The Driving Force of Everlasting Madness

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. USSR. A mental doctor in the insane empire

***

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 stand up comedian Mikhail Zhvanetski, “the effect is terrifying”).

Have you ever heard that prudence and sanity attracted lots of attention? It never happens. Only craziness attracts 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 your 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. Later in this book I will cover this “ideology” topic in a greater detail, to prove my declarations.

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 anymore. People’s communist faith started dwindling since the death of Stalin. At Brezhnev’s time people were only making fun of communist and their fairy tails and 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 had 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 mighty real world is playing with the souls that inhabit it. It keeps sending them to strange places for a short period of time, to have some fun and to learn some lessons. Undoubtedly, this Earth is one of those places. It means that I don’t have to change anything here on Earth. All I have to do is just relax and enjoy the ride. I guess, I am still 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 see 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 had seen her recently and she said no. Then she chuckled in her usual tigress manner “What goes around comes around, love!” I shrugged in confusion. “You’ll see it sooner that later” she added in a mysterious voice. However, our drugs supplies kept dwindling, and I asked our director to find out what’s going on. Another couple of day passed until director Puchkov told our driver Alekseyich to put chains on the wheels of the nursing home’s van and prepare for a ride.

It was a legendary van called “bukhanka”, which in Russian means a bread loaf. The people named it that way because its shape was an exact replica of a most common loaf of rough rye bread that communist government fed the people. In Moscow that bread was good and even yummy but in shitty provincial areas it was wet, sticky and almost inedible. However, its name, price and the shape of the loaf were always the same. Those cheap tricks with the shitty loaf of rye bread perfectly reflected the communist’s take on social equality and prosperity of the nation.

The soviet grocery store might be nearly empty but there were several items that must be there at all times due to the communist government rules. Those items were salt, soap, matches, some crappy canned fish, horrible soviet macaroni, and that bloody loaf. The director found me and Natasha and said that we are going with him. We got into the van and director told Alekseyich to drive us to the supply manager’s house in Romantsevo.

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, spitted on the floor, mumbling something about a stupid stingy cunt, and went out of the house. 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 enforcing officer is not called sheriff, at those time he was called a district militia officer. However, in Russian countryside that official plays the same role as a sheriff. Lo and behold, we found the sheriff in a good time. He was drunk only a little and was having a catnap, sitting in his old dirty armchair.

Wake up, Khrushchev!” director yelled. “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 your staff with you? Are you going to commit me to the madhouse?” 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 sorry ass 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 shit. Don’t worry! Go and recruit some half-decent whore to manage your supplies… Wait! I just thought, that cunt has no relatives, you know… You’re going back to your madhouse now, right?” “That’s right. Why?” “You see this full bottle of Stoli? Distilled and bottled in Сrystal distillery, fucking Moscow? You can have it if you take the fucking body and keep it in your morgue till the weather get warmer. Then your stoker will bury it with your other shit. One grave less, one grave more, who fucking cares… Deal?” “Deal. Got a piece of tarp for the body?” “Sure thing”. “Ok, let’ go!” said the sheriff. “I’ll help you to load the body”.

We got to the van and drove back to Romantsevo. The men pulled the frozen body from the bed, cussing at its left arm, that turned into a piece of ice while hanging down to the floor, and now was sticking out firmly, not allowing to wrap the body with a tarp. They had to break the stubborn arm in the shoulder before they could load the body into the van. Alekseich cranked the engine and drove back to the sheriff’s station. Once we got there, the sheriff invited us inside for a minute.

He swiftly opened his file cabinet, grabbed five muddy glasses and placed them on the table. Then he dove into the cabinet a little deeper and emerged with a big bottle of moonshine. He pulled a white rag from the bottleneck, poured half a glass for each of us and exclaimed “Well, let’s drink to the health of the newly deceased!” We emptied our glasses. “Repeat!” the sheriff said and filled our glasses again. “This moonshine is heavenly good!” said Alekseich. “I’ll give you the recipe.” the sheriff said and put the bottle and the glasses back into the file cabinet. His face became red and his nose turned purple as he said his final goodbye, plunged back into his chair and started snoring. Sic transit gloria mundi, as the ancient fucking Romans used to say.

***

I felt fairly drunk after a glass of strong moonshine but the rest of our team acted as if they became even sober than they have been before. Finally we came back to the nursing home. Director Puchkov found Mustache and gave him a bottle of Stoli and a dead body wrapped in a tarp. 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. My uncle will say proper prayers for her soul. He used to be a priest before he went to prison”. 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 used to hire Mustache and he’d been fixing and cleaning her furnace regularly for a small amount of money. But 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 war. Finally the rickety Dutch furnace, left without a proper care, killed its stingy owner. Everybody in the nursing home and in the village but me, knew what was going on, nevertheless 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 life changing 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 from my communist slavery. I can resign right away, and 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 took me by the hand, sat me at our dining table and tried to feed me a dinner but I could not eat. Two or three hours later I started feeling nauseous, then I puked several times and once I felt fever I 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 coldness to her and the urine smell all around. I did not mind her sleeping with me but I did not promise her anything. I was still craving to fuck, or better yet, get fucked by my dear ferocious tigress, Natasha Koshkina, no matter what. In the mornings we had to disassemble the clumsy construction and put the tables and the mattresses back to their usual places.

I am sure that at this point my American reader is very puzzled why a doctor had to work as a night guard and a janitor instead of getting a doctor’s job right away and start making a lot of money. First of all, forget about “a lot of money”. A beginner doctor’s salary in USSR was so small that it was not enough even for decent food. Now imagine a city where a medical university bakes three hundred and fifty new doctors every year. All those youths live with their parents and have nowhere to go. Even though hospitals in some other cities may be craving for doctors, these young doctors can’t move to those cities because they won’t have a place to live.

There was no such thing as rental real estate in USSR. Single family homes existed mostly in villages in off-road rural places cut off from civilization. All housing like everything else belonged to the communist government and everybody worked for the government. The government was giving its employees a flat in a project house, similar to where I used to live, according to a waiting list. People had been waiting for their turn many years. Sometimes they had to live in some substandard dwelling their entire life.

Those who do not qualify to have a separate flat had to live in workers’ barracks all their lives, usually four people per one small room, with two grimy toilets for the entire floor. Men were not admitted to the women’s barracks under the threat of eviction and vice versa. Communist government imposed their hypocritical moral rules on those miserable people, so that they had to live a life of working cattle. For those outcasts a shitty flat in a slum house like where my mother and I lived was an unattainable luxury. When those lefties are talking about bad, bad capitalist America, remember this picture. That is the communist paradise that they are preparing for you!

Some young doctors that desperately needed a job had to live at the hospital dormitory for the personnel. In that case they did not have personal life because they might be called for work any day any time and they could not simply refuse and say that they already filled their time and are off work now.

Besides that, when taking on a job in a different city, young specialists had to part with their relatives and friends in their hometown and pretty much vanish and stay out of touch. There were no cell phones that time. There were no home phones in every home either. Long distance calls were very expensive and without a home phone one had to go to the post office. And people did not have cars so that they had to walk there or use a street car and spend the whole night just to talk to their parents or friends. Essentially, they had to leave behind their entire life!

A rare visiting their hometown to see their relatives and friends also was an ordeal. People had to stand long hours in the endless lines to obtain the train tickets, ride in a dirty and grimy trains, carrying heavy suitcases. They had to watch their luggage all the time, protecting it from the ubiquitous railroad thieves, stuff their bellies with crappy food they could buy at the train stations or starve if the train did not stop for a long time, endure the stench, brutality and screams of drunken passengers, et cetera, et cetera… Once you’re out of home you are at the mercy of proletariat. Oh, that fucking proletariat…

The easiest way for you, my American reader, to understand that kind of life is to imagine that your whole country resembles a poor black ghetto. Same crime rate, same slums and trash, bad teeth and bad breath, only the people have white skin and use alcohol instead of drugs. The other difference is that poor American blacks are dressed much better than soviet Russians and some of them have their own houses and even crappy cars while the vast majority of soviet people was huddling in slums and barracks, never drove a car and lived from hand to mouth.

For intelligent young people the only protection from all that soviet misery was their parent’s houses. That’s why young professionals after graduating from a university could not start living separately. They had nothing else to do than keep living with their parents in their flats in soviet slums. Many of them had to live with their parents all their lives. That’s why English word “privacy” does not even have proper Russian equivalent.

***

You may wonder why communist government regarded the population of their country with such disrespect and disdain. The answer is, that their ideology dictated them their primary goal. Their goal was not to help their current population to live a better life right now. The delusional communist empire was doing everything possible to expand its power onto the entire world. They wanted to establish insane communist regime everywhere, exterminate rich people and enslave the survivors to the communist ruling, all that in order to eliminate what they called “exploitation of labor”.

Therefore, all material and human resources were permanently used for building and strengthening their military machine. Soviet people’s well being was sacrificed by communist leaders for the same reason that my little ass was beaten by my father to a bloody pulp. It was sacrificed to the utopian idea of freeing this planet from capitalism and free entrepreneurship and establishing the direct ruling of the government over every aspects of life, thus making everybody equal and happy.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Ideology is the biggest and the ugliest brick on that road. Not only communist ideology – any ideology is essentially a verbal and intellectual weapon, used by its followers to seize something that belongs to other people, including their lives, and use it to their advantage.

In fact, I have already moved on from my bio to the ideology matters so I’d rather continue this discussion and briefly outline my understanding of this subject before going back to my job searching ordeal in soviet Russia. As a psychiatrist I couldn’t but notice the similarity between people obsessed by ideology and patients with delusional disorder. In both cases a person takes their beliefs very personally and actively fights for their cause. Neither a delusional patient nor a person with a dogmatic attitude cares about correctness of their beliefs. Neither one is amenable to rational argument or evidence to contrary and moreover, not even willing to discuss their beliefs rationally.

Just like a patient with a pathological jealousy delusion cannot be dissuaded from his belief that his wife is cheating on him, the same way vegan cannot be dissuaded from veganism, feminist – from feminism, racist – from racism and leftist – from leftism. Religion is essentially an ideology, therefore Christian cannot be dissuaded from Christianity and Muslim – from Islam, just like an anti-abortionist cannot be talked out of the idea that a drunken whore’s occasional fetus has the same civil rights as the president of the United States.

A very important similarity between delusional disorder and dogmatic thinking is that in neither case a person can properly realize what caused his delusion or made him to believe in some dogma. The contents of a personal delusion, as well as of a well known idea, or very often a mix of both, that a person is obsessed by, is created not by human rationale but rather by the subliminal psychological defense mechanisms in response to a stressful situation. That contents somehow mitigates the intense emotions and mental suffering but in return it involves a person to an irrational type of coping activity and finally subjugates the entire personality.

A structured delusion is a product of paralogical thinking and so is a dogma. We can use a classical dogma of the holy Trinity as a perfect example. The founding father of Christian religion, or better yet, the founding son, never taught his followers such a concept as Trinity. The scripture does not even mention that word. It was invented already after Jesus’ death. So how could little mortal men know the divine structure better than God himself? This snide question reveals the absurdness of such a thing as Christian theology, yet absurdness never embarrassed the believers. On the contrary, they say “Credo quia absurdum”, that translates from Latin as “I believe because it is absurd”.

This indifference to truth and reality fundamentally distinguishes dogmas from scientific theories as well as from pragmatic concepts. It also shows a very profound and irrational motivation related to dogmatic attitude, which is, an unquenchable desire to add their own snot to already existing mess of symbols and dogmas. For example, invent the Holy Trinity, which even Jesus Christ had not seen in his worst nightmares. Of course, the trinity is just an example. Every religion, including communism, has tons of similar crap.

The ethical difference between the world of delusional activity and dogmatic thinking on one hand and the world of science on the other is, that a mandatory part of the scientific approach is verification and falsification (in Karl Popper’s sense) of a theory. Conversely, a dogmatist just like a delusional person is pathologically convinced in correctness of his belief and does not need any verification. Some dogmatic theories appear to be pretty elaborated concepts that employ logical inference quite a bit, but eventually the foundation of those concepts always props on some false or fake or just unprovable facts.

For example, the main communist idea was that capitalists exploit worker’s labor and for that reason they have to be eliminated, and all their businesses should be given to the proletariat. When communists finally seized private businesses they realized that proletariat had no fucking idea how to run the business, because they are just dumb workers who only know how to use a saw, an ax, a sledge hammer, and of course, a bottle. Communist government had no other choice than start running those businesses themselves, but they never learned how to do it effectively and efficiently. And by the way, that bloody communist government exploited the laborers ways harder than any private business owners ever did.

For seventy years of communist era they have been declaring their ”land to peasants, factories to workers” dogma, while every fucking nail in a fucking wall belonged to the fucking government. All that time communist theorists were trying to logically reconcile that hopelessly failed utopian dogma with the ugly reality, just like Christian theologians are trying to reconcile the fucking Emperor Constantine’s holy trinity with the original words of Mr. Jesus W Christ, if such person ever existed.

However, there are also substantial differences between dogmatic thinking and delusion. The first difference is that ideological dogmas, including those more bizarre than the most terrible delirium, are not conceived or originated by their bearers but rather came to their mind from an external source, ultimately from other people.

The second difference is that delusional disorder is an individual mental response to a personal stressful situation, while obsession with an ideology along with dogmatic attitude is a collective mental response to a common stressful situation that causes similar symptoms in a large group of people.

The third difference is that while people with delusional disorder mostly fight for their beliefs individually, ideology driven dogmatists usually flock into a mob and act like a mob. The members of that mob are passing their beliefs and their attitude like a contagious disease to uninfected people, creating more followers and enlarging their mob.

Sometimes they exterminate their own members that deviate from their main beliefs. The behavior of that ideology driven mob resembles the behavior of a person suffering with delusional disorder, however we have to remember that ideology induced mental disorder is not individual but rather a collective insanity caused by cross-dissemination of certain ideas among a group of people. The most recognizable example of this kind is the infection of a young white teenager with radical Islam.

Now let’s define the difference between dogmatic attitude and normal human thinking in its entirety. I am inclined to believe that the main difference between the ideological and the scientific approach is that ideology always isolates and dissociates certain facts and conditions from the wholeness of their environment, ignoring their various dependencies. Dogmatic approach gives a biased explanation to those isolated facts and conditions and turns it into a rigid belief that has a very far fetched connection with the reality.

The other attributes of dogmatic thinking, particularly compartmentalized beliefs, strong emotional attitude to everything that is somehow related to those beliefs, impossibility of dissuasion and intolerance to opposite opinions demonstrate that the mental state of people possessed by ideology is much closer to delusional disorder than to sanity.

A pinnacle of distinction between people with dogmatic attitude and those with scientific thinking is the absolute difference of the ways they debate their dissimilarity in their opinions. While true scientists always stick to logic and experiments as the ultimate proof of a scientific theory, dogmatists accuse each other in heresy, appeal to their hierarchs and authorities and if that does not help, exterminate their opponents. Remember St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, eh? There you go!

We need to understand very clearly that the criteria of inadequacy is defined for ideology differently than for delusion. Generally, the more bizarre is the content of a delusion the more inadequate the delusion is. However, this criteria can not be decisive when we are dealing with ideology. In that case the degree of inadequacy is greatly dependent on the environment, culture and even subculture.

For example, the Holy Trinity won’t seem strange to someone born and raised in Rome, Italy. It does not make this dogma less absurd but Italians just got used to it! On the other hand, Brahma, Ganesha and Vishnu would look to Italian people pretty exotic. However, to a person born and raised in Bangalore, India it would be vice versa. Of course, none of those peculiar inventions of human mind have anything to do with the real world. However, it would be pretty strange if a poor girl in Bangalore left Hinduism, out of the blue, and converted to Christianity. It would be also very suspicious if an Italian teenager suddenly left Christianity and converted to Hinduism.

Therefore the measure of inadequacy of someone’s beliefs depends more on its relevance to the cultural context than on their plausibility. Say, if a boy was born in a catholic family and says prayers to the Holy Trinity like everybody else in their church, he is fine. But if he suddenly refused to go to his catholic church, started praying to Lord Shiva and put a Ganesha’s statue on his night table, he definitely needs a psychiatric consultation. More precisely, all participants of any organized religion are mentally far from normal but that boy apparently has more serious mental problem than the rest of his congregation that he just left.

A very important characteristic of ideology is its intentions in the real world. The more irrational is the dogma and the more drastic are the intentions and goals pursued by its followers in real world, the more extremist and radical is the ideology. Most of the time the vast majority of the population tends to follow moderate ideologies with plausible platform that are not forcing people to make drastic changes in their lives. Those ideologies are mostly acceptable even to the people with highly developed critical thinking. On the contrary, radical ideologies mostly attract mentally unstable, troubled and inexperienced part of population. However, when a nation is suffering greatly like Germany after World War I or Afghanistan after innumerous wars, that is the time when the whole population becomes mentally unstable and thus, very susceptible to something like Nazi or Taliban ideology.

Another important feature of ideology is its ability to suppress human conscience by means of dissolving a person’s sense of individuality and thus, the sense of personal responsibility. A person strongly obsessed by ideology does not feel like an individual anymore. He rather imagine himself as a means to the end, a little soldier on a mission of enforcing the supreme rules set by some god, or spiritual leader, or big brother, or anything else who originated that ideology and thus, is worshiped like a deity. When you dig the roots of any ideology you always will find that deity. There is no such thing as a peer to peer ideology. If you cannot find the name of that deity, there is still a default deity, which is the entire crowd of the followers or just the idea itself. That deity acts as a leader that calls for actions, and for that reason the behavior of ideology driven people always reminds mob behavior.

As I already emphasized, most ideologies are nothing else than a verbal and intellectual weapon that is used by its followers to pursue their interests. The inadequacy of the ideology does not impair its combat qualities. In fact, it has been proved many times that it is the inadequacy that makes ideology a more effective weapon.

The distinguishing factor that defines the threat posed by a certain ideology is, who and how is using it as a weapon. For example, a wealthy man follows the republican ideology that helps him to protect his business and his personal wealth from different assaults. The beneficiary of that ideology is that man and his hard earned business. All, that this ideology requires, is that people respect private property and free enterprise. Conservative ideologies don’t gather people into huge crowds and don’t urge them to shed blood and change the existing social order by brute force, therefore those ideologies are more or less benign.

Conversely, leftism is based on class solidarity, it calls on poor classes to join their efforts in waging war on wealthy people, seize their wealth and power and give it to the poor. The beneficiary of this ideology is not a person but rather an entire class of a society. This ideology flocks individuals into a mob and leads that mob into a brutal action. Therefore leftist ideology is much more aggressive and dangerous. The worst ideologies are those, which intention is to serve some irrational cause by making drastic and crude changes in other people’s lives. Those ideologies are most irrational, aggressive and dangerous. Radical Islam is the most obvious example.

Nevertheless, our notorious old buddies – fundamental anti-abortionists, vegans, feminists, libertarians, LGBT radicals, etc. – are no better than crazy people with turbans on their heads and Kalashnikovs in their hands. They don’t cut people’s heads, but instead they stuff our heads with their bullshit so ferociously, in attempt to dictate other people how to live, that overall social disturbance caused by their irresponsible and destructive activities, causes ways more harm to civilized society than social instability caused by the sight of a couple dozen chopped heads of “infidels” shown on a TV.

I already explained that the fierce desire of ideologically obsessed groups of people to forcefully seize public attention and impose their values and rules on our society is making it more neurotic and unstable. But this is only a part of the harm caused by radical ideologies and their followers. Their activities also affect our society in a more dangerous and profound way that undermines the very foundation of our civilization. Those sick people replace the real world centered thinking standards, that are proper to a civilized society, with irrational motives that resemble medieval ages. The replacement of the principles of social and professional way of conduct, driven by common sense and human rationale, with radical ideological demands and prohibitions may have the most severe consequences.

Those barbaric incidents happen more and more frequently in civilized countries. How do you feel when an associate in a grocery store refuses to sell a customer a pack of condoms, or when a gynecologist refuses to perform an abortion operation, even for medical reasons, because it does not sit well with their religion. How do you feel sitting in a subway car next to a weird girl with a draped face? Do you know what’s beneath that drape? Maybe next moment she (or even he!) will blow up the entire subway station with a suicide belt, you don’t know! But I wish that suicidal girl blow up those crazy radicals, who are forcing our society to embrace and tolerate uncivilized savages, who profess the mass murdering religion!

Okay, let’s leave the immigrants alone for now. We have enough of our own pests.

What do you think about an attempt of an ultra-liberal board to appoint a university chemistry professor by a criteria that the candidate must be “she”, not “he”, because “we need to promote women!” And happily that “she” candidate is also black and HIV positive, which is just wonderful! No matter that the other candidate, who is “he”, has much better education and way more experience, he won’t be appointed.

If these moronic criteria become generally accepted in universities, what is going to happen to chemistry and other subjects and sciences? Science will only remain in China, where reasonable people live, who hire a professor of chemistry who knows chemistry better than anyone, and that’s all. And the politically correct United States will turn into a banana republic.

What do you think about the US government’s habit “to support those less fortunate” and spend your hard earned tax money on welfare for never working hood rats or on expensive surgery and hormone therapy for transgender servicemen, who should not have served in the armed forces to begin with, because of their unstable mental and medical condition.

What will happen to the army filled with unhealthy, mentally unstable people? It will lose its combat capability and will be defeated by the enemy! What will happen to the society where hereditary idlers enthusiastically eat, fuck and give birth to more and more parasites, all that on hard earned people’s money? The society will lose its labor potential skills, knowledge, motivation to study and work and will fall into the stone age! But ideology obsessed lunatics don’t think about it because their little minds are clouded with the totally perverted idea of social justice.

Social justice is a too complicated thing to be turned into ideology. People have equal social rights and responsibilities in terms of law. But they are not equal as human beings and will never be. Individuals of different race, ethnicity, sex, age and upbringing have different physical and mental abilities. Speaking metaphorically, Jewish men are born to play a violin while Scottish men are born to play a bagpipe. Nothing unjust about it, just Nature’s work. They will be playing for different audiences and paid differently as well. So what? That is fucking natural! If either musician gets drunk after the concert and gets arrested for being drunk in public they will receive the same treatment in the court of law. That is fucking just! But when some social activists are fighting for the cause so that Jews and Scotsmen play violin and bagpipe equally, that – yes! – that would be unjust and unnatural! And that’s what we see all the time in America!

Now imagine that a bright French immigrant is running a Mediterranean restaurant in Austin, TX and gets a seven million dollars annual profit. An American born dimwit, black, sweeps the floor in his restaurant for minimum wage, which in Texas is seven dollars and twenty five cents an hour. Another dimwit, white, is all covered with tattoos and piercings, including a nose ring – she will be an eye sore to the customers of a fine dining place – so she does the dishes back in the kitchen for the same compensation. You think maybe this is unjust?

Well, back in Russia communists already seized restaurants from restaurateurs and tried to make everybody equal workers and equal diners. As a result of that experiment, soviet people were living on the brink of starvation for three generations and forgot what a restaurant is for. I still have more fingers on my hands than times that I went to a restaurant in USSR because I did not have enough money even to buy cheapest food to cook from scratch. I work as a doctor, I was responsible for thirty human lives and I was compensated as a kitchen worker. You want that type of social justice? Then go ahead and ruin your nation. Otherwise, never mess with the work of God, Nature, free employment, and free market!

And what is so disturbing in the mere fact that various people’s abilities strongly correlate with their ethnicity, culture, sex, and age? You can’t deny that women in general are naturally accustomed to handle little babies better than men. Their bodies have bigger pelvises and soft boobs not just to breastfeed but also nurture a child. They take sleep deprivation better. They have more attention to child’s vocalizations and more patience, too. To the same talking, women also are better nurses, teachers, call center operators and secretaries. Men are significantly better in sports, military, science, engineering, math, as well as in jazz, motorcycle riding, beer guzzling and fooling around. Black men play drums and bass guitar better than Jewish men, Jewish men play violin better than blacks and other white men. Black and white men both play saxophone equally good but very differently. Women usually stay away from saxophone but they play harp and cello pretty good.

So what? It’s just the natural order of things, nothing else. Suppose, some of your abilities are naturally limited so that you cannot excel in certain areas. What is the right thing for you to do? Blame the whole world and demand that Jews and Scotsmen play fiddles and bagpipes in equal proportions? Or demand welfare, food stamps, affirmative actions, special promotions for women, special support for minorities, claim for yourself high rank positions, where the requirements exceed your natural abilities, and other things that make you more equal than the other? Claim special privileges just because you are a homosexual, or a woman, or a transgender, or black or just a stupid lazy fuck with an big appetite for a wealthy life?

I’d say, free market gives you the just compensation for your contribution and don’t open your mouth on what is not yours! Don’t try to be more equal than the others, in other words, a burden to your country. if you don’t give a shit about your country and are ready to ruin it for your own undeserved good life, then eat shit and die! Otherwise, if you care for your country, get out of the people’s sight and start working real hard in those areas where your abilities are not limited!

Am I preaching in vain? I guess so, because American people still can’t understand that democracy has outlived itself. The further progress of civilization requires not democracy but meritocracy, a society where everyone’s share, above the reasonable social security minimum, is determined not by the principle of equality, but only by one’s contribution to their country. A society where idlers live equally or even better than workers is doomed! Unfortunately, useless people never realize their own uselessness, let alone be ashamed of it. They do want to live better than workers! That’s why they should never be admitted to the decision making board.

Any ideology that brings to the social justice negotiation table any arguments other than person’s social contribution as a fruit of labor, talent, education and experience joined together, must be outlawed as a threat to the social stability. Especially dangerous are the descendants of the former victims of social injustice, because they are trying to milk their hereditary situation as much and as long as possible. They are riding that gravy train for so long that they even develop a so called victim mentality, and there is always a certain ideology on top of it.

Nowadays, every roach in every crack, who can raise a racial, or gender, or sex orientation or any other victim issue, is blaming the society for their social and professional failure, insisting that they suffer from people’s prejudice, mistrust, mistreatment, ill traditions and other crap, instead of working hard on their success. Why don’t you scoundrel take an example from my people, the Jews? My people were heavily oppressed in most countries, including communist Russia, yet they always were finding the ability to become great entrepreneurs, scientists, doctors, lawyers, artists, musicians in a much higher proportion than their share in the entire population. One of them, named Jesus Christ, even became your god.

Why my people, Jewish people, never screamed racial inequality, gender inequality, kiss my ass inequality? Because they would’ve been strung up for that! So instead, they educated themselves and were not lazy to work hard and always use their brains like nobody else! If my people could achieve such incredible success in a hostile environment, without raising a Jewish card, why in friendly America women can’t achieve similar results without raising a women card, blacks – without raising a black card, Hispanic card and other no child left behind card? Why? Because their talents and productivity are limited by their laziness, or stupidity, or both! But they want to enjoy the same compensation for their limited contribution just as much as my people, whose talents, productivity and contribution to the society are ways higher!

And what’ya do when you have no ability to give people as much you desire to get form them? You create cries and lies and fairy tales, why you have the right to get from people something for free. And it’s not just lies, it’s weaponized lies called ideology!

No matter what an ideology is about, it always serves as a weapon to a group of people, who want to get from other people more than they give. The only way to stop those scoundrels is to shut their lying holes and force them to work like everybody else with the wrath of the entire nation. Only when hard working people get together and really beat the crap out of the idlers’ asses, those thugs will stop looting their country and start working for their nation like all other patriots.

Now, before I fly back in time and space to Soviet Russia and continue my story about my job in Ryazan regional hospital, I have to tell you one more time: As long as people don’t understand that ideology is a lie, that ideology is a delusion, that ideology is a weapon in the hands and mouths of unscrupulous people, that ideology is the driving force of everlasting madness, our society will never have stability and prosperity. As long as people are not immune against ideology, things will evolve from bad to worse. Ideology will destroy America just as it destroyed the USSR.

***

The lazy Northern sun reluctantly started a weak ugly spring. The muddy streams gurgled through the dirty streets, gathering in puddles of murky water. Bare land was boasting to the bluish sky with scattered trash and occasional piles of dog and human shit. The sprouts of sluggish city grass finally appeared from the ground, released from porous dirty snow. The asphalt on the roads was full of spring pits and washouts. Big energetic crows were plucking the hair of dead cats and dogs, lying on the roadsides, and carrying it to their nests. Ryazan was gradually waking up after winter lethargy.

As I said earlier, I did not stand any chance to get a psychiatrist’s job anywhere in the city of Ryazan. Getting that kind of job required very powerful connections, which I did not have. The only available position of a psychiatrist was in Shatsk psychiatric hospital. It was near a village called Vysha. I went to Shatsk, spending three hours in a stinky bus crowded with rural proletariat to talk to the chief doctor of that institution. He picked me up at the bus station on his Niva, the only civilian off-road car made in USSR, and brought me to the hospital.

It was the most horrible deja vu in my life. Yes, this institution belonged to the department of Health but otherwise it was the same hopeless abominable place that I recently left. The place where time stopped forever. It was called “hospital”, not a “nursing home”, but it hosted the same type of inmates, who lived there permanently, only they were called patients, not residents. Of course, I saw the same type of personnel.

I immediately noticed Mustache, I recognized his sticky voice and slow moves precisely calibrated by his daily booze. Only this Mustache had a beard. I even met another Natasha Koshkina. She was in hear thirties, well built, with a noticeable trace of everyday drinking on her face. She passed beside me, as if inadvertently touching my shoulder with her hand, gave me a hungry carnivorous look and went deep into the dark corridor, slightly shaking her hips.

The chief doctor invited me to join him for dinner, just like I was offering a dinner to the visitors when I worked in the nursing home. I followed him to the dining room. He noticed that I ate ardently and the signature smell of their institution did not bother me at all. Of course, he knew where I came from. He said that his hospital needed a doctor desperately. He also told me that he expecting me to be working days and nights without days off and I’ll be getting a tripled salary for that. But for the first five years I will never have a chance to spend my money in the city because I will be living in the hospital year round.

Essentially, he offered me to sell myself for a lot of money into another slavery much worse than the one I was recently released from. “You are making a big mistake, city boy!” the chief doctor said, after reading my negative answer in my eyes. “In five years you’ll make a really good money here and come back to Ryazan as a rich man. Not as a poor teenager, who has to live with his Mom lifetime! You’ll buy your own place to live, marry a good woman and have a life. Meanwhile, you can fish here in the rivers and hunt in the woods. There are good looking young women working here. I think one of them already had a crush on you. Go ahead, city boy, take my offer and be a man, you will never regret!”

He was born there. It was his native village, his native land, and he lived firmly on that land, no matter who was in power – tsar, communists, devil, extraterrestrial aliens… He was a good reputable rural doctor and a good reliable man, sober, knowledgeable and caring. I really liked him. But I could never become the type of a man he was. My maker had different plans on my behalf while creating my flesh and blowing my spirit into its depth.

I looked around again… It was clear that this hospital was not an option for me. This place was located ways further up yonder than the nursing home near Romatsevo. Most part of the year I will be cut off from civilization in this place. Spring and autumn thaw will be washing out the only dirt road that connects this place to the rest of the world. Heavy rains will also turn this road into liquid mud, and the hospital compound will become a sort of an island… I knew exactly what kind of life was awaiting me there because I’ve already lived that kind of life for my past two years.

I returned to Ryazan and kept working in the kindergarten as a night guard and a janitor and sleeping with Marina. She was coming to see me on every night of my shift and was fucking me religiously. At some point she confessed that she was much older than she told me, and her chances to get married in that age were very low. That’s why she decided to become a single mother, and guess what? She wanted to have a baby from me! Don’t bother about child support, she said, I don’t need it from you. All I want from you is just a baby. “Are you pregnant from me already?” I asked. “Unfortunately, not” she replied. “Praise Lord!” I said. “I beg you, please keep it that way! Better yet, stop seeing me and find another man, who is better suited to live in this country, because I am not. And I don’t want to see my child suffering in this fucked up place like I do!”

I did not mention yet that my mother worked as a chief sanitary doctor of the Ryazan region. It was hard, nervous work, because her every move was under the control of the higher authorities. She always lived in fear of getting fired and losing her livelihood, because of not being a member of the communist party. Officially her position did not require such membership but there were unofficial unwritten rules and everybody knew them. She still could have had some useful connections but she never tried to work on it. So my mother could not help me to find a decent job.

I kept looking for any job opportunities. One of my old music friends told me that Ryazan circus needed a piano player because the old circus pianist drank himself to death. I came to the circus, they examined my playing techniques and gave me the music sheets. It was the program that I had to learn. There was an upright piano in the kindergarten so I started practicing and learning the material.

The kindergarten was located at the first floor of a typical soviet project house, which was even worse than the one where me and my mother lived in. At least our house was made of crappy crumbling bricks, but still bricks. That kindergarten house was made of cheap prefabricated concrete modules. People were calling all kinds of those crappy houses, both brick and concrete, “khrushchoba”.

That word was a combination of the last name of the notorious communist leader who ordered the building industry to find the way to erect project houses for proletariat with bare minimum of living space cheap and fast and they were baking those five story manufactured homes like hot dogs. The name of that communist leader was Khrushchev. The second part of that nickname comes from the Russian word “trushoba” that means “slum”. Besides the kindergarten, the rest of the building accommodated regular flats.

My piano playing technique was restoring quickly and I learned a couple of marches and waltzes. Unfortunately one of the neighbors upstairs hated my music. That old bitch was a friend of the director of the kindergarten. She started complaining at the noise, and one day the director came over and told me that she fires me for disciplinary reasons. “Disciplinary my ass, old cunt!” I replied and slammed the door of the kindergarten, leaving behind the smell of urine and a meager salary and thinking what I should tell to my mother and to Marina.

I never told my mother that I started playing piano in the circus but the rumors reached her ears pretty fast. “You know what?” my mother said. “I am not even surprised! Your whole life was an ongoing circus. All that because you’ve always been thinking for no reason that you’re extraordinary. So practically, nothing has changed!” ”That is not correct” I replied. “Something always changes. For example, I learned at what pace to play the waltz so that the circus elephant could dance to the beat”. “How can I tell anybody that my son spent seven years in a medical school and got a doctor’s diploma, all that just to be playing a damn waltz to a damn elephant in a damn circus! You need to see a mental doctor yourself! Don’t you understand that I can lose my job because everybody in this city is saying that my son is a loon?”

I guess once you get fired you won’t have no more reason not to go to Israel” I said. “Mom, this country is going down, I can see it, and being Jewish in the anti-semitic country that is going down is not a good thing. So I believe that if you really get fired it would be a blessing in disguise. We will go to Israel, learn Hebrew and will live the rest of our life among our native people”. “What are we going to eat for all those years while the communist government will be refusing us to leave USSR, did you think about it? Once we apply for emigration to Israel, no one will hire us even as janitors but they won’t let us go either. That’s what they always do.” “Then how other soviet Jews have emigrated to Israel?” I asked “I don’t know, and I don’t want to know! I need to do something before you completely lost your marbles. I have to find you a real job even if I have to sleep with the devil!”

The circus had two shows a day. I was wearing my fingers out, playing for several hours every day. My arms and hands were cramping at night, while becoming more and more muscular. In addition to the dancing elephant, whose name was Napoleon, I became friends with a circus tigress called Melissa. When I was passing her cage, she would purr, come closer and squint at me with a predatory gaze. “No you are not Melissa, no way!” I was saying to her. She was listening to my voice attentively. “Your real name is Natasha Koshkina!” The tigress was snorting and poking her nose in my hand through the bars of the cage.

One day my mother came home at night and told me “Iron your shirt and clean your nice suit. Tomorrow morning you are going to the Ryazan regional hospital to apply for a job. Enough circus! You need to straighten up your life!” “But, Mom, I like to do what I do! I don’t want to work as a doctor again! I like to be a musician, a piano player!” “What would your poor father have said if he was still alive? He would definitely say that you want me to die and join him at the cemetery! I had to sleep with a devil to get you that job!” “I hope the devil was good in bed” I sighed regretfully and opened the wardrobe to pull out my gray wool suit.

The suit was a typical soviet bastard, an ugly child of our notorious garment industry. It was an awkward and sullen cloth case for a soviet citizen. When I was putting it on, I felt like it was squeezing not only my body but also my soul. It looked like a twin brother of the rest of soviet suits, and especially the one that my father used to put on every morning before going to work until the day when it was finally pulled on his scraggy dead body in the morgue.

I have no doubt that when my father’s soul met the devil and saluted him, he poked his long bony finger at my father’s cheap casket, staring at the fucking suit, and choking with hysterical laughter, and only then returned to his duties and reduced my poor father’s soul to smoking ashes. That’s why I felt myself in that suit like my father’s soul in burning hell, and never put it on without absolute necessity.

I began hating that suit at first sight, when it still was hanging on the rack in the store. Yet my mother spent half of her hard earned salary on that fucking suit, despite of my fierce objections. I wore it at my entrance exams at the medical university. After that I would only put it on after my mother have screamed at me for at least an hour.

I memorized every turn of her long scream like a tune. There were two main riffs in that tune: “do you know how hard it was to raise a teenage son without a father?” and “what an ungrateful son I have!”. And I would always sing back “Mom, you surely treasure your reputation more than your only son’s nerves!” Usually that battle took place when we had to go somewhere together and she wanted me “to look presentable”. My poor, poor, soviet toxic mother…

The suit still fitted me well and looked brand new after the dry cleaning. Time, elements, acts of God, and even the devil, who burnt my communist father’s soul into ashes with one breath, could do nothing to that indestructible piece of attire. I knew that after the communists came to power in Russia, God removed it from his charts and fled, so I could not count on his help in my endeavors.

Speaking of the devil, I admit that he has an unlimited power in hell, but apparently he can’t do much in Russia. I especially doubt that he can invent and do anything that Russians have not already done in their country themselves. For that reason I did not count on his help either, considering that he could not even trash my damn suit, let alone fucking my toxic mother to death in exchange for giving me a job from hell, which I am going to tell you about.

Working that job and all my further misadventures in damn Russia led me to a conclusion that there is only three things in the world I can count on – my strong desire to change my miserable soviet life, full of everyday humiliations, my unyielding willpower and my inventive Jewish brains. That’s all.

***

Okay, my reader, now that I let you skim the taste of the world I came from, you should understand why I can’t take seriously any American problems that I had found when I came to this country. I arrived here from the place that was fucked up so deeply and skillfully that even the devil gave up his jurisdiction over it. Your survival in that place was only your concern. After living in that place for forty one years, I see Americans as spoiled brats, who completely lost their survival skills. Most people don’t know how to make a fire, drive a nail into a wall, cook food from scratch, laundry their underwear without a washing machine and do dishes with their own hands. They can’t add two and two without a calculator and walk three miles to a grocery store if their car is broken. Their level of illiteracy is appalling.

As a psychiatrist I know that most adult problems start in childhood. It’s even more true in America, where childhood never ends. Women in America become mothers for the first time when their contemporaries in Russia already are grandmothers. Most American families are dysfunctional, children are lazy, arrogant and disrespectful, with enormous sense of entitlement. Public school system is a pathetic travesty and a waste of taxpayer’s money despite of excellent material equipment. On top of that, juvenile justice made impossible to properly raise a kid even for a normal family by declaring any physical punishment of children a felony.

Everybody knows that due to the laws of the natural world most kids have a mind of a monkey. A monkey would never obey a “no” and a “must” unless they are accompanied with a noticeable slap on a butt in case of disobedience. The majority of children, who have very little conscience and sense of responsibility, and whose fathers were stripped of the right to plant those virtues into their children’s heads through their butts, become adults only physically. But mentally they remain fragile and selfish adolescents, incapable of managing themselves in the adult world full of rules and responsibilities.

Spared of proper physical punishment and other restraints that was supposed to shape up their behavior in childhood, when human personality is being formed, those spoiled brats remain immature forever. They cannot handle a serious job, or be a reliable friend, or run a family, or a business, or a family business. Unavoidably, instead of their missed childhood slaps they start getting numerous civil punishments as adults. Social rejection, fines, job terminations, late fees, evictions, collections, driver license suspensions, lawsuits, imprisonment, you name it! All that because their parents did not have the rights to properly punish them at the right time!

Thanks to juvenile justice, only those kids, who were bestowed a sense of responsibility and order, can grow into decent humans. Just like in dogs only a part of a litter is capable to become service animals, similarly in humans not everyone is capable to become a model citizen. The rest of the dog litter grow into useless mutts. Similarly, the rest of the human litter grows into a nasty biological by-product that Americans themselves contemptuously call “trash”.

American trash and Russian proletariat are very alike. Those creatures only have a shape of a human being but otherwise they are asocial disorganized crude animals, who can barely take care of themselves, let alone making themselves useful to their country. They are nothing else than national shame and a burden to the society. At least American trash does not claim the right to rule the nation like Russian proletariat in USSR!

The authorities cannot remove human trash from the streets until they committed a crime. All they can do is spending taxpayers money on the police patrols in neighborhoods and welfare and food stamps for idlers, thus giving them an opportunity to breed more idlers, increasing the number of useless, and often dangerous, two-legged creatures in the streets. Cities, counties and land owners put the notorious signs “no loitering”, “no soliciting”, “no trespassing” and “cameras in use” in order to keep those creatures away from normal human population but it does not help much. The number of those anti-social creatures is growing rapidly. What will American society do when they flood the entire country and totally deplete social security resources?

I also was shocked when I found out how many American kids are diagnosed with ADHD and forced to take pills that mess with their brains. What is it? A sudden epidemic? It’s obvious that most of them are over-diagnosed, and the real reason of their inattentive behavior at school is the lack of a proper combination of physical punishment, verbal stimulation and rewards that creates the necessary reflexes and habits and forces children to focus on their schoolwork.

Neither their semi-literate teachers, who work for pennies, nor their trashy parents, who have arguments every night and take Prozac every morning, are able to provide them the right upbringing. As a result, unscrupulous doctors and pharmaceutical companies are using people’s ineptitude and lack of culture to the fullest, providing chemical solutions to social problems.

If you look at the root of the problem, it becomes clear that Americans are overly focused on the material aspects of life, ignoring all its cultural aspects except sports. It is a consequence of the United States being an immigrant’s land, that is, a multi-national and multi-cultural society, which does not have a unified national culture. Therefore a person’s good cultural background cannot be appreciated by people of other cultures and thus, does not have much value on a national level. Money and other material possessions are the only multi-cultural language of success. For that reason very few people want to improve their culture as much as they want to command a higher income. As a result, there are ways more millionaires in the United States than cultured people.

That systemic lack of unified national culture and its replacement with primitive unified business etiquette, forced by that shitty situation, makes the material resources, that are abundant in America, useless and even harmful to the physical and mental well-being of the American population. What people can’t use for their own good turns into bad. That said, it must be clear that talking separately about fast food issues, teenage pregnancy, illiteracy, crime, drug abuse, child abuse, domestic violence and other topics does not make any sense. All those problems ascend to the lack of culture, caused by the lack of a unified cultural environment as such.

That unified cultural environment cannot appear by itself. It can only be built in a tight collaboration between “we the people” and “them the government”. But American people have a nasty attitude towards their government. While they trustfully believe any bullshit they were told in their churches, they are very leery about the government and fiercely oppose their meddling into people’s life, including attempts to civilize them. As a result, government can only pitch in the civilizing process when an individual goes to prison. For millions of American people prison is the place where they start getting their first social skills and education that they could not receive at a proper time in their uncultured environment abundant with material resources. This is especially true for African American men.

You can see now how different are the real problems of my current homeland from the bullshit that the ruling establishment and the ideological whores of all kinds are pouring into people’s ears. However, American society have not come to this situation accidentally. This situation is by far a result of the ruling of the establishment, which purposefully keeps people within the boundaries of primitive mainstream culture, to eliminate their ability to compete with the elite that dominates the country.

In a democratic state, where all people have formally the same rights, the most effective way to deprive the majority of the people of utilizing their rights is to keep them in ignorance and constantly distract them from real problems with some red herring bullshit like political correctness, gay marriage, abortions, sports, fashion and celebrity life, so that they could not concentrate on real problems and think how to use their rights more effectively.

***

When you were born in misery and live in shit, and wear shit, and eat shit every day, all you dream about is getting out of that shit and having a decent life. But when you were born in a family that can afford a piece of meat on your plate every day, you don’t value that piece of meat. You want a lobster, a French champagne, a Rolls Royce, and a yacht with a bunch of strip girls dancing on its deck. This is what Americans themselves call a sense of entitlement.

So many Americans ruin their paths to good life because they believe they have the right to live large, with no efforts and right now! I guess, they never heard the Russian proverb, which says “The best is the enemy of the good” but they should have heard an American saying about “biting off more than one can chew”.

Only in America, I realized that freedom is a double-edged sword. If you don’t handle it right, it will cut you badly and even kill you. You should never ever play with this sword irresponsibly, like a child! Nevertheless, most people don’t understand what they are playing with and have no desire to become good swordsmen. They still believe that the fastest and the easiest way to start living their dream life is to find the fast way to thrive in social mainstream and get the maximum social recognition and fun time in that surrogate culture.

When they finally understand that the most popular social equivalents of success do not replace real happiness, it is already too late, because the dice has already been cast. They have no other way than keep walking that path with the inevitable disappointments, divorces, foreclosures, bankruptcies, miserable 401 K, and a daily Prozac pill after masturbating in the shower.

I was born in the world of misery and despair and that kind of life taught me to value little good things in my life and not jeopardize my good life by chasing an elusive dream. Years ago in soviet Russia all I’ve been thinking about was how to survive and escape from my communist paradise. I could see that all good stuff such as clothes, music, movies, medicine, even booze and chewing gum, were coming from free countries. This simple fact was an ironclad proof that freedom could offer people tons of good things that communism will never can. Not because Russian people could not make good things themselves and sell it to each other but because communist regime will never let them do so. Despite of all communist propaganda, I clearly understood that free people live better than slaves even if their slave driver is communist party.

While in communist Russia people could not live well because of the regime, here in America the main obstacle on their way to good life are people themselves. The majority of social issues in the United States are caused by misuse of freedom, lack of patience and willpower, and an ocean of temptations. The government can create good laws and enforce them effectively, but it cannot force people to abide by the right balance between work, study and fun. Everybody starts feeling the temptations of life very early but very elect to test the waters and educate themselves in sailing before jumping into the choppy ocean called life.

As a result, a lot of youths are tempted by easy life, full of fun and free from responsibilities, and never can’t grow into mature people. Easy life corrupts people but those who are able to resist the temptations can have a very interesting and meaningful life in America, irregardless of their career path. Back in soviet Russia we were living miserable life with no temptations, no opportunities and no hope, except just one. My only hope to change my life for the better was to flee to America and start my life all over.

Strangely, when I was freed from my slavery in the nursing home and started working as a musician I felt myself almost happy. Even when my mother insisted that I quit my musician’s job and took the occupational doctor’s position in the Ryazan regional hospital, I still hoped that it would be better than the nursing home. Little did I know what was awaiting me in that hospital! When I saw my new boss, the head of the department of occupational medicine, I felt really sorry that I refused to work in Shatsk, because their chief doctor was a very good man. This woman was a stupid, illiterate, demanding, and unfair asshole. In no time she turned my life into a living hell.

I was shocked when I saw that the patients in the hospital were nearly starving. I started remembering our nursing home, where old useless and mindless invalids were having good nutritious meals every day, and I just could not believe that those sick young men and women, who were losing their health every day, working in hazardous industries, were fed so bad that they could barely stay alive in that hospital, let alone getting well.

I remember my first work day that started with a meeting at the conference room and the chief doctor said “Colleagues, I know that our morgues are always overflown of corpses, and many of you are dumping dead bodies into the basement, for them to wait their turn for autopsy. Please keep in mind that rats love to gnaw on dead people’s faces. If we give the relatives of the deceased patient a dead body with a half eaten face we may run into a serious problem!”

I was given four wards, each ward had six beds and those beds were never empty. When I was scribbling the discharge documents for a patient, who already served the allotted seventeen days, after which the medical authorities considered him healthy enough to go back to work, the next patient was already grunting and coughing in the corridor, waiting to be admitted to the ward.

The gravity and the frequency of the occupational diseases in soviet Russia were horrific. Soviet industry was killing its workers en masse with inhumane working conditions. I had patients with all kinds of professional pathology. Silicosis caused by the dust of abrasive materials was slowly turning my patients’ lungs into stone, both abrasive dust and aggressive chemicals were causing chronic bronchitis and asthma.

High frequency jackhammers and other machinery caused vibration disease, destroying the peripheral nerves in the worker’s hands. Some of my patients could not even hold a spoon in their hands. Another type of vibration from moving vehicles like tractors, bulldozers and dump trucks was ruining the drivers’ low back. A huge Ryazan lead factory, employing mostly women, was killing its female workers with deadly lead intoxication.

There were some secret DOD factories that were making radars, where the operators were dealing with ultrahigh frequency microwave radiation. That type of radiation was damaging their autonomous nervous system, affecting heart and brain functions and making strong young men weaker than a flee. There were also factories that used the types of chemicals that caused encephalopathy, that is, a brain damage that affected motion, speech, thinking, emotions and behavior. In many cases it turned normal calm men into explosive psychopaths.

Sure enough, we had our share of patients with radiation disease. The epidemic of radiation disease was caused by Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster. The communist authorities distributed those mortally ill people to hospitals across the country and forbid the doctors to even pronounce the words “radiation disease”, let alone to write this diagnosis in the medical charts.

In all cases, we the doctors, were forbidden to put the right diagnosis, which of course was a professional disease, into the medical chart. The diagnosis always must have been some common disease, not a professional one. Only when our patients were becoming complete invalids, unable to work and even take care of themselves, and work related disability was visible even to the layman, we were allowed to put the proper diagnosis into the medical chart of the poor devil.

Soviet hazardous plants and factories were luring proletariat, those dumb slaughter animals, with higher wages and then were killing them with deadly labor conditions. Most of our medical treatment had being done “ut aliquid fieri videatur”, which translated from Latin as “something that can be seen”. In other words, so that the patients could see that they are being helped. I worked like a robot, administering a bunch of medications to different patients. The number of patients and their turnover was so high that sometimes I could not even recognize their faces so I started making notes, which patient lied on which bed.

I had no have time to analyze and think about my patients illnesses any deep, as I was trained in the medical school. With that many patients and paper work I just did not have time. On top of that, the test results were coming from the lab very late, when the patient already had to be discharged. We only had the cheapest medications, so I could only administer some crap to relieve my patient’s symptoms and keep making rounds and writing, writing, writing tons of medical charts and other required paper works.

I did not feel any satisfaction from my work whatsoever. In fact, I hated that job and that hospital much more than the nursing home. At least in the nursing home everybody’s lives were already ruined and nothing worse than already have happened could be done on top of that. But here, in that fucking hospital, I’ve had to watch every bloody day how our communist state was killing working people in its innumerous death factories. Killing them slowly, painfully and clandestinely. I wanted out! Not just out of that hospital but out of that merciless soviet medicine.

***

All doctor in the department of occupational medicine had a responsibility to inspect local hospitals in the provincial areas of the Ryazan region where any hazardous industries where located. My chief of department assigned me to the most far away areas possible. The shit hole in the middle of nowhere that I had to visit first was called Sapozhok.

This area was very rural but it had a big old iron foundry built more than a century ago. From the medical point of view iron foundry meant silicosis, and more silicosis. Silicosis is always accompanied by its inseparable friends – obstructive bronchitis, tuberculosis and lung cancer. By the way, lung cancer was never considered a professional disease, even if the unlucky owner of that cancer had worked in the industrial environment more toxic then the special mix prepared by pathology scientists to cause lung cancer in rats.

Getting to that place by public transportation was a big fucking adventure. Before I set off, I bought a kilo of dried bread and shoved it into my backpack. My source of fiber and carbs. I also bought a carton of ten eggs, washed from their shells chicken shit, with glued feathers, hard boiled them and packed them next to the dried bread. My source of proteins. Then I added a couple of raw onions, six apples and a couple of raw carrots. My source of vitamins. Gnawing on raw carrots would also substitute brushing my teeth. I packed a little jar of salt and a bag of crappy candies as a source of sugar.

Another compartment of my backpack was filled with a warm sweater, spare underwear, spare pants, and spare socks. A small pocket in the backpack has received a folding knife, a box of matches and a flashlight. I also packed a metal can with three quarts of drinking water into a separate bag. Drinking water was very hard to come by in an unknown place. Then I returned to the backpack, opened a secret pocket inside the clothes compartment and carefully put into that pocket a metal flask with medical alcohol. I closed the backpack. Now my luggage was ready.

When I was fully dressed for the journey and ready to go, my mother told me to sit down on a chair before stepping out of home, that is an old Russian tradition, and think for the last moment if I forgot anything. I thought about Russian rural area with its inevitable mud and dirt, took off my rough shoes that I called “shit squeezers” and put on heavy rubber boots. “Good thinking!” said my mother. “Now, go. Godspeed! If you find any phone around, give me a call”.

I took a streetcar to the city train station, bought a ticket to the next train going to the rural shit hole called Sapozhok and with all due disgust climbed into the grimy car, which floor was littered with sunflower husk and other shit. The train whistled and pulled off, howling like a scalded dog, into the wild blue yonder.

Three car windows were stuck open and the rest were stuck closed. The cold draft forced me to wander around the car, finding the less windy spot. That’s fine. In winter time those stuck open windows turn into murderers, blowing icy death. The old train car was shaking and hopping and kicking my butt, that was perched on a rough wooden bench. The backrest of that bench was purposefully bent so as to cause the seated passenger as much pain as possible. Fucking deja vu…

In reply to that continuous torture I was whispering all bad Russian words I could recall, slightly diluting my vivid stream of Russian eloquence with vulgar Latin that I picked up in the medical school. There were only few fellow travelers nearby, common country men. I reckoned they completely ran out of money because they looked utterly sober and sad, just like me. Poor people! Riding in a Russian train and not being drunk is like making love to a stranger without a condom. You feel completely unprotected!

After a couple of hours the car became empty like a fake coffin. Apparently the place of my final destination was not popular even among rural proletariat. The mumbling from the car speakers could only tell me how much alcohol the engineer’s mate had consumed, presumably a full glass of vodka immediately polished by a bottle of beer, but the names of train stops were by far unrecognizable. There was nobody for me to ask, where I should get off the fucking train to be closer to the hospital. I grabbed my luggage and started walking through the cars towards the head of the train.

After I passed three or four cars I found an old wrinkled man with a big railroad flashlight in is hand. When I asked him about the hospital, he burst into coughing and spitted on the floor twice. Then he pointed his crooked dirty finger to the window, showing the direction, and told me to follow him to the exit door. The old man was a local railroad serviceman. The train car spitted us out of its gut just like the old railroader spitted two pieces of phlegm out of his lungs.

The train erupted a hoarse whistle, closed its doors and flew further away to Russian hell. I was standing on muddy dirt in the middle of nowhere, just as I expected. This train stop did not have even a concrete platform. The old man showed me a beat up paved road covered with mud and said that the hospital will be right by the side of that road, not very far away, about seven miles or so. By the side of that road I saw a rotten carcass of a mid size animal of an unknown breed.

I started walking down the road. I don’t even recall what season it was, I remember though that the weather was fairly cold but not frosty, and the only plant I saw on my way that looked like a tree had two dry leaves in its plumage. The murky sun in the sky was at the last degree of dying. The landscape on both sides of the road was not very relishing. Mostly it was fields, if that is the right word for the endless rows of wet clods of dirt piled on top of each other. The road was becoming muddier and muddier and I kept praising myself for changing my shoes into the rubber boots at the last moment.

Sometimes old rustic trucks were passing me, splashing the mud. The curved trajectory of their movement was telling me that sober driving was not a popular tradition in this area. It was also giving me a clear hint about what happened to the dead animal at the train stop and to many others that I saw rotting by both sides of the road. For the first couple of times I waved to the drivers asking for a lift but was quickly assured that further attempts could make me the next roadkill. Since then, whenever I heard the sound of an approaching vehicle I was jumping away from the road to the epic Russian mud.

After almost three hours of walking, when the tops of my boots rubbed my shins nearly to raw meat, and the night darkness made my eye site almost useless, I saw a scrawny light post, emitting ghostly light nearby around itself, and a rickety two story building behind it. Some recognizable features of that building were telling me that it was the rural hospital I was looking for.

I entered the first open door that I found and saw a stout man covered with a sheet, lying on a gurney. I asked him how to find the physician on duty but he did not answer. I asked again and got same reaction. Further examination showed that the man had no technical ability to answer my questions. His wrist had no pulse and his face was colder than ice. It was a morgue, and the dead guy surely had the right to keep silent.

I went out of the morgue and headed towards the front door, which I assumed had to be locked after dusk. However, the door was open and I entered the hallway that was lit barely enough to see the dark corridors with the ward doors by their walls and the staircase right in front of me that lead upstairs to the second floor. Strangely, I could hear a melodic sound of streaming water as if it was a small waterfall next to me. I turned on my flashlight and looked around. In fact, it was a small waterfall indeed!

The waterfall was running from the upstairs down the staircase to the hallway and ended its flow in a little pond, right where I stood. If I did not wear my rubber boots my feet would have been all wet. I looked around, trying to find the nurse station, and here it was. A broken wooden desk and an old rickety chair behind it. The nurse was missing, though. I picked a blank medical form off the top of the desk and made a little paper boat out of it as I loved to do when I was a boy. I gently launched my boat into the pond. The boat made a couple of circles and slowly flown away down the corridor.

Oh, my gosh!” a familiar man’s voice said. “Alex, what are you doing here?” I looked around my shoulder and saw a tall man in a white gown. “I am looking for the physician on duty” I said. “I am the physician on duty” the man replied. “Eugene, what are you doing in this shithole?” “Don’t you see? I am playing a doctor here!” It was my classmate, Eugene Lavroff, one of the best medical students in our group, a nice intelligent bloke, definitely not a proletarian. I recognized his voice right away.

Eugene snapped a little switch on the wall, turning on additional light, and then I was able to see his face. He looked significantly older than I remembered him in the university. “Look at you!” he said, as if replying to my thought. “You’re still the same young boy as I remember, maybe even younger! Are you a Dorian Gray, by chance?” “Maybe so but right now I feel more like the Wandering Jew. I walked seven miles and my feet are aching”. “Let’s go to the staff room. I’ll give you some pain medication”.

In the staff room Eugene opened a file cabinet, pulled two faceted glasses and a jar and put them on a wooden table. The file cabinet, the glasses, the jar and the table looked very familiar. “Never thought that my classmate would come to inspect our hospital” said Eugene, pouring the well-known elixir, firmly associated with the medical trade, into our glasses. I reached the tap to get some water to wash down the alcohol. “Don’t use tap water, it’s not safe. Use the boiled water from this jar” Eugene raised his glass. “Okay, the Wandering Jew, l’chaim!” I raised my glass, too. “L’chaim!”.

We heard a rumor that an occupational doctor from Ryazan has been sent to inspect our hospital. Reckon, it’s you!” “Yeah, it’s me… Occupational doctor my foot! I am a trained psychiatrist but that occupational shit job was the only one I could get” “I see. Well, tomorrow you’ll see for yourself how we work here. But I can see in your eyes that you have a question already. Go ahead!” “What about the aqua park?” I asked. “The aqua park? A sheer strike of luck. The winter frost burst the water pipe in the attic and… voila! On the other hand, not every hospital can boast its own waterfall and lake!”

We both listened to the hospital’s signature waterfall that kept murmuring in the distance. “And nobody tried to fix it for so long?” I wondered. “Our hospital does not have funds even to feed the patients, let alone to fix the damn pipe” Eugene chuckled. “Speaking of the food… Are you hungry? I have some bacon and half decent bread. Here, help yourself! Here is some boiled potatoes. The only edible item in our patient’s menu. Can I give you a piece of advice? Don’t ask our patients how the are fed. They might hurt you!”

Hope they won’t kill me and eat me” I replied. “They might as well” Eugene said seriously. “You look young and yummy and they have not eaten fresh meat for ages. What do they feed your patients in Ryazan hospital for proteins besides egg powder?” “Not much. Mostly hake fish, you know…” “Headless or with the head?” I was not surprised with that question. Hake fish was one of the most prominent legends of Brezhnev’s ruling. At that times all fish shops in USSR, besides rich city of Moscow, were carrying only two kinds of fish: headless hake and hake with the head. The rest of the fish variety vanished from the stores without a trace. “With the head, of course, it’s cheaper” I said. “Do they eat the head?” “Oh, yes, my friend! They eat it, all right! They eat scales, bones, fins, gills and eyes. They learned how to survive”.

At least in Ryazan the patients are having edible bread. Why, try our local product!” Eugene extended his hand to the edge of the table and fetched a plate with something that looked like a chunk of clay. I tried to pinch a piece of that gunk but it was too tough, so I had to use a knife. I fearfully put a piece of that strange substance into my mouth and tried to chew it. The first minute the substance was absolutely unchewable. The next minute it became softer and immediately stuck to my teeth and my palate. I involuntary clenched my jaws and after that I could not open my mouth at all.

Oh! You are really working it up!” Eugene said. “So, tell me how does it taste?” “Тьфу, блять!” I grabbed the knife, slid its blade in between my teeth and gradually released my jaws from that crap. Then I removed the rest of that shit from my teeth, rinsed my mouth and spit in the sink. “What is that?” I yelled, still panicking. It’s our regular bread made by our local bakery. Our patients eat it every day. “But how?!” “They soak it in water and eat it with a spoon like porridge. They also learned how to survive”.

I told Eugene a story that I heard when I still worked in the nursing home. Geographically the nursing home was was located in the Rybnovskiy district. The local bakery in the city of Rybnoe was baking the same crappy inedible bread as I just tasted. The poor quality of this bread was caused not only by the use of cheesy flour, but also by the bakery staff stealing the most valuable ingredients such as butter, milk and egg powder and sugar, and replacing it with water and salt.

The town of Rybnoe had a big railroad junction with a lot of workers. One of those workers was an old and reputable freight train driver. He was a member of communist party and a veteran of WW2. He had a short temper and a sick stomach. One day he grabbed a loaf of that shitty bread, packed it into a parcel, went to the post office and sent it to the political bureau of the communist party with a letter that was saying “Taste the bread that your government is feeding us working people. Even pigs refuse to eat this shit!”

The reply from the political bureau came to the regional committee of the communist party. The director of the bakery and some of the personnel went to prison. The head of the district communist party was fired from his post and expelled from the communist party. The engineer remained in the service. He wasn’t fired or rewarded. After the incident, people were afraid to talk to him. If they met him on the street, they ran to the other side of the road, avoiding him like a plague. Lo and behold, the bread in the town of Rybnoe for a very long time was almost as good as in Moscow.

We had another little drink and talked a bit more. Then Eugene showed me the path in the corridor to the ward that was used as a dormitory room for the night shift personnel. The path was made of small flat logs laid on the floor covered with water. Eugene swiftly stepped from one log to the next. I just walked on the puddle with my rubber boots, making little splashes. Wade in the water, children, wade… in the water… Eugene showed me the bed and the direction to the toilet room, gave me a fresh hospital towel that felt like a piece of plywood and wished me good night.

I pulled off my boots, undressed and plunged into bed. There was no cell phones those years, so I could not read the news, check the weather, text to my friends and just snuggle with my phone until asleep. I was completely cut off from the entire world in this middle of nowhere. Nowadays you have to find a desolated place and drive long hours to that place with no reception, to experience that feeling. Or just leave your phone at home and go camping.

Someone was snoring a little in the next bed, presumably a woman. I thought that it must be the missing nurse from the empty station and started watching my first dream. In that dream Plato and Aristotle were arguing about Karl Marx and his communist ideas. Then a woman appeared, presumably Clara Zetkin or maybe Rosa Luxemburg and meddled into their conversation, saying “I don’t agree”. “With whom?” I asked “With Plato or with Aristotle?” “With both” she replied, pulled off my blanket, laid on top of my body and started fucking me very seriously. She must needed it desperately because she almost skipped the foreplay.

A part of my brain woke up, to evaluate the situation, and came back with a plausible suggestion that the woman that was humping me was the nurse that have been sleeping in the next bed. With that idea in mind, I grabbed her by the boobs and started helping her actively, moving my pelvis synchronously with hers. She did not say a word and neither did I. She was just moaning softly, synchronously with the rhythm of fluctuation of our conjoined genitals and I started moaning back, trying to stick to the beat. The rickety hospital bed was adding rhythmical banging and screeching sounds to our symphony.

I was postponing my ending part, waiting for her to come and when I finally felt the she was coming hard, I squirted vigorously right inside the unknown woman’s womb. She gave me a short energetic kiss on my lips, skillfully wiped my dick with the piece of soft cloth and immediately returned to her bed. After a minute I heard her recognizable snoring and went asleep myself afterwards. In my dream I saw an old wrinkled railroad man. He pointed his crooked dirty finger at my chest and said “Fucking a stranger without a condom, young man, is like traveling in a Russian train and not being drunk!” “Why so?” I asked “You feel completely unprotected” said the old man and turned into an enormous raven. The raven croaked hoarsely and flew away.

***

My little mechanical alarm clock woke me up at 7 am. There was something mysterious in its buzz because I could not recall winding it up last night. The first thing I saw after opening my eyes was the nurse, my night lover, walking towards my bed in her underwear. She sat on my bed and gave me a mischievous sly look full of superiority. ”There, there, doctor. See how I tricked you at night to make love to me!” She had a gorgeous body but the entire left part of her face was mangled with a horrible burn scar that affected her left eye as well.

What happened to your face?” I gasped. “Some bastard sold me winter diesel instead of regular kerosene. My kerosene stove caught fire and burnt my face. But I am still a good lover when you don’t look at my face!“I can look at your face and make love to you alright, my dear!” “Can you really?” “Yes, my dear! Especially considering that I have not had any sex for the last six months”. I was saying the truth. After I lost my night job in the kindergarten I also lost the only place where I could sleep with Marina, and she unnoticeably disappeared from my life. “Than I will latch the door and let’s have a quickie!” she said, and so we did.

So, what’s your name, my love?” I asked her gently after she gave me her recognizable post-coital kiss and carefully wiped my crotch. “How come?” she raised her eyebrow on the healthy half of her face. Doctor Eugene did not even tell you my name?” “I’m afraid he forgot to even tell me about your very existence, my love! Or maybe he did not! I think he wanted to surprise me!” “Nice!” said the woman angrily. “Now I feel like a rapist!”

But why?” “Because only rapists have sex without being properly introduced, at least indirectly. Anyway, my name is Vanessa Ovechkina”. “Very unusual name!” now it was my turn to raise my eyebrows. “Not unusual in Spain, though! My maiden name was Ramirez. My pops named me after his Mom. She was a Spanish communist kid, you know. One of those who was brought to Russia during the civil war in Spain, you know…” “How did you end up in this shithole?” “My parents, you know… Comrade Stalin made a lot of people to move to unusual places, you know… Why, get dressed, the morning meeting is about to start!”

Things in my life are getting more and more astonishing” I thought, while walking in the accidental lake and holding Vanessa’s hand as she was hopping deftly from log to log. Wade in the water, children, wade! In the water… “First I met Natasha Koshkina and now Vanessa Ovechkina”. I have to say that later in my life I met some other girls with amazingly bright names, like Miranda Rights, Victoria Secret, Mercedes Benz, and Allison Transmission but the head spinning name of Vanessa Ovechkina remained unsurpassed forever. God’s gonna trouble the water…

The patients… I met them in the dining hall when we were passing through to the conference room. They were but little children of God, thrown blindly from the high heavens into this gloomy place. They spruced here, they started fading here too, and their only possession was there hope to get back to their heavenly father. Their deep sunken eyes on exhausted faces were the only little isles where life still glowed. Their eyes were shining with hope and burning with hopelessness and desperation. I never saw more fearful mix of human feelings reflected in their eyes. I will never forget those eyes either. So many years have passed and I still see those burning eyes in the dark corridors of my memory.

In the conference room dripping water was scattered all over the ceiling, giving the impression that we were in the grotto of a deep cave. The falling droplets were raising small fountains in bowls and buckets placed all over the room under each drip with surgical precision. The doctors were sitting on dampen wooden chairs, listening to the Eugene’s report. He was telling about the patients whose status required doctor’s attention during his shift, the medication he administered to the patients, and other usual stuff.

Then Eugene announced that the occupational doctor came from Ryazan regional hospital to carry out the annual inspection of medical work with patients with occupational diseases. He said my name, introducing me to the local medical community. I stood up next to my chair and greeted everyone. I was not smiling, my face was serious. There is no such thing in Russia as social smile: smiling in Russia is just an emotional gesture.

After that Eugene finished his report and gave the floor to the pathologist. The pathologist opened the medical chart of the deceased patient, who I saw last night when I accidentally went into the morgue. He reminded that Ivan Eremeyeff, the local shepherd, was hospitalized two weeks ago and has been showing the increasing symptoms of a brain tumor. The day before he suddenly developed an anaphylactic status, along with fast developing acute peritonitis. In about four hours the patient deceased, despite of the intensive therapy. Anybody would like to take a guess, what I have found at the autopsy this morning?

The pathologist gave me a cunning look, asking this question. “Let’s give our guest doctor from Ryazan the honorable right to speak first”. “Thank you for the privilege!” I replied politely. “Considering the patient‘s occupation and anamnesis morbi, I dare to suggest that the patient died from a ruptured hydatid cyst in the liver, and the same cyst was found in the brain of the deceased”. ”Bull’s eye! Kudos, doctor! I did not open the patient’s skull, however. It is pretty obvious what the finding would be if I did. It’s sad… If this poor shepherd had been washing his hands with soap religiously as he should, echinococcus wouldn’t have killed him. Sometimes ignorance and bad hygiene cost a man his life…”

After the meeting Eugene introduced me to the crew once again, this time informally. There were just few doctors in this small hospital. The chief physician in his fifties was a salty dog seasoned in the medical seas. He even looked like a captain of a pirate frigate. The pirate captain was also the head of the surgical department, comprised of three seasoned sawbones – abdominal surgeon, traumatologist, and anesthesiologist. The head of the therapeutic department was the wife of the pirate captain. She had two physicians under her command, one of them was her own daughter. Her father was, of course, the pirate captain. The rest of the crew was comprised of two pediatricians, an eye doctor, an ENT doctor, an infectious diseases doctor, a neurologist, a gynecologist and a dentist. The head of the clinical laboratory was the only doctor in her lab. She was a restless woman in her late thirties and she rushed to her lab right after the meeting to complete some prompt tests.

I have not said anything about the second internist yet, because she definitely deserves a special description. The second physician in the therapeutic department was famous Larissa Averbuch, my classmate. In Ryazan medical school she was given a nickname Kollontai and also “a glass of water”. This beautiful girl was deeply into physical pleasures of love. She strongly believed that all men in the world have been created by our Lord to please her in bed. She always quoted the legendary Russian revolutionary and feminist, Alexandra Kollontai, that having sex is not a bigger deal than drinking a glass of water. I tasted the water from Larissa’s glass two or three times and got a sneaking suspicion that her supernatural powers in bed were somewhat exaggerated. Now, after I’ve slept with Natasha Koshkina and did the due comparison, I knew that for quite sure.

I did not have time to talk to Larissa. The chief doctor beckoned to me and said that he wanted to give me a little tour of the hospital. He asked one of his surgeons, the traumatologist Andrei Ivanovich, to walk me around. “Be sure to show him our operating room!” he said to him and turned back to me “You need to see it. This operating room is one of a kind! Hope you have not forgotten field surgery yet”. First my guide showed me their regular operating room they had to abandon. It was in an utter state of disrepair. Huge pieces of plaster from the ceiling were laying on the floor, flooded with water. To top it off, a collapsed ceiling beam stretched across the room.

He gave me a couple of minutes, to enjoy the view, and took me to their one of a kind operating room the chief doctor was talking about. It was the dressing room that was also damaged by water but not as much as the other room, so it was converted into an operating room. In the center of the room was a small operating table. Above the table stood a homemade canopy of waterproof obstetric oilcloth. The canopy was made to protect the operating field from dirty water and small pieces of plaster from the ceiling. Inside the canopy was mounted a shadowless lamp made of several decommissioned garage lamps from the tractor shop. The lamps were accurately mounted on a curved steel sheet that served as a reflector.

Who made all this high-end equipment?” I asked. “We did. Surgeons can do anything, you know”. “Then why didn’t you just fix the broken pipe in the attic? It would’ve been much simpler, considering your superior skills, I think”. “No, it only seems simpler” Andrei Ivanovich frowned. ”Of course, it is much easier to fix the water pipe than build an operating room in a dying building. But if we fix the pipe, the district government will leave us in this half destroyed building forever. So we decided to think strategically.” “How?”

Well… We are trained surgeons and physicians but we also have skills of builders and engineers because we live in the country where you can only rely upon yourself. And this is good because we can keep this hospital going until the building starts falling apart. The hospital has no funds and the city is not willing to fix our pipes for free” “Why not?” I asked. “Because someone has to assume responsibility. You know, my old man is a seasoned plumber. He is seventy four but still able man and I keep him in a good shape as a doctor. When the pipes burst, he told the city that he could fix them for free. He only asked the city to pay for the new pipes and you know what? The fucking city scoundrels said no!” “Why?” “They said, it looks like private business and it’s against the law, even if he’s not getting paid for the labor”. “But that’s preposterous!” I yelled. “Don’t get too excited. You should remember one thing about those communist bastards. All they do is protect their own asses. None of them would ever stick out their ass to help people!”

That means that the pipe will keep leaking, right?” “Exactly! And the continuous leak will kill off this building in a couple of months. When this building collapses, the city will build us a new hospital”. “But will they?” “Oh, yes, they will. They have received federal funds for renovation of the Lenin’s square. To order the granite blocks for the pedestal, concrete slabs, asphalt, gardening, a new statue of Lenin and shit, you know… It is a political fucking thing, ways more important than people’s health. But when the hospital begins collapsing, and we discharge all our non-critical patients home and start putting emergency patients into army tents, the situation will change” “Change – how?”

Don’t you see? As long as the hospital still exists, the city and the communist party branch does not give a shit about its condition. Repairing it is a responsibility easier for them to avoid than to assume. But when the hospital turned into debris, the situation around it will become ways more political then the Lenin square shit. The district having no hospital – well, that is very political! And once it turned that way, building a new hospital will become a responsibility they cannot avoid. We just have to tough it out till the very end and we’ll get our new hospital, hallelujah!”

I thanked the surgeon and cordially shook his hand, and he split for the wards, to start his rounds. And I waded in the water back to the staff room and started reading the medical charts of the occupational patients. Silicosis, more silicosis, chronic bronchitis, beginning lungs failure… Why did I leave the nursing home? Why did I leave the kindergarten? Why did not I stay in the bloody circus, I really liked to play waltz to the elephant!

All those years since I left Sapozhok, it never occurred to me to find out if the hospital was actually built – until recently. After I re-lived those events in my memory and put them into my book, I made a Google search and found out that the new three story hospital building was built at the end of 1984, which is, I believe, was a year after I visited that place.

Isn’t it crazy that governments and political parties always attract the type of humans that are worse than rats? It happens everywhere – Russia, America, Mars, does not matter… About twenty years later I saw the same rats in the city of Jacksonville, FL. They were squeezing every penny from the people via property taxes, stormwater fees and other levies and charges. Their courthouse was a good sturdy building but those rats built a new luxurious one with marble bathrooms and other swanky stuff for the people’s money.

Those rats also had superb skills in burying people’s tax money in the city budget, which was paying their expensive family game tickets, luxury restaurant bills and generous gifts to Jaguars football team as hospitality expenditures. Of course they did all usual stuff: city contracts without bidding, kickbacks, embezzlement, you name it. They have no shame, even when caught red handed. As the Russian proverb states, you can pee in their eyes and they still would say it’s God’s dew.

For a very long time I could not believe that those rats are ubiquitous and their presence on planet Earth is the most established rule of life. That was one of the reasons I could never believe in my Jewish God. Well, I might somehow believe that God had unleashed numerous trials upon his chosen people, the Jews, to test their strength. It had some sense after all. But why had he flooded our world with all kinds of crooks, thieves, murderers, rapists and other villains? What is their role in the God’s Providence? The only role I could imagine for this kind of humans, is to drive the plot of a theatrical play or a Hollywood movie. But it is impossible to believe that God created the Earth and the human race on it, as a kind of film set or a theatrical stage just to amuse himself.

It is hard to find a person with a certain talent, a seasoned professional, a wise man, a kind woman, an honest lawyer, etc. but there’s no need to search for a thief, a scammer, a bully, or any kind of an unscrupulous dishonest person. There are always plenty of them around you. Politicians, bankers, top managers, pharmaceutical tycoons, car dealers, and don’t forget Craigslist! The worst kind of scoundrels, though, always flock in the establishments, which role is to rule people and teach them morals, ethics and manners. They love to do it and they are really good in convincing people to be honest and have integrity, because honest people are much easier to manipulate and deceive than crooks like themselves.

Someone stuck a cold wet nose in my hand and licked my palm. I looked down and here he was. He was looking at me with a pair of such loyal and honest eyes, that you never see on people’s faces, and wagging his tail. “What’s your name, little mutt?” I asked. “His name is Ralph” said Vanessa. She came to the staff room with a small pile of medical charts in her hand. “He is our mascot and a therapy dog but most and foremost, he’s our savior”. Vanessa carefully put the charts on the desk where I worked with the other charts. “How come?” Vanessa squatted down and stroked Ralph on his head. The little mutt’s tail turned into a fan. “He saved six patients in the ward number six. He was scratching on their door and barking in the middle of the night until the patients woke up and noticed that the ceiling in the ward is about to collapse. Five minutes after the patients left the ward all hell broke loose. You wanna look at that ward?” “No, thank you. I already saw the abandoned operating room”.

I searched in my backpack and gave Ralph a candy. He devoured it in a fling, jumped up and licked my nose. “Why God have not designed humans the way he designed dogs? Honest, modest and devoted creatures?” I said. “No way, Jose!” said Vanessa. “God designed humans the same way he designed wolves. And then humans have bred domestic dogs out of wolves for their own convenience. God has his own ways and humans have their own, you know…” Ralph stood on his hind legs and yapped loudly, as if confirming her words. I gave him another candy.

Will I see you tonight, love?” I asked Vanessa in a sugar sweet voice. “It’s not my shift tonight, darling” she replied. “Wouldn’t you come to see me anyway?” I insisted gently. “I would if I could but I can’t!” “Why? Another man?” “No. I can have any man I want but that’s not the case. It’s another woman” “What woman?” “Don’t pretend that you have no clue! Of course, it’s our doctor Larissa Markovna. She told me that I’ve already had the best of you last night and now she wants her piece of fresh meat. I promised her that I will step away. You slept with her before, am I right? Who of us is a better lover, honestly?” “You are, my love!” I exclaimed passionately. “I believe you! Even though I know that you’re lying through your teeth!”. “Why should I lie?” I said. “Men always lie, it’s in their blood. Okay, I have to go. By the way, I promised Larissa that I won’t come to the hospital to sleep with you but I did not promise that I would not invite you. So… if you want to see me tonight here’s my address. It’s half a mile to the left from our front door down the street”. Vanessa chuckled and left the staff room. Ralph trotted right behind her, stumbling over the logs, and yelping in a thin voice.

The younger doctors did me a little farewell party. We drank some medical alcohol, said some toasts and some old medical jokes. Did the patient sweat before he died? Oh, yeah! He did sweat a lot! Excellent! This is a very good sign, in no time he’ll be Okay! We listened to some good old music and danced. Come together! Right now! Over me! We drank the last round and the crowd quickly dispersed. I was only slightly drunk. Larissa approached me swiftly, grabbed my hand and took me to the same ward where I slept last night. “Guess what is about to happen?” she asked. “You will rape me in my own presence” I replied. It was Larissa’s favorite bed joke. “Yes I will, so you better get undressed before I changed my mind”.

I have to say, Larissa was pretty good in bed but her bed manners and love making skills have not evolved even a bit since she did me the last time in the medical school. Larissa did not keep me busy too long. Once we were done she got dressed and said “Okay, now I have to do the same to my official boyfriend” “It must be Eugene. And you are going to fuck him in this very bed. Am I right?” “No, you’re not! I am going to change the bedding first” She said and started pulling the sheets. “And you can now go and sleep for the rest of the night with Vanessa. I am sure she invited you to spend the night with her, didn’t she?” “No, she did not” I said. “She said she already had enough of me”. “Liar!” Larissa laughed. “We agreed that I will skim your cream after the party and then she can have you for the rest of the night. So go and fuck Vanessa. Fuck her real good, and I’ll do the same to Eugene. Good night, my darling!”

I picked my luggage, took the last look of the waterfall and the lake, closed the front door behind me and trotted down the street to Vanessa’s house, thinking about Natasha Koshkina. I did not have to look for the right house. A little devil called Ralph jumped out of the blue high in the air and licked my nose. A bit later Vanessa licked some other parts of my body and I returned the favor. I did not lie to her, she was the best lover in my life after Natasha Koshkina. She was romantic, skillful, passionate and very Spanish.

***

Early in the morning Vanessa woke me up with a kiss and told me that her father’s friend is driving a milk tanker to the dairy plant every morning and will pass her house in less than an hour. “I don’t fancy raw milk, love” I said. “What milk? He can pick you up and give you a lift to the railroad stop. It’s better than walking eight miles, don’t you think?” “Much better, my love!” I said enthusiastically. “Then hurry up! We have just enough time for a breakfast and a quickie. What are you craving for the most – love or food?” Both, please!I replied innocently. “Bastard!” Vanessa spread a thick layer of cherry jam on a slice of wheat bread, stuffed it in my mouth and started humping me energetically as I was chewing. I swallowed the rest of the bread and ejaculated into Vanessa’s womb at the same time. She wiped my crotch meticulously and fed me another piece of bread with a different kind of jam. I think it was black currant.

Don’t worry, I won’t get pregnant. I am in a safe phase of my cycle right now” she said. “Why should I worry?” I said sarcastically. “No woman would bother to get pregnant from me. I am a soviet doctor, which is, poorer than a street beggar. I don’t have money even for condoms! Needless to say that child support from my salary would be miserable” I was about to furnish my words with appropriate laugh but Vanessa suddenly looked at my eyes and apparently saw some feelings that I could shield from myself but not from that woman.

She screamed like a mortally wounded bird, burst into tears and hid her face in my chest. “I know, I understand” she kept sobbing. “I know, I understand”. I wrapped my arms around her and covered her disfigured face with kisses. The kettle on the stove started whistling “the tea’s ready, the tea’s ready!” Vanessa jumped to the sink, rinsed her tear-stained face and poured tea into our mugs. Her tea was made of real tea leaves. At those times I had no idea that the time will come when I’ll be using paper bags, filled with scented sawdust instead of real tea. Life is like a box of chocolates only in a Hollywood movie. The real life is more like a box of chocolate covered feces. You never know what kind of shit you are gonna get and when but you’ll get your share of shit anyway.

From the street came the growing hum of an approaching heavy truck. Vanessa ran out of the front door to the side of the road and waved to the driver. The milk truck stopped heavily, screeching and hissing pneumatic brakes. Vanessa was talking to the driver but I could not hear their conversation because the truck’s diesel kept rumbling loudly. I was waiting and looking around. It was a beautiful sunny morning. Even the chunks of dirt on the road did not look ugly under that young and forgiving morning sun. After a minute Vanessa beckoned to me and introduced me to the driver. He was a well build aged man, he reminded me of an old oak. I especially liked his hands. They looked strong and reliable. His name was Anatoly Ivanovich.

Ralph jumped out of his dog house like a little rocket and tried to sneak into the truck cab. “No! Ralph, no!” Vanessa yelled. “You are not going to the dairy today. I need you here!” I stroked Ralph and he licked my hand. Then I wrapped my arms around Vanessa, smooched her on her lips, grabbed my stuff and climbed onto the passenger seat. The old driver looked at me carefully and appraisingly. “You spent a night with this woman? You like her?” “Yes, like her a lot! Vanessa is a gorgeous woman!” “Glad to hear that. She’s like a daughter to me. Vanessa, eh? Do you believe that she is really Vanessa? Her Spanish father and stuff? It’s urban legend, man! She made up this story after she burned her face trying to save her daughter from the fire. I am not a doctor but I think that the story she made somehow protects her from the reality”.

I am a doctor” I replied. “And yes, you are absolutely right about it. But what’s her real name?” I asked. “Does it really matter to you, young doctor? Are you going to come back and marry her? I don’t think so! All you need to know is, she does not have a Spanish father or any father. She is an orphanage girl. She used to have a husband and a daughter, though. But one day she came home from the hospital exhausted after a very hard shift, put some food on her kerosene stove to cook, laid down for a couple of minutes and crashed completely. It happens, you know…”

And then what?” “And then her little daughter began to play with the stove and knocked it down. She burned alive. When Masha woke up, she extinguished the fire and brought her daughter to the hospital but she was already dead. Masha had not even noticed that she burnt half of her face. Her husband did not want to be married to a woman with a disfigured face. He found another woman and left town. After he left her she, um… she went Spanish. She is a child of God now but I still love her like a daughter, evens stronger… I have no kids of my own. That war did not kill me but it killed my future kids, you know…”

So you’re a veteran of the second world war?” “Affirmative, sir. A wounded veteran, artillery sergeant” “Highly decorated, I guess?” “My only decorations are a bunch of scars on my crotch and my driver’s job. Especially the job, it’s ways more useful than any war decorations!” I looked at him questioningly. “Without it I would’ve starved to death on my military pension, you know… Vanessa, eh? How she even came up with that funny name! She is still an excellent nurse, she always was. If it was not for her, I would’ve been dead by now, you know… She’s been obsessed with getting pregnant and having another baby. But there is no decent man who would sleep with her in this town. Not with this face. You must be the first man she laid down with after her husband left her. But you will never come back for her, I know. Don’t say anything…”

I will never cease to wonder how people instinctively compensate for their shortcomings in life from any suitable sources. Vanessa, an orphan with no siblings, who tragically lost her family, invented for herself an imaginary Spanish father and made the old milk truck driver his best friend in her imagination. And that old WWII veteran, who lost his reproductive ability at war, made Vanessa her imaginary daughter. I reckon they’ve never thought about a formal adoption, I believe they did not even know that such adoption is legally possible, but I could see a strong father and daughter bond between those two people. Ah, well… She turned out to be Masha but I can’t call her that name. In my memory she remained gorgeous and lovely Vanessa Ramirez, one of my best lovers of all times.

After many years when I moved to Gainesville, FL for a long term project I met a girl in Harry’s restaurant. Her name was Cindy Lou. I will tell about our relationship in next series of my book, not now. The only connection that made me to bring her into this book is the similar situation. Cindy Lou’s mother was a nut job. She knew that she had schizophrenia and she imagined that her daughter will inherit it and will suffer, too. So one day Cindy Lou’s mother grabbed a heavy granite bookend and slammed her daughter on the top of her head.

It was lots of screams and blood and Cindy Lou’s mother was committed right away – lifetime – but her main goal was achieved. Cindy Lou’s mother re-wired her daughter’s brain with a single thrust. Cindy Lou didn’t get schizophrenia. Instead she became a cocaine addict and went to prison for drugs. “There was not even a single cock on Long Island that I did not suck for a dose of cocaine” she used to say. Anyway, I just recalled Cindy Lou and her story because she also had an adopted mother. What the fuck, if your own mother sucks and you want a decent mother, there are a whole bunch of suitable women to choose from!

The milk truck was crawling slowly and heavily in the middle of the dirty road. There was no other traffic, no people around, no animals and just few ugly birds. The endless fields of crude chunky dirt were spreading around. The driver’s face was sad and distant. He seemed completely lost in his thoughts, probably in his memories of the war. So many years have passed and I still remember his face. A face of a man who saw a lot in his life and survived a lot. He survived WWII and I survived emigration and an old cocaine slut Cindy Lou, my first American girlfriend, who was a disaster.

Cindy Lou’s mother’s name was June, she lived in a perfectly manicured mobile home in Ocala and I would never suspect that she was her adult-adopted mother, not a real one, if Cindy Lou would not tell me the real story. June was a fantastic woman, wise and sober, and when Cindy Lou asked me if I was going to marry her so that she had the right to use my money, I said that I’d rather marry her mother June. At least June did not drink that much and did not suck every dick in the ‘hood for a cocaine fix. Ah, well, I’m getting ahead of myself again… All I wanted to say is, that not only poor Vanessa but every girl, even an old cocaine slut, wants a decent mother and father.

Anatoly Ivanovich interrupted my thoughts with a question: “Do you want to see the dairy plant? It is a state of the art engineering installation. We call it dairy heaven. This heaven is guarded very seriously. No one can get inside without a clearance, but I can walk you in and show you around. You’ll never see anything like that in your entire life, I promise! And then I will take you to the railroad stop on my way back” Of course, I agreed. We passed the rail tracks and turned into a road paved with concrete, which was very unusual.

After a couple of miles we saw a tall brick fence with barb wire rings on top of it. “Are you sure it’s not a prison?” I asked. “Well, it looks like a prison, it is guarded even better than a prison but it is a dairy plant. It makes very special dairy products for very special people. I’ll show you”. A wide automatic grill gate slowly drove aside, letting us in. We passed the gate and the driver stopped the truck right next to the booth of the gate guard. The guard approached and saluted the driver. The driver gave him a piece of paper, probably a waybill, and he wrote something in it and stamped his writing.

This plant makes dairy products for the members of the сentral сommittee of the communist party. This dairy must always be of a supreme quality and absolutely safe. This plant has a triple quality control and a lot of safety procedures to prevent contamination of the product or any diversions. It’s almost paranoid. Every lot of the made product is packaged and sealed so that nobody could get to the product under way without breaking the seal. You could think they are paranoid. Maybe they are because their lives are at stake!” “But why?” “One phrase explains everything – nomenclature of the Central Committee of the communist party. It is highly political!”

Again, just like George Orwell elegantly put it, all animals are equal but some are more equal than the others!

What I saw inside the plant shocked me even more. The plant looked sterile clean, much cleaner than any operation room in a hospital that I ever seen. The workers were all sober, they wore white gowns like doctors and they were concentrated at their work all the time. They also wore white caps to hide their hair so that they don’t get into the product. Their rubber gloves were of much better quality than our surgeons wore at the operating room. The equipment looked like the internals of an alien saucer. It was shining with stainless steel, glass and ceramics. The smell around was heavenly good. Anatoly Ivanovich gave me a piece of cheese. Oh, that cheese was something! It was desperately fresh, soft and yummy. Probably such taste was at cheese which was made by the Israeli tribes somewhere in Galilee at the time of Jesus Christ.

We talked to the supervisor on duty and he told me that this is a secret object and I was not supposed to be here by the law and they just made an exception for me because I was a doctor and came to their town to help local people. He also said that all the dairy equipment on the plant was bought in Spain from the company called Fibosa. That company was founded in Spain several years ago and was aggressively expanding its sales. Of course, that plant was bought for foreign currency, which regular people in USSR had no right to have. Simply possessing foreign currency was a felony comparable to murder and punishable by long prison time. Spanish engineers and technicians did the entire installation, trained the local workers for six months and left only after they made sure that the plant was operating properly one hundred percent.

You have been bringing your godchild Vanessa to this plant, haven’t you?” “Yes, many times! Why?” “That’s where her Spanish father originates from. He supposed to be her heavenly father, and this is the only heaven she ever saw in her life. That’s why! She’s not mad! She is just overly imaginative and she compensates the deficiencies of her life with her wild imagination, that’s all”. “Holy shit!” the old driver could only say. “Doctor, you’re a genius! It is so simple and absolutely plausible… But you won’t marry my poor daughter even if she bears a child from you… Why am I saying that, anyway? Let’s go!”

Well, well… Women and marriage… First you sleep with her, then she want you to marry her so that you don’t sleep with any other women and she had the legal right to spend you money and ask for more. As the well known proverb says, give a mouse a cookie and she will ask for a glass of milk! Sure enough, I did not share that thought with the old guy. He would’ve sold his poor soul to the devil for having a wife and children. And me… As I said before, I did not want to create another human life in a place that would treat that life the way it treated me all my life, that is, worse than a piece of shit. I’d rather think that Vanessa have not get pregnant from me.

I’ve always been leery about my own personality just about that very thing, that is, how the world is treating me. It was not a secret that other people were very different from myself. They could easily get fresh with each other for no reason, they called each other names, they insulted and humiliated each other on every occasion and without an occasion, and despite of all that they were pretty happy with each other, especially when they had some money to get drunk. Maybe, all those people were normal, and maybe it was the only way to be normal, and I was some kind of a freak? Maybe I just needed to get drunk more frequently to blend in? Or maybe I had to move to a different country where normal people were more like myself.

So far in this book I’ve been calling those people proletariat. But the definition of the word “proletariat” only constitutes their belonging to the economical class of wage-earners whose only material possession is their labor-power. This word does not define their nasty and uncivilized social behavior that I just described. There is one good Russian word that describes humans that exhibit that kind of behavior on a regular basis. A very simple, expressive and explanatory word: быдло! The original meaning of this word was working cattle. The closest English equivalent would be “scum”.

No matter what, that sort of humans has one very valuable quality, the ability to survive in any circumstances. When nobility and intelligentsia choose death in order to protect their honor, reputation and moral values, быдло always choose life because their despicable life is their only value. Russia went through numerous wars and revolutions, endless mass repressions, collectivization of agriculture, brainwashing and what not. Noble people did not survive them and got extinct and this working cattle occupied their vacant places in that catastrophically decimated society.

A good example of such replacement of noble and intelligent people with low life is the current head of the Russian Orthodox church, the so called patriarch. To me, all priests are different from other people only in that they bless you without your sneezing first. But this one is something else. He is a typical representative of Russian scum, “быдло”. His mean face, greediness, vainglory, conspicuous consumption, his commoner’s last name “Goundiaev” that sounds in Russian like McPoop or Burpson in English, and especially his outspoken and shameless transformation of Russian Orthodox church into a profitable business can give you a vivid picture of that despicable sort of human manure beetles.

That degradation was purposefully started by the communist regime from the very beginning of its ruling. Since its inception low life was systematically exterminating nobility, clergy, entrepreneurs, military officers and just any educated, intelligent people. This insane politics was encouraged by the notorious Lenin’s maxima: “Execute more, comrades! Execute more!” As Ivan Solonevich wrote, communist regime deliberately made a bet on scum with the brains of a sheep, the moral sense of a bacteria and the wolf’s jaws, on those who in the gang rape becomes the sixteenth”.

I’ve been thinking about it every time when I had to deal with the scumbags who occupied honorable positions. But… Could I share this thought to my classmates or coworkers? Could I share it to my own mother? Could I share even to my secret diary? No, no and no! I am sharing this thought in a different country in a different language to the people, who, according to my observation, have more of a human nature than of working cattle. They are naive, neurotic, brainwashed and unbalanced by the establishment propaganda and the nasty gang of ideological bitches but they are still human beings and as far as they keep their human nature there is always hope.

The empty milk truck behaved like a totally different vehicle. It was shaking, hopping and clunking at every bump. Empty people behave very similarly. The truck crossed the rail track, squeaked and stopped. I shook hands with Anatoly Ivanovich, ready to say my farewell and split. He looked in my eyes and said “If Masha… um… If Vanessa have a child with you, I’ll raise him as if it was my own”. “Would you let me know if that happens?” “No, sir! You’ve already made your choice. Bye now”. I grabbed my stuff and jumped out of the truck cab into the epic Russian dirt. The passenger door slammed, the truck threw out a thick cloud of black smoke and slowly disappeared in the never-ending Russian hell. I was standing alone in the middle of nowhere with a devastated soul. Like never before I was craving to get drunk.

***

The arriving train rattled through the tracks, screeching and howling, and stopped with a metal clunk. The car doors opened with a hiss, indifferently, like the gates to hell or heaven, which ever you choose, ready to swallow the mortal body of a traveling doctor or a local granny with a goat on a rope, or a devil coming back from vacation to his hot place. I grabbed my stuff and climbed inside. The gloomy country sun saw me into the car with a reproachful look and after considering its mission accomplished, hid into a thick cloud with a great relief.

The train car where I was turned out to be a motor car. The floor and the entire car was vibrating nastily, the wooden bench was passing that vibration into my crotch, guts, heart and other giblets, the windows glasses were rattling like a machine gun nest, passing the low frequency vibration through the pair of my ears directly into my my brain. Shit! No, I am taking that back… Fuck! I said a couple of good strong Russian cuss phrases, mentioning a post-coital mother, a mouth of a whore, a wet horny cunt and other well known Russian totem objects. After that I picked up my luggage and trotted throughout the train to find peace. After passing a couple of cars the peace was found. There was no motor underneath the car and no people inside. I threw my stuff under the seat, sat my ass, pulled out the flask from the secret pocket and immediately drank, trying to kill myself as fast as possible.

When I came back to my senses and opened my eyes, the train was staying at some station and the passengers were coming in and out. A young girl was going to sit next to me but a woman, apparently her mother, stopped her “Don’t sit next to this piece of shit. He’s drunk like a skunk and is about to puke”. The girl’s mother was right. I felt like I was gonna puke, indeed. I struggled to my feet and staggered into the vestibule towards a secluded place between the cars where I could vomit heartily. Hardly I gave out the first portion, a drunk man dropped into the car, looked at me and said “Praise Lawd I found ya!” “Beg your pardon, sir, you don’t look familiar to me” I replied. “But you look familiar to me! You look like that very bastard, whose face I am gonna beat into a bloody pulp!”

But I can’t fight back, I am busy puking!” I objected. “I’ll wait” said the man. “Thank you!” I replied. The train whistled and took off, increasing its speed. I crouched over the hole in between cars and puked meaningfully. “Don’t hold the doors!” yelled the engineer’s voice from the speakers. I took a deep breath, puked the second time and wiped my mouth with the sleeve of my coat. “Don’t hold the doors!” the speakers repeated. “Are you done?” the drunk man asked. I nodded. “Lovely!” the man said and hit me in the face as he promised. I had no other choice than hitting him back. Several times we tried to kick each other by the balls but as we could barely stand on our feet none of our kicks hit the target. So we kept covering each other’s faces with bruises and blood.

I beg you, sir!” I shouted desperately. “It’s quite boring! Don’t you understand that we are too drunk to really hurt each other!” “It’s not the bodily damage I am after” the drunk man replied, trying to punch me in the neck. “I am enjoying the process! Pray, continue!” “For fuck sake, stop holding the fucking doors!” yelled the speakers. My adversary contrived and almost hit me in the balls with his foot. ”Mind the doors!” the speakers roared. “Sorry, I feel a strong need to end this travesty!” I yelled and kicked the man in his belly, putting all my weight into the blow. The blow threw the man far back, the doors suddenly opened and the man flew off the train down onto the railway slope. The train was running at full speed and the fallen man instantly vanished from my eyes. The doors closed back swiftly. I went back to my seat, grabbed my luggage and get off the train at the next stop, to find the railroad police station and report an accidental murder.

The sergeant at the police station listened to my story, put it into a report form, and asked me where he could find the victim’s body. I said that to the best of my knowledge it must be about thirty miles northwest along the rail tracks. “It’s not our district and hence, not our jurisdiction. It’s Shilovski district. Let those fuckers deal with the body. Was the victim drunk?” “As much as I am, officer” I replied. “Then nine times out of ten, he just got up after he fell, and caught the next train. What did you drink?” “Medical alcohol, sir. I am a doctor” “Show me, please!” I gave the sergeant the flask. He sniffed it, than tasted my drink and finally finished it off. “You ought to visit our police station more frequently!” said the sergeant returning me the empty flask. “Do you have any chaser?” I gave him a handful of crappy candies that I previously tested on Ralph. The sergeant put the candies into his mouth, torn the report into pieces, threw it into the trash can and saw me to the next train.

I have to point out that the vocabulary and hence, the tone of our dialog with the drunk man, whom I presumably killed, was quite different from what is given in this book. After more than twenty years in America I still have no idea how to properly translate those Russian idioms into English, so I just created some English dialog that more or less suits the situation. Also, as I said earlier, the police in USSR was called militia, and that probably explains why the sergeant drank my booze and let me go. One way or the other, to fully understand the Russian way, you need to live in that country for at least twenty years and get drunk no less than three times a week.

After riding in the train, drinking and fighting, I suddenly found myself obsessed by a terrible beastily longing for Natasha Koshkina. I found a booth phone at the railroad station and called my mother. I told her that I need to spend one more day in the rural hospital to finish the inspection, went to the cashier and changed my itinerary, making the village of Istobniki my destination point. I went to the toilet room, satisfied my Nature calls and examined the bruises on my face in the mirror. They were not as bad as I thought. Then I went to the cafeteria, replenished my drinking water supply, ate a couple of hard boiled eggs with dried bread, chasing them with the water, crunched a raw carrot and sat down on a dirty bench to wait for my train.

By that time I was almost sober and only a slight headache was reminding me that several hours ago I was drunk like a Cooter Brown. I kept drinking more and more water to flush my system from the toxic metabolites of alcohol. Pretty soon the route to the toilet room became my second nature. When I drank half of my water supplies I went to the cafeteria and refilled my water can. When I was peeing I could feel how sore my dick was, because I’ve had plenty of sex in just a couple of days after several months of not having sex at all. A thought about having even more sex did not look enthusiastic. On the contrary, it was somehow frightening. Nevertheless I was craving to see Natasha Koshkina, and that craving was not about sex. I just wanted to see her next to me, feel her gloomy tigress smile and listen to her rough jokes. I realized then that I loved that woman, despite of whatever I thought and whatever I did in order to forget her.

I am inclined to believe that love is such a mysterious thing because it is produced by human’s true nature, not by what people think it is. Humans are unable to understand their own or their loved one’s true nature. They can only feel it but “feel” does not mean “understand”. That’s why people can make nothing more than guesses while Lord almighty silently connects the invisible dots. Love is a strong chemical reaction between those parts of a man and a woman that they both can’t understand. That is why love cannot be understood, let alone controlled. Many people can control their anger, anxiety, cravings, dreams, heartbeat, life and death, can fight their fears and even temptations but nobody in the world can control love!

***

I left the Istobniki train stop, the gloomy barren field and the boggy woods behind my feet and was standing at the front door of the woman that I loved. My heart was pounding desperately. It got almost dark. I knocked on the door. Nobody opened. I knocked on the window then. Suddenly I heard through the window a baby crying. The door opened and Mustache came outside, looking around. He looked at me and I realized that this man is not a Mustache that I used to know. The man that I saw was stronger, bulkier, and most of all, he was sober!

We greeted each other cordially and gave each other a strong hug. “Volodia, you look like a different man now!” I exclaimed. “That is true. I am different now. I found Jesus, man!” “How come?” “You still remember the man that kept you out of trouble that night at the railroad stop, do you?” “Yes, I do remember him. He saved my life that night! Did you send him, to save my ass?” “Yes, I did. You’ve been saving my miserable life every morning. And one day when you walked to the railroad stop in that weather I realized that it was my time to save my savior. But I was too drunk and my uncle went out instead of myself, to save you. What goes around comes around, you know…” “I remember your uncle, he was very protective of you” “That’s right. He is a priest. He saved your life, he saved mine, too” “How?” “He helped me to stop drinking and find faith”.

Let me guess… You live with Natasha now?” “No, I don’t just live with her. We decided to become a Christian family. My uncle wedded us in that abandoned Church from where I brought you the statue of the female Saint, forgot her name…” “So she found faith, too, I guess” “Not quite yet but we are working on it” “Can I come in and talk to her?” “I’d rather you didn’t, sir. You was her temptation and she’s not strong enough yet to face it again. Hope, you understand. She’s busy feeding the baby, anyway” “So you two have a baby? Marvelous!” “Yes, doctor, a little girl. She is your gift to our family and we will raise her a good Christian”.

You mean that I…” “Yes, doctor. I can’t make babies. Too many times I’ve been unconsciously drunk, lying in a freezing weather, and I froze out my manhood. That’s how Lord punished me for my sins”. He looked at me again. “Doctor, what happened to your face? It looks like somebody beat you up pretty good! Who was it? Somebody I know?” “Not really. I think that man is dead. I accidentally pushed him off the train during the fight. I feel very sorry about it…” “Who started the trouble?” “Not me. I just defended myself”. “Than don’t you worry. It happened because it was his day. Happened to me, too, one time. Lord have mercy on his little soul! Doctor, you can’t walk back to the railroad stop. It’s too late and you look so much beat up. I will talk to our neighbor, you can stay with her tonight. She calls herself a funny name, Umbrella. She is a pretty woman, though, and she’s younger than my wife. Come with me, you’ll see for yourself!”

As we walked down the dark uneven road, Mustache told me that Umbrella is known in the village as a knowledgeable witch doctor; that her husband is serving time for a car theft; and that she did not have a man since he went to prison, or at least nobody in the village saw any men around her. “I will introduce you and leave, the rest is entirely up to you. I think you can help each other. You can surely please her as a man, she definitely needs it, and she can heal you in return. Just don’t be shy and do what you can do the best”. His last phrase was accompanied with a cheerful tap on my shoulder.

Mustache knocked on the window a couple of times. The front door opened and a beautiful blond woman turned on the lights and stepped out the door. I was modestly waiting at a distance as they were talking. I could only hear separate words, mostly exclamations: “that doctor?!”, “you sure?”, “yes, divorced!” and “you never know”. Then the woman approached me, invited me inside very politely, while looking closely into my eyes. I took off my rubber boots in the hallway, feeling a great relief, and entered the room.

The room was smelling like dried weeds. Bunches of different weeds were hanging from the ceiling, laying on the shelves and in cardboard boxes. “Your room looks like a typical place of a witch doctor” I said. “Ain’t no witch! Am a healer. And you would be my patient tonight. Please, come closer!” I stepped and stood next to the woman. She sniffed me in a dog manner. “Oh, la-la! Someone was making lots of love recently! I am impressed” Then she looked at my face: “And someone had a fight, too!” I looked at her face. She had delicate, regular features and a very unusual eye moves. Her eyes were constantly scanning things around like a radar. I even had a feeling that her eyes move independently in a chameleon manner.

She felt my gaze and replied with a long scanning look. “You might have a very interesting life if things go the right way. You know how to catch opportunities. But right now your life is too squirrely” “How so?” “Well… Have you ever seen a squirrel crossing your path? As you approach, he jumps back and forth so many times and still can’t make up his little mind where to stay. You believe that this whole world is not the right place for you, and that feeling makes you jump like a squirrel. You are jumping away from any attachments and responsibilities. You believe that you can fly away to a different world. You are afraid that attachments and responsibilities will ground you. I saw several men who had restless spirit but you are something else. I still can’t make up my mind, what you are!”

You have an unusual name” I replied. “It is an English word for a little tool that protects you from rain” “I chose that name myself because I am a protector. The name in my birth certificate is pretty boring – Zinaida. I don’t like it. I don’t feel like Zinaida, I feel like Umbrella”.

She approached me and put her soft hand on my chest. “Oh! You must be hungry! Come, sit at the table, I’ll feed you”. Her borsch and buckwheat porridge were delicious. Thanks God, she did not offer me any alcohol. Even thinking about that poison was making me nauseous. Instead she gave me a big mug of crystal clean tasty water and told me to sip it real slowly. When I was eating, Umbrella was heating water in a big pot on the stove and making some concoction from her weeds. Once I done eating, she told me to stand straight and slowly took off my clothes without asking my permission. I did not resist at all as if I was hypnotized. Maybe I was.

Umbrella carefully examined my body, much like I did to my own patients. She found a couple of bruises on my chest and touched them with her fingers deep but very carefully, to make sure that my ribs were not cracked. After that she sat me into an old metal tub and started slowly and gently washing my body with hot water mixed with her weed concoction and home made soap. She was using a clean soft cloth. Then she asked me to bend over the tub and carefully washed my face. “Good! Tomorrow you will look better than new money!” “Thank you, my dear! How can I pay you back?”

You can pay me back the old usual way. Go to bed now and sleep with me. What do you think is the most healing part of my body?” “I guess, your hands…” Umbrella chuckled. “Yes, them hands, too. But the most healing part of my body is in between my legs. Let’s go to bed and start the healing process!” The healing process has lasted throughout the whole night. I’ve never made love in my sleep neither before nor after that night. It was a very unique experience but most of all I was impressed by the fact that I woke up completely revitalized and free of pain. Even my dick was not sore anymore. I still had the bruises on my face but they were not swollen or painful.

Feel much better, don’t you?” “Yes, I do! I don’t know how to thank you!” “You don’t have to. That man that you pushed off the train. He got up and walked eleven miles back to his home. Then he finished off his bottle of nasty moonshine and hit the bed. He died in his sleep around three o’clock in the morning” “How do you know?” “I talked with his soul after he died. He did not want to live anyway. His wife left him because he drank too much. He was looking for his way out and he found it with your little help”. “When I see you again, my dear Umbrella?” I asked her when I was ready to leave. “You will never see me again. You heart is still firmly occupied by this woman with dark soul, I can see it. But that woman was never meant for you! Light and darkness attract each other but never stay together. Bye now and have a good life!”.

When I was walking through the woods, a big red squirrel crossed my path. He jumped across the path-walk five or six times in a row, back and forth, and at the last moment climbed a tree with one big leap. Why didn’t he start with that long smooth leap to begin with? When will I do my long leap and how? Vanessa… And now Umbrella… Who’s next? I felt a distinctive nature call, pulled my pants off and sat next to a big leafless bush to take a dump. A big brown spider was moving lethargically, trying to fix his web. I picked a long straw and tapped the cobweb slightly.

The spider ran towards the vibration, examined the tip of the straw and disappointingly walked away. Interesting beasts, them spiders. They have eight eyes but they can’t see far away. All he can see is the tip of the straw. He can’t see my hand that moves the straw. He can’t see me and comprehend my human shape, let alone my thoughts. He can’t ask the right question, that is, “why is this human teasing me with the straw?” Don’t I feel the same way, feeling the vibrations, seeing the tip of a straw but never able to see our Lord on the other end? I wiped my ass with a bunch of last year’s grass, pulled up my pants and got back on my path.

***

I can’t imagine what Flip Wilson was thinking about when he coined the phrase: “What you see is what you get”. It’s obvious that usual life circumstances are quite opposite: “what you get is what you see” and “what you see is not necessarily what you get”. This paradigm is universal but it was especially applicable in USSR, where things never were what they seemed to be. For example, a loaf of bread could look like loaf of bread but tasted like sour unchewable shit. A person with a phonendoscope hanging over a white gown sitting in a hospital writing endless medical charts looked like a doctor but in fact it was a disrespected and penniless miserable creature, loaded with work over his head.

The second part of that paradigm was that you had no chance to see what you were not supposed to get. I’ve never seen US dollars and British pounds in USSR because I did not have the right to get them. I’ve never seen even a good tasty piece of fucking cheese because it was very special cheese, made not for people like me but for very special people, the high rank communist bosses and their servants. I should not even be aware that such cheese existed on Earth! I could never see or get a post graduate course on psychiatry or a job of a mental doctor in a good reputable clinic because they were reserved for the people with really powerful connections that I did not have. All I could get and see five days a week was a shitty job of an occupational doctor, which I hated.

When I came back to work after my epic trip to the town of Sapozhok, with a report in my hands and fresh bruises on my face, the chief of the occupational department said that she was going to take half of my male wards from me and give me female wards instead. At the moment the patients in all my six wards were all men. My boss said that she now wanted me to really have my share of elbow grease. I was the only male doctor in the department, the rest of the personnel were women, including doctors. Those female doctors were complaining to the head of the department that female patients were much harder to treat and just keep in peace than men. They were always dissatisfied with their treatment, doctors, beds and bedding, food, regime and other things.

So the head of our department, who always treated me like a floor rug, took half of my male patients from me and gave me females instead. I decided to be very direct with that bitch and openly warned her that I did not have a steady sexual partner at the moment. Due to that fact I was having multiple occasional boners during the day. It won’t be good, I said, if I have an uncontrolled erection while performing a physical examination of a female patient. Despite of all my reasonable objections, the stubborn bitch was relentless.

Once the official order of my curation of the patients in two female wards came into force, I started my preparations. First of all, I required a longer white gown so that it would cover my crotch if I have a boner at a wrong time. Next thing, I set up a rule to look at myself in a mirror before starting my rounds. Women are very sensitive to shoddy hairdo, sloppy clothing and other nitty-gritty details. I started brushing my teeth and comb my hair right before making my rounds so that I did not have a bad breath and looked impeccable.

No matter how much I’ve been preparing myself for the new role, I was still frightened after all those endless complaints of our female doctors, who were endlessly complaining at their female patients, who were complaining at them. I dreaded the moment when my blood thirsty female patients will start tear me into little pieces and eat my young lean flesh alive. Little did I know about female nature! Women in my wards never complained. On the contrary, they adored their male doctor and when I was entering the ward I always saw six big bright smiles from the beds where my female patients were waiting for me impatiently every morning. Of course, they could see my boners, I stood no chance to hide them from six pairs of observant female eyes.

But strangely, my boners were healing my precious sick girls even better than pills and injections that I generously administered to them. I guess, my hard young dick worked like a mysterious antenna, sending to my female patients silent but powerful healing signals, unknown to contemporary science. Needless to say that those boners as well as my cheerful talking, my slick bed manners and my restless spirit that was splashing in my eyes raised my reputation to an unattainable height. Very often my female patients were flirting with me and were jealous of me to one another. They also were writing little love letters to me, giving me their addresses and phone numbers and inviting me to come.

I’ve been always tearing those letters into little pieces and threw them into the trash can. But once upon a time a day had come when I had to make an exception from my rule of not being involved with my patients. One of my precious girls turned out to be completely resistant to the therapy. I kept her for almost a month, I tested all her organs and systems and could not find anything wrong, even suspicious. Nevertheless, the poor woman was fading right at my eyes. She was a childless widow and a high rank engineering manager at some secret DOD factory. She did not see anything in her life except her very demanding high voltage work.

As a psychiatrist I could see that she was quickly plunging into a deep depression, caused by her unfortunate life circumstances. She could not eat well because she completely lost her appetite, she was losing weight, she cried every day and… well… and she desperately wanted me! Not as a doctor, as you may guess… She wanted me as a man, for Chrysler Motors sake! She was flirting with me and writing me soft and desperate love letters more passionate than those from Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas.

Every other day our department was receiving phone calls from her superiors, who was asking about her health and were really pissed after being told that so far she have not shown any progress. The head of our department asked me to come to her office and told me that I really needed to outdo myself to take care of that patient, because it was really important. She said that I would have to discharge her for a couple of days because of the hospital rule that limited the number of days the patient could stay. Then I’ll have to admit her back – my boss said – and that time I’d better have some good progress with her treatment!

What can I say… I was twenty seven at the moment and that female patient was forty eight, only five years younger than my mother. Nevertheless, I had a strong feeling that our bodies will match perfectly and that my physical intervention will help her quickly and effectively. After I discharged the old girl, I gave her a phone call, as we agreed, not as her doctor but as a private person, that was my rule, non-negotiable. I came to her place and spent almost the whole weekend in her bed. Those two days of intensive physical therapy did the miracle. All her symptoms instantly disappeared as if someone had swung a magic wand. When I shared that thought to her, she said, happily smiling “this magic wand is hanging right between your legs, my doctor!” “I am not your doctor!” I yelled. “I am just a man who makes love to you, plain and simple!”

Next Monday she was full of energy, went to her factory and reported to work. As I said, I did not have a sexual partner by that time and it reflected negatively on my own health state. However, when I started seeing that woman for a supporting therapy that missing part of a puzzle was solved. Seeing her regularly was helping both her health and mine. After a short while that woman, my former patient, really blossomed. She started looking at least ten years younger and completely forgot all her sicknesses. She never came back to hospital. I even introduced her to my mother, and my mother was really happy that I am seeing a mature serious single woman rather than running around, pollinating dubious young whores.

My head of the department never asked no questions how I achieved such an impressive result. Nevertheless, she and the other female doctors were giving me occasional looks every now and then, grinning meaningfully. I was so amazed with the results of my… um… physical therapy that I repeated my little experiment with a few other female patients of my own selection, particularly those, who showed signs of vital depression, and each time my unconventional treatment worked perfectly. During my life I was noticing on many occasions that I could relieve pain with my bare hands but that was it. And now, after spending a miraculous night with Umbrella, it looked like my healing abilities unbelievably increased and surprisingly extended to a completely different part of my body.

Besides my body, I’ve been watching closely the other parts of myself – my mind, my soul and my spirit. Analyzing their evolution, I’ve been gradually understanding that I was not manufactured on the common assembly line used by our maker for replenishment of common Earth creatures. Instead, He crafted me manually, with careful attention to a bunch of subtle details that he was usually neglecting otherwise. It was not enough for Him to make me a Jew, that is, one of His chosen people. To make my life completely unbearable, He made me a fucking philosopher!

He loaded me with a bunch of curious non-standard features that I had to find and explore during my life course. He purposefully refrained from installing standard safety features into my system, to make sure that I would never hesitate to explore my unusual nature in full throttle. His final product – myself – turned out to be ways more pathetic than even Ecclesiastes. It had incredible sensitivity, an enormous power of comprehending and foreseeing different things. But when he was trying to share his vision with common people, he was ridiculed. Speaking metaphorically, my maker was aiming to create a prophet but instead, He made a clairvoyant and highly reflexive freak with a magic wand between his legs.

Well, I guess, God makes mistakes, too, and someone has to either fix them on the fly or suffer the consequences. It’s not an easy mission to be me but so far I’ve never felt desperate enough to think that mission impossible. After all, I am still thankful to my maker that He did not make me a rat or a snake or a jellyfish, or, what is even worse, a woman. When life circumstances pushed me so much close to the opposite half of human race that I had to use all my medical skills plus all the natural resources of my body to restore their health, I started thinking about women from a very different perspective.

Dealing with women closely every day as a physician, examining their bodies with my hands deeply and intimately, talking to them, looking into their eyes, I could not help but imagining myself a woman. Very soon I realized that having a woman’s body is quite a burden! If I was a woman, I would have my periods. Eventually I would get pregnant and have to carry that big ugly belly for almost a year! All that time I’d feel a growing tumor moving in my belly. I’d feel how it competes with my brain for nutrients and oxygen, not letting me think right, and pollutes my system with its waste.

Then I’d have to expel that tumor out of my body, with inevitable labor and blood and screams and feces, which is quite a torture. Even a fucking chicken lays its stupid eggs with much less efforts. Once this tumor finally comes out, it would start sucking all the vital juices out of my body through my breast milk. A tad bit later it would start sucking my money, tempt my patience and ruin my nerves. Thank you, thank you, my dear maker that you made me a Jewish man, not a woman!

It’s a proven fact that woman’s mood and self-awareness are dependent on her cyclical hormones fluctuations. That means, a woman can’t hold a steady bearing in her reasoning, which is a most fundamental requirement to be a philosopher. Now I understand why all great philosophers in our history were men. I would not assert, though, that only women are sexually handicapped. I don’t much fancy the design of my male body either, especially those testicles that are hanging between my legs, waiting for someone to kick them with a heavy boot. The erection mechanism does not inspire me either. A walrus simply has a bone in his penis, which is so much simpler and ways more reliable. But women… Gosh, I can’t imagine carrying those big heavy boobs on my chest lifetime! And all other female organs, they are so much prone to cancer!

Well… suppose, God messed up things while making me a philosopher, for which I don’t see any real purpose on planet Earth… But was not His creation of women even a bigger mistake, a huge design flaw, to be precise? Even though women do have a very clear purpose – procreation of human race! It is an ultimate chore, to be a woman, and once you were born a woman, there’s no other way to mitigate the imperfection of the Lord’s design than following the traditional woman’s path destined by Nature!

The deeper you understand your nature, the more meaningful would be your life – the life of a woman. Strangely, Russian people still have this sacred perceiving of woman’s nature, as a life creator, while Americans scoff at it, calling it a “gender role”. Whilst for a Russian woman being a woman is a profound primordial feeling, for an American woman it is nothing more than a non-detachable dog tag that unfortunately to them can be removed only via a sex change surgery.

Lo and behold, the entire American ideology of feminism is not about how to be a woman but rather, how to deny the mere fact of being a woman! The ideology of feminism, as it were, already did, and keeps doing, everything possible to stop women being women and forbid men being men. At the same time, this fascist ideology has done absolutely nothing to help women to be who they are – women. In USSR and even in post-communist Russia, where women are not infected by the plague of feminism, they have seventy days of pre-natal leave and eighteen months of post-natal maternity leave paid by the federal government.

What do American women have after all years of their fascist feminist hoopla, yells and screams? The right to sue men on every ridiculous occasion? The right to divorce their husbands for no reason at all? The right to have countless women clubs and ridiculous women associations? The right to yell “male chauvinist pig!” at a man, who happened to mention the unbreakable biological fact that men and women have different physiological and mental organization? How about the most important, fundamental right of American women to protect their maternity? Twelve weeks of pre- and post-natal leave, total, fucking unpaid! That’s all…

And then – then women go back to work, mercilessly breaking the most sacred and vital bond between mother and child. And then – their babies are fed synthetic shit instead of the precious natural gift of their mother’s milk that armors newborn babies with necessary hormones, immunity molecules and other vital things in Guatemala, India, Algeria, Nepal but not in America! Mother’s milk is not just food. It’s liquid life! Without it baby’s health is at a high risk. A child that can’t constantly sense her mother’ body heat and hand strokes and hear her mother’s voice and heartbeat for the first year of its life is a troubled child prone to mental disorder.

The sad part is, that this heartless and ignorant American attitude to their nation’s mothers and their children, which essentially is a slow and silent genocide, after bouncing some strange angles, gave birth to the insane ideology of feminism. The feminist movement added a thick layer of travesty on top of the social disaster of being a woman, which so far affects half of American population. As I pointed out earlier, ideological bitches distract people’s attention to false or far fetched issues and does not let the society to fix real problems. In that sense, feminism is the worst enemy of American women!

As people like to say, history repeats itself. The situation around women in the United States reminds me of situation in post WWI Germany, where national disaster gave birth to Nazism. American love to say, God bless America… Well, if I was God, I would use all my imagination and invent a special bee hive, or a thermonuclear reactor, or a meat grinder, or a coffee maker, or a fucking dishwasher – any kind of manageable device that can make decent American babies without women, because American nation has no idea of how to be a woman or how to treat one, especially women themselves. There is no other country in the world, where the word “woman” is being said so frequently, and means so little. The word “woman” in America was devalued by improper use and became cheaper than a pack of crappy birth control pills that let American women behave like men sexually, too, and ruin their health.

I realized upon a time that American nation is a society of pretenders. Nobody likes or respects weak people in America, so Americans are supposed to always smile and say that they are Okay and feel great even if they have foreclosure, divorce and inoperable cancer all together. American women smile, too, but their smiles cannot camouflage their dissatisfaction with their lives. I talked to many of them and came to a certain conclusion. I believe that when they deprived their men of the right to be the stronger sex, which men are traditionally considered in Russia, and took on the male role, they suddenly found out that they can now rely only on themselves.

By limiting men’s strength, American women lost not only their men’s support and love, they just lost their men whatsoever. Those grown up boys, who are scared of lawsuits, sexual harassment accusations, devastating divorces and other usual shit, they are no men anymore. By crushing their men’s manhood, American women crushed their own dreams of a strong, supportive, understanding husband, lover and father of their children, and left alone with their fears, problems and sorrows, without a strong and supportive man’s shoulder. That is, I guess, the nature of their major dissatisfaction, and nothing can be done about it. You can’t eat a cake and have it.

I realized one more thing. A dissatisfied woman pretty soon turns into a demon. That’s exactly what happened in America. As a result, American men are doomed to live in the closest proximity to those bitchy, greedy, vindictive, capricious demons all their lives feed them, dress them, please them, fuck them oh, yes, fuck them! – instead of living in love and harmony with normal women. Once a mistake of this caliber perpetuated, it is almost impossible to fix.

As William Somerset Maugham sharply noticed, “American women expect to find in their husbands a perfection that English women only hope to find in their butlers.” In other words, American women enslaved their men and after that they are bitching around that there are no real men around, only slaves… What a shame, what a fucking shame!

Yet we, the men, still can’t defy the most powerful natural call of being breeders and providers and deal with those terrible creatures, except for the bunch of queers and, of course, catholic clergymen, whose strong faith obliges them to fuck little boys. Lordy, Lordy, what have you done! Or shall I’d rather blame Charles Darwin? Or both? Ok, my reader, I’d rather leave it for you to decide.

Why did I set sail on this treacherous sea full of pitfalls, whirlpools and countless shipwrecks of human misfortunes? Apparently because of my natural ability to see how people use their nice and glossy nautical charts, and observe that in many cases those charts have nothing to do with the reality. Lots of people crash the vessels of their lives all the time and yet remain in denial that, in essence, they sail the uncharted waters. Just like Mark Twain wrote, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Somebody has to think out of the box, realize what is going wrong, and say it aloud, even if there is a risk of being stoned, and I definitely don’t mean pot.

As the scripture says, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I guess, it is my real goal in this world to be an immigrant philosopher from the old world in a great strong country with very young and naive culture, to splice loose ends in their knowledge, torn by their childish ideologies, and share the restored vision back to Americans.

American people are getting born into this mess, that’s why they cannot even realize that it is a mess. So, I guess, it should take an immigrant prophet of my caliber, to say the ugly truth that has to be said. Who else would do it? Corporate researchers? Their task is to create a new market, not to fix social problems. University scientists? They all obsessed with leftist ideology to the level of insanity, just like Russian intelligentsia a century ago. Government researchers? Their task is to report that the nation has no serious issues and the government is doing an excellent job. Ergo, “if not me, then who”? That was a motto, taught us by our communist leaders, who themselves always reaped the benefits and dodged the responsibilities.

Anyway, let’s get back to our medical line of thoughts. Contemporary medicine is compartmentalized into different specialties and departments. There are doctors who only treat heart, or digestive organs, or lungs, or nerves, but in human body everything is tightly interconnected, and that type of separation of knowledge limits the power of medicine. To my understanding, a psychiatrist does not have to know gynecology as good as a gynecologist but must know all interconnections and ramifications between gynecological diseases and mental symptoms and statuses they may cause. And vise versa, how different mental disorders can affect a female’s body and its specific functions. In general, doctors should not be afraid to extend their case studies outside their narrow specialty and even outside medical field, when necessary, to fully understand the genesis of the patient’s sickness.

If we dare to advance further on in that direction of thinking, we will ascend our minds to the way of thinking of the great ancient physicians: Hippocrates of Kos, Galen of Pergamon, Celsus, Avicenna… They never separated medicine from life and always pointed out that in any case a prevention of a disease is better than the best treatment. The issues they raised millenniums ago are still actual. Why people get sick, aside from hereditary illnesses, infections, poisoning, traumas, aging, and, of course, hard life conditions? The right answer is: because of unhealthy lifestyle. Psychiatry, of all medical branches, should be searching for the answer, why unhealthy lifestyle has turned into epidemic.

Why so many well off people in a post-industrial society live unhealthy lifestyle? I guess, because they execute their constitutional right to pursue happiness, not good health. There is no happiness without good health, however lots of people sacrificing their health in order to obtain other ingredients of happiness they consider more important – earning money, having fun, raising their social status and just getting the highest thrill of the moment. It’s obvious that the propaganda of healthy lifestyle is ineffective because good health does not guarantee immediate happiness. On the other hand, our society powerfully advertises and sells the whole gamut of guaranteed immediate happiness, most of which entails unhealthy lifestyle. And I don’t mean alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives or planes, trains and automobiles, junk food and smartphones. Not even psychoactive drugs. Not even marriage, divorce and slow, painful death called retirement.

The roots of the future Armageddon are lying in the foundational principles of post-industrial society. Free enterprise economy is built on competition and expansion. If business does not expand, it dies. Perpetually expanding consumer economy keeps pressing consumers to buy more and more so that the businesses could keep expanding. The market driven society is doomed to urge all living souls and zombies as well as new born babies, family dogs, cats, rats and golden fish, to keep buying! The only way to drive their business to higher heights is to push sales! As a result, people are choking to death with excessive disproportional consumption! This process reminds me of a malignant tumor. It’s aggressive, expansive, invasive, absolutely unstoppable, it consumes and intoxicates the entire body and finally kills it.

The most powerful industry in market driven society is the industry of inventing pleasures, inducing desires and creating temptations. All that, to squeeze more money out of people, so that business could keep expanding. Business ain’t philanthropy! It does not work for people, their happiness, or stability, or health. Business works for profit. The highest profit is generated by satisfaction of the artificially induced expensive unhealthy desires. As a result, business actively and aggressively breeds the type of humans that steadily demonstrate the type of consumer’s behavior that maximizes the business’ profit. The endgame is simple: the artificially induced desire to intensify life pleasures ad absurdum and take out of life more than can be endured by human nature, becomes incompatible with life: it destroys people’s health, and pretty often kills them off.

As they say, history repeats itself. Even though Lucius Seneca pointed out very clearly that happiness is not attained through pleasures but through virtue, ancient Romans would always choose bread and circuses. As we all remember, the ancient Roman empire had degraded and fallen due to the excessive pleasures of the aristocracy. After two millennia in the post-industrial American empire national entrepreneurs still make their profit, exploiting not people’s virtues, but human’s carnal urges, vainglory, and desire to receive easy pleasures all the time. Rather than raising human civilization and spirit to the higher heights they keep selling Mac-happiness, or should I say mock happiness, as it were.

As a result, the strongest driving force, propelled by both government and business, in the market driven society, artificially keeps social consciousness on the level of caveman grade ignorance. The driving force of madness… Ignorant people are much easier to control. I guess, it is quite in human nature, to keep everyone in misery in order to attain and hold on to leading roles rather than be an average happy person in a happy and healthy society. The recipe is well known since Roman Empire… Bread and circuses. The crazy consumption keeps people’s mind involved deeply into the sick game. Shopping as sports… A newer model of iPhone to impress friends… Louis Vuitton… Rolex! Oh, Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz? Tokens, symbols of happiness and success… Happiness on sale! Special deals on success! Hurry up, buy now!

It is quite obvious that in the rank of national values the health of national economy is appallingly higher than the health of the population that, by the way, runs the economy. People are so much hypnotized by their consumerist heaven that they serve and worship the economy like god and never hesitate to sacrifice to that god each other’s health. Their paralyzed mind can’t imagine that the day will come, when there won’t be enough healthy people, to keep serving the Moloch of marketing and competition, which is mercilessly devouring its creators and servants.

As I said earlier, economy in USSR was disproportional in a completely different way. Soviet economy was enslaved by the militarist and ideological ambitions of the ruling communist clan, whose goal was to forcibly expand communism to the entire globe. Ideology, in essence, is a mental cancer. It is it’s very nature to consume all available resources, ignoring all other needs, even the vital ones. USSR used its entire oil revenue to fund manufacturing of tanks, submarines, missiles, nuclear warheads, even spacecraft, support all non viable communist regimes around the globe, but never had enough funds to give half-decent food and enough medical supplies to patients in the hospitals around their homeland, except for the very special patients, who were more equal than the others.

One day while making my rounds, I entered a men’s ward and found my patients at a strange occupation. One of them was holding a mirror in his hands, the other one was holding a bottle of cheap men’s cologne, a piece of electrical tape and a handful of dirty cotton tissue plucked from the window frame where it served as a sealant. The third patient with a naked torso was holding a rusty razor blade used in a cheap shaver called “Neva”, trying to reach with the blade a big carbuncle on his stomach.

Wait!” I said. “It looks like you guys are planning a little surgery, right? I guess, you want to open this carbuncle with that dirty blade, then disinfect the wound with the cologne and attach this grimy cotton to the wound with the electrical tape, don’t you?” The men nodded. “I would’ve surely helped you” I continued “if we were in a desolated place with no medics around. But we are not in Mojave desert. We in the hospital, in the name of Saints, drunks and hookers! How did you geniuses come up with a bright idea to perform the improvised surgery of your own! We have a bunch of surgeons here for that purpose!”

I ain’t giving myself to no damn surgeons!” said the carbuncle man. He was a big husky hairy bloke from deep country. “Them surgeons will X ray my tummy and my dick will never get hard after that” “If you cut your thing yourself and let pus into your blood stream, you will get sepsis in no time, and your dick will fall off of your dead body, in your pitiful grave. That’s if someone buries your corpse. Otherwise, it will be committed to medical university and our students will cut off the precious limb of yours you’re worried about so much and dry it for a souvenir”.

I’d rather drop dead on the spot than let those kikes X ray me and make me an impotent!” growled the carbuncle guy. “How dramatic! Don’t you ever know that X ray is a very expensive supply? Soviet government is buying it from abroad for foreign currency. It pays about fifty dollars per cubic centimeter of liquid X ray. Each X ray examination evaporates ten cubic centimeter of that expensive stuff. You really think they will waste five hundred dollars to ruin your penis? For that kind of money they could simply cut off men’s dicks in the entire city of Ryazan, as it were!”

Ah, well, ye damn right, doctor… Them damn kikes, you know! They won’t waste no good stuff on a simple man like me. Pardon my French, doctor. Them kikes always save good stuff for themselves and their buddies. Wish their dicks fell off… Okay, doctor, you win. Let’s go and let a sawbones yank this boil out of my tummy”. I took the patient by the sleeve of his pajamas and led him to the department of purulent surgery. The nurse station was uninhabited. I found two nurses in the dressing room and explained the situation. Both women got furious right at the same moment. “Get out of here and take your patient with you! We don’t have enough bandages and antiseptics for our own patients! Your head of the department must order those supplies for your own needs! Get out! Get the fuck out!”

I was so much bewildered and humiliated that I did not say a word. I grabbed my patient by his sleeve and hauled him in a high speed back to the ward where everything began. I pushed my patient into the ward, walked in myself and roared “Change of plans! Who served in the military, step towards me!” All patients synchronously stepped my way. “Attention! Listen up! Here’s the tactical situation! Medics not available! We are doing the field surgery ourselves, using the supplies we have. Everybody clear?” My men, stunned, were blinking their eyes and scratching their heads.

Very well! Now listen to the plan! You! Throw out this dirty piece of cotton. Take this stool, climb onto the windowsill and pluck the cotton at the top of the window frame, it must be much cleaner at the top of the window than in the bottom where you plucked this shit”. The patient grabbed the stool and started climbing on the window. “You! Wash your hands with the soap carefully, twice. When I do the cut you will squeeze the belly with your fingers, like this, at my command. We need to pop out the pus rod in one piece. You! When the rod is completely out, at my command pour the cologne into the hole. Then you – squeeze one more time. Then you – rinse the wound again. Several times. Then you dampen the cotton tissue with antiseptic, apply it to the wound and tape it to the skin. All clear?” “Sir, yes, sir!”

Lovely! Now, hold fast and wait for the word!” I took a deep breath, raised the shitty blade and carefully cut the carbuncle open. “Squeeze!” My assistant squeezed the belly – and pop goes the weasel! The pus rod popped out like a champagne cork. “Rinse!” The second assistant poured the crappy cologne into the wound. The cologne was made of pure alcohol mixed with some cheap herbal extractions. Should kill germs pretty good. The carbuncle guy was howling and growling of pain but stood still. I squeezed the remnants of the carbuncle myself, to make sure there was no pus left. “Patch the wound!” My second assistant patched the hole in the belly with the cotton wad, dampened with the rest of the cologne, and glued it to the belly with the electrical tape. “X ray, uh?” I said to the patient trying to mock his funny country accent ”You see now, they don’t even have a band-aid for you, so X ray my ass!” The patient sighed. I tapped him on his shoulder.

Then I slowly stepped to the window and looked at the hospital backyard. A street cat swiftly jumped into a rusty dumpster and came out with a big rat in his mouth. The rat was squeaking and thrashing around desperately. The cat jerked its head sharply, and the rat hung lifelessly from its mouth. At least somebody is having fresh meat for lunch in this fucking hospital… I turned back and looked at my patients. They still were standing around, waiting for me.

At ease!” I said. “And well… please find our janitor and tell her to mop the floor. Or just get some wet rags in the toilet and clean that pus and shit by yourselves…” I closed my eyes for a moment. “Why am I still working in this shitty joint? ” I said to myself. I’ve been so much happier playing piano in the circus and even working a night guard job in the kindergarten!I sighed. Sir, you need to seriously think of becoming a military doctor. You surely have the talent!” said one of my patients, whom I made my assistant. “It’s not your fault that the hospital has no supplies.” “That’s right! It’s them fucking kikes in damn Kremlin! They always conspire to destroy Russian nation.” growled the carbuncle man.

Hardly I finished my rounds, contemplating to start writing the daily updates to my patients’ medical charts, the nurse came to the staff room and told me that I’ve been called for by the head of our department. I entered her office and said politely “Good morning, Галина Константиновна!” She did not reply, neither she asked me to take a seat, so I seated myself. Finally she broke the silence, saying “I did not offer you to take a seat!” “That’s why I had to sit down myself” I replied firmly. ”And please, the sooner you start talking business, the less time I would occupy this chair”.

This is outrageous!” she exclaimed “You absolutely don’t understand subordination! You have no respect at all!” ”If you wanted a little respect” I replied softly but very firmly, “you must have blown your steam before I came in, not in my presence”. I looked right in her eyes. “So now we’re past that point. But if you want to win at least my attention, please cut the shite and start talking business”.

What kind of amateur performance have you played this morning? What are you planning do to your patients next? Craniotomy? Amputation of a limb? You can’t just walk your patient to a purulent surgery department. “I tried but it did not work out, so I helped the patient myself like I did in the nursing home. Only the nursing home had all necessary medical supplies, unlike this hospital!” “This is not a nursing home and you’re not the only doctor! You were supposed to write a report on the patient status, put it on my table and fill the form on the patient transfer to the purulent surgery department.” I took a deep breath. “As an administrator you have your point. But as a physician you should understand that this patient was a time bomb ready to explode. With that amount of pus under his skin he might have died of sepsis any time! And you know as well as I do that purulent surgery department never has vacancies and this internal transfer might have taken forever!”

It’s none of your business how long the transfer will take! You are supposed to stick to the rules! Now everyone in the hospital is gossiping about my doctor, who brought the patient to the purulent surgery without my permission, even without notifying me as your immediate superior… and been turned down and laughed at! What kind of respect can I have in this hospital when my doctors do such tricks? You’d better kept playing piano in the circus and never worked in my department!” “I might have worked in the circus, as I have multiple talents. I don’t see any shame in doing that. People always needed bread and circuses. But this miserable joint ain’t circus. This place is a joke! Especially your helpless, pathetic department!”

My boss’s face turned bright red. “Enough is enough! I am writing a letter of reprimand! I will make an example out of you! Be prepared to take your vacation in December, if I won’t not fire you by that time!” She was right… Enough is enough. Even an amicable celestial creature like me can’t stand endless humiliation, and especially from a woman with a chicken brain. ”Галина Константиновна!” I uttered and paused. “What? I’ll punish you anyway! Wanna ask something?” Yes, I wanted to ask you… Галина Константиновна, why don’t you go and fuck yourself?Remember, it happened in Russia, so I said it in Russian: “Галина Константиновна, а не пошли бы вы на хуй!”

The famous Russian expression “пошёл ты на хуй!” literally means “Go and sit on a cock!” It can be translated into English as “go and fuck yourself!”. However, this Russian expression is ways more offensive than its English equivalent. In its essence it means – go and get your ass brutally desecrated by a dirty, stinky, nasty, unholy penis that does not belong to any man but rather has arrived to Earth straight from hell. The words themselves do not make that graphic impression but the way how it’s said, the intonation, does the whole magic. “Пошёл ты на хуй!!!” Being an intelligent man, I did not use the full power of that Russian intonation, which made my last remark more ironic than offensive.

I guess, the reason I snapped at my boss was that her entire personality embodied the constant lack of professionalism in our hospital that I resented since I started working there. The most necessary medications were always in short supply. The smell of the hospital food raised the vomiting reflex. Nurses were injecting the patients with antibiotics using one syringe, changing only the needles, transferring hemotransfusion diseases from one patient to another. Even the injection needles were in short supply and were used until they break or become rusty. When I was on duty I often killed time sharpened our intravenous needles on the back of a kitchen plate, because their tips would often bend, and the needles turned into a fishhook. When they were removed from the vein, they tore out a piece of the patient’s flesh, leaving a huge bruise at the point of the injection.

I remembered a night duty when I was called to the Hematology Department, where a patient needed an urgent help. The patient turned out to be my classmate. She was suffering a terminal lymphoma and living on a borrowed life. The night of my duty she developed an unstoppable pharyngeal bleeding. The blood was gushing from the blood vessels penetrated and destroyed by the tumor. She was doomed to die that night, but there were no protocols on how to proceed in this case and make the patient’s death easier. Nobody gave me a piece of advice. The girl died in full consciousness, looking into my eyes and keep asking for help that I could not provide.

I remembered another night duty, when I was helping a patient with prostate cancer and acute urinary retention. He was screaming of pain without ceasing for several hours. I called our surgeons but they refused to help me with this patient. They said he was inoperable and told me that if I really care, I can use a soft catheter. I recalled my experience of handling a metal snake, that I used at home to remove the clog from my sewer and somehow managed to pump out a half a gallon of blood-colored urine from the patient’s bladder.

A doctor’s job is always an ordeal, because a doctor has to fix a broken piece of Nature that Nature itself cannot fix. I could understand it easily. However, the most of the hard moments in our everyday job were created not by Nature but by our dysfunctional health system, and that’s what I never could understand. In my imagination, a hospital should’ve worked much like a well organized repair plant, where the right knowledge and the right supplies are getting applied where and when they needed. Each physician should be backed up by the entire hospital and at the same time be a part of the backup force. But that was only in my dream. In reality I always felt myself on my own. To my dismay, a bit later I found out that plants and factories under communist ruling were even more dysfunctional than hospitals.

I have to say, that I saw a lot of great physicians and surgeons in Russia but they had to work in an undermanned, under-equipped, totally unprofessional environment. They were making a superb surgery and their patients were dying afterwards because of the lack of simple after-surgery care. Lack of professionalism is an inherent and severe sickness of Russian nation. Those who were in that system long enough don’t even notice it anymore and consider it normal.

When I called a plumber for the first time in the United States, I was expecting a drunk stinky man with a monkey wrench in a pocket of his dirty jacket, in dirty boots, mouthing around and asking for a bottle of vodka before he starts any repairs. I was shocked when I saw a sober guy in a uniform, with a big case full of shiny tools, with a flashlight and wide smile on his face. That was the face of a professional, and he talked and moved like a professional. I wanted to tip him just for the pleasure I had watching him but he refused, saying that it’s against their company’s policy. Surprisingly, many Russian people in America become really good professionals. So I guess, it’s not Russian ethnicity that does not let Russians to do in a professional way in their own country, it’s rotten Russian heritage!

I came back to the men’s ward to check on my carbuncle patient. His improvised dressing looked fine and he did not feel any pain. The patient said that he wanted to send me a token of appreciation for my good treatment. In his village in Korablinsky district he had a small farm where he bred nutria and muskrats. He was making coats and ear flap hats out of their fur. “I am raising a couple of puppies on my farm” he said. “They will grow big in a couple of months and then I’ll kill them. Dog meat and fat will heal my lungs.”

Make sure you cook the dog meat real well and long, to kill all the parasites” I replied. “Otherwise you can catch a pretty nasty thing”. “Sure, I will boil the meat first and then pan fry it. Those puppies have really good thick fur. I’ll make a ear flap hat for you out of that fur. A dog hat is a bit stinky, it smells like a dog. But it never wears out and it won’t let you freeze your head in any weather” My heart started pounding and even my mouth got dry, because for a miserable Russian doctor a fur hat was a much more expensive gift than a brand new Lexus for an American doctor. “Just give me your address, I’ll send you a nice fur cap after I eat the dogs”.

I still don’t know if money talks but bullshit definitely walks. My small talk with my boss received a very predictable continuation in the evening, when I had to deal with my furious mother. My bitchy boss called my Mom right after I politely asked her to go and please herself sexually. I believe, she really outdid herself, squealing and complaining about my outrageous behavior. I did my best, trying not to let my mother’s steam to burst out. “How could you…” “I could!” “How dare you…” “I dare!” “You are…” “I am!” “If you lose this job, I won’t feed you!” “Just for the record, Mom! It was you, who made me quit my nice musical job in the circus and take this shitty job in the hospital, which I hate. So if this bitch will fire me and you won’t feed me, I’ll eat you both alive without salt and pepper!” I have to admit, I’ve never stunned my mother that much ever before.

Lordy, Lordy… You surely should know that even sticking a dick into a creature that you’ve made out of Adam’s spare rib, is a pretty dangerous business. You surely should know that pacifying that creature of yours, when she is furious, with just words is as good as stopping an earthquake with a broomstick. I am not complaining, though… But please, explain to me how should I deal with a woman, who was ruthless enough to catch my free spirit in the middle of its flight, confine it into human flesh, throw it out of her womb into the light of day, and keep calling him her child and putting a guilt trip on that poor confined spirit? I’ve been much happier when I was up in the skies as a celestial being, free and uninvolved… What terrible thing did I do to make you so angry that you sent me not even to hell but to Earth, and out of all places on that miserable planet to the creepiest and crappiest city of Ryazan?

Anyway, I hope I will gradually lay out my earthly life in my memoir books bit by bit. By the way, I still believe that I am living a life of a mysterious celestial entity, who is serving time on Earth. The reason that my belief is getting stronger upon the time, is because my entire life course is comprised of a long chain of strange coincidences. Too many events in my past have unexpectedly triggered unusual and strong repercussions after a long time, and in most cases those powerful rebounds have been pushing me to an entirely different orbit. I don’t see any reason for that scenario to repeat so many times, other than the supreme forces are reminding me of my celestial origin over and over again.

A couple of weeks passed since I played a toy field surgeon. I discharged the carbuncle patient from the hospital. His chronic bronchitis had subsided, not so much from my treatment as just because all this time he was not breathing flour dust in the grain elevator where he worked. “I know you’re a Jew” he told be when I handed him his discharge documents with the recommendation to avoid flour dust. “But you’re not one of them kikes who conspire against Russian people” He produced a little tape measure. “I need to measure your head, for the fur hat”. We finally shook hands and he headed to his home village called Pekhlets in Korablinski district, to raise his edible furry dogs.

I’ve never received the promised fur hat by mail and completely forgot about it. But strangely, one day I heard a desperate pounding on my door. My mother was in Moscow at the moment, visiting with her sister in law, my aunt Vera. I opened the door and saw a big and tall country girl with an enormous rustic suitcase and a sack. She called my name and said that she is a cousin of the man whose life I allegedly saved in the hospital. Of course, it was a carbuncle patient. She said that she had some business in Ryazan and asked me if she could stay at my place for a couple of days.

I silently opened the door and let her in. She used the restroom, then passed to the kitchen, untied her sack and put on the kitchen table a small basket with big and pretty village eggs laid in straw, a bunch of dried mushrooms strung on a thick thread, they smelled heavenly, a jar of dark amber honey and finally, a thick fur hat with huge ear flaps furnished with long leather laces. That furry thing was designed rather primitively but it was built like a Sherman tank. It stank like a pack of street dogs. When I wore it, the street dogs never ignored me. The bitches would run to me, yapping and wagging their raised tails while the males were trying to pee on my boots.

In those two days that the girl stayed with me, she cooked an enormous amount of food, ate a half of it herself, and tried to feed me the rest, but if I have eaten it all I would’ve died. She dusted, washed and cleaned everything that could be cleaned. I made her a bed on the couch, but she insisted on sleeping with me, and of course, she was not quite sleeping along. She was a simple country girl, tall, powerfully built and incredibly strong. She looked like a cow, she talked like a cow, smelled like a cow and even fucked like a cow, inevitably making me feel like a bull.

Would you marry me?” she finally asked. I knew it was coming… “You don’t get drunk every day, do you? So you’ll be a good husband to me. You won’t beat me too often, like those men in my village” “No, I won’t beat you at all” I replied “but my mother will surely beat the crap out of me if I get married again” “Why?” the girl asked “I won’t leach off of you or your mother! I am a working girl, look me! Look at my hands! I will get a job in a dairy shop and work Monday to Friday. I will be selling fur and honey on the city market on weekends. You’ll be helping me. Together we’ll make a lot of money, enough to bribe your superiors, so that they make you a gynecologist. I know, gynecologists make tons of money!” By the way, that street smart girl was damn right about it!

I really don’t want to rain on your parade” I replied. “But that’s not gonna happen because my mother wants me all for herself. At least as long as I live with her. And I don’t have any other place to live” “That is so selfish of her!” said the country girl and started crying. She even cried like a cow, blinking her long, curly eyelashes and breathing noisily like a cow chewing hay. Huge teardrops were rolling out of her beautiful languishing cow eyes. “I wanted to be a doctor’s wife so much!” she kept sobbing. “If you convince your mother, write me a letter, here’s my address”. I wish I had my own place to live and married that girl! She was a Godsend but I did not feel safe to bring such a powerful creature into my mother’s home. With my mother’s temper and that girl’s natural strength, I did not know what to expect from their living under the same roof.

It looks like I got carried away with my life story and somehow went ahead of myself. The country girl arrived much later, after I already quit my job in the hospital and started my new career of a scientist in the Research and Design Institute of Supply in Agriculture. As usual, that change in my life was caused by the next repercussion, which I already could feel in the air. You might not believe me but most of the time I could feel the celestial breath on my earthly life, and it always meant that the next move is coming. Strangely, I felt it right after I told my head of the department to go and fuck herself.

How can I describe this unearthly, supernatural feeling? I think, it’s quite similar to what you feel in the theater before the change of scenery. The act is finished, and the silent actors remind of a suspended animation. The curtain is on the pinnacle of its erection and ready to close. That moment, I can feel with my whole body the powerful theatrical grates that are about to move and the revolving stage that will start rotating in a second. The same way I feel those celestial mighty forces, beyond the control of my mind, that are ready to put the scenery in a completely new way, and throw me to the stages so that I started playing a new role with a bunch of new actors.

In fact, sometimes such a change may at first appear as a small thing, and that’s what happened. The repercussion caught up with me when I was going to our dacha, where we grew our fruit and vegetables, to get potatoes for the next week. I was riding in a streetcar to the bus stop near the Lenin square. Lenin here, Lenin there… Everything around was about Lenin, the crazy sociopath who triggered the bloody revolution and civil war, murdered the best part of Russian nation and whose body was preserved and kept in a glass box for everyone to observe. The whole country was polluted with his bloody name!

At the bus stop I was supposed to get on a bus number thirteen and keep riding to the last stop, which was the village of Sitniki. At that place the bus would let all passengers out and sit there for a while. When I would come back to the bus stop too early, I could see the bus approach and stop, and the driver come out of his cabin and disappear in the thin air. After half an hour the driver would suddenly materialize right at his seat and crank the engine. The bus was making a circle, would pick up the awaiting passengers, with myself among them, and drove back to Ryazan.

The shelter at the bus circle usually was bigger than at a regular bus stop. The bus shelter in the village of Sitniki was a big ugly metal shack, with ingenuous graffiti on its wall: “Masha K. 16 years old, cheap ho” and “Akhmet is a ghetto Jew full of shit”. The graffiti was scratched deeply in the metal and was there for ages. Each time I was getting off the bus in that place, I would see those graffiti, year by year. Masha K. probably have got married long time ago and had a bunch of kids. Not sure what happened to Akhmet, though. Maybe, he finally took a shit and converted to Christianity.

After looking at the graffiti I had to walk about two miles to our dacha, where I was killing potato bugs and other earth creatures that competed with me for my crops, open the cabin and climb down to the the cellar. In the cellar I would fill my backpack and another large bag, that I brought with me, with potatoes that we kept there, than climb back up, walk back to Sitniki to my graffiti and wait for the next bus to Ryazan. We stopped growing our own potatoes but kept storing it in the cellar. The reason for doing all that was simple: buying potato in bulk once in a season was much cheaper than buying it in the marketplace every week.

Now, let’s get back to my repercussion. Before I got to Sitniki and saw the graffiti, I met my old buddy, Volodia Ushakoff, who happened to take the same streetcar. He was a nice fellow, very Russian, with a husky body, thick beard and a sharp brain. He was also a incredibly technical chap. I’ve been playing keyboards in different rock bands all my life. He was a sound technician in one of those bands, that’s how I got to know him. We used to have gigs from time to time. One of those gigs was in a strange joint called Research and Design Institute of Supply in Agriculture. Volodia worked as an electrical engineer at that place, which was his day job. He was the one, who organized that gig for us.

After we played the gig and had a late dinner with the aborigines of that place, one of them, a local manager, made a mysterious face and said that he wanted to show us a very unusual installation. It turned out to be a so called psycho-relaxation room, which were quite fashionable at a time. The place was equipped with expensive armchairs, air freshener, light boxes, slide projectors and high quality sound system. They said that this room was operated by an engineer, while it was supposed to be run by a psychotherapist, who could relax the clients, putting them into a light trance. That gig and all the rest took place even before I started working in the nursing home, so I completely forgot about it.

And now Volodia Ushakoff reminded me about that event and said that a couple of months ago the engineer, who was running the psycho-relaxation room, tried to steal the spare sound system, was caught red handed and fired. The psycho-relaxation room has been abandoned since then and now the director of the institute is looking for a man who could possible run such an unusual joint. “I bet, you’ve been born for this job!” Volodia said. “Go and talk to our director, tell him you are a doctor and a musician, show him your credentials. He desperately needs that room operational, because that joint is a prominent part of a royal reception he gives to the bigwigs from our ministry, who come regularly. First he brings them to that room for a demo, then to the banquet room for a dinner, and then to sauna with beer, vodka and girls. It’s a very important fucking ritual, man! Our annual funds depend on it! Our big boss needs someone who knows how to be a part of a ritual. Capish?”.

Sure enough, I knew how to be a part of a ritual. In my psycho nursing home I became a ritual king, no shit!

The next day I took a day off at my hospital slave job and went to the Institute. I found the director’s reception room and told the secretary that I wanted to talk to the director about the psycho-relaxation room. She passed the news to her boss, and the director invited me to his office right away. I told him what I can do as a psychiatrist and how I could possibly run that room. He listened carefully and asked the secretary to make a phone call to the chief doctor of my hospital. The chief doctor picked up the phone and the director explained to him the purpose of his call. “Would you give me that young doctor, buddy? He wants to work for me and he sounds like he knows what he’s doing. He is a psychiatrist, so I really could use his expertise in our psycho-relaxation room.”

Sure, why not!” the chief doctor replied. “Let me talk to his head of department for a sec, to let her know that her doctor is going to resign and sort out the details”. My precious bitchy boss came in and started bad mouthing me left and right, telling about my lack of subordination and respect and that I am surely a piece of work and something else. “Galina Konstaninovna! Are you out of your mind?” the chief doctor gasped. “Cease and desist! For what I’ve heard, he is a damn good physician and he always wanted to do science. Maybe at this new place he will finally find what he wanted!” “Okay then. Done deal” said my new emperor. “He is starting working for me since next Monday”.

That accidental encounter with the sound technician buddy from my musical past completely changed my life trajectory. I entered that institute being a physician and left it in several years as a software engineer. It was quite a change. In that place I saw IBM mainframe computers for the first time in my life. I was so amazed with this beauty that I immediately started learning programming. Then I switched to PDP-11. First I started writing programs to calculate the results of the psychological tests, which were the part of my science projects. Then I started helping other programmers with their everyday routine work and pretty soon they accepted me as their colleague.

I was reading lots of books on psychology and computer programming, performing tests, writing programs and science reports. I was incredibly happy that I could do science and even get paid for it, until one day our director invited me to his office. Everything was like at the first time, when I was offered a job. In fact, that time it was a job offer again. Times has changed, our institute turned into a commercial enterprise and desperately needed more programmers for the upcoming projects. The director told me that he is transferring me to the IT department and doubling my salary. That’s how I became a software engineer and never worked as a physician even since…

During communist era industrial branch science, or should I better say, applied science was being made in a huge number of research and design institutes funded by the government. It was a very strange and interesting world with its unique culture and traditions. In my next book I will cover the part of my life story that is closely related to this world. The day when I was called for by my director and transferred to the software engineering department was the start of another celestial change in my life that threw me deep into the engineering world.

I got used to those big and frequent changes in my life so much that I considered them quite normal. However, when I had a chance to compare my life with other people’s lives I would have an interesting feeling that I’d had once when I was a medical student and we had our course of forensic medicine. We were shown a corpse of a newborn baby, killed by its mother right after birth. It was kept in a big glass jar, carefully preserved with formaldehyde solution. The baby was born the same year as most of the students in our group. Since then we grew up and went through puberty, our bodies have been changed so many times. And that little body was completely frozen in its little jar forever. It never experienced any change and time never touched it with its wing.

I’ve had that same old feeling each time I encountered people, who belonged to the past episodes of my life, from which I was blown far away by a mysterious whirlpool of life circumstances. Sometimes they would invite me to stop by, and I could see them still live at the same place and work the same job. They still had the same pictures on the wall, and the same clock would chime in the corner of their living room. I could recognize the same smell in their kitchen, the same pattern on their wall papers and the same rounds in their everyday talks.

I would come to their window and see the same dead fly in between the glass panes, the same rusty bicycle on the balcony and the same abandoned crow nest on a tree in front of the window… The same forces that kept my life airborne and volatile, were keeping their lives well preserved in their little glass jars, and I think those people didn’t even suspect there was such a power in the world that can fly you from one world to another like a dandelion fluff… They could never imagine a woman, who accidentally caught a free spirit, flying in between worlds, wrapped it in human flesh, gave it a birth and then desperately tried to keep it in the same little jar. My poor mother… Those plain earthly people were born to a simple world by simple women. Time and time again, world kept to seem amazingly clear, and plain, and natural to those unsophisticated people, bless their little hearts!

1 thought on “The Driving Force of Everlasting Madness”

  1. Ещё один текст в работе, теперь уже на нашей американо-английской мове. Это мои давние и не столь давние воспоминания облечённые в форму мемуаров. Размышлизмы как всегда прилагаются во множестве. По мере наличия времени и настроения буду развивать этот проект.

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