Loveless

A Drama in Three Acts by Natalya Churlyaeva
Translated from Russian by Jane H. Buckingham

Natalya Churlyaeva olomenskaya !"#$" rasnoyarsk% Russia churyahin&rambler.ru

'oveless by Natalya Churlyaeva

CHARACTERS
N( )'A(* the o+ner of the a,artment. (R(NA* N( )'A(-. +ife. ANT)N* their son. R(TA* their daughter. /0RA* an old friend of N( )'A(. 1A'(A* /0RA2. +ife. 1AD( * an old friend of (R(NA. (.(.* (gor (osifovich% 1AD( 2. ,artner. A3A* a friend of (R(NA. !st% "nd B)D/40ARD.* bodyguards of (.(.

'oveless by Natalya Churlyaeva

SETTING
The action takes ,lace in a large room of an a,artment. )n stage% there are t+o doors on the left 5 one goes into the hostess-s room% the other goes to the kitchen. There are also t+o doors on the right 5 one goes into host-s room% the other goes to the foyer. A large +indo+ looks out of the center of the stage.

TIME
The ,resent.

SYNOPSIS
A ty,ical family drama of our time. 6oney% money% money...com,letely fogs the mind of the hostess and leads her to the brink% carrying along +hat is incorrectly referred to as a family% as it is no longer a family e7ce,t in a,,earance.

'oveless by Natalya Churlyaeva

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Act One
As the curtain rises, IRINA appears, clumsily dances around the boxes and things scattered haphazardly. Hurray9 Hurray9 Hurray9 :inally9 (Enters carrying a box.) ;hat finally< (R(NA No+ indeed everyone +ill envy me... ;ho-ll envy you< =veryone9 Absolutely everyone9 ;ho-s everyone< N( )'A( N( )'A( (R(NA (R(NA N( )'A(

(R(NA 6y friends% your friends... ;hat do you say about that< No+ they-ll sim,ly die +ith envy9 Think* +ho among them can brag about such an a,artment< Neither they nor their children can even dream of it9 ;hy< N( )'A( (R(NA Because... (Gestures.) Take a look around% +hat a ceiling... Brick +alls... And the kitchen< (t isn-t your standard filthy urban slum. N( )'A( .to, talking nonsense. 6y friends have normal homes. (R(NA Ho8ho8ho8ho9 ( aughs and mimics.) Don-t make ,eo,le laugh. (t-s that /ura% ,erha,s% in ,ublic housing% so normal< Remember% res,ectable ,eo,le don-t live in ,ublic housing. No ,restige.

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.hut your tra,. He-s a decent guy. Right% decent.

N( )'A( (R(NA

N( )'A( But didn-t you s,ent half your life in a shanty filled +ith garbage< (R(NA ;ell% let me tell you% no+ no one +ill remember the garbage... (n fact% kno+ +hat< (t-d nice to be done +ith old ac>uaintances as +ith schools. Their dirty mugs are >uite out of ,lace here. N( )'A( (!laces the box on the "loor, "inds a mirror "rom among the pile o" things, and hangs it up on the #all.) Come here. (R(NA ;hy< ;ho +as ( talking to< N( )'A(

(IRINA #al$s o%er to NI&' AI, play"ully s#inging her hips. (e grabs her roughly and turns her to "ace the mirror.) 'ook at your o+n mug% beauty9 N( )'A( (R(NA ()rea$s a#ay, o""ended.) ;hy are you like this< no+ +hat% enough9 'eave these idiotic ?okes of yours. ;e-re starting a ne+ life here no+9 ;hy are you making a face< ( tell you% a ne+ life% understand< Ne+ neighbors% ne+ friends. No+ +e-re having a house+arming and that-s all. ;hat% that-s all< N( )'A(

(R(NA That-s all9 :inish +ith the old% forget the old. :orget% so forget. N( )'A(

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.o% there.

(R(NA

N( )'A( (f only like the envelo,e you sli,,ed to the female ?udge and didn-t surface later. (R(NA /ou-re a kid% ,erha,s< Better look at yourself in the mirror9 Head-s already grey but mindless% saying such drivel9 ;hy drivel< N( )'A(

(R(NA Do you think that +as the first time she took anything under the table< Have you seen the bling that hangs on that bitch< N( )'A( .o< (R(NA :or such bling (-d have to slave a+ay for a +hole year% but she changes them almost +eekly9 And you think the others are any better< ;hat others< N( )'A(

(R(NA And that latest rat of a ?udge there% her :rench ,erfume stinks9 Did you see +hat coats she s+ee,s the corridor +ith< N( )'A( ;ell< (R(NA .o you think% is it ,ossible to earn such coats in the court< Huh< Take me% for e7am,le. ( do get money from the till sometimes% and snitch a little from time to time... N( )'A( (Interrupts contemptuously.) /ou steal. (R(NA Get out of here! I work myself to the bones all day and still don’t have a coat like that! And you go on about the envelope...

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Huh<

N( )'A(

(R(NA Don-t you +orry% slee, soundly in the ne+ a,artment and forget about this envelo,e. (n our country% envelo,es are used more often for money than letters... (NI&' AI loo$s attenti%ely at IRINA.) (R(NA ;ell% +hy look at me like 'enin looking at the bourgeoisie< ( told you% it +as nothing% forget everything9 A ne+ life ahead% understand< N( )'A( ;h8at< (R(NA That-s that9 )kay% ( have no time to +aste +ith you. 4uests are coming soon% and ( have neither drinks nor snacks. /ou sort things out a little here +ithout me% (-ll make a run to the store... (Exits.) N( )'A( (*al$s to the #indo#, reasons aloud.) (ndeed% forget everything... But +hat-s everything< (!auses.) Here-s e7actly +hat ( +ould like to forget% that cursed holiday. (t +as then that /ura attached himself to me9 He stuck to me like glue% ACome on% come to the girls% celebrate the holiday +ith them...B Ho+ +e celebrated9 Before ,rotection... ( had already forgotten about her% but she ,ressed me% braCenly like a cockroach% A=ither +e no+ go to the registry-s office% or (-ll ruin your career. /ou-ll never get your di,loma9B )h% ho+ scared ( +as then... Ho+ in the +orld +ould ( kno+ that (-d never need this devil of a di,loma< All my life ( never +ork in any s,ecial ,rofession... /e8s... That-s +hat ( +ould like to forget and not remember... 'ater% +hen ( +ent to the maternity +ard for the first time< Can-t say it +as a very ,leasant memory either. Ho+ much shame ( had to endure then. ( stood belo+% +aiting for her. There /ura +as again9 Her friends also a,,eared. They +ere standing there% +his,ering among themselves% and looking at me as at an idiot. And /ura% some friend% asked so +ickedly% A/ou remember +ell +hat ha,,ened that day% forget nothing<B ( +as all hot again from these +ords9 A;hat are you talking about<B ( said. He burst out laughing% A6e< Nothing. (nteresting% +hat are you doing here<B Those friends of hers almost died from laughing. And here mine came do+n% said% AHere% a son for you...B (+here is a noise in the "oyer. AN+'N and RI+A enter.)

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R(TA ;here-s 6ama< Don-t kno+. ( don-t shado+ her. ;ill she be home soon< (NI&' AI silently pic$s up a box "rom the "loor, $ic$s another meanly, and goes into his o#n room.) R(TA /ou kno+% Anton% she-s ,robably gone to the store. Curious% +ill she be back soon< ANT)N N( )'A( ANT)N

R(TA ;hat-s it to you< ;hat difference does it make< ANT)N ( +ant to disa,,ear to some ,lace. R(TA No+< /ou sa+ ho+ nasty :ather +as< )nly for a short +hile. ANT)N

R(TA 6other +ill return and she-ll see you-re not home. Do you kno+ +hat kind of ro+ she-ll kick u,< ANT)N )k% ( +on-t go... 'isten% +hat do you think% +ill +e start a ne+ life here< )r +ill everything be the same as before< R(TA ;ell% you-re ,robably thinking% same as before. Have you considered +here +e lived earlier and +here +e-re no+< Don-t kno+ about you% but ( immediately noticed +hat cool guys +ere standing at the entrance... And did you see the girls< Eaid any attention to ho+ they-re dressed< And you say% as before. ANT)N (-m not talking about that.

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R(TA Then about +hat< About 6other and :ather... ANT)N

R(TA That they-ll give us little money< Although% no+% of course% more +ould be hel,ful. All the same% there are other considerations and% in general% can-t do anything at discos +ithout greenbacks. ANT)N To hell +ith your discos9 As if there-s no+here else to go... ;hom +ill you take there on greenbacks< ;h8at< R(TA

ANT)N ;hat< Could share +ith your brother. ;hat do you ask such >uestions< ;hat >uestions< R(TA /ou kno+ +hat such >uestions get you< )ur ,arents are right to drive you a+ay... A hick. ;hat< ;hat did you say< (+hreatens RI+A.) ANT)N R(TA ANT)N

(IRINA enters #ith t#o big bags.) 6a9 He-s fighting9 R(TA

(R(NA ( oo$s around, not paying any attention to the children.) ;ell% nobody has done anything here9 Nobody9 ;hy< ;hy such ,unishment for me... (+urns to RI+A.)

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;hy are you standing% deaf< ;hy aren-t the things cleared u,< Too laCy to stoo,< Too laCy to sort things out< ;ell% come on% >uick9 (+urns to AN+'N.) ;here-s your father< (!oints to the door.) There. ;hat-s he doing there< The heck ( kno+. ( told him... (R(NA (R(NA ANT)N ANT)N

( oudly.) Nick% +hat are you doing there< Come on% come out >uick9 N( )'A( (Appears at the door a"ter a #hile.) ;hat do you +ant< ;hat do you all +ant from me< (R(NA Nick... N( )'A( ;hat% don-t ( have the right to rela7 in my o+n room after all< R(TA (,urprised.) Eo,% do you really +ant to take that room< N( )'A( ;hat +ere you thinking< ( +as thinking it-ll be my room... R(TA

ANT)N Aha% she talked9 ;ho are you< Erincess on a ,ea% my foot. 4o to 6other... (!oints to the opposite door.) (R(NA 'ook at that% ho+ smart% to 6other9 Did you think of her first< Have to +orry about 6other first of all9

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6ama% but...

R(TA

(R(NA No but9 (t-ll be my room. ( also need some ,eace from all of you% at least sometimes. R(TA% ANT)N ;hat about us< (,ilence.) ;here do +e go< ANT)N :ine% ( can be here% enough room for me... (-huc$les.) And let Rita have the kitchen. R(TA (,urprised.) ;hat are you talking about< Ho+ smart9 /ou go live in the kitchen9 )r the bathroom... N( )'A( /ou be >uiet9 )r both go live in the foyer9 (R(NA (Reassuringly.) )kay% sto, the bra+l. Better get busy% time-s tight. Rita% go to the kitchen% fetch the dishes% and you% Tony% un,ack in the foyer% or else can-t even s>ueeCe through in here... (+he children disperse in di""erent directions.) (R(NA Nick% listen% ( have such ne+s9 (magine% ( came out of the store and met 1adik9 Remember% ( told you about him% ho+ our +hole grou, +ent to the vice8 chancellor for him< ;hen he +as almost e7,elled from the institute for vodka s,eculation< Remember< (NI&' AI, as i" not hearing, #al$s o%er to the pile o" boxes, unhurriedly chooses one.) (R(NA .o% this same 1adik +alked by% so full of himself% +ithout a +ord9 And there +as someone +ith him% also stern looking. They +alked to a ?ee,% such a one big9 And started to get in. They hadn-t managed to get in +hen ( shouted in full vie+ of the

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street% A1adik9B He only looked side+ays at me and said through his teeth% A;hat the devil% +hat brought you to these ,arts<B ( +as so mad that ( almost reminded him of ancient history9 But ( refrained% calmly said to him% A( live here% but +hat are you doing here% ( didn-t kno+...B (NI&' AI goes into his room.) (R(NA (.ollo#s him #ith her %oice.) He stared at me +ith sur,rise% couldn-t believe his ears9 He held onto his sidekick-s elbo+ and said% A/ou here< .ince +hen<B ( said% A.ince today% 1adik9B And he said% AAs far as ( kno+% you can-t be among the residents of this building by definition...B ( calmly said% ATurns out ( can. 'ook% ( have to hurry% house+arming% +e-re going to celebrate. By the +ay% you and your friend are invited% +e-re al+ays ha,,y for more guests.B 1adik% as soon as he heard about the house+arming% his chin hit the ground and he couldn-t come to his senses. But his friend ans+ered in such a civiliCed manner% A;ith the utmost ,leasure% madam.B ( oudly.) Nikolai% did you hear< He so said9 A;ith the utmost ,leasure% madam.B No+ ( don-t kno+ if they-re coming or not... Nikolai9 (s it okay +ith you< N( )'A( ( oo$s out "rom his room.) ;hat difference does it make if it-s okay +ith me< /ou invite them% you entertain them. R(TA (-omes out "rom the $itchen.) )kay +ith me9 =ven very okay% es,ecially stern ones9 And +ith big ?ee,s... 6um% that stern one...+ith 1adik% he-s not married< N( )'A( Here you are% your u,bringing. (mmediately obvious she-ll go far% if not arrested by the co,s. ANT)N (-omes in "rom the "oyer.) They +on-t. =ven the co,s are scared. R(TA ;hy< Because... so beautiful. ANT)N R(TA

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;h8at< ANT)N Beautiful% ( said. =yes all bunched u,% nose flat% mouth all the +ay to the ears. /ou are a freak9 R(TA

ANT)N ;hat did you say< 6e a freak< /ou-re a co+9 R(TA 6um9 He-s calling names9 ;ell% tell him +hy is he this +ay< (R(NA Really% +hy are you this +ay< Not nice to call your sister names. ANT)N .o% okay for her to call her brother names< (NI&' AI thro#s up his hands and goes into his room.) (R(NA Not nice either. Never call ,eo,le names. .till too young to make ?udgment about ,eo,le... ( oo$s at her #atch.) )h% too late9 No time to do the necessary9 R(TA Come on% 6a% +e-ll make it sim,le. Remember that film +e +atch... ;hat film< (t-s called .morgasbord. (R(NA Be off +ith your silliness9 No time for them no+. ANT)N That-s an idea. Here% arrange everything in the corner% s+itch on the music% and% as they say% no ,roblemo. 'et everyone have a good time as one can... (+he doorbell rings.) (R(NA (R(NA R(TA

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)h% already here9 Anton% go% o,en the door... )kay% Rita% let-s >uickly set u, this smorgasbord... (AN+'N exits to the "oyer, IRINA and RI+A arrange the boxes in the corner and thro# on a tablecloth. AN+'N enters #ith /0RA and 1A IA.) /0RA Hello% hello... ;ell% +hat +ill you say% hostess% shall +e kiss< (R(NA Be off +ith you9 /ou-d smooch all the time. 1A'(A /ou don-t say9 6ost im,ortantly% he tries it +ith strangers all the time. /0RA ;hat strangers< They-re like family to me9 No+ (2ll kiss my goddaughter... Come% Rita love% give 0ncle /ura a hug... Ho+ do you like that% has become so fine. 1A'(A ;hat% have you gone mad% old fool< .to, this right no+9 ;hat-s that all about< /0RA

ANT)N 0ncle /ura% they understand you +rong. /0RA =7actly% Anton% our ladies al+ays understand everything +rong. Not as it should... .o% +here-s my good friend< Hey% Nikolai9 /o9 ;here are you< Come out9 N( )'A( (-omes out o" his room, arms #ide open.) )h8ho8ho8ho9 /ura9 6y friend9 Hello% hello... 'ong time no see... ((ugs /0RA.) Ho+-s life< (R(NA /ou must e7cuse us% guys% +e-re rather +orn out +ith the move% haven-t had time to ,re,are anything. 1A'(A Doesn-t matter% almost family% it-s fine. No+ +e-ll >uickly +hi, u, something. 'et-s go into the kitchen% +e-ll chat there at the same time...

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(+he #omen lea%e "or the $itchen, the men remain.) ;ell% Nikolia% let-s go. ;here< /0RA .ho+ me your ,lace. /ou-re no+ the host. ANT)N 'ook% 0ncle /ura% see ho+ high the ceiling is. Can-t reach it9 (2umps, lands, pic$s up a ball "rom the "loor, thro#s to /0RA.) A little one8on8one< Catch9 /0RA (+ries to catch the ball, a#$#ardly returns it.) no+ +hat% Tony... As family% (-ll tell you a secret. ;hat< ANT)N /0RA N( )'A(

/0RA (n our time% +e didn-t ,lay such games. ;hat games then< ANT)N

/0RA (n our time% +e only ,layed t+o games seriously* business and ,olitics. Besides% e7clusively in greenbacks... (-huc$les.) That so% my man< N( )'A( Don-t you fool around +ith a young mind. He still has to study and learn. Really% found +hat ,layer... Erobably you don-t ,lay much< /0RA Don-t say it% my friend% don-t say it. .till ,laying9 And if you +ant% ( can take you in my team. /ou kno+% Nikolai% (-m no+ an individual of ,ros,ects. Can even say a hairsbreadth a+ay from leader of the ,arty. ;hat< ANT)N% N( )'A(

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(!ause.) ;hat ,arty< N( )'A( /ura% have you caved in to the communists< /0RA Ah% Nikolai% Nikolai9 ;hat a bonehead you +ere and still remain. Think +ith your head% +ho needs these communists no+< (!ause.) ;ho +ill give money to them< To you% 0ncle /ura< They +ill< ANT)N

N( )'A( As soon as they see his insolent face. (magine% already did. Aha. Don-t talk nonsense. /0RA (f the ,arty doesn-t +ork out% then in e7change for su,,ort... N( )'A( And +hat ,arty can you organiCe< The ,arty of blabbermouths and crooks% ,erha,s< /0RA ;e8ll... (t-s too bold a title... Although% it you look at it% there-ll ,robably be more members in such a ,arty than in the old Communist Earty... But then again% +hat-s the difference< All the same% they +on-t register a ,arty +ith such a name. .o% Nick my friend% ours +ill be either the ,arty for democracy or the movement for ?ustice. :or all< ;hat for all< ;ell% this... Justice for all< ANT)N ANT)N /0RA /0RA N( )'A(

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/0RA ;hat are you% Anton< Already look like a gro+n8u, young man but reason e7actly like a kid9 ;hy like a kid< ANT)N

/0RA Because you should have understood long ago that there can never be ?ustice for all. ;hile a ,erson lives% he bustles all the time chasing after ?ustice% tries to get more of it for himself. Doesn-t even kno+ +hy this ?ustice for him. ;ill this ?ustice be good for his life in this +orld< :or e7am,le% +hat ?ustice is it for me that decent ,eo,le occu,ied a +orthy s,ot< Huh< ;hat< ;here then +ould it be for you% your ,a,a% and me< Eoke around in muck< N( )'A( /ura% but you-re scum. (,urprised.) Ea% +hat did you say< ANT)N

/0RA (-huc$les.) (t-s alright% Tony% it-s alright% everything-s okay. /our ,a,a-s right. .cum every+here on our roads% scum every+here have our res,ect... (*al$s o%er to NI&' AI, slaps him on the bac$.) Am ( right or not< N( )'A( (.ro#ns.) Right.. That-s ?ust it% it-s correct... 6ost distressing. /0RA Tony% you see +hat sour face your ,a,a ,ulled. (f ( haven-t kno+n him my +hole life% very likely ( +ould decide right a+ay that he% so +hite% +ants to +hite+ash us% the blacks% for fun. And +ould even believe that here this mansion... (Gestures.) ...+as forcefully ,resented to him for +ork8related e7cellence. But% ha,,ily% Tony% ( don-t believe this. ANT)N ;hy ha,,ily< Eerha,s unha,,ily< /0RA Don-t say that% Tony% don-t say that. ;hy unha,,ily if +e-ll no+ celebrate this

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mansion together< And for this occasion% ( have here something ( ,ut a+ay... (+a$es out a big bottle o" .rench cognac.) .ee% Nick9 N( )'A( ;o+9 ;here did you get it< /0RA ;hat >uestion is that< (n our time mustn-t ask +here but ho+ much... And look at your ,a,a% Tony9 )ne look at this beauty... (,tro$es the bottle.) ...and his eyes lit u, +ith antici,ation. By the +ay% are +e going to antici,ate any longer< Time already to start tasting. 4o% Tony% hurry the ladies% tell them +e-re tired of +aiting... (AN+'N goes to the $itchen.) N( )'A( /ura% this thing +ith ,olitics% it-s a ?oke% right< /0RA ;hat ?oke< (-m >uite serious. Do you kno+ +hat kind of money is floating around there< N( )'A( ( do. .o% there9 /0RA

N( )'A( But aren-t you afraid that their money +ould be so soiled that it could never be cleaned< /0RA ;ell% let-s assume it-s ,ossible to get dirty in surgery... Are +e going to be afraid of dirt< N( )'A( (Grunts.) ;on-t you choke on the dirt< /0RA But it-s necessary for this money. There +ill be money% you +on-t choke% and you can come out of it as you +ish. (-ll tell you this* there +ill be money% that-s all9 )nly not ?ust money but lots of it...

(8!F

(+he $itchen door opens, IRINA, 1A IA, RI+A, and AN+'N #al$ out #ith trays.) N( )'A( :inally. Had to +ait so long. Chatting% ,robably< 1A'(A /ou have to e7cuse us% Nick% but +e +omen have our secrets. (R(NA =7actly% secrets9 ;hich he shouldn-t kno+ about. N( )'A( ;h8at< (+urns to RI+A.) ;hat-s this she-s scheming again< Didn-t you hear< ( heard nothing. R(TA

ANT)N But ( did9 Ea% 6a has ne+ grandiose ,lans. And for this she needs money% ?ust as 0ncle /ura. (R(NA /ura% are you serious< ;hy do you need money< ('""ended.) .o% you have a reason but it-s ,ointless for me< ;ell% thank you% my dear% nice of you. 1A'(A )h% /ura% ,ardon me% it-s my fault. (t seems +e talked about everything% but that you +ant to be a ,olitical activist com,letely sli,,ed out of my head. /0RA ;ell% no+% call yourself a +ife9 )ne might even say an ally. (f it goes on this +ay% (-d have to e7change you for a younger one. 1A'(A )kay% /ura% okay. (f for business% than ( agree. (R(NA )h% /ura% +atch it doesn-t backfire9 ;ants to e7change his +ife. As if your life +on-t change after+ards. /0RA

(8!G

1A'(A 'et him take +hom he +ants. ( +on-t ,rotest. (R(NA /ou heard% /ura< ;ag your tongue and you-ll be +ithout a +ife. /0RA 6ost likely% ( +on-t ,erish. Didn-t fall under the heel... N( )'A( Right9 ;hy under the heel< Better live under ,arty banners... /0RA Ne8ver... (,tarts to sing in the tune o" a military song o" the 34s 5 (igher All the +ime.) All the more and more and more6*e #ant to ha%e "rom li"e... Right% kids< R(TA (Enthusiastically.) /eah9 (R(NA (Irritated.) ;hat yeah< Huh< ;hen +ill you learn to s,eak in a civiliCed manner< Not yeah but have to say yes9 /eah% yeah% e7actly like a ,easant9 At least have better li,s than them9 R(TA ;hasa the matter +ith you% 6a< ;hy +ould ( do that< (R(NA ;hat% you-re so retarded% don-t understand< (-huc$les.) /es% of course% she-s retarded. Ea% tell them9 ;hat-s +ith them< Ah8h... (*a%es.) Come on% all of you... ANT)N

R(TA N( )'A(

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/0RA Doesn-t matter% Rita9 /our mama is the retarded one% doesn-t kno+ +hat girls need li,s for... ( aughs le#dly.) Ha8ha8ha8ha... 1A'(A )h% you shameless old fool9 ((its /0RA on the bac$.) (-ll sho+ you +hat9 (-ll sho+ you... (R(NA That-s right% 1alia9 4ive it to him... Hit harder9 /0RA (7odges the blo#s.) )uch9 )uch9 :or kissing% for kissing9 ;hat +ere you thinking of< (+hey stop #ith the bu""er bet#een them.) (R(NA )kay% okay% sto,...=verything-s ready... Elease% to the table% everyone9 ;hat table< The buffer table9 N( )'A( ;h8at< ;hat-s this< Ho+ are +e going to do this< No% this isn-t acce,table. /0RA (!ours cognac.) /ou-ve been told* +e don-t sit but hang around a buffer. (R(NA (!oints to the $ids.) ;ell% ( listened to them% did +hat they +anted9 No+ +hat% rearrange everything again< N( )'A( Heck% no9 ;e-re losing time. Buffer% then buffer% +hat the heck. /0RA No+ it-s the acce,table +ay9 (t-s our +ay9 )nce assembled% no use to drag it out... Nick% a toast... To... To the ne+ home9 N( )'A( (R(NA

(8!I

(E%eryone drin$s and eats standing.) (R(NA )h9 That +ent do+n +ell... Eity the glasses are so small. /0RA Can re,eat... Anyone against it< No< ;ho declines< ;ho-s for< (t-s unanimous9 ANT)N

(E%eryone pours himsel" another.) 1A'(A ;ell% host% No+-s your turn. Toast9 Toast9 'et-s have a toast9 =h8eh... (-annot thin$.) To the ne+ home9 To a ne+ life9 Hu8ur8ray9 ANT)N A'' T)4=TH=R N( )'A(

(E%eryone pic$s it up and shouts 8(urray.9 RI+A turns on the music and dances.) 'et-s dance9 (*al$s up to RI+A.) 'et-s relive the good old days9 1A'(A ;ell% Nick% shall +e dance< 6a% +e-ll dance together< ANT)N (R(NA /0RA

(R(NA 'eave me alone... No dancing for me.

(8"J

ANT)N (!erplexed.) Again something-s +rong +ith her... .he +anted to dance... (IRINA goes into the $itchen. +he doorbell rings. AN+'N exits and returns #ith 1A7I& and his companion. 1A7I& holds exactly the same cognac that /0RA brought.) 1AD( ;ell% +hat do you say< Receiving guests< ( oudly.) 6a9 4uests9 (Runs out o" the $itchen.) ;ho-s here< )h% 1adik% is that you< ( ho,e +e-re +elcome< (R(NA ANT)N

1AD(

(R(NA )f course9 /ou have to ask... (-m so glad% so glad... (IRINA leans o%er to $iss 1A7I&, #ho graciously lets her. /0RA ta$es the bottle.) 1AD( 6ay ( ,resent to you (gor (osifovich... kno+n to all as (.(.9 ;h8at< =1=R/)N=

/0RA (In surprise drops the bottle but it does not brea$.) The same< 1AD( The same. Can-t be9 ;hy not< /0RA 1AD(

(8"!

/0RA (Addresses I.I.) Really< No lies< (.(. No% no lies... (Gi%es IRINA the bou:uet.) 6adam% allo+ me to congratulate you heartily. (R(NA Thank you9 )h% ho+ lovely... Elease% come ?oin us9 Elease feel at home... (+urns the bou:uet, examines it on all sides.) ;hat roses9 Just remarkable... (-ve never seen such roses in my life9 (.(. No sur,rise. :rom Holland% directly to you. (R(NA ;hat are you saying< 6y 'ord% directly from Holland9 (Runs to the $itchen #ith the bou:uet.) 6ust ,ut them in +ater right a+ay... 1A'(A ;ait... (Runs a"ter IRINA.) (-ll hel, you... (AN+'N dances #ith RI+A. /ura #al$s to the "oyer.) (.(. (In an undertone to 1A7I&.) ;ho are +e dealing +ith here< Her or... (Nods %aguely in the direction o" NI&' AI.) 1AD( (Also in an undertone.) (.(. (In an undertone.)

Her% +ith her.

And this<

1AD( This here is for a,,earance... A buffoon... (Raises his %oice, loudly and cheer"ully.) Right% Nikolai<

(8""

N( )'A( (7rains another glass.) Right +hat< 1AD( That you-re our eagle9 (Grins smugly.) ;ell% eagle or no eagle% but definitely no +im,... (,taggers to a corner, perches on a pile o" things not assembled, and starts to smo$e.) (.(. (In an undertone.) 'ikely you-re right... ;ell then% +e-ll try... But then you-ve kno+n her for a long time. ;hat is she like at least< 1AD( .he< Hmm... .tu,id% greedy... No loyalty and no ,rinci,les. (f so% she suits us ?ust fine. (.(. N( )'A(

/0RA (Returns "rom the "oyer, addresses the dancing AN+'N and RI+A.) /ou-re all still stom,ing around< Rita% +hat gives9 )nce in a blue moon the s+ankest guy in the city comes to you and you ,ay him Cero attention9 R(TA He should be ,aying attention to me9 (-m +aiting% +aiting all the time... /0RA (At a loss.) ;ell% indeed9 Ho+ +ould you take them< .ee for yourself% (gor (osiforich% +hat sim,le ,eo,le live here. (.(. 6ust assume% then% that you aren-t a sim,le ,erson< (f +e use your logic% that-s ho+ +e should take you< Erecisely% not sim,le... (+a$es out a business card.) Elease allo+ me to introduce myself* leader of the 6ovement for Justice9 (t-s necessary to invest something in me as a ,reliminary. /0RA

(8"@

(.(. (-oldly.) (-ve never heard of such a movement... Besides% ,lease let me mention to you our credo* concrete business and real ,ro?ects. To go after ?ustice< )r% s,ecifically to+ards it< No% it isn-t in our ,lans. And counting on us ,aying you money for this< ( assume this is e7actly +hat you have in mind% it +ould be naive at least. /0RA No +ay% not at all9 ;hat do you take us for< ;e-re indeed ,rogressive ,eo,le... (.(. Erogressive< /0RA Can even say% elite of society9 ;e understand everything% as e7,ected. This name% gentlemen% is for the electorate% but our +ork is for s,onsors. Do ( think correctly% (gor (osiforich< N( )'A( ( oudly, already drun$.) ;h8at< ;hat-s this (osiforich< ;ho-s this% +hy don-t ( kno+ him< 1AD( (*al$s to NI&' AI.) Nick% do you kno+ me< N( )'A( /ou-re (osiforich ,erha,s< (+ries to calm NI&' AI.) Ea% don-t9 Don-t disgrace yourself. .uch ,eo,le come and you-re at your old tricks again... N( )'A( ;h8at< No res,ect for :ather< ;hat such ,eo,le< ANT)N ( oudly.) 6a% :ather-s at it again9 6a% do you hear< Come here9 /0RA Nothing +rong% gentlemen. ;e-re no strangers here% +e understand ,ro,erly. (sn-t that so% (gor (osiforich< (.(. Certainly% certainly... Ho+ever% in fact% +here-s our charming hostess indeed< R(TA

(8"$

(IRINA comes out o" the $itchen #ith a "illed crystal #ine glass in one hand and a tray o" re"reshments in the other. 1A IA "ollo#s her, carrying a 35liter ;ar #ith #ater and the bou:uet.) (,olemnly.) (gor (osiforich9 1adik9 Have a drink +ith us for the house+arming9 To the ne+ home% a ne+ life9 (Gi%es I.I. the #ine glass.) Elease don-t ?udge too harshly% today +e have a smorgasbord. 1AD( ;hat-s that% +hat< Ah8h% understood% a buffer... ;ell no+% of course% a smorgasbord. (.(. (-almly ta$es the #ine glass.) ( ,ro,ose a toast... To ne+ ,ros,ects9 (+a$es a sip.) To ne+ horiCons9 (R(NA (In admiration.) Ho+ +onderfully you s,oke9 Thank you9 Elease say some more9 (.(. ( beg your ,ardon% but +e have no time at our dis,osal. Really< (R(NA (R(NA

1AD( /ou do kno+ +e-re ,eo,le of business. (.(. As a matter of fact% can say that +e-re here on business... (R(NA ;hat are you saying< (.(. /ou kno+% +e have a very interesting ,ro,osal for you ,ersonally. (R(NA )h9 Really right no+< (-m ready for everything9

(8"D

1AD( Don-t +orry% rest assured. (-ll find you in a cou,le of days and e7,lain everything... (+urns to I.I.) ;ell< .hall +e< (R(NA ;hat% already< /ou-re leaving already< 1A'(A And +e haven-t even been ,ro,erly introduced. (.(. There-s time for everything. But ( so +anted... 1A'(A

(.(. ( don-t e7clude such a ,ossibility. All in all% if (-m not mistaken% you-re the +ife of the leader of the 6ovement for Justice< 1A'(A /ura managed to blab about his nonsense< /0RA ee, >uiet9 =lse (-ll give you +hat for9 (.(. ;hy are you like that< Don-t treat your +ife this +ay. .he doesn-t deserve this. But +hy her< /0RA

(.(. Elease don-t +orry. (t-s >uite ,ossible that +e-ll find a common to,ic of conversation. At least one should think about this. R(TA And me< Have you thought about this< (Ignores her.) Elease allo+ us to take our leave. (.(.

(R(NA Eerha,s stay for a bit longer< Just a little +hile% Huh<

(8"F

;e +ould love to% but duty calls.

1AD(

(E%eryone except NI&' AI, perching on a pile o" boxes, goes out to see I.I. and 1A7I& o"".) (Re%i%es.) ;here am (< ( oo$s around drun$enly.) ;here-s everyone< N( )'A(

((8!

Act Two
+he curtain rises on the same scene. +his time, ne# "urniture and old ;un$ cram the big room helter5 s$elter. In the center, IRINA and A<A sit at a table #ith a dec$ o" cards.

(R(NA (Impatiently.) ;ell< Come on9 (-ve been +aiting for you% +aiting... )nly you tell the +hole truth% like at a confession9 Don-t make u, anything yourself. A3A 6y dear% you kno+ me. ( ,ass on +hat the cards say% add nothing on my o+n. And cards don-t lie% you yourself kno+. (R(NA ( kno+% ( kno+9 /ou-ve already hel,ed me a hundred times. )nly those times +eren-t as scary as no+. A3A No need to fear destiny% my dear... ((ands IRINA the dec$.) Cut the cards. (R(NA (-uts the cards.) )kay% okay% come on. A3A )kay% let-s do it. ;hat are +e reading< The usual% our +ay% family% or secret desire< (R(NA 'et-s do the best. Erovided ( kno+ everything. And the truth9 A3A Then for secret desire... )nly ( +arn you first* have to take everything as it comes% as destiny. Can-t change anything later. (,cared.) ;hat if only bad things turn u,< (R(NA

A3A

((8"

;hy only bad things< Recently ( read one... /ou kno+ her. (R(NA ;ho< 1al. 1al the redhead< A3A That-s the one. ;hen her husband divorced her and ke,t everything himself... (R(NA ;hat% everything< A3A That-s right. Car% a,artment% cottage... (R(NA (s that really ,ossible< A3A 6y dear% not then. He-s a shar, businessman% registered everything to his firm. .o that not a crumb +ent to 1al. )h% ho+ she ho+led9 ;ould you believe it% she +anted to ,oison herself9 (R(NA ( understand her. ;hy not9 :irst the Canary (slands% then the Bahamas% and then% no+here. A3A Then the cards said% she-d be in a +hite 6ercedes... True% not long after+ards. (R(NA (&no#ingly.) Ah8h9 ( sa+ her not long ago near the bank... .he got ,recisely out of a 6ercedes9 A +hite one... And then% +iggling her rum,% even +alked arm8in8arm +ith a flush8looking one... ;ell% so< Have you decided< ;hat< A3A (R(NA A3A (R(NA

((8@

A3A Are +e reading the cards< .ecret desire or +hat< (R(NA (7etermined.) 'et-s% secret desire. A3A ( ays out the cards, moans.) Aye8yai8yai... Aye8yai8yai... (R(NA (,cared.) ;hat-s there< ;hat-s that< ;hat turns u,< A3A )h% my dear... ( don-t kno+ +hat to tell you e7actly... R(TA (-omes out o" the room.) 6a% can ( not go today< (R(NA ;hy not< /ou-re ,lanning on eating today< Try on ne+ outfits< 4o% and no more talk9 R(TA 6a9 ( beg you... (R(NA ;hat did ( say< /our mind ?ust +asn-t here9 R(TA )kay% okay... (!reens in "ront o" the mirror, paints her lips, put something in the purse, and lea%es.) Did you see< ;hat< (R(NA Did you see +hat kind of boarder she-s gro+n u, to be< Nothing. Absolutely doesn-t +ant to do anything. (R(NA A3A

((8$

A3A ;hat are you saying< .o laCy% takes after her father9 (R(NA

A3A (ra% but the ladies say that your guy is a real man... (R(NA )h% you sto, it9 ;hat man< ;ouldn-t even ,ick u, a hammer at home9 ;hat he is isn-t... =ven looking from outside. A3A Nothing you can do. 6an% he-s a man. (R(NA ;hat man< Totally useless9 Can-t even consult him... 'ike a stranger +ith the kids... A3A /our kids are already gro+n... (R(NA ;ould my eyes not see him9 No more strength to bear it... A3A (f you don-t +ant to bear it% then get a divorce. (R(NA )h% +hat divorce9 No divorce for me. No+ so many things are +eighing on me% so many... A3A ;ho-s sto,,ing you< Divorce is so >uick... (R(NA (Almost not listening.) 'ater% ACa. ( +as stock,iling so% stashing9 No+ ( don-t kno+ ho+ to get out of the mess... And the devil dragged me into linking +ith this 1adik9 =verything has gone to the dogs... A3A That-s +hat the cards sho+* trouble +ill knock on your door... (R(NA (Not listening, as i" tal$ing to hersel".)

((8D

Ho+ +ell everything started out9 =ven this cold fish (gor (osifovich kissed my hand. A/ou-re our true business lady. /ou-ll ,romote our ?oint ,ro?ect...B Eromised mountains of gold% that cheat9 No+ they let the +hole gang out on me... A3A ...;hat horror* a I% a !J% an ace% and all s,ades... (R(NA (Not listening.) ;hat am ( to do< (-m at +it-s end. Can-t think of anything9 ACa% (% +ith all my connections% someho+ can-t come u, +ith ho+ to get out of this situation. A3A Here-s +hat the cards say% only a miracle can hel, you. (R(NA ;hy me< ;hy this ,unishment for me< A3A (ra% do you +ant me to tell you honestly< ;hat% ACa< (R(NA

A3A /ou-re greedy% don-t +ant to share +ith others. (-m not greedy9 (R(NA

A3A /es% you are. All isn-t enough for you. (R(NA ( have a family% children9 /ou yourself understand... A3A )h% (ra% don-t be a hy,ocrite9 /ou don-t have a family% already not for a long time... And time for your children to be married. (R(NA /ou never sto, being a mother9 A mother-s heart al+ays aches for her children. A3A (f you thought about your kids at all% you +ouldn-t have +alked into such business.

((8F

(R(NA But they ,romised me so much money9 =ven scary to say ho+ much9 A3A That-s +hat (-m saying% you-re greedy% hanker after money. And you-re like some rat to them% enticed into a tra,. (R(NA But +hat-s better than money< Tell me% +hat< ;ith money% you can buy anything you +ant and ,ay off anyone you +ant... /ou can kill for money and cover your tracks. A3A )h% (ra% it-s not as sim,le as it seems to you... (+he phone rings, IRINA ans#ers.) (R(NA Hello% hello... /es% (... Ho+% seriously< No kidding< (*al$s to the #indo# and loo$s out.) ...;hat if ( made a ?oke< (In con"usion.) .../es< ...:or such ?okes< ...No% but if ( changed my mind< ...;hat< ...;hy< ...;hat to do then< ...Ho+-s this my ,roblem< ....o% you already can-t change anything< ...No< (,lo#ly #al$s to the table.) ...:ine ...:ine ...=verything-s clear... (!uts do#n the phone, says "irmly.) ;ell% let it be... ( oo$s out the #indo#.) A3A (Gets up, approaches the #indo#, and loo$s out.) ;hat-s there< ;hom did you see< Nobody... (-m looking at my car. (R(NA

A3A (!ays attention.) ;hy did you ,ut it there< (R(NA (Rouses hersel".) ;hat< Ah8h% (... 'isten% (-d better tell you. )nly don-t think (-m talking about myself. (t-s about a friend.

((8G

A3A ;hich friend< (R(NA /ou don-t kno+ her% she-s in another city. Any+ay% listen% you +on-t believe this9 .he +as stock,iling ?ust as me9 .o< A3A (,its do#n at the table and sorts out the cards.) (R(NA Just like me9 They attacked her% 4od forbid9 A3A .he-s still alive at least% this friend of yours< (R(NA 'isten% don-t interru,t9 (n short% they ran over her so that she couldn-t breathe. .he ,aid out to +hoever +as necessary... ;ell% no saying ho+ much. And imagine% they ,laced a bomb in her car9 A3A A bomb< (R(NA /es... And in fact% they did everything they could. And she never even sa+ them9 ;ell% they try to run over her again% and she said to them% AElease +ait% no+ my husband +ill come and settle everything +ith you...B (*al$s ner%ously around the room, goes o"ten to the #indo# and loo$s out.) ...0h8huh... .o% her husband came out% a,,roached the car% and they +ere already +aiting for him there. He ?ust started to o,en the car door and then it ble+ them all u,9 A3A (Gets up, goes to the #indo#, loo$s thought"ully out the #indo#, then at IRINA.) (ra% did you< (R(NA ;hat< 'ook at the ,ros,ects< A3A (R(NA

((8H

;hat ,ros,ects< That +as all9 A3A ;ell% if you say it +as so... (*al$s to the table, gathers the cards.) Then% my dear% here-s +hat (-ll tell you... 'ater your friend either took a long time to heal or +as greatly tormented... (+here is a noise in the "oyer and NI&' AI #al$s in.) (R(NA Not true9 There +as nothing for her to do. N( )'A( (*ith hostility.) .he-s here again< A3A (-m leaving% (-m leaving... Already leaving% my dear. N( )'A( ;ould be better you never came. Al+ays bring trouble +ith you... (n a +ord% a cro+9 A3A (Goes to the #indo# and loo$s out.) )h% my dear9 Trouble to men are not from cro+s but your loving +ives. (R(NA Asa% you +ait% sit for a +hile yet9 .tay% huh< /ou still haven-t finished the reading... N( )'A( Nothing for her to do here9 'et her go +hile the going is good. A3A (-m going% (ra... (Goes to IRINA and $isses her.) 4oodbye. (R(NA ;hy goodbye< ;e didn-t fight% right< .o% not goodbye but till +e meet again... ;e-ll meet again soon% agree< A3A And that% (ra% is 4od-s +ill.

((8I

N( )'A( (!ushes A<A to the entrance.) 4o% go... =lse 0ncle Nick +ill give it to you% and kick you out. A3A (ra% think it through% else it-d likely be +orse later. /ou have ,ity and it-ll be too late. N( )'A( /ou go +ith your o+n advice9 Bugger off9 (Almost pushes A<A out.) ;ould +e never see you again... (R(NA ;hat% are you com,letely drunk< Ho+ dare you treat my friends this +ay< N( )'A( This is my home% understand< (-m the o+ner here9 And there-ll be none of your friends here anymore9 Neither +ould you be% if you o,en your big mouth... And if ( see this cro+ here again% (-ll kick her do+n the stairs9 (R(NA (-ontemptuously.) )o8o8o% ho+ scary9 (ndeed% turned out to be the o+ner... His home... ;ho made the sou, in the home< N( )'A( (Also contemptuously.)

Certainly not you.

(R(NA (Indignant.) (nteresting% +hose sou, do you gobble u,< ;ho earns money for the grub< /ou or me< N( )'A( And you do< Here% go and earn some% and leave me alone. (R(NA .o you-ll live off me< /ou already don-t bring a dime home9 ( struggle des,erately alone and you +on-t hel, me +ith a thing9 N( )'A( And don-t intend to9 /ou found a fool. ;ould stick the head in a noose for money. Am ( an idiot ,erha,s< (R(NA

((8!J

And ( turn out to be the idiot< :eed them% clothe them% and not a +ord of thanks% only criticism... N( )'A( ;hat% am ( su,,ose to cra+l on my knees to you for that< (R(NA no+ +hat< (!hone rings, pic$s up and ans#ers in haste.) .../es... ;hat% already< .../es% yes% yes% yes... As agreed< .../es% yes% yes% yes... No+% no+... /es% yes% yes% yes... (n five minutes< (!uts do#n the phone, changes tone.) Nikolai% you hear me< 4o% bring the car out. N( )'A( :at chance. ( run and stumble. (R(NA ;hat% you don-t understand +ords< 4o% ( said9 N( )'A( (-m not your chauffeur9 /ou go for a drive% you take it out of the garage. (R(NA Nikolai% you kno+ me. (f ( so decided% all the same you-re going. N( )'A( ;h8at< ( don-t give a damn for your decision9 (R(NA (s that so< This is your attitude to+ards me< N( )'A( And you only no+ got it< ( see% you-re not only a beauty% but also beaming +ith intelligence. (R(NA )h% you9 That-s it% ( +on-t stand this anymore9 (-ll make you go take out the car9 N( )'A( Ho+ are you going to do that< At gun ,oint< (R(NA (-ll no+ chase you +ith a stick9 N( )'A( ;atch ( don-t break your s,ine +ith the stick.

((8!!

(R(NA )o8o8o% ho+ you scare me9 /ou don-t kno+% so you think% +hat a tough guy. N( )'A( And if you kno+< /ou +on-t think< (R(NA (f you kno+% then you-d even laugh at +hat kind of man you are. N( )'A( ;hat kind< A +im,9 (R(NA

N( )'A( And +hat are you< )o% turned out a se7 bomb% trash9 (In a rage.) )h% you9 (R(NA

(Restrains hersel", lo#ers her tone.) (-ll sho+ you a se7 bomb. /ou-ll find out +hom you-re dealing +ith... ( oudly.) (-m telling you for the last time* go no+ and bring out the car. N( )'A( And (-m ans+ering you for the last time* (-m not going any+here9 0nderstand< (R(NA No9 /ou +ill go9 No% (-m not9 4o yourself. N( )'A(

(R(NA (-ll make you all the same9 /ou kno+ me9 N( )'A( =nough9 /ou-ve blocked yourself in already... .to, making a scene% it-s getting tiring... (R(NA ( oo$s at her #atch, runs to the #indo#, loo$s out, changes her tone.) Nikolai% (-m asking you9 Elease move the car9

((8!"

N( )'A( )nce (-ve said no% it means no. That-s it% end of conversation. (R(NA (Runs up and clutches NI&' AI.) Nikolai% ( beg you9 (+ries to "ree himsel".) 'eave me alone% ( said9 .ticks like leech... N( )'A(

(R(NA (,ha$es NI&' AI.) Nick% (-m begging you9 Be a man% for the last time... 0nhand me9 N( )'A(

(R(NA (,ha$es stronger.) Nicky% (-ll never ask you for anything again9 Never in my life9 N( )'A( 4o to hell9 (.inally thro#s IRINA o"" #ith "orce.) (IRINA "alls and lies on the "loor, not mo%ing.) N( )'A( ;hy are you lying there< Huh< (!auses.) ;ell% you ?ust lie there% rest. (-m going to get a beer... (Goes into the $itchen and returns #ith a bottle o" beer.) .till lying there< 4o ahead% you +on-t get me +ith this stunt... )o8o% +hat scum9 Just for you% filth. Calls herself a hostess9 ;on-t even take a broom in hand... And the daughter is ?ust like you% the same distem,er9 ;ould only ,aint her face% stretch brighter rag over her behind... Hey% you% hostess... Clumsy% that you are. Don-t even kno+ ho+ to make an egg as you should% and there... (=imics.) A( have no time% (-m making money9 There-ll be money and (-ll hire a maid...B .ome business+oman ,ut in an a,,earance... /ou better tell honestly* ho+ much have you stashed a+ay< ...Huh< ....ilence< .cared to tell< ...Doesn-t matter% there-ll be kind ,eo,le +illing to tell everything... )nly you kee, in mind% (-m not giving you my share% not a chance. ( +asn-t a ,art of your shady deals% ( kno+ nothing about them% and ( don-t +ant to kno+9 0nderstand< ...0nderstand or not% ans+er me9 ...Ans+er +hen you-re asked9 (*al$s to IRINA, pushes her slightly.)

((8!@

.to, ,laying the fool9 (ndeed% she-s lost consciousness. .eems +e-re so delicate... (-ll bring you around no+... (!ours some beer onto IRINA.) ;hat% you hit yourself hard for real< ()ends do#n, slaps IRINA>s chee$s.) Hey% get u,% enough already9 (-hanges tone.) 'isten% do you really feel bad< ( oudly.) Don-t kee, >uiet9 ;hy are you scaring me< ()ends do#n, listens to her heart.) ( don-t understand. ( barely touched her9 Call I!! ,erha,s< (-hanges tone.) ;hat if... No% can-t be... ;hy< ;hat to do< No+ (... (Rushes around the room.) .o% a mirror... ;here is it< (Runs into his o#n room and returns.) .o% a mirror... ;here is it< (Runs into his o#n room and returns.) No+9 (!uts the mirror up to IRINA>s "ace and sits do#n slo#ly.) Not breathing... ( eaps up.) No% no9 No+ (... Artificial resuscitation... Ho+ does it go< (+ries arti"icial resuscitation.) )h8oh8oh8oh9 )nly not this9 (Angrily.) /ou didn-t really die9 Don-t make me mad% ans+er me9 ;hat% you-ve lost your mind< /ou +ant to bury me< /ou sto, this9 (,ha$es IRINA.) (ra9 ...(ra% say something at least9 Ho+ could you do this< (.ear"ully.) )+8o+8o+8o+9 ;hat am ( to do< Need emergency... (!ic$s up the phone and starts to dial, then drops the phone.) But +hat can ( tell them< Ho+ do ( e7,lain this< No one +ill believe me9 )h8oh8 oh8oh9 They-ll thro+ me in ?ail9 ;hat have you done% trash< ( never lay a finger on you in life9 (,tarts to sob.) )o8o8o8o... Here-s +hat you ,ushed me into... (+ries to pull himsel" together.) No9 /ou-re not getting your +ay9 /ou-re not burying me this +ay. /ou +anted to die% so die% but you-re not dragging me to the grave +ith you9 To s,ite you% (-ll live and have fun9 No+ ( ?ust have to get rid of you... ;ho +ill look for you< /our creditors< .o let them look9 (-ll try my best so no one +ill find you... (-ll try my best... (+a$es IRINA by the "eet and drags her into his o#n room.)

((8!$

R(TA (Enters a"ter ma$ing noise in the "oyer.) Anybody home< (!auses.) Thank 4od% no one here9 Ho+ tired ( am of them all... No life +ith them. ;ith them it-s not this% not that. 6om has become so antsy. 4one >uite craCy about money9 (nteresting% +here does she hide it< At home< (-d find it9 Then (-d >uickly credit it to my account. :irst of all it +ould be cool to buy all sorts of things% and then take off some+here far a+ay. And there% you ?ust +atch% (-d ac>uire myself a +orth+hile guy... ;hat< Am ( +orse than others< (!ic$s up the mirror "rom the table and t#irls in "ront o" it.) ( think (-m even better than many... (,#ings and s#ays.) N( )'A( (Runs out o" his room.) )h% you slut9 Ho+ dare you t+ist your filthy ass here< Com,letely lost any shame< R(TA ;hy are you yelling< ;hat have ( done< ;hat% ( can-t have a life here< Al+ays yelling% screaming% like a mad dog... N( )'A( ;h8at< /ou talk this +ay to :ather< R(TA Are you craCy< Kuite a beast9 (Incensed.) Call :ather a beast< )h% you ingrate9 No+ (-ll grind you to dust9 (,ha$es his "ists in anger.) (RI+A dashes out in terror. +he doorbell rings) N( )'A( ((ysterical.) Don-t o,en the door9 Don-t let anyone in9 R(TA ((eads to the "oyer.) Aha9 And you-re going to beat me u, here< No% let everyone see +hat an animal you are... (In pursuit.) N( )'A( N( )'A(

((8!D

(-ll ri, out your foul tongue for such +ords9 (Recollects suddenly.) )h% +hat-s the matter +ith me< Have to ,ull myself together... Hold on% Nikolai% be a man... Calmly% have to come u, +ith something... (-ll figure something out... (Goes into his room.) (RI+A and /0RA enter "rom the "oyer.) /0RA ;ell% Rita% +ho-s here< :ather and mother home< :ather-s home. Ho+-s he< R(TA .ome+hat strange. Not >uite himself. /0RA /ou kno+% Rita% all of us has some strangeness... )kay% go call 6other... ( oudly.) Hey% Nikolai9 Come out9 ;elcome guests9 (.rom behind the door.) (-ll be out. N( )'A( R(TA /0RA

R(TA (-omes out o" IRINA>s room.) ( don-t kno+ +here she is. /0RA Nikolai% +here-s your old lady< (!auses.) ;hat are the t+o of you busy +ith in there< (-huc$les.) Remembers your youth% eh% you old goat< R(TA 0ncle /ura... /0RA ;hat 0ncle /ura< Nothing s,ecial in that% everyday life... R(TA

((8!F

(-m not talking about that. /0RA Then about +hat< .he-s not in there. ;hat do you mean not in there< :ather-s alone. Then +here is she< ( don-t kno+. R(TA R(TA /0RA R(TA /0RA

/0RA .he and ( have agreed9 ;here could she have gone to< (!auses.) Rita% she didn-t give you anything for 0ncle /ura% did she< No% nothing. ;hen did you last see her< ;hen ( left% she +as home. Alone< R(TA No% the t+o of them +ere doing a card reading. /0RA ;ho +as she +ith< This... ACa. R(TA /0RA R(TA /0RA R(TA /0RA

((8!G

;ho-s ACa< N( )'A( (.rom behind the door.) This cro+. /0RA Ah8h. Clear% your old lady has gone clear off her head... (*al$s o%er to the door and $noc$s.) Nikolai% >uit fooling around% come out... Hear me< ( have a serious business for you. N( )'A( (.rom behind the door.) /ou and ( have no business. /0RA Nikolai% ( urgently need your hel,... Are you my friend or not< Come out% or (-ll break the door. (+he door opens. NI&' AI #ith e""ort drags a huge trun$ out o" his room.) N( )'A( (-ll break you% (-ll break you... (-ll break you so that no surgeon can fi7 you u, later... (+here is a noise in the "oyer and AN+'N enters.) ANT)N (-m starved% no strength left9 )h% hello% 0ncle /ura... ;hy did you bring a trunk to us< ( didn-t. /our father-s. ;hat-s this% Ea,a< None of your business. N( )'A( /0RA ANT)N

ANT)N Rita% +hat-s ha,,ening< ;hat-s +ith them< ;here-s 6other< ;hat% and ( kno+< R(TA

((8!H

/0RA (Approaches.) Nick% come on% +e better leave the trunk behind and talk calmly... ((ysterical.) 4o a+ay9 ;hat did ( say< And don-t touch my trunk. /0RA (-m not even going to ask you. No+ let-s drag the trunk back and ,ut it a+ay till the hostess returns. The young ,eo,le +ill hel, me. Right% young ones< )f course% +e-ll hel,9 ANT)N N( )'A(

R(TA To hell +ith him9 He-s bad% +ill still start to fight. /0RA No+ +e-ll test this. ;ell% youngsters% +e-ll ,ut our shoulders together... (/0RA ma$es a mo%e to#ards NI&' AI, #ith AN+'N and RI+A a"ter him.) N( )'A( (In a harro#ing %oice.) Don-t come near me9 Nor my things9 (.irst to step bac$.) ( told you9 R(TA

/0RA Nikolai% calm do+n. ( don-t need your things% +hich you intended to drag a+ay in a trunk. )n the other hand% ( came to ,ro,ose my o+n things to you. N( )'A( A fairy tale. /ou never have anything of your o+n. /0RA Never did% but no+ there is. N( )'A( ;ell% re?oice% if there is. And kee, it to yourself so no one +ould take it. /0RA

((8!I

) % Nikolai% ?okes aside. Be a friend% hel, me9 /ou kno+% they-re digging under me looking for dirt... ;here do ( come in< N( )'A(

/0RA ( urgently need to transfer the account to a reliable ,erson. And he also +on-t ski, out on me. N( )'A( ;h8at< /0RA ( give you my +ord* you +on-t be left a loser9 And needs nothing from you but your ,ass,ort. And you need nothing else< N( )'A(

ANT)N 0ncle /ura% you can take my ,ass,ort... No% mine9 Better mine9 ;o+9 'ook at that9 ;hat< 'et-s transfer the account. R(TA R(TA /0RA

/0RA 'ook at the t+o of you9 .o% young% yet... 0ncle /ura... ANT)N

/0RA ;hat 0ncle /ura< 'ater can-t find you +ith (nter,ol% and then +hat +ill 0ncle /ura be left +ith< Am ( right% Nikolai< N( )'A( ( su,,ose you need someone else-s ,ass,ort to o,en a bogus firm< And +ho +ill ans+er for it later< 0ncle /ura or 0ncle Nick< (+a$es the trun$ and drags it #ith e""ort to the exit.)

((8"J

/0RA Nikolai% you think too badly of me... /ou +ait9 (-ll no+ e7,lain the +hole scheme in details. N( )'A( =7,lain to your o+n electorate% you schemer of shit. ( have no time to listen to your fairy tale. /0RA ( +on-t detain you9 ) % come on% let me hel, you +ith the trunk% (-ll e7,lain everything on the +ay. N( )'A( ;hat< The trunk< ( aughs hysterically.) ) % you hel,% you hel,... (,urprised.) Nick% you-re really not yourself today... Come on% let-s go... (NI&' AI and /0RA exit, carrying the trun$. RI+A and AN+'N go through the rooms.) R(TA (-omes out o" a room.) .trange... ( can-t understand. ANT)N ;hat can-t you understand< R(TA /ou sa+ ho+ heavy a trunk :ather +as dragging< ANT)N .o< R(TA ;hat did he stuff in it< =verything-s in ,lace. ANT)N )h% never mind. ;hat% you don-t kno+ him< Erobably dragging some ?unk to the garage again. R(TA .o +hy dragged such +eight u,stairs< ;ould >uickly drag to... /0RA

((8"!

ANT)N ;ell% agreed9 :ound something to stuff the head +ith. Better make something to eat. (-m so hungry my stomach has flattened. R(TA ;hat ne7t9 He +ants to eat... 4o eat +hat-s in the fridge... (AN+'N goes to the $itchen.) R(TA .trange% +hat +as :ather doing< .o mean... And +ith this trunk< Had a fight +ith 6other% ,erha,s< =verything-s in ,lace% both his and hers... They +eren-t thinking u, some dirty trick +ithout us no+< Can e7,ect anything from them... ANT)N (-omes out o" the $itchen #ith a beer and some shrimps.) That-s all... )nly beer and shrim,s in the fridge. R(TA .o% have beer and shrim,s... ;hat% don-t like it< ;hat do you need< ;hat more do you +ant< ANT)N ( +ant to eat% that-s +hat9 Real food... .ou,... )r borsch... Remember ho+ 4randma used to cook for us< R(TA Come on% you9 He remembers 4randma and her borsch... Ho+ many years no+ that she has died9 ANT)N That-s the bad thing% she-s dead... 'isten% ( ?ust can-t figure out +here 6other is. R(TA ;hat-s the difference to you< Don-t +orry% all the same she +on-t cook borsch for you. ;hy not< ANT)N

R(TA Because no one +ill eat it. Come on% eat the shrim,s% or else (-ll eat them myself. (ndeed not9 Ho+ sly... (Goes into the $itchen.) ANT)N

((8""

(+he doorbell rings. RI+A goes to the "oyer and returns accompanied by 1A7I& and ? )'7/G0AR7,.) 1AD( (Entering.) Call your mother% and make it >uick. .he-s not here. R(TA

1AD( ( see she-s not in the room. And you% 6argarita Nikolaevna% don-t be laCy% ,lease be so kind to look for her in the other rooms. ;hen you find her% ,lease tell her that our ,atience is running out. Joking +ith us isn-t +orth it. But she-s not home9 R(TA

1AD( ;hat do you mean she-s not home< ;here could she have gone to< R(TA ( don-t kno+. ;hen ( got home% she-s already not here. 1AD( ;hen did you leave< .he +as still home then< ( understand you correctly% 6argarita Nikolaevna< R(TA That-s right. (.(. (Enters "rom the "oyer.) ;ell% +hat have you here< The ,roblem solved< 1AD( (!erplexedly.) Not yet. They say that she isn-t home. (.(. ( don-t understand. Ho+-s this% not home< (+urns to )'7/G0AR7,.) Ho+ to understand this< !st B)D/40ARD .he-s lying about everything. )b?ect didn-t go out.

((8"@

"nd B)D/40ARD ;e vouch +ith our heads. (.(. Then search here... And try not to find... ()'7/G0AR7, search the apartment and solemnly bring AN+'N "rom the $itchen.) Here% found one9 Hiding in the kitchen% ,unk. ( +asn-t hiding9 Not hiding< No. ( +as eating. ANT)N ANT)N (.(. !st B)D/40ARD "nd B)D/40ARD

(.(. .o% you +ere eating... ;here-s your mother< ANT)N Ho+ +ould ( kno+< ( +as asking the same >uestion. (.(. ;ho< /our sister< ANT)N No. :ather and 0ncle /ura +ere still here. (.(. ;here did they go< ANT)N Didn-t say. 'eft for some+here and that-s all. (.(. 'eft% huh... Together +ith your mother< ( oo$s at )'7/G0AR7,.)

((8"$

!st B)D/40ARD Com,letely im,ossible. "nd B)D/40ARD Absolutely. ;e had all the bases covered. ANT)N (!erplexedly.) No% not +ith 6other. (.(. ;ith +hom< ;ith a trunk. ;hat trunk< A big% heavy one. 1ery heavy< R(TA /ea9 ;e +ere amaCed% so heavy9 The t+o of them could barely drag it. (.(. (+urns to )'7/G0AR7,.) (diots9 That-s ho+ she got a+ay. !st B)D/40ARD ;e have nothing to do +ith it. There +as no bearing on a trunk. "nd B)D/40ARD /ou yourself told us not to get involved +ith ,olitical figures. (.(. (Angrily.) ( said% ( said... ;here did they go< 1AD( /ou can at least tell us this< !st B)D/40ARD ;ho< These< )f the Justice 6ovement< They +ent in the direction of the ,ark... ANT)N (.(. ANT)N 1AD(

((8"D

(All go to the #indo# and loo$ out.) "nd B)D/40ARD There they are9 (!oints.) There% both standing by the car +ith the trunk% going to drive off some+here... (+here is an explosion.) R(TA (7esperately.) ANT)N :ather9 (gor (osifovich% better sli, a+ay. 4o. 1AD( (.(.

Ea,a9

(((8!

Act Three
+he curtain rises on the same scene. /0RA #ith a bandaged head and an arm in a sling sits at the table. AN+'N #al$s near him. /0RA ;ell% Anton% some boat +e got ourselves into% you and (... ANT)N Here (-ve been thinking% thinking all the time... ( remember ho+ everything +as... And ( don-t understand a thing. ;hy did all this ha,,en< /0RA (t-s no use. Think% not think% still has to live. ANT)N But ho+ to live% 0ncle /ura< (t seems ( understand nothing in this life. Ho+ could all this have ha,,ened< ;hy< /0RA Anton% listen here. =nough tormenting yourself in vain. /ou better think less about this% understand< And the main thing% try not to say anything unnecessary to anyone. ANT)N But if they ask me< Ho+ should ( ans+er< /0RA /ou don-t o+e anyone an ans+er. Do you +ant me to give you some advice< :ree of charge< ;hat advice< ANT)N

/0RA /ou say% A( sa+ nothing% kno+ nothing.B 0nderstand ho+ to ans+er< A6y ,arents didn-t let me in on anything. .o% (-m not in the kno+.B ANT)N But ( really kno+ nothing about their affairs. /0RA That-s +onderful. Then better for all of us.

(((8"

ANT)N ;hy better% 0ncle /ura< Here this ha,,ened% and ( ?ust stand like a dork +hen anyone asks9 )r mumble like a moron. /0RA That-s fine. At your age% and after such trauma... Nothing ,eculiar about it. The main thing% must not stir u, sus,icion. ANT)N ;hat kind of sus,icion< /0RA no+ +hat% Anton< Trauma or no trauma% ?ust don-t go too far... ANT)N ;hat are you talking about% 0ncle /ura< /0RA ...)ther+ise you-ll accidentally hurt yourself and ,ut me in a ,articularly difficult ,osition. Difficult ,osition< =7actly. .o +hat do ( do< ANT)N ANT)N /0RA

/0RA :or the time being% nothing in ,articular. /ou ?ust carry on normally. Allo+ yourself nothing e7cessive. ANT)N ;hat e7cessive< /0RA ( already told you% no unnecessary conversations. ANT)N 0ncle /ura% you-re someho+ talking strangely. The medication affecting you% ,erha,s< /0RA ;hat does medication have to do +ith it here< 'isten% Anton% you-re already a young man gro+n% right<

(((8@

;ell% yea... Can talk to you seriously<

ANT)N /0RA

ANT)N )f course9 )nly about +hat< .o much has already been said... /0RA .aid% discussed% but only +hat-s made u,. 6ade u,< ANT)N

/0RA That-s right. Tony% you and ( really kno+ nothing. ANT)N About +hat% 0ncle /ura< ( sa+ +ith my o+n eyes ho+ :ather and 6other died9 And +hy... /0RA =7actly% +hy< /ou mother at that moment +asn-t in the car% right< .he didn-t go to the car... ANT)N /ou and :ather already carried her out in the trunk9 /0RA Right% in the trunk. )nly here-s the hitch* +hy in a trunk< ANT)N ;hat do you mean +hy< To save her9 /0RA .ave< /es% save. /ou +ere saving her9 .ave% you say< :rom +hom< ANT)N ANT)N /0RA

(((8$

:rom these... (n a +ord% from those +ho demanded money from them. /0RA 6oney< /es% money. ;hat money< Ho+ +ould ( kno+< ANT)N ANT)N /0RA

/0RA ( don-t kno+ either% Anton. No one kno+s. 6oney% money% money... =verything revolves around some money. And about the money% don-t tell a single soul. No documents% no +itnesses. )nly t+o cor,ses... And one even in a trunk. Ah% if it +asn-t for this trunk9 Ho+ it destroyed my re,utation. No+ +herever you go% +homever you meet% or at any meeting% the >uestion from the audience for sure +ill be about the trunk. .o have to +iggle out% invent all sorts of nonsense. /ou string the blockheads along and think to yourself* 4od forbid% something cro,s u, and snags you9 Besides% snags all it likes% it can. And hooks you such that later you can-t tear a+ay% not choking in the filth for the time being. Then there +on-t be any ,ros,ects% any o,,ortunities for 0ncle /ura... (n a +ord% goodbye to the bright future ca,italist. ANT)N 0ncle /ura% ( can-t understand you today. ;hat you-re talking about. /0RA Nothing. (t-s hard for you to understand% Tony... Honestly% there-re lots ( don-t understand either. And the more you think% the more you try to understand% the more uneasy you become. At times% there-re goose bum,s till you hit u,on something9 ANT)N .o you think that the bomb +as for you< That 6other and :ather ?ust ha,,ened to be +ith you< /0RA ;hy me< ( drive my o+n car% not the one that ble+ u,. ANT)N Ah8h... Then +hat are you afraid of< That they can blo+ u, your car too< /0RA

(((8D

;ho +ill blo+ me u,< ;ho +ould +ant to... 0nless ( blo+ myself u, to raise the ratings. ;hat about enemies% 0ncle /ura< ;hat enemies< ;ell% these... Eolitical ones. ANT)N ANT)N /0RA

/0RA That +e do9 =nemies... =7ce,t +hen +e sit do+n at a round table. ;ell% +hen +e ask s,onsors for money. Ho+ they su,,ort that9 And if someone ,ut do+n a bottle... ;e ,rom,tly change from enemies to buddies. After all% Tony% +e +ere all little scouts in childhood. ANT)N .o% +hat are you afraid of then< /0RA Tony% there-s al+ays something that a ,erson-s afraid of. ANT)N Death% right< /0RA ;hy be scared of it< ;hether you-re afraid of death of not% it comes to you sooner or later... And most often% +ithout calling first... No% Tony% (-m not talking about that. ANT)N Then +hat< The code of criminals. Criminals< /0RA /es% Tony% criminals. Here-s +hat one should fear e7actly... =s,ecially us. ANT)N /ou fear it< That-s +hat you-re talking about< /0RA ANT)N

(((8F

/0RA Erecisely. 'et-s take at least one moment. ( haven-t breathed a +ord about this to anyone% only to you. ANT)N ;hat about< /0RA About this. ;hen your ,a,a and ( +ere dragging the trunk% it ,ulled a+ay from our hands and rolled do+n a full flight of stairs... .o< ANT)N

/0RA (t fle+ +ith a +histle% bobbed u, and do+n along the stairs. But you kno+% your mother never even made a sound... /ou dig< (1A IA and RI+A come out o" the $itchen.) 1A'(A There% +e-re done... =verything ,ut a+ay... Come% /ura% let-s go home >uietly. /0RA (Gets up.) And you% Anton% kee, your tail u,9 (n general% be a man% understand< And don-t take it into your head to chatter to anyone about our conversation... R(TA ;hat conversation< ;hat-s being ke,t a secret from me in my home< None of your business. ANT)N

/0RA Rita% don-t you +orry. ;e +ere ?ust having a man8to8man talk... R(TA ;hat are you hiding from me< ( also have a right to kno+9 This is my home9 1A'(A Rita% Rita% calm do+n. 'isten to me% (-ll give you some good advice. Don-t get involved in men-s affairs. /0RA Here% here% that-s right. 'isten to her% she +on-t teach you +rong.

(((8G

R(TA ;hat calm do+n< ;hy should ( calm do+n< (-m in my o+n home and ( +ant to kno+% +hat-s the secret< ANT)N ;ho cares +hat you +ant< The more you +ant% the less you get. R(TA /ou don-t say9 Had to do this9 6ake yourself out to be cool% but... /ou at least discussed money +ith 0ncle /ura< ;hat-s this< ;hat money< /0RA

ANT)N ;ell% this... Rita and ( intended to... (n short% +e have this matter... R(TA 6umbling to yourself alright9 Call yourself a man% can-t string t+o +ords together. 0ncle /ura% +e need money. (+hro#s up her hands.) Rita9 Tony9 ;hat-s this< 1A'(A

R(TA ;e have no money. Nothing to live on at all. 1A'(A ;herever did you s,end it< ;e didn-t s,end it any+here. ANT)N

1A'(A No% no9 Never s,end money so foolishly. 6oney likes to be accounted for% must s,end it economically% other+ise% there +on-t be enough money for anything... R(TA But +e didn-t s,end it9 Then +hat are you saying< ;e never had any. 1A'(A ANT)N

(((8H

1A'(A No+ ( don-t believe this. ( kno+ that there +as al+ays money in your family% and it couldn-t have disa,,eared overnight. 6ust be some+here. ANT)N (0ncertainly.) ;e don-t kno+. Eerha,s lying around some+here< /0RA )kay% 6other% don-t be stingy9 Have to hel, the young ,eo,le. A sin not to hel,% at least give a little the first time. R(TA )h% thank you% 0ncle /ura9 Can-t give a lot% you understand. /0RA

1A'(A (-oldly.) /ura 1ladilenovich% don-t encourage the kids. ANT)N ;e-re not asking for much. 1A'(A Tony% +e don-t have the ,ossibility at all to give you money... 0nless loan you money on credit< 'oan% so loan. And ho+ do +e ,ay it back later< R(TA ;e-ll do it someho+. Have to live on something after all. ANT)N ;here +ill +e get the money to ,ay back< Com,lete uncertainty +ith +ork... Then% kids% ( can-t hel, you at all. /0RA R(TA ANT)N

R(TA Don-t listen to him9 ;e-ll give it back someho+. Can-t ?ust sit here +ithout money at all% can +e<

(((8I

1A'(A ;hat do you say% Anton< Agree or not< ANT)N ;hat else to do< )f course% ( agree9 1A'(A Then sit do+n and +rite an agreement. ANT)N ;hat agreement< ;hy< /0RA /ou don-t kno+ +hy you +rite an agreement< ANT)N ( don-t kno+ ho+ to +rite it. /0RA Doesn-t matter. .it and +rite. .he dictates. .he has a better gras, of these matters. (,its do#n at the table.) 'et-s do it. ANT)N

.o... ;rite this% Anton... (7ictates aloud.) A;e% Anton Nikolaevich uklovskii and 6argarita Nikolevna uklovskaia% +ill commit to ,ay /ura 1aldilenovich .,inolomov by the agreed8u,on date...B Here% Tony% leave a blank... Aa thousand dollars each% borro+ed from him in debt...B ;rote that< ...No+ sign... And you% Rita% also sign. )kay% ( sign... (,igns.) R(TA

1A'(A

/0RA (!uts a#ay the document.) ;ell% no+% kids... (!ulls bills out o" his #allet and puts them on the table.) No+ you can receive your rightful thousand... (-on"used.) R(TA

(((8!J

0ncle /ura% ho+ come... /0RA ;hat-s this< ;hat-s your ,roblem< /ou ,romised each a thousand. R(TA

1A'(A (,#eetly.) No% Rita% you-re obligated to ,ay back a thousand each. /ou signed. ANT)N Ho+-s this< (-on"used.)

/0RA 1ery sim,le. Think for yourself% +ho +ill loan out +ithout a ,ercentage< =s,ecially unkno+n +hen it-ll be ,aid back... R(TA ;hen are +e to ,ay you back< /ou don-t have to rush. No hurry. But you didn-t say... /0RA ;hy talk about this no+< /ou haven-t yet assumed title of inheritance% you have no money% kids% and no assets to your name...And you kno+ better than me about ho+ things stand +ith +ork. (n short% +e-ll name the date later. ANT)N ;ell% 0ncle /ura... ;ell% can you... ( +ould like to say... /0RA No need% Anton. Better not continue% or you-ll be sorry later. Any+ay% +e-re leaving. 1A'(A (ndeed% /ura% +e-ve stayed too long. Time for you to rest... And you% kids% don-t be angry +ith us. (n such a situation% +ho +ill give you credit< ;e-re al+ays glad to hel, you% +e-re no strangers. ;e-re not unsym,athetic% +e understand everything... Any+ay% call and visit. /0RA ANT)N

(((8!!

/0RA ;ell% it ha,,ens... ;hy fro+n< .ay thanks to 0ncle /ura... (1A IA and /0RA exit.) R(TA No+ +e-re loaded9 Anton% +ere you do,ed< ;hy did you sign this devil of a ,iece of ,a,er< And you% likely% didn-t sign. ( really need money% so ( signed. Eerha,s you think ( don-t< ANT)N ANT)N R(TA

R(TA (,tretches her hand out "or the bills.) ( need... ANT)N ()eats her to the bills.) )h% no9 Doesn-t go this +ay. /ou-ll s,end it on all sorts of ?unk% then later... R(TA (+ries to snatch the bills.) 4ive it over9 Told you% come on9 ANT)N Rita% ,a+s off9 Half for you% half for me. And later +e-ll each ,ay back our share of the debt% agree< R(TA ;hat ne7t9 And (-ll agree +ith such cra,9 ANT)N /ou don-t +ant to% so don-t. Then (-ll take everything for myself% agree< R(TA No9 4ive me half. (-ll e7change it and give it to you. ANT)N R(TA

(((8!"

;ell% go% come on% e7change9 And >uickly. ANT)N )kay% (-m going... And you can at least cook some ,otatoes< ( +ant to eat% ( can-t... (Exits.) (!aces around the room.) Aha% ran off9 He +anted to eat ,otatoes... (-ll ruin my manicure... No% ( don-t like it. .ome DJJ bucks. ;on-t buy anything +orth+hile... And have to ,ay back a +hole thousand... ;onder if 6other left anything< Have to go check +hile Anton-s not here... He-s such a dim+it he +on-t notice anything... (Goes into IRINA>s room and returns #ith a ;e#elry box.) .o% let-s see... (,its do#n at the table and goes through the contents o" the box.) 0gh% some ?unk... ;hy did she collect so much ?unk< ...Nothing +orth+hile... Costume ?e+elry... Hmm... ;hat-s this< Also a fake% ,robably< )kay% +e-ll see... (!uts it in her poc$et.) 6ust take it to a ,a+nsho, and check... (+here is a noise in the "oyer.) A3A (Enters.) Hello% Rita... ;hy isn-t your front door closed< R(TA Anton again forgot to close the door. He-s like that all the time% like a little kid. A3A .o% you have to look after your brother. /ou-re the mistress here no+. Elease% you kee, an eye on him. R(TA R(TA

A3A (f you don-t% there-ll be trouble. Not only friends can come in an o,en door. .ometimes% enemies break in +ithout invitation. R(TA Did you come to lecture me< A3A /ou don-t +ant some good advice< R(TA

(((8!@

=nough already% getting sick. A3A ;ell% you-re no+ your o+n mistress. /ou don-t +ant to% you don-t get to hear any. No one else to take charge of your life but yourself. ;hich +ay you turn it% there it-ll go. R(TA Turn +hat< ;here< ;here +ill ( turn +ithout money< A3A Rita% don-t build yourself u, to be a ,au,er. ;hat% (-m flush% ,erha,s< R(TA

A3A Don-t ,retend you-re ,enniless% no need. ;hat do ( have< (ndeed nothing. R(TA

A3A ;hat do you mean nothing< This a,artment< Not ?ust a home but a real mansion. And forgotten about the garage< And the cottage% and the different odds and ends< All this is +orth money% and not a little... And you say% nothing. R(TA .o< (t-s not all mine% half belongs to Anton. A3A But half is already yours. And you% my dear% haven-t yet done a stroke of +ork in your life. R(TA And you have. Turned out to be an overachiever% ca,italist. .uch a hard +orker% not9 A3A Don-t re,roach me for my +ork% still young. R(TA Aha. According to you% it-s obvious you-re all e7hausted by it. A3A ( su,,ort my family9 And they have cereal and milk on the table. And more... /ou don-t even give your guest tea.

(((8!$

R(TA Ho+ do you like that9 .he +ants tea... /ou-d think% +hat a big+ig9 A3A Big+ig or not big+ig% still has to meet the needs of a guest as e7,ected% once you call yourself mistress of a home. R(TA :ine% (-ll get you tea... )nly have to make it first. A3A And (-ll +ait% Rita... 4o% go9 Don-t +orry about me% (-m not hurrying any+here. (RI+A goes into the $itchen.) A3A Thank 4od9 .he finally left... ;hile this rookie isn-t here% (-ll >uickly look all around here... (,earches the room.) ;here could the sainted (ra have hidden it< ...Aha% here it is... (.inds a pac$age taped to a corner at the bac$ o" the side table.) R(TA (-omes out "rom the $itchen.) ;hat are you doing< ;hy are you ,oking around here +ithout asking< A3A ((ides the pac$age behind her bac$.) )h% this. (t-s nothing. R(TA ;hat do you mean nothing< And +hat do you have there< A3A Calm do+n% my dear% it doesn-t concern you... (*ants to hide the pac$age in her bosom.) /ou mother and ( had some business. R(TA ;hat-s this clam do+n< Ho+-s this not my concern< ;hat business you had +ith my mother< )h% you old thief9 No+ give it back9 A3A :or shame9 Curse that tongue of yours9 Ho+ am ( a thief< R(TA

(((8!D

A common thief% that-s ho+9 A3A ( didn-t steal from you. Just taking my o+n. R(TA There-s nothing yours in here9 =verything here is mine no+9 A3A Do you kno+ ho+ much debt your mother o+ed me< /ou don-t kno+% then kee, >uiet. (ra% dead% ?ust hadn-t ,aid me back. R(TA ;hat-s that got to do +ith me< ( o+e you nothing9 And ( don-t intend on giving you anything9 A3A And ( don-t need anything from you% Rita. ( don-t take a out of bite someone-s bread. (-m not your kind% ( kno+ honor... R(TA )h% come on% ho+ noble9 /ou-re a cheat and a thief9 (+here is a noise in the "oyer, AN+'N enters.) But not a murderer... A3A

ANT)N ;ho-s a murderer< ;hat murderer< ;hat-s she talking about< R(TA Don-t you listen to her9 :logs some nonsense but managed to steal something from us already9 ANT)N ;ait% +ait% but +hat about a murder here< R(TA Nothing9 .he-s a thief9 .tole some ,ackage and +on-t give it back9 .eiCe her% Anton9 A3A (-ll seiCe you9 (-ll seiCe you9 (!ulls out a gas canister "rom some#here.)

(((8!F

(-ll seiCe you so nothing +ill sho+... (f you insult me% snot nose% ( +on-t kee, >uiet anymore9 (-ll tell everything as is9 ANT)N ;hat are you talking about< About +hom< :ather< Ho+ do you kno+< ;ho told you< 0ncle /ura< A3A ;hat 0ncle /ura< ( don-t kno+ any 0ncle /ura. ANT)N .,inolomov< A3A (-ontemptuously.) ;h8at< .,inolomov< (ndeed% some character. ;ho needs him% this .,inolomov... And ( kno+ nothing about your father% and don-t +ant to kno+. ANT)N Then +hom +ere you threatening to tattle on< R(TA .he-s lying all the time% old hag9 ;ants to scare us9 A3A :ancy yourself too much. As if ( need this very much% scaring some greenhorns. ANT)N Then +hat about< (f not about 0ncle /ura and :ather% then +hat are you hinting at< ;ell% s,eak u,9 No+9 R(TA

A3A The e7,losion% my dear% the e7,losion. ANT)N The e7,losion< ( don-t understand. A3A :or +hom the bomb +as ,lanted% understand< :or 6other. ANT)N A3A

(((8!G

(,miles.) Aha9 Nothing doing% for mother. ANT)N (f you kno+ something% tell it right a+ay9 R(TA .he kno+s nothing9 =ven if she kno+s something% ho+ +ould it benefit you% Anton< 'et her s,lit her o+n skull +ith this kno+ledge9 ;ho needs this< ANT)N .he kno+s something about our father and mother9 R(TA .o< ;hy think about this no+< ;hat can you do to hel, them< They-re gone and nothing +ill change that% +on-t return them to this +orld... Rita% ho+ can you9 ANT)N

R(TA (-m alive% understand< ( +ant to live9 And ( need money for this life9 The more% the better9 .he stole from us9 'et her return +hat she took +ithout asking9 A3A (=o%es to exit.) ( +on-t all the same... Not for you to take a+ay from me% ,uss... R(TA Anton9 ;hy are you standing there< .he-ll get a+ay no+9 ;hat can ( do< At least do something9 Be a man9 A3A ( aughs.) Ho+ does he kno+ ho+ to be a man< (Already standing by the door.) 6y fare+ell advice to you% doves... R(TA /ou stuff it +ith your advice9 ;e-re not in the country of advice9 A3A ANT)N R(TA

(((8!H

(Reproach"ully.) Ai8yai8yai9 Ho+ rude9 Talk to your guest this +ay... R(TA ( didn-t invite you9 /ou yourself burst in here9 And even ransacked us% old thief9 /ou don-t +ant to give back nicely% then (-ll call the co,s9 /ou +on-t% my dear% you +on-t. ;hy not< A3A ;hat +ill you tell them< ;hat did ( take from you< R(TA A ,ackage% that-s +hat9 And +hat-s in it< 'et the co,s figure it out9 A3A )h% my dear% better not. (t-ll ?ust be +orse for you. ANT)N )h% you sto, it% Rita9 ;hy trades +ords +ith her for nothing< R(TA ;hat% Anton% are you insane< Don-t you understand< ANT)N /es% of course% the devil +ith her% let her go. A3A ( aughs.) 4ood for you% e7actly% here-s a man. /ou% Anton% are in fact smarter than you look... ;ell% doves% goodbye% remember me kindly... (Exits.) R(TA And you-re com,letely out of your mind9 (Runs out a"ter A<A.) A3A R(TA A3A R(TA

(((8!I

ANT)N /ou go nuts here +ith them. Just hinting at something all the time... And each aiming at snagging a ,iece for herself9 'ike ?ackals... And called themselves friends9 ;hat ,eo,le are these< ( don-t understand... And ,eo,le in general< ( understand nothing in this life... Ho+ to live no+< ;ith +hom< :or +hat< (s the +hole ,oint of this life really money< ;ell% fine% let money be the main thing for them... .o% e7ce,t money% is there really nothing +orth+hile left for me< (n fact% ( remember ho+ good it +as earlier +ithout any money. ( remember ho+ :ather and ( +ent fishing. Ho+ 4randma greeted us +ith hot ,ies. Ho+ +e all gathered together at the table% drinking tea% laughing% ?oking around... ;hat fun it +as then9 (t seemed it +ould be like that al+ays. (t +as so good that +e didn-t even think about the future. No+ everything good had gone... ;ill it never be so good for me no+% so ha,,y as it +as< (s money the only thing left that-s good< R(TA (Enters, hissing to hersel".) That-s mean... ( oudly.) /ou at least e7changed the money< ANT)N ( did% ( did. 4ive me my share. (Gi%es her the money.) Here% take it% and leave me alone. R(TA (ndeed% leave me alone... (!uts a#ay the money.) 6ust think (-m stuck to him. ( really need this... Bungler9 ;hat< Re,eat +hat you said. ANT)N R(TA ANT)N

R(TA /ou heard. /ou-re a bungler. ;ho didn-t close the door behind him< Because of you they stole a ,ackage from us. And +e don-t even kno+ +hat-s in it. ANT)N To hell +ith it. (f it-s money< R(TA

(((8"J

;here +ould money come from<

ANT)N

R(TA ;ouldn-t you love to kno+9 6other could-ve hidden it so no one +ould find it. ANT)N (*ith distrust.) /ah. .he +ould-ve hidden it some+here a little better. R(TA ( oo$s around.) no+ +hat< /ou-re ,robably right. ;e should search the ,lace. (f not money% maybe +e-ll find something else. ANT)N ;hat% are you serious< No kidding< R(TA ;hat-s there left for us to do< .tand at a street corner +ith outstretched hands< ANT)N ) % let-s do it. No harm in trying... (AN+'N and RI+A start searching. +hey open dra#ers in tables, stands, side tables. +hey pour the contents onto the "loor and cra#l on their $nees to examine them. ,e%eral times, they go in turn into IRINA>, room, return #ith boxes, and sha$e them out. +he mountain o" things on the "loor gro#s, ;ust li$e in the Act 'ne. ) .hake out everything... ;hat-s this< R(TA )dds and ends... ;ell% +ell% look there< ANT)N .ome ?unk... ;hat-s there< R(TA ANT)N R(TA ANT)N

(((8"!

Nothing s,ecial... :rom a clock... R(TA ;hat-s this garbage< .ome trash... ;hat do you have there< Rubbish... ANT)N ANT)N R(TA

R(TA ;hy did they collect all this rubble< ANT)N The main thing is +hy did they move all this to the ne+ ,lace< R(TA Come on% search. ( am. )nly there-s nothing. .earch% search... (-m searching... 'ook closer... (-m looking... )nly see nothing... Better search some more... ;here still< Doesn-t matter +here. ANT)N R(TA ANT)N R(TA ANT)N R(TA ANT)N R(TA

(((8""

ANT)N Already dug through everything... .ee% +hat a mess9 (t-ll take a +eek to clean u,. R(TA (+hought"ully.) no+ +hat% Anton< ;e-re searching incorrectly. Ho+ incorrectly< Not scientifically. Ho+ scientifically< ANT)N ANT)N R(TA

R(TA Here-s ho+. Have to start by dividing the ,lace into sections% and then% look over everything. nock on all the +alls% go through every corner% e7amine every crack. Then% ,erha,s% +e-ll find something. Eerha,s your thinking is right. 6y thinking is al+ays right. ;hich corner shall +e start< ANT)N ANT)N R(TA

R(TA Come% Anton% here-s +hat +e-ll do. (-ll e7amine this room and you search :ather-s. ANT)N (ndeed% ho+ sly9 There-s ,robably nothing there. ;hat if you find something here +ithout me< 6ost likely% you +on-t share +ith brother. R(TA .to, it% Anton9 ;here shall ( go< /ou-re going no+here% but... ANT)N

R(TA Come on% go search9 No need to drag out any garbage% ?ust do it.

(((8"@

ANT)N :ine% so be it... /ou-re taking advantage of my goodness... (Goes into NI&' AI>, room.) R(TA (Reasons aloud.) .o... .tart +ith +hat< The +alls... (Goes around the room, $noc$s on the #alls.) Nothing... ;here can it be< ...;ell% +here< ...Eerha,s% here< ...No... Here< ...Also nothing... Bad% oh% ho+ bad... .o% let-s look under the +indo+... Again em,ty... Behind the radiator... ;ell% not outside the +indo+< ...Although% +hy not< Anything could come into her head... (-ll check ?ust in case... ('pens the #indo#, climbs up onto the #indo#sill, leans out, and "umbles #ith her hands abo%e her head outside the #indo#.) Hurry9 ( kne+ it9 Here it is9 :ound it9 Cool9 No+ (-ll get... (,till stretches all the #ay out on her tiptoes.) ANT)N (Runs into the room #ith a pistol in his hand and in excitement.) Rita% look +hat ( found9 (Assumes a stance, aims.) Hands u,9 (-ll shoot9 (A shot rings out.) )h9 R(TA

(2er$s in "ear, loses her balance and "alls out the #indo#.) 6ama8a8a8a999 ANT)N (Runs to the #indo#, shouts.) Rita9 Rita8a8a9 No8o8o8o9 )h% Rita% Rita... ;hat have you done... ()anging on the door.) 1)(C=. ( oudly, roughly.) ),en u,9 ),en u, no+9 ),en u,% this is the ,olice9

End

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