An Alcoholic Case
F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Come on─give me the bottle. I told you I’d stay awake（保持清醒）. Come on─leave it with me─I’ll leave half in the bottle.（留個半瓶）”
“You know what Dr. Carter says, I’m too tired to be fighting（爭吵）you all night. . . . All right, drink your fool self to death.”
Again they struggled（爭奪）.
“Once more you try to get it I’ll throw it down（砸碎）,” she said quickly. “I will─on the tiles（磁磚）in the bathroom.”
“Then I’ll step on the broken glass（踩到碎玻璃）─or you’ll step on it.”
Suddenly she dropped it like a torpedo（魚雷）, sliding underneath（滑落）her hand and through the open door to the bathroom.
It was on the floor in pieces and everything was silent for a while. She began to worry that he would have to go into the bathroom and might cut his feet. With a sudden resurgence of conscience（良心發現）she got up and put a chair in front of the bathroom door. She had wanted to sleep because he had got her up early that morning and she hadn’t been home all day.
She sat down in the rocker（搖椅） but she was no longer sleepy; there was plenty to enter on the chart（寫報告）and she could make so many:
Tried to get bottle of gin（琴酒）. Threw it away and broke it.
She corrected（修改）it to read:
In the struggle it dropped and was broken. Patient（病人）was generally difficult（難搞）.
She added in her report: I never want to go on an alcoholic case（戒酒照護案）again.
She was tired and didn’t want to clean up the glass on the bathroom floor. But she decided finally to clean up the glass first; on her knees（跪下）, searching a last piece of it, she thought: ─It was so utterly senseless（完全沒道理）─as she put a bandage（紗布）on her finger where she had cut it while picking up the glass she made up her mind she would never take an alcoholic case again.
But when she sat down in the chair she looked at his face, white and exhausted（疲憊不堪）, and counted his breathing again, wondering why it had all happened. He had been so nice today, drawn her a whole strip of his cartoon（一長片的卡通）just for fun and given it to her. She was going to have it framed（裱褙）.
It was early the next evening in the hall of Mrs. Hixson’s Agency（人力介紹公司）. In a moment Mrs. Hixson came out and, signaled（示意）her into the office.
“I got your call from the hotel,” she began.
Mrs. Hixson was a very efficient（效率的）woman. She had been a nurse and had gone through the worst of it. She swung（轉身）around suddenly from the desk.
“Oh, it wasn’t bad, Mrs. Hixson. He didn’t know what he was doing and he didn’t hurt me in any way. I was thinking much more of my reputation with you（我考慮信譽對妳公司的影響）. He was really nice all day yesterday.”
“But one minute you say you’ll never go on an alcoholic case again and the next minute you say you want to go back to one.”
“I think I overestimated（高估）how difficult it was. Really, I think I could help him.”
Getting off the bus, she went down the long steps to the hotel, feeling a little exalted（自豪）. She was going to take care of him because nobody else would, and because the best people of her profession（專業）had been interested in the cases that nobody else wanted.
She knocked at his study door. He answered it himself. He was in dinner clothes even to a derby hat─but minus his studs（袖扣）and tie.
He broke into a genial, indifferent（溫和淡然的）smile.
“I thought you had quit（放棄）me,” he said casually.
“I thought I had, too.”
“Who are you going to see?” she asked.
“It’s the President’s secretary,” he said. “I had an awful time（苦日子）trying to get ready. I was about to give up when you came in. Will you order me some sherry（雪莉酒）?”
“One glass,” she agreed wearily（厭倦地）…
She went behind him and tied his tie─his shirt was already thumbed out of press（被姆指印沾污）where he had put in the studs, and she suggested:
“Won’t you put on（穿）another one, if you’ve got to meet some people you like?”
“All right, but I want to do it myself.”
“Why can’t you let me help you?” she demanded in exasperation（憤怒）. “Why can’t you let me help you with your clothes? What’s a nurse for─what good am I doing?”
He sat down suddenly on the toilet seat（麻桶蓋）.
“All right─go on.”
“Now don’t grab my wrist（別抓我的手腕）,” she said, and then, “Excuse me.”
“Don’t worry. It didn’t hurt. You’ll see in a minute.”
“Now watch this,” he said. “One─two─three.”
She pulled up the undershirt（掀起內衫）; simultaneously（同時）he thrust（刺入）the crimson─grey point of the cigarette（火紅的煙頭）like a dagger（匕首）against his heart. He said “Ouch!” as a stray spark fluttered down（火花濺落）against his stomach.
“You’ve had a hard time with that, I guess,” she said lightly. “Won’t it ever heal（痊癒）?”
“Well, it’s no excuse for what you’re doing to yourself.”
He turned his great brown eyes on her, aloof, confused（疏離、茫然）. He signaled to her, in one second, his Will to Die, and for all her training and experience she knew she could never do anything constructive（有建設性的）with him. She knew death─she had heard it, smelt it, but she had never seen it before it entered into anyone.“
She tried to express it next day to Mrs. Hixson: “It’s not like anything you can beat（擊敗）─no matter how hard you try. It’s just that you can’t really help them and it’s so discouraging（氣餒）─it’s all for nothing.”