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英语流行话题听力:Unit 7 千载难逢的机会

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Unit 07

The Outside Chance

It's a funny thing about money. If you haven't got it, you think it's the most important thing in the world. That's how I used to think. I don't any more, and I learned it in the hard way.

My teacher at school used to say: "When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers." It means if you want something really badly, you'll probably get it. But you'll get it in a way you don't expect. Yu might have to pay a price you didn't bargain for.

It started one rainy day, when I was coming home from work. I'm a mechanic, and I liked working in a garage. But I was restless. I'd always had this dream of owning my own business. That's why I'd left my parents in Selby, and come to London.

Dad and I had arguments about it. He didn't see why I should want to leave home when I had enough to live on. Enough for what? To live as he had, with nothing to look him, but it annoyed me to see him so content. He had nothing to show for all those years of work in that noisy factory.

All this was on my mind, as I walked home that night. I stopped and bought a newspaper outside the Tube. I didn't know when I first realized there was something wrong with the paper. As if there was a gap in the news. Then I looked at the front page, and instead of Tuesday 22nd Nov., it said Wednesday 23rd Nov. Somehow, I had bought tomorrow's paper today!

That's the moment I realized that all my prayers could be answered. The results of tomorrow's races. I looked at the winners, and chose from them carefully.

Next morning, I drew from the bank just about all I had -- $150, and laid my bets. Then all I had to do is to go around and collect, and I couldn't wait to count my money. A cool $4,000.

Wait till I told Mom and Dad! They'd hardly be able to believe it. I switched on TV, but couldn't concentrate on it. I kept thinking what I'd do with the money. Then the news came on. The announcer mentioned Selby, where my parents lived. Then I began to listen. There had been an explosion up there that afternoon, followed by a factory fire. Twenty-two people were killed. I stopped listening. I must have known then that my dad was dead -- even before the telegram came.

The newspaper had fallen on the floor. I picked it up. Then I saw it -- FACTORY DISASTER IN SELBY. MANY FEARED DEAD. I hadn't seen it before. I'd been too busy picking winners. I could have saved my dad's life. There isn't much more to tell. I got my own business, and I'm doing well. Mom was paid insurance and she's better off than she was. The only thing is, she doesn't care if she's alive or dead now my Dad's gone.

When th gods wish to punish us, they make a damn good job of it.

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