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阿城 棋王 二二 translation: Chess King, by Ah Cheng, Chp 2 pt 2

This is the second part of a translation of the second chapter of the 1984 novel 棋王 (‘Chess King’) by the Chinese author 阿城 (Ah Cheng).

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Original image by Flickr user witness 1

棋王

二二

我跳着跑下山,王一生已经站住,一脸高兴的样子,远远地问: I ran down the mountain, and Wang Yisheng was already standing there; his whole face lit up, and he asked from a distance:

“你怎么知道是我?” "How did you know it was me?"

我到了他跟前说: I reached him and said:

“远远就看你呆头呆脑,还真是你。 "I could see your geek expression and geek head from far away, and it really was you.

你怎么老也不来看我?” How come you never come to see me?"

他跟我并排走着,说: We walked next to me and said:

“你也老不来看我呀!” "You never come to see me either!"

我见他背上的汗浸出衣衫,头发已是一绺一绺的,一脸的灰土,只有眼睛和牙齿放光,嘴上也是一层土,干得起皱,就说: I could see the sweat coming through his shirt on his back; his hair was already in tufts and his face was dusty - only his eyes and teeth reflected the light; there was a layer of dirt around his mouth that had dried and wrinkled; I said:

“你怎么摸来的?” "How did you find your way here?"

他说:“搭一段儿车,走一段儿路,出来半个月了。” He said: "I got on a truck for a while, walked for a while - it took half a month."

我吓了一跳,问: I was shocked and asked:

“不到百里,怎么走这么多天?” "It's less than thirty miles - how did it take so long?"

他说:“回去细说。” He said: "I'll tell you on the way."

说话间已经到了沟底队里。 Whilst talking we'd arrived at the bottom of the gully.

场上几只猪跑来跑去,个个儿瘦得赛狗。 A few pigs ran all over the place, all of them thinner than dogs.

还不到下班时间,冷冷清清的,只有队上伙房隐隐传来叮叮当当的声音。 Before it was time to finish work, it was cold and desolate, and only clinking sounds from the team building could be heard drifting over.

到了我的宿舍,就直进去。 When we got to my dormitory we went right in.

这里并不锁门,都没有多馀的东西可拿,不必防谁。 No-one locked the door there, because there wasn't anything to steal, so we didn't need to guard against anyone.

我放了盆,叫他等着,就提桶打热水来给他洗。 I put down my bag *[?]*, and asked him to wait, then hung up the bucket for hot water for him to wash.

到了伙房,与炊事员讲,我这个月的五钱油全数领出来,以后就领生菜,不再打熟菜。 When we got to the group house, I spoke to the cook; I got all of my five kuai of oil for the month, some raw vegetables, and wouldn't get hot food again. *[?]*

炊事员问:“来客了?” The cook asked: "You've got a guest?"

我说:“可不!” I said: "Of course not!"

炊事员就打开锁了的柜子,舀一小匙油找了个碗盛给我,又拿了三只长茄子,说: The cook unlocked the cupboard, and spooned out a small ladle of oil into a bowl he found for me, and got three long aubergines.

“明天还来打菜吧,从后天算起,方便。” "Come and get some more vegetables tomorrow - we'll start counting from tomorrow, it's easier."

我从锅里舀了热水,提回宿舍。 I got some hot water from the pot and took it all back to the dormitory.

王一生把衣裳脱了,只剩一条裤衩,呼噜呼噜地洗。 Wang Yisheng took off his clothes and washed noisily in his underpants.

洗完后,将脏衣服按在水里泡着,然后一件一件搓,洗好涮好,拧干晾在门口绳上。 Once he'd finished washing, he squeezed his dirty clothes in the water and let them sit, and then took them out one by one to wring them; once he'd wrung them he put them on a cord by the door to dry.

我说:“你还挺麻利的。” I said: "You're still very efficient."

他说:“从小自己干,惯了。 He said: "I've had to do everything myself since I was little - I'm used to it.

几件衣服,也不费事。” It's only a some clothes, no trouble."

说着就在床上坐下,弯过手臂,去挠背后,肋骨一根根动着。 As he spoke he sat down on the bed, stretched his hands and arms, and then stretched back, moving his ribs one by one.

我拿出烟来请他抽。 I got out some cigarettes for him to smoke.

他很老练地敲出一支,舔了一头儿,倒过来叼着。 He took one with an air of experience, licked one end then turned it round to hold in his mouth. *[?]*

我先给他点了,自己也点上。 I lit his first, then mine.

他支起肩深吸进去,慢慢地吐出来,浑身荡一下,笑了,说:“真不错。” He inhaled deeply, lifting his shoulders, and exhaled slowly, blowing it all over himself *[?]*, then smiled and said: "Not bad at all."

我说:“怎么样?也抽上了?日子过得不错呀。” I said: "How are things? Do you smoke now? You're living the life."

他看看草顶,又看看在门口转来转去的猪,低下头,轻轻拍着净是绿筋的瘦腿,半晌才说: He looked at the straw mat and then looked at the pigs outside the door, lowered his head, then patted his thin, sinewy legs, finally saying:

“不错,真的不错。还说什么呢?粮?钱?还要什么呢?不错,真不错。你怎么样?”他透过烟雾问我。 "Not bad, not bad at all. What else is there to say? Food? Money? What else could you want? Not bad, not bad at all. How about you?" He asked me through the smoke.

我也感叹了,说: I sighed and said:

“钱是不少,粮也多,没错儿,可没油哇。 "I have quite a bit of money, a lot of food, that's true.. but no oil.

大锅菜吃得胃酸。” If you eat boiled vegetables you get acid.

主要是没什么玩儿的,没书,没电影儿。 The main thing is that there's no fun - no books, no films.

去哪儿也不容易,老在这个沟儿里转,闷得无聊。” It's difficult to go anywhere - we're always stuck here, shut up and bored."

他看看我,摇一下头, 说: He looked at me, then shook his head saying:

“你们这些人哪!没法儿说,想的净是锦上添花。 "You people! There's no way to put it - I think you're just gilding the lily.

我挺知足,还要什么呢?你呀,你就叫书害了。 I'm very content - what else could I want. You... You've been spoilt by books. *[??]*

你在车上给我讲的两个故事,我琢磨了,后来挺喜欢的。 The two stories you told me on the train, I thought them over, and then I really liked them.

你不错,读了不少书。可是,归到底,解决什么呢? You're alright - you've read a lot of books. But, in the end, what does it solve?

是呀,一个人拼命想活着,最后都神经了,后来好了,活下来了,可接着怎么生活呢? Yeah - one person can want so badly to live, but in the end it's all in the mind [?], in the end it's OK, they survive, but after that how can they live?

像邦斯那样?有吃,有喝,好收藏个什么,可有个馋的毛病,人家不请吃就活得不痛快。 Like Pons? He can eat, he can drink, he hoards stuff, but his flaw is greed - if people don't invite him to eat he's not happy in life.

人要知足,顿顿饱就是福。 People need to know contentment - being full after every meal is happiness.

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