In the morning the electricity was cut off before I reached the Editorial House. I spent one freezing, no-work, hour walking to-and-fro in the dark corridor.
Four more apparition-like figures appeared there and faded into the wood. Then an old Russian woman in red dropped in the corridor with her Armenian escort lad. They had a round of friendly hand shaking with half-a-dozen of the paper's employees that emerged from their respective doors. The escort lad even kissed one of our men before the visitors took off.
She was one of them those self-appointed monitors, I guess, that now and then fly in down here to stay for a day so as to amass the political capital for promoting their careers in the Empire's Capital. You're so brave Ms. Red Watcher!
At eleven am the electricity came on, but I was already home busy at mending the playing-up zipper on my boot.
After lunch, Sahtik and Roozahna and the mother-in-law stayed home to bake the New Year pastry and stuff. I was charged with guarding Ahshaut at his daytime nap in the Underground. Two hours later Sahtik and Roozahna released me.
From five till six pm, I barbecued in the yard. Two hours later, we got seated around the New Year table in the Underground. There were our family and the three women with their children sheltering in the same compartment.
All went along so nicely. I dished out flowery toasts then sniffed at my wineglass and put it down untouched. How long can you hold out as a total abstainer, I wonder?
It's nine in the evening. All this last day and night of the departing year was filled with missile and artillery bombardment except for an incomprehensible pause between 9 am and 4 pm.
Good-bye, Old Year.
My most sober wishes of good luck to all in the upcoming one.