“The dark blue southern sky, darkened by the dust, is cloudy, the hot sun looks out into the greenish sea, as though through a thin gray veil, it hardly reflects in the water… There is vanity and confusion in the port, people seem to be insignificant in this noise. depersonalized them. ” A string of stevedores, carrying thousands of poods of bread in order to earn a few pounds of bread for themselves, were ridiculous and pathetic. Noise suppressed, and dust – irritated nostrils. The gong strode to lunch.
The loaders sat around, spreading their simple food. Now Grishka Tchelkache appeared among them, an old etched wolf, well known to those present, an avid drunkard and a clever, brave thief. “He was barefoot, wearing old, wiped-off pants, without a hat,
With those addressing him, he spoke abruptly and sharply, probably was not in the spirit. Suddenly Chelkash was blocked by the path of the watchman. Tchelkache asked him about his friend Mishka, and he replied that Mishka “cast-iron bayonet” squeezed his leg, and he was taken to the hospital. The watchman drove Chelkash out of the gate, but the man was in a fine mood: “Ahead of him was smiling solid earnings, demanding a little work and a lot of dexterity.” He already dreamed of how he would make a fuss tomorrow morning when money appeared in his pocket. But one, without a partner, Chelkash can not cope, and Mishka broke his leg. Tchelkache looked around and saw a village guy with a pipe at his feet. “The guy was stocky, broad-shouldered, fair-haired, with a sunburnt and weather-beaten face and with large blue eyes that looked at Tchelkash trustfully and good-naturedly.”
The guy started talking with Chelkash, and immediately he liked. The guy inquired about the occupation of Chelkash: shoemaker or tailor? Tchelkache said that he was a fisherman. The guy started talking about freedom, and Tchelkache was surprised why the guy’s freedom? The peasant said that his father had died, the farm was exhausted. Of course, he can go to “prima” in a rich house, but this is the years of work for his father-in-law. If he had a hundred and fifty rubles, he would have risen to his feet and lived on his own. And now there is nothing to do, as soon as to go to the son-in-law. He went to mow on the Kuban, but did not earn anything, they paid a pittance.
Suddenly Chelkash invited the guy to work with him at night. On the peasant’s question, what should be done, Chelkash answered: row. Tchelkache, who before that despised the guy, suddenly hated him “for having such clean blue eyes, a healthy tanned face, short strong hands, for being invited to his son-in-law by a well-to-do man – for his entire life, past and future, and most of all for the fact that he, this child compared to him, Chelkash, dares to love freedom, which he does not know the price and which he does not need. It is always unpleasant to see that a person whom you think is worse and below yourself, likes or hates the same thing that you do, and thus becomes like you. ” The guy agreed, because he really came to look for work. They met. The guy was called Gavrila. They went to a tavern, located in a muddy and damp cellar.
Gavrila quickly got intoxicated and wanted to tell Chelkash something pleasant. Tchelkache looked at the guy and thought that he could turn his life, break it like a playing card, or help her to establish itself in a solid peasant framework. Finally, Tchelkache realized that he felt sorry for the small and he needed him. The drunk Gavrilo fell asleep in a tavern.
At night they prepared a boat for going to sea. The night is dark, the sky is full of clouds. And the sea is calm. Gavrilo rowed, Tchelkache ruled the wheel. Tchelkache asks Gavrilo whether he likes the sea, that’s a bit scary. But Tchelkache loves the sea. At sea, a wide, warm feeling rises in him-embracing his whole soul, it purifies her a little from everyday filth. He appreciates this and loves to see himself the best here, among the water and the air. Gavrila is wondering where the tackle is, and Tchelkache nods to the stern, and then gets angry that he has to lie to the guy; he advises Gavril to row – he was hired for this. They were heard and called, but Tchelkache threatened to break Gavril if he puked. Chase was not, and Chelkash calmed down. And Gavrila prays and asks him to let him go. From fright, he cries and squelches in the dark with his nose, but the boat swiftly moves forward.
Tchelkache takes the oars and a bag of Gavrila with a passport so that he does not run away, orders a small one to wait in the boat, and he suddenly disappears. Gavrilo found horror, even greater than under Chelkache, he thought he was going to die. Suddenly Chelkash appeared, giving the guy something cubic and heavy, oars, Gavrila’s bag, and he jumped into the boat himself. Gavrilo joyfully met Chelkash, asked if he was tired, not without reason, answered Chelkash. He is pleased with the prey, now you have to slip back unnoticed, and then get your money, Gavrila. The guy is rowing with all his strength, wanting to end this dangerous work rather quickly and run away from the terrible man while he is still there. Tchelkache warns that there is one dangerous place, it must pass unnoticed and noiseless, because if you notice, they can kill from the gun. Gavrilo was terrified, he was ready to shout all over his throat, but then fell off the bench. Tchelkache angrily whispered that the customs cruiser lights the harbor with a lantern, and if it illuminates them, they perished. It is necessary to row. Pink Tchelkache brought Gavril to his senses, reassured that they were catching the smugglers, but they were not noticed, they had drifted far away, the danger had passed. “The end is over…”
Chelkash sat down on the oars, and Gavrila – to the wheel. The tramp tried to encourage the guy with a good salary. He promised Gavrila a quarter, but to only get to the beach alive – there are no more desires.
Tchelkache is interested in Gavrila, what a joy in the village life. Here is his life, full of danger, and overnight he half a thousand “hapnul.” Gavrilu was struck by the amount called Chelkash. To calm the guy, Chelkash started talking about the village. He wanted to talk to Gavril, but he got carried away and began to tell that the peasant is his own master, if he has even a piece of land. Gavril even forgot who he is dealing with. He imagined that before him was a peasant. Gavril said that Tchelkache was right; Here he, Tchelkache, broke away from the earth and into what has turned! Chelkasha has touched this speech of the guy. He abruptly interrupted Gavril, saying that all this was not serious. He does not think as he says. Having become angry with the guy, Chel-kash planted him again on the oars, barely restraining himself so as not to throw the guy into the water. Sitting in the stern, Tchelkache remembered his parents, his wife Anfisa, a guards soldier. Waking up from the memories, he said that he would surrender the cargo and receive five hundred. They quickly approached the barge and even poked into its side, climbed onto the deck, and Gavrilo immediately snored, and Tchelkache, sitting next to him, tried on someone’s boot. Then he stretched out and fell asleep.
He woke up first. Tchelkache climbed up from the hold, but only came back in two hours. He was dressed in leather pants and a jacket. The suit is shabby, but strong and very much goes to Chelkash. The awakened Gavril was frightened at first, without recognizing the transformed Tchelkache. The guy with admiration looked at Chelkash, calling him a master, and he, laughing at Gavrila’s nightly fears, asked if he was ready to try fate again for two hundred rubles. Gavrila agrees. Tchelkache laughs at the guy who easily succumbed to temptation. They went down to the boat and sailed to the shore. Tchelkache realized that by night a “good storm” would take place. Gavrila eagerly asks Chelkash how much he received for the goods. Tchelkache removes a bundle of rainbow paper from his pocket. Gavrila, looking at them with greedy eyes, says that he does not believe in the possibility of obtaining such a sum.
“If only money!” – and he sighed in sorrow. And Tchelkache at that time carefree dreamed aloud, as they together gulp on the shore. Chelkash does not need such a breakdown of money, he gave several papers to Gavril. He hastily hid them in his bosom. The greed of Gavril was unpleasantly shocking to the tramp. And the guy started excitedly telling what he would do if he had such “money”. They reached the shore. Tchelkach had the appearance of a man who had conceived a very pleasant one. He smiled cunningly.
Tchelkasha surprised Gavril’s state, he even asked the guy: “What’s bothering you?” In response, Gavril laughed, but the laughter was like a sob. Tchelkache waved his hand and walked away. Gavrila caught up with him, grabbed his legs and yanked. Tchelkache fell on the sand, he wanted to strike Gavril, but stopped, listening to the bashful whisper of the guy: “Golubchik, give me this money! Give, for Christ’s sake! After all, in one night… You’ll waste them, and I would – to the ground Do me a good deed… You’re missing… there’s no way for you. “
Chelkash looked at the guy with disgust, then took out money from his pocket and hurled Gavril. “On, eat it!” Tchelkache felt like a hero. He was surprised that a person can torture himself for money. Gavrila, squealing in delight, collecting money, began to tell that he wanted to kill his partner. Tchelkache jumped up and shouted: “Give me money!” Then he knocked down Gavril and took money from him. Turning his back to the guy, Tchelkache went away. But not five paces away, as Gavril threw a large stone into it. Tchelkache turned his face to Gavril and fell face to the sand, clutching his head. Gavrila rushed away, but soon returned. The guy hampered Chelkash, trying to raise him, calling his brother. The woken Tchelkache drove Gavril away, but he did not go away, asked to forgive him, said that his devil begged, lifted Chelkash and led him, supporting him around the waist.
Chelkash asked if Gavril had taken the money, but he said he did not take it. Tchelkache took a pack out of his pocket, put one hundred in his pocket, and gave the rest to Gavrila.
Gavril refused, saying that he would take it only if Tchelkache forgave him. Chelkash reassured him:
“Take it, take it! Did not work for nothing! Take it, do not be afraid! Do not be ashamed that you almost killed a man!” Nobody will ask for people like me, but they’ll say how they recognize you.
Gavrila, seeing Tchelkache’s laugh, took the money.
The rain was pouring from the bucket. They said goodbye and went in different directions. Tchelkache bore his head like that, “as if he was afraid of losing her.” Gavrila watched him for a long time, until he disappeared behind the shroud of rain. Then Gavrila sighed, crossed himself, hid the money, and walked in the opposite direction from Chelkash in broad, firm steps.
Soon, the rain and splashes of the waves washed away the red spot on the place where Tchelkache was lying, washed away the traces of Chelkash and the tracks of the young guy on the coastal sand… And on the deserted beach of the sea there was nothing left in the memory of the little drama that broke out between the two people. “