для читателей старше 18 лет
Being a hero is the highest destiny.
The brave are always recognized in battle.
In the mountain, the hero is checked.
Dying, the hero will not die.
…a hero is a person who, at a decisive moment, does
what should be done in the interests
of human society.
If “manners maketh man’ as someone said,
Then he’s the hero of the day,
It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile.
Be yourself no matter what they say!
Sting,“Englishman In New York’
1. Heart Drama
As usual, Nikifor Naumovich slept perfectly and in good spirits went to the service, to which he was used, as to the most normal routine business, perceiving the world in the light of commercials gliding across the screen and bursts of emotions of joyful leaders selling the lowest quality goods with surprising ease and self-oblivion. He never crossed the permissible border in the direction of the path, preferring to go straight, albeit with costs for his own health and a lack of free time. Sitting at the computer at the entrance to the sanatorium all night, tracking every new visitor, he received a call from the administrator in the morning and immediately suspected something was amiss.
“Now I will close the entrance and I will be with my colleague. At this time, no one is expected with a visit.”
“Thanks, Seregin appeared without delay,” thought the investigator on duty, who came to the sanatorium to work and to treat the waist. From the kitchen spread the sweet smell of vanilla cookies, baked for breakfast injured resting athletes and coaches.
“We must ensure the safety of the nearby territory if the corpses are pouring out of nowhere,” he said abruptly, pressing to hang up when this simple thought occurred to him.
“Come, my friend, it was much more complicated than we thought,” his colleague encouraged him.
He was already standing with one foot on the sidewalk, and the other was holding the door from a plastic box with glass windows, a booth set at the exit of a wide, entrance gate of a high, twisted, cast-iron fence separating from the road a stunning plot of land, intended since the Stalin era for the holiday of eminent people.
It was the middle of summer with thunderstorms, showers, occasionally hail, but immediately melted. The coolness of the morning was replaced by the stuffiness. By the evening it was getting a little fresher. From the surrounding mountains a warm, dust-enveloping air blew. The birds, wrapping in their nests, rushed with screaming in whole, large flocks, teaching young chicks the skill, soaring to the very height, but did not reach the high floors of skyscrapers, fell with desperation and hovered somewhere below, rustling plumage and breaking the space at an incredible speed. The dogs, digging out pits in the ground at the roots of the bushes, were stacked, flapping their tails, fell asleep with pleasure. Kiosks with mineral water, vending machines with soda, and barrels with kvass did not have time to change the coordinators-distributors of drinks. By twelve o’clock the sellers were taking off their aprons. They stood in the hope that the daily rate of production of the desired moisture suddenly increases at least a percentage of twenty. But it was easier to engage in percent mania on paper than in reality. The premium of the ice cream women increased and gradually grew to a pyramidal size. Famous men, walking with their grandchildren, and directors of large banks started dating them. The shadow could be sold, which was done by greedy guides, enticing naive children into their dexterous networks, ignorant youth and zealous tourists, who got rich on speculation and chatter. Guides persuaded to make dizzying routes in the snow Kilimanjaro, Pamir, anywhere, just to get rid of boring investment. The dollar and the euro were rising. Oil fell in its equivalent. Shares and securities were not available. The price per gram of gold, as always, grew. Dealers incredibly profited, barely able to figure their growing capital in the drawer of an old desk.
Work in the sanatorium-dispensary of Transcaucasian started. Only at six o’clock the morning shift of the attendants began. While all the holidaymakers were putting themselves in order, preparing for an easy breakfast, prettying themselves before a meeting with friends in a chic classic, pompous dining room with columns, colored, picked up curtains and a long buffet where delicious snacks were laid out in the center on perfectly clean white porcelain and metal sets produced in Germany.
When one of the new maids went down to the basement, she walked through the foyer to the utility room, where she ironed the dry linen on a comfortable, special, folding stand that served as a table, opened the door to the room where the towels were stored, and then froze in surprise. She saw on the floor; face down, the full length of the basement room, the corpse of a heavy old man, dressed in old, dilapidated, faded gray clothes.
Once on the day of his arrival, she talked with him when he approached her with a request to change the terry bed cover for caprone and bring him a wool blanket to his room, since he had frozen at night. He’s on his way to the resort, as he explained intelligently to the maid: “An old rheumatism and lumbosacral radiculitis has opened.”
“Darling, I need a good woman with work skills,” the heavy old man said then, leaning on the ironing board with the elbow of his right hand, coming very close to her.
“How can I help?”
The compassionate old man involuntarily took offense in the heart, for she was completely indifferent to his words, not wanting to lift his tired eyes on him, doing the drying of another set of clothes.
He remembered the young years, swiftly swept in constant running around from one library to another, reading classics of Russian literature, traveling along river open spaces with parents. He had an accumulation luggage of knowledge, communication with educated teachers, hard-working journalists, passing exams in a technical college for construction specialties. He met with the intelligent family of the future wife — a surprisingly modest and naive girl, to whom he repaired a room in the communal house. Matchmaking, honeymoon and farewell of the father — captain of the river vessel: “Do not lose each other for a long, full of reefs, obstacles and failures of life.”
There was a sudden confluence of mercenary people and fateful circumstances. Courts and long terms of imprisonment, deferred for a period, after twenty years. Care for the family and the desire to become an example for imitation of the youth. Who had already admired his remarkable abilities? Often he was advised by his wife — a fashion model and a mannequin with slender legs, much younger than him: “To be a leader in the collective of the elite of the developing society”. They discussed among themselves of the basic principles of family life, as was customary in the family of the famous revolutionary democrat N.G. Chernyshevsky.
To be the defender of such a fragile girl was not easy. They did not swear at trifles, but seriously took care of the sore problems in the common kitchen with their parents and neighbors. “Learning the moral principles of farming, serving the motherland, caring for well-being — such a great happiness none of us had ever imagined in our childhood!”
He did not forget to repeat after a hearty dinner. This was the main impetus to show his growing abilities, potential and talents among her friends, who was surprised:
“What he found in a joker and an actress, able to charm with her glamour, attracts and immediately postpones.”
Growth is much higher than average, dressed in the latest fashion, he looked respectable, reliable, as it really was. The main topics of the conversation were: “Space”, “Space of Russia”, “The vast expanse of the ocean and the height of the mountain peaks”, “Sovereignty”, “State security” — all attracted newlyweds to the all-encompassing knowledge of the universe.
Make a brilliant career, the famous relatives of both lovers in life could only admire such a lucky coincidence and similarity of characters. They zealously advised, each in his own way, to engage in scientific research, to pass immediately the candidate’s minimum, to enter the graduate school so that the circle of acquaintances would be expanded by the names of eminent professors and academicians:
“Do not stand still, but move forward in a spiral into the knowledge — the progress of humanity.”
What he did immediately, cherishing the hope of being perceived by her, as the most worthy of the citizens of a developed democratic society.
“Such happiness that you passed all the exams with excellence, I did not expect from you, my beloved,” she admired.
“At the top of me, too, all appreciated, but you’re my only…” he was embarrassed by his genius and truthfulness.
“Reality is our cradle,” his wife helped him to find himself after a rapid rise to the highest circles. They loved to travel with profit and much cheaper: he built houses and a school for street children, and she was content to calmly bear the load of cares, not burdening him with her problems, constantly studying, under his father’s leadership, life abroad.
“A good home friend would never stop us from being with you, instantly finding everything at once. I will join the Masons and Mormons. You will be my captive of a harem, a servant of a nun, a modest gray nun, a dancer ‘Moulin Rouge,’ a ballerina in the ‘Swan Lake’.”
She laughed in return, but did not renounce their main principle: to be always on the same side of the barricades. Wars, revolutions did not weaken, but strengthened the earthly attraction of Orpheus and Eurydice, Tristan and Isolde, Peter and Fevronia, Ruslan and Lyudmila. What served them was to take care only of the welfare of the people surrounding such respectable, sedate and prolific parents who managed to bring to the people of all their pupils and inmates. In retirement, they also led an ascetic lifestyle, always figuring in the center of friends and acquaintances. They were equal, they took an example of inimitable firmness, purposefulness. He never hurt, he watched his health. Once a year he went to a balneological or other Russian resort.
In a prestigious sanatorium, located in the resort area, where he had come once again with his twin brother, at a daily rate an ordinary housemaid had to iron out all the linen brought from the laundry and then spread out through the rooms.
“Yesterday came my own twin brother. I was moved to his room. He stopped here because we booked seats in this sanatorium beforehand, but could not buy tickets for one train because of the sciatica that I came here to treat” an elderly man set off into detailed reasoning and descriptions, took out of his pocket two old-fashioned branded boxes of medicines and showed an efficient maid.
“This is what the local head doctor prescribed to me after the examination: nimesulide, meloxicam. A former masseur — daghestanian man, I met him at the polyclinic, studied Tibetan medicine. He recommended vacuum therapy for me. But I prefer to be treated by folk methods. To do this, brought with me cups for massage techniques Ku Nye. Did you heard about such procedures?” the old man asked apologetically.
“No, I did not hear anything,” she answered with fright, looking up at the wise old man who had mastered, along with the ancient oriental methods of treatment, the doctors of Tibet, a complex of medicine using special cups.
“Would you like to get at least one procedure for free?” he asked sarcastically.
“I do not have time,” she answered calmly, turning her beautiful head toward him, and looked directly at the deep-set, expressive, light green eyes, under the thick, dense eyebrows and forehead, cut into even rows of wrinkles. “But I know that in the spa in our city they write down for an advertising campaign for a trial session.”
“Did you have time to recover before you arrived?”
“My back never hurts from work,” a modest, quiet maid with the manner of a nurse admitted kindly and carefully.
“I see that you are so strong and smart,” the old man got excited, grabbed the woman with one hand for the left bare arm, squeezed his muscles as if to measure the pressure, and immediately let go, but she did not pay any sharp attention to his sharp gesture.
“It’s our duty to take care of the cleanliness of the buildings.”
“I will be cured; we will return to our home, I will teach you the methods of massage. You’ll take care of my house at home and make good money with treatment sessions.”
“Thanks for the offer. I’ll think about it, “she said somehow deafly, to herself, shifting the ironed sheets from place to place.
“While the specialist will massage my back: cervicothoracic, humeral, vertebral-sacral parts using various oils. Burdock, for example. One session costs ten euros or seven hundred rubles. Vacuum therapy will improve my blood circulation at the site of exposure, remove chondroses. After several sessions, the pain syndrome will decrease.”
The maid showed her head in surprise.
“Do you know what I’m talking about?”
“No, I do not understand. We did not go to medicine at school,” turning again into the pose of the ironman, she said ironically.
“What do not you understand, dear, say?” he asked again, hoping for mutual trust.
“I remember that my mother used hot and cold compresses in turn to remove acute pain, especially at the initial stage of the disease, after laying the rails on the railway. I applied them to the site of back pain for twenty minutes every two to three hours. But this helped her a little. Then she enrolled in acupuncture through the brunt of her brother. I paid decent — a thousand rubles, but my brother did not allow her to visit the polyclinic often, he went to the hospital himself, and then went to Altai, as he said, to study moxa-therapy — heating up with cigars. He wrote in a letter that he cured not only his back, but also his legs. They were taken from him when walking. He worked on a tractor in the village. He caught a cold and almost died. No healer could help relieve tension and soreness. I remember my mother was walking, limping,” the maid told her family history of the disease bitterly.
“We need to think over your words. Do you love Mom’s brother?” the old man asked with a feeling of anger that the old man asked with a feeling of anger that he had been rejected.
“Grandfather, go, rest,” the maid advised sympathetically.
“I’ll go now. But you better don’t teach me anymore. I myself know that acupuncture is performed with the help of thin needles, which are introduced into the place of localization of pain. This is a long-known, well-proven method. Still there is a method of alternative medicine — apitherapy — treatment by bee stings. They use them for many diseases. For multiple sclerosis, including sciatica, but here in the sanatorium, there are no such procedures. But ‘moxa’ is a bad word.”
“Do not like it, do not say… And you probably have an apiary, if you all know so well about the disease?”
“I had an apiary, but I sold it. There is no one to mess around with the hives. It is necessary to clean them constantly and re-apply the solution for bait.”
“Really. It was easier to go to the bazaar and buy what you need at a reasonable price,” continued the thought of him the maid, who liked to drink tea with honey and gingerbread. She had an unbiased interest in a conversation with an experienced beekeeper and a respectable man.
“I’ll take your advice now. For example, do you know what the technique of neuromuscular relaxation is?”
The old man crouched gratefully at the chair that had been pushed up to her and relaxed.
“I think warming up with a wrap. Masks all sorts: chocolate, fruit,” looking at the sheet with a picture of vases with apples, pears and plums, the maid said uncertainly. “Such creams for use should be bought in a cosmetic shop and applied to the most painful places… My mother did not live to see such a ‘circulation stimulation by correction’, the surgeon told her when he decided to have her surgery in the hospital. She did not agree.”
“Did your brother live in Tibet?”
“Well, what am I to do with you, again sticking with your personal life?” The maid became nervous, put the iron on the board, took the decanter from the pantry and poured water into the iron for better wetting the sheets.
“But remember, when treating sciatica with folk remedies or Tibetan medicine, the effect is achieved by relaxing the muscles,” the sick old man came to his own conclusion.
“Thanks, I’ll know now,” she said politely, helping the old man to get out of the chair.
“And you could become a good nurse,” the old man concluded, delighted that she did not know anything, she was especially unskilled in medicine, notably since she had no relatives or family who would lead the behavior of the maid in personal communication.
“Could, but did not,” she introduced a manly tough.
“Here, come to me someday in the room I’ll tell something about my life in the North. There were a lot of people working with us at the construction site. My brother is lean, eats a little. But he likes full women. We will not talk with him. Bring a plate and a spoon from the dining room. We’ll have tea with crackers and honey.
“What do you propose to me not to talk to him, if I do not come to you or to your lean brother? I have enough work in the building,” said the maid, putting all her thoughts about her activity in the phrase.
“Do not forget to change the bedspreads,” the old man cared.
She noticed a large bald head, a regular large skull, puffy cheeks and a large number of wrinkles on his neck.
“I’ll talk to the administrator. You will be given what you are talking about when there is such a kit in the warehouse. But you can take a blanket now,” the maid added in reply, continuing to move the bright, coarse sheet on the ironing board, almost touching the elbow of the obsessive guest with an iron.
“I’m very grateful,” the old man finished straightening, when she put the camel blanket on the stand and handed it straight to his hands.
This episode did not then make any impression on her, and the appearance and manners of the old man inspired obvious trust and respect for old age.
“We must immediately inform the police about the dead man. As it will be, I do not know, but someone must remove his body from here,” the thought suddenly flashed across the maid.
She closed the closet with her key. In order not to waste time, she decided to start her working day from a call to the watch in the administrative building of the sanatorium, where high-ranking officials were treated.
“Come here at once,” the maid said calmly her name and location, when she heard the voice of the administrator on duty in the cell-phone. “This says Topilko Sveta. In our basement, in the room with linens, I found the corpse of an elderly man.”
Sveta said about the flabby old man in an excellent degree, because he seemed to be far in seventy — nearly eighty two years old.
Usually she first recounted sets of clean linen, and then went to the free numbers to spread out on the beds in the rooms prepared for settling in with new guests. But in such an extraordinary case she behaved absolutely correctly, extremely properly, with restraint and purposefulness, without a shadow of melancholy or fear.
“Be there. Now our staff will approach you,” the administrator answered, which is located at the reception, where keys were given out for each separate room: luxury and economy class.
All the floors of the old three-story building were built in Empire style in strict compliance with symmetry, taking into account the perspective and borrowing the principles of classical temple Roman architecture on the basis of the work of the Venetian architect Palladio. With a wide pediment-portico in the form of a loggia and a massive atrium where you could sit at a table, eat and enjoy a magnificent view of the Caucasus Mountains. None of the outsiders could enter the sanatorium, which was guarded day and night by a special detachment of the police of a private enterprise and a horse Cossack brigade.
The entrance to the twisted fence was only for special passes. Green lawns, relict honeysuckle bushes, roses, jasmine formed the central part of the flower beds, and on the edges were planted velvet flowers and petunia of contrasting white, red and yellow color creating a canvas, exuding an amazing aroma in the mornings.
It was noticeable that The Resort Greengrocery Trust did a great job, reminding guests of their merits and honorary awards during their lifetime.
The outdoor pool was located in the heart of the sanatorium between the dining room and the residential building. Occasionally on the territory appeared landscape designers and landscapers accompanied by florists, who with love improved the appearance of rare plantings. Benches for lovers of taking air baths and sunbathing were arranged along the asphalt paths.
The entire vast area was a cultural resting place for people of different professions. Slackened patients came there, but returned as strong and healthy people.
Directly curative springs with medicinal water were in the rotunda and colonnade. And further under the covered arch with columns and in the grotto were beaten the warm waters of Narzan, whose status — the most life-giving moisture went far beyond the edge, which was comparable only with the Karlovy Vary of the Czech Republic. Anyone could come with his glass and drink the prescribed portion of the elixir to restore strength according to the prescription of the attending physician, settling in the shadows near the marble sculpture of the ancient greek gods, which stood all around the arcade, restored after a period of stagnation.
Sveta came out of the dormitory, looked around. There was no one near by. The musty air of the pantry with the corpse was disgusting. She stopped beside a rectangular rosary to inhale the fragrance, surveying again a beautiful view of the plants. She climbed the steps leading to a small playground on the dais. She noticed the administrator and two accompanying people in black uniforms, sweatshirts and cap, heading straight for her.
“Did you call us?”
“Yes. Come with me,” she began, losing herself, “I was horrified when I found the dead man in my working room,” she chided, peering at the simple faces of the members of the State Security Department.
“What time did you start work?” one of the police officers asked, not looking in her direction, going down first to the ground floor.
“She’s only been here for the first week. She is a completely new employee. While she poorly knows our discipline. You should come to the service half an hour earlier at 7.30,” explained the administrator, staring at point blank range stopping at the door leading to the place where Sveta discovered the victim, giving the maid the opportunity to open with her keys a new crypt with blankets and towels on either side a long warehouse with bedding.
“Although I have spare keys. Here they are.”
He took two keys from his pocket and showed them to the policemen.
“I’ve been on duty all night. I did not go anywhere. You saw it yourself on your monitor. I did not give keys to anyone.”
The police looked attentively at the speaker.
“So, somebody has duplicates… But we’ll figure it out,” replied lieutenant-colonel Regimov Nikifor Naumovich, who had undergone further training in St. Petersburg, who had studied the methods of work of investigators of the police and warders of the most famous and large pre-trial detention center “Kresty”, honor the collective of the employees of the sanatorium, taking two keys from Sveta and then returning her back with a serious air.
“Probably, on the keys there is some wax, plasticine or other soft material that can give a good impression. But I see that both keys are clean, without a touch of dirt.”
The administrator in a blue tunic and black trousers with yellow stripes jumped with joy, the whole range of worries reflected on his face. He exclaimed:
“That’s just how it all happened. I hope you will not investigate this case for a long time, and we will not have complications with the sanatorium management?”
Nikifor Naumovich did not want to answer stupid questions. He dialed a forensic phone number on his mobile phone so that a car-hearse was sent urgently and put the body in a morgue for the required procedures. He called the address of the sanatorium.
“When the body is taken away, it will be necessary to clean the room, since all the towels came from the shelves,” he asked the maid a supplication.
“I’ll try,” she said sadly.
“They say that here such incidents with tsarist people occurred occasionally…”
On the victim were visible traces of the struggle and the hands of the dead old man, tied to the side racks, and caused an unpleasant impression of lost hopes and disappointments in a successful rest at the best sanatorium of the resort city.
“The secret will not be disclosed by any of the personnel, God will give,” the administrator said, assuming the functions of a lawyer.
The frightened maid almost came to herself after the shock, but it was felt that a middle-aged woman could hardly give rants and long lexical expressions. She trembled noticeably and nervously sorted through a bunch of keys from the hotel building.
“Why did not you call us at the picket, and reported to the administrator?” the investigator asked officially, whose eyes radiated warmth and support
“It seemed better to me,” said the woman, leaning against the wall, calming down the words of the investigator.
“Do you have someone at the reception?” the investigator asked again.
This time he turned to the administrator, whose tall figure, physique, healthy complexion and smile aroused the respect of every newly arrived guest. Almost thirty years of service in the internal affairs agencies forced the lieutenant-colonel to choose those with whom he should work and investigate crimes. In this criminal case, none of those present had any doubts about it, he was assisted by lieutenant colonel Seregin, whom Regimov trusted as to himself.
“My colleague replaced me. He has already started his immediate duties,” the administrator replied, moving away from the pantry door, when the investigator carefully took a rough woolen blanket from the shelf, pushing aside the stick for washing the floors with his elbow, so as not to erase the fingerprints on a possible murder weapon.
The three of them with the administrator made a stretcher out of the blanket. They freed the old man’s hands from the wooden rack, untangling the twine ropes used in the trade for carrying heavy purchases by buyers. Put the corpse on the resulting stretcher. Above they threw the same sheet, which Sveta so carefully smoothed, throwing to the top of the stack with sets of linen. They raised a hammock. He bent, but the victim did not immediately take the proper form.
“Once or twice, they took it,” said the administrator, when they carried a load of more than a hundred kilograms to the exit and down the stairs (since the old man was large), to be sent for examination.
A covered police car was already standing near the entrance, preventing the pesky vacationers from monitoring the manipulations of the police. Then spread rumors among the staff of the kitchen and doctors of fiction about the criminal incident that occurred during their vacation at the resort, causing panic to the local population, whose care and attention balanced the daily routine and the regime of people who dreamed of getting a charge of cheerfulness for a whole year.
“Come to us tomorrow at lunch. We have to fill out all the necessary documents on this case,” Seregin said, giving Sveta a place near the deceased next to him when she sat down on a bench in the caravan to escort the victim on her last journey.
“You will answer us now with some questions in the department, and we’ll let you go.”
“I’ll try to collect my thoughts.”
Then she was going to return to her workplace, to do her specific duties on cleaning the deluxe rooms and economy class.
Nikifor Naumovich took a seat next to the driver, and the car moved out of the main gate, passing all the buildings, a dance floor, gardens and flower beds. The administrator went to the main building to calm his colleague, sitting at the computer with a frustrated look, surfacing the Internet page.
The day was just beginning. Holidaymakers resorted to the dining room along the wide paths under the watchful eye of the chief doctor — a tall, fat man in a white coat — Mitrofanov Peter Samsonovich, whose well-being depended on the number of paid procedures taken by his patients. The immense power of the Caucasus Mountains captivated the spirit of the Masters of Sports in mountaineering and foreign tourists who preferred to appear in the dining room on the second shift after the elderly patients had eaten. Athletes after heavy competitions were received with open arms in this sanatorium. Immediately appointed treatment for damaged limbs, spine, internal organs, corrected the posture, and those recovered returned to the system to enter the new Olympic level.
The administrator, who was present at the discovery of the corpse by policemen — Vladimir Kormushenko, looked proudly at the colorful flower beds, pulled up the uniform and stepped over the threshold of the main building. He stopped at the counter where his substitute, Ira Chetvergova, was sitting at the computer, a tall blue-eyed blonde in a white silk jacket with a badge on her chest. She took the maid — Topilko Sveta to work until the end of the year with a probationary period. She also designed and registered on the second floor of Soshin Vladimir Viktorovich two days ago.
They arrived on the same day by the same train from Tarasov, handed over the passports to Ira, which first aroused Kormushenko’s perplexity, and then, taking into account that both new vacationers are unfamiliar with the resort, internally calmed down. Cursing her for slowness and vanity, hoping that everything will be settled quickly, none of the hotel guests will ever find out about what happened.
“You need to find in the safe the passport of the deceased and transfer it to the police. Let them understand. It’s good that they did not touch me. And where do such brutes come from, capable of attacking quiet old men, one kind of which causes pity and compassion,” thought the administrator, sighing and enjoying the freshness of the summer morning.
A light haze spread over the green mountains. In some places, rocks and steep paths were visible. The cable car allowed holidaymakers to enjoy the panorama of the resort area.
“Hello, are you back already?” Ira asked in a low voice, as if she had eaten ice cream yesterday, stressing the specifics of her work, maintaining always good relations with the whole people of staff: doctors and medical nurses.” “Something happened? Do I understand your silence correctly?”
“Nothing serious happened. It is necessary to increase vigilance, to invite a representative from the travel agency for agitation of convalescent holiday-makers to see the best sights of the Stavropol Territory: Kislovodsk, Mineral Waters, Pyatigorsk and Essentuki.”
“Are you concerned about something?”
“Anyone can not hide anything from you,” Kormushenko answered unequivocally, watching how she casually turned the pages on the plasma monitor, looking closely at her visit to the park of a mountain massif among tall coniferous trees and flowering chestnuts. “I’m tired of running around here and there.”
It meant to go to the automatic machine with different kinds of coffee, choose the most expensive drink, having substituted a ceramic mug of the administrator, to pour in one container at once two portions of a smoking elixir of vivacity.
“I will not refuse. Make me like last time with chocolate. What’s the name of your recipe?” Kormushenko translated the conversation with a colleague on another topic, so that he should not worry himself, but gather his thoughts.
“How is it better to ask for a passport so as not to explain the cause and effect? The rich do not like it when tragedy incidents occur next to them…” a freelance police officer and a long-standing friend of lieutenant colonel Regimov began to ponder over the investigation of bloody crimes, corruption and malicious violations of the law.
He looked with melancholy at Ira, giving her a chance to answer the question posed. Her ideal hairstyle would be envied by any of the announcers on television, where in no way had to penetrate information about the mysterious murder in the pantry dormitory of a prestigious sanatorium.
“Now I’ll find out…”
She took out the utensils from the table. Elegantly stood up, walked to the coffee machine with an elegant gait. Put a simple light brown mug on top. She put the plastic glass in the hole, twice pressed the button, and then, pouring two portions into one cup, she handed Kormushenko, who was sitting helplessly on the edge of a small chair, looking for the key to the safe in the desk. He opened the safe at once, searched through references and passports, but to no avail.
“Moccaccino. Did you satisfied with this name? Probably it was invented by Italians or Mexicans. They have a craving for fantasy, to assign their names to different culinary masterpieces.”
“It’s a wonderful name, and taste is even better.”
Coquettish Ira liked to philosophize on various everyday topics, especially in the presence of her colleague. With him, they got acquainted a long time ago, but met very rarely because of inconsistencies in the schedule and a timetable of duty in the hotel. Kormushenko often had to replace Ira, as she was still working part-time in the neighboring children’s boarding house. By whom? He certainly did not know. However, he heard from vacationers that they saw her surrounded by teenagers in the very center near the fountain.
“Finally, I found a passport for a new guest,” he pointed to the document on the table. “It is necessary to write it out urgently. Rested out to death. Do this now. I’ll wait here,” Kormushenko was pushing out the words as drops regretfully, looking at the glass with a fragrant drink, standing next to him on the table.
“Did something serious happen to him? What about his things? He himself will come for them or there are other options?” Ira had metallic notes in her voice.
She often blinked, straightened her hair, stepped from foot to foot, and relaxed, standing next to her colleague.
“I’ll give the police. Now I’m going to the dormitory, I’ll collect what’s in there and bring it here, and the maid will clean in his room,” Kormushenko assured her embarrassed that he must do everything himself, despite the fact that his duty is over.
“Can you tell me in confidence what happened or is it a political sabotage?” Ira indignantly, making an impenetrable face, consulted exclusively about her quirks. “So what has happened? … The mystery of the 21st century!” she exclaimed pathetically.
In the foyer, no one from the rest holidaymakers was. Everyone was in the dining room, so she poured out the emotions, which had accumulated, on the colleague, who had fallen ill with “zeal”. She was looking at his uniform, silvered gray hair and a tired gaze of blue eyes.
“Leave the passport on the table. Soon a police officer will arrive, and I hurry up there,” the administrator pointed in the direction of the hotel complex.
“I’ll wait for your return.”
He was gone for about ten minutes. When he returned with a small suitcase on wheels, pushing it under the counter, the coffee had cooled down a little. Without emotion, Kormushenko drank in one sip what Ira had cooked with such care and love. Peace-loving holidaymakers with calm manners of behavior were sent to the procedures, who on excursions, booked ahead of time with the agent. The second turn of the guests was drawn to the dining room. Among them, the administrator recognized the famous hockey players of the Russian team. Two strong Americans: one bright red with small curls, and another of African origin, talking calmly about something already sitting at a table in the center of the hall. They finished drinking beer, waiting until they brought the trays full of various snacks.
“It’s difficult to agree with her in an amicable way. Always everything will go to nothing in one fell swoop. In vain I did not make her an offer to marry me before, but I hope she would not refuse me if I started courting her more aggressively. When she was alone but was such a nervous person. It’s just amazing how much positive energy there is in her. Nobody tripped her over trifles,” the newly beloved was inspired, suddenly imbued with sympathy for the administrator.
She once told him at work that her family was rooted in the dynasty of the Caucasian princes. After such a statement, Kormushenko had a desire to go to her meetings, give flowers, sweets to make love to her, marry, start a family, finally. Attend dance parties, meetings of graduates of the university. To compete with Queen Tamara, in his personal opinion, Ira could.
While serving in the Armed Forces and helping refugees in the Chechen and Donetsk territories, he started an army diary, where he marked the events that took place during the day. As a result, it turned out that he brought up his OMON brigade in the right direction. For which he received a medal of a foreign state, which he kept in the far corner of the sideboard next to a photograph of those years on an armored personnel carrier and a helmet in an embrace with his comrades in arms.
“Thank you for your concern,” Kormushenko said disappointedly. “I’ll stay here with you for a while. We need to deal with some of the guests.”
“I think that our employees are beyond suspicion,” suddenly gave her version of Ira, starting to cut her nails, which she did not have time to process and varnish due to lack of time. “I understood everything at once, seeing a covered police car entering the territory of the sanatorium. Someone got into a fight, and they are now looking for the guilty…”
“It’s just that this situation should not interfere with rest.”
“How much it is necessary to invest in work, it’s horrible!” she exclaimed, fanning herself. “Someone has fun, but someone has job…”
“Guests apparently are not so strong enough to go on an excursion. See what their physically depressed faces are.”
Kormushenko greatly exaggerated, as a cheerful crowd of tourists sat down in the approaching bus and went to inspect the mountain peaks, heading for the funicular.
“They will definitely like the monument to Lermontov,” Ira insisted persistently.
“I hope we’ll have a good time.”
It was Sunday. Therefore, she favorably agreed to go to work, as she was busy on weekdays as a steward in a neighboring children’s boarding house and preferred to take care of teenagers who came to rest from training classes on the foothills of the Caucasus, which she undoubtedly had an attraction for.
“Exactly. Let them see where the demons spend their nights,” he added ironically, wiping off the rest of his sleep from his face with a handkerchief.
For luck Kormushenko ten minutes later on the doorstep of the hotel appeared Nikifor Naumovich, to ask some questions to administrators in the course of the investigation of the death of the old man. He had already managed to return on the Ford from the police department, where he left Seregin to interrogate a new maid, tearfully beseeching not to tell her neighbors, about her whereabouts. The administrator recognized lieutenant-colonel Regimov in the investigator and hurried forward to meet him. He went to the counter at the reception.
“Have you noticed any deviations from the routine in the behavior of holidaymakers? Maybe someone longer than the others lingered on the playground or appeared drunk in the dining room?” the investigator began a routine interrogation to direct the attendants to pay more attention to their charges after such an extraordinary event.