فصل 12

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فصل 12

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CHAPTER Twelve

“Klaus!” Violet cried. “Klaus, don’t do it!”

Foreman Flacutono whirled around, his beady eyes glaring from over his surgical mask. “Why, if it isn’t the other two midgets,” he said. “You’re just in time to see the accident.”

“It’s not an accident,” Violet said. “You’re doing it on purpose!”

“Let’s not split hairs,” the foreman said, using an expression which here means “argue over something that’s not at all important.”

“You’ve been in on this all the time!” Violet shouted. “You’re in cahoots with Dr. Orwell, and Shirley!”

“So what?” Foreman Flacutono said.

“Deluny!” Sunny shrieked, which meant something along the lines of “You’re not just a bad foreman—you’re an evil person!”

“I don’t know what you mean, little midget,” Foreman Flacutono said, “and I don’t care. Klaus, you lucky boy, please continue.”

“No, Klaus!” Violet shouted. “No!”

“Kewtu!” Sunny shrieked.

“Your words will do no good,” Foreman Flacutono said. “See?”

Sunny saw, all right, as she watched her barefoot brother walking over to the log as if his sisters had not spoken. But Violet was not looking at her brother. She was looking at Foreman Flacutono, and thinking of everything he had said. The terrible foreman was right, of course. The words of the two unhypnotized Baudelaires would do no good. But Violet knew that some words would help. The book she was holding had told her, in between hmmms, that there was a word that was used to command Klaus, and a word that would unhypnotize him. The eldest Baudelaire realized that Foreman Flacutono must have used the command word just now, and she was trying to remember everything that he had said. He’d called Klaus a twerp, but it seemed unlikely that “twerp” would be the word. He’d said “log” and he’d said “push,” but those didn’t seem likely either. She realized with despair that the command word could almost be anything.

“That’s right,” Foreman Flacutono said, as Klaus reached the log. “Now, in the name of Lucky Smells Lumbermill, push the log in the path of the saw.”

Violet closed her eyes and racked her brain, a phrase which here means “tried to think of other times the command word must have been used.” Foreman Flacutono must have used it when Klaus caused the first accident, the one that broke Phil’s leg. “You, you lucky midget,” Violet remembered the foreman had said, “will be operating the machine,” and Klaus had said “Yes, sir” in that faint, hypnotized voice, the same voice he had used before he had gone to sleep just the previous night.

“Egu!” Sunny shrieked in fear, as the hmmm of the saw grew louder and rougher. Klaus had pushed the log up to the saw, and Charles’s eyes grew even wider as the blade began to slice the wood, getting closer and closer to where Charles was tied up.

As she remembered Klaus’s “Yes, sir,” before he went to sleep, Violet realized she must have used the command word herself, by accident. She racked her brain again, straining to remember the conversation. Klaus had called his baby sister Susan, instead of Sunny, and then asked if he would really feel better in the morning. But what had Violet replied?

“Keep pushing, you lucky midget,” Foreman Flacutono said, and Violet knew in an instant.

Lucky.

“Lucky!” the eldest Baudelaire shouted, not bothering to hide the word in a sentence, as the foreman did. “Push the log away from the saw, Klaus!”

“Yes, sir,” Klaus said quietly, and the Baudelaire sisters saw with relief that he pushed the log away from the whirling blade just as Charles’s toes were about to be sliced. Foreman Flacutono whirled around and stared at Violet in beady rage. She knew that he knew that she knew.

“Lucky!” he snarled. “Push the log back toward the saw, Klaus!”

“Yes, sir,” Klaus muttered.

“Lucky!” Violet cried. “Push the log away!”

“Yes, sir,” Klaus murmured.

“Lucky!” Foreman Flacutono barked. “Toward the saw!”

“Lucky away!”

“Lucky toward the saw!”

“Lucky away!”

“Lucky toward the saw!”

“LUCKY!” bellowed a new voice from the doorway, and everyone—including Violet, Klaus, Sunny, and Foreman Flacutono—turned around. Even Charles tried the best he could to see Dr. Orwell, who had appeared in the doorway along with Shirley, who was lurking behind the hypnotist.

“We just stopped by to make sure everything went well,” Dr. Orwell said, gesturing to the saw with her black cane. “And I’m certainly glad we did. Lucky!” she shouted to Klaus. “Do not listen to your sisters!”

“What a good idea,” Foreman Flacutono said the doctor. “I never thought of that.”

“That’s why you’re only a foreman,” Dr. Orwell replied snobbily. “Lucky, Klaus! Push the log in the path of the saw!”

“Yes, sir,” Klaus said, and began to push the log again.

“Please, Klaus!” Violet cried. “Don’t do this!”

“Gice!” Sunny shrieked, which meant “Don’t hurt Charles!”

“Please, Dr. Orwell!” Violet cried. “Don’t force my brother to do this terrible thing!”

“It is a terrible thing, I know,” Dr. Orwell said. “But it’s a terrible thing that the Baudelaire fortune goes to you three brats, instead of to me and Shirley. We’re going to split the money fifty-fifty.”

“After expenses, Georgina,” Shirley reminded her.

“After expenses, of course,” Dr. Orwell said.

The hmmm of the saw began making its louder, rougher sound as the blade started to slice the log once more. Tears appeared in Charles’s eyes and began to run down the string tying him to the log. Violet looked at her brother, and then at Dr. Orwell, and dropped the heavy book on the ground in frustration. What she needed now, and most desperately, was the word that would unhypnotize her brother, but she had no idea what it could be. The command word had been used many times, and Violet had been able to figure out which word had been used over and over. But Klaus had only been unhypnotized once, after the accident that had broken Phil’s leg. She and her sister had known, in the moment he started defining a word for the employees, that Klaus was back to normal, but who knew what word caused him, that afternoon, to suddenly stop following Foreman Flacutono’s orders? Violet looked from Charles’s tears to the ones appearing in Sunny’s eyes as the fatal accident grew nearer and nearer. In a moment, it seemed, they would watch Charles die a horrible death, and then they would most certainly be placed in Shirley’s care. After so many narrow escapes from Count Olaf’s treachery, this seemed to be the moment of his—or in this case, her— terrible triumph. Out of all the situations, Violet thought to herself, that she and her siblings had been in, this was the most miserably irregular. It was the most miserably immoderate. It was the most miserably disorderly. It was the most miserably excessive. And as she thought all these words she thought of the one that had unhypnotized Klaus, the one that just might save all their lives.

“Inordinate!” she shouted, as loudly as she could to be heard over the terrible noise of the saw. “Inordinate! Inordinate! Inordinate!”

Klaus blinked, and then looked all around him as if somebody had just dropped him in the middle of the mill. “Where am I?” he asked.

“Oh, Klaus,” Violet said in relief. “You’re here with us!”

“Drat!” Dr. Orwell said. “He’s unhypnotized! How in the world would a child know a complicated word like ‘inordinate’?”

“These brats know lots of words,” Shirley said, in her ridiculously fake high voice. “They’re book addicts. But we can still create an accident and win the fortune!”

“Oh no you can’t!” Klaus cried, and stepped forward to push Charles out of the way.

“Oh yes we can!” Foreman Flacutono said, and stuck his foot out again. You would think that such a trick would only work a maximum of two times, but in this case you would be wrong, and in this case Klaus fell to the floor again, his head clanging against the pile of debarkers and tiny green boxes.

“Oh no you can’t!” Violet cried, and stepped forward to push Charles out of the way herself.

“Oh yes we can!” Shirley said, in her silly high voice, and grabbed Violet’s arm. Foreman Flacutono quickly grabbed her other arm, and the eldest Baudelaire found herself trapped.

“Oh toonoy!” Sunny cried, and crawled toward Charles. She was not strong enough to push the log away from the saw, but she thought she could bite through his string and set him free.

“Oh yes we can!” Dr. Orwell said, and reached down to grab the youngest Baudelaire. But Sunny was ready. Quickly she opened her mouth and bit down on the hypnotist’s hand as hard as she could.

“Gack!” Dr. Orwell shouted, using an expression that is in no particular language. But then she smiled and used an expression that was in French: “En garde!” “En garde!,” as you may know, is an expression people use when they wish to announce the beginning of a sword-fight, and with a wicked smile, Dr. Orwell pressed the red jewel on top of her black cane, and a shiny blade emerged from the opposite end. In just one second, her cane had become a sword, which she then pointed at the youngest Baudelaire orphan. But Sunny, being only an infant, had no sword. She only had her four sharp teeth, and, looking Dr. Orwell right in the eye, she opened her mouth and pointed all four at this despicable person.

There is a loud clink! noise that a sword makes when it hits another sword—or, in this case, a tooth—and whenever I hear it I am reminded of a swordfight I was forced to have with a television repairman not long ago. Sunny, however, was only reminded of how much she did not want to be sliced to bits. Dr. Orwell swung her cane-sword at Sunny, and Sunny swung her teeth at Dr. Orwell, and soon the clink! noises were almost as loud as the sawing machine which continued to saw up the log toward Charles. Clink! Up, up, the blade inched until it was only a hair’s breadth—the expression “hair’s breadth” here means “a teeny-tiny measurement”—away from Charles’s foot.

“Klaus!” Violet cried, struggling in the grips of Shirley and Foreman Flacutono. “Do something!”

“Your brother can’t do anything!” Shirley said, giggling in a most annoying way. “He’s just been unhypnotized—he’s too dazed to do anything. Foreman Flacutono, let’s both pull! We can make Violet’s armpits sore that way!”

Shirley was right about Violet’s sore armpits, but she was wrong about Klaus. He had just been unhypnotized, and he was quite dazed, but he wasn’t too dazed to do anything. The trouble was, he simply couldn’t think of what to do. Klaus had been thrown into the corner with the debarkers and the gum, and if he moved in the direction of Charles, or Violet, he would walk right into Sunny and Dr. Orwell’s sword-fight, and as he heard another clink! from the sword hitting Sunny’s tooth he knew he would be seriously wounded if he tried to walk through the dueling pair. But over the clink! he heard an even louder and even rougher noise from the sawing machine, and Klaus saw with horror that the blade was beginning to slice through the soles of Charles’s shoes. Sir’s partner tried to wiggle his feet away from the blade, but they were tied too tightly, and tiny shoe-sole shavings began to fall to the floor of the mill. In a moment the blade would be finished with the sole of Charles’s shoe and begin on the sole of Charles’s foot. Klaus needed to invent something to stop the machine, and he needed to invent it right away.

Klaus stared at the circular blade of the saw, and his heart began to sink. How in the world did Violet do it? Klaus had a mild interest in mechanical things, but at heart he was a reader, not an inventor. He simply did not have Violet’s amazing inventing skills. He looked at the machine and just saw a deadly device, but he knew that if Violet were in this corner of the mill, and not getting sore armpits from Shirley and Foreman Flacutono, she would see a way to help them out of their situation. Klaus tried to imagine how his sister would go about inventing something right there on the spot, and tried to copy her methods.

Clink! Klaus looked around him for inventing materials, but saw only debarkers and tiny green boxes of gum. Immediately he ripped open a box of gum and shoved several pieces into his mouth, chewing ferociously. The expression “gum up the works” does not actually have to do with gum, but merely refers to something that stops the progress of something else. Klaus chewed and chewed the gum, hoping that the stickiness of the gum could gum up the works of the sawing machine, and stop the deadly progress of its blade.

Clink! Sunny’s third tooth hit the blade of Dr. Orwell’s sword, and Klaus quickly spat the gum out of his mouth into his hand and threw it at the machine as hard as he could. But it merely fell to the ground with a wet plop! Klaus realized that gum didn’t weigh enough to reach the machine. Like a feather, or a piece of paper, the wad of gum simply couldn’t be thrown very far.

Hukkita—hukkita—hukkita! The machine began making the loudest and roughest sound Klaus had ever heard. Charles closed his eyes, and Klaus knew that the blade must have hit the bottom of his foot. He grabbed a bigger handful of gum and shoved it into his mouth, but he didn’t know if he could chew enough gum to make a heavy enough invention. Unable to watch the saw any longer, he looked down, and when his eye fell upon one of the debarkers he knew he could invent something after all.

When Klaus looked at the lumbermill equipment, he remembered a time when he was even more bored than he had been when working at Lucky Smells. This especially boring time had happened a very long time ago, when the Baudelaire parents were still alive. Klaus had read a book on different kinds of fish, and asked his parents if they would take him fishing. His mother warned him that fishing was one of the most boring activities in the world, but found two fishing poles in the basement and agreed to take him to a nearby lake. Klaus had been hoping that he would get to see the different types of fish he had read about, but instead he and his mother sat in a rowboat in the middle of a lake and did nothing for an entire afternoon. He and his mother had to keep quiet, so as not to scare the fish away, but there were no fish, no conversation, and absolutely no fun. You might think that Klaus would not want to remember such a boring time, particularly in the middle of a crisis, but one detail of this very boring afternoon turned out to be extremely helpful.

As Sunny struggled with Dr. Orwell, Violet struggled with Shirley and Foreman Flacutono, and poor Charles struggled with the saw, Klaus remembered the part of the fishing process known as casting. Casting is the process of using one’s fishing pole to throw one’s fishing line out into the middle of the lake in order to try to catch a fish. In the case of Klaus and his mother, the casting hadn’t worked, but Klaus did not want to catch fish. He wanted to save Charles’s life.

Quickly, the middle Baudelaire grabbed the debarker and spat his gum onto one end of it. He was planning to use the sticky gum as a sort of fishing line and the debarker as a sort of fishing pole, in order to throw gum all the way to the saw. Klaus’s invention looked more like a wad of gum at the end of a strip of metal than a real fishing pole, but Klaus didn’t care how it looked. He only cared whether it could stop the saw. He took a deep breath, and cast the debarker the way his mother taught him to cast his fishing pole.

Plop! To Klaus’s delight, the gum stretched over Dr. Orwell and Sunny, who were still fighting, just as fishing line will stretch out across the surface of a lake. But to Klaus’s horror, the gum did not land on the saw. It landed on the string that was tying the wriggling Charles to the log. Klaus watched Charles wriggle and was once again reminded of a fish, and it occurred to him that perhaps his invention had worked after all. Gathering up all of his strength—and, after working at a lumbermill for a while, he actually had quite a bit of strength for a young boy—he grabbed his invention, and pulled. Klaus pulled on his debarker, and the debarker pulled on the gum, and the gum pulled on the log, and to the relief of all three Baudelaire orphans the log moved to one side. It did not move very far, and it did not move very quickly, and it certainly did not move very gracefully, but it moved enough. The horrible noise stopped, and the blade of the saw kept slicing, but the log was far enough out of the way that the machine was simply slicing thin air. Charles looked at Klaus, and his eyes filled with tears, and when Sunny turned to look she saw that Klaus was crying, too.

But when Sunny turned to look, Dr. Orwell saw her chance. With a swing of one of her big ugly boots, she kicked Sunny to the ground and held her in place with one foot. Then, standing over the infant, she raised her sword high in the air and began to laugh a loud, horrible snarl of a laugh. “I do believe,” she said, cackling, “that there will be an accident at Lucky Smells Lumbermill after all!”

And Dr. Orwell was right. There was an accident at the lumbermill, after all, a fatal accident, which is a phrase used to describe one that kills somebody. For just as Dr. Orwell was about to bring her sword down on little Sunny’s throat, the door of the lumbermill opened and Sir walked into the room. “What in the world is going on?” he barked, and Dr. Orwell turned to him, absolutely surprised. When people are absolutely surprised, they sometimes take a step backward, and taking a step backward can sometimes lead to an accident. Such was the case at this moment, for when Dr. Orwell stepped backward, she stepped into the path of the whirring saw, and there was a very ghastly accident indeed.

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