автограф
     пускай с моею мордою
   печатных книжек нет,
  вот эта подпись гордая
есть мой автопортрет

Stepanakert
                   Saga

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рукописи не горят!.. ...в интернете ...   

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    days:

December 4, morning

The night was serene, even the machine-guns up in the Krkjan part of the town kept pregnant silence.

The day before I dropped into Department Store to pick some present for Roozahna's 10th birthday.

Just two customers in the whole murky void of Department Store—a Daddy brought his Sonny to the toy-department trying to distract his kid from the present snafu mess of things.

The saleswoman sullenly lined on the counter a dozen of plastic playthings she randomly picked from the sets of the duplicates year after year unchangingly filling shelves at any Department Store in any Soviet city.

'Anything else, jahnaJAHNA —
     Armenian term of endearment meaning something like "sweet baby"
?' asked Daddy.

There was no answer just a listless gaze of the boy at that generous useless deathbed sweepstake.

<!--Rubbing shoulders with the Grim Reaper turns you into a spendthrift of a customer.-->

Even in Maxim, the Chief Editor of the one and only local newspaper, there cropped up some streaks of extravagance.

'To stick it out down here, to see it through thick and thin is the uniquest opportunity for a journalist,' proclaimed he stately promenading to and fro in front of his subordinate gents—Wagrum and Lenic—sitting at attention at their office desks with eager beavers' looks.

And—to add an authoritative ring to the delivered piece of wisdom—he jingled the regal bunch of keys dangling from his fatty hands clasped, invariably, over his mighty butt.

My backache sticks around yet, and the shortness of Lydia's sofa makes me feel it even in sleep.

Yesterday I frisked her bookshelves and wow! what a catch!—THE BHAGAVAT-GITA (in Russian)—so right now I'm looking forward to a yummy evening pouring over it on that a good deal too short sofa of hers.

The same day, evening.

It's hard to say whether it is snowy rain or rainy snow outdoors. Our kitchen tap yields just a needle-thick trickle yet yields.

In the morning I had one more job interview with Arcadic, Head of Russian Section (getting bold), of the one and only paper in the town.

Avoiding eye-contact he trotted out that the periodical was in need of my professional skills and in a week I'd embrace a renderer position after they see to unavoidable managerial chicanery and all the necessary staff-reshuffle to carve out a vacancy at their institution.
No way to accelerate the process, you know.

From my present standpoint (which always is here and now) it looks like a pretty far off pie in the sky, but when jobless practice your patience, buddy.

In the afternoon Sahtik sent me to fetch a jar of milk from Milk Factory. On coming there I could find neither Valyo, nor any guy I knew.

To skip taking the empty jar back and then coming with it again for a better arranged filling I just stashed it away, together with the bag, in a quite quiet nook.

I hung the bag up on the other side of the door eternally ajar to the dark corridor on the second floor of the Administration Block.

Not a chance of anyone ever nosing it out. Eternity handlers are too rare a specimen in this here cut-and-run world. Undisturbed and unseen will the bagged jar hang on behind that unvexed door handle till my next visitation.

Later in the day Nerses, Lydia's husband, having arrived from his native village of Hnushinak, tap-tapped from the sidewalk on the matte-glassed window pane in our one-but-spacey-room flat. (With that window open you can talk through the grates or pass things to a person standing in front of it. The other two windows in the room are just nailed up).

He wanted the key from their house.

'Oh, sure, here you are!'

His coming back to town ended my being a security at their place.

Fare thee well, the BHAGAVAT-GITA, and thee as well, O, Procrustus' sofa!

My faithful backache lingers around, however, this evening no need to put its loyalty to try; I am in the luck for the kitchen tap has trickled about two pails of water in before stopping completely.

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