THE EARTH BURNS
In the Business yard, in a reception of the chairman of VSNKh of the USSR, among visitors there was an elderly person with the face rubbed for years and life and in a shabby coat. Having taken seat in a corner, he sat not movably, expecting when reception begins.
The door of an office opened, and the secretary looked out from there. It eyes recalculated turn of people with portfolios and papers in hands. Several people darted off and approached it. But the person was ahead of all in a shabby coat.
— There will be a people’s commissar soon?
— It has a meeting in Council of People’s Commissars today. To hours to four has to be. On urgent affairs the deputy accepts it.
— I need the people’s commissar — the person impressively told and took seat on a chair with a look: I will die, but I will wait.
At last it entered an office.
— I listen to you — the people’s commissar shortly told.
And the person in a shabby coat started talking. Its surname Mikheyev. He is an inventor. Its specialty — fight against the desert, against the terrible desert approaching the Soviet Union.
He spoke passionately, being confused in words, losing the main idea. The huge amounts of solar energy which during the summer are made and скопляющиеся on the sandy and stony or only poorly covered by vegetation soil, have no other exit, except as on an ispepeleniye next, still live and inhabited lands. The earth burns.
Any area where dry winds and not enough atmospheric precipitation blow, turns into the desert.
What is seen by us in huge spaces of the Aralo-Caspian Sea? The Mga, Chmara, mosses — these “dry tears” and the reek of alcohol — saliva of dry deserts, with their destructive influence on life, on all vegetation, especially cultural and meadow. Flowers, without having blossomed, fade, without yielding a fruit or even perishing in kidneys… Grain ears and any cereals are empty and give weak умолот… Leaves on a grass and on trees turn yellow, falling down before time.
In the Volga region, in the North Caucasus, in Ukraine… in Saratov, Stalingrad… And to Kiev… Kazan, Ryazan… the cities and lands are dimmed by dust storms in dry summer.
— You have a project how to fight against the desert? — the people’s commissar who was patiently listening to his speech asked. And from a question Mikheyev somehow calmed down at once.
— I am an engineer. And if I had no developed plan, I would not begin to take away from you time. Twelve years I worked on this idea. Collected huge material. At me everything is calculated, weighed, verified from the most general to the most slightest detail.
— What your project consists in?
— Piping of Volga. A barrage at Kamyshin.
In a piping such level of new formation of the river when, on the one hand, cover with drift of its water huge spaces of the Zavolzhye steppes and deserts is established, recovering them, with a potusheniye in them “the fire of the earth”. On the other hand, in the river level on height which is not violating the main interests of the coastal cities and the population rises.
— Your materials will be studied. Will report on results on me — the people’s commissar told, as if finishing a conversation. — You need to see one of members of board NKRKI of the USSR, to acquaint him with material, to report about difficulties which you met on the… Hallo… Yes, I…
If now there was an inventor of phone Bell, Mikheyev would kill him, so he hated the “impolite invention” disturbing a business talk this minute.
And from a reception the impatient engineer wearing spectacles and with a portfolio already looked, and the secretary already brought a heap of papers for the signature, and the people’s commissar already gave to Mikheyev a hand…
Desert… It burned horror heart in the childhood when Mikheyev was no more than twelve years old. He lived with the father, the territorial doctor, in the abandoned steppe village beyond Volga. The Mga, both Chmara, and dry fogs for the boy were not mere words. He grew up under the crimson sun as if choking in a haze of a dust storm. From dust there was no rescue. It covered with a gray raid leaves of trees of a lean garden, got into the house through the closed windows, powdered tables, beds, toys, climbed in but with, eyes, ears and lungs… And the dream was disturbing, as in time сирокко. There, behind fields, the desert as the animal ready to a jump hid. Her ominous sandy whisper was heard far.
And suddenly she was loudly knocked at doors and grabbed by a throat with a bony hand of hunger. It was in the ninety first year of last century. Unforgettable year! The child could not be saved from terrible pictures of hunger, as from Chmara and a mga. And Mikheyev remembered this nightmare well.
Began with the fact that at familiar men of the person became gray, eyes became hollow, the nose and cheekbones became aggravated, cheeks and a stomach were pulled in. Their bodies became flabby, puny, Mischa Mikheyev could not understand why it. And then many withered people suddenly began to grow stout strange white-yellow completeness.
Mischa looked in windows of log huts. Almost in everyone the yellow spark of a candle in the dead man’s heads shone. But sparks went out soon: there were not enough candles, and dead men became more and more. Living people turned into corpses…
The inflated corpses of animals on fields… Stench… Swarms of flies… Crying of the hungry street children who lost parents… And over all this is the hot, destructive sun and the dry fog covering with a shroud the world doomed to death…
And behind the village there were adust fields. Dry, brown stalks powerlessly drove at the earth an empty ear. Burning wind burned them, sand brought. Over once corpulent fields sepulchral sandy hills grew. Dry ears as the last reminder on the perishing fields stuck out of these graves here and there.
The desert killed all live… It cannot be forgotten!
This horror did not leave his all life.
Mikheyev dreamed the globe from big height. Here huge bald patch of the Sahara, here deserts of Turkestan, China… And all these bald patches slowly creep away extensively as leprosy… And here all globe turns into the desert. And the last people choke in a sandstorm without water and air…
“I will be an engineer that knowledge to win against the desert” — young Mikheyev solved. He became the engineer hydrotechnician, but did not win against the desert. Many years he developed difficult systems of irrigation canals and threw them.
— It is all the same what to try to put out the fire a spray! — he spoke in despair … — Only plentiful waters of Volga could put out the fire of the desert… And what, if?.
Mikheyev was in RKI loaded with huge folders with manuscripts, tables, schedules, maps, drawings.
But at it something was more interesting than dead drawings. Mikheyev put on a table a korobishcha size in meter and in a brick thickness. There lay its expensive a child — “the materialized idea”. It was the relief of the Volga basin and the Caspian Sea made of mastic. Arable lands are painted in yellow color of ripe wheat, a meadow — in light green, and the woods — in dark green. From the East ominous brown languages of the coming desert put in the Zavolzhye fields. The riverbed of Volga and a bottom of the Caspian Sea were naked.
In half an hour the room was turned into the peculiar laboratory filled with the audience.
Mikheyev put the model edges on two tables, under model put an empty bucket, and full — on a table and through a rubber tube started up water in Samara to onions. Water cheerfully ran on the course, broke in the delta a difficult pattern into sleeves and began to fill a bottom of the Caspian Sea. When the sea was filled to the put end, Mikheyev opened below a drain that water remained at one level.
— The annual debit of Volga — there began Mikheyev — in round joint account three hundred fifty — three hundred seventy cubic kilometers. All this mass of water evaporates and therefore the Caspian Sea does not raise more likely goes down in annual level. We cannot evaporate water in our experience and therefore we release superfluous down. Now here what I suggest to make with Volga. — Mikheyev took out a curved plate from a pocket and enclosed it in a groove on a relief below Kamyshin.
And in the face of the audience the dammed waters of Volga began to rise above “dam”, and below, to the Caspian Sea, only the very narrow stream began to flow.
— Height of this barrage — thirty seven meters. And, you look, from this horizon Volga spontaneously merges in unimaginable spaces of the Zavolzhye steppes and deserts in three powerful streams.
The water which rose over a dam stood minute in indecision, as if in perplexity before an unexpected obstacle, and suddenly poured down on the East on a slope, on courses, hollows, hollows, having formed complex network of the Martian channels and lakes.
— These streams are reached not some artificial and grandiose, costing huge funds, constructions, and, of course, not digging of channels. They flow on natural deepenings, hollows and ravines, of course, with the corresponding capture and the direction of water flows.
— And why this streamlet flowing into the Caspian Sea is left? — one of the audience asked.
— The one seventh part of the debit of Volga is left in the direct, direct current to the Caspian Sea on continuous with it, so and with Baku, water communication. A half of it also on acquisition of through direct traffics. Means, about seventy cubic kilometers of the debit of Volga will follow directly to the Caspian Sea. And three hundred cubic kilometers, instead of their present loss in the sea abyss, will go east on revival of lands from Volga across Emba, and on a potusheniye of “the terrestrial fire” there, and, with elimination deserts, on acquisition of new farms, on melioration of the freed lands there.
— Means, the sea…
— The Caspian Sea will decrease in the level on two thirds of meter a year, and in thirty seven years the condition of its level will go down on twenty four meters. The Caspian Sea will have here what look.
Mikheyev opened the crane under a relief board more, water from the Caspian Sea began to flow in a bucket stronger, and sea level began to go down quickly. In a second there passed years, and out soon familiar outlines of the sea was not to find. The Caspian Sea “dried out” almost on a third. The bottom of a northern part to Mangyshlak and Makhachkala was bared. On it there were only a few crossing channels yes of “lakes” in a northeast part.
— Generally ground spaces will be released on hundred fifty thousand square kilometers, the same to seventy thousand in mouths of the Kura both at the Persian coast and in Cara-Bugaze, and the most important — across Absheron and Cheleken immeasurably valuable spaces of oil lands, too in thousands of square kilometers will be released. At last, all coast of the Caspian Sea will be freed from malaria pernicious there.
The first stone to this world of new construction puts the project of a piping of Volga.
Specialists, not the last spokes in a wheel of the Soviet device, worry.
Desire to give a review of the project of a piping of Volga! VSNKh demands. The People’s Commissariat for Agriculture and the State Planning Committee are interested, RKI presses…
Strange project and stranger author, as though also the engineer, not the young man. And the project — you do not know, as well as to approach it… Scope is Bolshevist, the idea grandiose and that will leave — Allah knows.
Old engineers whisper:
— If this project passes — much kaput. How to be?
— For the place you worry?
— What place? If there passes Mikheyev’s project, then many engineers will be required… The place will be. But there you will be…
— On a mikheevsky mill to pour water? To you manual labor, to it honor? He-he. Do not worry, however, in advance, maybe, still will fail this crazy project. Everything will depend on what response the expert — professor Chichagov will give. Yes here and it, as by the way!. Let’s ask. Hello, Ivan Arkadyevich! Well, how your opinion on a piping?
Chichagov rumples soft lips and looks through gold points up. It carries the gray-haired head is proud and is careful as a fragile jewelry. In it its capital.
— Um… yes… piping… I still in detail did not get acquainted with material. Besides I can give a response only on the specialty. Technically, of course, the project is quite feasible. To dam the river — not God knows what knowledge. In it there is even nothing original. Mikheyev suggests to make only on a large scale what is done by the ordinary miller. But in the estimate, it seems to me, the author cruelly is mistaken. Here business smells not three hundred million, but billions, meaning the project in general.
— In billions? Means, not in power, and? There will not pass number? — The look of the engineer was poured by hope and greedy curiosity.
But Chichagov did not please with the direct answer but only vaguely shrugged shoulders.
And what old professor could answer? In his opinion, Bolsheviks only also did that undertook excessive tasks. Will be enough them. Will undertake a piping and… will make, perhaps!
— And here still I heard — the engineer told opinion of one large expert. — That says that Mikheyev’s project — the absolute nonsense. Fish of the Caspian Sea got used to the water mode with this percent of salinity. Besides fish will have no place to throw caviar.
— And the representative Narkomzdrava — interfered other engineer — claims that Mikheyev not only will not destroy as promises, and will increase malaria in the terrifying sizes. Think only: to start up waters of Volga spontaneously! They form a set of boggy lakes, zalivchik, water “oaz” as the inventor speaks. What the hell it will turn out, and not only with malaria — the climate of all edge will change to the worst, but not to the best, and. The Caspian Sea will evaporate much less moisture of which eventually clouds are formed.
— Well, it is not so terrible — Chichagov objected. — The total of moisture in the region will not decrease. New reservoirs will evaporate water too. However, this my personal opinion, opinion of the layman in the field of meteorology — was modestly added by him.
The engineer wanted to ask one more question, but Chichagov decided that he told and so too much. Having pleaded what hurries on a meeting, venerable professor incurred the precious head further.
This meeting devoted to discussion of the project of Mikheyev was quite rough.
In the beginning specialists behaved frostily. Nobody decided “to cover the project with might and main”, but many carefully expressed “fears” which, as a poison drop, had to poison the idea of the courageous project. At the end of a meeting of passion inflamed, and shouts were already heard: “Nonsense! Nonsense! Madness!” The heavy artillery — Chichagov — was reserved by opponents of the project by the end.
The speech of professor of a form was “very objective”, and in essence he poured out a tub of cold water on enthusiasts, “having expressed the modest opinion” on multi-billion expenses.
The project hung by a thread.
But here unexpectedly to the aid of Mikheyev workers of places — the natives of the Volga region living in close proximity with “heat of the earth” moved.
Their impact was strong and amicable.
— You give Volga!
One of them repeated Mikheyev’s words: “At all water of life, neither humus gram, nor meter of height of Volga should not vanish in lowlands of the salt abyss of the Caspian Sea!”
— You give Volga!
Big stars without blinking look at Earth as if eyes of unknown night birds. The dense darkness, timid and stubborn, rose to the coals of the burned-down fire. Wind will run, the flame uvula will flash, will light faces of fishermen, the edge of the drying network, the black shining belly overturned on the bank of the boat will draw near coals also again. From the coast pulls dampness, tar, fish.
Tired fishermen ate up fish soup, scooping wooden spoons from a kettle.
— Burst напоследях. And then каюк: zagovey on fish! — the gray-haired thick old man Gleb Kalganov broke the silence, is shorter — Kalgan.
On its parties three sons — on the right the senior, at the left younger, same large, bearded big fellows, as well as he, only dark-haired sat.
Gleb is the head of fishing artel. The Caspian Sea and lower reaches of Volga — for it the open book which each line he knows by heart. Knows water, fish habits, vagaries of the weather, the seas and its inhabitants. On one signs known to it is able even to foretell when the puzanok, a beshenka, a vobla where they will direct a way whether the big catch will be goes. In all that his word — the law concerns fish. And as the fishing village only also lives fish, Gleb’s word and in all other — the law. What will tell, so to that and to be. Before war he was not the last owner on crafts, had the capital, a tackle, ware. Revolution destroyed his welfare, but not the authority. He governed artel in the old manner — a spit as wanted.
His words were surprising of fishermen. Kalgan behaves in a queer way!
— On our century of fish enough! — the speckled Horned owl responded.
— A spoon lick yes the tongue lose. The fact that not enough! — Gleb important answered. Having kept silent a little to be convinced that nobody interrupts any more, he continued: — The last times come. God took away reason from people, and put their mad became. The God’s world is wanted to be remade in own way: to dry up the sea, Zavolzhye to turn Volga mother in the steppe. Also there will be we as cancer aground. Truly aground! Both fathers, and our grandfathers lived by the sea, fished. Da Volga’ sea were to us an arable land, and fish — bread. And here — on you! The sea will dry up, Volga will leave, fish will die, also we will die. Where and a vobla and other sea creatures caviar to throw a puzanok will go? There is no place. There is no Volga. Cover! And our huts will stand in naked to a step. And the seabed will begin to be plowed. Where the God’s small fish froliced, there tractors zatarakhtit, will arrange state farm. Village Council at the bottom sea. Beauty!. Our fishing heads were gone! Without Volga, there is no sea to us a zhista!
Gleb became silent, having inclined the head as a bull under blow of a butt.
The speckled Horned owl spitted out loudly, swore:
— Yes you, maybe, drank superfluous, Kalgan, was not overslept? Regain consciousness, cross! What to part nonsense for the night? Whether imaginable this business?. — Also stopped short.
Gleb raised the head and strictly looked at the Horned owl.
— I never spent on drink mind and was not engaged in nonsense… Yesterday the chairman of the Village Council spoke to me. Arrived, speaks, some of Astrakhan, to employ the administration, people. All of them also told that Volga will be closed, will drain the sea. From Astrakhan, speaks, the sea of versts on three hundred will depart. Means, and from us it is a little less. Below Kamyshin, at the Little sister, visitors say, already dig the earth, the stone, sand bring, barracks build. A dam Volga will be intercepted. In a word, upoky, My God, smother deceased your slaves!
Fishermen suddenly rustled as if storm wind on the wood passed.
— How to be a tepericha? — the young scared tenor outvoiced all.
Gleb grinned in gray-haired moustaches — got!
— How to be — he important started talking. — Vreme-na-a! That year, is worse. And all because that God was forgotten. God told: “All good very much”. And they here you are! Then by God it is incorrectly created. Undertook to correct! And former and that unless is bad? In old times as was? — And Gleb already rode out the fad. He spoke about “Golden Age” when fishes caught more than eighty million kilograms in the Caspian Sea and lower reaches of Volga a year, for twelve million rubles, about a beluga weighing one and a half thousand kilograms, about a starred sturgeon in fifty kilograms, about a sterlet in sixteen kilograms.
— And now that? Beluzhka — fifty five kilograms, a sturgeon — ten-twenty, a sevryuzhka at all six kilograms. Fish becomes shallow, fall trade. And now at all limes want them.
After such preparation Gleb wanted to lead the speech further. But here unexpectedly the thin fisherman Kuzma Sysoyev, all prickly as the Caspian bull-calf, a prickly, long ago not shaven beard, prickly eyes and words prickly got into conversation:
— Bolsheviks are guilty, speak? They exhausted fish? And you are not present? And who in forbidden time yes in forbidden places caught fish? You will tell, not you? Who seines blocked the river, up did not pushchat fish to places of spawning? Who on “holes” of a stanovishch of oblavshchik arranged yes wintering there a bream and a sazan and caught a catfish? Not you? You are also the first fish wrecker! Exhausted fish, and itself was inflated. It to you tightened now belts, here and began to whimper: ha-arasho was! To whom it is good, and to whom it is bad. окрест you in servitude had all fishermen! It Otjetsya on our sweat-blood, on you, a svolocha, worked.
Gleb though that, as though and not about it the speech. Lit a tubule, in an extinct fire spat and quietly answered:
— Well, brothers, I became bad to you, the old man drove out of mind, look for the senior more young. And I see that me have nothing to do here more. Tomorrow I will at daybreak take a swag for shoulders yes with the sons and I will start wandering on a path of a kuda of an eye look.
Fishermen were disturbed.
— Bude, Kalgan!
— Without you, as without eyes!
— Do not throw us!
— The dog grinds — wind carries!. — were heard from darkness of a voice of fishermen. But the salted, dense bass of Gleb covered all these voices:
— My word is firm! As told, well. And now to sleep!
Sighing and sighing, fishermen settled. It became absolutely silent. Only splash of the running wave was heard.
— Nikita! — Gleb said in low tones, having pushed sideways the son. — Sh-shsh… Creep, look whether this devil obstinate — Kuzma sleeps!
— Pokhrapyvayet — Nikita reported in a minute.
— Wake the carefully others… Horned owl, perhaps, too not трожь.
And when fishermen woke up, Gleb began to speak to them:
— Here that, children. Our business — tobacco. But only I so think that else it is possible to save the sea and Volga. Let’s not give them in offense! Sh-shsh! Listen! Said in council that this devil’s dam costs millions, and money it is just barely enough released. Here I also think … — Gleb started talking even more quietly: — If will break through this dam, and all plan will break through them to the devil’s grandmother. More money at them will not be enough. You realize? We will go all artel to Kamyshin, we will be employed in navvies, and there… it will be visible. Who agrees, that tomorrow and register!
Again silence. Large stars began to blink very often as if at night birds of an eye stuck together.
The small Volga town of Kamyshin is flooded alien fierce: seasonal workers, workers, employees, technicians, cooperators…
The village the Little sister on the right side of Volga, Solodushino with left and the island Shishkin, lying on the line of a barrage, are unrecognizable. As mushrooms after a rain grew barracks, cooperatives, dining rooms, catering establishments, clubs, hospitals.
The Kamyshin gardeners, damning a barrage, a piping and Mikheyev, transferred the bashtana far to the country.
Cucumbers and the well-known Kamyshin water-melons will grow somehow on the new place of a melon?.
— Ruined! At the roots cut! Ruined! Fish was gone, also our water-melons will be gone! — old men-bashtanniki grumbled.
The Kamyshin station is to the full filled with the arriving freights: wood, by cars, rails. Crept away with snakes on building of a narrow-gage railway. Fervently cuckoos shout, dragging for themselves tails of trolleys with sand, the earth, a stone. Zalyazgali iron jaws excavators. Zachvakali, drags breathed heavily, cranes creak.
Day and night there is a work. Brightly fires of lamps and searchlights disperse a gloom.
It is not slept to old men residents of Kamyshin. Will leave the house and long look at fires reflected in waters of the wide river and it seems to them that they got to other, terrible and unclear world where huge iron monsters creep, move necks more long than a cable column, champ mouths in which the bull and with horns will pass. And people — small, fussy — look after these unknown monsters.
Mikheyev almost does not sleep and eats on a clothes line. It is happy. The dream of his life was fulfilled. To the desert war is declared, he is a commander-in-chief at the front, the fire captain on “the fire of the earth”. He runs day and night bare-headed. Its bald head is red from the sun, wind and nervousness. The pointed nose was even more pointed, eyes flare. It all is heated by inspiration fire.
Runs on the coast, swings hands. After it, hardly keeping up, the lanky young engineer walks.
— Liquid air — here my secret! — Mikheyev shouts, without turning around to the engineer. — The device to Linda which is a little altered by me. Pressure — two hundred twenty atmospheres… We carry out liquid air on pipes and we release directly in water. It freezes water.
And before caissons we will receive a strong ice wall in the hot summer. Under its protection it will be easy for us to work.
It is better, than the temporary crossing points applied on Dneprostroy… What do you lag behind? Rather, rather!.
Work is humming in three changes. One change sends another calls to a competition. Day and night cuckoos have something in common. Cars roar, people rush about.
— As on the fire! — residents of Kamyshin speak.
— The fire also is; the earth burns, it is necessary to extinguish!
Dashingly Gleb Kalgan works with the artel. Sons of young people were outdone by the old man. And will graduate from artel work, at night-midnight take the networks occupied with themselves — and in boats. The river pulls, fish pulls.
And here among the old man bitterness pours out, facilitates heart, to the brim crowded with rage.
— Wait a moment! Will prop up a water dam autumn, here we also will gasp the artel to them on to help. One is bad — work at night, fires burn. Well and we will contrive somehow. To notice for the main thing where is thinner.
— Not there! Not there, devils, devils! Not there, rebyatushka! — Mikheyev’s voice reaches from the island Shishkin.
— See, vostronosy devil! — Gleb grumbles. — To Ugomon on him is not present! Well, take a walk, shout a bit. Let’s calm also you.
— The uncle Gleb — the young fisherman says suddenly. — And I met Kuzma yesterday. About cement works gadded. There, likely, it was attached.
— Prickly it is necessary to be on guard this ruff. Will inform. All business will fail if slightly that will notice. Yes, can, for this purpose and came to building, maybe, overheard then… at night?.
— The uncle Gleb, and why pipes lay?
— Among summer water gas is wanted to be frozen. Frozen there was a wish for pike perches. Well, only unrealizable this business: before people did not reach yet that summer for the winter to overturn.
The message that “Volga will be frozen” quickly flew about building. The Kamyshin old residents were shocked.
— It is visible, not all nonsense that old women stir. In the summer ice to hold down the river — unless not the same miracle how the sea to dry up it and fire to kindle?
— Pomorozit water-melons! Though throw баштан yes leave up hill and down dale…
After all hoped: not to create a miracle to the person!
But these hopes did not come true: froze vostronosy Volga. However, not all, but all it was also not necessary to it. And before caissons water froze, became an ice wall. Not that residents of Kamyshin, and and seasonal workers did not trust the eyes, a hand felt ice. Real, without fake. Cold and strong!
Day after day people win meter from the river behind meter. Lower wooden boxes caissons on a bottom, build concrete cubes bull-calves. Water directs in flights, boiling and worrying. Level of the semi-dammed Volga increases, and the autumn high water from above approaches. Concrete bulls, links of a chain which has to hold down Volga are ready almost everything. It is necessary to finish the last, to block iron boards, and Volga, having met an obstacle, will turn the plentiful waters, will move to the Zavolzhye steppes to extinguish “the fire of the earth”.
But it is necessary to wait an autumn high water, and it this year unknown: the whole summer and fall went pouring rains.
Water arrives every day, muddy, dark, gloomy. Storms, fights about concrete bulls. Dry leaves, herbs, bushes, branches, the whole trees — everything that was taken by the river on the way — stuck around ledges of bulls, litter coast.
But thousands of builders day and night forge chains for the river.
Kuzma Sysoyev works at building together with the wife. It became as though still prickly. Lost weight, acquired a beard. Day works, and does not sleep at night, turns as if he is pricked by dry bones.
— What you do not sleep? — the wife grumbles.
Kuzma in the dark sighs.
— Gleb damned does not give to rest with the artel…
Yesterday there were I to a barrage at night, and it goes about a pipe with air, sniffs up. And change not it. What there it is necessary to it? Uvidal me — was washed away.
— And you what business? — the wife grumbles. — Watch yourself. Here winter is at hand, and you still a fur coat yes did not receive valenoks. Others received long ago.
— Tomorrow it is necessary vostronosy to tell — Kuzma continues, thinking of the.
— And long ago it is time — the wife calms.
Suddenly the beep, faltering, alarm, tears night calm to parts. Alarm…
Kuzma ran out on the street.
That for weather damned! Wind knocks down, the rain whips, the river hoots. Workers run.
Shout, noise not to understand in what business.
— Why alarm? — Kuzma asks.
— Accident. The pipe with liquid air does not work, melted ice, the caisson fills in — someone answers on the run.