深圳手表价格部落

《欲望·金钱·谋杀》中英文对照节选1——序章(当“造假之王”遇上“辨伪之眼”)

原文粉碎机2018-11-08 16:45:02

天生辩伪之眼的伊莲·布罗根为替父洗刷冤屈,通过层层筛选成为FBI特工,投身于伪钞罪案的侦破工作中。之后她顺着一台失窃的高宝牌美钞印刷机线索一路循去,却不想落入犯罪组织手中。面对迷人狡猾而又极度危险的犯罪集团首领,她将如何应对?故事背景从美国本土转战保加利亚、俄罗斯和意大利等,情节波折动人心弦。

 作者迈克韦尔斯,全美TOP20畅销悬疑作家。作品画面感强,常被人同西德尼谢尔顿(《天使的愤怒》《假如明天来临》的作者)相提并论。目前受聘于牛津大学,教授创意写作课程。

序章

现代意大利

韦尔纳扎风景如画,位于意大利里维埃拉[1]崎岖的海岸线上,那个男人正是在这里钓上她的。

他头发斑白,脸上沟壑纵横,玛利亚猜他大概五十岁出头。他请她喝了两杯,接着带她去吃晚餐,还带她去当地古雅的小店里买了新的连衣裙和高跟鞋,以及一些其他东西,出手十分阔绰。

理所当然,他们最后去了他的豪华别墅,那里的海景简直美不胜收。可是当她问起他的名字,他用那双深沉的黑眼睛凝视着她问道:“名字有那么重要吗,亲爱的?”

她只知道他是罗马来的商人,不过这些不重要。

很快他们就倒在了豪华大床上疯狂缠绵。玛利亚从没想过这个年纪的男人会有如此用之不尽的精力,他简直不知餍足。以往她经常要在老男人面前假装满足,但遇到这位,就完全不存在这样的问题了。

他们整个周末差不多都在卧室里度过。床笫交战间隙,他们也会沿着村庄里起伏的鹅卵石步道散步,看看风景,欣赏那些用粉色、蓝色和黄色油漆涂刷的乡间小屋。他们还品尝了当地美食——海鲜大烩,这道菜要用新鲜蔬菜和六七种不同的鱼搭成金字塔的形状;还有千层饼,饼身用18层轻脆面皮叠成,中间填满乳清干酪。

他们很少交流,但玛利亚一点儿都不在意。心照不宣,说多了反而可能破坏气氛,她不想结束这样的好日子。

* * *

到了第三天,他觉得已经赢取了女孩的信任。

他想做的试验太过重要,结果关乎未来,没法交给副手去操作,他需要拿到第一手资料。

但他必须谨慎行事。

一天激情过后,玛利亚躺在他怀里,他说:“你知道吗,这周末我得好好庆祝一下,亲爱的,”他抚摸着她,“你真是上天赐给我的礼物。”

玛利亚用清澈的棕色大眼望向他,“什么意思,你要庆祝什么?”

他赤条条地从床上起身,从一旁的咖啡桌上拿起一只小巧的皮质古琦包。他知道她肯定对里面装的东西好奇极了——他去哪都带着这个小包,但从来没打开过。

他打开小包,玛利亚倒吸了一口气。

挎包里塞满了崭新的百元美钞。

“这么多钱啊,”她不由压低声音,“哪来的?”

“我卖掉了一套波托菲诺的小公寓,那个破烂的小房子我早就想卖掉了。后来我唬一个美国凯子买了,他非要付一部分现金。这里也就五万块钱。”[2]

尽管女孩竭力掩饰自己,他还是轻易从这双21岁的年轻眼睛里读到了贪婪。她是个没什么脑子的妓女,靠着好皮相在里维埃拉一带转悠,靠一个又一个有钱的恩客过日子,通常就是跟一个恩客在别墅或者游艇上住几天到一周,直到恩客厌倦了她把她赶走,然后她再找下家。

他接着说:“我在考虑开车去圣雷莫[3]碰碰运气,你去过那边的赌场吗?”

“没去过。”她撒谎了。

“你会喜欢的,那是意大利最大的赌场,有钱人都去那儿玩。”是的,他还碰巧知道那里刚刚把验钞机的软件升级到了最新版本。

他指了指现金,假装懊恼:“只是不巧我的护照忘在罗马了,到那儿没法兑筹码。”

“我可以帮你兑啊,”她脱口而出,又马上意识到有些不妥,“我是说,如果你需要我帮忙的话。”还没等他反应,她又赶紧说:“我随身带了护照的。”她伸手拿过手提袋取出护照。

他微笑起来。他当然知道她带着一本可以使用的护照。他还知道,她16岁就离开了家乡那不勒斯,而且在这一带没人认识她。

* * *

十分钟后,他们开着一辆金属蓝的保时捷敞篷车,沿着海岸线向圣雷莫驶去。海风拂过他们的头发,这时已近日落,高速公路沿着海岸线旁的悬崖高低起落,很快,天空映满了绚烂的晚霞。

玛利亚很兴奋,期待接下来的几天可以继续住豪华套房,吃高级餐点,收昂贵的礼物。或许他还会在赌场礼品店给她买一只钻石手镯。有什么不可能的呢?

* * *

一到圣雷莫,他又做出了让她吃惊的举动。他在赌场门口的人行道边停下车,把古琦包递给她。“拿着,全部换成筹码,”他朝街对面示意,“我去喝杯咖啡,打几个生意上的电话。”

玛利亚惊呆了,他居然让她拿着这么多现金一个人离开。她下了车,他俯身从车窗向她微笑:“在我来之前尽量不要都输光噢!”

玛利亚沿着人行道向赌场走去,当制服笔挺的门童为她拉开大门时,她扭头看了一眼。那个慷慨的朋友就坐在咖啡桌边向她挥手。

玛利亚真想带着钱跑路,但她可不是那种蠢婊子,她知道偷了这种人的钱跑路绝对不划算。

一手拿着古琦包,她觉得自己十分潇洒,很有派头,她径直去了兑币处。

每个柜台上方都安装了监控摄像头,玛利亚注意到墙上还贴有警示标语。

 

使用假币者一经发现立即移送警方处理。

 

当然,反正她带的不是假币,没什么好担心的。

“请帮我兑点筹码。”她跟男店员说,然后把钱都倒在柜台上。

对方的反应让她很失望,他只是机械枯燥地回应:“护照?”

玛利亚把护照递过去。

他看了看护照,然后拈起几张钞票细看,手指在票面上熟练地摩挲。

突然间,玛利亚感到一阵恐惧。如果这些是假币怎么办?说到底她根本就不认识带她来的那个男人!他有可能是个罪犯!

她越来越不安,怀疑自己是不是被利用来兑换假币了。

店员把一沓沓钞票放入一只巨大的结构复杂的验钞机中。机器上有个红色数显区域会显示钞票的总金额,钱不断被吞进验钞机,上方的数字不断跳动。

就算这些钱是假的,现在也已经晚了。就像标语上写的,她会被当场逮捕。而给她钱的那个男人呢?当然是消失无踪了。

“请拿好,小姐。”最后收银员递给她一只漂亮的皮质袋子,里面放满了筹码。

谢天谢地,她长长地舒了一口气。带着筹码走进赌场,她不禁自己笑出声来,觉得自己刚才好蠢,竟然会把跟自己在床上厮磨了三天的男人想得那么坏。他是个好人,自己从一开始就知道。

她开始玩轮盘,一次只赌50欧。

几分钟后,她的朋友来了。

“啊,你在这儿!”他快步走过来,微笑着拿过筹码,递给她一杯饮料。“来吧,亲爱的。我来教你怎么玩百家乐。”

* * *

那晚他疯狂豪赌,试验结果把他乐坏了。短短几个小时,他就输掉了一万五千欧的筹码,不过他毫不在乎,跟未来几个月他能造出来的钱相比,这些只是九牛一毛。他给了玛利亚一万欧的筹码,然后坐在她身后看她输钱。

到了凌晨三点,她喝得醉醺醺的,他也累了。

“我们回韦尔纳扎吧。”他拦住她的又一轮下注。

“维尔纳扎?”她有点失望,“我还以为我们会住在这里……”

“我们有一栋近在咫尺的漂亮别墅,干嘛浪费钱开房间。”

她脸上掠过一丝愧疚的表情:“对不起,我输了那么多钱……”

“没什么,挺刺激的,不是吗?”

* * *

回到别墅,他突然又性致高涨,带她一次次登上巅峰。

在床上躺了几分钟后,他突然起床开始穿衣服。“我太兴奋了睡不着,我们去散个步吧。”

“散步?现在吗?”

“来吧,”他拉住她的手,“呼吸点新鲜空气会很舒服。”

“可是现在也太晚了……”

他不顾她的反对帮她穿上衣服,注意避开新买的那些,只穿她自己带来的衣服。她还想带上新手表,他抓住她的手,不耐烦地说:“天啊,亲爱的,你又不是去时装秀!”

外面风很大,这时已经将近黎明了,天开始蒙蒙亮。他们沿着悬崖走上山坡。

维尔纳扎是五渔村[4]的一部分。他们朝科尔尼利亚走去,那是离这儿最近的村庄,往南三公里就到了。走了一会儿,脚下的小道变得很窄,他们只能一前一后地走。

“小心一点,亲爱的。”他让她走在前面,“这里有些地方很滑。”

这里的海岸线十分崎岖,附近海域终年波涛汹涌,海浪不停拍击着覆满尖利珊瑚群的礁石。经常有远足的人从此处陡峭的悬崖上摔下去,足足60米的高度。几分钟之内,他们的尸体就成了面目难辨的模糊血块。

“这里是不是很美?”前面的路变宽了,他喊住她。

“是啊。”玛利亚向后依偎在他温暖的怀中。远处悬崖下,海浪拍击着岸边的礁石,浪花四溅,空气中充满了海盐味。

他吻了吻她的头顶,紧紧拥住他。真是可惜了,这么漂亮的一个女孩子,他觉得自己都快对她生出父亲的保护欲了。

即使百元伪钞通过了赌场的验钞机,但最终还是会被发现的。她也已经被摄像头拍下来了,连同她的护照。

他轻轻把她转过来,狠狠吻住她。

然后他迅速松开手向后退去,女孩瞪大了双眼——这一刻,她终于幡然醒悟。

她被推下了悬崖。

* * *

几分钟后,他的电话接通了莫斯科郊外的一座别墅。

电话那头响起一个低沉的声音。“喂?”

“我有个好消息告诉你,我的朋友。我们的试验大获成功。”



[1]里维埃拉(Riviera),地中海沿岸区域。包括意大利的波嫩泰、勒万特和法国的蓝岸地区。

[2]意大利西北部里格连海岸东面著名的旅游海港小镇。

[3]圣雷莫(San Remo),意大利西北部城市,有阳光之城的美誉。近摩纳哥边境,濒利古里亚海。

[4]五渔村(CinqueTerre),位于意大利利古里亚大区(Liguria)拉斯佩齐亚省海沿岸地区,是蒙特罗索Monterosso al Mare)、维尔纳扎(Vernazza)、科尔尼利亚Corniglia)、马纳罗拉Manarola)及里奥马焦雷(Riomaggiore)这五个悬崖边上的村镇的统称。

PROLOGUE

 Italy – Present Day

 

The man picked her up in Vernazza, apicturesque village perched along the rugged coastline of the ItalianRiviera. 

From his salt-and-pepper hair, and hislined face, Maria guessed he was in his early 50s.   He bought her a drink, then dinner, then anew dress and a pair of pumps and a few other things, spending lavishly on herin the quaint village shops.

There were no pretenses.  They went to his plush villa, which affordeda breathtaking view of the sea.  When sheasked his name, he looked at her with his brooding dark eyes and said, “Arenames important, cara?

All she knew was that he was a businessmanfrom Rome.  She supposed it didn’tmatter.

They were soon hungrily making love to eachother on the king-sized bed.  She hadn’texpected such energy out of a man his age—he was insatiable.  She often had to fake orgasms with older men,but not with this one.

They spent most of the weekend in thebedroom.  In between sexual bouts, theyhiked up and down the cobblestone streets of the village, admiring the view andthe lovely, narrow houses that were painted in pink, blue and yellowpastels.  They gorged themselves on thelocal cuisine—cappon magro, a pyramidmade of fresh vegetables and a half dozen different types of fish, and the torta pasqualina, a cake made of 18layers of light pasta and stuffed with ricottacheese.

They spoke very little.  Maria didn’t care.  Words might break the spell, and she didn’twant this to end.

 

* **

On the third day, he felt that he had wonthe girl’s trust. 

The experiment he wanted to perform was fartoo important to delegate to one of his lieutenants.  There was much riding on the outcome.  He needed to see the results first hand.

But he had to be careful.

When she lay in his arms, spent, he said,   “Did you know I am celebrating this weekend,cara?”  He stroked one of her full, firmbreasts.  “You are a gift to myself.”

She looked up at him with liquid browneyes.  “What do you mean?  What are you celebrating?”

He rose naked from the bed and picked up asmall leather Gucci bag that was sitting on the coffee table.  He knew she was curious about what wasinside—he had been carrying it around everywhere they went, keeping it close atall times.

When he opened it, she gave a little gasp.

The satchel was packed with crisp, new U.S.$100 bills.

“So much money,” she said in a hush.  “Where did it come from?”

“I sold a flat in Portofino, a dilapidatedhovel I have been trying to rid myself of for years.  I finally found an American gullible enoughto buy it, but he insisted on paying part cash. It’s only about fifty thousand dollars.”

Even though she was trying to hide it, hecould see the greed in her 21-year-old eyes. She was a velina, a softhooker who survived on her good looks, roaming up and down the Riviera, livingoff one rich man after another, staying a few days or weeks in a villa oronboard a yacht until the current sponsor tired of her and threw her out, afterwhich she moved on to the next.

He said, “I was thinking of driving up toSan Remo and trying my luck.  Have youever been to the casino there?”

“No,” she lied. 

“You’d love it—it’s the largest casino inItaly.  All the richest people gamblethere.”  He also happened to know thatthe establishment had just updated its currency verifying machines with thelatest software.

He motioned to the cash, feigningfrustration.  “Unfortunately, I left mypassport in Rome.  There’s no way tochange this kind of money without one.”

“I could change it for you,” she blurted,but then checked herself.  “I mean, ifyou want me to.”  When he didn’t react,she said, “I have my passport right here,” and reached over to her purse andproduced it.

He smiled. He already knew she had a valid passport.  He also knew that she had left her home inNaples at the age of 16, and was unknown to anyone in these parts.

 

* **

Ten minutes later, they were driving up thecoast, heading towards San Remo in a metallic blue Porsche cabriolet, the windblowing through their hair.  It was justbefore sunset.  The highway ran up anddown the rugged cliffs along the shore. Soon, the sky exploded into a riot of orange and indigo and violet. 

Maria was excited, looking forward to a fewmore days of luxurious meals, plush accommodations, and expensivepresents.  Maybe he would buy her adiamond bracelet at the casino gift shop. Why not?

 

* **

When they reached San Remo, he surprisedher again.  He pulled up in front of thesidewalk that led to the casino entrance and handed her the Gucci bag.  “Take that inside and convert all of it tocasino chips.”  He motioned to the otherside of the street.  “I’m going to have acup of coffee and catch up on a few business calls I have to make.”

Maria was astounded that he was going tolet her walk away with all that cash. When she got out of the car, he leaned over and looked up at her andsmiled.  “Try not to gamble it all awaybefore I get there!”

She walked up the long sidewalk towards thecasino.  When the uniformed man openedthe door for her, she glanced over her shoulder.  Her generous friend was just sitting down atone of the tables at the cafe.  He wavedat her.

Maria was tempted to try and run away withthe money.   But she wasn’t some stupid puttana—she knew better than to try andsteal from a man like him.

Carrying the Gucci bag in one hand andfeeling very chic and powerful, she went inside the busy currencyexchange. 

There were security cameras above eachcounter.  Then she noticed a sign on thewall:

 

- WARNING -

ANYONE CAUGHT TRYING TO PASS AS MUCH AS ONE COUNTERFEIT BANKNOTE ONTHESE PREMISES WILL BE TURNED OVER TO THE POLICE

 

Of course the money she had to changewasn’t fake—she had nothing to worry about.

“Casino chips, please,” she told the maleclerk, emptying the bag on the counter. 

She was disappointed with his reaction—heonly looked bored.  “Passport?” he said.

Maria handed it over. 

He studied the document, then took a few ofthe bills and studied them, rubbing them between practiced fingers. 

Maria was suddenly terrified.  What if this money was fake?  She didn’t knowthe man who had brought her here!  Hecould be a criminal!

With a sinking feeling, she wondered if shewas being used to change counterfeit currency.

The clerk began feeding stacks of the notesinto a big, complicated-looking machine. It had a red digital display that showed the total amount, the numbersescalating as the bills were swallowed up.

If any of the money was fake, it was toolate now.  She would be arrested on thespot, just like the sign said.  And theman who had supposedly given it to her? Conveniently disappeared.

“Here you are, signora,” the clerk finally said. He handed her a handsome, leather-crafted carrier that was loaded withcasino chips.

ThankGod, she thought, greatly relieved.  She let out a little laugh as she carried thechips into the casino.  It was silly ofher to think badly of the man she had just spent the last three days in bedwith—he was a nice person, she had known it from the start.

She began playing roulette, betting only€50 at a time.

A few minutes later, her friend showed up.

“Ah, there you are!” he said, rushing overto her.  He took the chips and placed adrink in her hand and gave her a warm smile. “Come, cara—I will teach youhow to play baccarat.”

 

* **

He gambled recklessly that night, delightedwith the results of the experiment. Within several hours, he had lost €15,000worth of chips, but he didn’t care.   Itwas a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money he would make in thecoming months.   He gave Maria €10,000 inchips to gamble with and sat back and watched her lose it.

By 3 am, she was tipsy, and he was gettingtired.

“Let’s go back to Vernazza,” he said,stopping her before she placed another bet.

“Vernazza?” she said.  She looked disappointed. “I thought we wouldstay here...”

“It’s silly to waste money on a hotel roomhere when I own a beautiful villa so close by.”

A guilty look flickered across herface.  “I’m sorry I lost all thatmoney...”

“It’s nothing,” he said.  “It was thrilling, wasn’t it?”

 

* **

By the time they were back at the villa, hefound his second wind.  He drove hislean, hard body into the young girl, bringing her to a series of toe-curlingorgasms.

They lay there for a few minutes, and thenhe suddenly rose from the bed and started putting on his pants.  “I’m buzzing with energy—I can’t sleep.  Let’s go for a walk.”

“A walk? Now?”

“Come,” he said, pulling on her hand.  “The fresh air will make you feel better.”

“But it’s so late...”

He ignored her protests and helped her getdressed, making sure she wore only her own clothes and not anything that he’dbought for her.  When she reached for herwristwatch, he grabbed her hand and impatiently said, “For God’s sake, cara, you’re not going to a fashionshow!”

It was windy outside, the sky just hintingat the coming dawn.  They walked up thehill, along the cliffs.

Vernazza is part of a cluster of fivevillages known as the Cinque Terre.  They veered off in the direction ofCorniglia, the next closest village, which was only 3 km to the south.  The path soon became so narrow that they hadto walk single file.

“Be careful, cara,” he said, letting her move ahead of him.  “It’s slippery in places.”

The sea along this particular stretch ofcoastline was always rough, the waves breaking over clusters of jagged rocksthat were covered with razor-sharp coral. It was not uncommon for hikers to slip and fall down the sheer 200-foot cliffface.  Within minutes, their bodies werepulverized into bloody slabs of unidentifiable gristle and bone.

“Isn’t the view incredible?” he said,stopping her after the path widened again.

“Yes,” Maria said, snuggling her back upagainst his warm chest.  Far below, thewaves were exploding over the rocks, the spray filling the air with brine.

He kissed the top of her head, hugging hertightly.  It was a shame.  She was a beautiful girl—he was alreadydeveloping a paternal, protective feeling for her. 

Even though the fake $100 bills had passedthrough the casino’s verifying machine, they would eventually be detected.  She had shown her face on video.  Her passport had been in the camera’s fieldof view as well.

He gently turned her around and kissed heragain, aggressively, shoving his tongue deeply into her mouth.

When he drew away, her eyes widened—all atonce, somehow, she understood everything.

He shoved her into the abyss. 

 

* **

A few minutes later, he placed a call to anumber at a sprawling dacha on the outskirts of Moscow.

A deep voice answered on the otherend.  “Da?”

“I have good news, my friend.  Our experiment was a smashing success.”

点击 阅读原文 可至亚马逊购买本书电子版

Copyright © 深圳手表价格部落@2017