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Andreev Pavel
The Bullet

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   Art of War. Pavel Andreev. The Bullet
  
  
  
  
   I haven-t seen him for a long time. He changed greatly since I met him last time, three years ago. That time I came to him on the eve of the "Pitman day" (in the Soviet Union there are many days dedicated to different occupations - day of radio, day of doctors, day of railroad etc.) and found my friend outgrown that small and neat town. He had changed. His appearance had changed but he was inside the same guy I knew in Afghanistan. He had a big, kind heart beating inside his chest but his soul, burned by the strange hot sun, went mad once and for all. I was sure everything would be over in the long run.
  
   I approached a door with the agitation and pushed a door bell button. I heard loud, annoying sound of the bell behind the door. I imagined as the door would be opened and I see him and we hug one another ...
  
   The door swigged open and I saw him. Next moment he shook my hand as if he could see me everyday and looking in my eyes asked: "Are you from the "Field of fools"?" I could not manage with feelings gripping over me. Both my insult and confusion splashed out. It was difficult to hide the emotions and he saw everything. Taking the lead over my emotions he hugged me belatedly, clapping me on the back, said: "Common, don-t be a small boy. I am very glad to see you old man. Just don-t stain me with snivel". My anger to his poor gladness of the meeting, insult to his condescension, everything went away, when I, not leaving shoes at the door (it is a common custom in Russia to leave shoes near a door, inside of a flat), on my artificial limbs went to his one room flat. On a conspicuous place, on a shelf of his bookcase, a small model of BTR-60 (Russian armoured carrier) was located with an identification number 345 on its side. The eyes of my friend, the owner of that flat, were shining with genuine pride for that small parade of his victories: "I-ll show you something else. I-ve planted a bush of real Indian hemp! ..." (Hemp was one of the most prevalent drugs used by Russian soldiers in Afghanistan)
  
   I was not listening to him already. Definitely his soul went mad and time did not cure it. He remained there, with them, forever. I was afraid of it.
  
   ... The sun burned on a bald back of the head. "A glass" (a slang name for soldiers- summer uniform) crackled on the back, covered with the salt from perspiration. The draft of air, like a red-hot glass, moved above a ground, distorting outlines of things beyond recognition.
  
   The Bullet lay in a trench made by him and was looking at moving mirages through an optical sight of his SVD (a Russian sniper rifle). "The field of fools", where he imitated a sniper on a combat position, was a part of the desert, starting from a battalion loo. That was a place, where all, deserving it, served their sentences. The sentence was very simple and very unpleasant because of that. A sentenced one was supposed to dig his own trench out in accordance with all requirements of the military skills. Everybody had his own way of being there. But not a fact of sentence itself was considered as a sentence. The fact of checking out of your trench and your watchfulness was considered as disgrace.
  
   The trust and independence were estimated. But somebody could come any moment and to idle meant the only thing - to lose the trust and to be considered as a "worm" (humiliating nickname for those who failed to follow unwritten rules of life in the forces. Every military unit has its own, sometimes very different rules), who showed "worm-s" flexibility in life. For two years, while boys of the Great country had been arriving to the brigade the penalty became the ritual, became cluttered with more cruel conditional characters. Accordingly the status of those who was "honoured" by the full set of all conditional characters became higher. As the live memory about all, attending the "Field of fools", the ground was dotted with many pock-trenches.
  
   The Bullet was lying on the "Field of fools" and escaping the boring view of the desert tuned to the brigade direction, studying it through the optic sight of a sniper rifle. He tried not to think about Hun, the lieutenant who had donated him with the jolly moments of contact with absolutely strange for him land.
  
   All people at that war were separated for two types after being there just for three months: those who saw only lucre in the war and those who were exciting by the war itself as a game. The majority of all usually were in the intermediate group. The lieutenant with nick Hun was a bright representative of that intermediate group. He was a professional in trade with local citizens and much more skilled professional in setting ambushes against the same local citizens. Not having burdening himself with compromises, he found the easiest way to deliver himself from remorse - he did everything with full feeling of responsibility. He was a professional whose intention was to deal with his job as neat as possible under those circumstances. It was considered that Hun never had proceeded anything before he made all necessary measures to protect himself "for the case of dealing with Allah".
  
   Not hiding his double higher education Hun added Shakespeare, explaining his point of view to the surrounding reality: "The hole in the pocket leads to the emptiness in the head. The emptiness in the head leads to the hole in the same head. So, there is not any other choice for hundreds kilometres around, sons. All your life here is brought to necessity and we are slowly turning into animals at this damned war!". Before Hun noticed the Bullet he was an usual solider "just from a plane" (the description for those who just arrived to Afghanistan and was absolutely zero as a warrior). He even had a name. His mother called him Kesha, but she told him nothing about the war and the Soviet Army.
  
   Kesha lived together with his parents and a sister in a miner "uranium" village, lost in steppe expanse. He just did not suppose about an exciting student cadet, future lieutenant, who was eating apples somewhere in Ukraine. The war put them together, passed their worlds through the optical sight, simplified life, made it unbearable concrete...
  
   ... Having drunk a little bit and smoked all stock of dope we moved to a balcony giving the Kesha-s family possibility to sleep well. The warm summer night filled the flat with coolness. We were sitting at the balcony talking about the past. I tried to switch the conversation to the present time. But he omitted my questions just taking me back to the war. Having had a look inside the room, where his wife and a daughter were sleeping covered with white bed-sheets on the only sofa, through an open door of the balcony, he suddenly said shaking his head to the sofa direction: "Just imagine we are in a morgue!". (In Russian morgues that time dead bodies usually were covered by white bed-sheets).
  
   I was shocked by such an allegory. Sure, there were two mattresses set for us, covered with white bed-sheets on the floor of the room swimming in the silver Moon light. The sleeping people, covered with white bed sheets, supplemented the picture of the night silence. But what one has to think about, how one should see the world through the eye-sockets-embrasure of this round, impenetrable, like a pillbox, skull, to compare this silence filled with the calmness of sound, untroubled sleep with dead lifelessness of a morgue?! "Do you understand, Kesha, what nonsense you are talking now?", - I asked him. "Am I talking nonsense?" v he was really surprised. "That is you who is talking nonsense! Do you think everything is over? It just begins? Just look around. Do you forget while in hospital you could get down to the yard on your wheel-chair only after giving a lift-guy a rouble, do you forget? They did not die. They have children, their children, reared by them. They all are around us. They all are dead! And we are alone again. Alone as that time when in the ambush! This is my war and I am not going to lose it...", - he stopped talking staring at me.
  
   "Kesha, I am in", - I tried to soothe him. "Do you remember what Hun taught us?" v he could not stop...
  
   "... You have to understand, that is absolutely stranger man for you. Otherwise you will not be able to do it. You have to understand that is just a target, an aim. That is a stranger life, alien to you. If you don-t do it he will not miss his chance. If you donate him that chance, he will give you a leave warrant. But you will go home, to your mother, in a "can" (a slang name for zinc coffins killed in action officers and soldiers were sent home in). Then she will write letters to a brigade asking why a lieutenant couldn-t save her child. Do you need it?", - Hun stood bending forward to the Bullet, who lay with his legs in a position for a shooting in a lying position.
  
   The Bullet had a target in front of him. Hun personally brought it to the "Field of fools ". It was an old clay pitcher, filled with kissel. A condom was pulled on the pitcher, stained with some sticky shit; pieces of felt and some hairs were glued to. All that construction was located five hundred metres away of the Bullet.
  
   "So, son, there is a target in front of you. Just imagine my mood and thus your future depends on your right shot. The shot, the result - we will go to have a rest. No result - I will go to have a rest, you will go to work. Having hit the target you would have a chance to go there and see what shit your head will look like after it have been shot. That pitcher with a condom on it is the exact copy of your head. If you don-t understand it now it will be easier to kill you right here rather than to take you with us and then bring your body back under fire!
  
   The rules are simple, so just remember them now I will not repeat it again.
  
   The first: your advantage over a gunner with damned Lee-Enfield the model 1902 (!!!), throwing bullets to the sight distance up to one kilometre eight hundred metres, is the speed of the shooting. If he is narcotised and a little nervous his first shot is the result of about seven seconds of the work of his brain. Taking into consideration that to hit a target with the first shot is unusual for a normal man he would need about ten more seconds to reload his rifle. Do you understand that? The time of preparing the second shot gives a target a chance to move for another thirty metres, in case you have you pants pulled down to your knees. You should not have such a pause. You "bride" v an automatic rifle, it saves you about five seconds, this is roughly fifteen metres you will not allow your target to run. This is a dream to hit a target with the first shot! It is not bad to have a dream the bad thing is not to have a dream. But after you missed a target with the first shot it will duck down in the best case. Based on the life experience and a kind of mentality, the stupor, you drove him into by you first shot, lasts for about five-six seconds. That is your hour of triumph. Your automatic rifle donates you that moment, appreciate it!
  
   The second: a normal "dukh" (a slang name for mojakhetdin) is about 50 cm. in width. All, that makes him alive and nimble, is located 15 - 20 cm. in the depth of his body. A circle with the diameter of 10 cm. covers his chest without any problem - that is much more than the dispersion of your rifle at the distance of 400 metres. Only the same sniper as you or a machine gunner can reach you at such a distance.
  
   A bullet of your rifle weighs a little more than nine grams. It is covered by steel "jacket" with coppery surface. When piercing into "dukh" it turns 90 degrees, then, in a thousandth of a second - 180 degrees and goes on back forward, breaking flash a little bit. But on the depth of 15 - 20 cm. it loses its power, transferring it to a body of already dead, towards that time, "dukh". Meanwhile his entrails are bursting. Besides, a bullet, having run through his lungs or heart, destroys them completely. Did you read it? So your only task is not to miss. The rest of it is not your business. But the whole trick is not here.
  
   A bullet, piercing into a body, forces it to pulsate as an air balloon filled with water. Just imagine two - three your bullets find a "dukh" every two seconds? They stir up his shit that it will blow up his body inside!
  
   So, remember:
  
   - The aim sight is usually shaking on a target - that is normal, but oscillation should goes down at the final stage of sighting - few moments before a shot itself.
  
   - The steady position of a rifle, the possibility to move it to follow a target and comfort of sighting can be provided with the right position of a marksman. There is one problem - kick back. Hold it. Due to the proper position and consequently, reducing the vibration, you are able to increase the accuracy of the aiming in six times while lying on the ground or being in sitting position in comparison with the position when you are lying on a beach or sitting on a lavatory pan with the fulcrum on your elbows (if you will listen to me).
  
   - There are some reasons which should force you to pay attention to all I-ve been talking to you: you have the advantage in speed of shooting; you have good optical sight for the distance of 400 metres to shoot in a circle with the radius of ten centimetres three times, that will give you a hundred percent guaranty, even if you are suffering by diarrhea while shooting!
  
   You have all chances to go home as a hero, son! And now you have a chance to make me surprised. First you shot once then two - three times as fast and precisely as you can and we will go there to look at his brain in the pitcher. Get ready and begin without my order.", - Hun stepped aside not to impede.
  
   A bullet hit the neck of the pitcher, run through it and made a dusty splash far away behind it. Two others, sent in three - four seconds each, hit the centre of the pitcher, breaking it into big pieces and tearing a condom at income and outcome points. The kissel leaked into sand through tears of the condom.
  
   Hun picked up the pitcher, lying on its side, and having examined it threw away the rest of the kissel with some pitcher fragments. "Nothing even for the multiplication table", - he commented the rest of conditional brain. The Bullet was standing by him and tried to look aside. "Get used to it, son. If you do not hit him with you bullet during first ten seconds, you can fall in love with him. It means you will not shoot at all. I want to believe you. Both of us are waited home", - Hun cheerfully slapped the Bullet on his back.
  
   "My God, he is absolutely mad!!!", - the Bullet thought...
  
   Kesha was sitting with his thin, overworked hands on his lap: "When I failed to pass through a math exam at Moscow Institute of Mines I came back home, to Kazakhstan. I was employed at the mine to work at shaft sinking. We worked out Uranium step by step. We have a lot of hobos living there. All of them knew me. It is easier for me to live with them, according to their rules, rather than with those...
  
   Once I went to an open party meeting of the mine. Before that I went up to the hobos to get some dope to smoke. They said v we know you very well Kesha, you will smoke it there then it would take time to get narcotised, then you would come back to us and begin to instruct us. You-d better smoke now, with us and then go to your meeting and instruct them. They know life very well.
  
   So I smoked well and went to the meeting of communists. I was sitting there, listening to the bullshit they were spoken about. It seemed fun. I asked for a word. They gave me a chance to speak out, saying let-s listen to the young generation, you know before the demobilisation I joined their party. You know half a year of the combat length of service and you are automatically in. So I went up to a rostrum. Before the meeting I read four pages of Gorbachev-s speech somewhere. So I splashed out all I-d read plus I added the description of the way I would like to see all of that. Everybody kept silence, all two hours I was speaking there. Then just another guy spoke out a little bit and they stopped the meeting quickly. Everybody shook my hands at the exit, a foreman, a chief of the shift, a brigadier. The funniest thing was with the party leader. He came up to me saying pathetically: "Well done! But you did not prepare the speech very well, next time pay attention to it please...". Can you imagine all of them thought I had been sincere saying that bullshit. And now you are saying I am talking nonsense. That is them who is talking nonsense and they even do not understand it!..."
  
   Everything happened one moment, on 9th of May 1982 (This day is celebrating in Russia as a day of the victory in the Second World War). In spite of a holiday, a battalion had to provide the passing by a column. Two companies darted off the brigade base, not even having had a rest after set up ambushes, not having had the chance to taste mash, made by young soldiers for the sake of the holiday. The groups were alighting off armoured carriers during the march, trying to block the possible shooting sectors, passing ahead of enemies- ambushes in spots where the green area was very close to the road. That one who was in time wins.
  
   The shot sounded lonely and almost silent in the rhythm of movement of the group along a vineyard. The bullet, sent by the skilled hand of a gunner, stopped Khalilov. It hit the body exactly in a proper place, a little lower the left nipple; it went out through his left shoulder blade, crushed the bone and abundantly moistened the uniform on his back with blood. Khalimov-s face turned pale and he fell down from the duval (a solid clay wall) he was caught by the dukh in the aperture of. He fell to Sanya-s feet, who just before Khalimov squeezed through the hole. The sniper, preventing others attempts to follow these guys, made few shots, demonstrating enviable skill of shooting his "Boer".
  
   The duval divided the patrol group for two parts. One of three of them, that one whose body was cut by that invisible line, was dead already. The rest two left on different sides of the wall. The shot of the sniper was followed by the gust of fire that forced the group to snuggle up to the duval and deprived it the possibility to overcome the wall which became the fire border.
  
   First minute Kesha was sitting inclined to the dead body of his pal. Khalilov died on his hands immediately as soon as Kesha turned him his face up. He died quickly and silently, whispering by pale lips: "Mum, it hurts...". Trying to rid his palms of the blood Kesha dipped hands into dust. Shyly wiping the dust, absorbing the blood, he tried to look around attentively to get the shot direction they missed.
  
   When the barrage fire from all "barrels" in the group, Hun and three more people overcame the duval under cover of, splashed out to the vineyard Kesha was already rushing about the vineyard thoughtlessly trying to define the position of the marksman, who had began that little war. He intuitively moved in a maze of the vineyard.
  
   Understanding he was loosing time Sanya moved to an edge of the vineyard, trying to find the better position. Approximately determining the direction of the shot he understood the gunner would escape the shooting sector and the most convenient place for that was a breach in the opposite wall of the vineyard, about 80 metres of Sasha-s position. Trying to keep his breath, he moved apart his legs, pulled out branches of a vine by the barrel of his Kalashnikov machine gun, moved slowly the sight of his machine gun along the duval, expecting appearance of the gunner. He was sure he would find him.
  
   Hun and two more soldiers in spite of the density of the fire could pass the body through the aperture, where it was accepted by the Khalilov-s countrymen. Looking around Hun decided to look for the second young, the only one out of three who left there under the sniper fire. The density of the fire went down as suddenly as it began. Accepting the delicate balance of the power the enemy carried on only preventive fire, trying to keep the distance. This very moment the long choking machine gun burst of fire meant only one thing v the young was still alive and thanks to God snapping.
  
   The dukh appeared in the aperture unexpectedly. Kesha almost missed him. Having been afraid to miss him Kesha pulled the trigger of his machine gun and went on shooting until the cloud of dust, raised by his bullets covered the aperture together with the dukh. His PK (Kalashnikov machine gun) obediently followed the wishes of its master, sending its bullets, full of hate to the enemy, with only one wish v to kill, to punish, to prove himself he could do it.
  
   They did all they could that day. He hunted down and killed that gunner and Hun brought a body of that "dukh" and his rifle under strangers-, furious fire. Later on, in the evening while in brigade base the lieutenant not embarrassed his alcohol exhaust, found the saucy young, having a wish to look at that clown.
  
   "Do you like to carry out a war, son?", - Hun looked at a young soldier, who was taken to a smoking place between tents based on his order. "No, I just like shooting", - trying to look indifferent answered the young. Hun looked carefully at that odd figure wearing a Panama hat, dirty boots with torn strings. "So you do like shooting? - reasked Hun. - I thought that "dukhs" began to attack when you shoot you machine gun. Quick thinking".
  
   "As a bullet!" - the young smiled complacently. Hun went on scrutinising that booby, who was slowly filling with the perception of his own significance, not even suspecting about the real status of things.
  
   There are some moments at the war, son, when it is necessary to act pitilessly and brutally v these are moments of flare of your consciousness, when you know you have to act fast and precisely, straight and directly. That moment you are possessed to your body filled with instincts. The sooner you understand it the better for yourself. If you grasp everything with the same speed in the future you father can be proud of you. And now, - Hun was looking in the eyes of the young, checking out how far could he go in his impudence, - behave yourself in a proper way, remove the perineum (the fold made on a hat to emphasise the independence and coolness) from you Panama hat, replace the wire on your boots with strings and try not to sink. Give up your manners v all your problems in the life here relate to the difficulties of the war. Tomorrow with the same impudence and a rifle you will go to the "Field of fools". We will make you a real warrior.".
  
   That way he became "The Bullet". Many of those who arrived with him by the same plane were still called "stomachs", "skulls", "ghosts", "worms" (humiliating nicknames for young solders. Stomach v because young soldiers were always hungry. Skull v because young soldiers were closely cropped. Ghost v young soldiers were wandering around trying to avoid contact with anybody. Worm v because quite often young soldiers wriggled to avoid difficulties of soldiers life). Many of them had lost their names not having gained new ones ...
  
   Hun was killed by our own smoke mortar shell. The group got in trouble in the green area. Dukhs began to nail us. Hun managed to lead a group along the irrigation ditch to those surrounded. The density of fire from both sides was pretty high. They had to evacuate wounded in the pauses between the volleys of our mortar battery, which zeroed in the dried irrigation ditch bed and cut off, by mortar fire, dukhs trying to infiltrate into that narrow way like flies on shit. Hun managed to lead three groups already from there when a young soldier from the mortar battery accidentally pulled the trigger of the mortar, it shot and mortars shell flew to the dried irrigation ditch bed, along which Hun was leading the next group.
  
   They were covered with that volley. Three of them were heavily wounded with mortar shells- fragments. Two of them, following Hun, were burned by the smoke shell, which hit exactly the neck of Hun. It heavily burned his body and tore off his head. Hun was brought from there together with his head on hands. The young from the mortar battery hardly escaped the mob low. That day divided lives of many people in brigade in two parts: before that and after.
  
   There was a note on the inner side of Hun-s beret, which was kept in a company depot in the empty grenade box together with his other stuff: "I am REX of VDV, but not a piece of tar!" (Rex means cool warrior in this contents. VDV v abbreviation from Vozdushno Desantnie Voyska v paratroopers).
  
   I very often, remembering Hun, thought about what I have seen at that stupid war, what I saw and went through later, bedsorring my body on a hospital bed, rubbing sore my stumps with miserable artificial limbs, drinking litres of vodka together with contused soldiers, listening to the regrets from those who had not been there.
  
   Hun put all of us together, making specialists and one of us was made just an ace at that war. He taught us a lot, we got the rest of it ourselves. He deprived us of faith in immortality and redeemed from the illusion of impunity of evil. We understood that even an usual pencil could be a weapon, the blow of which could give you ordinary peritonitis. And the only skills of local doctors would be a way to survive.
  
   All of us understood the weapon gave us the real power over local kishlaks (a village in Asia), you could destroy it by just one volley. In a particular case you can easily meet the situation when you had the full right to execute or pardon a dukh, captured by you. And nobody would be surprised if you go out the frames one or two times just to be sure whether you can do it or not? And if you do it you will always subconsciously try to expand the limit of your power, until you run against the solid wall, the border, set by your destiny, which is the only thing able to stop you.
  
   The fate is like a sniper bullet. You live while it flies. The moment you are got on a sight - you are not possessed to yourself a hundred percent. As the mark of warning you begin to get small troubles. Then, not having listened to the warnings you run against the solid wall, which gives you the only choice v either to live inside the set borders, hiding oneself from the bullet fated for you, or to overcome the wall and die free. The main thing is to understand you have reached your own wall, came to know the limit of permitted the limit of your power.
  
   Eighty of a hundred, come to the brigade, reached that line and did not cross it, just twice or three time stepped over it and coming back unable to deal with the fair for the own courage. The rest twenty stepped over that line few times a day, getting drunk of feeling of freedom, permissiveness and the constant threat of a punishment for the shown impudence. The fact of their existence, their ability to intact themselves and remain human beings v is the measure of a human-s luck, which is defined by the skill of a sniper, measuring the permitted and punished us for the impudence in attempts to bite more from the life, for higher price.
  
   Hun said us: "The life is beautiful but it is not dearly-bought. The most important thing is - it is us who has to quote a price for it! It is very important not to quote a small price in your impudence...".
  
   Having being there, behind the wall, those twenty out of a hundred, remained to live in that world, where they were ready to pay any price for everything v since everything was simple and clear there!
  
   ... "Do you often drive mad?", - I asked Kesha trying to understand if he understood he was not understood by other people. "Last time when I drove mad I got divorced with my wife. It is normal now, it seems to me. Nobody claims. But that time I was doing everything very serious. That is them who thought I was fooling around. I wasn-t!!!".
  
   I was not surprised with his story.
  
   "... I was dismissed from the Institute. I came back to the mine. Nobody gave me a flat (according to a law those who served in Afghanistan were supposed to get free of charge flats without being in a line as the privilege. But in majority of cases that law was not observed). I was put in a line of those who was supposed to get a flat and began to wait. I did not want to live with my parents. I moved out. I rented a room at old Kazakh woman-s in the earth-house block, where the founders of the mine used to live v prisoners and convicts.
  
   The Kazakh woman was the old lady living in accordance with the old rules v she was smoking "Belomor" (Russian strong cigarettes), had a tattoo on her hand and sometimes used Russian foul language. The only condition she allowed me to live there on was to respect her as a Muslim, I should not eat pork in her house. So we agreed.
  
   Everything was going on well. I became a friend with the old woman very quickly. The Ukraine woman I was lived with, who I marriage because I was young and stupid, did not do everything, as I wanted. But I did not care much about it. I did not know what I wanted myself v I was working hard at the mine.
  
   Once I came home. The Kazakh woman was sitting outdoors, smoking one cigarette after another. I saw she was very angry. I came into the room and saw my Ukraine wife frying cracklings; the smell of lard spread everywhere. I asked her why she-d done it, why she-d insulted the old woman. She answered me the old Kazakh woman could endure, because I did not carry out the war in Afghanistan to follow Moslem rules in native country. Having heard all that I got mad. I did not kill her at once.
  
   I came out of the house. I went up to Apa (a very polite name for old women in Kazakh language) and said: "What am I supposed to do to improve the fault of my wife?". "What am I supposed to do? How can I remove the disgrace from my desecrated house? You will not kill her for that will you?", - she asked me. "Why not?" v I answered her. v That is the serious business and we have to act seriously".
  
   I dragged out my wife by her hair, tore off a cord with bed sheets being dried on it. Then I put a bed sheet above her head, the loop on her neck, the cord on the column, a stool under her feet. Apa was standing aside, not interrupting me. My wife was standing on the stool, the bed sheet on her head, the loop on her neck just whining soundlessly. I saw many people running to watch the performance. There are different kind of people living there some of them was born with tattoo already (in Russia tattoo in majority cases means a person is a criminal).
  
   Suddenly Apa cried out, saying she was ready to forgive her, she did not want me to sin, saying I should be afraid of Allah v to hang is very big sin according to their religion. Did she think I had not known it? I asked her what about the desecrated with pig meat house, what was I supposed to do with faithless one? Everybody was screaming around. I thought if it was them who suggested to kill her for the desecrating of the house, they should do it themselves. But in this case I would kill one of them, who would forgive me my weak-willed participation in the death of my wife. I suggested them: I would kill my wife, they would kill one of them. Not to give them too much time to think everything over I began to knock out the stool from under her feet...
  
   When everything ended with general booze everybody perplexed how could I do it? How could they do it? Who suggested me a decision nobody was going to be responsible for?
  
   I said v I did. What about them? OK, no insults I decided, and began to form them up. If you can not do as I do v your number is 320, get behind my back and do what I say!
  
   The Kazakh woman turned out a merited old woman. She put all her orders on and went to the local authorities. As the result of her march I got my own flat. My Ukraine girl ran away the same day and I have not seen her since..."
  
   I was listening to stories of Kesha-s life and was thinking about how all of us were similar. We just go around the vicious circle, opening the same doors, not finding reasonable, flexible decisions in simple situations. We just turn every situation in our own small war, setting hopes upon own luck, not taking into consideration the price and looses, stepping over own corpses.
  
   The State, sending us there and being not ready to our return met the strong reinforcement of the opposition, in persons of those who was there, went to its normal role v to force, to watch the observance of social rules and private agreements, to protect citizens from themselves and the State from the citizens, ridding itself of engagements to them it used to take.
  
   Hun was killed in action. The company commander was killed in action near Kalat in the summer of 1982. The company ran into an ambush on the 22nd of April of 1983 near Senzheray and many of our guys were killed there. The Bullet was just contused v lucky him?
  
   The life scattered all of us over the country. Each of us was there, behind the wall and each of us made his own choice. I made mine, Hun his, the company commander his own. Each of us knew what he wanted. Each of us knew what he could. We all knew what would happen to us!!!
  
   Kesha banged on the strings of raped by somebody else guitar. He was embarrassed neither by the absence of the ear nor the elementary skill. Trying to express somebody-s musical composition, the fruit of musical creation, we were singing in two voices.
  
   "... The wave of joy passed by
   First meeting hugs cooled down.
   The wall is rising up around
   And you-re alone behind!!!..."
  
  
  
  
   (c) Pavel Andreev, 1998

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