The Driving Force of Everlasting Madness
My dear Philosopher!
I am writing this letter to you in reply to your letter that you are going to write to me in reply to my first letter to you that I have not yet sent…
Danny “Eel” Harms
Book I. The twentieth century, USSR
Chapter I. Ryazan
My dear imaginary reader,
The first chapter of this book appeared to the world as an inline attachment to my letter that I wrote to a top notch literary agent. Her reply was not very promising: “Sorry, dude, no one’s gonna read this shit!” – That’s all she wrote. My first reaction was, to remove the no more necessary “letter” part from my manuscript and keep just the attachment, that is, the true beginning of this book that, as I said, happened to appear for the first time inside that letter. I hope it’s obvious now that the letter has never meant to be a part of this book. Now that I knew that no one’s gonna read it anyway, and I was writing it for my own pleasure, it was quite the time to get rid of the letter in favor of the attachment.
But strangely, when I started reading the letter again, with the beginning of my book in it, I suddenly realized that they were coupled even tighter than Siamese twins. It was absolutely impossible to surgically remove the letter without damaging the book. I had no other choice than make the letter a valid part of my book, only removing the part where I was telling that I had nowhere to live and nothing to eat and begging desperately for a small amount of cash: just fifty dollars. Or maybe, fifty thousand… The amount doesn’t matter because I didn’t expect to get it anyway.
I gotta tell ya, though, that I had a perfect place to live, plenty of yummy food in my fridge and even a bottle of Hennessy VSOP (in fact, by the time I finished the letter, half of the bottle was gone). It’s just the tradition, man! An emerging artist is obliged by the holy tradition to die of hunger and mostly, of hangover, day by day. Tradition overweighs condition, you know…
In observance of that tradition I could not start a new book just by writing its first chapter, no way! First of all, I had to get heavily drunk and keep drinking for at least two weeks, get involved into a bar fight, spend a night in a precinct or a county jail, where I was supposed to ask a little cop for a piece of paper and write a letter to a literary agent, asking her to read my book that I have not written yet and, by the way, bail me out.
But I only drank for one night and completely skipped the bar fight and the precinct. Of course, the broken tradition avenged for itself, and the beginning of my book got stuck inside the improperly written letter. What was I supposed to do? So be it! – I told to myself – And that’s how this book, indeed, starts. It starts with the damn letter!
My dear Chastity,
I am a well-established Russian-language writer with an audience close to a million (just the audience but not the figure on my bank statement), living in the States for the past 21 years now. All these years I’ve been providing for myself, working a job of a software engineer. So I could only write my books in my free time – and mostly just on the fumes of my brain power left from work.
For that reason you won’t find much sense in my Russian novels and stories, even if you understood Russian like a native. But readers are not attracted to sense anyway. On the contrary, sense repeals them rather quickly. What really attracts and mesmerizes readers, viewers, and even spectators, is but pure nonsense. It does not take much brain power to write nonsense, and this is the beauty of it. But it requires lots of delicacy and precision, and that’s the caveat.
Let me beef up this thought, dear Chastity. You know, even the most perfect sense has its little flaws, those tiny specs of imperfection, which inevitably render the whole thing imperfect. On the other hand, nonsense is extremely refined and delicate matter: it is accurate and flawless by definition. You can question any kind of sense all way around – but nobody can question nonsense. Nonsense is always impregnable and shiny like a brand new silver dollar made of the hardest titanium alloy.
You’d probably wonder how a silver dollar could be made of titanium alloy, that’s crazy, isn’t it? But that’s the whole point, that’s the nonsense’s nature! Sanity can’t produce nonsense, only craziness and stupidity can. You have to realize that all nonsense you see around did not come out of nowhere on its own. It was produced by the people who are either stupid or crazy. Or in most cases, both. You only can’t see that they are crazy and stupid because you get used to it. In other words, because you don’t see people with unimpaired mental faculties too often. The situation is partially alleviated by a simple rule: stupid people think that everyone is crazy while crazy people think that everyone is stupid. In any case you need a lot of time and energy to learn how to think out of the box if you want to succeed in telling madness from sanity.
Persistent lack of time and energy, that was always consumed by my demanding day job, did not leave me much chance to study the primary writer’s tool I needed the most in America – written English – so I kept writing in Russian. It’s not that I was unable to write in English: on the contrary, I always did it quite easily. The problem was that I could never understand in the morning what I wrote the night before. I would desperately need a translator to regain a grip on my work that was already done.
And them translators, they charge a lot! Five dollars per short word up to ten letters and one dollar per each additional letter, as I remember. In case of a cuss word the rate doubles, and I use cuss words a lot. All in all, I’ve been stuck to a sophisticated foreign language for the longest time in my life because unfortunately I knew it much better than plain English. Now that I am much closer to the retirement age, I am getting ready to re-route the remnants of my mental faculties and time to my literary projects and start writing the finest nonsense for English speaking readers. Please try to sell every ounce of it dearly, dear Chastity.
Before I start discussing my book with you, dear Chastity, I’d like to explain what kind of a literary agent I need. I have visited a number of literary agents’ front pages, trying to learn their interests and find something compatible. Instead, I found dry and brutal submission requirements, apparently written by some ferocious dominatrix looking for a submissive masochistic slave. They must be thinking that submission is all about being submissive, really! But here’s the thing: I am an old fashioned stubborn Russian kike who plunged down the emigration grinder and made it out in one piece, so being submissive is not my thing. I am looking for a plain consensual, um… partnership, trying to stay away from any unhealthy arrangements that involve kinky stuff, especially submission.
As a former psychiatrist… No, dear Chastity, I am not shitting you! Back in Russia I used to be a mental health doctor. I’ll explain later in this book, why I changed my career path to IT and software. So again, as a former psychiatrist, I always look at the agent’s face shots, trying to identify their personal traits. Most of their faces express the mental state of being set in their ways, signs of prejudice and close mindedness, preoccupation with some ideas that dominate the society (for example, I can easily see a touch of feminism on a man’s face: he looks like a premenstrual bitch), as well as excessive professionalism at the expense of originality – didn’t even need to read their submission requirements after seeing their faces. Any attempt to talk those people into something that is outside of their pinhole chamber is like talking an ATM machine into giving you a couple of twenties: you keep making your points, it keeps blinking at you, but the cash slot never opens.
So most and foremost, I need an open minded agent, a kind of person that won’t be shocked by a cuss word, a graphic story or an awkward situation. I’d like to test the waters real quick. Um… let me ask you a simple question: do you know how to kill potato bugs en masse? Imagine, you’re in soviet Russia, growing your potatoes on a half an acre of land and you see them bugs and their larvas eating your potato plants alive! Any pesticide you can buy in the store will kill you dead way before the first bug starts feeling slightly sick. It’s not surprising because soviet chemical factories were producing chemical weaponry, primarily designed to kill humans, out of all pests, and those pesticides were their by-products sold to civilians to use for their agricultural applications.
Therefore, your only option is to collect the bugs manually, picking them from the potato plants one by one and storing them into a huge aluminum pot. After a long day of hard labor when your back and your legs can barely move and your arms and your hands are sore, you have your potato plants cleaned from the pests. As a bonus, you have a ten quart aluminum pot full of potato bugs. You can see their striped backs and twisted spiky legs moving relentlessly. You can feel their nervous fidgeting as they are rustling-rustling in the pot and scratching furiously its side and bottom, trying to escape. Now it’s time to kill them all. Do you know how to do it properly?
Let me tell you first how you certainly cannot kill them and shouldn’t even try. Don’t throw the bugs into a fire! A huge pot load of potato bugs will extinguish the fire at once, and most of the bugs will crawl away and get back to your potato rows in no time. Don’t even think about pouring the entire pot on the ground and trying to stomp them! You’ll ruin your shoes and the bugs will crawl away, even though the little buggers move slowly. If you try to pour and stomp them in small batches then less portion of the bugs will escape the execution but you’ll kill yourself with the exertion much sooner than you kill even half of the bugs. So what’s the solution?
It is amazingly stupid simple. You should pour a fair amount of water into the pot and set the bugs afloat. Despite what you think, the bugs won’t drown at once. They are still alive and keep trying to escape. Then you simply set it on a stove and turn on the burner… It’s time to make a potato bugs stew! For the first minutes the bugs feel quite happy in the warming water. They move, buzz, scratch and even try to hump each other as they always do. Then you start seeing the signs of worrying in their movement. The worrying increases quickly. The bugs start moving faster and faster. They’re trying to escape the heat, climbing on each other’s backs. Then they start panicking. Apparently they can feel pain and fear just like you and me.
At the last agonizing moment they run for their lives furiously and desperately, making an impression of hard boiling water. Another couple of seconds – and the boiling stops at once… Now the bugs are floating motionlessly in still water, with their serrated legs appallingly stretched out as if they were tortured by a bunch of daemons. They are done now. At this moment I can feel the sheer presence of death in my little garden cabin. It feels like translucent vibrating substance, emitted from the man made aluminum hell. It gently curls its fluctuating tentacles around my neck and drills into my mind, whispering: “Your love potion is ready, boy! Drink it and live forever!” Now I gotta shake those sticky tentacles off my frightened little marbles and get back to life… I grab the damn dish by its handles and empty it into a manure pit. That’s for the funeral.
Are you still reading, dear Chastity? If you are, and you’d like to find out how I came by this shit, it’s simple. Like many other boys in communist Russia I helped my parents to make ends meet. My parents bought a little strip of land called “dacha” where they grew potatoes, to save a buck or two on our food. Keeping the potato rows free from pests was my responsibility. Boiling the bugs in a pot was my little invention.
We all had to do lots of ugly things in order to survive. Killing potato bugs was one of those things. I wish I could boil those communists, who crapped up our lives, the same way I boiled the bugs, but apparently, for those pests I’d need a much bigger pot. I don’t have that kind of vessel in my disposal but someone else surely does! I envision that someone else boiling them communists in the pit of hell, I can hear them yelling and screaming as I still can see a little ferocious Russian devil boiling the potato bugs, hallelujah! Now it’s time to really start talking about my book.
At this point my book is not written yet but I can see it as an ad libitum mix of my Bio and my memoirs. It will definitely have more layers than both ogres and onions and tell lots of things but ultimately it should strongly suggest the readers to re-examine the balance of sanity and madness in their everyday life.
I will simply show them how usual ways of doing things that seem to be wise and sane, produce crazy side effects when they rub off each other on a global scale. It happens so frequently that nobody give a shit and prefer to routinely suffer the usual consequences, unless things really blow out of proportions. I will bring plenty of examples, to prove my point, pertaining to different times, countries and regimes: communist USSR, then post-soviet Russia and finally, the United States.
The above mentioned unexpected consequences may have a killing effect. Suppose, someone got drunk and could not sleep and took a handful of sleeping pills after a glass of whiskey. End of story. Some other effects are just unimaginably crazy. Something like taking a sleeping pill along with a laxative (according to Russian standup comedian Mikhail Zhvanetski, “the effect is terrifying”).
Have you ever heard that prudence and sanity attracted lots of attention? It never happens. Only craziness attractes people’s attention, the crazier the better. Good old stupidity counts, too. If you are eager to be on everyone’s radar, be crazy or stupid or better yet, both. I strongly believe that the proper balance between craziness and stupidity is the winning factor and it’s very hard to find. Nevertheless, if you are really smart you’ll figure the right proportion.
The best and the easiest way to enter the world bullshitting championship is to start a blog on one of them social networks. These virtual brothels have been purposefully designed to draw people’s attention with all kinds of crazy and stupid stuff that other people can come up with. If you’re looking for a weapon grade stupidity, watch the political news closely. Government officials and public politicians have no competitors in producing all kinds of stupid shit that makes your life miserable. However, the highest level of meshuggeneh bullcrap is certainly produced by the media.
Anyway, here’s how I am going to outline the above mentioned layers in my book… While I’ll be laying down my Bio bit by bit, telling the mere facts of my being born in Moscow in the year of 1956, just three years after the death of Stalin, and my growing up in a provincial city of Ryazan, I will draw a series of small but epic pictures, digging them out of the depth of my memory. I will start with some fragmentary recollections of the shittiest period of my life, which also was the earliest one, which I can’t call “childhood” because it would be like calling a dog poop a birthday cake.
Ryazan… An ugly shithole that happened to be the city of my youth. I still remember its gloomy dirty streets full of ghetto-looking four and five story project houses inhabited by permanently drunk dwellers, mostly workers and low-paid personnel… its cold northern climate with lack of sunlight, where passengers in stinky overcrowded streetcars sneezed and coughed at each other’s faces… where decent food was scarce and an orange or a pair of good shoes was an unimaginable luxury, and so was good clothes, good furniture and good books… Where you might got robbed or mugged or beaten into a bloody corpse just for being at the wrong place at the wrong time…
Ryazan… A mystic place where evening twilight agglutinated excruciatingly thirsty men into drinking gangs. Three hungover drunks, who did not even know each other, emptied their pockets into a sordid pile of cash barely enough to buy a bottle of crappy booze for them to share… You had to prepare your liver pretty well before making a first sip of that shit… Where those who already bought that so much desired bottle of cheap poison were sitting in a cold city park on a broken bench, spitting phlegm under their feet and cussing at each other, glugging in turn from their life-saving vessel that was mercifully bestowed upon them that night to extinguish their internal hellfire…
Ryazan… One of the countless places in the ugly communist paradise, where anything you laid your eyes on was an eyesore with a pompous communist slogan painted on its front.
There was no such things as public restrooms in that city. You either had to hold your shit until you get back home or to some other place where they let you use their restroom or you had to find some secluded area in between fences, trees, garage buildings and shacks – anything that could hide you from passers-by and cops, and do your stuff real quick. With some experience you could find those “restroom” spots pretty easily. The look and especially the smell would lead you to the right direction. You always had to watch your steps to avoid the “landmines”: sticky and smelly piles of human shit left by the previous visitors. They frequently camouflaged their by-products with grass, leaves and trash to turn them into traps.
Those “restrooms” usually did not offer toilet tissue so you had to use tree leaves if there was a tree around with some leaves not torn off yet for the same purpose. Otherwise you had to wipe your ass with a suitable piece of trash that you pick up from the ground. Or just pull up your pants and keep walking like nothing happened. It’s much easier to choose the last option when you are drunk. You could not carry toilet tissue with you because this hygiene product practically was not manufactured in the USSR. At home we always cut old newspapers into suitable sheets and kept them in a special basket next to the toilet seat. As an experienced city shitter I always carried a piece of paper in my pocket, just in some shitty case.
State medical help was free but dentists were drilling our teeth without any anesthesia and the fillings they put in usually drop out in a year or two. Then the whole tooth would fall apart and they would pull out the roots for free, again with no anesthesia (yikes!). Most people were scared to death to go to a dentist. Both men and women lost most of their teeth pretty early and kept living, wearing nigga style metal grills or blabbering around with empty mouths like hillbillies. Bad breath was a habitual norm as well as clumsy ridiculous underwear, worn out dirty shoes or the smell of cheap booze from already stinky mouth.
Everything belonged to the communist state, nothing belonged to the people… Private business was forbidden and severely punishable. Religion was practically outlawed. Going to a church could have ruined your career. There was not even one synagogue in Ryazan. The communist propaganda was telling every second in a stentorian voice how lucky we were to live in the USSR. KGB secret spies always raided the crowd clandestinely, watching out for unsatisfied people… Some fucking life!
Communist government deprived people of wealth and stripped their basic rights. As a result, those miserable people were ruthless and had absolutely no mercy. They did not have guns in their possession but men and women died regularly from stabbing wounds and heavy beating. Teenage gangs from different parts of the city were in a perpetual war with each other. They were using clubs, metal pipes and rebars. Most part of the population was extremely anti-Semitic. I might’ve been killed several times in my early age, especially that day when a drunk neighbor started throwing heavy bricks from the four story building’s roof, aiming at my head, yelling: “Die, fucking bastard, you little kike!” God watches for children and fools… Not even one brick hit me, and he threw more than a dozen.
I almost forgot to mention a huge military airbase in Dyagilevo, whose fighter planes were roaring constantly above the four story slum building where I lived as a child. There was a military antenna in a fenced area in front of our house that navigated those planes right above our project house. When they were taking off in pairs, using their afterburners, I felt as if my chest was being torn apart. And that heavy kerosene smell in the air, it would never go away, unless it was a really windy weather.
The water taps in our flat half of the time were dry as a pistol. When I opened the valve trying to squeeze out some water, the tap would say “ph-h-h-h-h-h” as if it was teasing me. At a better time the tap produced some dirty and rusty liquid substance that our cat refused to drink. We’d pour it into a big bucket and leave for a day or two, to let the rust and dust settle down on the bottom. After that we collected partially cleared water from the top of that bucket, boiled it in a huge kettle and kept it in the clean bucket for our drinking and cooking.
I remember our liquor stores… Alcoholism was a real epidemic in that God forsaken place that could not offer its residents any other entertainment than getting drunk every night. Most people could not afford vodka that was the only more or less pure beverage; they had no other choice than poison their system with cheap daily shit and die young. Every liquor store was unavoidably surrounded by a dark crowd of desperate thirsty men who were craving for any fluid that could just burn. They were begging passers-by for small change; the most desperate ones tried to rob anyone who looked like a possible victim. The pipes are burning! – They moaned in agony – Fucking help! The pipes are burning…
The pipes of soviet factories and plants were burning, too. They were burning out their worker’s lives. Working conditions were horrible, they’ve been making workers seriously sick in no time. The official life expectancy in the USSR was proclaimed to be about 70 years but cemeteries have been abundant with the graves of men in their fifties and forties. No surprise – people in that damn country always were expendable.
As a typical soviet child I was going to a kindergarten. Every boy was jealous of my toy soldiers that I treasured the most. Everybody was trying to trade them from me for some other toy, which I always refused. Until the day when some boy broke his piggy bank and desperately begged me to sell my precious soldiers to him for all his money. I refused as usual. The boy started weeping and crying desperately. The peer pressure was unprecedentedly high. Finally I had to give up and trade my little heroes that I loved for a bunch of coins that I had no use for.
When my father found out that I sold my toy soldiers, all the hell broke loose. I’ve never seen my old man that furious. I thought he’d kill me! A businessman! – He roared in my face – You little prick decided to become a fucking businessman?!! I was too little to understand what he meant. When I got a little older, I realized that for my communist father the word “businessman” embodied the worst type of a political enemy, the pure evil in human shape that communists wanted to wipe out from planet Earth. But at that moment I only realized that he called me a strange name I could not understand and the next minute he’d beaten a bloody hell out of my ass. My mother was too scared to stick up for me.
That day I lost a father for the rest of my life. I never trusted that grumpy hateful man ever since. When he died at the age of forty four I sighed in great relief. His most important contribution into my life was a harsh gift of understanding that being intangible does not make an idea a harmless thing. An idea could be a contagious and ferocious virus capable of infecting the entire country. An idea could acquire material power, using the physical body of the people it infected. It could beat my butt into a bloody pulp by simply moving the hands of my pathetic miserable father, who was infected and enslaved by the communist idea like many others.
All in all, on one end of the course of human history there was Karl Marx with his very Jewish idea that human shall not exploit other human’s labor. On the other end there was a colossal ever anti-Semitic country, where low classes had brutally exterminated the majority of cultivated and intelligent people, following that idea. And there was a little Jewish boy in that country, beaten like a ginger stepchild by his own father, again as a repercussion of that idea. This is a bright example of a global craziness.
As I was growing up, my father kept teaching me his communist faith. One day he started telling me about the dictatorship of proletariat. Proletariat is us, working people! We rule the country because we have no possessions of our own, which makes us the most just and fair-minded people on Earth! Do you understand? I could not help objecting: I see them workers every day, father. They are ignorant uneducated rough people. They cuss every word and phrase out of the Satan’s book, they drink their shitty booze every day, they beat their wives and children, they piss on our entrance door like street dogs, and there is no place in the city parks where they didn’t leave a pile of shit. I see them every day lying dead drunk across the sidewalk drowning in their own urine and vomit. How could these miserable people, this pathetic low life rule our nation, including great scientists, doctors, lawyers, artists, composers, philosophers, university professors? How can their ignorance, disgusting manners, strong addiction to alcohol or bad hygiene make them the cream of our society? – Well, my father replied, I think your butt has not tasted my belt way too long!
Pretty soon things changed at school, too. The system started drilling us heavily and regularly. We all had to join Young Communist League, “the Komsomol”, had to march like my toy soldiers that I sold in the kindergarten, only we had to sing soviet songs and recite communist slogans while marching. We were required to write the “socialist self-obligations” that I hated and report the completion; learn the biographies of Marx, Engels, Lenin and other communist idols and memorize quotes from their bloody books. I knew that those communist faggots wrote all those books with one purpose: to make my life miserable. I simply could not stand all that rubbish. I was hoping that someday this bullshit would magically evaporate into thin air, just like it started from fucking nowhere. But it’s been getting worse and worse every day until I suddenly realized that I was one of the very few, who had natural immunity to the communist infection. It’s not even that I could think out of the box. I was born an indigo child, so I never had that “box” in my head and always been thinking independently, and had always suffer the consequences.
The communist virus couldn’t infect and re-wire my atypical brain like everybody else’s, and that’s why I’ve been feeling the tremendous pressure of the communist regime all the time. The infected people did not feel that pressure at all. They were like dogs that enthusiastically learn all the tricks that their master teaches them and never question the master. But I just was not born to be somebody’s dog. I was born a cat who always tends to walk by himself.
No matter how many books I read and how hard I tried, I still could not find the explanation, why the original communist ideas that were not bad (what’s bad in “peace, equality and fraternity”?) ended up as a tool of the oppressor? What is it in human nature that is capable of twisting good things in such way that they turn into horrible things? It was a crying out loud contradiction – and my inability to grasp and perceive the intrinsic mechanics of how perfect sense gradually turns into utmost nonsense was eating my mind for many years.
In soviet Russia only the dumbest people (and among them the most hard working ones) would take communist ideas at face value and become true believers – like my poor father, who worked an adult man’s job since he turned fourteen and who joined communist party in his twenties. But most soviet commoners were just skillful pretenders.
To believe or not to believe, it was not a conscious choice anyway. Most people can’t think in abstract categories. Therefore, they can’t seriously question their social environment, they can only adapt to it in the manner of an animal. They don’t have enough brains, let alone education, to understand such complex matters as a political system, economical principles, social psychology, etc.
Undoubtedly there are still enough smart people around who are able to learn and improve our social system to the benefit of all the people. However, they are smart enough to see how other smart people abuse the system and make it work for their own benefit. They immediately realize that they will be doing much better if they join those crooks and earn a good share of the loot instead of fighting them, trying to make the system work better for everyone. You wonder, why?
Just answer the question, why should smart people work hard and put their own asses at risk, trying to help stupid people to live good life? Why wouldn’t they just get rich themselves? You don’t know the answer? I’ll tell ya! They shouldn’t and they won’t because the majority of people always pursue their own interests and don’t give a shit about you. When people cut corners and exchange cheap shots, competing for wealth and prosperity, the best strategy is to join the toughest gang on the block. When a robbery is in progress in your ‘hood, it’s more profitable to help the robbers than those who’s being robbed.
Human society will never eradicate the ubiquitous natural phenomenon called corruption because corruption is a smart system inside a stupid system and it’s constantly recruiting the smartest people into its ranks. Matter of fact, it recruits plenty of stupid people as well because it always in need of cannon fodder. Someone has to do mafia’s dirty job risking their lives, take the blame for someone else’s crimes and go to prison instead of the mafia’s bosses. Corruption is a machine inside another machine, it replenishes its resources quite relentlessly.
You still think there must be some way to fight corruption? Then answer the ultimate question: how could stupid people prevent smart people from screwing their asses? Things can only change radically when the hereditary beneficiaries of the system lose their smarts and strength upon the time and become as stupid as the rest of the population. That’s the exact time when a revolution or a coup strikes!
In Russia, in the twentieth century it happened twice: first in 1917 because Russian low classes led by the communists wanted to exterminate the upper classes and rob their wealth. Then it happened once again in 1991 because state wealth did not work for individuals at all, and everybody wanted to rob that wealth, especially those who were supposed to guard it, that is, the special government agencies and first of all, KGB.
As a result, corruption in Russia is now soaring much higher than in 1917 and in 1991. However, new political regime managed to get rid of all serious competitors, including political opposition. The newly formed Russian elite instinctively embraced the idea of getting rich by all means possible. Moreover, they made it the leading national idea. The ruling clan was able to consolidate all ruthless people in the country around that idea and create a monolithic system bonded and driven solely by the golden dream of getting filthy rich at the expense of the rest of the nation. Practically, nothing has changed since 1917, only the Lenin’s maxima “Rob the robbers!” was reduced to “Rob anyone you can!”
Government special agencies and organized crime blended together and created a regime that even François Duvalier would’ve envied. This regime is now incorporating all branches of power, all government institutions, big business, the clergy and mass media. There is no organized crime in Russia anymore. The regime incorporated it as well so now Russian mafia is deeply intertwined into the system. Anyone who wants to get rich or die trying must find their ways within the system, because it controls everything. If they prove themselves more useful than cannon fodder the system may hire them and the reward may be substantial, otherwise it may throw them out or simply make them vanish without a grave.
Communist shepherds always lived wealthier that regular people. Like George Orwell elegantly put it, “all animals are equal but some are more equal than the others”. However, they still had to hide their lifestyle from their herd because their hands were tied by the stale communist ideals of equality and fraternity. They were just guarding the state wealth but they did not own it like they wanted, despite of all their power. Now they wanted not just the power but also the wealth. The mindset has changed upon the time but the regime and the rhetoric has not. The stalemate could not last long and in 1991 the communist regime collapsed. The nation trashed notorious communist ideals pretty quickly and retired to the basic rules of life: “every man for himself!” and “if you’re so smart why you’re so poor?”
The turmoil called “Russian perestroika” was horrific but the outcome was not bad until a nasty weasel called Vladimir Putin seized the power. Russians are no longer practicing their notorious genocidal religion, the bloody communism. Needless to say that communism in Russia just like Nazism in Germany were both nothing else but modernized religions where Marx, Lenin, Hitler and Stalin were worshiped as gods.
Communism in Russia lost its appeal because everybody realized the hard way that fighting for social fairness is way less rewarding that fighting for a good life of their own. Most importantly, they realized that their leaders who urged them to fight for social fairness never hesitated to push them into a deadly battle and then reap the benefits of their victory and have a good life or run away safely in case of defeat. Corruption never rests.
As long as people’s memories are fresh, nobody in Russia wants to kill and get killed for communist ideals anymore. Now Russians are willing to kill only for money and power, just like any normal people who are not as sick in their heads as radical Muslims. This is a significant improvement because people never kill, torture, imprison or ostracize nearly as many of their own kind for money and power as they do for their religious ideals.
In Brezhnev’s soviet Russia where I spent my younger years one’s career expectancy was “hard earned” by the accident of birth. The top dogs’ puppies were guaranteed fast and steep careers and high rank positions in the communist party or any other government institution or enterprise. I still remember the popular saying from those times: “Can a colonel’s son become a general? No he can’t! Because the general has his own kids!”
There was, however, an important exception due to a communist declaration that working people in the USSR have an incredibly vast career opportunities. This declaration was indeed confirmed by real actions. Communist government was reserving a certain number of more or less attractive career spots for the selected representatives of the social classes they usually promote: workers and peasants.
Young people with the right social origin had an official score raise when passed a university entrance exams as well as other privileges. They also could join the communist party much easier than the others. For anyone seriously making a career, membership in that monstrous organization was mandatory: it was the starting point and a firm foundation for a successful career in any possible field.
But there was also a catch twenty two. Once you’re a member of a communist party, there was no way back. You couldn’t simply resign your membership without complete devastation of your life. As a lowest rank communist, a private, so to speak, you had to serve like a soldier under the command of the superior party officers and obey any order, even if you were ordered to walk into flames and die burning. And if you didn’t obey they would burn you anyway, slowly and painfully.
Communist party had complete control over each and every entity in USSR, except KGB. That’s why KGB eventually seized control over the country after the end of the communist party. Communist leaders had derived from the same low life origin, the notorious “proletariat”. That’s why they were ignorant, illiterate, arrogant and appallingly unprofessional. Their leadership cost the country much more than the worst enemy’s sabotage activity. They usually barked their orders downward, not even trying to learn the details. As a result, regular people had to pay dearly for ignorance, arrogance and ineptitude of their leaders.
Sure enough, upper communist leaders were not in complete denial of their natural limitations. That’s why they invented a simplest way to avoid competition: beside they own children, they routinely recruited into the party the most slimy and subservient bastards they could find. The operative word in those times was “devotion” but it really meant “servility”. Communist leaders valued that type of “devotion” much more than honesty, intellect and professionalism.
As a result of this unnatural selection, the Soviet Union at its latest time was controlled by a bunch of slimy worms who elaborated supernatural instincts and skills in bureaucratic intrigues and were absolutely inept in any other area of expertise, much like a highly specialized parasitic organism in biology. Communist party needed servants and cannon fodder just like any mafia. However, the official explanation of the promotion of the low class people was both pompous and primitive: those who were “nothing” before the great revolution are now “everything”! Those who’ve been oppressed all their lives are now entitled exceptional rights as a compensation for their suffering!
Because of that communist travesty, the children of street thugs, hillbillies, habitual drunks and other trash called “proletariat” had special privileges for university entrance. A whole bunch of those dumbass C students entered our medical university in Ryazan and studied medicine along with to me. I could only sigh helplessly, watching that dumb trash in white gowns, who took the places that rightfully belonged to talented young people. They were shitty students and as expected, became unskillful and illiterate doctors. I’d rather die than agree to be treated by my alumni.
Even dumb communist officials understood that the qualification of those peasant doctors left much to be desired. But they justified their policy, saying that at least those shitty doctors will come back to their shitty rural places, where nobody else wanted to live, and help people using their poor skills. At least those degenerate rural drunks will have a shitty doctor than no doctor at all.
However, those peasant students had their own plans. They did everything possible to stay in the city and never come back to their rural shithole, where people had to freeze their asses in the outhouse and bring water in buckets from a water well, where roads had never seen any pavement, where food and manufactured goods were scarce, where bottled moonshine was much stronger currency than soviet money, where all the people were permanently drunk because a sober human being will go berserk in such a fucked up place in less than a day.
I remember how they used to approach me and say: “listen up, you city boy! You’re going to work in the country! For we’ve been stomping liquid dirt with our kersey boots all our lives. Now it’s your turn to live in a rural shithole and eat our shit, and drown in our shit every day, and it’s our turn to live in the city, walk its clean paved streets and wear nice clothes and clean shoes!” I was not surprised at all. As the old proverb says, give a mouse a cookie and he will ask for a glass of milk.
As you may imagine, all those times I’ve been dreaming that someday I’ll flee from that goddamn country to the Promised Land ruled by democracy, to the United States of America! But when after many years I finally moved to the US, I did not see even a small hint of what I’ve dreamt about. In reality I saw a painfully familiar ideology-ruled society, massive propaganda and usual persecution of free thinking. I did not realize soon enough that freedom of speech in America was a complete fake and I’d better had kept my mouth shut even more thoroughly than in communist Russia. As a result I said something that was not “politically correct” and was fired from my job.
In America they don’t need to put you in prison for your words, it is more than enough to simply terminate your employment, and you’re done anyway. Once you’re unemployed and have no income, you better find a way to go to prison voluntarily so that you at least had your three hots and a cot. It’s better than rot and starve to death under a shitty bridge like a sick animal.
Job termination here in America is much like termination of your membership in the communist party in USSR. In many cases it will be the end of you. Now that you have no income and can’t pay your rent or mortgage, you have to leave your furniture by the dumpster because nobody will buy it, and think how to survive because you’ll have to move out pretty soon. Along with your job you also lost your medical and dental insurance, so you can’t get any medical help if you get sick, even the shitty one that I had in USSR for free. You are ostracized from the society, you’re on your own! You need a good reference from your previous manager in order to get another job but if you were fired, you won’t get one.
That’s why when you came from the HR with a pink slip on your forehead, and cleared your desk, and a little security guard in gray uniform is proudly escorting you to the exit, and you’re carrying that notorious cardboard box half-filled with your meager belongings, your coworkers, many of whom you considered friends, turn their heads far away from you, trying not to even look, let alone say their farewells. That moment you feel like you are infected with a contagious disease and the whole world is trying to rush away from you. And those few who are brave enough to give you that last look, they are looking at you as if you’re a dead man, and you really are. Once you’re fired, you’re a dead man walking.
I had high hopes about my immigration but after all I could find only one meaningful thing in America: a fair opportunity to trade my skills for green dollars. Everything else did not have much sense to me. My coveted America turned out to be over-regulated and bureaucratized ways more than communist Russia. I was completely lost, I could not imagine how I would live in this country without a miniature lawyer in my pocket. Everything was forbidden. Every door and gate was riddled with signs “No weapon”, “No soliciting”, “No loitering” and “No trespassing”. And for those who still wanted to solicit or loiter or trespass or bring a machine gun there was another sign: “Security cameras are in use!”
Every highway had a posted speed limit that nobody obeyed anyway. Every bridge and every pier had signs “No fishing” and “No swimming”. Every beach entrance also had signs “No vehicles beyond this point”, “No dogs on the beach”, “No alcohol” and “No lifeguard on duty. Swim at your own risk”. I could not loiter or solicit at the shopping center front door at my own risk but at least I could swim on the beach at my own risk.
And with alcohol, it was a complete disaster! Drinking alcohol was forbidden on the beach, in the streets, at the parks, on the piers and bridges and at other public places. “I just bought a case of Miller High Life. Where am I supposed to drink my fucking beer?” – I asked local people. – “Drink you fucking beer at home”, they replied. – “What’s the fun, for fuck sake? I want to drink my beer on the beach by the water or in the park under a tree!” – “And people in hell want ice water but they can’t have it!” – replied American aborigines.
“Wait… There are plenty of bars right at the beach. Why I can legally get drunk in the beach bar and immediately go back to the beach being drunk but I can’t get drunk right on the beach by myself? What kind of stuff do they add to my glass that makes my being drunk legal, eh?” – “Okay, okay! We know it is a stupid law. You can drink on the beach, just wrap your beer bottle in a brown bag so that the cops could not see you drinking alcohol, that should be enough. We always drink on the beach that way”.
“Would it help if I wrap my fishing rod in a brown bag when I am fishing from a bridge? Shall I wrap my car in a brown bag when I’m driving eighty miles an hour in a fifty miles an hour zone like every other fucking car on the highway? Can I wrap my glock 45 in a brown bag and bring it to an office building?” – “No-o-o-o!!!” – “But when I wrap my fucking beer bottle in a brown bag…” – “Yes!!!”
“Well, at least now I understand why you Americans need legal advice every fucking minute.” “Why?” “Because you not only have a whole bunch of rules and regulations but what is even more important, they are inconsistent!” “There is no law that says that the law supposed to be consistent! If you need legal help you have to pay to a lawyer! That’s how things work in our great country. It’s called democracy!” “You can call it democracy but I call it bullshit! The law supposed to be simple enough for every citizen to learn and understand. The law that nobody can understand and nobody has the right to interpret except for lawyers is lawlessness. You Americans still live in your wild West, only you switched your Colt revolvers to lawyers.”
A little later I found out that I cannot give people psychological advice or fix someone’s light fixture or even catch a fucking fish in the river without a license. I cannot camp on a river or in the woods anywhere I want except for special camping grounds that I have to pay for, I can’t sell my apples or carrots by the side of the road without a license, and I cannot dig a hole or put up a fence on my front yard or change a window package in my own house without a permit. I did not feel myself so trapped even in USSR.
To my Russian understanding, American social life and especially private life was a total fuck up. Later in this book I will try to cover a little more the undeclared war that American women are waging on American men and all the devastation it brought unto this country – appalling divorce rate, innumerable neurotic children raised in a split custody, crushed and humiliated men who forgot how to be a head of a household, and a catastrophic national epidemic of “singlicity”. People are social animals and being single for a long time makes them sick mentally and physically.
With my psychiatric experience, I couldn’t help but notice an incredibly high percentage of mental disorders among American people, especially depression that lonely people are very much prone to. I also found out that most people with depression could not afford a medical doctor, so they were helping themselves with what was in their disposal – beer, gin tonic, vodka lemon, captain Morgan, Jack Daniels and of course a whole bunch of street drugs readily available at every corner. Those who could afford a doctor were taking Prozac, Xanax, Oxycodone, Tramadol and many other bright inventions of the refined human civilization. Crazy, crazy…
One of the craziest things I found in America was a notorious “affirmative blacktion”. Just like in communist Russia, American government was giving special support to the most inept and useless part of its citizens, only the beneficiaries of the exceptional privileges were not workers or peasants but African Americans.
Needless to say that American blacks have ways more privileges than Russian white trash back in soviet times. Black men break the law and go to prison very often, therefore to my opinion their most important privilege is humane prison conditions. In prison they all, including the most notorious felons, have good nutritional food, their own beds and mattresses, medical help, daily yard time with basketball or volleyball, a library and even a TV. If they don’t screw up they can easily stay alive and healthy in prison for twenty years and more, while at large they’d probably die much earlier due to the drug use and deadly violence they are prone to. Russian prison inmates were always kept in horrific conditions and without regular support of their relatives and friends from outside they’d usually die in prison pretty soon.
After more than twenty years in the US I still can’t understand why Americans are trying to bribe their former slaves so desperately. Isn’t it clear that the more you’re bribing them, trying to iron out what ever guilt you feel, the more you corrupt them, making them more and more brazen and insatiable? Okay, once upon a time their ancestors were slaves of your ancestors. So what? It’s not your fucking guilt, is it? It’s the guilt of your fucking ancestors! Those times had long gone and now you have each and every right to live free of any guilt. Let history be just history! …but corruption never sleeps, and some street smart greedy niggas are still trying to milk their history in order to get good stuff for free and live at the expense of the society even before they started serving their jail time!
The history is teaching us that if a master doesn’t need a slave anymore he has only three options: first option is to chase the slave so far away that he’ll never be seen again. Africa is a damn good place for it, by the way! But they don’t want to go back to Africa, they want to leech off of you in America. Second choice is simply to kill the useless slave. This is the most reliable solution. No person, no problem, like comrade Stalin used to say. However, Stalin and his methods of problem solving are history now, which leave Americans with the last and the most risky solution – to free their former black slave once again and let him be a free man for real.
A free black man, not a freed black slave, who still feels and thinks like a slave and holds a grudge against anyone whose skin color is white. If he is still thinking about his slavery and still hates your guts and does not move on, he’s still a fucking slave down inside. He does not understand that you want both of you to be equals. The only truth he knows is that people have always been divided into masters and slaves. Now that he saw that his master lost his spirit he wants to become a master himself and turn his master into his slave. And the more you’re trying to bribe him out of that desire the harder he’s trying to enslave you because he can see that his efforts bring immediate result.
It is your fucking burden – the burden of a white man – to free your black slave completely, once and for all, and make absolutely sure he’s a free man now, just like you! You have to free him by all means possible because if you fail to do that, you’ll have to either deport him back to Africa – or just kill him in self-defense when he resorts to violence. That’s what’s happening in American streets every day: pretty often a white cop has no other option than riddle a feral nigger with bullets to stop him from killing other people.
Of course, you still have the option that he would cherish the most – become his slave! It’s sad to admit that American population and establishment succumbed to that final option… Uncle Sam became a nigga’s bitch and now he bribes feral niggers with your tax money and shuts your mouths with political correctness, so that nobody could call things their real names and even think right about what happened to their country.
I start falling into a belief that just like a cow is a holy animal in India, a ghetto rat is a holy animal in America. If it’s not then what’s the point of feeding that nasty creature with all kinds of social benefits until it commit a felony, and keep feeding it in prison cell just like they feed an exotic animal in a cage?
Everyone in America who is talking about national debt mean the financial debt. But there is even more important national debt. This debt is not about giving more money to African Americans. On the contrary, it’s a social debt to stop corrupting the black population with social assistance given only for the color of their skin and thus eliminate the conditions that make black ghettos a breeding ground that produces yet more and more socially and professionally inept citizens who are a burden to the society. I saw the same thing in USSR where communists have been breeding the same type of substandard population called “soviet people”. Everybody knows how ugly it ended.
After all, I don’t give a shit about American thing with their former black slaves because I am a Russian man with Jewish roots. My ancestors never had no slaves, so I owe you nothing, my nigga! We live in the same country and have the same rights and responsibilities. So tell your pathetic shit to American born little boys with hairy dicks and a big snot instead of brains. Maybe they’ll buy you a Rolls-Royce and let you sell coke and crack to their children right near their school. But I don’t owe you even a penny! I don’t owe to the US government either because I started working in America from my first day. Every man must work for himself and for his family, I’d give them bloody communists a credit for that one! So go and get yourself a decent job like a free man, you lazy fuck!
I am preaching this not just to black idlers but also to every non-working spic, chink, honky and other politically incorrect national who thinks he is too good to work and especially to you, useless ultra-orthodox piece of shit who dares to call himself Jewish! Don’t inflict shame upon my ethnicity! Shave you fucking braids and get yourself a job, right next to your African-American brother! I don’t want to be called a Jewish parasite because of your filthy attitude to the society!
There are many other types of social parasites in America besides ethnic system abusers – by all means – faggots, dikes, transgenders, feminist bitches, porn stars, radical Muslims, atheists, Jesus freaks, vegans, Greenpeace freaks, lefties and anti-abortionists, whining single moms, annoying charity organizations, journalists, athletes, celebrities, supermodels, plastic surgeons, gay couples, lawyers, politicians, advertising copywriters and illegal immigrants… Shall I include telemarketers and drunk drivers? It’s harder to single out every attention bitch on the marketplace than enumerate every potato bug in the aluminum pot!
Just like the communist propaganda used to brainwash soviet people in USSR, these proselyting fascists are now brainwashing the great country of Columbus. They are injecting their ideology into American mentality like parasites excreting their poison into their host’s body to make it tolerable to their infestation. They are not simple idlers who just leech off of their host because most of them provide for themselves. They are much worst type of parasites, they are ideological parasites. Rather than stealing people’s money and goods they are stealing things that are much more valuable – people attention and sympathy. They use their goddamn “political correctness” to melt people’s brains just like spiders use their saliva to liquify the fly’s giblets before sucking them in.
Numerous ideological parasites compete for public attention and sympathy with modest and honest people who also have their needs and require lots of help. But modest and honest people are getting none of public attention and sympathy because those valuable and limited national resources have been depleted by the ideological parasites. As a result, regular working people are suffering and the parasites are thriving.
Where are you, normal hard working Americans, whose brains are not poisoned yet? When are you going to raise your voice and your fist and stop this ongoing brain vasectomy once and for all? Are you going to blow this filthy foam off the top of your melting pot and make America great again, or you decided to wait until the evil one put this pot on his hellish stove and turn on the burner?
I think that at this point all kinds of ideological parasites and those who use their rhetoric to distract the society from the real problems, will start calling me a communist or a fascist or an extremist and all other names out of their books. But those names won’t stick to my face because, unlike those real fascists, I am not telling people how to choose their values and live their lives. I am just telling them that they are drowning in a pool of crazy ideological bullshit, that’s all.
In Ryazan medical school the ideology enforcers was ordering me and my band mates in our university band to sing songs about fucking Lenin, Russian revolution and other communist vomit – but we still had the courage to sing “Come together”, “Hey Jude” and “Yellow submarine” and then suffered the consequences. Our communist administration had never forgotten a thing and always came up with a revenge.
I thought that someday in America I’ll be able to say and sing and play whatever I want. It’s a free country, isn’t it? Little did I know the real state of the Union. Here, in the American citadel of democracy, if I’d film a simple movie that shows, for example, an IT department and some typical problems that IT stuff faces and solves every day, with just normal characters, simple engineers and technicians, this film will never see a theater for the reason of being not politically correct.
They will start telling me that my movie must have at least one fag or dike character, or better yet both; that a male IT director is abomination before God, it must be an abusive bitch, who bosses men around like little boys, giving them no respect; that an adorable young female character with gorgeous boobs must be the engineering genius; and there must be a wheelchair character, too. There also must be at least one nigger and a couple of spics and chinks in my movie and they must be smarter than honkies. Kikes are usually not required in the character plot, because they don’t march on kike parades with circumcised dildos, bitching for attention. On the contrary, a transgender character is absolutely mandatory! – as well as a low income single mom of a bipolar teenage girl, who has asthma and becomes suicidal from time to time because she was raped by her schoolmaster at the age of twelve. A character with Down syndrome or with OCD will adorn the cast even more. And to make my movie 100% democratic I also have to add a character with HIV and another one with genital herpes. As you can see, the main movie-making rule is simple: each character must carry a well-recognized stigma. Once this mandatory requirement is met, it’ll be the bestselling movie, no shit – God bless politically correct America!
Dear fellow Americans… I’ve never seen more severely ass-raped idealists than brainwashed citizens of the United States. You may still believe that your country is a pinnacle of democracy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you are proud of your politically correct values exactly like we used to be proud of our communist values in USSR – proud under the whiplash! Once the ruling clan has told you what you must be proud of, you either make a clear impression of how proud you are, or you’ll be publicly flogged. What kind of a free man you are if you are scared to death to pinch a pretty girl’s butt like all normal men do in all normal countries? You believe that all this fuck up is true democracy because you’ve never seen anything different. But I can easily recognize under the mask of your democracy the same old communist bullshit called “dictatorship of proletariat”!
It does not matter what characteristics make a social group “proletariat”: being a worker or a peasant in Russia or being a female or a homosexual in America. What really matters is the absurd idea of giving a social class special privileges or any other advantage over the rest of the society, so that unscrupulous people had a legitimate right to bitch for attention and exploit their race or sex or anything else in order to become more equal than the others.
No matter how hard you brainwash me, I will never believe that a filthy drunk worker in Russia, who cannot hold his urine in his bladder and smells like a pig, can rule the country.
No matter how hard you brainwash me, I will never believe that a high school girly-girl in America has the right to challenge a scientist’s theory just because it does not sit well with her precious religious beliefs.
No matter how hard you brainwash me, I will never believe that a wheelchair ridden lesbian black female with genital herpes instead of education will be a better president of the United States than a well-educated white male. I will still say that his Harvard University Diploma suits the job somewhat better than her gender, color, ghetto talk and genital herpes altogether.
Ideology and common sense are mutually exclusive but people don’t give a shit about common sense, so ideology wins. It is always a Pyrrhic victory because every ideology wears out its welcome at some point and people then scrape it from their minds and charts and immediately get carried away with a quite opposite idea. The nation leaders always ride ideology like a dog sledge while regular citizens are pulling that sledge, barking at each other and biting each other thighs.
The leaders don’t care about the direction their sledge goes; what they really care about is to stay in the fucking sledge. They know that in order to stay in power they have to throw a meaty bone to the dogs that bark the most. So they throw a bone to a women lib bitch, a bone to a barking nigga hound, a bone to an ass-biting faggot and so on, and so on. And where do they get all those juicy bones from? Of course, they slash you, you politically correct fucking idiot!
Political correctness is not the only bullshit that American establishment is using as a means of total thought control. Since my first step on American soil my mind started being soiled with the smelliest shit I’d ever known – fucking commercials! I still can’t watch American TV because that bloody box is ass-raping my brain every minute, yelling and howling like a drunk whore, that I must drop whatever I was up to and buy their hot shit right away.
Just like communist propaganda or political correctness, this informational genocide liquefies human brain and molds it into a controlling device of a biological machine that can learn, work, shop, eat, shit, drink, vote, have primitive fun and even make half decent babies but absolutely can’t do what makes a human a human – it can’t think independently!
I remember myself twenty years ago sitting on a couch with my American girlfriend Cindy Lou in front of her TV, watching some crap. She could watch it easily and even laugh at times. I was sitting next to her groping her big boobs and wondering how she and other people in this country can watch this shit every night and their heads are not exploding like Chinese firecrackers at a ghetto wedding.
The answer, however, was pretty simple. After watching TV for a while, Cindy Lou went to her garage and lit a joint that, I believe, was thicker than my oversized dick. I was standing next to her and talking while she was puffing and in no time I became stoned like a graveyard boulder. As a result the part of my body that, I believe, was thinner than Cindy’s joint, lost its natural ability to get hard. An avid sex addict, Cindy Lou was seriously pissed. No more pot for you, Alex! When you get stoned like that you can’t perform!
As long as I‘ve been gradually expanding my dating experience, I could see other common fixes that helped American girls, back and white, to watch their TV – beer, gin tonic, vodka lemon, captain Morgan, Jack Daniels, Prozac, Xanax, Oxycodone, Tramadol and many other inventions of the refined human civilization. However, the most effective remedy was completely natural, it was just the saving grace of inherent stupidity. My psychiatric experience was invaluable in those situations. I knew exactly when it was time to skidaddle. Anyway, I think I poured so much American tsores (or tsuris) into my book that it should be enough for now, so let’s get back in time to USSR and its misery.
What do you know about connections? You probably think about those technical thing without which Internet won’t work, right? Back in time, years before the Internet era in communist Russia your whole life wouldn’t work without connections. Well paid jobs, good food, decent clothes, furniture, car, tape recorder – anything you can imagine, you could only obtain through the connections with the right people. Without those connections you’ll be eating shitty food, work a shitty job, live in a shitty place, wear shitty clothes, and everyone will treat you like a piece of crap.
Connections in the medical field were even more important than anywhere else in USSR. An engineer could not work in the middle of nowhere, so at least he could live in a city. A doctor was supposed to live and work in any imaginable and unimaginable shithole. However, the most attractive medical jobs were not defined only by their location within the city limits, where some sort of civilization existed and life was not completely desperate. After location, the most important thing was specialty. Every doctor dreamt about being a narrow specialist like cardiologist or neurologist or urologist or an eye doctor or an ear doctor, etc. They were seeing their patients in clinics or in hospitals and their workload was not killing them every day.
The worst job was a district doctor’s job. A district doctor in soviet Russia was a general practitioner who was assigned a city district full of sickly and chronically ill people. Those poor creatures, mostly women, were the martyrs of the communist system. Their workload was horrible. All day long they had to walk on foot many a mile or use shitty public transportation to visit numerous patients with any kind of sickness, including highly contagious diseases like flu and other respiratory infections.
There was no such thing as paramedics in USSR: doctors were so cheap that the government made them the first responders. District doctors had to deal with deaths, drunks, blood, vomit, feces, aggressive patients and their relatives, pranksters, and just the healthy pretenders who called for a doctor to get a sick leave – all that shit for a miserable salary that was barely enough to sustain their bodily needs with crappy soviet food.
University graduates in USSR did not have the right to choose their own jobs. They were assigned their jobs by the communist government according to a graduates personal placement state law (the precise translation is “personal distribution of young specialists”). After graduating from the Ryazan medical school I was not “distributed” to the Department of Health like the other graduates. Instead, I was handed much like live stock to the Department of Social Security where doctors were supposed to work in nursing homes.
Nursing homes in USSR were merely the dumpsters where communist government was dumping its old and disabled citizens who had no relatives to take care of them at home. Those institutions were usually hidden in the most desolated rural areas so that no looky-loos, especially foreigners, could accidentally discover such an abominable place where the inmates were doomed to rot in complete isolation and misery until death. The personnel who helped them to stay alive was rotting alive along with them.
Most of those places had a position of a doctor that had to be filled according to the law. Of course nobody would have worked in those horrible dumps voluntarily, and communist government forced medical school graduates to fill those positions using the power of the law. Young doctors were going bananas in such places in no time. They’d either ruin themselves with alcohol or even committed suicide. Of course, nobody cared.
I was assigned to the Ryazan branch of the Department of Social Security, whose nursing homes were an abomination before God. This horrible assignment was a direct consequence of all my university “wrongdoings” – saying wrong words, singing wrong songs, playing wrong tunes, giving wrong looks and most of all just living at the wrong country. It was the revenge of the communist regime to a young man who did not break under its pressure and an attempt to break him again by all means.
Once the system has you, you’re a cog in the machine. But a little man still can take advantage of the machine if he know the rules. I did not like internal medicine and wanted to become a neurologist. Neurology always attracted me because it is a very logical discipline. The next best specialty after neurology was psychiatry. Social Security Department always needed psychiatrists for its psychiatric nursing homes. I filled the necessary paperwork and went to the psychiatric internship. If I was distributed to the Health Department I’d never had a chance to become a psychiatrist unless I had really powerful connections.
I have to say that medicine was a poor choice for my career because I had a scientist’s mind and that type of thinking is certainly not that makes a good doctor. No matter what I’ve been dealing with, I’ve always tried to understand the cause and effect chain that defines the sequence of visible events. Unfortunately, medicine is not a real science nor art and neither a technical discipline. At this point medicine is no more than a huge collection of all known facts of very different nature that helps a little doctor to deal with any kind of situation and make a decision that at least won’t cause much harm to the patient.
Out of all medical departments psychiatry has the most limited knowledge about its subject, nearly none, because it deals with the most complex thing in the world, human mind – thinking, emotions, behavior and what not. Nobody knows how this shit really works and all damn theories are just speculations. Theoretical knowledge gives you a rat’s ass of help when you try to understand what’s happening in the mad girls’ head, and that mad girl happens to be your patient.
She’s out of her little mind and she’s doing things I’d better not tell you about so that you can sleep calmly at night. How can you get her back to normal? The answer is, you can’t. Once she went mad she’ll stay mad. When she’s not taking her pills she’s quite mad and when she’s taking them regularly she’s less mad, still mad. You can’t take it out of her, all you can do is help her to use the rest of her grits to cope with her madness and with the world around.
That is actually the main thing that I learned in Ryazan regional psychiatric hospital where I worked as a psychiatric intern, learning the trade and preparing myself to descend into a real hell. The name of that hell was Ryazan regional psychiatric nursing home where I had to work as a doctor for at least three full years according to the federal law. I’ve been marking every day in my little diary like an inmate sentenced to death marks the days left until the execution.
The nursing home was situated near the village called Romantsevo. The compound was surrounded by marsh land, boggy creeks and agricultural fields. There was only few paved roads in the area and none of them passed close to that place. To get there one had to turn to a little dirt road not known to many. It was snaking around marshes and suddenly hid in a wooded area. I never took that road and never found out how exactly it came to the compound. I always took a straight walking path stretching throughout a huge field from the railway station to the village. In about two miles the path entered a wooded marsh where I had to jump over small creeks and cross the swamped area hopping from one flat rock to another.
Right after passing through the wooded swamp the path forked into two branches. The thicker branch led to the village hidden behind the woods and the smaller branch curled around the marshes for half a mile and then suddenly ascended to the top of a flat hill where I finally could see the compound. Its main building long time ago was the manor of the local landlord and was at least hundred years old. There other buildings, as I remember, were office shack, garage, infirmary, warehouse shed, laundry building, bathhouse and workshop for the residents, and a pig ranch.
There was one more building on the outskirts of the compound, it was a heating boiler station. In Russian climate with its frosty winters electric heaters could not do any good to heat the buildings. They were heated by the hot water that was circulated thru the pipe system from the boiler station to the buildings and back. The boilers were heated by coal furnaces tended by a stoker, a skanky little man whose Christian name was Vladimir Karanotov but he usually would go by Mustache. He was a chronic alcoholic.
He and the rest of the personnel had been recruited from local peasants and former prison inmates who had served their time and had nowhere to go and nothing to live on. Nobody would hire them except for this horrid facility where no one else would work. Those sordid parodies of humans were rough creatures – uneducated, ignorant, very rude, and extremely xenophobic to the extent of paranoia. In my current recollections they are reminding me of American hillbillies. Their blurry miniscule minds was always occupied by just one thought – how to pull through a day and get drunk. Needless to say, they all were hopeless alcoholics.
There were a hundred and five female residents in the nursing home. The wards on the first floor were occupied by deeply debilitated bed ridden residents. The nurse assistants were feeding them and changing their bedding. There were no diapers at those times so they defecated and urinated in their beds. Most of the time they were soaking in their own feces and urine until a nursing assistant finally changed their sheets, mumbling blasphemies that substituted prayers. The majority of those who still could walk or better yet, crawl, were crack-brained doddery grannies. There were also a dozen or so severely mentally disabled younger females who could not live by themselves due to their condition. Those residents lived on the second floor.
As I mentioned, the main building was erected more than a hundred years ago and has never been renovated. The basement had no entry and was separated from the first story only by thin wooden flooring. Time and negligence turned it into a huge pit swamped with filthy water that nobody ever tried to pump out. Terrible stench was coming in between the floor cracks and mixing up with the smell of the feces, urine and rotting bodies of the bed ridden residents.
Our nursing assistants, orderlies, etc. were exposed to the stench for so long that it did not bother them at all. They loved to watch the first time visitors who’d never inhaled in their plain boring lives anything like our institution’s signature smell. Right after the first greetings the visitor’s face turned pale and after a minute it became green. Then I asked the visitors if they are hungry and offered them a breakfast or a dinner, depending on the time of the day. I remember only one visitor who joined us for a dinner and ate like a king. He was an old skinny chap who spent most of his life in a federal prison and such a trifle as some odd smell did not bother him at all. All other visitors at that point rushed to the porch and started calling Ralph, without a big white phone but rather loudly. It did not take long for me to get used to the stench because I’ve been exposed to the similar smell in the psychiatric hospital.
All our residents were at the final stage of their lives and diseases, therefore they needed care much more than any medical treatment. However, there was a couple of troubled residents that periodically caused a lot of disturbance. Those grannies still had able bodies that packed some serious moves but they were completely out of it, like an old sturdy house with the totally unhinged attic. And those old girls were fast, too! When any of them assaulted another resident, their fists and fingernails ain’t joking. By the time the orderlies pulled the attacker away from her victim, poor granny had already been beaten and scratched all over like a drunken hooker.
I usually gave the guilty resident a good dose of Thorazine and Haldol as a special token of recognition. I learned about this killer mix during my internship. The doctors in the psychiatric hospital used it quite often to punish the patients who engaged into a fight or tried to escape or got drunk. Unfortunately, just like back then in the hospital, the punishment only postponed the time of the next incident and could not eradicate the problem.
On the contrary, after a while things became much worse because one of the bullies started assaulting other residents with a dangerous weapon we could not even think of. That nasty old bitch had an iconic last name, Kopeikina. The Russian word “kopeika” means “penny”, so her name translates like “penny woman”. An avid fan of James Bond and the Beatles, I rebranded the old gargoyle to Miss Moneypenny and a bit later to Penny Lane.
Every afternoon Penny Lane, like all walking grannies, would come to the lounge and have dinner with her fellow residents. She ardently slurped her soup and chewed the main course very diligently, putting to work all her teeth. She had only four left, three on the lower jaw and one on the upper, but they were the teeth of a crocodile, long and sharp, bright yellow. The main course was usually a boneless chunk of fish or a chicken leg with mashed potato or sticky rice, and she devoured it rather quickly. This dining room has never seen other dessert than warm tea or liquid jelly or compote, which was served in heavy stainless steel mugs with sharp rims. Nobody realized that those mugs were formidable weapon but Penny Lane.
She gulped her dessert in one long take, licked her wrinkled fingers in a disgustingly sexual manner and suddenly a devilish flame would blaze in her eyes. Next second she grabbed her mug by the bottom, raised it high above her head and swung it down ferociously onto the head of a resident sitting at the table in front of her, chopping her scalp with the rim. Poor assaulted granny would usually squeal like a hare at night when an owl is breaking its spine with his mighty talons. A pool of blood, a nasty wound and a concussion were the usual outcome of the assault, which would usually turn a walking granny into a bed ridden one for quite a while if not forever.
“How are you gonna treat her, doctor?” – asked the director each time after another assault and I did not know what to reply. “Next time she’ll kill somebody and you’ll be responsible for the murder”. “Let’s send her to a psychiatric hospital” I would finally say. “Not an option! The hospital is always overcrowded, they won’t take her. You’d better do something here and do it quickly”.
I remember asking the orderly to bring the brutal resident to the medical room. “What am I gonna do with you, Penny Lane?” – I asked a rhetorical question. “Fuck me, doctor!” – She replied. “I am kinda old but I still could use a good fuck. Why don’t you pull out your dick? I want to smell it!” “No, Penny Lane! I don’t show my dick to murderers! You nearly killed poor old Masha Mukhina? Why?” “Because I hate this cunt and I’m gonna kill her anyway! Are you going to fuck me or what? I know my face is ugly but you can take me from behind!” She turned her back to me, bending over and trying to pull her gown up and her panties down.
“Doctor, you’re in trouble!” – said Natasha, the orderly, laughing softly while wrapping a sheet around the brazen old bitch’s arms, torso and butt. She wrapped her like a spider wraps a fly and purred “Let’s go back to your room, my dear, would you?” “Don’t fucking touch me, you slutty cunt!” replied the old fiend fiercely. “Why do you call her Penny Lane?” Natasha asked. She was a big tall and very strong woman about forty years old. Her body was covered with prison tattoos and she also wore a very fashionable front teeth grillz, prison style. “And by the way, I am ways younger and a much better fuck. Pour me a glass of vodka and you can fuck me all night long any way you want. I swear you won’t be disappointed!”
She told all the truth. One day the weather was so rainy and nasty that I had to stay overnight. There was no TV or radio in the infirmary where I stayed. I did not even have any book to read so I opened a bottle of vodka, the only product of our refined civilization available in those circumstances that could help me kill the time. Thirty seconds after I pulled out the cork, the door screeched open and Natasha slid into the room with tiger grace, touting a faceted glass in her hand. “Fill it to the rim!” she said imperatively and sat on my bed. I obeyed. She drank the contents of her glass without a chaser like it was tap water. She filled the glass swiftly: “Now’s your turn!” Her sharp tiger eyes stared at mine piercing straight thru me while I was drinking. Strong alcohol hit my head like a sledge hammer. As long as I finished my vodka she took the glass from my hand and put it on the night table. Then she sighed, stripped off my clothes with a couple of professional moves and undressed herself with a lightning speed.
This female tiger was fucking and sucking me the whole night relentlessly like a machine, not saying a word. She was not pleasing me, she rather was devouring my body like kids devour a lollipop. She broke the silence only once, saying in a hoarse voice “You can go down on me if it pleases you, I will never say a fucking word”. Her words had a perfect sense to me. A man known to be going down on women could have a serious trouble in prison. The inmates would turn him into a prison girl pretty quickly.
I was a young strong buck just turned twenty six years old but I was barely alive after that night. At six o’clock in the morning the iron maiden got up and put on her clothes. “Next time I’ll eat you alive, my dear doctor! That’s what I do to handsome young men like you” she said, then grabbed her glass, poured in it what was left in the bottle, drank it in a split second and left the infirmary with a tiger smile on her face. “I love you, too!” I replied to the slamming door.
There was no surveillance cameras everywhere those days so she could not watch me in the infirmary room. How could she possibly know what I was doing? I can only guess that her appearance right after I opened the damn bottle was related to some supernatural instincts developed by the locals in the survival process. She slammed into my room uninvited, drank more than a half of my booze and practically raped me, while I was trying to rape her back, that’s all I can recollect about that night.
Thinking of Americans, they would definitely qualify this funny nightly incident as a rape case. Blimey, Americans are really paranoid about their sexual rights and responsibilities. Especially the rights! They invented a ridiculous thing called statutory rape and other travesty. They developed a whole bunch of legal rules that define what’s considered consensual sex and what’s not. They debate if they are ready for sex, they take classes and consult with doctors and counsels.
What’s wrong with these people? They completely fucked up the best natural thing bestowed on us by our maker. Back in Russia things were so simple! We knew that as long as we’re alive we’re always ready for sex and if we’re not we must be already dead, just did not realize it yet. And if I am about to stick my dick into a woman and she is not yelling at me, not scratching my face and not kicking my balls then I am certainly having consensual sex, and you can take it to the bank.
Director Puchkov was a miserable hillbilly piece of shit like all those people but he was right. Penny Lane was my responsibility and I definitely had to do something about her. But what? My first thought was to simply poison the old bitch with the right combination of certain drugs. I knew a couple of very good combinations and if I was sure that I get away with the murder, I would have poisoned that sleazy cunt with a great pleasure. But I knew that no later than the old bitch takes her last breath, the entire personnel would rush to the police to be the first who snitched on me.
While I kept thinking the door to the medical room opened and a skanky little man hopped in, touting a faceted glass in his hand. “How ya doing, Mustache?” “Good morning, doctor! Doctor, I really need a hair of that dog…” “That bit ya last night, eh? Again?!” “Not again, doctor… Still!” I took a tiny jar of formic alcohol from the shelving and poured its content into his glass. “You’d be better off if you kill that nasty dog of yours once and for all, bro”. The little man scratched his hairy nose: “This is not my dog. This is a dog from hell that nobody can kill – but it kills everyone. He’ll finish me off pretty soon. Oh, I know that for sure, man”.
If I had to die or drink a jar of formic alcohol I’d rather die. But the little man with hairy face was carved out of flint stone. He drank his fix like a lord, sniffed his sleeve and used a handful of tap water for a chaser. “This dog is eating you alive. You’d better decide what to do before it’s too late”, I said. “I know exactly what to do”, he replied. “What?” “Die, man! All I can do is just die. Is it right that you’ve been fucking our famous Natasha Koshkina all night long?” “Said who?” “Everybody! You’re on the local news, man! What took you so long? Every new man over here fucks her on his first day!” “No, I did not fucked her. She fucked me. ”Crikey! Now that she fucked a doctor she’ll become even more popular!”
I got a bit puzzled. “Is she, um… real popular?” “By all means, man! Maybe you can tell me what makes her so good in bed?” “She’s not human, that’s why” “What is she?” “She is a female tiger, I saw it” “Oh, crikey! I was told that shit before but I did not believe it!” “Do you believe it now?” “How could I know? I tried to approach her but you know what? Our readily available Natasha Koshkina told me to go to hell and jerk off… I am doomed, man!” “Because she is not a whore. She’s a sexual predator and she predates only on fresh meat, buddy! Now you go, get real drunk and die like a man!” “Aye-aye, sir!”
I asked our supply manager to get a separate table for Penny Lane in the diner and make sure her table is far enough from all other tables so that the orderlies on duty had enough time to intercept her next attack. I told them to really keep an eye on her when she takes that damn mug in her hands. Our supply manager was a climacteric grumpy bitch. My humble request for a small dining table was the last straw and a perfect excuse to start bitching around. First I’ve been wasting formic alcohol to relieve the poor junkie’s morning hangover and now I’ve wasted a whole table on just one person. The orderlies were huffing and puffing that they are not security guards and it’s not their fucking duty to protect someone’s fucking head from beating by a fucking mug.
Everybody was unhappy about the situation except Penny Lane, who was not just unhappy, she was furious like a hungry hyena in heat! When I told her that she is separated from the rest of the diners she went berserk! “Doctor, you bloody bastard! How dare you to expel me from the community?! Me! A Christian fucking woman! I hate your guts, you damn faggot! I swear on Jesus Christ that I’ll bite off your dick and feed it to the dogs and rats! I’ll fuck you wet and dry you crisp, you moronic son of a whore! I’ll rape your ass with a broomstick in your sleep!”
I took a theatrical pause and whispered tragically “You really mean it, my dear?” “Fuck you, dipshit!” “And you think I will ever have sex with you after what you just said?” “Doctor, you know… I was just really upset with you but I did not mean what I said… I am a decent Christian woman and I don’t sleep around but if you really want me, just ask and I’ll give you what you want”. “I love you, Penny Lane, you’re an angel. Just promise that you’ll never beat up other girls and I’ll marry you next year if my wife gives me a divorce”. “You ask your wife for a divorce now and I’ll try to be good.” “You better be good, Penny Lane!”
The radio behaved pretty strange that cold November day. Instead of usual radio shows and news about heroic labor of soviet workers and peasants and the intrigues of the western imperialists it was playing mourning music all the time. I gradually became wary: something must have happened. Suddenly the music stopped and a heavy anxious pause hung in the air. After a minute that felt like half an hour the radio announcer said in a well-delivered tragic voice: after years of declining health our dear leader, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, died.
The news spread around our madhouse with a lightning speed. Everyone except the most demented residents started crying and howling. The sanest residents formed an initiative group who set off to the office and began demanding from director Puchkov to send a condolences telegram to the political bureau of the communist party immediately. They also brought the list of the names of the senders that must appear at the end of the telegram. We are the veterans of labor, we have the right!
Director Puchkov took the telegram and the name list, assured the residents that he would go to the post office and send the telegram right away and the grannies went back to their quarters, still crying and wiping their faces with their sleeves. I watched through the half opened door how the director tossed the papers to the trash can, spitted there too and said a few short but very strong words that only Russians can understand.
Panic kept spreading around our madhouse like forest fire. I almost ran out of our Thorazine supplies and had to ask our supply manager to reorder. Both our epileptic girls had bad seizures that day but otherwise it was quiet – no usual fights for snacks and tidbits, no arguments and no complaints. Everyone was scared by the news. Even the most ruthless one, Penny Lane, seemed to be shocked a little bit. She approached me from behind trying to grope my butt and asked in an ingratiating voice –”Doctor, I understand that today is not a good day for personal inquiries but I’d like to know if you already asked your wife for a divorce. I thought about it, you know, I am a Christian woman and having sex with a married man would go against my faith”.
In his last years, Brezhnev was out of his mind ways more than our poor Penny Lane. He surely belonged to a place like ours rather than to the Kremlin office where he was kept, let alone being the formal leader of the nation. Nevertheless, he had been held in power as a puppet till his last day on Earth, even when his dementia was so obvious that people were making jokes about it every day. I couldn’t see any other reason for it than a desperate attempt of the communist leaders to preserve the balance of power inside the regime at all costs. Now that Brezhnev was dead that balance died with him and an enormous succession war seemed inevitable.
There was very little sanity dwelling in our house of grief. There was even less sanity in the whole country where the authorities demanded to worship a feeble dotard as an embodiment of the achievements of soviet power while soviet food stores were nearly empty and soviet servicemen kept dying in Afghanistan every day. Everybody understood the absurdness of the situation but the enduring fear caused by Stalin’s repressions forced people to keep lying through their teeth, demonstrating their strong communist faith they did not have.
Everybody had been supposed to praise socialism, communist party, “and dear Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev personally”. It was the formula of loyalty to communism, a sort of “prayer” that everyone had to recite regularly just like a Mustafa Ibrahim is obliged to say prayers to his Allah five times a day. Or like nowadays a shitty technical writer from Bangalor is obliged to praise American women in every user guide with the phrases like: “after launching the maintenance program the user will see on his or her screen… supposed to right-click on his or her menu…” This is another formula of loyalty, this time to feminism, a sick fascist ideology, which makes her work all day long and raise her kids alone instead of breastfeeding and raising healthy and well behaved children with love and care while her husband provides for their family. Times and ideologies change all the time and only lunacy stays forever.
Brezhnev’s death marked the end of the Era of Stagnation, which at its own time was proudly called a “period of developed socialism”. It is highly possible that in the future the “period of developed political correctness” will be called the Era of Gagged Mouths. At the last years of Brezhnev’s ruling the atmosphere of “hypocrisy on the brink of madness”, that haunted me since my childhood, condensed enormously and became completely unbearable. I remember how one of my colleagues said in those days that the only solution now is to start spraying Thorazine from planes and choppers. Every morning our country would wake up to repeat the same utmostly moronic but profoundly established ritual of praising the communist party and soviet power for the happiness they are giving to the soviet people.
I had a strong feeling that our nation resembled a person who’s suffering from a mental disorder. Loonies tend to seek refuge from their madness in absurd rituals. I could clearly see that our country behaved pretty much like a crazy person. And now that the centerpiece of the crazy ritual had gone, exacerbation of psychosis became inevitable. We all had a gut feeling that the very foundation of our life had been irreparably altered, our history changed its course, and no one would give a rat’s ass about our future anymore.
The reality turned out much worse than our worst fears. Like many other people I wanted to flee from that sick country to the United States. I believed that in America with its meticulously designed government and robust economy something like Russian “perestroika” can never happen. Communist party had been overruling and substituting government because all government officials were its members and had to obey their party leaders, who never bore no irresponsibly. The unlimited power of the communist party made it possible to destroy the entire country with one wrong move. I was convinced that nobody in the United States had so much power that is capable to cause such monstrosity as Russian “perestroika” that became a bigger disaster than the American Great Depression. Everybody who went through a social cataclysm of such caliber would have PTSD till the rest of their days.
I’ve got my PTSD like everybody else who went thru “perestroika”. I still remember those days and years of continuous survival. When I finally moved to the States I became astound by American people’s approach to life, which I found wasteful and reckless. They’ve never starved for days and weeks. They’ve never lived in complete uncertainty for years. They can’t understand the real meaning of the word “desperation”. They completely forgot that nothing else but strong and reliable economy gives them their daily bread, roofs over their heads and civic peace.
Most Americans are born and raised with such a strong sense of entitlement to good life that nobody except private entrepreneurs care about national economy. Everybody else cares about fucking abortions, women liberation, human rights, volunteer work, church activities, charity, Christian values, minorities, privacy, global warming, liberalism, gay marriage and lots of other bullshit. It was obvious that all that crap was some kind of red herring that was used to distract American people from the thing of much higher importance: corruption of power. When two political parties pretend to watch each other for corruption and regular people are engaged into abortion, gay, black and liberal stuff and consider sexual harassment the biggest threat to national security, that stupidity must have severe consequences.
One of the most severe consequences was the global financial crisis in 2008. Russian historians often say that history does not educate people, instead it simply punishes them for their ignorance. Americans seem to be no less ignorant than Russians. They never tried to learn and find out what really caused that crisis. They did not even figure our that president Clinton made this crisis inevitable by simply repealing the Glass-Steagall Act. Americans even don’t know that they have their own evil force not less powerful and equally ruthless and irresponsible as communist party. It is called “lobby”. Banking lobby was moving Bill Clinton’s hand when he was signing the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act into law, which gave banks a legal opportunity to gamble their client’s money making highly risky investments.
Nobody even heard of Blythe Masters – a terrible woman who helped Bill Clinton to nearly ruin the world economy by introducing to the financial industry an illiterate and dangerous invention called Credit Default Swap. CDS works pretty much like insurance. But how crazy should you be to buy an “insurance” whose seller is not required by law to have reserves? Don’t you understand that such insurance would be sold in unlimited quantities and would worth nothing? Don’t you understand after all that in absence of reserves even a single significant insurance event will cause an avalanche of defaults?
Banking mafia, Bill Clinton, Blythe Masters and negligence of American people created a perfect storm and fused a time bomb that exploded in 2008 during the George Bush’s presidency and flooded financial market with toxic assets. Financial crisis took everyone by surprise and, of course, the incumbent President George W. Bush became a scapegoat, although he had nothing to do with it. American people never had time to learn how their national financial system works because they were too busy flipping homes, marching against breast cancer, adopting babies from Africa and fighting for gay rights and special restrooms for transgender people. Sense of entitlement plays nasty tricks on people, it lulls their vigilance and then strikes like a rattlesnake.
Barack Obama, a leftist ideology driven moron, was Leonid Brezhnev of the United States. He brought the “affirmative blacktion” ideology to the level of absurdity. Just like Brezhnev had been awarding his henchmen with orders and medals, Obama was giving privileges to the most troubled and useless people just for wearing their stigmas, instead of promoting and rewarding those who really made good things for their country. He raised a whole generation of parasites and split American nation into those who demand privileged life and those who are losing their motivation to work hard because the rotten government is taking their hard earned cash and giving it to a bunch of privileged parasites.
There is no such thing as ideology in the animal kingdom, so humans cannot research ideology experimenting on dogs and rats. Ideology is a pure human thing and it’s a very dangerous thing because ideology is a perfect tool that the malicious ones use to pit people against each other to distract them from their criminal activity. Many others becomes supporters of a certain ideology to help their career or attract more attention to themselves.
Nobody realizes that they play with fire. Ideology can become deadly toxic and go viral at any moment. Human mind is weak and blurry by its very nature and can be carried away very easily. It is above human ability to register the moment when ideology starts blowing out of proportions and causing a collective mental disorder. That’s why any social topic becomes a potential danger when it is turned into ideology, even if it is about preserving nature or eating vegetables. Everybody who trusts ideology and does not take it with a big grain of salt is either insane or just a moron.
All ideological activists – liberals, Jehovah witnesses, communists, feminists, fascists, vegans, racists, Jesus freaks, Muslims, does not matter – are mad. There is only one right place for those who are obsessed by any ideology, and that place is called madhouse! Economy brings prosperity and happiness, ideology makes war and misery. The best ideology for human being is no ideology at all. You don’t need ideology if you are doing your job professionally and get well paid. You can only find a use for ideology when you are looking for a way to legally rob and manipulate other people instead of working honestly.
A businessman Donald Trump should certainly understand that the only way to have free lunch is to take that lunch from somebody else. That’s what all ideology is all about – it is a means to trade your passionate speeches for someone else’s food. As a businessman he should certainly understand that ideology ruins business because when some people have the rights to have free lunch nobody else wants to work and business dies. But I have yet to see how incumbent president Donald Trump would deal with brainwashed and polarized American society that turned into a Mexican standoff between big business, hardworking people and brazen privilege seekers.
Russian perestroika turned out to be much more disastrous for intelligent people than for ignorant commoners. People with a more complex mental organization usually go to school, get their Masters degree or PhD and live off of their university education. Those highly educated people are much more dependent on civilized society than two legged creatures with a mind of cattle. They have no survival skills and are highly vulnerable to hardship. During the hard time, when the society can’t pay for their professional skills anymore, they lose their only way to get some income and can’t physically support themselves.
I remember one man in his forties, who had a PhD in biology and had a life long scientific project, studying and describing earthworms. I met him when I already lived in Moscow, taking my post graduate in computer science to help him with some statistics software. He was one of the most respected scientists in his area of expertise, highly recognized in scientific world. When USSR collapsed and everyone rushed to make money, the management of the Academy of Science closed the Institute of agricultural biology and biotechnology where he worked, laid off the entire personnel and leased the building to a canned food distributor firm.
That poor guy, who did not know anything in his entire life except his precious worms, lost his academic salary that was his only income. He had no idea how to survive. He could not sell counterfeit vodka in illegal street booths, he did not know how to beat up and torture people so he could not become a gang enforcer, he could not shuttle to China smuggling cheap clothes, he did not know how to trick people out of their money in a market place or how to distill and sell moonshine. When he ran out of his life savings he stepped out of his window on the fifth floor to the street and died. The rumor was that his body was lying on the street the whole day before the police took it to the morgue.
In agonizing USSR those people, who used to think about high matters and solve complex problems, were suddenly thrown to a dumpster. They were left without any help and had to suffer through the day trying to get some food and stay alive. They couldn’t even find solace in prayer because USSR was the state of militant atheism and people were forbidden to have real faith. Due to their high intelligence they could see the complete absurdity and futility of the situation but they could do nothing about it because things went far beyond anyone’s ability to fix the situation. I saw many times in the mental clinic how people go mad, plunging into a psychosis. They understand that they are going mad but they can’t fight it.
Now imagine a class of people to whom communist government gave university education for free so that they worked for the government all their life using all their potential. Those people called “soviet intelligentsia” were the cream of soviet culture. In reality, they were the only creators of soviet culture and the culture they’ve created was the biggest achievement of socialism – the achievement made not with the help of the regime but in spite of the regime that always oppressed that culture, sometimes very brutally. This social group represented highly reflective but quite powerless mind of the social organism called “soviet Russia” that was losing its wits faster and faster. They could only watch that madness and gradually drown in it much like those sick people in the psychiatric ward. Quite regretfully, I was one of those poor bastards.
Like I said already, I’ve been feeling the craziness of the soviet system ways before it entered its last phase called perestroika and collapsed. Whenever I am remembering my studying in Ryazan medical university, the first thing that always comes to my mind is blatant disrespect that teachers and party officials showed to students. The reason for it was obvious: all those people originated from the same stinking “proletariat”. They acquired university education but not culture. They still belonged to the same mean foul low class of people that recognized only one kind of respect – fear.
They always were fearful of their communist bosses and considered their duty to keep us students in constant fear as well. In USSR fear always poured top down, starting from the fucking Kremlin. I could not even explain to anyone my vision of that moral drama: if medical students were treated so disrespectfully then how would they respect themselves? And if they can’t respect themselves how would they become good doctors? And how those people who were constantly depriving us from self-respect were daring to instill in us a sense of pride for being soviet people and future soviet medics?
All six long years in Ryazan medical school I was clashing with the authorities for my civil rights, trying to protect my right and my ability to think independently from intrusive communist brainwashing, defend my privacy and my inner world from brutal invading. After seeing a number of miserable soviet hospitals that were killing their patients with winter cold, lack of nutritious food and medical supplies and negligence of personnel, I lost any desire to become a doctor in this horrible country that does not give a shit about its citizens, sick or healthy. I thought that being a scientist or an engineer would fit my personality much better. However, the medical school authorities took care that I became nobody at all. They threw me to a stinking dumpster in the middle of nowhere called nursing home, to rot alive.
And in fact, I did start rotting alive. Being a psychiatrist I realized pretty soon that I was having a severe depression induced by my life and work situation. I’ve been taking a train and walked three miles every morning to report to work. I did not drink much but I stopped playing piano that I’ve been doing every day in my normal life. I could not bring myself to start reading a new book. I stopped listening to radio Liberty that was my only true educator throughout my youth and in fact, substituted me a father. I did not even have the strength to defend myself from my wife, who became completely unbearable, demanding more money that I could make in this damn country as a doctor. We’ve never got along like Hammond B3 and Leslie speaker, so after she told me she wanted me dead so that she could receive a pension as a widow, I told her to go and fuck herself or anybody who couldn’t run away fast enough, and filed a divorce.
Bit by bit I was losing my interest to life. Each time when one of the residents died, the nurse on duty would lay her medical chart on my table and I was filling the death certificate, wishing the dead old girl to have a good first date with the devil. I felt quite shitty, knowing that there will be a new admission the next day, to fill the vacancy, and after that there will be yet another death and another admission, and I’ll still be wasting my life, filling the required documents, smelling the usual stench, feeding formic alcohol to Mustache and a couple of female orderlies, who also were dying of hangover every morning, and fucking Natasha Koshkina, who was happy to sleep with me for a glass of medical alcohol that we drank together before going to bed.
The belligerent grannies kept beating up other residents but I did not give a flying fuck. The nurses dressed the victim’s scratch marks and I would give the perp the usual shot of Thorazine and Haldol. The winter came down and our nursing home was cut off from civilization by thick snow. I had to stay in the compound for a while. I ate in the kitchen room the same shitty food that was fed to the residents and slept in the infirmary. Natasha Koshkina slept with me every night. When she was fucking me too hard or too long I would just say “Easy, girl” and she slowed down immediately, saying, “As you wish, doctor”. Then I helped her to come for the last time with my finger, and she would wrap her arms and legs around my body and went dead asleep and so did I.
Next moment I would wake up, realizing that it’s already morning because Natasha was already playing with my dick, demanding her morning fuck. Usually it was the most intense and ferocious fuck of what we’ve had during the night. One morning after we were done with our usual intercourse and our breaths slowed down I said “Natasha, when I am in bed with you I sometimes feel myself like a Christian fed to the lions” “Doctor, what the fuck are you talking about? What kind of crazy bastards would feed good Christian people to the lions?” “Ancient Romans, my dear!”
One of those days I’ve read a book about Christianity in Roman Empire. I told Natasha how Romans were feeding early Christians to the lions, how Christians met and pray in highest secrecy under the threat of agonizing death, how Emperor Constantine legalized Christian religion for the first time in history and how Theodosius’ Edict of Thessalonica set in stone the idea of an equal Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and outlawed all other branches of Christianity as well as worshiping to the Olympic gods.
“So what?” she asked. “Well, my dear… That edict also stated: ‘Those foolish madmen who did not accept this new orthodoxy were to be punished as the Emperor saw fit.’ Times passed and now we have a new communist religion and a new holy trinity – Marx, Engels, and Lenin – and non-believers are also to be punished… Religions change upon a time but human thirst for power and control over other people remains just the same” “Communism is not a religion, doctor. It is fucking blasphemy!” she replied. “Don’t you know that communists destroyed most of our churches and killed lots of priests and monks?” “Natasha, my dear, I know it and it corroborates with the idea that communism is a new religion very well. A new religion always tries to exterminate its older competitor, just like in the ancient Rome.” Natasha snorted like a real female tiger and smirked “Doctor, you are full of shit but you’re a good fuck. I like your young body and your big dick is my favorite toy. Dress up! It’s time to go to work!”
We walked swiftly from the infirmary to the main building breathing sharp frosty air and listening to the squeaky snow under our feet. It was a dark silent morning in the middle of January and the sky was murky like Natasha’s soul. A couple of dogs were howling plaintively far away in the village. The main building met us with its usual stench and nauseous mumbling of feeble-minded residents. The old epileptic granny was sitting on the dirty rug in the corridor as usual, it was her favorite place. Due to her disability she moved, thought and talked ten times slower than a normal person. She did not talk much, only few phrases. Her favorite phrase was “My whole body is aching”. She was not just saying it, she was making a long rasping cry, I’d even say, a short song that pierced my soul every time she sang it.
“How do you feel today, Fedosehevna?” I asked. “Ma-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y who-o-o-o-o-o-o-le bo-o-o-o-o-o-o-dy-y-y-y-y e-e-e-e-e-e-s a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-che-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-ing!!!” “It has each and every right to ache” Natasha replied. “Your body is aching because it needs a glass of vodka and a good juicy fuck”. “Tha-a-a-a-a-t wo-u-u-u-u-u-ld be-e-e-e-e-e-e re-e-e-e-e-e-a-a-a-a-a-l na-a-a-a-a-a-i-ce” the epileptic granny split her toothless mouth in an imbecile grin and slowly wiped her drool with the sleeve of her thick long coat.
“Doctor, why wouldn’t you please the old girl like a man? She really needs it! Lord will write off your ten worst sins if you do it! Maybe a couple of mine, too, for the bright idea…” “Since when have you started pimping me out, love?” “Oh, my! I can’t believe you just said ‘love’! Doctor, did I tell you already that I love you?” “No, my dear, you’ve been too busy the whole night, fucking me”. Natasha grinned and her golden teeth flashed into my eyes. She gave me a big slurpy smooch on my cheek and went upstairs to check on the residents while I walked into my office to see our supply manager who was waiting for me impatiently.
“Doctor, I need to talk with you.” “Ok. Please, talk.” The office door cracked open and a hairy face peered inside. Once Mustache saw the supply manager right next to me, he immediately shut the door and skedaddled. “That’s what I was going to talk to you about. What is the stoker doing here? He is supposed to be at his boiler station!” “It’s not your business where he’s supposed to be. You’re not a director here. However, he came to get a hair of the dog… I give him a little bit of formic alcohol every morning. He’s an alcoholic and without his fix he won’t be able to tend the furnaces.” “You should not give it to him. All our medications are for the residents!” “You are now telling me what I am supposed or not supposed to do? Since when you became a director, my dear?” “Well! I will stop ordering formic alcohol then!” “As you wish. But as long as I have it I will use it at my own discretion.” “Doctor! Why are you helping this piece of shit?” “Because this piece of shit is a human being. Now, you better get out!”
When the nasty bitch left my office I found Mustache who already started shaking and scratching his head in agony and helped him to get back to shape as I usually did. I was so disgusted with the situation that I felt that I need a drink myself. I opened the safe, poured a small dose of medical alcohol in a tea cup, swallowed it and chased it with tap water and a little slice of rye bread. No sooner that I locked the safe and rinsed my cup I’ve heard a heart-rending scream from the corridor. I came out of the office and ran to the source of the screams. In the toilet room the old woman was writhing lying on the floor and wailing “O-o-o-o-o-h, my leg! My poor leg! That bitch broke it!”
That was it. One of the bullies, whose name, I believe after all those years, was Praskovia Korovina, knocked that granny from the only toilet seat in the room and took the seat herself. She always did that to the unfortunate residents who happened to occupy the seat when she was coming in to use the toilet. The orderlies picked the injured granny and carried her to her bed. The perp was sitting on the toilet seat, cussing around while taking a shit. I came to the injured resident’s ward to take a look at her leg. It was a relatively sane old woman. She was admitted to our madhouse only because there were no vacancies in the nursing homes for sane old women.
The granny’s leg was fucked up beyond any repair. The tendon connecting the quadriceps femoral muscle with the tibia through the patella was torn off completely. It was a so called pathological fracture. It happens when the tissues become weak and fragile because of the age and chronic disease. Pretty often tendons in that age become even more fragile than bones and break real easily. The poor granny’s quadriceps contracted and her kneecap moved far up, almost to the middle of her thigh. I gently squeezed the torn tendon with my fingers, it was hard like a bone. No surprise it broke off right away. No restoration was possible, at least, not in this country. The outright result of that accident turned a walking granny into a bedridden one.
After I explained to her that she’ll have to stay in bed for the rest of her life she started crying and sobbing. I had nothing to console her with except for assuring her that she will be fed and taking care of otherwise, including her potty, and I asked her if she wanted to see a priest to get some moral support. She said yes and stopped crying, and I promised her to let the priest know that she wanted to see him before I left. The problem was that there was no priest. At all. I did not even know if there was any functioning church around. A couple of churches in the area were used as warehouses and another one was abandoned and half destroyed.
As I expected, I had another unpleasant conversation with the director about our bullies and their vicious attacks that nobody was able to prevent. He said that if one of those attacks cause death and the relatives of the victim find out what happened and file a grievance we both might go to prison. I did not want to go to prison so I prescribed a good dose of Thorazine to all bullies and reported it to the director. “Doctor…” director Puchkov hopelessly waved his hand at me “Tell me, why are you such a damn idiot, eh?” He was fucking right. The bullies refused to take their pills and nurses refused to fight with them to do Thorazine injections. I had to find some other solution.
It has not been snowing for several days and the remaining snow cover gradually thickened and had become dense enough so that people could walk not bogging down in the snow. I considered the weather condition favorable enough to get to the train station and spend the weekend at home. The weather was rather frosty and the fair wind was pushing my back as I walked to the railway station. At the station a skanky cashier, who probably used to be a woman long time ago, yelled through her little window that there will be no trains for at least three hours because of the tracks repairs. “What am I supposed to do then?” I asked. The cashier winced from the cold air, sneezed loudly and shut her window from inside.
Fifteen minutes later I started noticeably freezing while the frosty wind was strengthening every minute. There was no place around to hide from the elements. The ticket booth did not count because the railway rules forbid any strangers on the railway premises even if the stranger is about to freeze to death. There was a couple of village houses around but I didn’t bother to knock on their doors. The villagers were too frightened of local drunks and thugs to open. I was not sure if I make it back to the nursing home, walking against the strong freezing headwind, but that was the only chance to survive the day.
No sooner than I made the first step I felt a tap on my shoulder. An old man with frost on his beard took a short look at my face and said “I know you, young man! You are the doctor from the nursing home, right?” “Yes, sir” I mumbled with my frozen mouth. “Don’t even think about walking back, you won’t make it. Not in this weather. I won’t make it back to my village either.” “If we want to stay alive tonight we must make a fire. Why don’t you start searching around for some wood?” I began scrounging around, collecting brushwood and other wooden pieces while the old man started digging a hole in the snow with his four limbs furiously like a dog, making a fire pit in the snow.
I put a fair amount of wood into the pit the old man dug. I could barely open my briefcase with my frozen fingers. I pulled out everything made of paper that was inside – medical charts I was going to work on, some medical magazines, a couple of newspapers. I added my dirty underwear to the paper pile and carefully covered it with wooden chips, sticks and twigs. I searched the entire briefcase trying to find the lighter that I always carried in it but it was not there. When I already considered myself dead, the old man produced a matchbox and carefully lit the fire. For several hours we were feeding the fire that was saving our lives. Bit by bit our fuel routes were becoming longer and longer. On top of that it got dark.
“I have to thank you for taking care of my nephew” the old man said suddenly. I looked at him inquiringly. “Volodia, the stoker in the boiler station. I really appreciate your helping him, just don’t give him too much booze” “I give him just enough to relieve his hangover so that he could work” “That’s right… His is a good man, you know, but he’s also a troubled man… He spent ten years behind the bars for murder but it was not murder, no matter what the judge said. It was a fair fight. That guy from Istobniki stabbed him in the face with a knife. Volodia caught the knife and stabbed him in a counter strike as his was trained in the army. That man died but it was a fair fight”. The old man extended his hands closer to the fire and so did I.
“Why did that man try to kill your nephew? Was it for money?” I asked. “No” The old man sighed. “What? A woman?” “No” he repeated. “Then why he hated him so much?” “He didn’t. He was just drunk”. The light of our fire was pushing aside thick darkness around us. The burning wood was crackling, making lots of sparks that flew up in the air like golden flies. The seconds of our lifetime were flying away as well, catching up with the sparks, but we still could not see the lights of a coming train. “I see now! That scar on his face… Your nephew has to camouflage it with his mustache?” “Right, right…”
We could not find no more wood around and the fire started declining. “The train might not come for another couple of hours… Doctor, we have to keep the fire going, otherwise we’ll freeze to death. Do you see this post?” There was a small wooden post about ten yards away from our fire pit. It carried a sign “The first car stops here”. “It can’t be seen now under the snow but in summer I noticed that it is not cemented into the ground” said the old man “So together we can rock it and pull it out of the ground”.
That post really resuscitated our fire and it came back stronger than ever. Long and winding tongues of blazing fire were darting in the pit, chasing the shadows as if dozens of fire daemons dancing in the blaze. A dimmed light far away in the distance had become stronger and sharper and finally turned out to be the headlight of the train we both longed for all those endless hours. Alas! It was not a passenger train that we were waiting for, it was a railroad repair train. The train made a long screechy noise and stopped. The engineer came out of the cab and looked at the remnants of the post that was burning down in our fire. “Sorry for the post” I said. “We had to burn it, it was a life or death situation”.
“Very inventive!” the engineer said. “Now I really believe that a man can do anything when it comes to survival.” “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” growled the old man. “Wouldn’t you do the same?” “No, I’d rather freeze to death” the engineer smirked. “The first passenger train will only come in the morning. I can’t leave y’all die here. Even though it’s against the rules but I have to pick y’all up and get to civilization. Climb in!” There was not much space in the cab and we had to stand tight but it was warm inside. My God, it was warm! I immediately started falling asleep and going down. The engineer grinned and pulled some lever. The deafening roar of the railway horn woke me up and made me jump. “Good!” the engineer smiled. “Consider yourself baptized into a railroader”.
We thanked the engineer cordially, as he let us out at the train depot, and we walked to the bus stop nearby. I shook the hand of the old man who practically saved my life and never told me his name. I finally got home and crawled to my bed, trying not to wake up my mother. “What a crazy Friday!” I said to myself before passing out for the night, took off my wrist watch and looked at its face: it was fucking Saturday, almost two o’clock in the morning.
I woke up pretty late. I would have slept even more but the damn fighter planes were flying over our house every five minutes, whistling and roaring. I got up and walked to the kitchen to check the water pressure. Some areas of the city had centralized hot water supply from the city power station and some did not. The house where my mother was living did not have hot water. Instead of central hot water it had a small gas boiler in the kitchen. Cold water was running through the coiled pipe unit and the gas burner was heating it as it was flowing. When the water pressure in the system was too low the safety breaker in the boiler unit was cutting off the heat so that the unit won’t burn up and melt down.
It was Saturday, almost noon, and everybody in every flat in the house was using water left and right. Because of high water consumption the trickle from the tap was thinner than a mosquito’s dick and thus, the gas boiler was out of commission, which was happening most of the time. Like in most flats in USSR our bathroom did not have no shower, only a bathtub and a sink. I decanted cold water from the dying tap into an old and rusty enameled pot, about seven quarts, put it on the gas stove and lit the burner. It was pretty chilly in the kitchen even though all gaps and chinks in the window frame were meticulously taped. My mother and I were taping the windows together every fall to winterize the flat.
My mother had never been buying rolled window tape because it was an unnecessary expense. Instead, she was taking a scissors and sliced old newspapers into long strips. After making a big bunch of strips she started cooking starch glue in an old aluminum pot. I was helping her to make the strips and to glue them to the windows. Before gluing the strips to the window frames we were plugging the biggest gaps with pieces of raw cotton. Usually we’d do it in the first Saturday of October and it would take us a half of a day. It was a tedious job but afterwards there was a very good feeling of warmth and tranquility inside the flat and we were immediately enhancing that feeling by a good cup of hot tea sweetened with real sugar. Nobody heard of artificial sweeteners in USSR that time. If somebody would tell something like “sugar makes me hyped up” he would be looked at like an idiot.
My mother’s flat had three windows, one in the bedroom, one in the living room and one in the kitchen. Each window had a small ventilation opening called “fortochka”. It was a little square window inside the regular window with its own little frame so that it could open independently and let in the outside air or let out some asshole’s cigarette butt. Those vents have the same purpose as window transoms in American houses but they are much smaller and better fit cold Russian climate. In summer time we kept them wide open all the time and screened them with gauze fabric to keep away numerous flies and mosquitoes.
On that winter Saturday it was pretty chilly in my mother’s flat because the frosty air from outside was seeping through the cracks in the window frames, even though they were taped, while the heating radiators were just slightly warm. All soviet houses built for proletariat, that now remind me of Negro slums in America, had a mandatory set of pipes coming from the power station. It was central heating and it never worked right. When the weather was warm and the snow was melting in the street, those radiators were bursting from the heat and we had to keep every “fortochka” wide open so as not to suffocate from the heat.
Conversely, when the trees in the city were crackling of hard frost and the birds were freezing in the air and dropped down dead like fucking stones from the David’s sling, the radiators were barely warm and we had to wrap our bodies with multiple layers of clothes like an onion to stay warm and drink hot tea every hour. When the rusty water in the pot heated up enough I doused the burner, took the pot to the bathroom, stepped into the bathtub, and washed some parts of my body that needed it the most. First I was soaping them with a sponge and then rinsing with warm water, scooping it from the pot with a small scoop with a long handle.
I didn’t forget to save some warm water to rinse my mouth after brushing my teeth. If you think that this little amount of water did not worth my attention then be my guest and rinse your mouth with ice cold mouth burning hell water that was pouring from our winter tap and feel real toothache for the first time in your life.
My mother was not at home, apparently she went to the local marketplace to buy some groceries. I checked the potato box in the hallway. There were only few potatoes left in it. Then I checked the freezer compartment in the fridge. There was only two days ration of meat there. It was time to go to the city market to resupply. I drank a glass of buttermilk with a wheat bun, grabbed a big bag for potatoes, put into it a smaller bag for meat and left to the bus stop. The bus was stuffed with drunk stinky blabbering crowd. Fucking proletariat. The windows of the bus were completely obscured by thick frost that was condensing from the people’s breaths so I could barely see, where we were, through the door when it was opening.
I’d rather limit my picturing the market with just a few details because it’s sad. An old woman sitting on a wooden bench since early in the morning. A frozen pig’s head, that she still can’t sell, is lying in the snow next to her, with a devilish smile on its face. A butcher is chopping a beef carcass with a big flat ax; his white apron turned red from the blood and so did the snow around. The birds are pecking little chips of frozen meat around. A bunch of never working gypsy whores is harassing people, trying to trick them out of their money. Pickpocketers were there, too. They were screwing into a thick crowd, where they had a better chance to steal someone’s wallet. People around were drunk only lightly or moderately, just to stay warm.
When I came back with a bag full of potatoes and another bag with beef and pork, my mother was peeling the rest of the potatoes from the box and making meatballs out of the last portion of the meat from the freezer. She helped me to stow away the groceries that I brought, asking why I came home so late yesterday. I told her my Odissey, only skipping the part where I was about to freeze to death. Then she started her usual whining, telling me that she was still upset about my divorce and would like to talk with me about it. I replied that I am upset with my entire life in this damn country and my divorce is my least problem. I hate my damn job, the crazy nursing home, the drunk city and the abusive country where I live, how about that? “You listen to radio Liberty too much, son” said my mother. “You should understand that people abroad live even worse than us. They suffer from unemployment, homelessness and drugs. You better hold on to your job and to USSR”. My poor, poor mother…
After dinner I called my buddy from the medical school. He graduated several years earlier than me and grew into a seasoned military psychiatrist. He never talked much about his service and his patients. We met at his place, had a little drink and I told him about our bullies and asked what can be done to correct their violent behavior. He said that bullies and violent behavior are pretty common in any closed institutions where many people live permanently. Not only psychiatric asylums but also boarding schools, prisons and the army suffer from bullies. You have to understand, he said, it’s not psychosis nor dementia. It’s a behavioral issue and should be corrected as such.
“How exactly?” I asked anxiously. “Those bullies must be severely punished. But punishment itself won’t do any good unless they clearly understand who is punishing them. It must be not a doctor or a director or another inmate. They should feel that they were singled out, sentenced and punished by the entirety of their milieu. Only then, if the punishment was severe enough, they will be living in fear that everyone is watching them closely, and if they screw up again they will be punished even more severely”. “Punishment? It does not work” I said. “I already tried Thorazine and Haldol mix, it did not help”.
“You still don’t understand. Thorazine and Haldol are the treatment or at least a punishment delivered personally by the doctor. A punishment delivered by the milieu is always a physical punishment. In the old times in the army and in the fleet they always used lashes. That’s what you need to try first. You need to make an impression that it’s not a certain person is delivering their punishment but everybody”. “I got it!” Suddenly a really bright idea has daunted on me. “I know exactly what to do. I’ll give them a Judgment day!” “A Judgment day? I like it! It should be very theatrical.” “It will be. Everyone will experience a catharsis of orgasmic level, I promise.”
Upon my return to the nursing home I enthusiastically started the preparations for the Judgment day. It was the first Judgment day that I’ve ever organized in my life, so I tried very hard. I found a piece of red cloth for the judge’s table. I wrote the indictment and read it aloud in a stentorian voice several times. I did not have a real lash for flogging so I had to find something suitable from what I had in my disposal. I checked different stuff and, to my surprise, the rubber tourniquet for intravenous infusions was the best. I gave it a quick test, slightly whipping myself on my thigh with this rubber thing. Next second I yelled because it was very painful! A red swollen strip appeared on my skin right away and stayed there for a day or two.
Now I had to find the executioner. It should not be anybody from the personnel because somebody may file a grievance that someone from personnel assaulted the resident. So it should be one of the residents. Who? I asked that question to Natasha after our usual sex marathon and she made a plausible suggestion “If you fuck Penny Lane up her ass, she will flog anybody to death for you, just out of happiness and gratitude”. “What if I just ask her without the intimate part?” “Shall I bring her to the medical office?” she asked. I said yes and after about an hour of training I had at my disposal a perfect executioner, to whom I would even entrusted cutting off the head of Marie-Antoinette.
The last but not least was a flogging bench for the convict. My choice stopped on the medical couch, which was an ideal piece of furniture for that purpose. To make it suitable for flogging, the head compartment had to be lowered down, to make the entire surface flat, then lay the convict on the couch on her belly and finally pull down her panties to expose the educational part of the body – the butt. For some reason whipping a person’s back adds something heroic to the procedure while whipping the same person’s ass is pure humiliation, let alone substantial pain.
Praskovia Korovina was not the worst bully, she did not scratch other resident’s faces and did not chop their scalps with a tea mug and so on. However, the consequence of her last offence was very serious. Besides the last victim with a broken knee there was a dozen of other victims of that bully, who had bruises after she shoved them from the toilet seat. I decided to bring all those victims to the Judgment day in order to strengthen the solemnity of the event. They should take the witness’ places and give their testimonies and after that I will read the indictment and announce the sentence. And then the most dramatic part should take place – carrying out the sentence, the flogging. So I went out to serve the subpoena to the victims and help them refresh their memories about the assault.
The morning twilight outside the window were gradually dissipating and the sun was about to rise when I went upstairs and entered the room where one of the bully’s victims lived. She and her roommate were chatting a bit and the smell of urine in the room apparently did not bother them. “Good evening, uncle Meesha!” she said. “How was your day?” “It was a good long day” I answered. “What took you so long? Are you going to help me find Becky or what?” “Who’s Becky?” I asked. “It’s my squirrel, silly! She ran away from her cage this morning and I still can’t find her. I tried to lure her with nuts, bolts and carrot chips. I put her snacks into her cage but she is still not coming back.”
“A cage? I don’t see any cage here in the room!” I said. “That’s the problem, uncle Meesha! Somehow I misplaced the cage! And without the cage poor Becky can’t come back. Do you understand now?” “Sure thing” I replied. “Good! But who are you?” “I am your uncle Meesha, remember?” “No, you’re not! Don’t lie to me! You are a stranger. But anyway, I even poured a little glass of moonshine and put it in the cage as well”. “Did it help?” I asked. “Of course, not, you silly! Squirrels don’t drink moonshine, if you have not noticed it yourself yet. They don’t even know what it is!” The old woman coquettishly moved her hips, and the urine smell got stronger.
“Then who was the moonshine for?” I wondered. “Of course, it was for my father! He gave me Becky for Christmas and it was so cool. We went to the city flea market to buy a cage for her. It took us half a day to get there. I am turning thirteen next week. What do you think he’ll give me for my birthday, uncle Meesha?” “A new dress, I guess”. “What? What dress, what are you talking about, you little fuck? How long are you going to keep me in prison without charge! I want to see a lawyer!” “What lawyer?” The old girl has been thinking silently for a minute or so and finally а spark of enlightenment flashed through her eyes. “Never mind, dear hubby! Just help me find Becky and then we’ll make love and get asleep as we always do”. The old girl laid down on her bed and here lower jaw immediately dropped down as she started snoring.
“God have mercy on her little soul!” I could only say at that moment, even though I never believed in God before that very moment. “What else would you expect from the Friday girl?” her roommate said with a tone of deep understanding in her voice. “A Friday girl? Why?” “Because she’s a Friday girl! It was Tuesday yesterday, you know, and today is another Tuesday. I expect Monday for tomorrow because all Wednesdays are out of commission this week and Sunday is a church day. But this girl, it’s always Friday around her, even on Earthday. “Earthday?” I asked. “Yes. That’s why I call her a Friday girl.” I slowly came out of that sad room and carefully closed the door. I decided to stop serving subpoenas that day, it did not feel like a fun game anymore.
Natasha, however, fell in immediate love with the Judgment day. As a big time prison veteran she understood the principle of the collective punishment right away. She was so delighted with the idea that she gave me a big juicy blowjob right in the medical office. “What an ingenious man I am fucking! Doctor, I love you more than vodka, Lenin and Jesus Christ all together!” “Why don’t you marry me then?” I replied. “I just divorced my wife because she was a toxic bitch with an insatiable thirst for money” “At least she did not serve ten years in a federal penitentiary like I did” Natasha chuckled. “What did you steal to get ten years?” “Nothing, doctor. I served time for killing my wife beating rapist husband, who would’ve eventually killed me if I did not kill him first”.
“How did you kill him? Was it a lot of blood?” I wondered. “No” Natasha said. “No blood at all. When he got drunk as usual and passed out, I stripped his clothes and locked him in the cellar like I did many times. He always begged me for forgiveness and cried endlessly, telling me how he loves me until I let him out, so that he could beat me again. But the last time when he beat me half dead and raped my ass, I did not accept his apologies. I hope devil is treating his soul no better than those rats!” “What rats?” “The rats that gnawed on his face and his dick after he died in that damn cellar. Do you still want to marry me, doctor?”
The problem was that those prison years sealed her soul forever, and she felt too insecure to follow her natural feelings and show the soft and romantic side of her personality to anybody, especially to me. I guess, keeping our relationship at a rough sexual level was giving her the opportunity to avoid close soul connection and thus have a sense that her feelings are protected. But strangely, after that conversation I felt myself much closer to that ferocious female prison veteran than I ever felt to my grumpy and greedy wife. I bet Natasha felt the same but we never even tried to talk about it.
I have to say, I had a thing for the old tigress. I loved her rough sexual humor. She was a diamond in the rough and I could clearly see her soft beautiful soul that she hid from everyone. I knew that she definitely had a thing for me and our connection grew into something more than just bumping pelvises. “Way down inside, woman, you need… Love!” this song was all about her. I sang that song to her once, impersonating Robert Plant, and translated the lyrics. No sooner than I finished the song and the translation she started covering my face with tender soft kisses, then she suddenly growled like a real tigress, stripped our clothes and fucked me like a tornado. “Fuck your mother, doctor!” she sighed after we got dressed. “Where the fuck have you been when I was in my prime?”
Anyway, the old tigress has been helping me with the tablecloth for the judge’s table, with other furniture and small decorations, with dresses and even with the judge’s wig. The supply manager bitch said, as usual, that she won’t give me this and won’t give me that and I’d rather drop this ridiculous idea of public punishment and just treat those bullies medically. I reminded her once again that she was not a director but the nasty bitch resisted even stronger. However, after Natasha had a short one to one conversation with her, she gave me everything I needed right away. I noticed that she could not breathe properly with the left side of her chest, as if she had a cracked rib, and her lips and her hands were shaking quite a bit.
Natasha also helped me to make a half decent lash out of the intravenous tourniquet. She even helped me with the indictment and the sentence: she was like a law professor after all those prison years. Her version of the indictment was ways better than mine. I needed to edit it a little bit, though. Like in the sentence “Given the gravity of the charge, the old cunt is sentenced to twenty lashes” I’d rather replace the expression “old cunt” with the neutral one “the defendant”. What’s even more important, since the very beginning Natasha has undertaken a complicated mission of informing and preparing all the interested parties to the upcoming event, and she carried out that mission with excellence.
And finally that day had come. The orderlies and the nurses stacked most of the dining tables and the chairs in the corner of the diner hall, which was supposed to turn into a courtroom for a couple of hours. They also assembled a jury box, using several tables and chairs and helped the jurors to take their seats. All the jurors but one were the same old senseless banana girls, and the presiding juror was the little dope head, Mustache. The rest of the diner chairs were put in rows for the court spectators, that is, the nursing home personnel and those grannies who could walk and think to some extent. At the last moment I realized that we needed a bailiff. Valery, the warehouse manager, had undertaken that role. He was a legless invalid but he was a huge man with a very loud voice. He waddled on his thumping wooden legs pretty swiftly, helping his walking with a pair of enormous crutches.
Despite of all our efforts we could not find the statue of Themis, which was a mandatory courtroom attribute so we had to come up with some replacement. Mustache, the ever drunk weasel, scavenged from the abandoned church’s basement a statue of the Great Martyr Barbara. Natasha helped me to attach to the statue’s hands the broken pharmacy scales, fortunately found by Valery in his warehouse. Now that re-purposed statue was proudly standing on the judge’s table and I was the judge and wore a black robe and the wig made by Natasha out of fuck knows what kind of material but it looked pretty impressive.
A British style accused box was constructed out of diner tables set on their sides and a big and ugly wooden bench, and sitting in that box was the defendant, Praskovia Korovina. She was wearing a fresh underwear because when she was brought to the courtroom and told that she would be trialed for an aggravated assault, she felt such a terror that she peed her panties. Director Puchkov was sitting at the courtroom as a spectator next to the accountant, nurses, orderlies, the van driver Alekseyich, the cattleman Gregory, the cook Vera Pavlovna and her team, Nadia and Alyona, the kitchen workers, and the rest of the personnel. Only the supply manager bitch was missing.
“All rise!” Valery roared like a rocket jet. Whoever could keep their body vertically, jumped on their feet as if they were stung by a hornet. “On the Frabjous Day” I announced with the British accent “When the White Queen once again wears the crown. On that day, I shall futterwacken vigorously.” Nobody had understood even a word but everybody was very impressed. I called on the witnesses and they were pointing their twisted fingers at the defendant, telling how she knocked them from the toilet seat, and called her names.
Then I called the defender. Nobody appeared because we did not appointed one. “Anybody cares to defend this bullying bitch in the court of law?” I asked. Nobody replied. “Ok, then I’ll be her defender. The defense have a question to the witnesses. After the defendant knocked you off the toilet seat, did she always occupy the seat herself immediately?” “No, no!” the witnesses started hollering. “This bitch shoved us from the toilet seat just for fun!” “Defense has no further questions” I said. Then I turned to the jury box. “Jury, do you have a verdict already?” “Yes, your honor!” Mustache took little sheets of paper lying in front of each juror, pretended that he read each one and then yelled “The jury found the defendant guilty!”
I picked from the docket pile the indictment written by Natasha and read it aloud from beginning to end. Then I made a theatrical pause and solemnly announced the sentence: “Given the repetitiveness of the offense and the gravity of the charge, I sentence this old cunt to twenty lashes and withdrawal of the mattress for a week. Let this bitch sleep on bare springs!” Oh, shit… I forgot to edit the sentence, which probably even was not a bad thing because everybody came to the indescribable delight. At my command, the defendant obediently laid down on the execution bench and bared her saggy wrinkled ass.
Penny Lane, who was wearing a red robe with a black hood, turned out to be a formidable executioner. She was doing a perfect job, and the defendant’s ass was gradually covering with bright red stripes as she was squealing like a pig. “The defendant shall rise now!” I commanded and Natasha wiped the soundly beaten defendant’s ass with a piece of cloth dampened with medical alcohol to disinfect the skin. Mustache smelled the alcohol and looked at me with inexpressible bitterness in his eyes. “Doctor, I can’t believe you let her spent all this precious alcohol on that ugly ass!” He moaned. “If you want to salvage some of this alcohol you better start licking this ugly ass right now, before it evaporated!” I replied. Mustache said nothing but he looked like a man who had just buried his entire family. “This court is adjourned!” I announced loudly and hit a big wooden plank with a huge builder hammer that substituted a gavel that I did not have.
The orderlies started walking the witnesses, resident spectators and the deeply shocked defendant back to their rooms. I turned to the executioner and said “Thank you, Penny Lane, for the excellent job! You can take off your robe now and go to your room. And remember that if you do not behave, next time you may become the defendant yourself. And I will find someone else to wear that robe and to make a good example out of your sorry ass!” The next moment I stood up, left the judge’s table and started dancing vigorously, twisting my feet in a peculiar way.
“What is that you do, your honor?” asked Natasha. “I futterwacken, silly!” I replied. Mustache immediately joined the fun and did his own version of futterwacken, which turned out very funny. Valery did not like the very idea of that famous dance and said a couple of critical remarks. “You don’t like it because you can’t dance, you legless toad!” replied Mustache, still futterwackening. “Who can’t dance, you little fuck? I can’t dance?” And Valery started stomping and jumping on his wooden legs till one of them legs broke off and he fell to the floor with an incredible thump, cussing around. Mustache grabbed his prosthetic leg and pretended that he was running away. Valery threw a crutch at him like a battle spear and almost hit him in the back of the head. Finally they reconciled.
Then I took off the robe and the wig, walked to the medical room, opened the safe and poured about two quarts of medical alcohol into a big jar. I put the jar into my bag and walked to the pig farm with the others, carrying the bag in one hand and the statue of Themis in the other. We came there to sacrifice a pig to Themis. I really don’t know where that idea came from. I guess, all you need to do is to bring in an idol, and then the sacrifices will begin by themselves. The other reason to kill the pig was much more prosaic. Everybody wanted to have a rich juicy feast after the trial, and one of them pigs had to become the main treat.
I settled the statue of Themis on a counter. Our cattleman Gregory, who tended our pig farm, chose a well-fed piglet, cornered him to the statue, stabbed him in the chest with a long narrow knife and twisted the knife a few times in the wound. The sacrificial animal yelled “bloody murder!” and died. His soul departed to the pig’s heaven and left behind a yummy body, which our cook Vera Pavlovna masterly roasted in the oven with the help of Nadia and Alyona. Nadia had a grudge at me because I fucked Alyona two times and did not fuck Nadia even once. What can I say… At those times I was not that unscrupulous as I became years later and I did not fuck married girls, especially those, whose husbands served jail time.
Finally everybody gathered at a small diner next to the kitchen. We were served a small piece of delicious pig liver and a good chunk of pork meat. There also were salads, pickled mushrooms on the table as well as pickled cucumbers, sauerkraut, and other typical Russian snacks. In addition to the two quarts of pure alcohol that I brought there was at least six bottles of vodka brung by the others. We started eating and drinking and saying toasts, condemning the bully’s bad attitude and praising inevitability of justice, our outstanding court trial that I called the Judgment day, our beautiful courtroom decorations, and even the famous futterwacken dance. Very strangely, after ten drinks or so my mind still was not getting clouded even a bit. On the contrary, with each next drink it was getting clearer, and I’d say, all-encompassing. Then suddenly came the impenetrable darkness and total oblivion.
When I regained consciousness it was dark. I looked at my watch, it was almost midnight. I felt nauseous and barfed two or three times in a row. Natasha was gently holding me so that I did not fell in my own vomit while barfing. Then I realized that I left the statue of Themis in the pig farm. I walked to the farm to collect the statue, staggering and cussing around. Natasha walked next to me, holding my hand, so that I did not fall into the the snow. I did not find the statue where I put it, neither I found it anywhere else around. I guess, the fucking pigs took their revenge and ate poor Themis whole, including the pharmacy scales. I was so upset with the loss that I took off my fur hat, threw it down, set in the snow and started crying and sobbing. Natasha was wiping my face with her warm hand. Then she picked up my hat, put it back on my drunk head and gave me a good kick in the butt. “Get on your feet and go before you froze your kidneys!”
When we came to the infirmary, Natasha made me drink a quart of cold tap water and started making me puke it back by shoving two fingers down my throat while holding my head over the toilet. She was repeating this procedure until I gave back all the water I drank. Then she made hot tea with a ton of sugar and told me to drink the whole mug, which I did. I still felt weak and drowsy. Natasha took my blood pressure and it was real low. She made me a shot of ephedrine with cordiamine and I immediately felt much better. “Doctor, aren’t you nuts! Who the fuck is mixing distilled vodka and rectified spirit while drinking unless you want to trash yourself like you did? Let’s go to bed! No sex for you tonight, motherfucker!” “Just for the record” I bleated “I fucked many girls but my Mom is not one of them”. Then I finally passed out.
Closer to the morning my bladder woke me up and I went to the toilet to pee. I knew that I’ve been holding my dick in my hand but I felt as if it was someone else’s dick and someone else’s hand and my head also was not mine and something was churning in that alienated head. Some weird thoughts were scratching and rustling in that head and one of them was a realization of what has been happening to me. It was depersonalization caused by the alcohol poisoning. I went back to bed, laid down and wrapped my arm around Natasha. She snatched my hand, checked my pulse and gave me a little kiss on my cheek, all that without waking up.
Those little weird thoughts in my head turned into weird images, they started scratching and rustling stronger and faster, becoming bigger, they grew spiky legs, striped backs and little antennas, and finally I recognized them. They were soviet people that posed themselves as potato bugs. They were thrashing around and talking trash while I’ve been picking them from the potato plants and throwing them into a big aluminum pot. There were all kind of bugs – workers, peasants, doctors, school teachers, street drunks, communists, KGB agents… They all were mourning the loss of Paradise, where yummy juicy potato plants were providing delicious food and safe shelter; where they didn’t have to wake up early in the morning and work hard all day long, where they could fly on their striped wings anywhere they wanted, and get whatever they wanted for free, and eat and drink and sleep and shit and fuck as much as they wanted! Communism! Potato bugs lived in fucking communism – until I banished them from their potato Garden of Eden and sent them to the aluminum pot called USSR… I shook my head, trying to drive away my nightmare, and instinctively squeezed myself closer to Natasha.
A couple of weeks passed. Apparently our bullies learned the lesson well because during that time not even one resident was assaulted or offended any other way. At the end of January Epiphany frost cast its hard shroud upon our silent vicinity. Mustache has been throwing shovels of coal endlessly to his furnaces but despite of his efforts the dormitory was getting colder bit by bit every day. Every morning I’ve been giving him his usual fix to help him stay on the line of duty until one day I did not find among the pile of little jars the one with formic alcohol. Obviously, the supply manager stopped ordering them as she threatened before. Out of all little jars only the tincture of Calendula contained alcohol. Mustache tried a little sip and spitted it out. It was too bitter even for him.
It was impossible to commute between the city and the nursing home in this weather so I had to live in the infirmary again. I was so bored that I started sifting through the books in the long time abandoned library room. The room was dirty and grimy. I killed a rat with a kick of my boot, picked its body by the tail and threw it outside, where hungry crows snatched it right away. Some of the books were damaged by rodents and there was mice poop everywhere. The books that I found did not lift my mood. Lenin… more Lenin… fucking Lenin again… what’s that? Lev Tolstoy… what else… oh, fuck! Marx… Gosh… Khrushchev! That was a rare find. Usually when the communist leader died, his name, books, quotes, portraits, slogans, etc. were immediately removed from public access as if he never existed. Everybody in the Soviet brown-nosing Union immediately switched to praising his successor who inherited his power. After Brezhnev’s death his name and his innumerous books vanished like all his predecessors.
The only books I found worth reading were several of volumes of Large Soviet Encyclopedia. I brought them to the infirmary, where I lived, cleaned from dust and grime and plunged into reading. I opened one of the volumes randomly and landed on the article about homosexuality in ancient Greece. “The ancient Greeks” the article was saying “did not conceive of sexual orientation as a social identifier as modern Western societies have done. Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behavior by the gender of the participants, but rather by the role that each participant played in the sex act, that of active penetrator or passive penetrated”.
I could not believe it! It was that simple: no matter what’s your gender – when you fuck, you’re a man, and when you get fucked you’re a woman. Needless to say that in Soviet time homosexual act between men was called sodomizing and considered not just a federal crime but a very serious felony punished by long prison time. But in ancient Greece man’s homosexuality was the spiritual bonds of their society and practically the backbone of their culture. It was obvious that different cultures could have very different principles of social interactions, including the most profound intimate relationships. As a psychiatrist I must have known much more about it but in the medical university those topics were a taboo like in the rest of the Soviet society.
That article opened my eyes on many things. Just like homosexuality was the foundation of ancient Greek culture, the institution of private property and free enterprise was the backbone of the western civilization. Our soviet society was an obvious deviation from the world trend, a sort of experiment and, judging its outcome, a failing one. There was an old joke about a smart granny asking a communist party leader: “who brought communism to our society – scientists or politicians? I think it were politicians because scientists would have tested it on dogs first.” It was also obvious that the evolution of human culture and especially ideology resembles the biological evolution very much. Ideas get born, live and die. They procreate, mutate and compete with each other for their only resource – people’s minds – they also try to dominate and suppress their competitors just like living creatures.
It also was another confirmation that we had wasted tons of time at our philosophy courses in the university. No matter how many times we were hammered that Marxism-Leninism was the only right philosophy in the whole world and it will conquer the world and live forever, nobody believed that communist crap. Even in USSR most people did not give a shit about communist ideas, they just tried to survive communism the same way people survive plague, famine and war. Meanwhile, the most successful cultures had rejected the stillborn communist ideas in favor of free market, free enterprise, and protection of private property and personal rights. Our vaunted socialist system was an unviable mutant. I walked outside for a little stroll. The weather was terribly frosty and snow was screeching under my feet like a mortally wounded bird. I slept alone that night. Natasha was taking care of her aunt who had a bad cold.
The next morning I left the infirmary and headed to the medical office. The hard frost started biting my bare face right away because the weather became even colder than the last night. When I came closer to the main building, I was startled by frantic yelling of our director that could be heard far outside. I ran and rushed into the hall. Director Puchkov was madder than a wet hen. He was swearing Russian profane words left and right, spitting venom and calling Mustache terrible names. I thought he was fixin’ to kill the poor bastard for whatever reason. Fortunately for him, Mustache could not be found anywhere. The accountant, who was also there, said pathetically “I just handed to poor motherfucker his wages, and off he ran into white cold yonder!” “Where is this fascist? I’ll strangle him with my bare hands!” the director yelled. “He’s either drunk like a skunk, hiding somewhere, or froze to death on his way to Point Blank. Bless his little heart…”
Point Blank was the nickname of the liquor store that was five miles away, in the village of Istobniki. Mustache, being long time hungover without his formic alcohol fix, was craving for a drink so desperately that once he got a hold of his little money, he ran like a yearling deer to buy his booze. Of course, in such a rush he left all furnaces to burn in full throttle. He came back already drunk and immediately passed out. The abandoned furnaces evaporated all the water in the piping system. The high pressure steam had burst the pipes into shreds like a yard dog tears a squirrel. With that type of damage no immediate repair was possible. A complete pipes replacement could only begin when the weather becomes warmer and should take at least a week. It was a disaster. Without heating the residents were doomed to freeze to death.
The first medical chart was laid on my desk the very next day. Every time I saw a resident’s medical chart on my desk it meant that the resident was dead and I had to fill in the cause of death and write the medical death certificate. The room temperature in the building already dropped to the freezing point and I had to breathe on my hand every minute to keep it warm enough to write. Of course, I could not put hypothermia as the cause of death so I wrote “acute heart failure”. Needless to say that I was wearing my fur coat and felt boots and even a fur hat sitting in my frozen office while the bedridden residents were lying in their frozen beds under thin blankets.
I read about Nazi’s hypothermia experiments they ran in their concentration camps on the prisoners. Now I could see all hypothermia symptoms, which the Nazi physicians carefully described, with my own eyes. I saw a lot of purple lips and bluish faces, I saw convulsions and mortal yawns, I heard slowing breath and fading heart beats. I knew that nothing could be done to save them. Nobody would give a suitable transport to evacuate our residents and there was no possible place around that could accommodate a hundred old nags covered with their own shit and urine. So under the circumstances they all had to die. All electric heaters and all supplies of warm clothes were used to save the walking residents.
Frankly and honestly, I did not feel any compassion for dying bedshitters because I could not see any purpose for them to live on this Earth. I’d rather shot myself than live in such terrible condition. I knew that they all had to die sooner or later and there was no difference if they die on their own or with a help of some circumstances. On the second day the nurses put fifteen charts on my desk, on the third day there was eleven more and the fourth and the fifth day yielded five charts each. On the sixth night the weather warmed up and annoying ice snow turned into drizzle.
Meanwhile Mustache with the help of his uncle, who saved my life at the railway station, gave the pipes a half decent fix and resumed heating. Finally director Puchkov took his revenge. He gave the poor drunk an order “Take thirty seven caskets in the shed; put thirty seven dead bodies into those caskets; dig thirty seven holes and bury all that shit, including yourself because I am going to arrange such a life for you that you regret not being buried in one of those caskets, you damn bastard!”
“Aye-aye, sir!” the bastard replied. “I need a quart of medical alcohol and thirty gallons of diesel to accomplish the mission, sir!” With the director’s permission, I gave him a jar of alcohol and Valery gave him the diesel in metal cans. In the next five days Mustache was heating the frozen ground, burning the diesel fuel on metal sheets, and digging the holes with a huge pick that he called French ax. He did not bury himself, no matter what. He did not even get sick after spending all those long hours in the icy wind, under the icy drizzle, digging icy ground. This little hairy bastard was invincible!
Now that the dead have been buried and the order restored, life gradually returned to its normal boring state, and nothing interesting happened no more. Nothing I could do to change my course of life that time, I could only think. After the funeral of thirty-seven dead, which at the end of life were not needed by anyone and over which no one shed a single tear, the feeling of the ephemerality of earthly life firmly settled in my mind. Nothing was making sense anymore unless I could start thinking differently.
One day I recalled Virgil’s verse “sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt”. It means that things in their essence are tears and mind touches mortal things. Ancient Romans did not know physiology and molecular physics. They had no idea what makes tears to appear from the eyes and then disappear soon after. Tears would appeared quickly and just as quickly would disappear forever. The same, according to Virgil, was happening with everything that ever existed in the world. I still believe that Virgil was deeply right. There was no concept that could better symbolize the ephemerality of all things than a simple image of tears.
The second part of Virgil’s verse was equally important. It was saying that everything human mind touches was mortal. And now I knew that even intangible things, ideas, did not live forever. Nothing could exist eternally, even ideas had their lifetime. If nothing is constant other than change, how could human mind grasp the meaning of our existence? Where is the foundation for our knowledge and faith? I had a lot of time to think about it. But no matter how hard I’ve been thinking, I could not find an answer to the question that Virgil had asked me from the depth of his ancient time.
Gradually it started to seem to me that the very foundation of our existence was profoundly wrong. First of all, we lacked everything here on Earth. We lacked the very basic things we needed to support our lives – food, clean water, clothes, safety and shelter. We lacked industrial goods, transportation, education and entertainment. We lacked money that we needed to buy all those things we could not live without. We lacked personal space, intellectual power, wisdom, mutual respect, compassion, balance, tranquility, understanding and forgiveness. Most of all we lacked time. And even what we’ve had in our disposal we were ineptly and arrogantly wasting for nothing.
What is it, that everybody ultimately expecting from this world, no matter what? Understanding, recognition, sympathy, compassion, involvement… Are there any other ingredients of love? And what are we getting instead? Rejection, rejection, rejection… How can you love the world if it is constantly rejecting you? And if this world does not give you an opportunity to love it, what is the purpose of living in it?
“This world just cannot be the true world and this me cannot be the true me” I thought. “I recon there is the true world somewhere outside, the world of understanding and eternal love. And my true self must be in that world. The real me, who can touch, feel and understand Eternity, unlike in this world. It must be my pure soul, what else can it be?” It should’ve been just a little game that the real world played with the souls that inhabit it. It had been sending them to strange places for a while to have some fun and to learn some lessons, and undoubtedly, Earth was one of those places. It means that I did not have to change anything here on Earth. All I had to do was just relax and enjoy the ride. I guess I was also expected to make some efforts to make my ride comfortable but not sweat it.
For some reason this world outlook stayed with me for my entire life and, I believe, defined its course for the rest of my days. I never tried to become rich, I only tried to avoid poverty. I never tried to become happy, I only strived to avoid unhappiness. I never asked anybody to love me for who I am, I only asked to give me a chance to be understood. If somebody ask we “what’s your angle?” I’ll tell them what I just told you. That is my angle that you can seeit on my EKG with every beat of my heart, and it will stay the same until it turns into a flat line and I get back to my real world and reunite with my real self.
After a couple of days I noticed that I can’t see Katerina Matveevna, our bitchy supply manager on the compound, as if she vanished without a trace. I asked Natasha if she have seen her recently and she said no. Then she chuckled in her usual tigress manner “What goes around comes around, love! You’ll see”. Our drugs supplies were dwindling and I asked our director to find out what’s going on. Another couple of day passed until director Puchkov asked our driver Alekseyich to put chains on the wheels of his UAZ van called “bukhanka” and drive him to the supply manager’s house in Romantsevo. He took me and Natasha along, just in case.
As soon as we entered the yard, we realized that the owners did not leave and did not enter the house for several days, because no one cleared the yard from the snow, and there were no fresh tracks on the snow either. In Russian village houses front doors usually open inward because otherwise heavy snow could block the door. Director pushed the front door gently but it was locked from the inside. Alekseich looked questioningly at the director, and he nodded in response. Alekseich moved back and kicked the door in with a running start.
We entered the house and looked around. It was freezing cold inside. The old Dutch furnace was also cold and a thin layer of snow laid in its chamber on the extinct coals. Katerina Matveevna was laying in her bed with a scarlet face. As a doctor I realized the cause of death right away. It was carbon monoxide poisoning. It was pretty clear to my companions as well. Director Puchkov sighed, went out of the house and we followed him.
Alekseich gave a director another questioning look and after he nodded he drove us to Istobniki where the sheriff’s office was. To be precise, in Russia a first responding law enforcer is not called a sheriff, at those time he was called a district militia officer but in Russian countryside he plays the same role as a sheriff. The sheriff was drunk only a little bit and was having a catnap, sitting in his old dirty armchair.
“Wake up, Khrushchev!” director said. “You have a business to do!” The sheriff’s last name was not Khrushchev, it was Kirpichnikoff, but his first and middle name were “Nikita Sergeyevich”, and of course everyone in the village was making fun of it. “Why did you bring them with you?” the sheriff asked, pointing at us. “Why? It’s a death you’re dealing with. Don’t you need witnesses?” “What witnesses? The old cunt must be dead for two days! I did not open her house, waiting for the weather to get warmer. Who’s gonna bury her body in this frosty weather?”
“How did you know?” “I know what everybody knows because I fucking live here! I already have the house entry record, the police death certificate and all other shit. You have nothing to worry about… Go and hire a live person to manage your supplies… Wait! You’re going back to your madhouse now, right?” “That’s right. Why?” “I’ll give you a full bottle of Stoli if you take her fucking body along and keep it in the morgue till the weather changes. Then your staff will bury her with your other shit. One grave less, one grave more… Deal?” “Deal. Got a piece of tarp for the body?” “Sure thing”. The men dragged the body from the bed, cussing at its left hand that was sticking out firmly and did not allow to wrap the body with a tarp. They have to break the damn hand in the elbow before they loaded the body into the van and we drove off. Sic transit gloria mundi, as the ancient Romans used to say.
Finally we came back to the nursing home. Director Puchkov found Mustache and gave him a bottle of Stoli and a dead body with a broken hand. I’ve never seen a happier face in my life than the face of the little rascal when he received the bottle and examined the contents of the tarp. “She was a decent woman” he said “and I’ll give her a decent burial”. Natasha’s face was impenetrable as the face of an Indian chief but I could see that deep down inside she was laughing her guts out. That’s right, I could see this woman’s soul as clearly as she could see mine. The next morning the director told me and Alekseich to get to the van and go to Ryazan to our designated pharmacy and get our medical supplies.
The mystery about Katerina Matveevna’s death resolved very simple. Her Dutch furnace was very old and had some clogging issue with the chimney, which required frequent cleaning. She hired Mustache and he’d been fixing and cleaning her furnace for a small amount of money. When the old bitch found out that I was giving Mustache a little hair of a dog, she demanded him to keep fixing her furnace for free because he’s been already getting paid for his job with formic alcohol that I was giving him every morning. Mustache did not agree and stopped cleaning her chimney. In retaliation, she stopped ordering formic alcohol.
Without his morning fix Mustache went haywire and burnt the pipes. Thirty seven old nags died as a collateral damage in that fight. Finally the creaky Dutch furnace, left without a proper care, killed its stingy owner. Everybody knew what was coming but nobody meddled into someone else’s fight with the word of reason. That’s why Natasha said mysteriously “What’s going around comes around.” The old tigress envisioned the entire chain of events ways before they actually happened.
I never found out how this poor single woman was buried by her old foe. The next morning I received a phone call from the Ryazan department of social security. They told me a shocking news. Someone with powerful connections apparently needed my doctor’s position in this nursing home so the department of social security is setting me free. I can resign right away, the director is already notified. I rushed to the director’s office. The director gave me the departure clearance sheet, I got it signed by everybody mentioned in it and immediately left that goddamned place for good.
Actually, no. Not immediately. I stayed till the next morning to spend my last night with Natasha in the infirmary. I just realized that here, in that place that I hated so much, I was leaving my first true love. I gave Natasha my address and phone number and asked her to come and see me as early as she could. “Of course I will come!” Natasha replied. “I am sure your Jewish mother will be incredibly happy when an old whore with prison tattoos will knock on her door and tell her that she is her son’s girlfriend”. “But I don’t want to lose you!” I cried.
“Really? Then go and tell the director that you’ve changed your mind and you’re staying. Pack your books and shit, we’ll bring it to my place. You’re moving in with me. I live with my Mom and auntie. You’ll love them! They’re so cute when they’re not drunk”. I gasped and could not say a word for a minute. Natasha was looking at me with her piercing tigress gaze. Then I blushed and Natasha burst into laughter. “You’re a good boy” she said “and you deserve good life and great adventures. Just don’t drink everything that burns and don’t fuck everything that moves and you’ll be Okay”. I nodded. “Now let’s come to bed and screw for the last time and once we’re done get the fuck out of here and never come back!”
I can’t remember how I walked to the railway station, how the train drove me to the city and how I got home. The further I walked away from the nursing home, trying to think that I will never see that damn place ever again, the more the joy of deliverance was replacing with pain and anxiety. The ugly truth was that along with that fucking job I lost my only source of income and the only woman that I loved with my body and soul. And no matter how strong the pain was, there was no way back.
I felt like a slave that was suddenly set free and did not know what to do with his unexpected freedom. It was almost dark when I got home. I told my mother the news. She tried to feed me with a dinner but I could not eat. Two or three hours later I started feeling nauseous, then I puked several times and finally realized that I was having food poisoning. The crappy food that I bought and ate on my way home near the city railroad station turned out to be rotten. After another hour I started feel so shitty that my mother had to call an ambulance and they took me to the hospital.
After lying down with a drip in my vein for a day or so I felt much better. The doctors did not discharge me at once. The rules required to keep the patient until he finished the full course of antibiotics so that he would not pass the infection to other people once he is out. I spend several days in the hospital. After being surrounded by old nags for more than two years I felt terribly unusual to see so many young faces around. I felt very excited with a simple pleasure of talking to young people, my neighbors. We were endlessly discussing books, music and just life in general.
One young teen showed us how to sneak into the conference room where we could gather and talk at night so that we don’t disturb our neighbors in the wards after the lights out time. There was an upright piano in that room and I played as much as I could. Suddenly my playing turned into long concerts, and my listeners were not only the patients but also some medical personnel. I played tunes that soviet radio never played – the Beatles, Queen, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Genesis…
I have not played no jazz that time, only classic rock. That time I did not know who was Chuck Berry or Chuck Mangione, Herbie Mann or Herbie Hancock, never heard of Grover Washington Jr or George Benson, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones… Their music was not as popular as rock music and the little smugglers did not bring their vinyls to USSR. The official soviet music industry simply ignored their music as if it never existed and I did not have a chance to enjoy it and learn it when I was in my prime.
I made a couple of new friends in the hospital. One country girl got a crush on me and took me to the basement to make out. The basement was dark and smelled like urine. The girl’s name was Marina. I bent her over and fucked her from behind, imagining to myself that I was fucking Natasha Koshkina. But she was not Natasha Koshkina, she fucked differently, she moaned differently, and her pussy smelled differently, too, let alone she had no idea how to properly suck a dick. Natasha Koshkina was a real professor in all kinds of physical love and I was her graduate student.
After I came home from the hospital I started scrounging around for any temporary job and after a week or so I started working as a night guard and a janitor in a local kindergarten. My responsibilities were to clear the snow around the building with a big shovel and then stay inside until seven o’clock in the morning. I even had the right to sleep during the night. There was no adult bed for me and I had to dock six children’s tables together and put a bunch of tiny child mattresses on top of them to make something that could pass for a bed for a man of my size.
Those little mattresses smelled like urine as well as the entire premises but that smell was nothing comparing to the signature smell of the nursing home or even the smell of the psychiatric hospital where I worked as an intern doctor. Marina was coming from another corner of the city to spend the night with me in the kindergarten every night when I was on. She knew that I did not love her at all but she did not care. She was pretty happy to sleep with me in this ugly place, regardless of my feelings and the urine smell all around. I did not mind her sleeping with me but I did not promise her anything. I still wanted to fuck, or better yet, get fucked by my ferocious tigress, Natasha Koshkina, no matter what. In the morning we had to disassemble the clumsy construction and put the tables and the mattresses back to their usual places.