CITY OF THE WINNER
(a sketch — a utopia)
Karl Fit opened eyes and smiled. Several days he woke up with a smile on lips — perhaps because he fell asleep with a thought of how life is good and interesting. And as yesterday as the day before yesterday, he attentively looked around himself. He threw the head back and saw a balcony door through which glasses slanting beams of the morning sun joined the room; threw a cursory glance on a small desk from a white oak and to a convenient working chair; turned the head, examined a wardrobe in a wall, as if wishing to make sure whether all on the place, and was finished by survey with a wash basin about a door. In total on the place. In total as yesterday, in this small, clean, white room. And pictures on walls and a bouquet on a table? No, and they on the place: two fine etudes oil paints — episodes of heroic fight of the proletariat for the power. The big round clock hanging over a door looked the dial, and shooters were extended almost vertically. Was one minute to six. At this time always Fit woke up. Here shooters were extended outright absolutely, and soft, but quite strong baritone which goodness knows where from spoke immediately was heard:
— Six hours, are time to rise!
This baritone belonged to Fit. Yesterday it gave such order, going to bed, to the mechanical servant — the record player roller connected by the special device with hours. But Fit gave daily such order to himself more for an entertainment. He did not need to be awoken — he woke up always accurately at the same time.
— I thank you — Fit answered, smiling to hours, and quickly rose from a bed. He quickly put a bed and moved it into a wall, pulled on legs of a shoe and left in a corridor. All doors left people in the same dressing gowns, men and women, and went: men to the right, women to the left.
— Gutnut a morgen! — called Phyto cheerful young voices.
— Kind morning! — he answered in Russian and waved a hand.
Fit opened a door in a wall of a long corridor, and discordant noise reached his ears: heavy rain, cheerful voices, snorting, a clap hands on a naked body, splashes in water. All these sounds merged in a peculiar “water” symphony. Yes, in this huge hall there was the real kingdom of water. Light getting through a glass ceiling lit the pool in which young people swam, with laughter overtaking each other. To the right and on the left offices of flourishes settled down, and in a wall against an entrance door the set of doors which conducted in separate bathrooms was seen. Fit bypassed the pool, making the way to the bathroom.
— Who is it? — the young man in the pool asked, showing to eyes on Fit.
— The German, the tourist — answered floating a row.
Fit entered a bathroom, quickly undressed and fell to already ready bathtub. Having left a bathtub and having dry pounded a body a shaggy towel, it passed to the neighboring hall.
If the first hall was a water kingdom, then there was a kingdom of air and gymnastic cars. Young people in pants did “morning exercises”, strenuously training. Elderly did not lag behind. Fit joined them and began to make various gestures diligently: to throw out hands up, down, in the parties, squatted, rose… Фит suffered. All this left at it not so accurately, as at the others, probably well trained people.
— Nothing, you will get used — neighbors said to him.
The German it is guilty smiled, stubborn squatted and shot hands at the parties. “You will get used!” It is a little offensive. Whether long ago Germans were in everything teachers of Russians?.
Quarter of the seventh. Enough! Fit goes to a bathroom, puts on a morning dressing gown and comes back to the room. Absolutely small! And it would seem even less if not to know something — as it is arranged and what orders in this wonderful house commune. Whether the big room is necessary if excellent ventilation delivers clean air much and if the room is not necessary on anything any more as soon as to have a sleep in complete silence yes — if desire comes — to remain hour or so — another alone. Fit did not get used to spend time for a privacy. He was eager to examine as much as possible and as soon as possible. Yes, it spent time for stay in this room not much — and still it extremely was pleasant to it. Appearance of the room, all its simplicity and even adjusted the small size on a special harmony. Deprived of at first sight many necessary things, she said that the person has to be free first of all from captivity of these things, from the power of bulky furniture, unnecessary knickknacks, dusty curtains. Really, unless it is not pleasant to understand that where you wanted to go, everywhere you will find here such simple room for a dream and rest where there is nothing superfluous and there is all necessary. It was pleasant to enter the room and it is not a pity to leave it. It cultivated consciousness that the person not “the room resident”, and the resident and the owner of all this of the huge, boiling life house.
— Well! — told Fit, changing clothes. In a few minutes it was already ready to an exit — on it there was a simple, convenient, graceful suit fitting a waist, but free in a breast and shoulders.
* * *
Half of the seventh. Fit leaves the room, without locking it — here thefts are unknown — and, having taken place a corridor, enters the dining room.
In all length of the big light hall several rows wide tables last. In the middle of tables in all their length boxes with a set of windows tower. Near windows — buttons numbers and the menu. Against each name — coffee, tea, milk — figure. In all hall of any person of servants. On “boxes” — bouquets of fresh flowers. Fit it is seated at the table against “window”, reads the menu and presses the buttons at numbers 3 and 12. In a minute from where from below there are in a window of a long box a glass of coffee with cream also chunks of white loaf smeared with butter and from above jam.
Fit a beret from a tray food and has breakfast with appetite. Then he puts a plate and an empty glass on a tray in a window, presses the button — and the tray fails.
Without ten seven. Perhaps, it is possible to shave and clean boots still. It near the dining room. The surprising shaving machine finishes the business one minute. In the same time — the mechanical cleaner rubs Fit’s boots to mirror gloss. On association of Fit remembers one oversight allowed by it: he forgot to put in order, by means of the mechanical servant, the room. Forgot because even the German eye, accustomed to purity, could not notice in the room the slightest traces of dust or dirt. But dust and dirt can appear if the room not to watch every day! Observation of purity is included into a duty all living in the house commune. Everyone is responsible for purity of the room. It is rather to correct an oversight! Fit hurries to itself, to the room of 1235. He wanted the 1234th, then it would be even more convenient to remember.
It is very simple! The mechanical brush sweeps out and rubs a floor, the vacuum cleaner devours dust. At first a half of the room at a door is put in order, then the desk is easily rolled away, the chair is put on a table and the second half of the room — at the balcony door replacing at the same time a window cleans up. Dust on special musoroprovodny pipes arrives down. A floor sparkles. The room shines! But it is necessary to wipe windows still. Again mechanical brushes of other device. It is ready. All mechanisms develop and hide in the lower box of a convenient wall case.
Someone knocks at the door.
— Enter! — The door opens. The threshold has a pretty white-haired girl and the swarthy boy. In hands the girl — a bouquet, at the boy has a basket with flowers.
— Good morning, dear companion Fit! — the girl speaks good German. — I brought to you fresh flowers.
— Good morning! — welcomes Phyto and the kid with a flowers basket.
Fit greets children, thanks for flowers. The girl quickly changes a bouquet of flowers on a table. In a vase tea roses flaunt now. The become obsolete carnations rush to a garbage pipe. This pipe carries away together with water all garbage of the house far to the country where they are processed.
Fit still wants to talk to children, to question them about that about this, but children hurry. They accepted patronage of flowers of the house and strictly treat the duties, and put at chiefs this summer morning a lot. Children friendly bow to Fit and hurry further. Fit long smiles to them following, then looks at the dial over a door. Seven hours twelve minutes. Fit opens a door and comes to a balcony. A massive handrail is buried in flowers. Climbers close a balcony from sides. Fit looks down, from height of the third floor.
From here, from height, the city struck not with grandness, but an originality: he least of all resembled the city though its population approached sixty thousand.
The sea of greens it was spread below — infinite parks and gardens. They flooded all city as spring tides, and among this green sea rose, like rocky islands, beautiful houses, it is not higher than four floors, painted in light tone, well being in harmony with a green background of parks and gardens. Only far to the right houses stood more densely — there was Revolution Square where government agencies were located. And on the left the river bend covered in this early hour with rowboats and sailing yachts shone: “vykhodnik” hurried to use day of rest on an open air.
From where the sound of the wheels which are softly sliding on rails reached and through the green sea the air electric train — Rapid-transit which brought to the plant of workers proceeded at height of tops of trees. Such trains went with five-minute breaks throughout half an hour, taking away a third of adult population of the city for work. The quantity and structure of trains were calculated so that each worker could take seat in the train on the place, without crush and turns. In this city any minute was not lost in vain. In five hours “Slow motion” will return workers and will take away new change. The plant works in three changes on five hours — from seven in the morning till ten in the night. Fit by all means will visit the plant and will look how work is organized.
Fit comes back to the room, approaches a desk and takes out the typewriter from a box. Such machines are available in each table of each living room of this house. In a minute Fit writes on silently working machine.
You asked to write about my impressions. It is hard to make it. Feature of the socialist city in which I live is in what it strikes not with the American scales, but the internal expediency. I would call this city factory for alteration of people. We in Germany just should build such factories. Beginning from architecture of buildings and finishing tenor of life, everything is arranged so that you imperceptibly for yourself become absolutely other person. To begin at least with this small Spartan room in which I am. You know that our workers — and in particular our wives — yet did not manage to be released from bourgeois “cosiness”. And I am sure that you — and the more so your lovely Marta — would be horrified by this room. It would seem to you too poor, too idle time. Neither carpet, nor curtains, nor shelves. But… it is necessary to live day to understand all expediency of this simplicity and uselessness of blocking up of rooms all that stuff — vases, zanavesochka, shelves, statuetochka which do so-called “cosiness” of our German apartments.
Present in my room — the only chair! Unless it is not horror? I cannot even receive the guest! But it is enough to leave in a corridor and to pass several steps, and you already in a drawing room — with carpets, upholstered convenient leather furniture, flowers on a table, fine pictures on walls, you meet whom to you there is a wish, you choose the place and you conduct friendly chat with friends. Chairs, little tables and sofas are placed so that groups of talking do not interfere with each other. I, for example, chose a corner at a window where there is couple of chairs surrounded with the huge blossoming oleanders. You are as though in a garden. In an open window the clean air saturated with ozone flows. Nobody disturbs you, and you disturb nobody, and in this wonderful corner I spent not one evening, talking to my new friends. I learned from them a lot of interesting that it is difficult for the foreign tourist who besides is poorly knowing Russian to learn and notice.
But forgive me. Overloaded with new impressions, I distract aside and I write irregularly. I will try to drive myself in a framework, adhering at least to a chronological order.
From Moscow I took off on the airplane, flew on the southeast, with greedy curiosity looking down, at open spaces of the new world which does not know slavery and forced labor. If not deployed card before me where the flight route was noted, I could think that I fly not over the country of peaceful work, and over the field of battle. On wide fields “tanks”, in single file and the developed system, alone and the whole herds moved. They gathered in small groups, as though frolicing, ran away from each other.
Well, and if our far ancestor or even the savage never seeing modern cars “sat in my place, of course, would think that he flew to the unknown world where there live strange monsters which are grazed on fields and devour high herbs with extraordinary speed. You, of course, already guessed that I speak about tractors, about tractor columns which, it is similar to hardworking continued animals, busy scurry about back and forth, doing easily and soon on what the incredible number of human work was required before.
By the way, I can tell you a curious trifle. Local doctors assured me that tractors and cars were enemies of a number of diseases which sharply began to decline after the country was a traktorizovana and is sated with cars. The tractor and the car almost absolutely destroyed a typhoid, dysentery and other infectious diseases. “How?” — you will ask. Very simply. Distributors of these diseases were flies, and flies breed, putting testicles mainly in horse manure. Horses were replaced now by cars and tractors. And flies were almost brought.
Here I heard such tale. The swallow complains to a sparrow that now there is no place even to sit down — telegraph supposedly wireless. And the sparrow answers: “… also there is nothing to have dinner: all cars yes tractors, any horse!” To it it is possible to add also the complaint of a fly that now there is no place to put eggs for reproduction.
But, forgive, I distracted again.
So — the airplane, boundless steppes, fields and on them herds of lovely, hardworking, obedient machines — tractors. On all this immense space the industrial and agricultural cities, however, a little by what differing from each other are scattered. The old cities, from tserkva, with diversity of wooden and stone constructions meet their wrong confused streets seldom… Already here, at height, sitting in the big passenger airplane and looking from height of bird’s flight down, you see and feel that you are in the country of planned housekeeping. The agricultural cities are located more or less evenly, industrial — in the locations of raw materials. And there are no villages — old Russian villages — at all. The words “man”, “peasant” disappeared from a living language. They became the same historical reminiscence as “landowner” and “nobleman”. In this country there are only workers, only workers of agricultural or industrial work. By the way, you will not see a difference between the engineer and the worker here. All of them live in identical conditions.
But I was fond again. Many associations cling to each thought.
We flew day and night. At night — on radio beacons. Night beacons in millions of candles now are not done, radio successfully replaces light signals. Only in big airfields everything is filled in with light when you fly up to them at night.
In Shakhtyorsk we decreased, and I changed the train which went to Yuzhkhim. These names speak to you little. The new cities — children of a five-years period — considerably changed the USSR card. And the Soviet school students should remember the much bigger number of the cities, than to children of an old regime. Every year the number of the cities everything increases. If here the geography was learned as learn in Europe — the Soviet school students had a rough time. But they acquire it very quickly thanks to absolutely new methods of school training in which “the book of life” has paramount value. But about school I still will write to you.
So, I changed the car and drove. The tractors similar from height to tanks, and the combines reminding huge insects with long legs and short moustaches like ants pottered near railroad tracks. And somehow absolutely imperceptibly we rolled directly in the big station hotel. The train stopped in the tunnel. I went out of the car, I was met by very young man, almost the boy, and, having kindly concerned the hat, told:
— Hello, companion Fit! The commission on reception of foreign tourists charged to me to meet you.
I was not surprised to the fact that he recognized me, number of the car and the place were known to him: besides before departure to the USSR I sent the picture to Intourist. This card was multiplied, and copies were broadcast to each new place together with the telegram about my arrival. Perhaps, you will be shocked by such way of the notice — but not about one criminals, really, to care, sending on radio of their image why this way not to apply to convenience of all citizens? And it, this way, is really convenient.
— My name is Nick (in abbreviated form from Nikolay) — the young man in German continued. Many young men here perfectly know foreign languages. — Be so kind as to follow me, I will lead you to number of your hotel.
Directly against the car the wide door where mine went to the chicherena was seen. The elevator lifted us on the third floor, several steps along the corridor — and we were included into clean small number.
— In this hotel for visitors all numbers identical — Nick explained and began to acquaint me with number equipment. — In a desk — the typewriter. Rises here so. Wash basin. A locker — near a wash basin, in a wall. You press this ball, the door opens. Here you will find… yes here, look! — The nickname opened a locker, and I found a snow-white towel, a small piece of soap, paste for teeth, a new toothbrush, cologne, crests, head brushes there — all for a toilet. — Phone — Nick explained further. — Radio telephone. Book of telephone subscribers. Information bureau. Bureau of instructions and orders. Car. On this number you will be answered on any your question. If you want to pass to the neighboring cities, do not take with yourself anything superfluous rather take anything. In trains there are buffets. In each hotel you can receive the Macintosh, a suitcase, the camera, the field-glass — in general everything that to you will want to be had at present. Why, for example, to drag with itself the camera if you can hire, make it pictures, give to show or use laboratory of the house commune to show most. You can call me by phone 5-89-67. The call becomes automatically. And this … — the Nickname opened a case door in a wall — illuminated signs. Here, turning a rychazhok, you can learn what occurs today interesting in the city where to go. Here be curious! — Nick pressed a rychazhok. In a twilight of a case the shining screen flashed, moving lines flared fires. — Наркомздрав very much limited application of the advertizing which are especially shining — Nick continued. — These advertizing — one of the reasons of nervousness of people of the big European cities. In our cities advertizing does not climb importunately to you in eyes, does not torment your ears, does not shout paints, sounds, light, diversity, brightness, unexpected flashes. In Europe, and in particular in America, you know, from advertizing there is no rescue. It pursues you everywhere: above, below, from sides, in front, behind. Advertizing on sidewalks, on walls, on clouds, on skyscrapers, on roofs, on rocks, at windows, on pages of newspapers, on things… Besides that it irritates, advertizing disfigures, vulgarizes all it touches. Therefore our departments of improvement of the City Councils also against the shouting unnecessary advertizing, as well as zdravotdet. We have an advertizing and even announcements are hidden, but it is easy to find them when it is required to learn about a performance or a meeting. And at you in number — advertizing is hidden, put under the lock here, it cannot disturb you. But when data will be necessary for you, you will open шкап and will press one of these buttons with inscriptions under them: “Meetings”, “Museums”, “Theatres”, “Cinema”, “Lectures”…
I expressed desire to look what becomes today. Advertizing immediately entered me into interests of today of Yuzhkhim. I was surprised to a variety and abundance of public and cultural life.
Here the little from what I remembered:
In the Big hall of Palace of culture accomodating twenty thousand people there was a report of the member of the government who arrived from the center. In a number of trade-union clubs reports and debates, mainly concerning the organization of production and general political were appointed. At the plants and factories big production meetings had to take place. In the Bolshoi opera Theatre there was a new opera “Winner” with participation of actors of the State academic working opera. In the Conservatory hall — a concert of an elektrofonist the Curtain which had to execute on the new tool the orchestral symphony of the young talented composer Dulin, working chemical plant. In the second studio — a concert of a choral circle of chemists. In drama theater — the new comedy “Mechanic”. In theater of youth — the historical play “Marik”, from life of children of workers before revolution; in children’s theater “Mimus” — the play executed by the trained animals. In audience of the Art museum — the report on ancient art accompanied by cinema which shows works of art and ancient monuments in paints (picture) and in a three-dimensional three-dimensional type (sculpture). The lecturer is professor Gulinov… In club of engineers — the lecture “About Transmission of Energy at Distance” and “About Destruction of Factory Pipes”. In the same place — “About beams Sonora”…
No, you will not reconsider everything! I addressed Nick and told that in all this it is possible to be lost. How to choose from a lot at least of theatrical entertainments what most corresponds to my tastes?
— Very simply — Nick answered. — You are interested in the opera “Winner”. Now you can just learn its contents, the main motives, see the operating l of ides, scenery if you want, will listen to all libretto. — The nickname tinkered at buttons, and the invisible loud-hailer began to sound. The human voice told about the opera. Several melodies, a part of the overture sounded. At the same time on the screen, in a reduced form, the scene, the moving actors seemed.
— But then it is not necessary to go to the opera! — I exclaimed.
— If to you it nezdorovitsya, you can, certainly, and listen to the opera to houses and to look at it. But nevertheless in theater it is more interesting! — Nick answered. — Thus you will be able to receive data on all shows, on all lectures, reports. You on — to phone can order to yourself the place. If you have nothing against, I will spend you to sight-see the city — Nick offered.
I willingly agreed.
— Advise — I addressed Nick in a lobby of hotel — whom to me to address to register?
From the arrival I almost did not see servants. In bourgeois hotels it is a scourge of visitors, these are marauders who, using the established custom, gather you, extend from you money low bows, unnecessary complaisance, boorish servility… or execute holuysky contempt if you tip to them a little.
There is no it also a trace. Here same workers, employees, as well as everywhere. They do not watch at you as on a ram who should be cut and do not release to you courtesies or cold ice arrogance, depending on a condition of your suit and your finance. They do not probe you, trying to guess how many it is possible to extort from you money. No, they meet and talk to you as the companion with the companion.
I got acquainted with all this, having lived in hotel about a week.
The nickname calmed me: he already reported about my arrival, and no other registrations are required. “As for servants, they do not need to be an eyesore to you at all. If to you that — – is necessary, you can cause them, and they watch purity when you are not in number: will tidy up, will sweep out, will clean”.
There were we hotel not towards the railway tunnel cutting all building through any more, and on other side. Directly before us the wide platform surrounded with the park opened. In the middle, on graceful concrete columns, the canopy under which cars settled down rose. Near the parking of cars was big, in two square meters, the city map drawn on opaque glass. All streets and public buildings were renamed in the special list, and against each name the button was seen. If I needed to go, for example, to “Revolution Square”, then I pressed the button against this name, and on the plan from the station where I am, stretched the shining arrow, clearly specifying in what direction I had to go or go.
— If you want, it is possible to take the bicycle — Nick told me — and to reach to the center. However, it is not so far. It is possible to employ a taxi or to get on a bus. You look, on the plan number of the bus is specified.
— I thank you, morning fine, and I prefer to walk on foot — I answered. Nick willingly volunteered to accompany me.
We passed by the taxi stand and went deep into the park.
I would like to give you my first impression of the city perhaps more stoutly. In it there was some originality which at once I could not understand. It is remembered, similar I tested something when I with a working excursion arrived to Venice. Venice — the special city.
The train with a usual roar and noise is rolled in the covered station. You leave directly to the channel — and you are covered by silence, extraordinary for the city. In all Venice there is no car and any horse, except for those that stand on St. Mark’s Basilica, but they are bronze! And when you go on narrow Venetian ulichka and on Mark Square, you are pursued by strange feeling — as if it is not the city, and… the house without roof. Similar I tested something when I left hotel and went to wander about the city of Yuzhkhim. Here everything was differently, not as in our noisy, confused, mad cities of the West and America. Others were also people here. Neither slackness, nor sluggishness! All whom I met were vigorous, cheerful and mobile, but without the excess fussiness and nervousness characterizing the residents of the big capitalist city who are eternally hurrying, worrying, stepping each other on legs.
Parks and Yuzhkhima Street seemed to me, perhaps, even too poorly populated for the city accomodating sixty thousand people. “Why it?” — I thought and immediately answered myself: “It is the city of workers, and workers are at work now”. This explanation was correct, but not absolutely exact as subsequently I was convinced. Besides that the fifth part of all workers were “days off”, workers worked in three changes, and actually, so at the plant there was no more than a third. The relative malolyudstvo was explained by many reasons. In Yuzhkhim there was no division of the city into the boring uncomfortable suburbs and the elegant center which is pulling together almost all population to the show-windows and fires of cinema. By Dezurbanization it was shown not only that people refused construction of the unhealthy huge cities octopuses with the multimillion population here, but also that within the city all public places are decentralized, except, of course, city Soviet institutions of city value (the City Council with all its departments is located on Revolution Square). Theaters, cinema, the museums, clubs, libraries and other cultural institutions evenly of a raskinuta on all city, and cinema of the suburb differs in nothing from cinema in the downtown.
Walking are also scattered on all city evenly, all city — the continuous park; a part of the population was chosen to the country by boats, on foot and in cars. Besides, in Yuzhkhim there is no most mobile and fussy street passerby — the buyer and in particular customers. I will not tell that they are absent at all. But dump from the account only the housewives and women of fashion who are absent here and flooding our shops, and you will see as far as will become silence! I Feel that you represent a little what I write about. New words or long descriptions are necessary. Here, for example, I told “traffic”, you, of course, represent sidewalks, quite narrow, near gray bulks of buildings. And on these sidewalks the continuous moving mass of people, dense, as a school of the going herring. And in the middle of the street “ice drift” of cars. But it is far from what I see. There is no “street” in sense of this word usual, habitual to us even. There is no solid wall of the houses pressed to each other closely. You even not always see houses. You go on the beautiful park. Trains of the suspended railroad almost silently blow over tops of trees in hours of the beginning and completion of works at the plants. You go on a beautiful twisting path to shadows of chestnuts, lindens, elms, oaks, hornbeams, maples. Continually — benches with convenient backs, beds of flowers.