Английский язык с Крестным Отцом
Метод чтения Ильи Франка
Книгу подготовил Илья Франк
Johnny Fontane waved a casual dismissal to the manservant and said, "See you in
the morning, Billy." The colored butler bowed his way out of the huge dining room-living
room with its view of the Pacific Ocean. It was a friendly-good-bye sort of bow, not a
servant's bow, and given only because Johnny Fontane had company for dinner.
Johnny's company was a girl named Sharon Moore, a New York City Greenwich
Village girl in Hollywood to try for a small part in a movie being produced by an old
flame who had made the big time. She had visited the set while Johnny was acting in
the Woltz movie. Johnny had found her young and fresh and charming and witty, and
had asked her to come to his place for dinner that evening. His invitations to dinner
were always famous and had the force of royalty and of course she said yes.
Sharon Moore obviously expected him to come on very strong because of his
reputation, but Johnny hated the Hollywood "piece of meat" approach. He never slept
with any girl unless there was something about her he really liked. Except, of course,
sometimes when he was very drunk and found himself in bed with a girl he didn't even
remember meeting or seeing before. And now that he was thirty-five years old, divorced
once, estranged (отделен, отдален) from his second wife, with maybe a thousand
pubic scalps dangling from his belt, he simply wasn't that eager. But there, was
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something about Sharon Moore that aroused affection in him and so he had invited her
He never ate much but he knew young pretty girls ambitiously starved themselves for
pretty clothes and were usually big eaters on a date so there was plenty of food on the
table. There was also plenty of liquor; champagne in a bucket, scotch, rye (хлебная
водка), brandy and liqueurs on the sideboard. Johnny served the drinks and the plates
of food already prepared. When they had finished eating he led her into the huge living
room with its glass wall that looked out onto the Pacific. He put a stack of Ella Fitzgerald
records on the hi-fi and settled on the couch with Sharon. He made a little small talk
with her, found out about what she had been like as a kid, whether she had been a
tomboy (девчонка-сорванец) or boy crazy, whether she had been homely or pretty,
lonely or gay. He always found these details touching, it always evoked the tenderness
he needed to make love.
They nestled together on the sofa, very friendly, very comfortable. He kissed her on
the lips, a cool friendly kiss, and when she kept it that way he left it that way. Outside
the huge picture window he could see the dark blue sheet of the Pacific lying flat
beneath the moonlight.
"How come you're not playing any of your records?" Sharon asked him. Her voice was
teasing. Johnny smiled at her. He was amused by her teasing him. "I'm not that
Hollywood," he said.
"Play some for me," she said. "Or sing for me. You know, like the movies. I'll bubble
up and melt all over you just like those girls do on the screen."
Johnny laughed outright. When he had been younger, he had done just such things
and the result had always been stagy (неестественный, театральный), the girls trying
to look sexy and melting, making their eyes swim with desire for an imagined fantasy
camera. He would never dream of singing to a girl now; for one thing, he hadn't sung for
months, he didn't trust his voice. For another thing, amateurs didn't realize how much
professionals depended on technical help to sound as good as they did. He could have
played his records but he felt the same shyness about hearing his youthful passionate
voice as an aging, balding man running to fat feels about showing pictures of himself as
a youth in the full bloom of manhood.
"My voice is out of shape," he said. "And honestly, I'm sick of hearing myself sing."
They both sipped their drinks. "I hear you're great in this picture," she said. "Is it true
you did it for nothing?"
"Just a token payment," Johnny said.
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He got up to give her a refill on her brandy glass, gave her a gold-monogrammed
cigarette and flashed his lighter out to hold the light for her. She puffed on the cigarette
and sipped her drink and he sat down beside her again. His glass had considerably
more brandy in it than hers, he needed it to warm himself, to cheer himself, to charge
himself up. His situation was the reverse of the lover's usual one. He had to get himself
drunk instead of the girl. The girl was usually too willing where he was not. The last two
years had been hell on his ego, and he used this simple way to restore it, sleeping with
a young fresh girl for one night, taking her to dinner a few times, giving her an
expensive present and then brushing her off in the nicest way possible so that her
feelings wouldn't be hurt. And then they could always say they had had a thing with the
great Johnny Fontane. It wasn't true love, but you couldn't knock it if the girl was
beautiful and genuinely nice. He hated the hard, bitchy ones, the ones who screwed for
him and then rushed off to tell their friends that they'd screwed the great Johnny
Fontane, always adding that they'd had better. What amazed him more than anything
else in his career were the complaisant (обходительный, неконфликтный
[km'pleiznt]) husbands who almost told him to his face that they forgave their wives
since it was allowed for even the most virtuous matron to be unfaithful with a great
singing and movie star like Johnny Fontane. That really floored (to floor – валить
наземь, сбивать с ног; смущать, поражать) him.
He loved Ella Fitzgerald on records. He loved that kind of clean singing, that kind of
clean phrasing. It was the only thing in life he really understood and he knew he
understood it better than anyone else on earth. Now lying back on the couch, the