My story begins with the birth as for all people who are more or less versed in the laws of nature. Falling leaves were in full swing, causing positive emotions among passers-by. Wonderful days of the height of autumn were coming to an end, but there was no doubt that winter would overshadow the withering nature with its lace blizzard and bitter frost with extraordinary beauty and force.
Fortunately, the maternity hospital was located not in another city, but in the very center of one of the oldest cities on the Volga river with a rich past, a large number of merchant houses, squares, parks and cultural monuments. But for the child such a disproportion in the development of his external data and antiquity did not matter. The baby did not harbor hatred or resentment towards his already mature parents, but enjoyed the fact that he was born in the family of the great racer and hero of the battle of Khalkhin Gol — Sergey and two “naive” adults who already have a first-grader son.
These husbands and wife agreed that if a boy is born, they will give him up for education in an orphanage, and if a girl is born, into a decent family, meaning that they are loved, so that in the future she can return to her father’s house and become a support for her old and retired parents. They have long been looking for a female donor, to whom a tenth pregnancy would be a burden, in order to equip their family nest with the least cost. The husband and wife swore real relatives that they would raise a girl in the best Russian traditions, since this served as a weighty argument in choosing a home from where she was born. The mother-woman stayed in the hospital, and her husband, a race car driver, could not take care of the baby, because he constantly trained and participated in international competitions, defending the honor of the country, so he would look for an intelligent couple who would care about the unborn child.
Trustees did not appear immediately. At first they lost some of their money while traveling around Europe and the world, and then in one of the restaurants in Stockholm met an elderly pregnant woman with a rather attractive husband-racer, who repented in conversation that he was very busy at work.
“Can you imagine how much work you need to get drunk,” he said, imitating the famous artist Filippov.
“No, we don’t imagine,” said an intelligent, middle-aged man, moving a plate of potatoes sprinkled with dill and tasting food with dignity to himself.
“And we represent,” their partners said in opposition, feeling their destiny in the world of grief and violence.
“We already have a son,” a senior-looking woman suddenly emerged with a Siberian behavior and an experienced soldier. “We have a little son. He is now in the kindergarten, but when we return, we will take him for good.”
“Dear compatriots,” Sergey immediately turned to her bluntly, “could you shelter a small miracle. My wife and I want to find her guardians.”
“We agree,” an intelligent man of about forty-five, the husband of a female soldier in a uniform tunic, supported the conversation. “Let’s celebrate this event with a glass of champagne.”
“We don’t have champagne,” Sergey said sedately. “That’s when I win the champion title, and then we will swim and pour champagne. This will happen in exactly one year.”
“Then we will set a date of birth and meet at the central maternity hospital,” his companion said. “We seem from the same city.”
“Excellent, but these issues are not resolved so quickly. It is necessary to formalize the adoption through a lawyer’s office,” the intelligent man — the husband of an outright soldier with the manners of a Siberian woman — made the proposal.
“Here we go back home, and immediately go down where necessary. We can even fly to the moon,” the pregnant lady calmed down, hitting everyone with her appearance and sensual hands. An intelligent middle-aged man thought that she was already his wife, and not a proud military woman, hurrying to buy property in any part of the planet, just not to be a “driven horse”, as she herself said before, admiring the old monuments of the capital of Sweden.
A group of tourists came out of the restaurant and headed towards the bus, passing forward the guide.
“We’ll see the embankment and the granite gilded tomb of the ancient Norman ruler — Vasa. And then we will return by the same route,” the guide announced to the megaphone.
The pacified parents of their young son, the future first grader, found a way to negotiate with their lawyer and patronage sister in their free time from the searches school uniform in the “Child’s World” store for their first child, brought to a one-room twenty-five meter private house from a 24-hour kindergarten. He dreamed of learning the basics of a primer.
“So, it’s done, you can start saving money for the next trip abroad,” the former military servicewoman correctly hinted to her faithful spouse.
“I accept your wishes with great pleasure, but we must take into account our needs for food and rest. My finances sing luxurious daisy romances.”
“Then start your own business or open a dictionary in order to understand how many unused words we have to describe the anthology of all family traditions and travels,” the former military servicewoman, introduced the rationalization proposal.
“A great idea,” the husband admired with the manners of a secular lion and continued reading the stale press left in the mailbox, but got it right after coming from the Scandinavian cruise.
Disorderly adults took the initiative and honestly took the girl home after the previous agreement, almost losing along the way, periodically pressing two children to the wall of the maternity hospital or to the trolley bus seat. But it soon turned out that the child had neither a father nor a mother. A week later she was sent to an orphanage with the police, so that adults who walked in honor of the birth of the girl did not lose a helpless baby in a fit of joy.
A brother of school age was limply watching the cussing and fighting of wife and her husband for the right to nurse the doll. They wondered what happened to the newly born baby, occasionally offering the frightened first grader to smell the bread.
But when, after a long training and competitive period, Sergey returned, he was fortunate to find that the child feels perfectly well under the shelter of an orphanage, under the careful care of professional nannies. This state of affairs calmed him down, but he did not lose hope of becoming the father of his son for the umpteenth time in order to raise himself a replacement in a race on a car that was in his garage.
“Consider that we have invested heavily in the birth, upbringing and care of children,” the guardians tearfully explained in court to experienced lawyers, when they deprived them of their parental rights, calling them “careless adults.”
“We hope that our heroic past will rush you and dot the ‘i’. Remember how much blood your wife shed for two and a half years of participation in the Patriotic War. Yes, her husband has a real arsenal of positive qualities,” the young lawyer instructed, wishing to move up the career ladder and become sometime a referee at sporting events and receive huge fees.
“Forgiven, but not a slave,” fearing that he would seem foolish, her husband was furiously indignant, quoting a classic.
“So, one more negative response or complaint and your old age will be under threat,” the lawyer said, narrowing his eyes and straightening his tie, defiantly looking at the board of trustees in the person of the district staff.
“We will correct, look here,” the guardians with despair tore at their last shirt, lied, dodging, like snakes, hoping for leniency of a judge with extensive experience in law enforcement organizations and guardianship councils, solving the most difficult life issues. A wife in a dark raincoat, put on top of an elegant, yellow, crepe de chine dress, gazing out from under the eyebrows at the judge, pushing her husband in the side, whispered frantically:
“We will correct her appearance beyond recognition, then it’s not bad to lose money on expensive trips abroad or the purchase of jewelry, which I don’t have yet, but over time will be as much as no other millionaire in the world. You understand now that we are facing a whole galaxy of adventurers, dealers of stolen diamonds and entrepreneurs.”
“Entrepreneurs won’t scare me. I studied them in Italy. They have a siesta every day,” her husband quietly answered her, standing in a dark blue drape coat. He squeezed enough worn leather gloves in his hands, bending from back pain when he was barely pulled out from the next world after a bullet wound and a serious operation to remove the projectile from a soft tissue made by his sister-surgeon during a truce between the Entente and Russia.
The guilty assured of something the judge in the black mantle, but they themselves did not believe in what they said, hoping for God’s help or transfer of money from abroad from non-existent relatives, whom they had only dreamed of, indulging in postwar sprees, walking through restaurants and cafe, intending to seem respectable and capable of heroic deeds. In those happy days, unsuspecting, the little son was in the “focal”, that is, around the clock nursery, kindergarten and naughty about the same as all babies of his age.
“Well, we will give you a time to think it over,” promises pardon, the judge completed her directed, fiery speech. The husband and wife, remembering that they did not have breakfast, rushed to the nearest canteen, ordered the entrecote with fried potatoes in debt, but then, noticing the policeman’s approach, gave the wristwatch with inlay for lunch, so as not to recall the passed, dangerous adoption enterprise. However, they immediately had to return home in order to forget themselves in sweet dreams and thoughts about the current moment, where to get the necessary banknotes for the purchase of a TV, washing machine and refrigerator.
At home, the surprised couple did not find them left in the care of the mother-in-law, babies. The patronage sister carried the girl to the same orphanage exactly for a year, where the serene years of their son or stepbrother passed, hoping that her father would remember the existence of a baby. There the girl was brought to life, aftercare, stitching, wounds and abrasions left by the guardians.
After participating in racing and popular championships and competitions, racing driver Sergey finally won the recognition of the public, the title of champion and three golden stars, winning in all team heats of Europe, World and the Olympic Games.
After winning, he bought a new Ferrari racing car, a boat for his wife, an apartment in the center, and headed a column of winners with the developing flags of the Union republics, intending to travel across the city on a motorcycle. But he was wrapped up and sent to the maternity hospital where he had a daughter, adopted by guardians. Now, exactly one year later, he had a son, who was supposed to once sit on a car, continue the tradition of winning in all weather conditions.
Four dry, but slightly pasted, cracked and shabby violins – the two most minimal for elementary music school classes and two for adult orchestra soloists – were stored in thick cellophane next to a lot of paper bags of guitar strings in a wrinkled brown volume dusty bag under a beaten rain coffee table on the balcony. This pitiful picture would have dismayed the violin makers, who had spent more than a single month of making art objects.
Every thing must go through periods of novelty, obsolescence, and trash. Therefore, no one had any business, which once played on these musical artificial instruments, since there was no evidence, but only a wooden base. Bows, pegs, stand for the strings, earrings, chin rest, screws, tail rods and rosin were also absent. Viola, mandolin, cello, horn, double bass, poshetta would cry if they saw this deplorable picture of abandonment and dilapidation, and the restorer would rejoice and take up the restoration of the former glory of this musical instrument, despite their sad, and sometimes incommensurably magnificent sound, jealously squeezing in his busy hands.
These four restored violin frames could serve as a leisure time for a family of Italian winemakers, where everyone from childhood dreamed of getting at least something like that, or a vain, greedy, “mean” antiquarian. He could bargain and sell them at an auction much more expensive, and then sell his other goods, profiting from any display of generosity from honest citizens.
“It seems that they want to cure me,” the most original of all its friends, the skeleton, babbled.
“Do not worry,” the most frayed full frame assured, looking at the thin figure of the reasoning little similarity. “We will lie down and sleep until you turn into a real beauty that any child can take in hand, wishing to learn to extract a fabulous melody with a bow.”
“My upper deck also requires gluing. A randomly tired violinist sat at me so that I would be silent forever,” the second full frame continued melancholically.
“Let’s not cry in vain, but recall the festive past concerts and performances, as we usually did before,” said the second quarter-frame. “How many cute creatures admired us?! How many tears and dreams we had previously caused in the parent audience in the spacious halls.”
“There isn’t enough wishbone for my vibration,” the first talking quarter body of the outdated product shook with the hoarse laughter of an elderly gentleman, and coughed.
“But I have a wishbone,” the full body without a crack began to boast. “I remember an ambitious young man. He kept me from time to time and even gently put in a hard case to give me a rest, and then get down to business again. But then my place was taken by the famous French violin, and I no longer performed concerts or showed my curl.”
“What a tune without a wishbone. No fullness, no liveliness,” taking seriously what his friend said, he was supported by his neighbor – a full corps. So they continued to talk, until the elderly woman got from the balcony an old wrinkled bag from under a black and white from the rains and winds of a plywood coffee table. She carefully wiped the dust, unwrapped the cellophane, and went over the strings for the guitar. Then she laid out four violin shells – two of the smallest and two full – on the floor and, taking a brush, dropping it in the appropriate lacquer paint with shades of maple and pine, put light strokes on all the products, fastening the cracks with varnish. When the varnish dried, she again painted the obsolete parts of the violin musical products, which once served faithfully to her admirers.
“It seems that I have serious rivals,” she thought, penetrating the illusion that these things would ever become fashionable and get to the future of Stradivari, Guarneri, Amati, or just go to the violin museum in Venice.
“Let my varmint-grandchildren grow up. If they want, they can best learn to play any musical instrument, extracting a melody, curing melancholy and amusing the soul.”
The next day, an elderly woman made an appointment by cell phone to meet the violin maker at the conservatory. He had his own workshop with various second-rate musical instruments that were out of order, lying on the shelves and waiting for repairs. Taking both small bodies with her, she showed her skills to the specialist.
“Let’s try to do something,” said the violin master, a lanky man who resembled Paganini in his appearance. “Leave this model to me,” he continued, carefully examining both brilliant hulls, pointing to a modest little hull, which already had some similarities with the fragile boat floating on the lake surface.
Two days later, when the wind direction was inspired by the song Solveig from Edward Grieg’s “Peer Gynt”, the music master called the visitor and offered to meet him in the workshop to deliver an urgent order – a long-awaited restored little beauty with all the necessary attributes – to her personally. The woman happily agreed.
The musical master met the woman in his workshop and demonstrated the abilities of a small violin. He touched unexpectedly appeared strings stretched by him on the tailpiece. The little violin issued a sparkling high tone, like a spring drop or a small babbling brook, hurrying among the stones of a mountain gorge, causing tears of joy to a woman. Paying for such trifles, the woman brought home her treasure, from which it was already possible to extract any fabulous sounds of melodies and tunes. Bow and rosin had to look for separately. It took a lot of work, as the seller in the musical instrument store first recorded the woman’s order and suggested that she call a month later when the necessary things appeared in the warehouse right there on the right side of the counter where all sorts of pieces of music masters stood proudly, how many are capable of making wonderful sounds and rhythms: clarinets, cellos, trumpets, timpani, cymbals, drums, button accordions, accordions, full violins and quarters, guitars, ukuleles, Kasio and Yamaha electric piano, synthesizers and something else that it was impossible to gaze immediately.
On the shelves under the glass were strings of different pitch. The bows were neatly folded on the rack, but the configuration was not there, as luck would have it.
“Don’t worry,” said the young salesman. “Once a month we always have receipts of the required goods. Now the beginning of the school year, and all the little fiddlestick bought up. Therefore, I will order a bow for you specifically and call you on the cell phone as soon as it goes down for sale.”
“How long will I have to wait for the arrival of a new batch of small bows for the fourth of violin?” asked jealously shopper, naively believing that everything is done by magic.
“Maybe a month or two. You do not worry everything in our power.”
“They say that Nora Roberts also played the violin as a child, but she didn’t have a relationship with her teachers, so she quit practicing music and doing needlework,” the customer thought, hoping that her thoughts would not be read by a smart salesman who looked like a real Kapellmeister or a member of a vocal-instrumental ensemble with long curly hair tied at the back with a ribbon. “He probably plays the bass guitar in the evening in a restaurant.”
“I have enough patience. I will wait for your call,” imagining that she has already bought the bow, the selfish woman said, not caring what the entire musical elite of the city would think of her.
“They will call.”
“Otherwise, I will come to you in the week, agreed?”
“Do not even think about doing it. So early bows of this size will not come to us. We must first call to Moscow and find out whether these products came from the factory. If not, they will order in a special workshop. Only when the product passes certification, they will call me, and I will inform you that everything is ready. This is not a simple matter to carve and polish such a small bow, and then pull horsehair rubbed with rosin to slide along the strings better. There are very few such bows, so if they go on sale, they are taken apart instantly.”
“How well you say, clearly explain what I do not understand. And what is behind your back? Doesn’t that bow fit for such a violin?” Asked the customer, pointing to a small bow, located in the corner of a large metal stand.
She pulled out of the paper bag a small body of a quarter-violin without strings, neatly covered with brownish varnish. The one that was next to the finished product.
“I am also shown to the seller. It means that we are quoted in the world of temptation and waste,” the restored building decided, without regretting the absence of strings. “But if I could speak out loud, I would have scolded the seller for genuine sluggishness,” the small corps again indignant to himself, who had brought considerable benefits in the musical upbringing of the child.
“This bow is not yet appreciated. He was ordered a month ago. Today they sent me from Moscow and I need to call the customer. Moreover, it is not suitable for your instrument, but much more and corresponds to the half of the violin, that is, the next in size for this body.”
“Yes, I am the smallest in the violin row,” thought the lacquered corps without strings again, which the customer immediately returned to the bag. Sadly sighing, the buyer showed her regret and hope.
“Thanks for the clarification, let’s hope,” she said disturbingly. All the nuances of flashed thoughts expressively reflected on her face when she left the store.
Two months passed before the music store salesman finally called the customer for the little bow.
The woman completely lost hope of purchase. Delighted and taking with her a lacquered case without strings, she rushed to the store.
“Really sent?!” she thought with delight.
“They take me back to the music class as before. Some kind of philosophical benefit lies in this,” argued the lacquered small case without strings, leaving two full friends and a small violin at home. Looking out of the bag with his curl, it watched large flakes of snow whirling in the air and sticking to the glass of the bus, where the happy customer was traveling, returning home with a bow and rosin.
Finally, these expensive things appeared in the hands of the demanding amateur of musical instruments.
“Hooray! Finally, I breathe and can live among the lovely creatures, surrounded by their care and attention,” thought the little violin enthusiastically when it saw next to her a small bow with taut horsehair, waxed with rosin.
Thirty Three Greetings
There lived in the world a small skinny boy nicknamed “Thirty-three reverences”, who dreamed of becoming a great man. He went to school, and in his spare time he helped his mother with the housework: he chopped firewood in the yard, brought water from the well, as they lived in the village, looked after the younger sister and brother, went to the bazaar, located under a canopy in an open field. Everywhere he had to bow, so he chose this nickname for himself, and people agreed to call him by that original name. Whenever he passed by the market by newspaper vendors, with milk, fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, they happily hailed him.
“Hi, thirty-three reverences.”
“Hello,” he replied respectfully, taking off his beret.
That’s how he continued to live, helping his family in everything. After school, having matured, he went to study further. He left for the big city, entered the university, began to attend lectures, practical classes and seminars. He had a lot to do on his own in the library after the sports section, as he was an excellent boxer for everything. But it so happened that his friends also called him the same nickname, because he constantly approached the professors table, bowing, or asked interesting questions at the end of the lecture with words of gratitude for what was heard, new for him, scientific data, important information, fascinating information. Although, in fact, he was called by the simple name Slava.
After graduating from university, Slava became a journalist. He also had to travel to cities and villages, write reports for news, and take an interview from builders, engineers, doctors, artists, directors, sailors and all those who stood around the clock at the post. He wandered in distant lands and reserved corners where no man’s foot had stepped, beating off thirty-three reverences in hard-to-reach places. With him on television worked as a speaker girl Marianne.
They became friends and became real responsible assistants of the entire team of journalists of the news channel, proof-readers, operators, broadcasters and the chief editor, who occasionally told them when they met in the morning to discuss the evening issues:
“I hope for all of your thirty-three reverences. Let people know how much labor they need to invest in any job they start.”
“We won’t let you down,” they answered, laughing. “We will tell about everything that we know. We will be able to convey greetings from working people from different countries to every reader and viewer who has not yet had time to go there.”
“With you, our work will be done well,” seriously encouraged them by the head of a large print and television mass communications corporation, which was located in a skyscraper made of glass and concrete. Finally, at Slava, after thirty-three business trips, where he also had to repeatedly meet with directors of enterprises, farmers, farmers, an apartment appeared for a beautiful bride, Marianna. This event so pleased him that they invited thirty guests to the wedding, and three musicians to amuse the people. He shook hands with everyone, nodded his head, and the bride joked in reply:
“Now we will dance with the bridegroom, bowing together to each guest and musicians for the gifts presented. Let them see how well we can do it.”
“Everyone knows that you know how to beat reverences,” the guests admired the newlyweds, giving thirty-three different bouquets of exotic and modest flowers — lavender, rose, gladiolus, ylang-ylang, orchids, magnolias, and Marianne was enraptured of their smell.
“We will tweet about our marriage to all working people who know us who have small children,” Slava replied, bowing out, just as he had done in his distant childhood.
Soon the newlyweds also had children: a son and a daughter. They were like their parents like two drops of water, and they constantly watched the kids, beating off thirty-three bows, helping the little ones to grow, to get stronger, to become as intelligent, attentive, hardworking and caring as they are.
Choosing a Bride
The mollusk was swimming in the princess’s imagination when she awoke to a sudden rumble and noise from a collision of two or three vehicles rushing along a cinder-shaped polygon. Reluctantly she opened her eyes, looked at the calendar and the mechanical clock mechanism in the form of a hut, acting on batteries. To her horror, she immediately discovered that she had put on her tracksuit inside out, but she did not change clothes and looked out of the window, from where ominous rattles and blows were born, hoping that she was swimming in weightlessness.
But there was no mollusk, no sea depths nearby, only the booming noises coming from the freeway. There was a continuous series of cars moving in the same direction — towards the airfield, where the hangars were outdated, military, supersonic airliners with half a dozen ammunition for strategic purposes.
“Have I really slept through the rehearsal,” she exclaimed, dressing quickly, running up to the door. “What a mediocrity!”
On the table in her room there was a bouquet of artificial flowers also on batteries, where exotic, electronic butterflies flew around, forming an aura, expanding the color space beyond recognition.
“How much can we tell ourselves to watch horror films less, otherwise I’ll fail completely and not be able to sing a single part in the new, operatic repertoire appointed by the main director,” she thought five minutes before the beginning of the audition, heading to her notorious electric car firm Suzuki, presented to her recently by her father in honor of the twentieth. She only saw him at work.
“Be extremely careful. Do not leave your transport unattended,” he warned harshly on rehearsal that day.
“Is something can happen?”
She was surprised with the naivety of one year old baby.
“A means of hijacking has already proven itself, but can lift into the air by helicopter. Then you won’t catch up with anything,” he joked.
“I will try,” she reassured the generous “dad.”
Parking was located next to a large supermarket. The princess has never had problems buying offal for student parties and barbeque rides to the forest, nearby, suburban array to breathe fresh air, without gas fumes and admire the remnants of green plantings, grown at great expense in closed premises, transplanted by gardeners back to tubs in the winter. Entry there was paid.
There, in the openwork metal gazebo, one could sit down and admire the beauty of the landscape, boat traffic on the river surface or order a taste reminiscent of sodium carbonate, champagne in the buffet along with all those vacationers who came there before to enjoy the pleasant summer breeze, bright green, colorful views of the surrounding, natural open-air. However, artists and photographers did not have to wait. They were constantly coming up, offering their services for small fees, so that oil portraits and pictures of girls in bathing suits on the beach were featured in all popular foreign magazines, including Australia and Oceania.
“I will break through the cork. What a pity that only birds, dragonflies and butterflies have wings”, she thought with growing anger, striking the steering wheel with her right hand, accompanying her thoughts with a cheerful chant from the “Circus Princess” by Kalman’s operetta.
“Finally, we found a suitable candidate for lovers of musical masterpieces. Perhaps my abilities will prove to everyone about the girl’s adamant pursuit of her dream — to find a decent groom. How many decent people we have in the troupe, but they are all busy with their own problems,” Regina clearly represented her talented employees. “We must spit on the circumstances,” she suddenly decided. “For a few hours to plunge into the spaceships of the universe on the spacecraft, go in for phantasmagoria, the universe or just batten down the hatches and sail far to the east, to the Pacific Ocean.” The traffic jam on the road, which led to the airfield, where astronauts took exercises on flying, multi-tier simulators in the form of inverted, plastic, table plates, gradually resolved.
Regina had a familiar guy — Gabrielle — from the command of military paratroopers: a tall brunette with tight, sporty, brand trousers. He was waiting for her always near the light frame with the detector in his hands, checking for the presence of weapons in the trunk. He reminded her of a cross between a former marine infantryman and Avatar from an old, same-name version of the film directed by Cameron, who spent dozens of years and millions of dollars in shooting the film, but did not live up to the expectations of the audience.
They met by chance in the winter when she returned late from a rehearsal. Gabriel helped her recharge the battery, as she always discharged her car near the airfield because of the severe frost and alpha radiation from several radars that monitored the take-off and landing of flying simulators. Her compact electric car worked exclusively on an electric battery, so Gabriel did not have much difficulty in understanding the engine structure and taking Regina to the house, talking about her cosmic everyday life, constant takeoffs, the risk of encountering her work colleague in the open space and exploding on the way.
There was no transport around her, except for old “carts” — as she called gasoline-powered cars that had long been decommissioned, but used by very wealthy businessmen who didn’t save on energy but bought fuel from dealers from newly developed wells abroad. Looking into the rearview mirror, which followed her, she gladly found that there was nothing to fear, no one tried to overtake. To get to the location of the first and last theater in the city, she quickly flew at maximum speed to the post where the duty officer was stationed.
“We urgently need to check your electric car,” said Gabriel succinctly, frowning severely at the thought of leaving the post.
“Are you afraid I’ll die?” Regina asked this time.
She secretly fawned on a responsible officer who was in close proximity to her.
“Such incidents occurred periodically at our airport,” keeping a distance, Gabriel said carelessly, who was on duty that day.
“I hope you will save humanity and me from impending danger or a global catastrophe,” she said, being impressed by the accident seen in the morning, when three passengers from an updated small-sized sedan were laid onto the asphalt.
“I guess it all dreamed of me,” rejecting thoughts, she thought, looking away into the distance.
“Then my car is at your disposal,” Regina suggested taking her to the place where the theater district of the city was located.
“Now I will call my colleague — the duty officer. Let him send a robot to record the radar’s radio emissions. Then we can cross the light frame, and I will take you wherever you say.”
He pressed the button of a nearby backup robot, so that the clones brought a new, radiation set to recharge. So he acted every time in case of emergency.
“Can we really go?” Regina asked, not realizing herself that she had already enveloped Gabrielle with an atmosphere, a slight breath, a subtle aroma, like an aura, with her own mystery.
“Sure. But you need to wait for a response signal that my actions are legitimate. Do not put employees at risk.”
“Well, we will wait as you say.”
Gabriel spent his life at the airfield, where his father served as deputy commander in chief, and his mother was counted among the attendants at the hotel complex as a restaurant and cafe manager. Their airfield was considered closed, as prisoners worked there with code bracelets on their feet. After three years of stay, they wrote off, sending to the exclusion zone, to live out their term or, at their own request, they could break the contract; engage in private business for supplying the airfield with fuel and lubricant, issuing materials, as natural oil and mineral springs disappeared from the depths of the earth because of the energy crisis. This regrettable event took humanity fifty years after the military disaster in Chernobyl. Then no one wanted to believe that for weddings and peers there was neither money nor territory: everything was set up with military training grounds and broken power lines.
Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, apples, plums and pears grew exclusively under glass caps in specially constructed greenhouses. Other names of fruits and vegetables were weathered from dictionaries, everyday speech, no longer emerging from anyone in the memory or on the surface of shelving than they all used as furniture.
The elaborate products of the XXII century of a proud digital civilization have gone into the distant past, leaving behind piles of plastic utensils, dilapidated concrete skyscrapers, smart phones, canned, unfinished greenhouses with no heating and watering, abandoned after several explosions of factories; overcrowded seaside beaches, piled up with tourists’ waste, and a large number of wearily wandering around, unemployed clones, whose place of residence were the same waste cemeteries, rusty, submarines abandoned in countless numbers in any accessible place.
The metal was considered the lowest-grade building material, suitable only for sale in suburban areas for the exchange of graphite and cellulose, in order to adapt the sprouts grown in the upper ground for transplanting into the area difficult for clones. Confucianism finally took precedence over visible other religions. Flourishing, destroying all the Gentiles, the world turned into a latrine for blasphemous evidence of the former digital civilizations, which had long gone to self-destruction thanks to the efforts of terrorists and criminals who managed in a relatively short period of about two centuries, which for the entire development of the planet was a trifle, — incur the curse of descendants.
“The wired system is deteriorating,” said Gabriel, when he examined the entire electric car, a signal came in that he could leave the duty officer to let the car through to the access zone.
“Is it dangerous?”
“We need to meet again after a general test,” he immediately scheduled her business meeting, trusting the roller robot as he did himself.
“Yes, you already told me about this,” she replied abruptly, suddenly losing her patience, not hoping to get into the theater troupe in the next half hour. “How much can you remind of the same thing,” she said in a melodious voice, like every opera diva who considered her personal duty to lead the process in any situation.
“Is it? I didn’t notice something,” he parried in embarrassment, soaring in the clouds.
“We need to work better, and not run girls at night,” said the princess, unceremoniously, suspecting him of all mortal sins.
“We’re not going to joke,” the attendant warned, approaching so closely that Regina had the feeling that he was keeping back on something.
“We will meet in orbit necessarily, if you are not listed as anything reprehensible, for example, military participation in criminal squabbles on the Eurasian continent or in Latin America. We can communicate telepathically.”
“Remember that you can just call me a princess. I am never late on a date for telepathic communication,” Regina was as talkative as all the enthusiastic girls of her age who had completed dramatic courses with excellent characterization. They were able to participate in all the historical films made to capture themselves and the course of development of the present transferred to the distant future, as Durer, Rembrandt, Raphael and other painters, representatives of the Renaissance did.
“Such a suit like you was popular among Jews in the last century. You dug up this stuff somewhere in the ruins of Turkish caves where the last tourists dumped their bags,” he said with a tinge of envy and malice, affecting the most painful theme for her appearance, since she didn’t meet the requirements of the fairy-tale princess.
“What do you dislike about my appearance?” she asked, looking at his rubber, like a diver, a black suit with two yellow stripes on the sides and shoulder straps.
“Reggie,” he immediately switched to a familiar tone.
“What is the lieutenant?”
“You remind me of Princess Diana, who died in a car accident, somewhere around the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first century.”
“What is so old?”
She leaned on the bumper of a six-door electric car of a cylindrical shape, of lilac color, with a transparent top.
“I think you come from Trinidad and Tobago…” he turned on the power supply, looking at what the speedometer was showing. “I’m right?”
“If you like, you can assume that so. My ancestors often recalled that catastrophe, looking at me, in order to demonstrate their awareness in various, all sorts of cataclysms.”
“I have never met women in trousers and sweaters. All my acquaintances of the employee go only in overalls of gray color, with bracelets on their feet, in order to transmit signals to the Commander-in-Chief of the special units of the clones about their whereabouts.”
“You are not afraid?” Regina was surprised, mechanically adjusting the blond-ash strand of hair, which spread out because of the monsoon that had flown in from space.
“Whom? Women or clones?”
“Consider that both…”
“Not. They get excellent nutrition and monitor their posture.”
“I represent the staff weapon of your employees,” she snapped, showing off her tall stature.
“Our interests diverge with them, because our special forces are engaged in adapting submarine modules to simulators, redirecting ecological waste to the sedimentation tanks in order to cut down and store scrap metal, and remold it into hydraulic turbines for nuclear power plants.
“Probably often have you to travel to the disarmed third world countries?”
“It happens, but not so often…” he paused, remembering the only trip.
“Tell me,” she demanded imperiously.
“Then I had one to carry rusted ‘tin can’ in the Pacific Ocean. Blew apart one by one, pirate ships on the way,” he made a significant pause. “Cleared the territory, ignoring the statement of the Commander-in-Chief not to take up arms.”
“But is it like in a computer game?”
“And what is wrong?”
“It would take a long time to explain this. All cruisers were covered with some gray bloom, so it was difficult to distinguish against the background of water.”
“Why did you need this?”
“Earned annual premium and supersonic jet for personal use. Actually, I noticed you a long time here.”
“This is included in the pranks of our gunners, and we just get information about all the drivers crossing the light box.”
Regina’s mood dropped a few degrees, suddenly causing a fit of anger.
“It’s good that I only found out about this now, otherwise I would have to swallow headache pills on entering my electric car into the access zone.”
“Will you give me an invitation to your premiere?” Gabriel asked, portraying bewilderment and desire to please.
“Rest assured. But you have to wait. To be honest, my career completely depends on the flagship and celluloid balls suspended from the ceiling of the theater.”
“Will you perform on the indoor stage?”
“We’ll have to get used to. But with a knife made of shiny cardboard, I already had a chance to rehearse.”
“It’s nice to hear that you are so busy,” he said, squinting as he sat down in the driver’s seat.
“Look, I have a lot of good paper,” she pointed to a stack of newspapers and magazines of the last century, when she sat in the back seat. “Can you imagine, it is a pity to pull the strap? Everything is already there. Nothing needs to be invented.”
Disregarding the generally accepted standards of behavior, she, scratching the back of her head with something like a lighter, began to flip through what lay on top of the back seat.
“I’ll take you where you tell me, and then I’ll pick you up with valuable corrections to the chain of transmissions of your electric car. Agree?”
“Do I have a choice? I need to get to the theater rehearsal,” she said nervously, trying to joke again.
“None of our employees have this ugliness,” said Gabriel, implying her driving force.
“You can send me your message telepathically or just call the watch. I will immediately be summoned to an artistic dressing room for negotiations.”
Gabriel drove prudently at low speed.
“I hope that our interns will test your engine and send for revision.”
“How much will I owe you? I do not like to stay in debt.”
“Prepare twenty dinars.”
They passed the light frame, drove into the central area. The whole military garrison of the city was stationed there, and next to it was a theater, out of old habit, called the “Theater of War and Peace”. This state institution attracted not only the civilian population, but also the militia from Central Asia and the Mediterranean, who accepted refugee status.
“I’ll be waiting for you to appear at the artistic emergency exit,” said Gabriel, looking at Regina with enthusiasm and sympathy.
Definitely, she did not want to go to the rehearsal, so she pulled time, deliberately, melancholically folding a stack of newspapers and magazines in reverse order.
“These are the deposits I have. I also want to boast of postcards and ‘playthings and tricks’ for those who like to ride. But this is not new to you. You’re probably tired? You can have dinner or drink something stronger tea. For example, a cup of coffee with lime.”
“We’ll stop after your rehearsal in the nearest supermarket. There you can have a good time, at the same time and pamper yourself with some kind of local drink. Do you drink soda water with cakes or just eat some roasted chestnuts?”
“After the bel canto, the sopranos prefer both. I can even eat a week-long supply of products from a foreign manufacturer from an ice-bridge.”
“I will take into account your wishes and tastes. Good luck!”
They parted with bitter facial expressions. Everyone went about their daily business.
Gabriel left the zone of access to his hangar for the repair of multi-tier simulators, where besides him worked two mechanic trainees dismantling all types of electrical devices: exercise bikes for employees studying heart rate changes, body temperature and finding a pacemaker; side robots, leading the main work on the assembly of all aerodynamic simulators; operating systems that control clone bracelets; electronic payroll receipt orders; electric engineers, as in the subway, for employees when they descended into underground communication laboratories; light displays at the intersection of each inspection room, where all the secret materials of the aerodrome were placed, and much more that was their responsibility.
Regina, with the hope of a speedy meeting with Gabriel, appeared on the theatrical stage between the wings without a princess costume, afraid to move, causing the director’s anger, since there was no time for dressing up.
“So, I do not see the main character,” shouted the director, waving his hands for clarity. “Why there is no light frame. We must maintain our security from the sudden invasions of clones.”
He settled down near the stage in an armchair, and on his desk there was already a cup of freshly prepared coffee. In appearance he was about sixty. Tall, thin, greyish, with nervous movements, dressed in a suit and an ordinary gray robe, which he wore to warm in order not to freeze in a cold room. After working for many years in this position, he had several clones at his disposal, which he used for his work at hand, but did not allow him to approach himself, but only transmitted radio signals to their bracelets.
“I did not have ten minutes to disguise because of traffic jams and accidents on the road. I had to wait,” becoming the opposite of the director in the polar direction, Regina, the lead singer performing the main part, explained disappointedly.
“Ok,” the director clapped his hands. “Getting started. Your way out.”
Played a quick tune from the speakers. Regina, checking her voice with a phonogram that slid over a quiet background, sang Gilda’s part from Verdi’s opera “Rigoletto”.
The action of the second act, they rehearsed several times with the scenery, so the appearance of the indispensable, the only soloist so angered the director, introducing the entire troupe into such confusion that Rigoletto himself, who was both the director and Regina’s father, made everyone move in a circle. Other female actors, performers of roles, diligently brushing the dust from the dresses, entered the images, preparing to shine on the stage in a similar way. They were comprehensively developed, civilized, melodiously repeating to themselves the texts of the arias in Italian. Regina placed all her arias in a small box of a recorder, so from childhood she could not imagine her life outside the theater. They always trusted her, set the example of the whole troupe, not stint on compliments. And this time the director, having finished his role, instructively said:
“Well done, princess. Now run, change your clothes. I hope we will please our viewers in a week with the premiere.”
Regina returned three minutes later. The dresser was already keeping her costume behind the scenes. The girl, quickly throwing off her sweater, put on a ball gown right there. Then they played the whole performance to the end in theatrical costumes, observing pauses.
“I get goose bumps when I imagine that this idea of the composer probably took place in real life,” Regina exclaimed in the dressing room, addressing her friend, Giovanna’s performer, the girl’s mentor.
“My content doesn’t care at all. Outdated edition of our life does not apply. I think nothing was chosen such a tragedy. There is something more modern,” Violetta sympathized with putting her hand on Regina’s shoulder. “My name is also listed in the operatic repertoire.”
“We’re tired of space tragedies long ago, but at all costs we could even sing the drama ‘Orpheus Going to Hell’ by Williams,” Regina remembered the play she had seen on a mobile gadget a few days ago.
“The repertoire already has an eighteenth-century opera “Orpheus and Eurydice” by Gluck for three roles. Uneasy melancholy. Someday we will have a competition; we will fulfill all our obligations to the conductor of the orchestra. For now we will be content with what we have in stock.
“Do you have an affair with him?”
“Something likes that. We prefer not to cover this topic with our extras and the corps de ballet.
“Would you like to change the party with me?” Regina asked an envious and jealous girlfriend, finishing shoot makeup near the mirror.
“Why not? And you?”
“Everything is in our power, but all we need is time and patience,” the princess wisely remarked instead of saying goodbye, heading for the exit from the dressing room. Girls dressed in their daily costumes. They parted with a sense of satisfaction that the rehearsal was successfully over, not a single clone was hurt when they moved the scenery. Those were periodically thrown out of the windows in the hope of getting out of the state of trance, in which they were constantly after the next portion of doping.
“I waited. I see you are on the rise,” standing at the exit from the theater, Gabriel praised Regina
“How are you doing? Put in order the operating system and the coordination of impulses of my electric car?”
“Everything is fine. You can drive,” said Gabriel, skipping Regina forward, watching how she sat down easily in the front seat and began testing the engine — a set of wires connected to an electric charger.
He himself sat next to her.
“It seems all is well. Thank you,” the girl, who did not want to put up with loneliness, said laconically. They drove a few meters away. Suddenly they heard deafening cries:
“Down with the main director!”
“Long live freedom!”
“Down with the conductor!”
“We ourselves will be able to put on a performance and go out to the world level in order to earn millions of dollars!
“Soloists for the stage!” scanned clones.
They staged a strike, deciding to do away with their past at once, in order to prove to all the unemployed that jobs are open to everyone.
“They are on strike again,” Regina said, worrying about her friend, who was lingering in the lobby, waiting for a taxi.
Dark, night, city lighting required an increase in the number of power plants, increasing power.
“Do you have a target disassembly with the staff?” asked Gabriel, who was not used to disobedience, but always acted on instructions.
“Yes, the clones have their own requirements. They work for time off. Money they do not pay to limit freedom.”
“We do the same at the aerodrome, but we do not control the light frames, but we reinstall personnel, neutron isolators, where all clones flow in searching for a habitat.”
“Made a special sump for them?” Regina asked, completely internally devastated after the rehearsal.
“Something likes that. There is a means of communication. They can express their opinion or send any message up.”
“Are you not afraid that I will learn state secrets by breaking the sequence between you and them?”
“No, I am not afraid. We have no slavery. Everyone is busy doing things they love.”
“Or maybe you want to reorient me?” Regina asked, directing the electric car to the supermarket, where Gabriel was so eager that she treated him to something exotic and natural.
“What kind of talk do you have? Well, okay, such a beautiful girl can be forgiven for tactlessness,” he sincerely smiled, in order to find mutual understanding with Regina.
“Thank you,” she answered mechanically, softening, without in the least giving importance to the significance of the moment.
“Would you like to be my bride?” Gabriel took into account all possible answers.
“What is so right?” Regina asked worriedly.
“Why immediately? We will be together forever. In the meantime, you just need to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”
“What do you think?” Regina began to ask basic questions that required the most creative answers in the spirit of the Chinese princess Turandot.
“I think that my intellectual abilities will be useful to the theatrical diva. The position of the Commander-in-Chief looms on my horizon,” he insistently made his urgent demands.
“Do you want to grow up in my eyes?” she continued the telescopic “shelling” of the coded object sitting next to her in an electric vehicle.
“Awesome shrewdness,” Gabriel agreed wholeheartedly.
“Note that I am still a top model, a fashion model, an actress,” the girl decided to share her achievements in the show business.
“Probably, this addition means a positive solution to our problem with you?” Gabriel tried to convey, as easily as possible, his inner feelings, which are not reflected on his face in any way.
“Good,” she said with a blank look, slowing down near a supermarket decorated with a network of unsurpassed advertisements with all sorts of flashes of a planetary character.
The conversation ended in a mutual consensus in the lobby, near the elevator to the second floor where the cafe was located. Regina did not feel offended when they were ordered: roasted chestnuts and two cups of coffee. They refused soda water and cakes due to the lack of natural oil because they could treat only the surrogate prepared from margarine.
Girl Named Quiet Doe
The views of all the library staff were fixed on computer monitors. They were busy examining their stock, counting in Excel a number of books sent to the archive and those that were withdrawn by readers for a certain period. There was a terrible confusion. But the total is consistent with what was a year ago, including new arrivals. A few books were literally accepted only by those that were tested in the Book Chamber, so it was necessary to register by sending to a paid subscription so that fans of high-quality exhibition editions had the opportunity to read popular literature in an hour free from work. None of the librarians paid attention to the visitors of the reading computer room, trying in vain to find one or the other edition for themselves or to look in their mailbox to determine whether there were messages from friends, business partners, parents and children.
In the hall there was not a single empty seat. Visitors brought chairs from the corridor to sit next to the lucky subscriber who was lucky to attack first, having received permission to temporarily use the personal counting assistant.
“Can I join you?” asked an interesting, modestly dressed woman of Balzac age with a very beautiful, brightly made up girl sitting near the monitor, nervously knocking on the panel keys, not really getting the right letters.
“Only after when I finish. You are stopping me from concentrating on my dissertation topic,” the girl replied arrogantly, leaning over the monitor, making an impression on the stranger. The girl was wearing a bright mini skirt and a purple tank top. Because of her long legs with her knees, she rested against the table, feeling quite comfortable away from the scorching summer sun.
“Imagine that I have the same problem. I am preparing to take the candidate minimum. Need answers to questions for the exam in philosophy,” explained the woman who approached articulately. “I was allowed to join you.”
They looked at each other with dislike, realizing the hopelessness of their position.
“Well, if allowed, sit down, but you have to wait. I completely lost my sight with these letters. I can’t find what I need in terms of numbers in any way,” complained the future dissertation scholar to her elder neighbor.
“Get some rest, but for now I’ll look for the biography of the philosopher Seneca. And in my textbook given little information. What is your name?”
“Quido. But it is abbreviated. Deciphering is a quiet doe,” she said, very indistinctly.
“For the first time I hear such a name. But in general, everything in life can be excellent once,” the newly arrived visitor somehow casually put it.
“Now from work jumped into jail. Interviewed women prisoners. I am impressed. I want to write to my parents in Italy, so as not to worry about me,” Quido, overjoyed by the sudden, casual communication, emotionally shared her plans.
“My name is different, suppose, Irina Vladimirovna,” the woman continued tritely. “I have no parents in Italy. Of course, it’s great when someone cares about you.
“We are friends, even meet sometimes when I come to them on vacation. We have to work hard to earn a trip,” Quido said, continuing to read letters with sadness.
“Probably you have to travel a lot?” Irina asked with the appearance of a professional reporter who knows how to find an approach to people.
“I have been working since childhood: now an actress, then a model, now I work in journalism. I study in graduate school. And I was in a childhood queen of beauty. Is it not noticeable?” very simply asked the girl, exuding magnificence densely applied, purple shadows on the eyelids, colorful cream powder, the color of the tan, on the cheeks, blinking, brightly painted black mascara, eyelashes, appearance identical with Ornella Muti, famous for the film “The Taming of the Shrew”, directors Castellano and Moccia. It was hardly possible to resist the gaze of such a world beauty. Irina was embarrassed, but did not show the view, but internally gathered and retorted:
“This is noticeable. Still, you better roll in a movie. Charges will be stunning. You will participate in film festivals, biennials, views. There will be a lot of fans. You will be signing autographs to everyone, defiling in front of journalists and photo reporters.”
“It’s all in the past. I want to start my life from scratch, as some of my former cellmates say, with whom I was imprisoned for almost an hour.”
“What took so long interview?” Irina said, making a displeased facial expression.
“I had to report to the head. He demands some facts that I now have,” Quido explained with a feeling of satisfaction, and Irina could hardly imagine that a girl with such appearance could move along the prison corridors or wait for a get-together in a meeting room.
“Great! And what is their crime?
“Mostly drugs. This is the most popular among them article of the law.”
“All this is very unpleasant and routine. No romance. Some problems. It’s just scary how many broken lives are due to a pernicious potion,” said Irina reasonably.
“Romance happens at festivals and screen tests. You will see me on the pages of magazines. I will appear in my ballroom, royal dress, got from my mother,” Quido said proudly.
“Right. You do not need to visit government houses anymore. There are no directors, no screenwriters, and some prisoners. You understand, you should do a career in your youth… You can lose everything if you follow a vicious lifestyle,” Irina pointedly added, marveling at the courage, magnificence and independence of a movie star who managed to become a beauty queen in childhood, to attract public attention due to a successful coincidence of circumstances, parental care and perseverance film critics.
“What did you visit there once?” Quido asked straight away — the future journalist and actress.
“Fortunately, I didn’t, and I’m not going to,” answered Irina, intending to finish the slippery topic of the conversation, nervous about the full house in the library.
“And I want to write a book about these sufferers. This will be the subject of my dissertation. Do you really have no pity for them?” Quido asked, burning, continuing to leaf through the letters in her mailbox.
“Sorry is not my profile. Evil must be eradicated. And pity can only harm in professional activities,” said Irina, sententiously, having the experience of educational and pedagogical activity behind her back.
“We’ll have to go back to those tables again. A lot of things interested me in the work of police investigators and experts. The prisoners themselves asked me to go in to talk with them,” Quido said with annoyance, recalling her independent previous steps within state institutions.
“I wish you good luck,” Irina encouraged the girl sincerely.
“Good luck a little. We still need permission and a pass signed by the warden. Could you help a prisoner with money? They all want to borrow some money from me,” Quido obviously wanted to pass on the shoulders of Irina the pressing problems and aspirations of people who were in difficult life circumstances.
“I think no.”
“This is a philosophical question. I am afraid that I will not be able to answer it right away. It is necessary to prepare, read at our leisure the necessary publications, and delve into periodicals.”
“They told me, too. Not enough time for everything. And you?”
“As you see. I am in a hurry to go home for lunch now, but I hope to come back after and find the necessary information. Why, it seems that one table was free,” Irina moved to a free place and started studying philosophy from the position of modern views on the subject.
The tense situation among librarians began to decline. They finished recounting the fund, checking between themselves the data extracted from the computer. All of them turned out quite clearly and without blots.
“See you after lunch?” Quido asked.
“Probably,” Irina answered vaguely, although the conversation turned serious.
“I’ll be here for a long time to deal with the letters,” Quido promised Irina, showing her appearance with the aplomb of a professional actress and a movie star.
In fact, after half an hour of respite, Quido noticed Irina hurrying into the computer room.
“I’ll kill two birds with one stone: I will work on a computer and look for books in the catalog,” said Irina, feeling her superiority over the famous actress. She was relieved from everyday worries and summer heat in the shadow of the computer room, where the quiet noise of the air conditioner did not interfere with the work of visitors.
“Let’s go together. I’m already tired of being here. How are you doing? Found what you were looking for?” the girl asked, not at all disappointed in her search.
“Very little information. But something dug up. Now I’ll print one sheet and leave,” said Irina, satisfied that she had managed to extract an interesting article about an ancient philosopher, whose biography was absent in the textbook, and intercourse with such a phenomenal movie star, whose work she could only admire.
They again talked, leaving together a spacious hall where there was a catalog with the foundation, several tables with computers and a printer. It turned out that Quido works at Irina’s previous duty station, sitting at exactly the same table in a state institution where a graduate student had previously worked, wishing to pass the philosophy exam as “excellent”.
“Amazing coincidence!” Quido admired, finding out some details about the former employees of Irina, who now became her colleagues.
“No wonder, normal.”
“Where are you working now? Maybe soon I will have to change my profession or place of work; therefore I am looking for suitable guidelines in the business world. I wonder if you have something in mind for me?”
Irina quietly sighed, not giving out an internal struggle.
“I teach at the university. Judging by the fact that you are proficient in several languages, you can also, upon returning to Italy, teach Russian language to young people who want to learn correct speech,” said Irina with a touch of envy.
“Yes, it will be in perspective. I still have a lot to learn myself to become a teacher like you,” Quido agreed, seeking to conquer the world with her beauty, mind and dissertation about women’s prisons. They parted, and Irina remembered that it was necessary to study all questions for the exams so as not to lose face in front of the doctors of sciences in the examination board.
A short elderly man with gray, sparse hair, barely covering his forehead, bent over with a magnifying glass in his eye and tweezers in his hands above the clock mechanism, sitting at a table near a high, folding, polished counter, dismantling a regular clock mechanism. Several wall clocks with pendulums and without prim were adorned on the board wall of his workshop, showing different times. And he himself reminded Goodwin from the tale by A. Volkov “The Wizard of the Emerald City”. Something extraordinary, fabulous and fantastic was happening around him. He was the center of the universe, just correcting the passage of time. On his neck he had a thick silver chain with a cross, looking at which, there was a feeling that life could continue indefinitely, and the time on the clock would never stop.
“I can even hypnotize. My view is magical. But I can’t move objects in space. To do this, you need to graduate from the University of Magicians and become the Master, as many of my clients dream of when they bring to repair me their broken watch, table or wall clocks with a cuckoo or heavy weights. They mistreated the subtlest mechanism, and then they did not know where to turn for help,” he complained, not looking up from his work.
A girl with light brown hair standing near the counter, dressed in a colorful nylon orange-black dress, resembling a fairy of dreams, dreamily followed the work of a real wizard capable of changing the world for the better.
“It is good that there are good wizards in our greedy world. I would also like to learn how to create miracles. So much evil is happening around that it is difficult for one to sweep all the garbage out of our galaxy. What is your favorite thing to do: work wonders or repair watches?” she asked, and the whole room lit up with a radiant glow that emanated from her large, expressive, dark green eyes.
“Most of all I love to work. This is my most important business, which not only benefits people, but also restores the natural course of time for those who have lost hope of finding happiness, “replied the watchmaker and at the same time a great wizard named Baer, whose name was on the door of his watch making workshop. “My genus comes from small local peasants. All men grew bread, harvested and led a decent lifestyle.”
“And I’m not interested in the origin. It is important for me that our planet does not explode from a nuclear explosion. Where I appear, peace and quiet are immediately restored, wars and feuds among hostile parties cease. Sometimes it comes to me with great difficulty, so I have to try and put a lot of effort: I fly like a plane, now to one place, then to another. I barely manage to cope with pressing problems. And my name is a fairy of Goodness and Beauty.”
“Very nice to meet you. But I learned everything myself, created an aura of calm and benevolence around me,” the watchmaker began to boast, envying every citizen entering and leaving his workshop.
“So, we will be friends and help each other in difficult times. Show me how you do wonders and magic?” she asked hesitantly, taking off a short distance from the floor to the ceiling, looking around the entire workshop room, whose walls were covered with small slats, resembling a small boat sailing across the endless sea.
The Fairy of Good and Beauty appeared here in this way, having flown from her palace, located at the other end of the straight, asphalt, wide road, along which a multitude of all kinds of cars seemed to be carried by a hurricane. And in fact, they were in a static state, neutralizing their kinetic energy. No one interfered with this regular movement along the vector line, which constitutes the general movement of natural phenomena, along which the fairy moved, merging and dissolving in space, as if disappearing, and then winding in a gust of wind into its own atoms, acquiring a material body covered with light fabric.
“I’m just blowing, and all the hostile eddies scattered over me,” explained the watchmaker, setting aside the corrected mechanism, and examining the next damaged clock, which was brought for repair after a long use.
“In that case, goodbye. I still have lectures at the university today. Become a Magister of wizards and magicians. Those you spoke of,” she said frivolously, soaring again, as if heading for the exit, but stopping in the air and dying from the supposed question coming from the watchmaker. “I have already learned a lot.”
“Are you a vampire by any chance?” Baer asked suddenly wary.
“Not. Is not clear explained. Vampires cannot fly; they are even afraid of daylight and never appear during the day. The sun’s rays kill them. They break down into negative particles and atoms.”
“I will help you or your friends to transfer in time. If necessary, send them to me for advice. I have a troublesome job here, but know that I am familiar with some good wizards who also work wonders. They are always busy, but with a note from me they will be happy to come to the rescue at the most difficult moment of life.”
“While I am managing myself, but I will remember your words,” smiling shrewdly said the resourceful fairy, which turned out to be in the workshop specifically for the wizard Baer to distract from watch mechanisms and recall his own health, rather than be covered in a thick layer of web.
“Do not forget to close the door,” said the watchmaker prosaically, plunging into the watch mechanism again, and then taking a spoiled alarm clock out of a drawer and setting it on the counter.
Rummaging in his suede bag, he found another antique sample of a desk clock, shook it in his hand, and put it back in the bag. He made such manipulations in order to find out if there was any sense in repairing damaged mechanisms, on whether all the details were in place, or maybe something had already fallen off.
“We will meet,” the fairy suddenly said, dribbling out of the workshop, feeling neutralized and even hypnotized by a large number of obsolete, like the Baer wizard, of watch mechanisms.
She was aware that Baer was periodically ill, but continued to work so as not to give reason for talking about his poor health, so she decided to take the patronage of the wizard so that his clients did not feel offended by people that their watches disappeared somewhere into the unknown. A fairy in a couple of days also flew into his workshop when as the translator returned from her job, where she earned her daily bread.
“I see you missed me,” said the watchmaker in delight, noticing the fairy. “Close to me do not come. I have the flu. All my wonders are canceled, and your germs should not be confused with my infected strains, otherwise the world will be mired in viruses.
He looked very pale. He constantly blew his nose and coughed, putting a large handkerchief next to his desk in order to use it at the right moment for its intended purpose. The fairy smiled knowingly, shaking off the raindrops and closing, wet to the skin, the same orange-black as her airy dress, umbrella.
“You have to clean up your workshop, air out all the unbearable, irritating smells, shake off the dust from the window sill, sweep the floor. Perhaps you are allergic,” she said, noticing the newspapers, cardboard and wrapping paper scattered on the floor. “You try everything for people, but forget about yourself.”
“There were a lot of cases these days. I wanted to finish the job faster. And do not worry about the papers on the floor. I specifically scattered it in order to put everything at once and put it into waste paper,” he explained the purpose of his ingenious plans.
“While you are sitting here, I’ll go and bring you a cure for the flu, otherwise the world will lose a kind wizard,” she said condescendingly, taking on the appearance of a transparent cloud and disappearing into the doorway.
“At the same time, don’t forget about yourself,” after he said hoarsely, following up on the urgent order.
Drugstores in the city were enough to cure the entire population, from young to old. Fairy looked into the nearest pharmaceutical small shop, where she bought the right medicine for the flu and immediately brought it to Baer, who did not even have time to sneeze in her absence. She carefully put the medicine on the counter.
“Here you are,” she said urgently, paying attention to a small box containing the necessary medication for treatment common cold.
“Take yourself, and then your flying ability will weaken. I already have all the necessary pills. So quickly flew away that did not even have time to warn you about it. You think I do not understand medicine?”
“I forgot that you make a living for magic. But I want to warn you, I have a request for you too. Two girlfriends of mine urgently want to fly to the north. They had boyfriends there, and they promised to meet them in the coming days. Can you blow so that those girlfriends do not have problems with the flight and registration of the necessary formal documents to travel to another country?” a fairy asked floridly, caring for the happiness of her close girlfriends who had known since childhood.
“Do not worry. Everything will be fine with them. I promise you that,” the watchmaker, endowed with the gift of foresight, said calmly. “They will meet their chosen ones and will even be able to find work in their specialty there. By the way, who are they by profession?
“One is a programmer, and the other — a doctor,” answered the fairy, remembering where they had studied.
“Very valuable and competent girls, but they still have little life experience. Let not worry. They will be able to return when they want, but then there may be unforeseen problems and all sorts of circumstances that they are not aware of.”
“They are not going to come back and do not think about the difficulties of life,” said the fairy with surprise, envying her knowledgeable girlfriends, who were so successful in everything.
“That’s right, while the youngs dream of transcendental heights, not knowing that we walk on the earth.”
“Be sure to give them your words, maybe it will sober them up a bit.”
“I think it is useless and you should not even worry. They will still do what they want. Do you understand?”
“I’ll let you know when they leave.”
“If you want, come with them to me, but call in advance.”
“Catch you up on that. I’ll come to visit you with my girlfriend sometime.”
“I am interested to find out what binds you?” without emotion asked Baer.
“Children’s friendship, but due to lack of time, we rarely see each other.”
“It is clear why you have such aspirations. It will pass; you will soon be parted forever. You will never communicate when they return from the north, because you do not recognize each other from a distance of one meter. Too complicated weaves of destinies change people. Are you going to go somewhere yourself?”
“Do I look like ugly? It’s good for me here too, although sometimes it is chilly,” the fairy shivered.
“But I would like to go back to where my parents came from: in the Bavarian forests… I want to walk along the plains and mountains, hunt with a gun, go fishing, and spend the night in a cave among the goblins. Did you listen to something about them?”
Fairy stared in surprise at Baer.
“Why should I hide in the caves? It is damp and gloomy there. You can catch a cold. Do you believe in buried treasures and hidden gold?”
Baer continued to gut old, clockwork mechanisms, removing from metal cases.
“In this there is some attractive force. Perhaps soon I will go in search of a lost gallery and masterpieces of the eighteenth century, made of wood and stone. They are said to be hidden somewhere in the catacombs after the Second World War. No one can still detect them. The military left this place after delivering a large number of paintings there, and the cave entrance was blown up. There are also many lost frescoes and icons in the lists that attract scientists from different countries.”
“Do you believe in this nonsense? The amber room has long been restored,” there was no limit to the fairy’s surprise.
“Why not? Once they write about it, can I participate at least in the filming of a blockbuster on this subject?”
“This is a completely different conversation. Of course, no one keeps you. You can go there now. If necessary, I can also, as you do, blow, and all your desires will be fulfilled up to the smallest details.”
The fairy got air into her lungs and with all her strength released free flowing streams of warm air, warming the space around her, forming a protective aura.
“This is quite enough for me to be inspired and start getting ready for the road. But, if you decide to leave your hearth, come to say goodbye.”
“Agreed,” the fairy opened the bright umbrella again and flew out of the watchmaker’s workshop, disappearing into interplanetary space.
“Have a good trip,” the wizard Baer managed to say goodbye.
Some time later, after a phone call, a fairy with a girlfriend appeared on the threshold of the watchmaker’s apartment. He sat them at the coffee table, turned on the music so that it was not so boring and could be danced. The girls cheered. They began to dance because it was actually interesting and funny for them to look at old, wooden, African masks made of mahogany.
“And where is another girlfriend?” asked Baer, watching the guests.
“She is sick and does not want to put herself at risk before leaving for the north. She decided to lie down at home to recover,” the fairy girlfriend reported in detail. “We already have tickets for the day after tomorrow, on the plane.”
“Let them fly away like clouds,” said the fairy with sadness.
“They may even return if they want. I am also preparing to leave to search for treasures buried in the caves of the Alps, but I will definitely return, and we will see the fairy again.”
Several years passed before they met again. During this time, many unforeseen events happened: the fairy discovered a warehouse with poisonous and toxic substances that were hidden in the wicked evil witch.
Once a wizard and at the same time a watchmaker, Baer, offered her to bring him some dangerous substances necessary for his personal needs. He gave her a list of these poisonous potions when she appeared suddenly on the threshold of his workshop with the words:
“Hello, you it turns out, has not flown away yet, as you was going to, in the Alpine mountains and valleys.”
“Everything is not so simple and fast. Here’s what I needed on the road to bait cockroaches. They say goblins love to receive guests with gifts, so now I’m looking for an assistant to buy me something for the trip.”
However, the fairy was well versed in the action of this kind of medicine, since she graduated from the university by then, having received a master’s degree.
“So this list of injections is not for insect harassment, but of a completely different quality…” she said, reading the letters in illegible handwriting.
“If you think so, then call the police or go there to help you deliver these powders for injection here,” Baer warned in the hope that he did everything right. “You can even not come to me after that.”
He wrapped a large amount of money in this list, written on a sheet pulled out of a school notebook.