While all the people were jumping from one service to another, Bartholomew Korotkov, a gentle, quiet blond was firmly serving in Glavtsentrbaspispate (abbreviated to Spimat) as a clerk and served in it for 11 months.
On September 20, 1921, the cashier of Spimat covered himself with his nasty long-eared hat, grabbed his briefcase and left. He returned completely wet, put his hat on the table, and on the hat – a briefcase. Then he left the room and returned a quarter of an hour later with a large chicken. He put the chicken on his briefcase, his right hand on the chicken, and said: “There will not be any money, and do not come on, gentlemen, otherwise you’ll upset me, comrades.” Then he covered himself with a hat, waved his hen and disappeared into the doorway.
At home, he laid out the matches on the table: “We will try to sell them,” he said with a foolish smile and knocked at his neighbor, Alexandra Fyodorovna, who was serving in Gubvinsklad. The neighbor was squatting in front of the bottle of church wine, her face was weeping. “And we – matches,” – said Korotkov. “Why, they do not burn!” exclaimed Alexandra Fyodorovna. “How is it that they do not burn?” Korotkov was frightened and rushed to his room.
The first match immediately went out, the second shot with sparks in the left eye com. Korotkova, and I had to tie my eyes. Korotkov suddenly looked like a wounded man in a battle.
All night Korotkov scribbled matches and cleaned out so three boxes. His room was filled with a suffocating sulfur smell. At dawn Korotkov fell asleep and saw a living billiard ball on his legs in a dream. Korotkov screamed and woke up, and for another five seconds he imagined a ball.
In the morning Korotkov so in a bandage and came to the service. On his desk he found a paper in which they asked for uniforms for the typists. Taking the paper, Korotkov went to the head of the base, Comrade Tchekushin, but at his very door collided with an unknown man who had struck him with his air.
The unknown was so short that he reached Korotkov only to the waist. The lack of growth was extinguished by the extreme width of the shoulders. The square body was sitting on crooked legs, and the left one was lame. The head of the unknown represented a gigantic model of an egg, planted on its neck horizontally and with a sharp end forward. And like an egg she was bald and shiny. The tiny face of the unknown was shaved to the blue, and the green ones, small as pinheads, were sitting in deep depressions. The body of the unknown was clothed in a French jacket, sewn from a gray blanket, from under which a Little Russian embroidered shirt was peering out, legs in pants made of the same material and low hussar boots of the times of Alexander I.
“What do you need?” asked the voice unknown to me, the copper basin, and Korotkov thought that his words smelled of matches. “You see, without a report do not enter!” – Deafened bald casserole sounds. “I’m going with a report,” Korotkov said, pointing to his paper. The bald man suddenly became angry: “Do not you understand? And why do you have your eyes broken at every step? Well, nothing, we’ll put everything in order!” He wrenched the paper from Korotkov’s hand and wrote a few words on it, after which the cabinet door swallowed the unknown. Chekushin was not in the office! Lidochka, the personal secretary of Chekushin (also with a blindfold, who suffered from matches) told that Chekushina was expelled yesterday, and the bald one is now in his place.
Coming to his room, Korotkov read the writing of a bald man: “All typists and women in general will be given in time the soldiers’ pants.” Korotkov composed a telephone message in three minutes, handed it over to the manager for signature and four hours after that he sat in the room, so that the manager, if he thought of going suddenly, found him immersed in the work.
No one came. At half-past four, the bald man left, and the office immediately ran away. Later, all alone, Comrade Korotkov left home.
The next morning Korotkov gladly dropped his bandage and immediately grew prettier and changed. He was late for the service, and when he still ran into the office, the entire office was not sitting at the kitchen table of the former restaurant Alpine Rose, but stood by a pile by the wall where the paper was nailed. The crowd parted, and Korotkov read “Order No. 1” about the immediate dismissal of Korotkov for negligence and for the pitted face. Under the order there was a signature: “The head of the calculator”.
– How? His name is Kalsoner? Korotkov whispered. – And I read instead of “Kalsoner” “Pants.” He writes a surname from a small letter! And about the face he has no right! I will explain myself!!! – he sang high and thin, and rushed straight to the terrible door.
As soon as Korotkov ran to the office, his door flew open, and Kalsoner, carrying a briefcase under his arm, rushed along the corridor. Korotkov rushed after him. “You see, I’m busy!” – called the furious aspiring Kalsoner, – “Turn to the clerk!” “I’m a clerk!” Korotkov screamed in horror. But Kalsoner had already slipped away, jumped into the motorcycle and disappeared into the smoke. “Where did he go?” Korotkov asked in a shaky voice. “I seem to be in Tsentrsn…” Korotkov ran down the stairs with a whirlwind, jumped out into the street, jumped into the tram and ran after him. Hope burned his heart.
In Tsentrsnab, he immediately saw the square back of Kalsoner flashing ahead on the stairs and hurried after her. But on the 5 th site, the back dissolved in the thick of people. Korotkov took off to the platform and entered the door with two gold inscriptions along the green “Dorthwur Pepinierok” and in black and white “Nachkantsupravdasnab”. In the room, Korotkov saw glass cells and blond women running between them under the unbearable crackling of cars. There was no calculator. Korotkov stopped the first woman. “He’s leaving now, catch up with him,” the woman answered, waving her hand.
Korotkov ran where the woman pointed, found himself on a darkish platform and saw the open mouth of the elevator, which took a square back. “Comrade Kalsoner!” shouted Korotkov, and the back turned. Korotkov recognized everything: a gray jacket, and a briefcase. But it was Kalsoner, with a long Assyrian-corrugated beard, which fell on his chest. “It’s too late, comrade, on Friday,” Kalsoner shouted tenorovo, lowered by the elevator. “The voice is also tethered,” – knocked in the skull skull.
A second later, Korotkov, with a curse, rushed down the stairs, where he again saw Kalsonera, the blue of shave and terrible. He passed very close, separated only by a glass wall. Korotkov rushed to the nearest door handle and unsuccessfully began to tear it, and only then, in desperation, he saw the tiny inscription: “All around, through the 6th entrance.” “Where is the sixth?” Korotkov cried weakly. In response, a lustrian old man came out of the side door with a huge list in his hands.
– Everybody go? the old man hissed. “Drop it, I’ve already crossed you off, Vassily Petrovich,” and he laughed voluptuously.
“I’m Bartholomew Petrovich,” said Korotkov.
“Do not confuse me,” said the terrible old man. – Kolobkov VP and Kalsoner. Both are translated. And in the place of Kalsoner – Chekushin. Only a day managed to correct, and knocked out…
“I’m saved!” “Korotkov exclaimed exultantly and reached into his pocket for the little book so that the old man could make a note of the restoration in his service, and then turned pale, slapped himself in his pockets and with a thunderous howl rushed back up the stairs-there was no wallet with all the documents! Running up the stairs, he rushed back, but the old man had already disappeared, all the doors were locked, and in the half-darkness of the corridor there was a smell of slightly gray. “Tram!” cried Korotkov. He jumped out into the street and ran into a small building of unpleasant architecture, where he began to prove to the gray man, oblique and gloomy that he was not Kolobkov, but Korotkov, and that his documents were stolen. Gray demanded a certificate from the brownie, and before Korotkov a painful dilemma opened: in the Spimat or in the house? And when he had already decided to flee to Spimat, the clock struck four, twilight came, and people ran from all the doors with their briefcases. “It’s too late,” Korotkov thought, “home.”
A note sticked out in the ear of the castle-a neighbor left Korotkov all his wine pay. Korotkov dragged all the bottles to him, collapsed onto the bed, jumped up, dropped the boxes of matches to the floor, and began to press his legs furiously, vaguely dreaming that he pressed Kolsoner’s head. He stopped: “Well, is not he really double?” Fear crept through the black windows into the room, Korotkov quietly wept. After wept, ate, then cried again. I drank half a glass of wine and suffered for a long time with pain in my temples, until a troubled dream took pity on him.
The next morning for Korotkov ran to the house. Brownie, as luck would have it, died, and no testimony was issued. Frustrated Korotkov rushed to the Spimat, where, perhaps, returned to Chekushin.
In Spimat, Korotkov went straight to the office, but stopped on the threshold and opened his mouth: there was not a single familiar face in the hall of the former Alpine Rose restaurant. Korotkov went into his room, and the light faded in his eyes-Kalsoner sat at the short-table table and a corrugated beard covered his chest: “I’m sorry, the local clerk is me,” he answered in astonished falsetto. Korotkov hesitated and went out into the corridor. And immediately the shaving face of Kalsoner overshadowed the world: “Okay,” cried the pelvis, and Korotkoff brought in a spasm. “You are my assistant.” Kalsoner is a clerk. “I’ll run to the department, and you write with Kalsoner the attitude about all the former ones, and especially about this scoundrel Korotkov. “
Kalsoner dragged Korotkov into the cabinet, breathing heavily, struck it on the paper, slammed the seal, grabbed the receiver, yelled at her “I’ll come this minute” and disappeared in the doorway. And Korotkov read with horror on a piece of paper: “The presenter of this is my assistant, comrade VP Kolobkov…” At that moment the door opened and Kalsoner returned in his beard: “Kalsoner has already escaped?” Korotkov howled and jumped to Kalsoner, bared his teeth. Kalsoner fell to the corridor with horror and ran. Recovered, Korotkov rushed after him. From the screams of Kalsoner, the chancery became confused, and Kalsoner himself disappeared behind the former restaurant organization. Korotkov rushed after him, but clung to the huge organ hand – there was a sound of grumbling, and now all the halls were filled with a lion’s roar: “The Moscow fire was beating and thundering…” Through the howl and thunder the signal of the car broke, and Kalsoner, shaven and formidable, entered the vestibule. In an ominous bluish glow, he began to climb the stairs. His hair moved on Korotkov, through the side doors he ran out into the street and saw the bearded Kalsoner, who jumped into the cab.
Korotkov cried painfully: “I will clarify it!” – and rushed to the green building on the tram, at the blue kettle in the window asked where the claims office was, and immediately got confused in the corridors and rooms. Relying on memory, Korotkov rose to the eighth floor, opened the door and entered a vast and completely empty hall with columns. A massive figure of a man in white came down heavily from the stage, Korotkoff asked and asked affectionately whether he would be pleased with his new feuilleton or essay. Confused Korotkov began to tell his bitter story, but then the man began to complain about “this Kalsoner”, who for two days stay here had transferred all the furniture to the claims office.
Korotkov screamed and flew to the claims office. For about five minutes he ran, following the bends of the corridor, and he was at the place where he had run out. “Ah, hell!” – gasped Korotkov and ran the other way – five minutes later was there again. Korotkov ran into the empty columned hall and saw a man in white – he stood without an ear and nose, and his left hand was broken off. Sitting and cold, Korotkov again ran out into the corridor. Suddenly a secret door opened in front of him, from which came a wrinkled woman with empty buckets on the beam. Korotkov rushed to that door, found himself in a dimly-lit space without an exit, began to scratch himself frenziedly into the walls, leaned against some white spot that had let him out onto the stairs. Korotkov ran downstairs, from where footsteps could be heard. Another moment – and it seemed a gray blanket and a long beard. At the same time their eyes crossed, and both howled in thin voices of fear and pain. Korotkov retreated, Kalsoner backed down: “Save!” he yelled, changing his thin voice to the copper bass. Stumbling, he fell with a thunder, turned into a black cat with phosphorous eyes, flew out into the street and disappeared. An unusual clarification suddenly occurred in the short-brain: “Aha, I understand.” Cats! ” He began to laugh all louder and louder until the whole staircase was filled with rumbling.
In the evening, sitting at home on the bed, Korotkov drank three bottles of wine to forget everything and calm down. His head was now sick all over and twice. Korotkoff vomited into the basin. Korotkov firmly resolved to straighten out his documents and never again appear in Spimata, and not to meet with the terrible Kalsoner. In the distance, the clock began to beat dully. Counting forty blows, Korotkov laughed bitterly, began to cry. Then he again vomited and heavily vomited church wine.
The next day Comrade. Korotkov again climbed to the eighth floor, he found the bureau of claims. Seven women were sitting at the office. The extreme brunette sharply interrupted Korotkoff’s mouth that opened it, pulled him into the corridor, where she resolutely expressed her intention to surrender to Korotkov. “I do not need it,” Korotkov answered hoarsely. “The documents were stolen from me…” The brunette rushed to Korotkova with a kiss, and then suddenly a lustrian old man appeared.
“Everywhere you are, Mr. Kolobkov.” But I can not get a business trip-they gave me the old man. And you will be lodged with you. The Grubber, do you get to the subdivisions? From the hands of the old man lift want to tear? he cried suddenly. The hysterical mastery of Korotkov, but then: “Next!” the office door croaked. Korotkov rushed into it, passed the typewriter and found himself before an elegant blonde who nodded to Korotkov: “Poltava or Irkutsk?” Then he opened the drawer, and out of the box, bent like a snake, got out the secretary, took out a feather from his pocket and stiffened it. Brunetkina’s head emerged from the door and shouted excitedly:
– I have already sent his documents to Poltava. And I’m going with him. I have an aunt in Poltava.
– I do not want! cried Korotkov, wandering his gaze.
– Poltava or Irkutsk? – Out of himself, the blond man roared. “Do not take the time!” Do not walk along the corridors! Do not smoke! The exchange of money does not make it difficult!
– Handshakes are canceled! the secretary croaked.
– It is written in the commandment of the thirteenth: do not enter without a report to your neighbor, – lashed the lustrine and flew through the air.
The dusk came around the room, the blond began to grow in a muddy mood. He waved a huge hand, the wall broke up, the machines on the tables played foxtrot, and thirty women went around them parade-alley. Of the cars, white trousers with purple stripes came out: “The bearer of this is really a bearer, not some kind of shantrap.” Korotkov whimpered thinly and began to beat his head against the corner of the blond table. “Now one salvation – to Dyrkin in the fifth department,” whispered the old man anxiously. “Go! Go!” The smell of ether, hands unclearly carried Korotkov into the corridor. It was drawn by the dampness from the net, which goes into the abyss…
The cockpit and the two Korotkovs fell down. The first Korotkov came out, the second remained in the mirror of the cabin. The fat man in the barrel said to Korotkov: “I’m arresting you.” “I can not be arrested,” laughed Korotkov with satanic laughter, “because I’m not certain who, maybe I’m Hohenzollern.” Did not the Calzoner come across? Answer me, fatman! ” The fat man trembled in horror: “Now to Dyrkin, not otherwise, only it is formidable!” And they ascended in the elevator to Dyrkin.
When Korotkov entered the comfortably furnished office, a small plump Dyrkin jumped up from the table and barked: “M-be silent!”, Although Korotkov did not say anything. At the same moment a pale young man with a briefcase appeared in the office. Dyrkin’s face was covered with smiling wrinkles, he cried cheerfully and sweetly. However, the young man sounded Dirkinu in a metallic voice, waved his briefcase, cracked Dyrkin’s ear, and, shaking Korotkov with a red fist, went out. “Here,” said the kind and humiliated Dyrkin, “a reward for diligence.” Well… Beit Dyrkin, it hurts, so take the candelabra. ” Understanding nothing Korotkov took the candelabra and with a crunch hit Dyrkin on the head. Dyrkin, shouting “guard”, escaped through the inner door. “Ku Klux Klan!” Cried the cuckoo from the clock, and turned into a bald head. “Let’s write down,
They ran down a huge staircase: a fat man’s hat, a white cock, a candelabrum, Korotkov, a boy with a revolver in his hand, and some other dirty people. On the street Korotkov, ahead of the cylinder and candelabrum, jumped out first and rushed along the street. Passers-by hid from him in the doorways, whistled somewhere, someone hooted, shouted “Hold.” Shots flew behind Korotkov, and snarling Korotkov aspired to eleven-storied giant, going sideways to the street.
Korotkov ran into the mirror lobby, plunged into the elevator box, sat on the sofa across from the other Korotkov and drove to the top. Shots rang out immediately below.
Above, Korotkov jumped out, listened. From below came an increasing rumble, from the side – the clatter of balls in the billiard room. Korotkov ran to the billiard room with a battle cry. A shot shot from below. Korotkov locked the glass doors of the billiard room and armed himself with balls, and when the first head near the elevator began to fire. In reply, a machine-gun howled. The glass rattled.
Korotkov realized that he could not hold the position, and ran out onto the roof. “Surrender!” – vaguely came to him. Picking up the rolled balls, Korotkov jumped to the parapet, looked down. His heart froze. He saw bug-people, gray figures, dancing to the entrance, and behind them a heavy toy, studded with golden heads. “Surrounded!” Korotkov gasped, “Firefighters.”
Leaning over the parapet, he let in three balloons (the bugs began to run anxiously) and three more. When Korotkov bent down to pick up more shells, people poured from the break of the billiard room. On top of them flew a lustrian old man, followed by a menacing roll out on the rollers terrible Kalsoner with a musketon in his hands. “It’s over!” cried Korotkov weakly. The courage of death poured into his soul. He climbed the parapet and shouted: “Better death than shame!”
The pursuers were two steps away. Already Korotkov saw the outstretched hands, the flames burst from Kalsoner’s mouth. The solar abyss beckoned to Korotkov, with a piercing victorious click, he jumped up and flew up to the narrow creek of the alley. Then the bloody sun burst with a ringing in his head, and he saw nothing more.