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新编英语教程第五册unit01_2_cleaning_up

As Matt Rogers parked his pick-up truck in front of a well kept home, he resigned himself to another half hour that he would not enjoy. He was here to clean Howard Martin’s swimming pool and he knew that the 72 year old retiree would be waiting for him. Six months ago, shortly after selling his mortgage company and then retiring, Mr. Martin had a huge in-ground pool installed in his backyard. Now, once a week while Matt cleaned and tended the pool, he had to endure the heavy set man’s non-stop bragging about his past successes in the business world. Since Matt himself was deeply in debt, he found this very irritating. Not that Matt didn’t earn good money, he did. He just didn’t make enough. What he earns didn’t cover the costs of the expensive restaurants and nights spent in bars that have become a habit with him as well as the expensive clothes that he liked to wear on the evenings when he went out. In fact, Matt was amazed at how rapidly the balance on his unpaid credit cards was rising. Now he owed so much money that he was in a constant state of anxiety over where he would get the funds to repay his debts. At the moment he had absolutely no idea of what he would do. Matt climbed out of the truck, adjusted his Atlanta Braves baseball cap and then walked to the backyard of the Martin home. He found Mr. Martin sitting on a lounge chair on the luxurious patio that surrounded the pool.

“Good morning, Matt” the old man said. “Morning, Mr. Martin.” Matt stepped over the storage bin, opened it and took out the pool cleaning equipment. He hoped that he could begin working before Mr. Martin started to talk to him. “I was just thinking about the good old days” Mr. Martin said. “You know, Matt, the business world can be a cut throat place but no one ever out foxed me.” This was an introduction to anther one of his endless boring stories. Matt concentrated on skimming some leaves from the surface of the pool while Mr. Martin told how he had outsmarted a business rival. When he had finished the story, he said “I see you are wearing a Braves cap, Matt. Are you a baseball fan?” Matt nodded. “So am I.” Mr. Martin said. “Did you ever collect baseball cards?” “I had a big collection of cards, but my mother threw it out when I left home.” Matt replied. “Well, when I was a kid, I collected baseball cards too but I had the good sense to save them. I hadn’t given them much thought until I found the old album up in the attic last week. One of these days I am going to get it appraised and sell it as I think its worth quite a bit of money. Want to take a look at it?” “Sure,” Matt said. For once he was actually interested in something that Mr. Martin had to say. Matt accompanied Mr. Martin into the house. Mrs. Martin, a slender white haired lady, was sitting in the living room reading a magazine. Matt had never seen her outside on the patio. Mr. Martin had once told him that she had almost drowned when she was a small girl and since then had never gotten over her fear of water. For this reason she didn’t ever go near the swimming poll. Matt followed Mr. Martin up a flight of stairs to his office. He glanced out through the window and down at the crystal blue decks of the swimming poll below while Mr. Martin took a think album from a closet. He carefully handed it to Matt. Matt spent the next few minutes looking at the album. There was baseball cards’ dating back to the 1930’s that Matt recognized as rare and extremely valuable. When he gave the album back to Martin, Matt knew that the album was worth a great deal of money; far more than he would make in a year of cleaning swimming pools. How he wished it were his! Two weeks later, Matt received a phone call from Mrs. Martin. She sadly told him that her husband had died suddenly of a heart attack and that his pool cleaning services wouldn’t be needed until she gave him further notice. Then she hung up before Matt could say a word to her. Matt wouldn’t miss Mr. Martin, but he would miss the money he had been paid for doing the job. Then it occurred to him that Mrs. Martin probably knew nothing as yet about the baseball card collection in her husband’s office. If Matt could steal the collection, Mrs. Martin would never know about it and he would have enough money to pay off his bills. But he would have to act fast. So at 2 o’clock the next morning, Matt parked his pick-up truck one street away from Mrs. Martin’s house and then walked around the block to the widow’s home. It was a cloudy moonless night; one that Matt thought was just the perfect night for robbery. The house was dark and quiet. Surely the grieving widow would be in bed asleep by now. Matt crept up to the side of the house, pulled on a pair of gloves and tried the windows there. He found that one was loose and used a screwdriver to pry it open. He silently crawled through the window and once he was in the kitchen he paused to listen carefully. All was quiet. He headed towards the large imposing staircase. Stealthily he mounted the steps to the second floor. Then he found the office and entered it. He pulled a small flashlight from his pocket. Matt was delighted to discover that the album was still in the closet. As he lifted it from the shelf, the heavy album slipped from his fingers and fell to the floor. Matt quickly retrieved the album but a moment later he heard foot steps from the hallway. “Is someone out there?” Mrs. Martin called out. “I’ve got a gun.” Matt felt a rush of panic. What should he do? Then he remembered that the deep end of the swimming pool was almost directly under the office window. He opened the window, dropped the album straight down so that it would fall on the patio. Then he climbed onto the window sill preparing to leap out toward the pool. It would be easy to swim to the patio, grab the album and then run back to his truck. Matt drew in a deep breath and jumped. A short time later beneath the glare of the patio lights two policemen stood beside Mrs. Martin. Dressed in a robe, she clutched the baseball album to her chest. All three peered down at the young man sprawled at the bottom of the swimming pool moaning from the pain of his two shattered ankles. “That’s our pool cleaner,” Mrs. Martin said. “He must have broken into the house to steal Howard’s baseball card collection. He would have gotten away with it too if I weren’t so terrified of water that I had the pool drained the day after Howard passed away.
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