新视野大学英语1读写教程课文unit 7 Face to Face with Guns
Having ideas about a story before you read it is an important reading skill. Please listen to a very short piece of recording.
Now listen to the recording for the second time and try to the best of your ability to answer the following questions.
1. How many things did the thieves steal from the man? What were they?
2. What saved the man's life?
3. What is the raging river?
Face to Face with Guns
Like most city folks, I'm cautious. I scan the street and pathways for anything— or anyone — unusual before pulling into the garage. That night was no exception. But, as I walked out of the garage, KFC chicken in hand, a portly, unshaven young man in a stocking cap and dark nylon jacket emerged from the shrub by the parking pad and put his pistol between my eyes.
"Give it up, mother —," he threatened. "Give it up."
"Hey," I said, "just take it." As I spoke, I set the KFC box on the planter beside the pathway, contriving as I did so to toss my house keys into a bush.
"Where's your money? Where's your money?" he barked. Everything he said during our encounter was repeated; instinctively, I did the same.
"It's in my wallet. It's in my wallet," I said.
He moved behind me, put his gun on my neck and began to search my trousers' pockets.
"Where's your wallet?" he asked.
"It's in my back pocket."
"Where's the rest of your money?"
"I don't have any more money."
"Where's your watch?"
"Here," I replied, extending my left arm sideways.
Just then, his partner appeared. Slight and shorter, he held an enlarged blue steel pistol. His dark eyes shone like polished glass; his arms and legs moved unexpectedly, as if attached to unseen wires.
His voice snapped, "Stop looking at us. Stop looking at us."
He wasn't stupid. I've seen enough criminal trials to know victims of armed attacks are seldom able to identify their offenders because their attention focuses on the guns, rather than on their users. I consciously noted details of their faces.
"I'm not looking at you," I lied as the big one ripped the watch from my wrist.
"Get down. Get down," the thin one ordered. He grabbed my glasses and tossed them onto the lawn.
By then, I was flat on my face on the pathway, its dirt against my forehead. The big one's gun dug into the back of my head, the thin one's pistol into my left temple.
I thought, "I am going to die. This is going to kill Leslie. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner."
"What's this?" the big one asked.
I rolled my head to the right.
"It's KFC chicken," I said.
"We'll take it," the big one snapped.
And, suddenly — wallet, watch and chicken in hand — their footsteps faded down the darkened street.
I turned to see their shadows get into a car and speed away.
I had been spared, but by what? Mercy? A short attention span? Hunger?
"How peculiar," I thought, "to have your life saved by fried chicken. I saw eternity; they saw food."
I got to my feet, found the keys, entered and called 911. The operator took a description of the robbers and sent a police car. I poured a stiff drink and, soon, two uniformed officers of the LAPD arrived. They took a report and admitted the "important thing" was nobody was hurt.
"But," one officer said on leaving, "taking your chicken, that's rough."
Later, an officer telephoned for additional details. He said the pair's methods suggested they might be the same men who had committed a number of robberies in the area over the past few months. He asked me to come to the station and look through mug shots.
So, last Monday I looked through album-sized books of pictures mostly of young men — an amazing number of them actually children.
Turning those pages and studying their photographs is like flowing on a sad current that, like Blake's Thames, seems to "mark in every face, marks of weakness, marks of woe."
Together, these young men are a kind of river — one that is out of control, eating at the foundations of things we hold dear: our freedom to move about; the fruits of labor; our own lives and those of people we value. Some day, we will have to face this river and seek the depths of its discontent.
Presently, all we can do is look at mug shots and stick our fingers in the dam.