Selling the General
Dolly’s first big idea was the hat. She picked teal blue, fuzzy, with flaps that came down over the general’s large dried-apricot（一） ears. The ears were unsightly, Dolly thought, and best covered up（二）.
When she saw the general’s picture in the Times（三） a few days later, she almost choked on her poached egg: he looked like a baby, a big（四） sick baby with a giant mustache and a double chin. The headline couldn’t have been worse:
GENERAL B.’s ODD HEADGEAR SPURS CANCER RUMORS
LOCAL UNREST（五） GROWS
Dolly bolted to her feet in her dingy kitchen and turned in a frantic circle（六）, spilling tea on her bathrobe. She looked wildly at the general’s picture. And then she realized: the ties. They hadn’t cut off the ties under the hat as she’d instructed, and a big fuzzy bow（七） under the general’s double chin was disastrous. Dolly ran barefoot into her office/bedroom and began plowing through fax pages, trying to unearth the most recent sequence of numbers she was supposed（八） to call to reach Arc, the general’s human relations captain（九）. The general moved a lot to avoid assassination, but Arc was meticulous about faxing Dolly their updated contact information. These faxes usually came at around 3:00 a.m., waking Dolly and sometimes her daughter, Lulu. Dolly never mentioned the disruption; the general and his team were under the impression that she was the top publicist in New York, a woman whose fax machine would be in a corner office with a panoramic view of New York City (as indeed it had been for many years), not ten inches away from the foldout sofa where she slept. Dolly could only attribute their misapprehension to some dated article that had drifted their way from Vanity Fair or InStyle or People, where Dolly had been written about and profiled under her then moniker（十）: La Doll.
多莉跳起来，跑进脏兮兮的厨房，急得团团转（六、a frantic circle是猛地一转身才对！所以茶洒了），还把茶泼到了浴袍上。她死命盯着将军的照片。然后她意识到：是扣带。他们没照她的指示把帽子下面的扣带去掉，将军双下巴下方那坨毛茸茸的大扣带（七、bow是结，就是系出来的那个疙瘩）简直惨不忍睹。多莉光着脚冲进办公室/卧室，在传真件里东翻西找，想找到最近那组电话号码，据说（八、supposed不是据说。是对方suppose，让，她打这些号联系）这组号码可以通到将军的人事关系组长（九、captain的头衔绝对比组长大，至于是上尉还是上校，要看上下文）阿克那儿。将军为免遭暗杀，行踪不定，但阿克做事一丝不苟，会将更新的联系方式传真给多莉。这些传真通常都是凌晨3点左右传到，总是会把多莉，有时还有她女儿璐璐吵醒。多莉从未提及自己的清梦被扰；将军和他的团队都认为她是纽约最棒的广告专家，这女人的传真机肯定是安在老板办公室里，从那儿更可一览纽约的全景（好多年来确实如此），距她睡的折叠沙发也就不到十来英寸。多莉认为他们的误解也就是源自几篇以前的文章，有《名利场》的，也有《风尚》或《人物》的，多莉写时都用了笔名（十、多莉是被写，就是别人采写多莉！所以后面也不是笔名，因为是别人写她，所以是绰号。译者不知道什么是被动语态吗？）：朵儿。
The first call from the general’s camp had come just in time; Dolly had hocked（十一） her last piece of jewelry. She was copyediting textbooks until 2:00 a.m., sleeping until five, and then providing polite phone chitchat to aspiring（十二） English speakers in Tokyo until it was time to wake Lulu and fix her breakfast. And all of that wasn’t nearly enough to keep Lulu in Miss Rutgers’s School for Girls. Often Dolly’s three allotted hours of sleep were spent in spasms of worry at the thought of the next monstrous tuition bill.
And then（十三） Arc had called. The general wanted an exclusive retainer. He wanted rehabilitation（十四）, American sympathy, an end to the CIA’s assassination attempts. If Qaddafi could do it, why not he? Dolly wondered seriously if overwork and lack of sleep were making her hallucinate, but she named a price（十五）. Arc began taking down her banking information. “The general presumed your fee would be higher,” he said, and if Dolly had been able to speak at that moment she would have said, That’s my weekly retainer, hombre, not my monthly, or Hey, I haven’t given you the formula that lets you calculate the actual price, or That’s just for the two-week trial period when I decide whether I want to work with you. But Dolly couldn’t speak. She was weeping.
后来（十三、then，这时！）阿克打来电话。将军想向她支付聘金，让她独家服务。他想平反昭雪（十四、rehabilitation。将军又不是冤狱的受害人，平什么反？），获取美国的同情，不再遭受中情局的暗杀。如果卡扎菲能办成，他为何就不行呢？多莉认认真真地琢磨了一番，心想超额工作和缺乏睡眠是否会让她神志不清，可她真需要钱（十五、named a price是“报了一个价”好不好！）。阿克记下了她的账户信息。“将军认为您的费用应该会更高，”他说，如果多莉能在那时候说出她本想说的话，那是我一周的聘金，朋友，不是一个月的，或者说嗨，我可没给你公式，让你来算实际的价格，或者说那只是两周试用期的聘金，然后我会决定是否和您合作。但多莉说不出口。她哭了。
When the first installment appeared in her bank account, Dolly’s relief was so immense that it almost obliterated the tiny anxious muttering voice inside her: Your client is a genocidal dictator. Dolly had worked with shitheads before, God knew; if she didn’t take this job someone else would snap it up; being a publicist is about not judging your clients—these excuses were lined up in formation(十六), ready for deployment should that small dissident voice pluck up its courage to speak with any volume. But lately（十七）, Dolly couldn’t even hear it.
当首批款项出现在多莉的银行户头上时，她直觉得如释重负，几乎让她听不见心里那个焦急的咕哝声：你的客户可是个种族屠杀的独裁者啊。多莉之前同混球们合作过，这连上帝都知道；如果她不接这活，那其他人就会抢过去；成为广告人，就意味着不要去评判你的客户——这些借口自成一体（十六、lined up in formation是“严阵以待”的意思），如果那个持异见的小嗓音鼓足了勇气稍稍大声说出口来，那它们就会随时做出应对。但为时晚矣（十七、lately的意思是最近……译者不知道？），多莉甚至听都没听见。
Now, as she scuttled over her frayed Persian rug looking for the general’s most recent numbers, the phone rang. It was 6:00 a.m. Dolly lunged, praying Lulu’s sleep wouldn’t be disturbed.
“Hello?” But she knew who it was.
“We are not happy,” said Arc.
“Me either,” Dolly said. “You didn’t cut off the—”
“The general is not happy.”
“Arc, listen to me. You need to cut off the—”
“The general is not happy, Miss Peale.”
“Listen to me, Arc.”
“He is not happy.”
“That’s because—look, take a scissors—”
“He is not happy, Miss Peale.”
Dolly went quiet. There were times, listening to Arc’s silken monotone, when she’d been sure she’d heard a curl of irony around the words he’d been ordered to say, like he was speaking to her in code. Now there was a prolonged pause. Dolly spoke very softly. “Arc, take a scissors and cut the ties off the hat. There shouldn’t be a goddamned bow under the general’s chin.”
“He will no longer wear this hat.”
“He has to（十八） wear the hat.”
“He will not wear it. He refuses.”
“Cut off the ties, Arc.”
“Rumors have reached us, Miss Peale.”
Her stomach lurched. “Rumors?”
“That you are not ‘on top’ as you once were. And now the hat is unsuccessful.”
Dolly felt the negative forces pulling in（十九） around her. Standing there with the traffic of Eighth Avenue grinding past beneath her window, fingering her frizzy hair that she’d stopped coloring and allowed to grow in long and gray, she felt a jab of some deep urgency.
“I have enemies, Arc,” she said. “Just like the general.”
He was silent.
“If you listen to my enemies, I can’t do my job. Now take out that fancy pen I can see in your pocket every time you get your picture in the paper（二十） and write this down: Cut the strings off the hat. Lose the bow. Push the hat farther back on the general’s head so some of his hair fluffs out in front. Do that, Arc, and let’s see what happens.”
Lulu had come into the room and was rubbing her eyes in her pink pajamas. Dolly looked at her watch, saw that her daughter had lost a half hour of sleep, and experienced a small inner collapse at the thought of Lulu feeling tired at school. She put her arms around her daughter’s shoulders. Lulu received this embrace with the regal bearing that was her trademark.
Dolly had forgotten Arc, but now he spoke from the phone at her neck（二一）: “I will do this, Miss Peale.”
“如果你听我敌人的话，那我就没法工作了。现在就拿出那支漂亮的钢笔，每次你在纸上画画（二十、get your picture in the paper是说照片登报啊老兄！醒一醒！），我都看见你口袋里有那支笔，把这些话写下来：把帽带剪掉。让扣带（结，疙瘩）消失。让将军把帽子往后戴一点，前额上露出点头发。就照这么做，阿克，看看会怎么样。”
多莉忘了阿克，但他从电话那头冲着她的脖子（二一、phone at her neck是说电话夹在脖子那儿，伙计）说了句话：“我会这么做的，皮尔小姐。”
• • •
It was several weeks before the general’s picture appeared again. Now the hat was pushed back and the ties were gone. The headline read:
EXTENT OF B’S WAR CRIMES MAY BE EXAGGERATED,
NEW EVIDENCE SHOWS
It was the hat（二三）. He looked sweet（二四） in the hat. How could a man in a fuzzy blue hat have used human bones to pave his roads?
La Doll had met with ruin （二五）on New Year’s Eve two years ago, at（二六） a wildly anticipated party that was projected, by the cultural history-minded pundits she’d considered worth inviting, to rival Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball.
多莉两年前的除夕夜过得一塌糊涂（二五、met with ruin是说她（的事业）是怎么完蛋的，不是说她那晚上玩得好不好），她当时参加了（二六、地点：在派对上，是在派对上完蛋的）一场期待已久的派对，策划这场派对的是文化历史领域内的专家，她觉得邀请这些人很有必要，这样就可以和杜鲁门•卡波特的黑白舞会相媲美了。
The Party, it was called, or the List.（二七）
As in: Is he on the list? A party to celebrate—what?
In retrospect, Dolly wasn’t sure; the fact that Americans had never been richer, despite the turmoil roiling the world? （二八）
The Party had nominal hosts, all famous, but the real hostess, as everyone knew, was La Doll, who had more connections and access and juju than all of these people combined.
And La Doll had made a very human mistake—or so she tried to soothe herself（二九） at night when memories of her demise（三十） plowed through her like a hot poker, causing her to writhe in her sofa bed and swill brandy from the bottle—she’d thought that because she could do something very, very well (namely, get the best people into one room at one time), she could do other things well, too.
而多莉却犯了个极其普通的错误——于是每当晚上想起自己风光不再（三十、memories of her demise想起自己完蛋的种种，不是风光不再的问题，是把招牌彻底搞砸了），便让她钻心般地难受，只能在沙发上辗转反侧，猛灌白兰地，试图让自己平静下来（二九、或者她正是这样努力安慰自己的，这句明明在前面，来回倒换什么呢？）——她之所以会这么想，是因为她本可把有些事请做得非常、非常漂亮（也就是说，能同时把最好的人齐聚到同一间屋子里），所以她也能把其他事做得很好。
Like（三一） design. And La Doll had had a vision: broad, translucent trays of oil and water suspended beneath small brightly colored spotlights whose heat would make the opposing liquids twist and bubble and swirl. She’d imagined people craning their necks to look up, spellbound by the shifting liquid shapes.
And they did look up. They marveled at the lit trays; La Doll saw them do it from a small booth she’d had constructed high up and to one side so she could view the panorama of her achievement. （三二）
From there, she was the first to notice, as midnight approached, that something was awry with the translucent trays that held the water and oil: they were sagging a little—were they? They were slumping like sacks from their chains and melting, in other words. And then they began to collapse, flop and drape and fall away, sending scalding oil onto the heads of every glamorous person in the country and some other countries, too.
They were burned, scarred, （三三）maimed in the sense that tear-shaped droplets of scar tissue on the fore head of a movie star or small bald patches on the head of an art dealer or a model or generally fabulous person constitute maiming（三四）.
从某种意义上说，他们都烧伤、结痂（三三、burned烫伤，没说起火，scarred留下了疤痕）、残废了，影星额头上的泪珠状瘢痕，艺术品经销商或模特脑袋上的一小块不毛之地，那些光鲜时髦的人物大都成了残废（三四、译者连主谓宾的句子结构都搞不清楚，无语了。后面这个分句主语是tear-shaped droplets or small bald patches，谓语是constitute好吗？）。
But something shut down in La Doll as she stood there, away from the burning oil: she didn’t call 911. She gaped in frozen disbelief（三五） as her guests shrieked and staggered and covered their heads, tore hot, soaked garments from their flesh and crawled over the floor like people in medieval altar paintings whose earthly luxuries have consigned them to hell.