The Field的露天看台”他们会说在助推器’ meeting. “Rake’s got ’今晚在The Field上播出”他们会在城镇北部的啤酒节说。

墨西拿(Messina)的任何一块土地都比《菲尔德》(The Field)更受尊敬。连墓地都没有。

After 耙 left they named it after him. 尼利 was gone by then, of course, long gone with no plans to return.

他为什么现在要回来’不能完全清楚,但是他深深地’d永远知道的这一天将会到来,将来他被召回的那一天。他’d always known that 耙 would eventually die, 和 of course there would be a funeral with hundreds of former players packed around the casket, all wearing their Spartan green, all mourning the loss of a legend they loved 和 hated. But he’d told himself many times that he would never return to The Field as long as 耙 was alive.

在远处,在访客后面’看台上有两个练习场,一个带灯。该州没有其他学校有这种奢侈,但是没有其他城镇像墨西拿那样彻底和集体地崇拜足球。尼利听见教练的声音’最新的斯巴达车队为周五晚上的比赛做准备,吹口哨,身体的and打声互相呼应。他穿过大门,穿过铁轨,当然漆成深绿色。

末端区域的草被修剪整齐并适合放置,但是有一些野生小枝在球门柱上in。在一个角落里有一两片杂草,现在他’d注意到Neely看上去更近了,在赛道边缘看到了未修剪的增长。在光荣的日子里,每个星期四下午都有数十名志愿者聚集一堂,用剪草机修剪田野,割掉每一个任性的草叶。

The glory days were gone. 他们 left with 耙. Now Messina football was played by mortals, 和 the town had lost its swagger.

Coach 耙 had once cursed loudly at a well-dressed gentleman who committed the sin of stepping onto the sacred Bermuda grass of The Field. The gentleman backtracked quickly, then walked around the sideline, 和 when he drew closer 耙 realized he had just cursed the Mayor of Messina. The Mayor was offended. 耙 didn’t care. No one walked on his field. The Mayor, unaccustomed to being cursed, set in motion an ill-fated effort to fire 耙, who shrugged it off. The locals defeated the Mayor four to one as soon as his name appeared on the next ballot.

In those days, Eddie 耙 had more political clout in Messina than all the politicians combined, 和 he thought nothing of it.

尼利呆在场边,慢慢地走向家庭看台,然后他停了下来,深深吸了一口气,因为赛前的紧张情绪使他受了重击。早已久的人群的吼声又回来了,一群人紧紧地挤在一起,在露天看台上,乐队的中心处散发出无尽的斯巴达格斗歌曲。在离几英尺远的边线上,他看到暴民崇拜他时19号紧张地升温。排名第19的是一位全美高中生,四分卫高招,双臂金色,脚快,体型充足,也许是有史以来最伟大的墨西拿。

Number 19 was 尼利 Crenshaw in another life.

He walked a few steps along the sideline, stopped at the fifty where 耙 had coached hundreds of games, 和 looked again at the silent bleachers where ten thousand people once gathered on Friday nights to pour their emotions upon a high school football team.

他现在的人数是原来的一半’d heard.

Fifteen years had passed since number 19 had thrilled so many. Fifteen years since 尼利 had played on the sacred turf. 怎么样 many times had he promised himself he would never do what he was now doing? 怎么样 many times had he sworn he would never come back?

On a practice field in the distance a coach blew a whistle 和 someone was yelling, but 尼利 barely heard it. Instead he was hearing the drum corps of the band, 和 the raspy, unforgettable voice of Mr. Bo Michael on the public address, 和 the deafening sound of the bleachers rattling as the fans jumped up 和 down.

And he heard 耙 bark 和 growl, though his coach seldom lost his cool in the heat of battle.

啦啦队长在那边–bouncing, chanting, short skirts, tights, tanned 和 firm legs. 尼利 had his pick back then.

他的父母坐在离新闻发布室八排的四十个地方。每次开球前他都向母亲挥手。她大部分时间都在祈祷中度过,确定他会伤脖子。

大学的招聘人员在50个主要座位上获得了一排椅子背座位的通行证。有人为“石榴石中央”游戏计数了38个侦察兵,在那里观看第19名。一百多所大学写了信。他父亲仍然保留着它们。 31个提供了全额奖学金。当Neely与Tech签约时,有一个新闻发布会和头条新闻。

Ten thousand seats up in the bleachers, for a town with a population of eight thousand. The math had never worked. But they piled in from the county, from out in the sticks where there was nothing else to do on Friday night. 他们 got their paychecks 和 bought their beer, 和 they came to town, to The Field where they clustered in one raucous pack at the north end of the stands 和 made more noise than the students, the band, 和 the townsfolk combined.

当他还是个男孩时,他的父亲使他远离北端。“Those county people”那里喝酒,有时打架,他们对官员大吼大叫。几年后,第19名崇拜这些县人民制作的球拍,他们当然也崇拜他。

露天看台现在保持沉默,等待着。他在边线边缓慢移动,双手插在口袋里,这是一个被遗忘的英雄,他的星星消逝得如此之快。墨西拿四分卫三个赛季。超过一百个达阵。他’d在这个领域上从未失传。尽管他试图阻止比赛,但比赛还是回到了他身上。那些日子已经一去不复返了,他一百次告诉自己。早就没了。

In the south end zone the boosters had erected a giant scoreboard, 和 mounted around it on large white placards with bold green lettering was the history of Messina football. And thus the history of the town. Undefeated seasons in 1960 和 1961, when 耙 was not yet thirty years old. Then in 1964 The Streak began, with perfect seasons for the rest of that decade 和 into the next. A month after 尼利 was born in 1970, Messina lost to South Wayne in the state championship, 和 The Streak was over. Eighty-four wins in a row, a national record at that time, 和 Eddie 耙 was a legend at the age of thirty-nine.

尼利’s father had told him of the unspeakable gloom that engulfed the town in the days after that loss. As if eighty-four straight victories were not enough. It was a miserable winter, but Messina endured. Next season, 耙’的男孩们以13-0的成绩杀了南韦恩,夺得州冠军。随后其他州锦标赛’74, ’75, 和 ’79.

然后是干旱。从1980年到1987年,尼利’大一的学年,墨西拿每个赛季都保持不败,轻松赢得了比赛和季后赛,只不过输掉了州决赛。墨西拿不满。咖啡店里的当地人不高兴。老朋友们渴望《连胜》的日子。加利福尼亚的一所学校连续获得了九十个奖项,整个墨西拿(Messina)镇遭到了冒犯。

记分牌的左侧,贴有白色字母的绿色标语牌,是对所有墨西拿英雄中最伟大的英雄的致敬。七个数字已经退休,而尼利’s 19 being the last. Next to it was number 56, worn by Jesse Trapp, a linebacker who played briefly at Miami then went to prison. In 1974, 耙 had retired number 81, worn by Roman Armstead, the only Messina Spartan to play in the NFL.

在南端区域之外是任何小型学院都羡慕的野外房屋。它有一个举重室,储物柜和一个访客’ dressing room with carpet 和 showers. It too was built by the boosters after an intense capital campaign that lasted one winter 和 consumed the entire town. No expense was spared, not for the Messina Spartans football team. Coach 耙 wanted weights 和 lockers 和 coaches’办公室,助推器几乎忘记了圣诞节。

现在有些不同了,尼利以前从未见过。就在通向野战屋的大门旁边,有一座纪念碑,上面有砖砌的底座和青铜的胸像。尼利走过去看看。那是瑞克(Rake),这是一个超大的瑞克(Rake),额头上有皱纹,眼睛周围是熟悉的皱着眉头,但只是一丝微笑。他戴着与他一样的风化墨西拿帽子’戴了几十年。五十岁的青铜埃迪·雷克(Eddie 耙),不是七十岁的老人。在它的下面是一块带有发光叙事的牌匾,其中包括墨西拿大街上几乎任何人都可能从记忆中摇摇欲坠的细节–担任斯巴达人队教练34年,获得418场胜利,62场失利,13个州冠军,并且在1964年至1970年期间保持了不败战绩,最终以84分结束。

It was an altar, 和 尼利 could see the Spartans bowing before it as they made their way onto the field each Friday night.

风起,在尼利面前散落着树叶。练习结束了,肮脏而满头大汗的球员正朝着野战房奔去。他没有’不想被人看到,所以他走下了轨道,穿过了一扇门。他爬了三十排,独自一人坐在看台上,高高在雷克球场(Rake Field)上,并可以看到东面的山谷。远处,教堂的尖顶升至墨西拿的金色和猩红色的树木之上。最左边的尖顶属于卫理公会教堂,后面的街区是露天看台看不见的,是小镇在其五十岁生日送给埃迪·雷克(Eddie 耙)的漂亮两层楼房屋。

And in that home Miss Lila 和 her three daughters 和 all the rest of the 耙s were now gathered, waiting for the Coach to take his last breath. No doubt the house was full of friends, too, with trays of food covering the tables 和 flowers stacked everywhere.

Were any former players there? 尼利 thought not.

The next car into the parking lot stopped near 尼利’s. This Spartan wore a coat 和 tie, 和 as he walked casually across the track, he, too, avoided stepping onto the playing surface. He spotted 尼利 和 climbed the bleachers.

“你在这里多久了?”他们握手时他问。

“Not long,” 尼利 said. “Is he dead?”

“No, not yet.”

Paul Curry caught forty-seven of the sixty-three touchdown passes 尼利 threw in their three-year career together. Crenshaw to Curry, time 和 time again, practically unstoppable. 他们 had been cocaptains. 他们 were close friends who’d drifted apart over the years. 他们 still called each other three or four times a year. Paul’的祖父建立了第一家墨西拿银行,因此他的前途在出生时就被封印了。然后,他嫁给了另一个著名家庭的当地女孩。尼利是伴郎,婚礼是他最后一次回到墨西拿。

“How’s the family?” 尼利 asked.

“Fine. Mona’s pregnant.”

“Of course she’怀孕了。五六个?”

“Only four.”

尼利 shook his head. 他们 were sitting three feet apart, both gazing into the distance, chatting but preoccupied. There was noise from the field house as cars 和 trucks began leaving.

“How’s the team?” 尼利 asked.

“还不错,赢了四个,输了两个。教练是来自密苏里州的年轻人。我喜欢他。天赋’s thin.”

“Missouri?”

“是的,千里之外没有人会接受这份工作。”

尼利 glanced at him 和 said, “You’已经增加了一些体重。”

“I’我是一名银行家和扶轮社,但我仍然可以超越你。”保罗迅速停下脚步,对不起他’d blurted out the last phrase. 尼利’左膝的大小是右膝的两倍。“I’m sure you can,” 尼利 said with a smile. No harm done.

他们 watched the last of the cars 和 trucks speed away, most of them squealing tires or at least trying to. A lesser Spartan tradition.

然后事情又安静了。“你有空的时候来这里吗?” 尼利 asked.

“I used to.”

“到处走走,回想一下当时的情况吗?”

“我做了,直到我放弃了。发生在我们所有人身上。”

“这是我第一次’自从他们退了我的电话后,我又回到了这里。”

“And you haven’t given it up. 您’那时还活着,还在做梦,仍然是全美四分卫。”

“I wish I’d从未看过足球。”

“You had no choice in this town. 耙 had us in uniforms when we were in the sixth grade. Four teams–red, blue, gold, 和 black, remember? No green because every kid wanted to wear green. We played 星期二 nights 和 drew more fans than most high schools. We learned the same plays 耙 was calling on Friday night. The same system. We dreamed of being Spartans 和 playing before ten thousand fanatics. By the ninth grade 耙 himself was supervising our practices 和 we knew all forty plays in his book. Knew them in our sleep.”

“I still know them,” 尼利 said.

“我也可以。还记得他让我们在实践中连续两个小时运行slot-waggle-right吗?”

“是的,因为你一直在拧螺丝’ up.”

“然后我们跑漂白剂直到我们吐出来。”

“That was 耙,” 尼利 mumbled.

“你数年直到你得到一件大学球衣,然后你’是英雄,偶像,自大混蛋,因为在这个小镇上你做错了。你赢了,赢了,你’重新成为你自己的小世界之王,然后po,’没了。您玩了最后一场比赛,所有人都哭了。您可以’t believe it’结束了。然后另一个团队就在你身后’re forgotten.”

“It was so long ago.”

“十五岁,朋友。当我上大学时,我会放假回家,远离这个地方。我不会’t even drive by the school. Never saw 耙, didn’不想。然后在夏季的一个晚上,就在我回到大学之前,大约一个月左右,在他们解雇他之前,我买了六包,爬上这里,重新玩了所有比赛。呆了几个小时。我可以看到我们随意得分,每场比赛都踢屁股。这太棒了。然后它像地狱一样痛苦,因为它已经过去了,我们的辉煌岁月一闪而逝。”

“Did you hate 耙 that night?”

“不,那时候我爱他。”

“它每天都在变化。”

“For most of us.”

“Does it hurt now?”

“不再。我结婚后,我们购买了季票,加入了其他俱乐部通常会做的事,成为助推俱乐部。随着时间的流逝,我忘了成为英雄,而成为另一个粉丝。”

“你参加所有比赛吗?”

保罗指着左边。“当然。银行拥有整个席位。”

“您需要与您的家人在一起。”

“莫娜非常肥沃。”

“Evidently. 怎么样 does she look?”

“She looks pregnant.”

“我的意思是,您知道她的身体状况吗?”

“换句话说,她胖吗?”

“That’s it.”

“不,她每天运动两个小时,只吃生菜。她看起来很好,她’今晚要你吃晚饭。”

“For lettuce?”

“For whatever you want. 能够 I call her?”

“No, not yet. Let’s just talk.”

There was no talk for a long time. 他们 watched a pickup truck roll to a stop near the gate. The driver was a heavyset man with faded jeans, a denim cap, a thick beard, 和 a limp. He walked around the end zone 和 down the track 和 as he stepped up to the bleachers he noticed 尼利 和 Curry sitting higher, watching every move he made. He nodded at them, climbed a few rows, then sat 和 gazed at the field, very still 和 very alone.

“That’s Orley Short,”保罗说,终于在脸上加了个名字。“Late seventies.”

“I remember him,” 尼利 said. “历史上最慢的线卫。”

“和最卑鄙的。我认为全会议。在juco玩了一年,然后在他的余生中退出砍伐木材。”

“瑞克爱伐木者,没有’t he?”

“Didn’我们所有人吗?四个记录员的防守和会议名称是自动的。”

另一辆皮卡停在第一名附近,另一位穿着工作服的绅士穿着粗斜纹棉布,牛仔布笨拙地走向看台,在那里他向奥利·肖特打招呼,坐在他旁边。他们的会议似乎没有计划。

“Can’t place him,” Paul said, struggling to identify the second man 和 frustrated that he could not. In three 和 a half decades 耙 had coached hundreds of boys from Messina 和 the county. Most of them had never left. 耙’s players knew each other. 他们 were members of a small fraternity whose membership was forever closed.

“你应该更经常回来”保罗说是时候再谈。

“Why?”

“人们想见你。”

“Maybe 我不’t want to see them.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know.”

“您认为这里的人仍然怀恨在心,因为您没有’t win the Heisman?”

“No.”

“They’我会记住你的,但是你’re history. 您’仍然是全美国人,但这是很久以前的事了。走在伦福’s Café 和 Maggie still has that huge photo of you above the cash register. I go there for breakfast every Thursday 和 sooner or later two old-timers will start debating who was the greatest Messina quarterback, 尼利 Crenshaw or Wally Webb. Webb started for four years, won forty-six in a row, never lost, etc., etc. But Crenshaw played against black kids 和 the game was faster 和 tougher. Crenshaw signed with Tech but Webb was too small for the big-time. 他们’ll argue forever. 他们 still love you, 尼利.”

“Thanks, but I’ll skip it.”

“Whatever.”

“It was another life.”

“来吧,放弃。享受回忆。”

“I can’t. 耙’s back there.”

“那你为什么在这里”

“I don’t know.”

电话从保罗深处传来’的深色西装很好。他找到了并说,“Curry.” A pause. “I’m在田野上,与Crenshaw。” A pause. “Yep, he’在这里。我发誓。好的。”保罗拍了一下电话,把它塞进了口袋。

“That was 筒仓,” he said. “我告诉他你可能要来。”

尼利 smiled 和 shook his head at the thought of 筒仓 Mooney. “I haven’自从我们毕业以来就没有见过他。”

“He didn’如果你还记得的话,就毕业了。”

“Oh, yeah. I forgot.”

“警察没什么大问题。附表四受控物质。他的父亲在我们毕业前一个月将他踢出了房子。”

“Now I remember.”

“He lived in 耙’在地下室呆了几个星期,然后参军。”

“What’s he doing now?”

“Well, let’s say he’在一个非常丰富多彩的职业中。他以不光彩的方式离开了陆军,在钻井平台上在海上弹跳了几年,厌倦了诚实的工作,然后回到墨西拿兜售毒品直到被枪击。”

“我认为子弹未击中。”

“拉了一英寸,筒仓试图直行。我借给他五千美元买下老富兰克林’在鞋店,他成立了自己的企业家。他削减了鞋子的价格,同时又使员工的工资翻了一番,一年之内就破产了。他卖了很多公墓,然后是二手车,然后是移动房屋。我有一段时间不了解他了。有一天,他走进银行,用现金偿还了他欠的一切,他说’d终于击中了金子。”

“In Messina?”

“是的他莫名其妙地把老人乔斯林骗出了城东的垃圾场。他固定了一个仓库,在前半部分经营着一家合法的车身修理厂。摇钱树。在后半部分,他经营着一家杂物店,专门从事失窃的皮卡。真正的摇钱树。”

“He didn’t tell you this.”

“No, he didn’没提到排骨店。但是我负责他的银行业务,秘密很难在这里保留。他’我们在卡罗来纳州与一群盗贼达成了交易,他们将他的被盗卡车运了出去。他将它们分解并移动零件。它’所有的现金,显然在那里’s plenty of it.”

“The cops?”

“尚未,但是与他打交道的每个人都非常小心。我希望联邦调查局每天都能传票,所以我’m ready.”

“Sounds just like 筒仓,” 尼利 said.

“He’一团糟。大量喝酒,很多女人,到处乱扔现金。看起来大了十岁。”

“为什么我不感到惊讶?他还在战斗吗?”

“All the time. Be careful what you say about 耙. Nobody loves him like 筒仓. He’ll come after you.”

“Don’t worry.”

作为进攻的中锋和防守的鼻梁,西洛·穆尼(Silo Mooney)拥有自己打过的每一场比赛的中场。他身高不到六英尺,身形像个筒仓:一切都很厚–胸部,腰部,腿部,手臂。他与Neely和Paul一起工作了三年。不同于其他两个,筒仓在每场比赛中平均三次犯规。一旦他有四个,每季度一个。他两次因踢opposing部相对的巡线员而被驱逐出境。他为在他对面的那个可怜的男孩上看到鲜血而活。“得到了那个流血的流血’ now,”他会挤作一团,通常在上半场晚些时候。“He won’t finish the game.”

“来杀了他” 尼利 would say, egging on a mad dog. One less defensive lineman made 尼利’s job much easier.

No Messina player had ever been cursed by Coach 耙 with as much frequency 和 enthusiasm as 筒仓 Mooney. No one had deserved it as much. No one craved the verbal abuse as much as 筒仓.

在露天看台的北端,县里的喧闹声曾经使地狱起了很大的作用,一个年长的男人悄悄地走到第一排并坐下。他距离他太远了,无法被认出,他当然想一个人呆着。他凝视着田野,很快就迷失在自己的记忆中。

The first jogger appeared 和 began plodding counter-clockwise around the track. It was the time of day when the runners 和 walkers drifted to the field for a few laps. 耙 had never allowed such nonsense, but after he was sacked a movement arose to open the track to the people who’d paid for it. A maintenance man was usually loitering somewhere nearby, watching to make sure no one dared step on the grass of 耙 Field. There was no chance of that.

“Where’s Floyd?” 尼利 asked.

“仍在纳什维尔(Nashville)捡吉他和写坏音乐。追逐梦想。”

“Ontario?”

“He’在这里,在邮局工作。他和高田有三个孩子。她’s teaching school 和 as sweet as always. 他们’每周五次在教堂里。”

“So he’s still smiling?”

“Always.”

“Denny?”

“仍然在这里,在那栋楼里教授化学。永远不会错过任何一场比赛。”

“你化学了吗?”

“I did not.”

“我也没。我直A’并从未破解过一本书。”

“You didn’t have to. 您 were the all-American.”

“And Jesse’s still in jail?”

“Oh yeah, he’会在那里很长一段时间。”

“Where is he?”

“布福德。我时不时见他的母亲,我总是问他。这让她哭泣,但我可以’t help it.”

“Wonder if he knows about 耙?” 尼利 said.

保罗耸了耸肩,摇了摇头,谈话中还有另一个缝隙,他们看着一个老人在赛道上痛苦的小跑中挣扎。随后是两位大个子年轻女子,她们说话时都比走路消耗更多的精力。

“您是否曾经了解过杰西为什么与迈阿密签约的真实故事?” 尼利 asked.

“并不是的。关于金钱的传闻很多,但杰西永远不会说。”

“Remember 耙’s reaction?”

“Yeah, he wanted to kill Jesse. I think 耙 had made some promises to the recruiter from A&M.”

“瑞克一直想提供奖品,” 尼利 said, with an air of experience. “他要我去州立大学。”

“That’s where you should’ve gone.”

“Too late for that.”

“Why’你与Tech签约了吗?”

“我喜欢他们的四分卫教练。”

“没有人喜欢他们的四分卫教练。真正的原因是什么?”

“你真的想知道吗”

“是的,十五年后,我真的很想知道。”

“五万美元现金。”

“No.”

“是的国家提供四十,A&M出价三十五,而另一些愿意支付二十。”

“你从来没有告诉过我”

“直到现在我都没有告诉任何人。它’这样的生意很差。”

“您从Tech手中拿了五万美元现金?” Paul asked slowly.

“当我和Screamer一起看电影时,一个晚上把五百张一百美元的钞票塞进一个没有标记的红色帆布袋,放在我的汽车后备箱中。第二天早上,我致力于技术。”

“你父母知道吗”

“你疯了吗?我父亲会’ve called the NCAA.”

“Why’d you take it?”

“每所学校都提供现金,保罗,唐’天真。这是游戏的一部分。”

“I’m not naÇve, I’我只是对你感到惊讶。”

“Why? I could’已经与Tech签署了任何协议,否则我可以’我拿了钱。一万五千美元对一个十八岁的白痴就像中了彩票。”

“But still–”

“保罗,每个招聘人员都提供现金。没有’一个例外。我认为这只是业务的一部分。”

“How’你把钱藏起来了吗?”

“到处乱塞。上Tech时,我付了现金购买了一辆新车。它没有’t last long.”

“和你父母’t suspicious?”

“他们是,但是我不在上大学,他们不能’跟上一切。”

“您没有保存?”

“为什么当你省钱’re on the payroll?”

“What payroll?”

尼利 reshifted his weight 和 gave an indulging smile.

“Don’t光顾我,混蛋,” Paul said. “奇怪的是我们大多数人没有’在一级联赛踢足球。”

“还记得我大一的鳄鱼碗吗?”

“当然。这里的每个人都看着它。”

“下半场我从替补席上坐下来,进行了3​​次达阵,跑了100码,在最后一秒的传球中获胜。星辰诞生,我’在这个国家最伟大的新生中,等等,等等。好吧,当我回到学校时,我的P.O中有一个小包裹。框。五千美元现金。便条说:‘不错的游戏。保持。’这是匿名的。信息很清楚–继续赢钱,钱会不断来。所以我当时’对存钱感兴趣。”

筒仓’s的皮卡有一个自定义的油漆工作,这是金色和红色之间的奇怪混合。车轮闪着银光,窗户是黑色的。“There he is,”保罗说,卡车在大门附近停了下来。

“那是什么样的卡车?” 尼利 asked.

“Stolen I’m sure.”

筒仓本人已被定制–皮革的第二次世界大战飞行员夹克,黑色牛仔长裤,黑色靴子。他没有’t lost weight, hadn’t都没有得到任何好处,当他在田野边缘缓慢地行走时,看上去仍然像是鼻梁。那是墨西拿·斯巴达(Messina Spartan)的步伐,几乎是一个支柱,几乎对任何人说出粗心的话都是一个挑战。筒仓仍然可以穿上护垫,抓住球,然后抽血。

Instead he gazed at something in the middle of the field, perhaps it was himself a long time ago, perhaps he heard 耙 barking at him. 什么ever 筒仓 heard or saw stopped him on the sideline for a moment, then he climbed the steps with his hands stuck deep in the pockets of his jacket. He was breathing hard when he got to 尼利. He bearhugged his quarterback 和 asked him where he’过去十五年了。问候被交换,侮辱被交换。有太多的领域需要掩盖,以至于都不想开始。

他们 sat three in a row 和 watched another jogger limp by. 筒仓 was subdued, 和 when he spoke it was almost in a whisper. “那么这些天你住在哪里?”

“The Orlando area,” 尼利 said.

“你从事什么工作?”

“Real estate.”

“You got a family?”

“No, just one divorce. 您?”

“Oh, I’确保我有很多孩子,我只是不’t know about ’em。从未结婚。你ma’ money?”

“Getting by. I’我不在福布斯排行榜上。”

“I’明年可能会破解” 筒仓 said.

“什么样的生意?” 尼利 asked, glancing down at Paul.

“Automotive parts,” 筒仓 said. “I stopped by 耙’今天下午。莱拉小姐和女孩以及孙子孙女和邻居们都在那儿。屋子里到处都是乡亲’ around, just waitin’ for 耙 to die.”

“Did you see him?” Paul asked.

“No. He’在后面的某个地方,有一个护士。莱拉小姐说他没有’不想让任何人在他的末日见到他。说他’s just a skeleton.”

埃迪·雷克(Eddie 耙)躺在一张黑床上,附近的一位护士在盘点分钟,这使对话变得很冷淡。直到他被解雇的那一天,他都穿着扣板和短裤进行教练,并且毫不犹豫地展示了正确的阻拦技术或僵硬的手臂。 耙乐于与球员保持身体接触,但不能为完成出色的工作打耳光。 耙喜欢打球,直到他生气地扔下剪贴板并用肩膀垫住某人,他才开始练习。越大越好。在阻击训练中,当情况不适合他时,他会蹲伏在一个完美的三分姿势上,然后将球开火并撞上一个防守铲球,其中一个要增加40磅的重量,并且要有足够的护垫和装备。在糟糕的一天里,每个墨西拿球员都曾见过Rake,他的身体向后倾斜,然后狠狠地击倒了他。他热爱足球的暴力行为,并要求每个球员都如此。

In thirty-four years as head Coach, 耙 had struck only two players off the field. The first had been a famous fistfight in the late sixties between the Coach 和 a hothead who had quit the team 和 was looking for trouble, of which he found plenty with 耙. The second had been a cheap shot that landed in the face of 尼利 Crenshaw.

他现在是个sh的老人,喘不过气来,这是不可理解的。

“我在菲律宾”筒仓低声说,但他的声音很粗糙,在清澈的空气中传播。“I was guardin’军官厕所,仇恨’每一分钟,我从未见过你在大学玩。”

“You didn’t miss much,” 尼利 said.

“后来我听说你很棒,然后就受伤了。”

“我有一些不错的游戏。”

“他是大二学生时的本周国家球员,” Paul said. “与普渡大学进行了六次达阵。”

“是膝盖,对吧?” 筒仓 asked.

“Yes.”

“How’d it happen?”

“我滚开,进入公寓,看到一个开口,塞进球,跑了,没有’t see a linebacker.” 尼利 delivered the narrative as if he’d做了1000次,并且不愿意再做一次。

筒仓 had torn an ACL in spring football 和 survived it. He knew something about the knee. “手术等等吗?” he asked.

“Four of them,” 尼利 said. “韧带完全破裂,膝盖受伤。”

“头盔让你得到了吗?”

“The linebacker went for the knee as 尼利 was stepping out of bounds,” Paul said. “他们在电视上放了十几次。一位播音员胆敢称其为便宜镜头。那是个&M, what can I say?”

“Must’ve hurt like hell.”

“It did.”

“他被一辆救护车带走,他们在墨西拿的街道上哭泣。”

“I’m sure that’s true,” 筒仓 said. “But it doesn’花费很多钱才能使这座城市不高兴。康复没有’t work?”

“他们可悲地称其为职业生涯终结的伤害,” 尼利 said. “治疗使情况变得更糟。从第二回合开始我就敬酒了。应该’我像我一样一直留在口袋里’d been coached.”

“瑞克从没告诉过你要留在口袋里。”

“It’s a different game up there, 筒仓.”

“Yeah, they’re a bunch of dumbasses. 他们 never recruited me. I could’曾经很棒,可能是第一个赢得海斯曼的鼻子。”

“No doubt about it,” Paul said.

“每个人都知道在Tech” 尼利 said. “所有的球员都问我,‘Where’s the great 筒仓 Mooney? 为什么 didn’t we sign him?’ ”

“What a waste,” Paul said. “You’d仍在NFL中。”

“可能是包装工” 筒仓 said. “赚大钱。小鸡bangin’在我的门上。人生。”

“Didn’t 耙 want you to go to a junior college?” 尼利 asked.

“是的,我去了那里,但是他们不会’让我在这里完成学业。”

“How’你入伍了吗?”

“I lied.”

And there was no doubt that 筒仓 had lied to get in the Army, 和 probably lied to get out. “I need a beer,” he said. “你们要啤酒吗?”

“I’ll pass,” Paul said. “我需要尽快回家。”

“What about you?”

“啤酒会很好,” 尼利 said.

“你要在这里待一会儿吗?” 筒仓 asked.

“Maybe.”

“我也是。好像现在就在这里。”