生命结束了
The life pressed out
1202字
2020-06-12 11:27
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火星译客

The unarmed black man whose death has convulsed America was 46

这位手无寸铁的黑人男子的死亡震惊了美国,享年46岁

TUESDAYS WERE usually George Floyd’s night on security-guard duty at El Nuevo Rodeo club, the “hottest venue” for Mexican music in Minneapolis. That was urban-music night, when blacks came crowding in to hear R&B, soul, hip-hop and rap. Things could get rowdy sometimes, but he kept order with calm and a big smile and the sheer presence of himself, six-feet-six and with bulging muscles under his coat. That wasn’t the style of another guy there who had done the job for 17 years, an off-duty white police officer with jittery eyes, who would reach for his pepper spray as soon as a fight broke out and fire it over everyone. But few thought their paths had crossed, or that they ever would.

周二通常是乔治·弗洛伊德(George Floyd)在新牛仔俱乐部(El Nuevo Rodeo club)担任保安的夜晚,那里是明尼阿波利斯市墨西哥音乐“最热门的场所”。那是城市音乐之夜,黑人们蜂拥而入,聆听R&B, soul, hip-hop和rap。事情有时会变得很混乱,但他保持着平静、灿烂的笑容以及自我形象,他身高六英尺六英寸,外套下肌肉鼓鼓的。这可不是另一个在那里干了17年的人的作风,他是一个下班了的白人警察,眼睛紧张不安,一有打斗发生,他就会伸手去拿胡椒喷雾,向每个人喷。但几乎没有人认为他们的人生道路曾经相遇过,或者永远会相遇。

He liked being a bouncer. His regular stint was at the Conga Latin Bistro on East Hennepin, another Mexican-Latino joint with dining and dancing. There he sometimes wore a blue boiler suit with “Security” in large white letters, but also a navy jacket and black polo-neck that made him look a million dollars. At the door he always beamed out his warm welcoming smile, and expected a hug in return from the regulars. He would dance badly, just to make them laugh. (Jovanni Thunstrom, the owner, once tried to teach him Bachata dance, but he was so tall he couldn’t turn him.) 

他喜欢当保镖。他的固定工作时间是在东亨内平的康加拉丁小酒馆(Conga Latin Bistro on East Hennepin),这是另一家墨西哥-拉丁裔的餐馆,经常吃饭和跳舞。在那里,他有时会穿一件蓝色连衫裤套装,上面有大大的白色字母“Security”,但也会穿一件海军蓝夹克和黑色polo领,这让他看起来像个百万富翁。在门口,他总是露出热情欢迎的微笑,期待着常客们的拥抱。他跳舞跳得很糟糕,但这只是为了逗他们笑。(该酒馆的经营者,乔万尼·斯托姆(Jovanni Thunstrom)曾试图教他跳巴恰塔舞,但他个子太高,转不动他。)

Some customers came early to eat the spicy Mexican food with him. In return he did favours for them: drove them home if they were drunk, put their things in his own closet if they didn’t bring spare change for the coat-check. At the end of business, he helped clean down the bar. Mr Thunstrom (“Bossman”, as he kept calling him), was a friend, almost family, and rented him a duplex in St Louis Park, uptown. He liked his neighbours there, and would spend time chatting over the fence to their little boy, teaching him the proper way to shoot hoops. He had been pretty good at basketball, back in Texas.

有些顾客提早来和他一起吃辛辣的墨西哥食物。作为回报,他会帮他们一些忙:如果他们喝醉了,他就开车送他们回家;如果他们没有带零钱去存放衣服,他就把他们的东西放到自己的衣橱里。生意结束时,他帮忙清理酒吧。斯特罗姆(他一直称他为“博斯曼”)是他的朋友,几乎可以说是家人,他在住宅区圣路易斯公园为他租了一套复式公寓。他喜欢那里的邻居,经常隔着栅栏和他们的小男孩聊天,教他正确的投篮方法。他在德州时篮球打得很好。

Since coming to Minneapolis from Houston, several years ago, he had had no problem getting a job. Friends who had gone north before him had persuaded him to come, and they were right. There was no shortage. He worked as a truck driver, revelling in taking big rigs on the Interstate, and found his two security places. He also found a new girlfriend, Courtney Ross. And with that he seemed determined to stay in Minnesota.

自从几年前从休斯顿来到明尼阿波利斯,他就没有遇到过找工作的问题。在他之前到过北方的朋友们说服他来北方,他们说得对。他没有缺点。他是一名卡车司机,喜欢在州际公路上开大卡车,他找到了两个安全的地方。他还找到了新女友考特尼·罗斯。说到这里,他似乎决定留在明尼苏达州。

That was not the plan at first. H-Town was still home. He grew up there in the Third Ward, the old black section of the city, full of shotgun shacks and run-down public housing as well as more notable buildings, like the Jack Yates High School, which he attended, and Wheeler Avenue Baptist church, where Martin Luther King preached. At Yates, with his height, more than six feet at 12 years old, he shone at sports: he was recruited by South Florida State to play basketball, and was on the Yates football team that made the final of the Texas state championship in 1992 in the Astrodome. The Houston music scene drew him, too; he was “Big Floyd” in a group that backed DJ Screw, a legendary hip-hop DJ, inventor of a new remix technique of slowing tracks down and playing the same track on different turntables (“chopped-and-screwed”, hence the “Screw”). Best of all, he met attractive women, by several of whom he had children. He was a good father while he was around.

一开始的计划不是这样的。H镇仍然是我的家。他在那里长大,那里是纽约市的黑人聚居区,到处都是散置式棚屋和破旧的公共住房,还有一些更著名的建筑,比如他曾就读的杰克·耶茨高中(Jack Yates High School),以及马丁·路德·金(Martin Luther King)布道的惠勒大道浸礼会教堂(Wheeler Avenue Baptist church)。耶茨12岁时就有6英尺多高,他在体育方面表现出众:他被南佛罗里达州立大学录取打篮球,并在1992年参加了在Astrodome体育馆举行的德克萨斯州立大学橄榄球锦标赛的决赛。休斯顿的音乐场景也吸引了他;他是乐队的“大弗洛伊德”(Big Floyd),该乐队还支持传奇的嘻哈DJ斯特恩(DJ Screw),斯特恩发明了一种新的混音技术,即放慢音轨,在不同的转盘上播放相同的音轨(“切割和拧紧”,因此才有了“螺丝”)。最重要的是,他遇到了令他着迷的女人,他们的几个当中,他先有了孩子。他还在的时候他就是个好父亲。

Yet Houston was tough, too, especially in the Third Ward. He lived in Cuney Homes, otherwise known as “The Bricks”, a project overrun with drugs, gangs and guns. In 1997 the place was modernised and even won an award, but its reputation did not change much. And as a “brickboy” he did not escape it. In his early 20s he did jail time for theft with a firearm. After that came various arrests for possession of cocaine. He was not made for crime; he admitted in a video later that “bustin’ a gun” was crazy and made his knees shake. But he seemed to drift into these things because there was no line of work or life he was especially good at. His friend Stephen Jackson had become a player for the NBA, in the San Antonio Spurs, and he liked to call Stephen his “twin”, excited by his successes as if they were his own. But he, Big Floyd, was famous mostly for his size—a size that made people think he was not gentle or calm, but a fighting person.

然而休斯顿也很顽强,尤其是在第三区。他住在Cuney Homes,也被称为“砖头”,这是一个充斥着毒品、帮派和枪支的项目。1997年,这座城市进行了现代化改造,甚至还获得了一个奖项,但它的声誉并没有改变太多。而作为一名“砖工”,他也没有逃脱。在他20岁出头的时候,他曾因持枪偷窃而入狱。在那之后,因持有可卡因而遭到多次逮捕。但他并不是为犯罪而生的;他在后来的一段视频中承认,“用枪射击”是疯狂的,让他的膝盖发抖。但他似乎是随遇而安,因为没有他特别擅长的工作或生活。他的朋友斯蒂芬·杰克逊是NBA圣安东尼奥马刺队的一名球员,他喜欢称斯蒂芬为自己的“孪生兄弟”,他对斯蒂芬的成功感到开心,就好像自己成功了一样。但是他,大弗洛伊德,最出名的是他的体型——这个体型让人们认为他不是温和或冷静的人,而是一个好斗的人。

So it could turn out. In 2007 he and five other men forced their way into a woman’s house. He held a gun to her stomach and then searched through the rooms and cabinets, looking for money and drugs. This aggravated robbery earned the “large suspect” five years in prison. When he emerged, he pledged himself to a new life. He became active in his church, Resurrection Houston, organising not only barbecues and basketball games but Bible studies and open-air baptisms, pushing the big tub right into Cuney Homes to evangelise the hardest part of town. It was a Christian work programme that drew him to Minnesota, and he felt ready for that challenge, too. There he could make a completely fresh start, perhaps earn enough money to be a better father. His calls to his friends bubbled with hope for the future.

这可能是事实。2007年,他和另外五名男子闯入一名妇女的家中。他拿枪指着她的肚子,然后在房间和柜子里搜索,寻找钱和毒品。这起严重的抢劫案使“大嫌疑犯”被判五年徒刑。当他出现时,他发誓要过一种新的生活。他开始活跃在他的教堂——休斯顿复活教会,不仅组织烧烤和篮球比赛,还组织圣经学习和露天洗礼,把大浴盆推向城市居民的家庭,向城镇最困难的地区布道。是一个基督教的工作计划把他吸引到了明尼苏达州,他也觉得自己已经准备好迎接这个挑战了。在那里他可以有一个全新的开始,也许可以赚到足够的钱,成为一个更好的父亲。他给朋友们的电话中都是充满了对未来的希望。

By the end of May the picture was cloudier. He had been laid off from his security jobs when covid-19 had closed the restaurants. The rent-money for Mr Thunstrom was scraped together somehow, but it was not clear when work would return. He made many calls to friends asking for advice. Meanwhile, the old life brushed him again. 

On the evening of the 25th he went with two acquaintances to buy cigarettes at Cup Foods on 38th and Chicago, where he was a regular. He tried to pay with a $20 bill which the store clerk thought looked counterfeit, then would not return the cigarettes. The clerk, thoroughly frightened, called 911 and identified the “tall guy” as the man to blame.

到了五月底,天空乌云密布。因为covid-19(新冠状病毒),餐馆暂停营业,他从保安岗位上下岗了。虽然Thunstrom先生的租金是不知怎么东拼西凑到了,但不清楚何时才能恢复工作。他给朋友们打了很多电话征求意见。与此同时,过去的生活又一次扫了他的脸。25号晚上,他和两个熟人一起去了38号和芝加哥的Cup Foods买烟,他是那里的常客。他试着用一张20美元的钞票付帐,但店员认为这张钞票是假的,而后乔治・弗洛伊德并不退还香烟。这名职员吓坏了,他拨打了911,并指出“高个家伙”才是罪魁祸首。

When the police arrived he struggled at first, but calmed down once the cuffs were on. Then he refused to get into the squad car. An officer dragged him aside, threw him to the ground helpless and then, for almost nine minutes, knelt on his neck, pressing, pressing, as he cried out for his mother and his breath and his life.He possibly never knew that this was the same white guy with jittery eyes who had worked at El Nuevo Rodeo, the one so ready with the pepper spray to keep the blacks in line.

当警察来的时候,他开始挣扎,但一戴上手铐就平静下来了。然后他拒绝上警车。一名军官把他拖到一边,把他扔在地上,然后跪在他的脖子上,压啊压,压啊压,他很无助,哭喊着要他的母亲、他的呼吸和他的生命。他可能从来都不知道这个人就是那个曾经在新牛仔竞技俱乐部工作过,随时准备用胡椒喷雾让黑人排队的,眼睛紧张不安的白人。

This article appeared in the Obituary section of the print edition under the headline "The life pressed out"(Jun 4th 2020)

此文出现在印刷版的讣告节选,标题为“生命结束了”(2020年6月4日)

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