Men and women in black leotard
“So what? Will I clean the lavatory pan in the new shirt when I can wear it tomorrow? I merely do not believe in the future, I have only what I have today: a new shirt, newly-washed bowl, and insomnia which follows me as a shadow, that can always cover and stamp out my life. It is most fearful for me – to be awake at night, it is most cruel punishment, they will make injections at once. And if they will not change their mind in time, I will be brought to the house with white walls where they will also make injections. And my little shirt will be on the hanger not yet worn and it will not know my shoulders, my breast and how I am dying. Probably it is not the worst case if I clean the lavatory in the new skirt, probably it is not most thrilling…”
W. Somerset Maugham?
The art to make linkages between the words, to develop the idea which is still amorphous and slippery, to transform feelings in a combination of letters of the Alphabet and the art to live, breath, tell nice words to him, listen, clean the floor, cook flapjacks, seek the body language at little creaking skin, go down the steps with the collar of the coat turned up, through the crowd of spectators, not waiting for the pause in their movement… She had to choose always … But one could not exist without the other. Her harmonious slim arms still could not bear dust, her overstrained emotions could not languor in the breast, and thoughts boiled up in the head and spitted to paper in brilliant swing, in intertwined lines. She was able neither to leave nor stop anything …
“Lora, one nervous breakdown more, and I will have to fire you”, the producer dragged the cigarette and moved the ash-tray to her.
“Today, I heard the thoughts of a gentleman in the fifth line of chairs. He came for the fifth time, occupied the seat number five and warned me at once that he would commit the suicide if I will not fornicate with him. Do we have a theater or a bawdy house? Or an intense therapy unit?”
She smoked the second cigarette.
“Was it The Suicide?”
“The first-night show No. 5”.
“I cannot stop some spectators in the doorway; to my mind, they all speak with you, save mine. I prefer to speak aloud. You even fail to warn me, I do not manage to make a replacement; I rock them all, change the title of the show million times; as a box of tricks, I get tired. I am the chief of production, of the industry.
“And I am your production costs …”
“Can they do anything at all? I asked them.
Please don’t be kiddy.”
The man in black coat did not say hello and sat in at once.
“I hope you won’t smoke, I was sitting in the fifth line.”
“Usually, men of your company wear gray.” Theodor knocked the cigarette on the table and decided whether to smoke or not.”
“You grasp that you deal with fire. Pantomime is practically direct influence on the spectator’s sub-conscience. We cannot control each your step. Can you think independently?”
“Why did you disturb the actress; you could immediately visit me.”
“This girl was not planned by me. I simply visited the theater. She does impossible things; she did not repeat a gesture. It was so crying, sincere”.
“Can I help you?”
Theodor spit, lit the lighter and started to smoke.
“Do not tell her that I work for competent bodies”.
“And not to tell that I care for her from her babyhood? They brought her to me in the age of five”.
“However, you guess that the last show can be fatal for your team? Please don’t smoke, I dropped”.
Theodor made a pause and extinguished the cigarette with some regret.
“I cannot do anything for you, and your personal care for this trick only aggravates the situation. It is an honor,” - the man went out very fast, just as fast as he entered.
“He wanna say that he is honored”, Theodor cried out.
“Let Lora urgently come to me!» The theater was rocked by that phrase. “Well, it is not needed! It does not make sense …»
He entered her room in the hospital.
“How did you enter?”
“Who allowed them to apply insulin? Did they ask you?”
“I don’t remember: they said that injections do not help and that is effective treatment”.
“You understand that saliva will drop from your mouth soon. You must urgently stop it and take to your heels from there. If I could, I would take you away right now. The satiation has changed to some extent, I mean my personal circumstances”. “After coma, it is but hard, I remember nothing, nothing at all, nor where I stay; I had seen the nightwear sitting at the heat supply, and I was grasped by the decoration, it was very familiar. I hardly came to conscience”. “You see, you understood everything by yourself; you must refuse, as far as I know, they have always obeyed you. I will insist on it, I will do worst. Please engage in learning all the time, warm-up, then two or three scenes from the performance. Well, we were deprived of the premises. So we are officially unwrapped. You may congratulate me, Uncle Homeless”. “Congratulations, Theodor. It is not the first time.”
“Well, I would like to be born on the other planet, not Earth. There is too much pain, too much.”
The underfloor they found was a nil, not owned by anybody and very nasty. It was fool to privatize it, the theater was not merely closed, it was shut down. They polished, washed and painted it slowly, and said plausible lies to old grannies, cheated these old women.
“The training is scheduled for today. Lora needs training. Please sit comfortable, don’t laugh and do make Lora laugh, I will be the first. Little Lora arrived from the rehearsal, no food, no pause for lavatory, and we do not have a toilet here, dear men, I mean she will immediately go to lavatory, people who are not tough merely go to WCs. No,. Lora with the cigarette, alright, she sits and does what is proper to do; she is writing the novel, her babies are crying; they call their mother, but Lora is silent, smokes and thinks like that or so”.
All lay around, and Lora is silent.
“I will kill you, Theodor, why do you know?”
Lora had a habit to listen radiocasts, music, news; they broadcasted firefighter information.
“This is impossible!”
She rushed to the phone.
“Theodor, we are burnt.”
“I will drive right now”. The house was intact but the underfloor was neatly burnt.
“I waited you for years. That’s all, break, my guys, I am tired”.
“Yes, by the way, I will never see you again, perhaps. It is senseless. But nothing ends with the death of the body, I have another 40 scores before I reach the most negative point. Defeat. Pity. Shame. Body control. I learned it by heart. I passed the synapsis to Lora. Please believe in yourself.”
“There were funerals and funeral repast, everybody seemed to be ready for this event, they were quiet and self-contained. They ate and drank silently.
“Well, would she tell the truth or no? Lora! When the rehearsal?”
“I need a sleep, she has always told herself. “I must sleep, even in the daytime, when the ideas are leaping to my mind”, she reiterated. “Sleep, sleep and sleep. Other people sleep, they do not trouble. A lot of people sleep lifelong; I also want to sleep.” “Theodor, mon ami, I seem to be too early with your reassurance. Don’t you understand? I will not cope with it alone. You are the master of pantomime. But what for? For the revolution in conscience? For the Russian civil turmoil, damn it. Or for the flourishing Nation where the suicides blossom as well? Whom I will talk to long nights, lit the candle up to its end, and drink vodka?”
Olga Ye. Bichenkova – translated on August 13, 2014