- زمان مطالعه 13 دقیقه
- سطح ساده
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
The Dead Duck Day
Will wanted to go to the SPAT picnic in Regent’s Park because Suzie was going. But he knew that Suzie would expect Ned to be there too, so he had to invent a reason why Ned couldn’t go. He telephoned Suzie on the morning of the picnic and told her that his ex-wife had taken Ned out.
‘But that’s terrible, Will,’ said Suzie. ‘You can’t let her change your plans like that.’
‘I know, I know,’ he said. ‘And she’s taken my car too. Can I go with you to Regent’s Park?’
‘Yes, of course,’ replied Suzie. ‘I’m bringing a twelve-year-old kid too - Marcus, my friend Fiona’s son. She’s asked me to look after him for the day.’
All the way to the park Suzie talked about Will’s ex-wife. She was very angry about Paula’s behaviour. Had he called her Paula? Will couldn’t remember. Things were getting rather complicated, he thought. How much longer could he continue pretending? And how could he ever invite Suzie round to his flat? There were no toys there, and he didn’t even have two bedrooms.
They walked through the park to the lake. Suzie was pushing her daughter, Megan, in a pushchair, and Marcus was walking beside them. Will thought Marcus was a weird kid. He had a very strange haircut and odd clothes.
‘I don’t even know what you do,’ said Suzie.
‘Nothing.’ He usually invented a job, but he had told enough lies. He had to give Suzie something that was real.
‘Oh. Well, what did you do before?’
‘You’ve never worked?’
‘Well, only for a day or two. My dad wrote a famous song, and I live from the royalties.’
‘Michael Jackson makes 60 million pounds an hour,’ said the weird kid. ‘How much do you make?’
‘Marcus!’ said Suzie. ‘So what’s this song, Will?’
Will told them. He hated telling people because the title sounded so silly.
‘Really?’ Suzie and Marcus both started singing the same part of the song. People always did this, and he hated that too.
‘But haven’t you ever wanted to work?’ asked Suzie.
‘Oh, yes, sometimes, but I never seem to do anything about it.’ It was true. Every day for the last eighteen years he had got up in the morning thinking about finding a job. But by the evening he had lost interest.
He decided to talk to Marcus. If he made friends with Marcus, Suzie would think he was a nice guy.
‘So, Marcus,’ he said, ‘who’s your favourite footballer?’
‘I hate football.’
‘Right,’ said Will. ‘Well, who’s your favourite singer?’
‘Are you getting these questions out of a book?’ asked Marcus.
Suzie laughed, and Will’s face turned red.
‘No,’ he said. ‘I’m just interested.’
‘OK,’ said Marcus. ‘Well, it’s Joni Mitchell.’
‘Really?’ said Will in surprise. ‘Does everyone in your school listen to Joni Mitchell?’
Will was confused. He read a lot of modern music magazines, but none of them had said anything about Joni Mitchell’s new popularity.
Marcus turned away, so Will began to talk to Suzie.
‘Do you often have to look after him?’ he asked.
‘Not often. But Fiona, his mum, isn’t feeling very well.’
‘She’s going crazy,’ said Marcus calmly. ‘Cries all the time. Doesn’t go to work.’
‘She isn’t crazy. She just needs a rest.’
They could see the SPAT crowd of mothers and children sitting by the lake in front of them. The mothers were pouring juice into cups, and the children were eating sandwiches.
Will played with the children for most of the afternoon. He kept away from the adults sitting on blankets under a tree because he didn’t want to have to answer difficult questions about Ned. He kept away from Marcus too. Marcus was walking round the lake, throwing bits of his sandwich at the ducks.
Later, Suzie came to talk to him. ‘You miss him, don’t you?’
‘Who?’ He meant it; he had no idea what she was talking about. But then he remembered about Ned. ‘I’ll see him later.’
‘What’s he like?’ asked Suzie.
‘Oh… Nice. He’s a really nice boy.’
Before Suzie could ask more questions, Marcus ran over to them. He seemed very nervous and upset.
‘I think I’ve killed a duck,’ he said.
Will, Suzie, Marcus and Megan stood on the path by the edge of the lake, staring at the duck’s dead body in the water.
‘What happened, Marcus?’ Will asked.
‘I don’t know. I was just throwing a piece of my sandwich at it. I didn’t mean to kill it.’
‘What’s that in the water next to it? Is that the bread you threw at it?’
‘Yes,’ said Marcus. He didn’t like Will much, so he didn’t want to answer his questions.
‘That’s not a sandwich, that’s a loaf,’ said Will. ‘I’m not surprised the duck was killed.’
‘Perhaps I didn’t kill it,’ said Marcus. ‘Perhaps it died because it was ill.’
Nobody said anything.
They were all staring so hard at the scene of the crime that they didn’t notice the park-keeper standing next to them. Marcus felt very frightened. He would be in big trouble now.
‘One of your ducks has died,’ said Will. He made it sound like the saddest thing he’d ever seen. Marcus looked up at him. Maybe Will wasn’t such a bad guy.
‘I was told it was your boy’s fault,’ said the park-keeper. ‘It’s a crime to kill a duck, you know.’
‘Are you suggesting that Marcus killed this duck? Marcus loves ducks, don’t you, Marcus?’
‘Yes,’ said Marcus. ‘They’re my favourite animal. I mean, my favourite bird.’ This was rubbish, because he hated all animals, but he thought it helped.
‘I was told he was throwing enormous loaves at it.’
‘No,’ said Will. ‘He was throwing bread at the duck’s body. He wanted to sink it because the sight of a dead bird was upsetting my friend’s little girl, Megan.’
There was a silence. At last the park-keeper spoke.
‘Well, I’ll have to go into the water and get it,’ he said.
Marcus felt much better. He wouldn’t have to go to prison.
They were walking back to the rest of the SPAT group when suddenly a strange thing happened. Marcus saw - or thought he saw - his mum. She was standing on the path in front of them and she was smiling. But when he looked again, she wasn’t there.
Usually when Suzie took Marcus home after a day out, she left him outside his flat and waited until he got inside. But today she parked the car and lifted Megan out in her car seat. She was never able to explain why she had done this. Will wasn’t invited, but he followed them in.
Marcus put the key in the door of the flat and opened it, and a new part of his life began, without any warning at all.
His mum was half on and half off the sofa. Her face was white, and there was a pool of sick on the carpet and an empty pill bottle beside her.
He couldn’t speak. He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t cry either - the situation was much too serious for that, so he just stood there. But Suzie dropped the car seat and ran over to his mum and started screaming at her and shaking her. Marcus was confused. Why was Suzie so angry with someone who wasn’t very well?
Suzie shouted at Will to call for an ambulance, and told Marcus to make some black coffee. His mum was moving now and making a terrible noise that Marcus had never heard before and never wanted to hear again.
‘Fiona! How could you do this?’ Suzie screamed. ‘You’ve got a kid! How could you do this?’
Suddenly Marcus understood that his mum had tried to kill herself. He had seen some shocking things, mostly on videos at other people’s houses, but they hadn’t frightened him because they weren’t real life. This situation with his mum was different because it was very real. There wasn’t anything shocking in the room, and he could see that his mum wasn’t dead. But it was the most frightening thing he’d ever seen, and he knew he’d never forget it.
When the ambulance arrived and Fiona was taken to hospital, the ambulance men didn’t want to take Marcus and Megan too. So Suzie went to the hospital with Fiona, and Will drove Marcus and Megan there in Suzie’s car.
When they arrived at the hospital, Fiona had already been taken away.
‘What’s happening?’ asked Will. He was finding the whole experience very interesting- almost enjoyable.
‘I don’t know. They’re pumping her stomach or something. She was talking a little in the ambulance. She was asking about you, Marcus.’
‘That’s nice of her.’
Suzie tried to put her arms round him. ‘Listen, Marcus,’ she said. ‘This isn’t about you. You know that, don’t you? I mean, you’re not the reason she… you’re not the reason she’s here.’
‘How do you know?’ He pushed Suzie away and went to get a drink from a machine.
‘What can you tell a kid whose mother has just tried to kill herself?’ Will asked. He really wanted to know.
‘I don’t know,’ said Suzie worriedly. ‘But we’ll have to think of something.’
They waited in the hospital for a long time. Megan went to sleep and Marcus ate a lot of sweets and chocolate from the machine. None of them talked much. At last a woman came over to see them - not a nurse or a doctor, but somebody official.
‘Hello. Did you come in with Fiona Brewer?’
‘Yes. I’m her friend Suzie, and this is Will, and this is Fiona’s son Marcus.’
‘Right. We’re keeping Fiona here for the night. Is there somewhere Marcus could go?’
‘He can stay with me tonight,’ said Suzie.
She put Megan back into the car seat and they made their way out to the car park.
‘I’ll see you soon,’ said Will. ‘I’ll call you.’
‘I hope things are OK with Ned and Paula,’ Suzie said.
For a moment Will didn’t know who she meant. Ned and Paula, Ned and Paula…? Ah, yes - his ex-wife and son.
‘Oh, it’ll be fine. Thanks.’ He said goodbye and went to find a taxi. It had been a very interesting experience, but he wouldn’t want to repeat it every night.
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