To go for help to his brother Kuzma decided at night, although at heart he doubted that his brother would help – they had long been strangers. Shaking in the cold bus, he remembers how it all began.
Five days ago, a “peasant of forty” appeared in their village to conduct an audit in a store, whose only saleswoman was Maria, Kuzma’s wife. The audit was not a whole year. During this time, there was a shortage of a thousand rubles. Mary was threatened with prison. After regretting the four children, the auditor promised to hush up the matter, if the shortage is made, while he checks other stores. For five days, Mary had to find money, which neither she nor her husband had ever held in their hands.
The next day the whole village knew about the misfortune of Mary. The chairman promised to allocate a loan, but not now, but at the end of the reporting year. This promise was a bit of a support for Kuzma, but Maria could not get away from the shock. Having
slightly calmed his wife, Kuzma began to estimate: they did not have any money, they also have nothing to sell, so they will have to borrow. He immediately thought of a prosperous brother, and a few days later took a train ticket. There was no reserved seat, I had to take a soft car.
While waiting for the train, Kuzma remembers walking around the village, humiliated and begging for money. First of all, he went to the most prosperous villager, the director of the school Evgeny Nikolaevich. The management has its own director, there is not much to spend, that’s what they put together with their wives on a savings account. Learning that the first came to him, Yevgeny Petrovich promised to lend him several times, stressing that “we should help each other” and “everyone can happen” – they may not give up.
The wind blows along the platform, and Kuzma “can not get rid of the feeling that one is connected with one another, and the wind is blowing in vain.” On the train he joins the passengers of the soft coupe. One of them, the director of the radio station Gennady
Ivanovich, refers to the “collective farmers” with contempt and even with envy: rural residents have too many privileges and privileges in comparison with urban ones. Kuzma does not like this conversation, but he suffers until another fellow traveler, the colonel, turns the conversation over to preference. For this game, four players are needed, but Kuzma can not play preference, and he is asked to swap places with the passenger from the compartment car. He agrees – Kuzma does not care, just to go.
This store “was like a damn”, recalls Kuzma, so many people because of him suffered. Nearly every seller had a shortage. After the last saleswoman was planted, the store did not work for three months. Finally, Nadya Vorontsova, pregnant with a third, agreed to take the store after herself. To replace her at this time offered Mary. At that time, Kuzma’s family was living very hard. His last child was born weak, his wife was ill, “and doctors did not tell her to do hard work.” Therefore, Maria went to the saleswoman, and so she stayed to work. She was doing well in business, but a good woman let her goods go in debt and did not go for the goods herself-she sent others. Because of this, and suffered. At first she believed that Kuzma would save her, but, after listening to the lamentations of her neighbors, she stopped believing.
In the compartment where Kuzma moved, an elderly couple and a heavily drunk guy are driving. Old men who survived the war, treat each other with incredible tenderness. Kuzma falls asleep, and he dreams that he is collecting money for Maria. This dream, he sees not the first time. Having woken up, Kuzma can not fall asleep and again starts up in memoirs.
Yevgeny Nikolayevich was generous with a hundred rubles. In the evening Kuzma went to his best friend Vasily, but he offered no money, although he knew about Kuzma’s misfortune. Then he remembered his brother. Three years ago, Maria went to the city to be treated, stopped to stay with Alexei and decided that “it’s better to live with strangers.” I went to town and my fellow villager Kuzma, went to see my brother, but he did not even invite him to the table. Remembering this, Kuzma, however, believed that his brother would help him out. Maria believed that Alexei would not give money, and Kuzma also began to doubt.
To money, Kuzma was simple: “there is – well, no – and not necessary.” His family did not starve, but money was constantly lacking, they were “patches that are put on the hole.” Kuzma did not understand how money could be collected. And suddenly “money chose him.”
When it was dark, Vasily came. Together the friends went to Stepanida, a stingy woman, who was selling vodka. Everyone knew that the kibyshka was full, and Kuzma and Vasily decided to podoit her, so that she would become more kind. Their plan failed – drunk, Stepanida did not cease to be stingy.
Kuzma’s fiancée, who recently divorced his wife, treats women cynically, he is sure that the old man, at least once, has betrayed his wife. He asks if Kuzma was cheating on his wife. He confesses – was once when he met his first. Maria recognized, wanted to leave, but Kuzma persuaded to return and since then has not changed. Old people Kuzma believes, they have such odnolyuby in the village. And the train is getting closer and closer to the city.
On the morning of the second day, the slobbery grandfather Gordey brought fifteen rubles, which he asked his son. Then Vasily took Kuzma to his seriously ill mother. She gave the money collected “to death,” but asked to return quickly – death, she does not wait. Maria no longer cried, walked around the house, as if lifeless. Even the children, looking at their mother, quieted down. Sitting at home was unbearable, and Kuzma wandered into the office to the chairman. He remembered 1947, when the chairman was put in the most painful place. There was no gasoline then, and the bread crumbled, he bought the stolen fuel from the barge. They released him in 1954, after an amnesty. The people wanted to be re-appointed as chairman, but it happened only five years ago.
Velev wait, the chairman gathered the collective farm specialists and invited them to give up the monthly salary in favor of Kuzma. They agreed – no one wanted to be seen as stingy. “And the second day came to an end.”
On the train in the middle of the night Kuzma wakes up a guy. Causing him to smoke, a guy complains about life and envies the old man – that would be all women were like his grandmother. The wife left the guy, taking her daughter with him, and now the guy thinks – she will return to him or not. When Kuzma says that a woman can find another, the guy gets angry.
The third day arrived. Kuzma received money in the office, after which specialists and their wives began to approach him, complaining that they had nothing to live on. Kuzma unquestioningly gave them money. Towards evening Grandfather Gordei sang around, and said that Kuzma did not need any money, he only needed to make Mary pregnant – then she would not be imprisoned. By this time, only half of the amount needed was collected, and Kuzma began to think that his grandfather was right. Thus ended the third day, and in the morning Kuzma went to his brother.
Kuzma leaves the train and sees that the wind has died down. The big, shaggy flakes are falling snow. Kuzma seems that this is for good. He leaves the bus, finds his brother’s house and knocks. “Here he comes – pray, Maria! Now he will be opened.”