蜗牛引起的连想 7/27/2006 11:45
昨日回家的路上谁家花园里浇了水,差点没有留意到路当中缓慢爬行的一只蜗牛。它对自己所处的险境似乎全无知觉。记得小时候只要下雨就有许多蜗牛,常常和小朋友们逗蜗牛玩。但后来很少见到,到罗马后的第一个早晨在街上走时见到过蜗牛,是在树荫下,并没有下雨,时下远处宏伟教堂建筑的顶端沐浴在晨光里。晨光和一只蜗牛将罗马和童年的感受联系起来,罗马一下子不再是一个陌生的旅游地,一下子变得亲切而似曾相识。

我想把眼前这只蜗牛转移到花园里以免被行人踩死。去抓它的贝壳,它的身体却死死粘在地上,和记忆不太相符,它应该立刻缩进贝壳里的。于是不敢使劲拽,万一把它的房子拽下来,我可不是很好的手工匠。又用指头去碰它的触角想把它逼回房间,可它缩了一下又伸回原处,而且拖在地上长长的身体一点都没有收缩。这时有个行人走过,我蹲在卧牛旁边头也没抬似乎在和蜗牛玩儿。行人走了,我在周围找了一片树叶希望逗它爬上去,就把叶子放在它的前方,没想到它一碰到叶子就缩进取了。赶紧把它抓起来放进了花园里。就以它爬行的速度和体积,这花园足够大的了。

可是,突然心中就生出一点凄凉。为什么呢?看着它爬行的那么慢,也不知它有没有一个明确的地方要去,它是她还是他?它有家吗?有孩子吗?蜗牛到底是怎样生活的?发现自己一无所知。

今早上网查了一下,发现它的俩根长触角顶端长着眼睛,也就是说我碰它的触角时其实是去碰了它的眼睛。我发现这个网站的图画很好看,获得了一点知识,却不够,这并不奇怪,因为是针对小学生的。看完这个网站至少能赶上小学生了。(http://www.pep.com.cn/xkwn/index.htm)。知道蜗牛是产卵繁殖后代,但仍然不知道他们的家庭形式,一夫一妻?终身制?固定亦或走婚制?他们能活多久呢?他们在这个世界上多久了?比我们人类的历史长还是短呢?
蜗牛的生活挺好的。
家就背在身上,于是走路可快可慢,可东可西。 8)
身体限制,无法同房,于是正好走婚,想跟谁好跟谁好。 oops

有家真好!于是心中也生出一点凄凉,那些鼻涕虫,到底是怎样生活的呢?
Nike at 7/27/2006 11:59 快速引用
Nike :

有家真好!于是心中也生出一点凄凉,


装的吧?
Laughing Laughing Laughing
blueZ at 7/27/2006 12:01 快速引用
Nike :
蜗牛的生活挺好的。
家就背在身上,于是走路可快可慢,可东可西。 8)
身体限制,无法同房,于是正好走婚,想跟谁好跟谁好。 oops

有家真好!于是心中也生出一点凄凉,那些鼻涕虫,到底是怎样生活的呢?


hehehehe Laughing Laughing Laughing

不过看见蜗牛秋天就封住家门一只隐居到第二年春还是挺羡慕的。我也想一年里有半年隐居,可以不上班,就躺在沙发里读书,多好啊!
wildcrane at 7/27/2006 12:14 快速引用
给蜗牛照相了吗 :??:
给白天鹅照的相可真多 :!:
ex1234 at 7/27/2006 12:14 快速引用
中国蜗牛和欧洲的不是1种巴,法国菜里蜗牛可是有名的。中国人民这么爱吃,也没见把蜗牛入菜。

我觉得蜗牛的家庭形式可能是1夜情,既不1夫1妻,也不多夫多妻。

还有个疑问,两只蜗牛如果要结婚,是去谁家呢,都背个家;如果要夜和,有谁见过它们都爬出来了?
genie at 7/27/2006 13:54 快速引用
蜗牛自己是双性,可自行繁殖,但需要一个同伴互相帮助。- 我现在已经很羡慕他们了,我想梨花也会羡慕死的。只是爱吃的同学(eg. breezy or breezy2) 别放进菜谱就行。美国的蜗牛还真是从法国引进的(见下文)。

本来是想照张相片,但没带相机。

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2003/05/05/urbananimal.DTL

Eating Your Garden Snails
by Hank Pellissier, special to SF Gate

Monday, May 5, 2003


Printable Version
Email This Article

Hank Pellissier
Urban Animal Archive






Victor Yool collects, cooks, chews and swallows the gooey local garden snail, and he has served hundreds of the slimy pests to terrified dinner guests. I interviewed the amateur escargot chef at Berkeley Horticulture Nursery, where he is employed as sales manager.
I've heard that the Bay Area's brown-and-yellow-striped garden snails are actually the same mollusks as the prized escargot of French cuisine. Is this true? How did they get here?

Yes, the local common garden snail is the European brown -- Helix aspersa. They were imported here in the early 1850s by a Frenchman who intended to sell them as food, but the market here during the Gold Rush was too unsophisticated for snails. He ended up dumping some snails, and another collection escaped. Snails are hermaphroditic, so of course they reproduced like crazy.

Hermaphroditic?

Yes. Snails have both male and female sets of sex organs, so they can both impregnate and become pregnant at the same time. They need a partner; they can't do it by themselves -- but they can get each other pregnant as partners. Occasionally, you run across them in the garden when they're doing exactly that.

That's wild.

Yes, it is, and it certainly is a marvelous adaptive survival characteristic. Snails also reproduce quickly by laying batches of dozens and dozens of translucent, soft-shelled, creamy-colored eggs that they hide somewhere cool, moist and shady. If their food supply is abundant, like it is in the Bay Area, snails can reproduce constantly, and they can live up to five years.

What's that slime snails trail behind them?

It's mucus that snails secrete as a protective mechanism for their foot. I have seen photographs of snails crawling along the edge of a razor blade.

Are snails intelligent?

No, but they don't have to be smart. They are very efficient little eating machines.

What are their enemies?

Ducks and chickens love to eat them, but geese don't. The real enemy of snails is bad weather -- snails need a mild climate to survive in, because they freeze. They also don't do well if it's too hot and dry. They don't live all over the United States, you know. People in Wisconsin never have snails in their garden. Neither do my Italian grandparents in New Jersey.

Do Italians eat snails?

The Romans ate snails, but present-day Italians aren't as crazy about them as the French are. The French have almost hunted them into extinction, but the Italians have not. There is San Giovanni's feast day, though, on June 24, and that particular saint's symbol is the snail, for God knows what reason. To celebrate his feast day, Italians go crazy for snails. But the rest of the year, you don't see much snail consumption.

So, where do you get your snails?

Gardens. I collected over 400 snails once from a friend's garden. My advice is to check the calla lilies -- you can always find snails on calla lilies.

Is there a special way you cook snails?

What you have to do first with snails is purify them, because -- well, for all you know, they might have just eaten some snail bait. They don't put arsenic in snail bait anymore, but a lot of snail-bait products do contain insecticide, and carbaryl is not something you want to eat.

Typically, the purification ritual lasts for two weeks. You purge snails by feeding them greens or corn meal -- something like that. I just feed them corn meal, and I give them water and I change their food almost daily until I know that their systems are clean.

What kind of pen do you use? If someone wants to venture into snail ranching, what equipment should they buy?

Don't use a cardboard box, because snails can chew through cardboard with their teeth, their little rasping mouthparts. A friend of mine keeps his snails in an old bathtub. I use a big plastic recycling bin. Remember to keep it covered, or they will escape.

After your snails are purified, how do you cook them?

You boil them first for 10-15 minutes. This forms an incredibly disgusting scum that you must keep cleaning off and cleaning off and cleaning off the top until it's clear -- you might even need to change the water. When the scum is gone, you know the snails are okay -- they're done.

After the snails die, most of them separate from their shells, but some you need to pull out -- that's easy. When they're all removed, you just chop up the snails, dice them up fine and mix them with olive oil, garlic, butter and parsley. Mix them all together, stuff everything back into the snail shells and then bake them until they're hot and bubbly.

If you don't want to deal with the difficulty of stuffing shells and eating them out of shells, you can just cook them inside mushroom caps or in baking dishes that have little depressions. Italians also sometimes use snails in pasta sauce.

You chop the snails up? Don't some people eat them whole?

Yes, you can do that, but I think they're more attractive diced because they are so chewy if they're whole. Most people have an aversion to the chewiness.

What do snails taste like?

Its a great appetizer, absolutely delicious. Anything that has butter, olive oil, garlic and parsley in it is going to taste delicious. Tennis shoes would taste good with those ingredients. In my opinion, snails are like mushrooms -- they just pick up the flavors of whatever they're cooked in.

Who do you serve snails to? Do guests enjoy the flavor?

I invite friends. I have dinner parties for six at a time because that's how many my dining-room table seats. People in this area are fairly adventurous about eating, and of course I tell them in advance what I'm serving. I would never serve snails to someone without telling them what they were -- that would be the equivalent of putting acid in the punch bowl in the '60s!

Most people who try them like them. And those who are afraid to try just eat the sauce with a baguette, which is of course delicious. Some people stay squeamish; one friend that hated them said they tasted like burned rubber bands! We all draw our lines somewhere. Personally, I wouldn't think of eating brains, but I love sweetbreads [thymus glands of a calf].

Snails can be frozen, so I prepare a big batch of a few hundred at a time, then I put them in the freezer and I parcel them out for four or five meals per year.

What type of food and drink do you serve with snails?

You serve snails as a first course, as an appetizer. I usually serve them either with a white wine like a chardonnay, or a mellow red wine like merlot. For an entree, I have something relatively simple, like grilled or roasted meat or fish, with vegetables and potatoes sautéed with olive oil and garlic to tie it all together.

Is anyone in the Bay Area making a living as a snail rancher? I'd like to try it.

I read a news story once about a guy who decided to raise them commercially in California. He had a trucking disaster; an entire truckload of his snails overturned and the highway was slimed. It took forever to open that road again, and the snails that didn't die escaped into the countryside. His business was ruined.

Snails are horrible garden pests. Do you have any advice for people who want to keep them out of their yard?

There's a relatively new product called Sluggo, which is iron -- it interrupts the snail's digestive process. It's not toxic to children, pets or birds, and when it breaks down, it adds iron to the soil, a mineral that's necessary for healthy plant growth. Beer also works -- snails are attracted to yeast, so they will drink it, get drunk, fall into pans of beer and drown. Copper strips on pots and raised beds are also effective; the copper sets up a galvanic shock that deters snails. You can also plant highly aromatic herbs in your garden, like rosemary, lavender and sage. Snails don't like those scents, and they'll stay away.

Do you have a huge garden at your home that you encourage snails to wander into so you can catch and eat them?

No, not at all. I live on the sixth floor of an apartment that overlooks Lake Merritt in Oakland, where my terrace garden is totally safe from snails. It's also safe from raccoons, deer and neighborhood cats.

Did you study horticulture in college?

I have a master's in clinical psychology, and I worked in a variety of other fields, too, before I happily ended up in gardening. I have Italian grandparents in the New Jersey countryside; my grandparents are great gardeners and great teachers, and I visited them every summer when I was a kid, so I ended up learning this. Italians are born with gardening genes. I have a wonderful occupation -- there are hummingbirds nesting right outside my office!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hank Pellissier -- a.k.a. Hank Hyena -- has been a columnist for Salon.com ("Naked World"), SFGate ("Odd Barkings"), the S.F. Metropolitan ("Frisco Utopia") and the New Mission News ("Civic Stench"). He's also executive director of the Hyena Comedy Institute and co-director of a preschool called The Children's Lab.
wildcrane at 7/27/2006 14:16 快速引用
我现在知道为什么蜗牛爬得慢了,它能和自己爽,肯定时爽完了腿都没劲了。。。
genie at 7/27/2006 14:21 快速引用
不是像你想的,他们仍然需要伴儿,和lover. 因为他们自己不能把精子和卵子放在一起。继续读下去,很有趣。


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/02/0213_020213_wiresnail.html

Are Snails' ''Love Darts'' Source of Cupid Lore?
Ian Popple
McGill Tribune

February 13, 2002
Valentine's Day is upon us, and once again love is in the air. In a quiet third floor laboratory of Montreal's McGill University's Stewart Biology building, garden snails, Helix aspersa, are courting―in slow-motion.

The snails belong to Ron Chase, who has spent the past 30 years using these organisms as subjects for his study of neurobiology, behavior and evolution.

Snail reproduction is a curious tale. Snails are hermaphrodites, but although individuals contain both male and female sex organs, they do not self-fertilize. The two- to six-hour marathon session that is snail copulation is actually an exchange of sperm between two individuals, combined with plenty of rubbing, biting and "eye-stalk" waving. Individuals use the received sperm to fertilize their own eggs―a process necessary to maintain genetic diversity in the population.

What makes some snail species particularly interesting to Chase is their use of "love darts" during copulation. About one third of snail species manufacture hard, sharp darts which they "fire" at the objects of their affections.

"The love dart phenomenon has been documented in the literature as far back as the mid-17th century," Chase said. "Love dart snails were known to the ancient Greeks, and it wouldn't be surprising to find that they influenced the creation of the cupid myth."

Chase became intrigued with snails' "love darts."

"It was incorrectly believed that these darts were a nuptial gift of calcium―a major constituent of snail shells―from one snail to another. Like a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates in humans," Chase said. "Another belief was that the dart was intended to arouse the receiver and indicate the shooter's readiness to mate."

Research conducted by Chase has uncovered the real reason for dart-shooting in snails, and the truth is much more sinister than previously thought.

The answer lies in Darwin's theory of sexual selection. Basically, snails want to reproduce as much as possible. Snails that have a way of ensuring their sperm, rather than another's, is used to fertilize eggs therefore will sire more offspring. This is known as sperm competition.

The love dart is a tool of male manipulation. Received sperm is moved to a storage area within the female reproductive system where it is used to fertilize eggs over a period of months or years; however, many sperm fail to reach the safety of the storage area and instead are digested in great numbers en route.

Research conducted by a graduate student of Chase's revealed of the millions of sperm received by a snail, only 0.025 percent actually survive. Love darts contain mucus that temporarily contracts a part of the female reproductive system in a way that allows a greater number of sperm to reach the storage area and survive; in short, he shoots, she stores.

According to Chase, being hit with a love dart may increase the survival of sperm, but fortunately for some snails it is not essential for copulation.

"Poor shooting is commonplace―one-third of all love darts either fail to penetrate the skin or they miss the target completely," Chase said.

Being hit with a love dart may sound cute and comical, but for the recipient there may be costs. Love darts are the equivalent of being stabbed with a hypodermic needle. Evidence from mating trials conducted in the Chase lab indicates snails try to avoid being hit with love darts. Copulating snails commonly are seen jostling, in an attempt to hit but not be hit.


Copyright 2002 McGill Tribune via U-WIRE
wildcrane at 7/27/2006 14:34 快速引用
更有意思了,蜗牛和希腊,和丘比特的联系,请继续读下去:

图文均引自
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/02/0212_040213_lovebirds.html
Lovebirds and Love Darts: The Wild World of Mating
Hillary Mayell
for National Geographic News

February 13, 2004
Valentine's Day Special Report

Valentine's Day may have its origins in what ancient civilizations saw as the courting rituals of the animal world. But among cupid fish, lovebirds, and "love dart"-firing snails, mating is apparently anything but an affair of the heart.

The winged god-child known to the ancient Greeks as Eros and to the Romans as Cupid, had an eye for mischief. Anyone whose heart he pierced with his arrows fell deeply, immediately, and irrevocably in love.

So how did a carnivorous freshwater fish with a reputation for being solitary and aggressive come to be called Cupid? The Cupid cichlid's (Biotodoma cupido) cousins are named green terror, Jack Dempsey, convict, and black belt―distinctly more appropriate for fish that aquarium dealers recommend be kept only in a tank of similar-sized fish that can defend themselves.

"The Cupid cichlid is named after the Cupido Creek or River which feeds into another river in Surinam," said Douglas J. Sweet, adding that the information comes from the Catalog of Fishes by William N. Eschmeyer. Sweet is curator of fishes at the Belle Isle Aquarium in Detroit, Michigan. "The fish is not named after Cupid but the river the specimens were captured from."

In the Middle Ages people believed that birds found their mates for life on February 14, and Valentine's Day cards frequently depict lovebirds. But do lovebirds deserve their loving rep?

Lovebirds (Agapornis) acquired their name because it looks like they're constantly cuddling, sitting in pairs, preening each other's feathers. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that lovebirds couldn't live without their mates.

Few Birds Are Faithful

The lovebird in the wild is one of the rare creatures that is monogamous, and "so the perfect couple exists," said Dirk Van den Abeele, laughing. Van den Abeele has written several books on lovebirds and is president of the Belgian Lovebird Society.

"However, when a mate is lost they waste no time in searching and achieving the securing of a new mate," said Al Decoteau, a director of the Society of Parrot Breeders and Exhibitors. Until the advent of genetic testing in the late 1980s, 90 percent of bird species were thought to be monogamous. DNA analysis of nestlings put the kibosh on that idea. Roughly 90 percent of bird species pair-bond―hook up for a breeding season and raise chicks together. But few are faithful and many males wind up raising other males' babies.

"Extra-pair copulations"―the scientific way to say "infidelity"―serve a purpose for both the male and female in the animal kingdom. Each wants to produce as many offspring as possible.

Infidelity ups the male's chance to produce more offspring because individual females are limited in the number of babies they can produce. The catch to individual evolutionary fitness is that quality counts as much as quantity; producing lots of babies that die before they reproduce doesn't count.

Females benefit from promiscuity by improving the genetic quality of their young. A good provider is not necessarily the best sperm donor, so while the female builds a nest with her mate, she may sneak out and go sperm shopping for a male with brighter feathers, bigger body size, or a more glorious singing voice―all indicators of good health.

This widespread lack of fidelity led scientists to coin a new term: social monogamy―living in pairs but sexually unfaithful.

While genetic testing shattered the halos of birds as monogamous creatures, they were not the only species revealed as promiscuous. Only about 3 percent of mammals are thought to be monogamous, mating and bonding with one partner for life. Humans are not one of these naturally monogamous animals. Black vultures, termites, and prairie voles are.

Dueling Love Darts

But back to the arrow-shooting Cupid. Garden snails (Helix aspersa) use "love darts" to get their point across.

The hermaphroditic snails have both male and female characteristics, but do not self-fertilize. Courtship, which could take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours, consists of circling one another to get in the best position to shoot a love dart but not be shot.

"Love is coming down to war in a way," said Ronald Chase, a biologist at McGill University in Montreal. "Sexual conflict plays out, even though both members of the mating pair are hermaphrodites."

Once the love darts are fired―and about one-third of the time they miss―the snails transfer sperm to one another in a separate process that lasts as long as six hours. What's the point of the love dart if hitting or missing makes no difference to whether the pair copulates?

The mucus covering the dart causes part of the recipient's female reproductive tract to contract, resulting in a significant increase in the amount of sperm stored. Successful dart shooters father more babies than do snails that miss with their darts.

"Successful dart shooting seems to only benefit the dart shooter, not the recipient," Chase said. "It causes damage"―although Chase has seen snails shot through the brain and still live―"it hurts, and it increases the number of babies the shooter is going to get."

Does Cupid enter the picture?

"I believe the myth of Cupid and his arrows has its basis in this snail species, which is native to Greece," Chase said. "The Greeks probably knew about this behavior because they were pretty good naturalists and observers."

The marine flatworm Pseudobiceros hancockanus takes the mating fight one step further, in what scientists call penis fencing. Each flatworm is a hermaphrodite with two penises. The mating ritual consists of dueling penises, each flatworm trying to pierce the skin of the other with its sharp-tipped organ. The winner―the stabber―transfers its sperm. The loser gets what scientists call the burden of motherhood: the considerable energy costs of caring for the developing eggs.

Finally, is there anything in the animal world that parallels the "opposites attract" theory of romance in humans? Yes, according to recent bird research.

A study of the mating habits of great tits (Parus major) in the wild, conducted by scientists at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, found that the offspring of parents with opposing personalities had much higher rates of survival than the chicks of parents with similar "extreme" personalities.

Niels Dingemanse and Christiaan Both found that when two birds with "extreme" personality traits―very fast and aggressive or very slow and cautious―mated, they produced chicks with more extreme behaviors. These chicks tended to die early and reproduce less. The "average types" resulting from a fast and aggressive bird mating with a slow and cautious bird had the highest survival and reproduction rates.
wildcrane at 7/27/2006 14:38 快速引用
好复杂
genie at 7/27/2006 15:06 快速引用
wildcrane :
蜗牛自己是双性,可自行繁殖,但需要一个同伴互相帮助。- 我现在已经很羡慕他们了,我想梨花也会羡慕死的。只是爱吃的同学(eg. breezy or breezy2) 别放进菜谱就行。美国的蜗牛还真是从法国引进的(见下文)。



俺虽然爱吃,但除了田螺以外,难看的东西通常不吃.

你为啥羡慕蜗牛啊? confused

羡慕他们的繁殖力阿 oops 本来以为他们自己背个房子独自慢游,挺可怜,后来发现他们有很多优势我们没有啊,一点都不可怜了,只要别让人给炒了。 wink
breezy at 7/27/2006 15:28 快速引用
一般花园的主人都不喜欢看到蜗牛和鼻涕虫
要是看到你把一只蜗牛扔进去。。。
Annie at 7/27/2006 15:36 快速引用
Annie :
一般花园的主人都不喜欢看到蜗牛和鼻涕虫
要是看到你把一只蜗牛扔进去。。。


oops
“小学科学”里是说,蜗牛吃绿色植物,归之为农业害虫。但她小小的能吃多少,就让他吃一点吧。
wildcrane at 7/27/2006 15:44 快速引用
breezy :
wildcrane :
蜗牛自己是双性,可自行繁殖,但需要一个同伴互相帮助。- 我现在已经很羡慕他们了,我想梨花也会羡慕死的。只是爱吃的同学(eg. breezy or breezy2) 别放进菜谱就行。美国的蜗牛还真是从法国引进的(见下文)。



俺虽然爱吃,但除了田螺以外,难看的东西通常不吃.

你为啥羡慕蜗牛啊? confused


羡慕他们的繁殖力阿 oops 本来以为他们自己背个房子独自慢游,挺可怜,后来发现他们有很多优势我们没有啊,一点都不可怜了,只要别让人给炒了。 wink[/quote]

MM你把回复俺的,按错扭,成了编辑俺的啦. wink
breezy at 7/27/2006 15:47 快速引用
wildcrane :
Annie :
一般花园的主人都不喜欢看到蜗牛和鼻涕虫
要是看到你把一只蜗牛扔进去。。。


oops
“小学科学”里是说,蜗牛吃绿色植物,归之为农业害虫。但她小小的能吃多少,就让他吃一点吧。

Laughing
批准批准


今天上班哈累,你的帖子真好,给我点有趣的东西过过脑子 smile rose
Annie at 7/27/2006 15:48 快速引用
Annie :
wildcrane :
Annie :
一般花园的主人都不喜欢看到蜗牛和鼻涕虫
要是看到你把一只蜗牛扔进去。。。


oops
“小学科学”里是说,蜗牛吃绿色植物,归之为农业害虫。但她小小的能吃多少,就让他吃一点吧。

Laughing
批准批准


今天上班哈累,你的帖子真好,给我点有趣的东西过过脑子 smile rose


谢谢 happy ,还有呢:多做蜗牛的美梦。

周公解梦 - 蜗牛


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1.动物篇] (蜗牛)
已婚男人梦见蜗牛,健康会每况愈下。已婚女人梦见蜗牛,丈夫收入会增加。少女梦见蜗牛,会嫁给有钱的男人,生活幸福。青年男子梦见蜗牛,会得到一大笔嫁妆。病人梦见蜗牛,会长期卧床不起。工作人员梦见蜗牛,会提职增薪。梦见打死蜗牛,能降服敌人。
wildcrane at 7/27/2006 17:22 快速引用
还有那,不过每看懂。谁看完了给讲解一下啥意思。

蜗牛

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

作者:村上春树

  走下狭窄的水泥楼梯之后,前面就有一条长长的走廊笔直地伸出去。也许因为天花板太高了,使得走廊看起来像晒干的排水沟一样。每隔一些距离悬挂着的日光灯上盖满了黑黑厚厚的灰尘。那灯光好像是透过细细的网格照出来似的不均匀。而且三个里面就有一个不亮。连要看自己的手掌都觉得很辛苦的样子。周围没有任何声音。只有运动鞋的胶底踏在水泥地上的平板声音响在昏暗的走廊。
  走了二百公尺或三百公尺,不,也许走了有一公里也不一定。我什么也没想地继续一直走着。那里既没有距离也没有时间。不知不觉之间甚至连正在前进的感觉也消失了。不过,总之大概是在向前进吧。我突然在T字路的正中央站住了。
  T字路?
  “请笔直走过走廊。走到尽头就有门。”明信片上这样写着。我在尽头一带的墙上仔细观望一番,但那里既没有l’1的形状也没有门的影子。既没有过去曾经有过门的痕迹,也没有即将要装门的迹象。那真是一面极干脆的水泥墙,除了水泥墙本来就该有的特质之外看不见其他任何东西。没有形而上学的门,没有象征的门,也没有比喻的门,简直什么都没有。
  完了完了。
  我靠在水泥墙上抽了一根烟。这样一来,接着该怎么办呢?往前进呢?还是就这样退回去呢?
  虽然如此,但坦白说我并没有那么认真地犹豫。说老实话,我除了前进之外没有别的路可走。我对贫穷的生活已经十分厌倦。对分期付款的贷款、对离婚妻子的赡养费、对狭小的公寓、对浴室的蟑螂、对繁忙时段的地下铁,对这一切的一切都觉得厌烦了。而这是好不容易才找到的好工作。工作轻松,薪水好得叫人眼珠都要飞出来。一年有两次奖金,夏天还有长期休假。总不能因为少一扇门,或多一个转弯就轻易放弃呀。
  我用鞋底把香烟踩熄,然后把十元硬币抛向空中,以手背接住。是正面,于是我往右边的走廊前进。
  走廊两次往右转,一次往左转,下了十段阶梯,又再往右转。空气像咖啡一样冰冰凉凉的。我一面想着钱的事,想着空气调节得很好的舒适办公室,想着漂亮女孩一面继续走着。只要到达一扇门,这一切的一切就可以到手了。
  终于前方看得见门了。从远远看那看来好像是一张用旧了的邮票一样,但逐渐接近之后开始一点一滴地带有门的体裁,终于变成一扇门。
  门,多么美好的发音哪。
  我干咳一声之后轻轻敲门,退后一步等待回音。过了十五秒也没回答。我再一次,这次稍微用力地敲,又退后一步。没有回答。
  我周围的空气逐渐开始僵硬起来。
  被不安驱使正要敲第三次门,脚刚往前踏时,门无声地开了。简直就像被从什么地方吹进来的风推开了似地极自然的开法。但当然门不是极自然地开的。听得见打开电灯开关的啪吱一声,然后一个男人现身在我眼前。
  男人大约二十五岁上下,身高比我矮五公分左右。刚洗的头发正滴着水,赤裸的身体用暗红茶色浴袍包着。脚白得不自然,而且细。鞋子尺寸大约是22号左右吧。长相像钢笔习字簿一样平板,但嘴角则露出人很好似的微笑。
  “对不起,我正在洗澡。”
  “洗澡?”说着我反射地看着手表。
  “这是规定。吃过午饭之后一定要洗澡。”
  “原来如此。”我说。
  “有什么事吗?”
  我从上衣口袋拿出刚才那张明信片,交给男人。男人深怕弄湿它只以手指尖夹起明信片,重读了好几次。
  “我好像迟到了五分钟。”我解释着。
  “噢噢。”他点点头然后把明信片还给我。“你要在这里工作啊。”
  “是的。”我说。
  “我什么也没听说,不过反正我会帮你通报上去。”
  “谢谢。”
  “可是约定语是什么?”
  “约定语?”
  我一愣摇摇头。“什么也没听说……”
  “那就伤脑筋了。没有约定语谁也不能通过啊。上面的人严格交代过。”
  我再抽出明信片来看一次,还是没有关于约定语的记载。
  “一定是忘了写了。”我说。
  “总之能不能帮我引见上面的人?”
  “所以说,因此需要那约定语呀。”他说着想在口袋里找香烟,但不巧浴袍上没有口袋。我把自己的香烟递一根给他,用打火机为他点上火。
  “很抱歉……那么,有没有想到什么…像是那个约定语之类的东西。”
  商量也没有用。约定语根本想不起来。我摇摇头。
  “虽然我也不喜欢这种正经八百的麻烦事,不过上面的人自有上面的人的想法吧。你了解吗?”
  “我了解。”
  “在我之前做这工作的家伙,也曾经把一个说是忘了约定语的客人引进去,结果就为了这个被解雇了噢。现在好工作可不容易找啊。”
  我点点头。‘噢,这样怎么办?给我一点暗示好吗?”
  男人靠在门上,把香烟的烟雾吐向空中。“这是被禁止的。”
  “只要一点点就行了。”
  “不过,说不定什么地方有隐藏的窃听器呢。”
  “是吗?”
  男人犹豫了一下,然后对我小声耳语道。“听好哦,非常简单的字,跟水有关系的。可以放在手掌上,但不能吃。”
  这次轮到我思考了。
  “第一个字是什么音?”
  “是X。”他说。
  “贝壳。”我试着说。
  “不对。”他说。“还有两次。”
  “两次?”
  “再错两次就完了。虽然我觉得很抱歉,不过我也是冒着危险犯规告诉你的。”
  “我很感谢。”我说。“不过如果能再给我一点暗示就更感谢了。例如是几个字的东西之类的……”
  “接下来你恐怕要说你干脆全部告诉我好了对吗?”
  “怎么会呢?”我呆住了。“我只是请你告诉我有几个字而已呀?”
  “两个字。”他似乎放弃似地说。“就像老爸说的一样啊。”
  “老爸?”
  “我老爸常说。你帮别人擦皮鞋,接着别人就要你把鞋带也帮他绑上啊。”
  “原来如此。”我说。
  “总之是两个字。”
  “跟水有关系,能放在手掌上但不能吃。”
  “没错。”
  “蜗牛。”我说。
  “蜗牛可以吃啊。”
  “真的?”
  “大概吧。也许不好吃。”他没自信地说。“而且不能放在手掌上。”
  “你看过吗?”
  “没有。”他说。
  “蜗牛。”我强硬地说。“可以放在手掌上的小蜗牛非常难吃,连狗都不吃的。”
  “等一下。”他说。“首先,约定语就不是蜗牛啊。”
  “可是跟水有关系,能放在手掌上,又不能吃的,而且又是两个字。”
  “你的道理说不通。”
  “什么地方不通?”
  “因为约定语就不是‘蜗牛’啊。”
  “那么是什么?”
  他一瞬间哑口无言。“这不能说。”
  “因为不存在呀。”我尽情放胆地冷言说道。“除了蜗牛之外,和水有关系,能放在手掌心又不能吃的两个字的东西根本一个也没有啊。”
  “可是有啊。”他以快要哭出来的声音说。
  “没有啊。”
  “有。
  “你没有证据说有。”我说。“而且‘蜗牛’已经符合全部条件了对吗?”
  “可是……那可以放在手掌上的小蜗牛,说不定什么地方有喜欢吃它的狗啊。”
  “在什么地方?还有是什么样的狗?”
  “嗯-”他嘀咕着。
  “关于狗我什么都知道,却没看过喜欢能放在手掌上的蜗牛的什么狗。”
  “有那样难吃吗?”
  “难吃得不得了。”
  “你吃过吗?”
  “没有啊。那样难吃的东西我为什么一定要吃呢?”
  “‘说得也是。”
  “总之请你帮我引见上面的人。”我强硬地说。“蜗牛。”
  “没办法。”他说。“我且帮你通报一声。不过我想大概行不通吧。”
  “谢谢。我会报答你。”我说。
  “不过真的有能放在手掌上的蜗牛吗?”
  “有啊。”
  掌中蜗牛以天鹅绒布擦着眼镜的镜片,叹了一口气。右下方的口齿阵阵抽搐着。是牙齿啊,他想。真厌烦。牙医、税款申报、汽车贷款、空调故障……他把头靠在皮面扶手椅上,想着关于死的事。死像海底一样安静。
  掌中蜗牛正要人睡。
  这时对讲机响起来。
  “什么事?”掌中蜗牛对着机器吼道。
  “有客人。”门房的声音说。
  掌中蜗牛看看手。“迟到十五分钟。”
wildcrane at 7/27/2006 17:24 快速引用
[Time : 0.047s | 11 Queries | Memory Usage: 920.43 KB]