Ляпин Виктор Вениаминович
The Pigeon

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  • © Copyright Ляпин Виктор Вениаминович (snybegemota@yandex.ru)
  • Обновлено: 14/07/2016. 59k. Статистика.
  • Пьеса; сценарий: Драматургия
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  • Аннотация:
    "The Pigeon" is a comedy about a man, who has got a changeling bride, a changeling life and a changeling world. Peter got married during his business trip in one far godforsaken village. But it was just the beginning of his fantastic adventures in the new "beloved" family. Once we need to look at our One-and-Only and ask ourselves: - Do we live with the real loved ones or with unknown strange people in an unreal world?

  •    Victor Liapin
       The Pigeon
       Translated by Ivan Lyapin
      Look at your One-and-Only.
      Contact the author at:
      Email: snybegemota@yandex.ru
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victor.liapin
      Site: http://lit.lib.ru/editors/l/ljapin_w_w/
      SYNOPSIS: "The Pigeon" is a comedy about a man, who has got a changeling bride, a changeling life and a changeling world. Peter got married during his business trip in one far godforsaken village. But it was just the beginning of his fantastic adventures in the new "beloved" family. Once we need to look at our One-and-Only and ask ourselves: - Do we live with the real loved ones or with unknown strange people in an unreal world?
      PETER, the groom
      NICOLAS, the father
      MARY, Nicolas" wife
      HELEN, Nicolas" daughter
      Act 1
      The bedroom of the newlyweds. The bed is made with a new snow-white cover, several cushions on it. There are flowers and presents everywhere. Peter, very annoyed, rushes into the bedroom. He has a fiancé suit on. He is very drunk and perplexed. Nicolas, newly-made father-in-law, follows him. He carries two glasses, a bottle of vodka and a plate with appetizers on it.
      SONG OF THE GUESTS (Behind the scene).
      Why have you torn, my darling pigeon,
      Why have you torn my silly heart?
      You didn't love me like I loved you
      But you just played with me, bastard!
      I came to you like bird, like honey,
      I came to you in dress of bride.
      But you just thought about money,
      You smiled and told me: - Never mind.
      I'll get my knife; I'll come to garden,
      I'll force my knife into your heart,
      And you will drink your blood, my pigeon,
      Because my love'll do this, bastard.
      PETER. What is this song? Eh?
      NICOLAS. This is a wedding song..., folklore, funny, for the mood.
      PETER (Annoyed). I can"t get it... Where is Helen? Where is my bride? What the hell of wedding is it? Where did she disappear after the civil registry? You said she was coming. But four hours! Look, the guests are channeling off. What should I do?! It"s indecently after all!
      NICOLAS. Calm down boy, calm down. Don"t be so agitated. You see women"s affairs are like this: something to alter, something to change... Kind of hypochondria, you know. She will come. What can she do? It"s done all in all, nicely done. The wedding was quite the potato! Have another quick one? With herring, ah? Will you? (He runs vodka into the glasses and shoves one in Peter"s face) Here you are! Here! To us! (Nicolas empties the glass and makes Peter do the same)
      Sweetly... I mean bitterly... anyway... Let me fix your tie? It"s not straight, my dear son-in-law.
      PETER (Perplexed). Where is my wife? You didn"t answer.
      NICOLAS. Probably she"s adjusting her outfits. Or drying tears. You get undressed, lie down, have a rest. She is coming.
      We are simple, without any ceremonies. Did you see how many guests there were on the wedding? I"ve never seen a half of them! The other day I wouldn"t let them feet in here... But today - welcome! Today is a feast-day! (Peter"s face gets distorted)
      What"s with you? Do you feel bad? You look weak. Well, don"t spoil the bed. Should I bring a pan?
      PETER. No... no... It"s all because of nerves... Leave me alone. You"d better find Helen.
      NICOLAS. Well, no. You can"t be alone now.
      Helen, scared and timid, comes into the bedroom having a bridal outfit on.
      NICOLAS. Well, here she is. Here is your Helen...
      A pause. Peter looks at Helen uncomprehendingly at first, then dazedly. The poor man even becomes speechless for a moment.
      NICOLAS. So what? Are you frozen up? Here is your Helen!
      PETER (Dazedly). Wh-wh-what? Wh-who? (Looks at Helen blankly) ... but it is... you... but... not she...
      NICOLAS. Did you overdrink boy? What do you mean by this "not she"? That"s enough boy, cut the crap!
      PETER (Exclaims dreadfully getting sober in no time). It is not she!!! Are you kidding me?! What do you take me for?! What"s happening?! Who is it?!
      NICOLAS. Why are you yelling? What are you showing your voice for? Don"t be a child! You"d better have another quick one, here, with pickled mushrooms! (He shoves a fork with a mushroom on it in Peter"s face)
      PETER. Stop shoving it in my face! I don"t need your vodka! Who, who is she? Who? I"ve seen her for the first time in my life!
      NICOLAS. What an odd card... Guests are still here but he starts brawling... Why are you raising jacks like a stupid schoolboy? "For the first time in my life"! "Who is she?" "She, not she!" What a circus! Sit down! (Tries to sit him down) Come on, sit down scatty! Let"s have a drink and clear up the mess.
      PETER. Don"t touch me! Don"t touch! I won"t drink with you! Who is this woman?! What"s happening? What a stupid joke!
      Helen stands, tears on her face.
      NICOLAS. What a stubborn creature! Calm down at last! (Looks at Helen wincing as if he had a toothache) Sorry, go to the guests now... make them go away and all... We should talk it over a little bit... then come back.
      Helen rushes out of the bedroom, weeping.
      NICOLAS. What are you doing with my daughter, you bastard? Why did you make her cry? What have you thought up?
      PETER. I thought up??? Did you go mad? What did you palm off on me? It"s just unprecedentedly!
      NICOLAS. Ok, calm down boy. The fat is in the fire. You got married, became a member of our family - so observe our law. No need to bristle up. No need to make your own rules.
      PETER (Jumps). Are you serious? Really, are you serious? This comedy - serious? My feet will not be here in a minute. I"ve married one. And you brought the other to my bedroom.
      NICOLAS. Well. The conversation is promised to be long.
      PETER. No conversation. What conversation are you talking about? Now, immediately, listen, I get out of here and nobody can stop me.
      Ok, for the last time - where is my lawful wife? Where is Helen? Where is your daughter?
      NICOLAS. Some moments ago she was here, my daughter, and therefore, your wife. She stood in front of you! You made her weep and run out of the bedroom!
      PETER. But for the first time in my life... Did you take me for a madman? I"ve drunk but I"m still full-conscious.
      NICOLAS. Not full, you see. Ok. What don"t you like? The girl is positive, notable, got used to housework. Doesn"t drink, likes sewing, doesn"t run after men. She is even three-course-graduated some years ago.
      PETER. Listen..., I don"t understand... Are you... Are you sane? What girl? Why are you talking nonsense? I didn"t know her, I don"t know her and I don"t wanna know her. Give me back my bride!
      NICOLAS. What a stubborn man you are! Keep harping on the same like a wound-up: "Give me back, give me back!" No one has taken her away. There was just a misapprehension, a mistake. You just got it wrong in the heat of the moment.
      PETER. What did I get wrong? What "in the heat of the moment"? Why are you horsing me? Nowadays, in the morning, at the registry, your daughter, Helen, and I, rings, you see, we exchanged them, drank champagne, you congratulated me, kissed me with your one-week-booze-breathe. Was it or was it not?
      NICOLAS. Yes, it was, Peter, it was. We have the same booze breathe, by the way. It was exactly as you say. And it"s written down in every paper, and all stamps are pressed. And here"s my daughter, the only one, Helen, take her, hold sway over her, love each other, and ten thousand rubles in addition.
      PETER. What?
      NICOLAS. Ten thousand. I"ve just decided... A gift, so to say. Surprise.
      PETER. But she is not THAT!!!
      NICOLAS. Here is a little mistake of yours, my dear son-in-law. She is THAT, exactly THAT, the only one, beloved, raised from the cradle by me, for almost forty years.
      PETER (Dazedly). What???
      NICOLAS. Thirty two.
      PETER. You are mad. Let me go. I"m leaving.
      NICOLAS. No, you are not, my friend.
      Mary"s head is peering out the door.
      MARY. Helen is asking: "Are you soon?" May she come in?
      NICOLAS (Shouting angrily at her). Don"t bother us! Wait! (He locked the door) Why women are so hasty?
      Let"s start again... not to get mixed up. A week ago you came to our village on business to fix the engineering tools at the factory. Right?
      PETER. I don"t understand what you are talking about. What has it to do with it?
      NICOLAS. Don"t confuse me. Answer me: Am I right?
      PETER. Well, yes. Where is my bride?
      NICOLAS. Hold it. To my work gang. I was your master, I held a candle to you. I afforded you a room for free so you didn"t have to pay for a hotel. And, frankly speaking, there is no hotel in our village. You got acquainted with my daughter. Love was started, hanging about the gardens and backyards. Right? Right or not right?
      PETER. But she is not she!
      NICOLAS. Let"s talk straightforward. To some extent she is not she. But it depends on the point of view. Because on the paper - it"s tight as a fish"s asshole, exactly she is she.
      PETER. I don"t understand..., my head is swimming...
      NICOLAS. But I"m explaining to you, numskull. If you talk about that Nastya, who was hanging with you..., kinda instead of my Lenochka... Don"t worry about her - she has being earned her keep by this business for a long time. She"s making money, you see. She is something like bait. Like a pigeon. For example, you, are you a hunter?
      PETER. What Nastya? What pigeon?
      NICOLAS. Are you pretending, somehow, to be such a fool? You seem to be almost an engineer, technically savvy. I tell you a full hour. That Nastya, who was hanging with you, instead of Lenochka, she does it with every newcomer. She is... how to explain it correctly... she"s lived on it, ballbuster, for the last five years. Everyone knows it here. Caught the trick of it! For the last five years she"s turning a penny at the eight wedding in a row! And no falter.
      PETER. What damn is Nastya? What the fuck is that "turn a penny"?
      NICOLAS. Did you think that she was claiming to be my Lenochka the whole week just for nothing? Putting out with you in holts and sheds just for a thank you? She"s, my boy, such an educated bitch, she can lead everybody by the nose. I, personally, buddy, to tell the truth, with her... once... Barely picked up the pieces at home after that!
      She got five grands for you and Lenochka, without batting an eye. And tomorrow, you"ll see, this brazen hussy will come to our wedding.
      This Nastyukha is a fire! She"ll bite your head off. You"ll live with us and you"ll find out everything about her. What a gift she has - seduces fellas. She can noose everyone for two days. But she has nothing herself. One-use foul floozy.
      PETER. (Look at Nicolas horror-stricken) Do you... do you mean that she is... she and you... that she was not... that she is not your daughter at all... But how did I take tea with milk and with her? How did we exchange the rings?
      NICOLAS. We are all kinsfolk here. The registrar at the registry office is my wife"s sister-in-law. What"s the difference for her whose finger to put the ring on and with whom to bite after to Mendelson"s march?
      You try to come stay in our shoes. There are almost no young worthy fellas in this country. Channeled in all directions. The town is 200 kilometers from here. There"s wilderness and forests around, and wolves are yowling. And we, domestic, have nothing to go away. I can"t give up the property. Thank God the factory is still slating. And expatriates come there sometimes. I"ll tell you the truth as it is, Peter. All the expatriates are apportioned beforehand for two years. You think you"ve come here to fix tools? To hell with all these fucking tools!
      PETER. I do not understand.
      NICOLAS. What? What can"t you understand here? I say, we"ve been playing the eighth wedding for the last five years. Our Nastya"s work! Gifted molly. Actress! Damn Shulzhenko! Marilyn Monroe!
      PETER. So this is all ... deceit? So you"ve played a trick on me, haven"t you?
      NICOLAS. Why do you say so? Ass about face, we"ve bailed you out. Instead of sluttish whore we"ve hunted out such a good partner for you. Tearing her out of the heart.
      PETER. Well! ... Well, well, well! (Going round in circles) How have we stopped so low, Peter? Ah? Isn"t it funny? They thought to wrap me around finger in this ends of the earth! Do you realize what I"ll do with all of you?
      So. That"s it. I can"t bear the sight of you. Call the police! Otherwise I"ll go to the guard station myself!
      NICOLAS. You don"t need to. My cousins work there. They"ll come soon, just come off duty and be here.
      My Lenochka took a shine on you all at once. She"s silent. But I see it, the father, none the less. My heart tells me - you"ll get on well with each other, warm-heartedly. Our girls aren"t petted, not like those townies. They don"t ask of much and for caress they thank.
      PETER. I saw a photographer there, out front, he hasn"t gone away yet, a journalist of a local newspaper. I"ll raise a big smoke. People! Help! People! Help!
      NICOLAS. There, there! (Listens out) Don"t cry, sweet, don"t cry. Don"t demean yourself. The last groom of Makarikha terribly boiled over and cried, so, at first our mugs smacked him around and then took him to hospital. Painted him with iodine for three weeks. Till he sobered up. I wish you all the best. God knows, I take care of you. The guests have drunk a lot, they have the feast, you know. The folks are kindhearted, but when you"re in the road, well, they can lose their temper. It"s a hard time nowadays, you should see.
      PETER. You don"t know me! You know me bad! I"m not giving up easily!
      Peter rushes to the window and throws it open. There is thick steel window-guard on the windows.
      NICOLAS. Prescribed. Not for the first time. You probably forgot that your passport was taken away. And you signed a paper at the registry.
      PETER. What are you talking about? What paper? What are you implying?
      NICOLAS. It is the registrar who wised us up after the second case. Kind of marriage contract or so. Say, if you for no reason pull a gimmick we can do any number of things with you. Either in prison or by cash. Under the Constitution.
      PETER. I haven"t signed anything.
      NICOLAS. You"ve signed it on the dotted line along with marriage certificate. Good-sister is a hell of a crafty woman.
      PETER. That"s not possible! Tell me that I"m just dreaming, that you"re kidding me! Only yesterday, you and I, we talked about life till 2 a.m., we played chess...
      How could you?! What a pig you are after that?... Ah!... (He clutches his heart)
      NICOLAS. (Craftily squirts out vodka into a glass, half full) Here, take this, you"ll feel better. That"s my boy! Chase with mushroom!
      PETER. (He takes a mouthful, without thinking; then has a fit of coughing) I"m in a hurry... it"s urgent, on a bus... I"m waited...
      NICOLAS. Yeah, yeah, yeah, calm down, just calm down. Everything is prescribed. The mistress of the auto station is the bridesmaid.
      PETER. What?
      NICOLAS. Well, they are messmates with my Lenochka. From the school as thick as thieves!
      ...Well, I see you"ve changed your tune. Do you agree or what?...
      PETER. (Yawling) A-a-a-a-a!...
      NICOLAS. (Disappointed) You doubt... What else should I say to convince you? I"ll do my best for your own foolish good. I could let it all hang out - go, get married with that randy, but I feel sorry for you. You"re not a bad fellow. Just can go for nothing. They"ll take you for a ride. Make your life miserable.
      That Nastya, plague on her, only the lazy didn"t have an affair with her. Easy meet. Do you want to wife her? Well, go, do it! But in that case, make yourself scarce!
      Look, how many people there are at your wedding. Congratulated you cousinly. Everyone with presents. Say, who should I call? Just anyone! The council chair or the managing director. They"d tell you the same: don"t be a goat, don"t press your luck, take a good girl and live fair and square. Nastya won"t get up and go away! Here"s her business, her earnings. Next business-traveler - and there she will be. Our accountant, Ivan Timofeevich, has two daughters, marriageable enough. Poor man, worried to death.
      Why have you made a face? Let"s have another quick one?
      PETER. I"m not going to drink with you, Judah.
      NICOLAS. You don"t have to. We are separate. This is for you and this is for me. This is your chaser and this is mine. As though we were not familiar at all. I can even turn my back if you want.
      Peter makes a painful face and takes a glass. They drink, without looking at each other.
      PETER. Why on earth did I agree on this trip? What devil forced me to say "yes"! After all it was Gavrilin who had to go!
      NICOLAS. It"s the fate. You suit us down to the ground.
      PETER. How can"t you understand that you"re just wasting your time? I don't want to marry your daughter and I won"t! You spit to my soul! Get out from me, for Christ's sake, hence with your face! What kind of dad are you after that? What kind of father to your daughter child? It's scary to imagine what I will do with your daughter if, perish the thought, I stay at your home for one more night!
      NICOLAS. Do you mean teaching her a conjugal lesson? Well, you may. Why not? We do not forbid this. A pike lives in the lake to keep all fish awake. The wife must be afraid of her husband. Though you will not beat too much. You don"t have the stomach to do it. I"ve kept an eye on you for the whole week. I'm telling you, you suit us down to the ground.
       ... Maybe, you want to look at family photos. Do you want? My Lenushka looks not very pretty on photos. She is better in practice. A quiet girl, modest... Or here's an album - her passions, a hobby. It is a collection of mantises. What did she find in them? They, these mantises, are very strange, you know. Look, look - all sorts, all kinds. Incidentally this male-mantis cannot bang up a female until she has not bitten his head off. Ha-ha. Such a caprice of evolution. So funny, isn"t it?
      PETER. Go away.
      NICOLAS. Well, I do not insist. I'll leave. I'll tell the family that the groom is tired, wants to be alone. Wedding, bro, is like an earthquake, tsunami. You can"t stop it. People get excited. I"ll lock you, stay here even until the Second Coming. The doors are oak. We will drop your natives a line that you"ve been married, found your destiny. While you - under lock and key..., on bread and water..., kind of, you see, correctional tasks...
       The first groom at Mitrofanov's house was sitting like this for three months. He waited for leg-up. Then he gave up. Now he works in a factory as a foreman..., got an apartment. His daughter was born in the day of the Virgin of Mercy. He even does not drink ... almost. Life, buddy, life teaches sense. Do not tempt me, Peter Dmitrievich. Morals are severe in our village, but fair. We stand by our friends through thick and thin.
       Listen, let us have no nonsense! I"ll bring Lenochka to you now. You"ll take it all round. And at this time I will calm my relatives down. I will say to them: - Don't worry, everything"s okay, things are looking up, bla-bla-bla, bla-bla-bla... Because, frankly speaking, our people are too irritable now. If they start to beat, nobody will stop. I hope, you understand..., someone drank too much. It's wedding, you see. They are waiting. What a wedding is it without bashing groom"s face?
       Pause. Peter turns to Nicolas. Nicolas sees Peter's tear-stained face.
      PETER. Nicolay Kapitonovich, my dear, I beg you, let me go! In three days my trip will be over. I shall come back from here to my Karbyshev-town; I'll forget your poky hole of a place, like a bad dream. And it will be a relief for you too. Do not commit a sin. I have good parents. They raised me, they gave me education. How will I look in their eyes now?
      NICOLAS. You will look in their eyes very well. Wait, our families will be friends soon, I"m positive about it.
       ( Grimacing ) Okay. I will even add to you one more thousand rubles. But this is my last word. Listen, Pete! If you want, we can first make wedding ceremony here and then all together shoot off, right to your Karbyshev?
      PETER. I can"t bear the sight of you.
       Is that the way you can do with a human being? I'm not some cattle. You, put yourself in my place. I have never seen her.
      NICOLAS. You're some real peasant, I'm sorry, Peter Dmitrievich. An ordinary peasant! Bourgeois! "Seen, not seen" I see my wife every day, forty years. And what? Has that changed anything? No. It's just getting worse and worse day by day. But I do not make such scenes.
      PETER. What are you talking about? I do not understand you. I feel bad. Tell me, Nicolay Kapitonovich, are you joking? Let's face it, are you kidding me? (Sees familiar chess, frantically grabs them) Let's play chess like yesterday. And all will be forgotten naturally. (Hastily puts figure) Now, now ... I like this game and you like this game. You play very well. (Takes the chess figure) I will play this way. Now you are...
      NICOLAS (Resets the chess figure from the board). Relatives are waiting. From my side mostly there are normal people..., quiet farmers, intellectuals, hard workers. But from wife side..., ho-ho-ho...
      PETER. It's mean you're serious. Show me her photo! ... (Takes a photo with shaking hands) ...No, I even cannot see the face. ...I do not see anything. ...I do not understand anything.
      NICOLAS. You're worried, I see. It will pass. Need to live. And in the books of the wise saying goes - "No matter what happens, we must live". On the other hand, now you have a family, a home, work and close people. They"ll always come to your rescue. They"ll never leave you.
      PETER. I cannot, Nikolai Kapitonovich, I cannot live like that...
      NICOLAS. Do not want? Do you loath us? (Unlocks the door, sits down in the armchair) Go away! Go away to the four winds!
       Nicolas rushes to the door and opens it. Someone from the audience immediately beats him in the jaw. Nicolas flies into the room again.
      PETER. What"s happened? (Amazed, rubbing his aching jaw) What was it?
      NICOLAS. That must be wife's relatives. Or my cousins got back from their duty. Shall I call them?
       I cannot understand what are you so stubborn? Do I offer you something bad, second-rate or needless? She is an honest girl..., the time has come..., a nice flat..., money..., position in society... It's a real dream of a traveler.
      You"re already twenty-seven years old. You aren"t going to knock about Russia and live in the hotels with bedbugs forever, are you?
       I tell you my story. When I was at a dance party the brothers of my current wife, Marya Mikhailovna, knocked seven kinds of shit of me. Also by mistake. If you look, everything in our life is done by some mistake. Some guy invited her to dance, but they thrashed me. What to do? And I married. And for forty years we are living with her in perfect harmony.
       Nonetheless I had a lot of romanticism in my soul and a pretty girl in the city. I wanted to go to the North and started a new life. But..., but... time works wonders. Time milled everything. One does not know what way has intended for him. Just humility and kindness, buddy, that"s all we need. And people will respect you, believe me.
      PETER. But listen..., please, listen to me... Why would not do that honestly, free from fraud?
      NICOLAS. (With feeling) How? ...Well, how could we do that honestly? Your trip is only two weeks long. For two weeks my Lenushka couldn't even have time to get acquainted with you. If you forget, I'll tell you - she is a modest girl, brought up. She need to sob in a pillow for two nights before just coming up to you. You are a chump, real chump. Can"t you understand even such simple things, you potatohead? Do you know what is "maiden pride", "maiden honor"? Or they"re just empty phrases for you? No, brother, we are poor people, but proud. We know our worth.
      PETER. I'm tired. Give me a break.
      NICOLAS. Have a drink? (Peter"s silent)
       ...It seems I"m backing the wrong horse. Made a mistake. Overemphasized you. Well ... bad blood. A small fry.
       I guess I go now. I am so upset with you. You live like that, you dream, you build plans, dragging on your back the whole cart. And then some coaching wimp turns all your world in a minute. He does not like, you see, how things are arranged in life of humans. And he begins to walk in boots on them! That is not right for him, this does not fit him! Cheapskate! Provocator! To break the fate is simple. But how will you watch in people's eyes then? What will you tell your children?
       Now we are leaving. I'll open the door and give you a kick in the ass - damn you, provocateur! And all the people will get the cheese. All the people will stay with nothing, with the cheated hopes. Not the wedding, but big nothing! Bluff! And shame on my gray hair! Get up! Come on!
       Go-go! Get your ass into gear in my house! So right now I'll tell people: - Here he is, refuses to your wedding! Do with him whatever you want! In what sense whatever you want? Ha, in every sense, whatever you want! How much of such empty people disappear in Russia without a trace! But I am leaving. Let George do it!
       Nicolas takes Peter by collar and drags him to the door. Peter takes a few steps. His legs give way. Peter faints.
       Peter, his arms outstretched, is standing in an unreal ray of moonlight. Nicolas deftly undresses him.
      PETER (Shrugs off from visions as if they were flies). The mantises... Shoo, damn! Gone, gone! What is wrong with me?! But what if all of them are mantises? Bite off the head - and goodbye ... and let's live without head...
       Peter like a blind man finds and feels a face of Nicolas.
      PETER. ...Mom?
      NICOLAS" VOICE. Yes.
      PETER. Am I dead?
      NICOLAS" VOICE. Not yet. You are sleeping.
      PETER. Mom, I came home. I returned to my native Karbyshev.
      NICOLAS" VOICE. So what?
      PETER. Mom, I'm free again.
      NICOLAS" VOICE. Freedom - the greatest deception.
      PETER. In the morning I will go to our milk shop, then to the factory. I will offer a report on the trip. Here it is - happiness.
      NICOLAS" VOICE. I do not understand why you do not love her.
      PETER (Frightened). Mom, is that you? ...Is that you? ...Mom!
       Nicolas disappears. Blackout.
       Act 2
       The same bedroom. Peter comes to his senses after fainting. He lies on the bed, stripped to his underpants.
       Peter jumps up and inspects himself. He looks for his clothes. In the rush he finds the pants and the shirt and runs to the door. He is trying to open the door, several times pushing the door with the shoulder. He cannot. The rope is tied tightly to the door and seems to keep it. Peter grabs the rope and goes on his knees for it, like Ariadne for her clew. The rope leads him to the stool behind the curtain at the window, the rope is firmly attached to it. He sees someone's feet on a stool. He raises his head.
       ... Fat Nicolas is standing on a stool with a noose around his neck.
      PETER. Are you out of your mind? What is it? Is it a joke? Are you kidding? If only I had known... I could"ve ... What would"ve happened?
      NICOLAS. (With tears in her eyes) What must be, must be. It's inevitable. Death is better than shame.
      PETER. Stop it, I tell you. Stop this comedy. Get off! Get off the stool! It is not funny after all.
      NICOLAS. Go away. Were going - now go. I can"t bear the sight of you. Goodbye, Judas.
       Nicolas determinately takes a step into the abyss from his stool and hangs in the air. Peter rushes and catches him, barely holding husky Nicolas. Somehow he managed to put the stool under Nicolas" legs again. He grabs a knife from the window sill and cuts the rope with a noose.
       Nicolas falls down to the floor. Peter supports him and unties the knot on Nicolas" neck.
      NICOLAS. (Wheezing) What for? Who asked you?
      PETER. Nikolai Kapitonitch, you just calm down, please, calm down... You're just like a child. It is not the right thing to do. Everything is okay.
      NICOLAS. What is okay, Petia, my dear, what is okay? (In tears and snot) What do we live for, Petia, what for? For example, me. I swarmed like a mole and collected grain by grain every pretty penny. Dreamed. About procreation. About grandchildren. About a quiet old age under the wing of a good son-in-law.
      PETER. Maybe you"ll get everything later... next time...
      NICOLAS. "Next time"? Nothing will be next time..., but shame and contempt. The whole village"ll make fun of me. Cows on the farm will give the ha-ha. On the streets boys will poke the fingers: - Look, that clown"s going, whose Lenka was abandoned right at the wedding! The only one in the village! White crow! You hit me in my heart.
      PETER. Oh, please... What did I do? It's my life, you see, my life. You also would put yourself in my position! What on earth is this? She married me without me...I was roped in without being consulted, I wasn't asked about that. And I'm also to blame?!
      NICOLAS. We are to blame for all as soon as we are born. Angels no longer live among us.
      PETER. You, Nikolai Kapitonitch, are a strange man. You talk like a child. And the whole family... is something else, I have to say.
      NICOLAS. So, have a talk with me! Maybe you will find not only evil in me and in my little family. And you..., what are you doing? It"s just inhuman to send an old man into the grave at one stroke.
      PETER. Oh, my... who sent? Who sent?
      NICOLAS. (Carefully and thoroughly inspects Peter) You...
      PETER. Ha-ha. It's savage! Try to explain then!
      NICOLAS. What should I explain? It"s as clear as a day. Every man has in his life the most important hour..., when he is alone with his fate..., when he is open..., without armor..., when he is defenseless. At this time he is like the turtle got out of its shell..., like the God's chickabidy. You can gobble up him at this moment as easy as winking because he does not have protection from this world.
       Next moment you"ll leave, shake the dust from your feet and forget about me and all our family... And I"ll climb back into the loop, and no one can stop me. And they will understand, because one cannot live with such a shameful wound..., because you hit me at the very heart.
      PETER. Why do you panic? Big deal, some groom didn"t suit! ... So what? Just an episode in life, the instant dream. And what kind of a groom I am? A mere name... And I was not going at all... You..., you will find a hundred times better one!
      NICOLAS. You do not understand me or ... or you"re just mocking me ... From every possible side I have been courting you - all in vain. Who can I find after that? We have a queue here. All travelers in the village are apportioned for the next five years. I'm telling you - I was given only one chance in my life, the last one ... How much humiliation ...How much shame...
       The whole month I was drinking moonshine with our chairman of the village council. Though, I, frankly speaking, cannot stand him. Ambitious fool. A bore. A womanizer. But there's no choice. He decides who will loan Nastka. He's the power.
       Do you want I will be with you as open as the day?
      PETER. Well, after all!
      NICOLAS. No, you don"t brush me off, please, listen to me. Is it my fault? Is it my fault that I want to continue damn bloodline?! Where's the bad here?
      PETER. Nowhere! But I have nothing to do with that!
      NICOLAS. You have, odd card, you have. You"re my procreation ... you, bastard! Fool-fish sneaks for spawning to the upper reaches of the river - knows that will never return, but sneaks! To Death! Ripping of its belly on the rocks till it bleeds! Postpone caviar! Progeny! And I do that! I know that you are my death..., the alien..., the adoptee..., that you will rake in my farm, make a beggar of me..., but against all odds I am still waiting for you, I am calling you, I am opening my soul to you. The mystical law of life. How can I hammer this into your empty head?!
      PETER. Why on earth do I need your farm, your pots and gardens?! No, exactly, it is just a bad dream. It can"t be true.
      NICOLAS. But yes, it can. Little you know people. Too young and snotty.
       Tipsy Mary, Nicolas"s wife, appears like a disheveled witch. She sees Peter. She looks at him with drunk, hungry eyes. Then she suddenly spreads her hands and starts the hunting. He goes to the window - she goes to the window. He steps aside - and she steps aside too. Peter fearfully retreats and freezes.
      MARY. Fantastic! So itty-bitty! So chubby! Just like a honey! Marmalade! You, Peter Dmitrievich, in this groom's suit - just marmalade!
      PETER. Damn you, Mary Mikhailovna! What do you frighten me for? I think you went mad.
      MARY. Don't damn me, darling! Don't damn an old woman... Well, I am a little drunk..., went on a spree a little... But today I can do anything. Today, Peter, you're mine. The wait is over! Bore until!
      NICOLAS. To what did you bear until?
      MARY. You shut up! I'll talk to you later and specifically. (Grabs him by the forelock and begins to drag him on the room) Who pulled out of my coffret three hundred rubles this morning?!
      NICOLAS. (Howls) I did it for the wedding!
      MARY. What wedding? What wedding? For the wedding all have been paid and overpaid long ago without you!
      NICOLAS. Leggo, fool! Leggo, Masha! Leggo, my dear! Not in front of the son in law!
      MARY. (Quits hold of the forelock, mimicking him) "Not in front of the son-in-law"! How wailed! How lamented! You should"ve wailed this way at the registry office! (To Peter) Sorry, Peter Dmitrievich, we, you know, hob and nob, as a family. I'll be back, Pete sweet, I"ll be back soon. You wait me, do not go from here. (Exits)
      NICOLAS. (Painfully stroking his forelock) Did you see that? It"s all right, she was even caressing. Why are you looking? Isn"t she nice?
      PETER. (Frightened) Ah?
      NICOLAS. I say, a fire-woman. They all are the same. Snakes, Cobras, Vipers. Your Lenka, truly speaking, is not so powerful yet. You need one as my Mary - plenty of excitement. But before wedding she quiet as the grave - ...thin reed ... the dandelion ... one could break her in two as easy as damn. No sooner she had banded me, gained juice, when she spread the wings and tentacles. For women, Petia, family life always does a power of good. Their nature has such peculiarity. Bloodsuckers, in a word. Ah, by the way, why are we talking all about me and about me? It is your feast today!
      PETER. Pinch me.
       Nicolas pinches his cheek with delight. Peter cries out in pain.
      PETER. Oh! You"ve such a brown thumb...
      NICOLAS. Have I? Ugh, only a caressing touch... Wait, you"ll get to know Marya Mikhailovna better...
       Nicolas thoughtfully looks somewhere into the distance.
      PETER. Nikolai Kapitonitch...
      NICOLAS. (Waking up) Ah?
      PETER. How can you do it?
      NICOLAS. What can I do?
      PETER. How can you live like that..., and ...and also offer me this? Well... (Makes a vague gesture with his hands, showing around) ...so there you go...
      NICOLAS. What? What is "so there you go"? That, my dear, is a love. A real feeling. You probably do not know what is feeling. You"ve probably never loved. You've only pretended all the time, have you? Just played games...
      PETER. Why do you think so?
      NICOLAS. Well ... just came to my mind. Life should be loved..., by all your heart..., by all your chine. Please, do not be offended. I understand this all. And I even, perhaps, approve it. Because love, buddy - is ... is..., this is such a mincing machine, God save the mark... Bones crunch and crackle, and the heart is torn.
      PETER. So, you mean, I'm not capable? Am I defective somehow?
      NICOLAS. I do not know, Pete. That's what you should answer yourself. Without prompters. My job is - to get the daughter off. And yours - to love..., or to pretend.
       ...Okay... Why do we go around in a circle, mumble and weasel out? If it"s a no, let it be so. Obviously - you are too unfledged for a married life, you are not ripe yet... Why waste our time? I'd rather go to talk with the guests, say them "Goodbye", and watch TV - news, crime... And you do here what you want... like... get on as best you can... you know... Freedom is for the free...
       Nicolas quickly goes to the door, throws aside a useless rope, pulls the key out of his pants, unlocks the door and opens it to the other side. Peter, dumbfounded, watches the door slamming after Nicolas, realizing that the whole story of the hanging was just a comedy.
       ...Helen appears at the room from nowhere. Peter, on seeing her, stayed put. Helen gently takes a few steps toward him.
      PETER. Are you living or my hallucination?
      HELEN. Have you hallucinations?
      PETER. At your home a normal one can get what not. Hell of a day, isn"t it?
      HELEN. Yes, wedding...
      PETER. You said it! I imagined my own wedding in a different way. Why are you always turning away from me, like into the shade? Don"t you want me to see your face? Drop it! Fiddle! I"ve already got used to everything.
      HELEN. No. I"m not... Just ... you're a stranger to me ... I'm embarrassed...
      PETER. Oh, yes! Ooh, yeah. "Stranger", "embarrassed"... It"s funny.
      HELEN. Here, in our village there is a pond..., near the village council. Two swans lived there..., had come at spring. I don"t know how Daddy made an agreement with the chairman. He was coming after him for a month. He sold the car. But he got him round. These two swans have been roasted for our wedding festive meal..., one for you..., and one for me.
      PETER. What a load of crap!
      HELEN. No, really. That's true. It was the first time I"ve realized that I love my father. But you... - I don"t know...
      PETER. Tell me, what did you come for?
      HELEN. Me? ...There's a back door. This door leads to the courtyard. Here's the key. The chief of the bus station is my friend. The bus goes to the district center in half an hour.
      PETER. You... what? I do not understand. Are you suggesting that I run away?
      HELEN. You are still young. All in your life will still be. And such happiness..., I do not want such broken happiness for me.
      PETER. (With tears in his eyes) Helen, my dear , my precious , you can"t imagine what a noble deed you are doing for me... you're taking me out of the loop..., you're giving me a life... I do not know how to thank you for that... (Hastily looking for his clothes and putting them on) This is noble..., this is so noble..., this is too noble. You even cannot imagine how noble it is.
       Suddenly, almost fully dressed, he stays put.
      PETER. Are you..., are you serious? Aren"t you kidding me? Maybe it's my hallucination again... A?
      HELEN. You"re still a child, really. It's nothing to joke about. Is it possible to joke about such things?
      PETER. Oh, it is. It's easily possible. You can ask your daddy... Listen, maybe you need money for unhanding me? Okay, that's okay then. So I will send. Just when I get home, I"ll immediately send. How much? Just tell me, how much?
      HELEN. I"m doing it ... for love...
      PETER. Do you really let me go? Let me go... so strange. (He sits down on the bed) My legs refuse to go. As if they were wobbly, you know. This has never happened with me. Oh, and head is swimming. Is it the blood pressure? Well, I"ve never complained about the health before.
      HELEN. Should I call daddy?
      PETER. (Screams) No! (Sits down) How did this all happen to me? I lived a quiet life... and now look at me! Ended up in a jam...
      HELEN. I feel sorry for you. You are so timid, so pitiable, and so awkward. I imagined our meeting in a totally different way. I"ve dreamed about it for many years.
      PETER. Yes, I know, more than thirty.
      HELEN. All the same, there is something attractive in you. I'll miss you.
      PETER. (Timidly) So I ... so ... will I go?
      HELEN. (Nods at the back door) Lay the key in the grass near the gate.
       Peter goes to the back door, carefully and gently unlocks it.
       ...Behind the door is Nicolas with the gun.
      NICOLAS. (As if nothing had happened, he hugs Peter and friendly drags him back to the room) That's what I forgot to ask you, dear Peter Dmitrievich. How do you feel about the fact that we start some sort of a small joint business with you? Sort of a small family business? In spiritual, so to say, agreement or arrangement?
      HELEN. Dad! How dare you!
      PETER. (Shoots a way out from the embrace of Nicolas) Stop it, Helen. Do not flare up. It"s no use. That will never do. The excellent comedy! The family duo! In four hands! Mate in two moves! Daughter is starting, daddy is finishing. Wonderful!
      NICOLAS. I told you, my sweet girl - he does not believe us. Look at him. Doubting Thomas, God forgive me!
      HELENA. (Sobbing) How will I live? How will I look in our children"s eyes?
      PETER. (Changing countenance) What? What did you say? What "our children"?
      NICOLAS. The future children. Helen meant this. She wants to have children with you.
      ELENA. Dad!!! Don't you dare!!!
      PETER. You are nimble people. You stick up for each other. A strong family..., not like us...
      NICOLAS. I'm telling you - you're in good hands.
      HELEN. He does not love us, daddy.
      NICOLAS. (To Peter) I can"t understand. Am I offering you anything inferior, anything bad that you're so balk and pose as an inaccessible virgin? I did not offer you to kill anybody or something like that. I offer you a happy family life, house and home. Always fed, shod, dressed and nose in tobacco. Beloved wife, obedient at hand, and lovely kids, running around, yelling, screaming and kissing. Again, you have the honor and respect in society. What makes yours face so distorted?
       (Sadly) Oh, Peter, my bosom buddy. You have no reason to mourn, believe me. Life is here; outside of here is only the emptiness. Look at me. Husband is husband. (To Helen) Come on, Lena, go to the guests. Set the table in a roar. Guests cannot wait.
       Nicholas leads sobbing Helen away. Peter stays alone.
       Mary enters. Peter hangs back from her. Mary catches Peter, herding him into the bed, chairs him and sits down beside him. She puts her head on his shoulder.
      MARY. She does not know how. And I know how.
      PETER. (Frightened) What do you know how?
      MARY. You are unreasonable lovebirds. I"ll teach you.
      PETER. I do not want. I do not want to study anything under you.
      MARY. Little silly, you even can"t imagine. Petia, my dear angelet...
      PETER. (Frightened) ...What?
      MARY. Things just aren't working out properly. Guests are too nervous, raring to come in. You need a different approach.
      PETER. I beg you. Leave me. You..., you have...
      MARY. Just imagine that I am she. Now, I am she. Understand?
      PETER. Who?
      MARY. Your Helen. My chickabiddy! Why don"t you love me?
      PETER. What's wrong with you, Maria Mikshailovna? Come to your senses! What the devil do you mean?
      MARY. May be I"ve been waiting for you for all my life. You may be was my dream since childhood - a plump, rosy-cheeked, kissless maiden... Everything in me is longing for you, calling me into your arms. I have no strength to resist.
       Knocks him down on the bed and lies down beside him.
      PETER. My heart will cease to beat right now.
       He is trying to get out of her hands. But he cannot.
      PETER. Stop it, Maria Mikchailovna! Please!
      MARY. Do not hide! Do not hide from your destiny! When I saw you, I immediately realized: here you are, my only one, my bright-eyed falcon, my radiant sun!
      PETER. Who??? What are you saying???
      MARY. (Affectionately looks at him) You are my lifelong sweetheart! King! Despot! Alexander the Great! The song of my lips, whispering of my breath! If you leave - I will die...
      PETER. Cut out the nonsense, Maria Mikchailovna! What do you? Now Nikolai Kapitonovich or Helen can enter!
      MARY. Let them come! Let them! Let them see! My horrent! I will lay a bed of red rose petals for you. You will drink from gold and eat on silver. I will grant all your wishes, the most cherished and the most bashful, because I am - yours, I am yours with my every small vein. Dawn will run up - and I'm under yours wing. Last summer lightning will go off - but nothing can pull us apart.
      PETER. Who you are? From where? For what? Lord, what is this? What hell of a day is it today!?
      MARY. This is the day when our fortunes came together. (Trying to kiss Peter) I will craw on my knees in front of you..., I will kiss your feet, your traces...
      PETER. It is not right. It can't be done!
      MARY. It can.
      PETER. Don't do that, Maria Mikchailovna! Get over yourself!
      MARY. It's not me, it is she.
      PETER. What for? I do not want! I just want - the autumn..., and I'm alone..., in a birch grove..., walking on rusty leaves..., and necessarily white trunks, and through the branches - the clean, blue, glassy, icy sky...
      MARY. Kitten! Poet! I'll give you everything, everything on the first call! Your slave, your shadow! Take my life! Do with it what you want, just be with me; just let me touch you at least occasionally, catch the edge of your shirt, look into your eyes, veiled with languor...
      PETER. (Starts laughing hysterically) Ha-ha -ha! ...Khe-khe-khe! Uh - uh! ...Help me anyone!
      MARY. For many years I"ve been waiting for this love. You"re saying - and I am hearing the ringing of small bells in my brain.
      PETER. Maria Mikchailovna! ...Uh-ha-ha. You frighten me! Come to your senses! You - the mother of the family , the hostess , the wife of this ... what"s his name ... oh my God ...Nicolas!
      MARY. Yes.
      PETER. You are making the wedding of your daughter.
      MARY. Yes. Speak with me. Speak with me.
      PETER. Do you hear your own words? Where do I come in?
      MARY. Fainting. The love. I was thunderstruck. Nothing can stop me, nothing! I will level all obstacles to the ground, I will make mincemeat out of them, and I will chop up and crunch them!
      PETER. Crazy! I feel as if something like a toad were dancing by bare feet in my belly. No, this cannot be true! ...Mary Mikchailovna, am I dreaming you?
      MARY. Yes. I"m dreaming you too. And this dream is now forever, until the end of the days. Come to me! Come to me! (He reaches for Peter and kisses him on the lips)
       The door opens with a creak and Nicolas and Helen enter the room with a tray of appetizers.
       Peter and Mary simultaneously pull the quilt, hiding their faces. Now Nicolas and Helen do not see their faces, but the two pairs of naked legs stick out from under the sheets.
      NICOLAS. Look, Peter Dmitrievich, look, my dear, what a mistress. Not mistress, but a dream. She carries fresh snacks for you, all the insults are forgotten...
       Nicolas is looking amazedly at the two pairs of legs, sticking out from under the sheets. He comes up and pulls off the quilt, exposing Peter and Mary.
      MARY. ...And so?
      HELEN. (At a loss) A -ah..., what is it? ...daddy? ...Peter Dmitrievich..., how could you?
       Nikolas fastidiously throws a quilt to Peter.
      PETER. (Erasing the bright scarlet lipstick out of his lips) Genuine misunderstanding! I just want to make it clear..., that this is not what you thought... That's ... what you have seen ... it"s not what you've seen, this is that you misunderstood ... it's a fakement. ... Explain, please, Mary Mikchailovna, that you - it"s Helen (pointing at Helen) and I - it's really me. This is such a focus..., such imitation..., a joke.
      NICOLAS. Well. Now, after all, I"m dishonored. Tell me, where"s your sophisticated Jesuitism from? At first sight you're simple kind of guy..., but, you are destroying human life, just in passing, turning it into nothing and tarnishing the clean reputation...
       Peter howls, starts to rush across the room screaming like mad, and suddenly switches the gun out of Nicolas" hands.
      PETER. I'll shoot you!!! (Marie pops out of the room) I'll shoot myself!!!
       Nicholas rushes to Peter. Peter awkwardly pulls the trigger. The gun fires off in the direction of the open window. Wild cry is heard outside. Peter throws his gun in horror.
      NICHOLAS. Well, Lena. The wait is over. You married a murderer. (He goes to the window and shouts to someone in the street) I am coming! We'll get it all sorted out! Don"t shout! (To Peter) You pursue a doubtful path, Pete.
       Peter terrified and in tears, rushes to Helen and hides his head in her lap. She timidly and gently strokes his hair.
      PETER. (In tears) I"d like to hide for all of this... that nobody will found me..., that everyone"ll forget about me..., and that all of you"ll forget that I live. Blacked out! Deleted! Peter Dmitrievich Puzemkin - date of birth, position, and then - a strikethrough...
      HELEN. (Gently) Now I believe that it"s not you to blame. To me you will always be in no way to blame. This is a misunderstanding. Seemed to see! Dreamed. Imagined. Dad will settle it all. Things will straighten out. You are so excited. As in the novels. I never thought that I would be so lucky. You are a true comme il faut. There are bridegrooms - far from comme il faut, the usual. And you - you are a real groom.
      PETER. (Picks up tear-stained eyes on her) That's great! Wonderful! Quite the thing!
       I killed a man. I crippled my life. And for you - all comme il faut...
      HELEN. Even if they put you into prison for ten, fifteen or twenty years, I will be always waiting for you. We are inseparable now.
       Exhausted Peter only shakes his head. Nicolas returns.
      PETER. No, Nicholas Kapitonitch, do not tell me a word. I know everything. You settled it all. Just out of respect for your family. The issue is over. Relatives even will come to the wedding and will bring the gifts. Right? Well, tell me, is it so?
      NICOLAS. More or less. But what? I do not understand you. Yes, we've settled the matter although it wasn't easy. Did I negotiate in vain?
      PETER. Why in vain? It is not in vain. Really, why am I getting a swelled head? Picky picky picky! Such a piece of work, you see! No, but really ... if you step aside ... It is strange that I do not understand all my benefits. Though you explained them to me.
      NICOLAS. The first sensible word. Usually people do not understand each other. Something prevents them: political views, ambitions, and other rubbish. Do you have any political views?
      PETER. Am I sick in the head?
      HELEN. You, Peter Dmitrievich..., are you bamming us?
      PETER. No, I'm completely serious. Wife, agriculture, honor and respect, lots of money..., and there - who cared for me there? Am I worth making a big fuss over? I am not belonging to any party, God did not give me any talents, I cannot even boast of male beauty... What is waiting for me there?
      NICOLAS. What are you repeating "there" and "there" over and over again?! You will have "here" and "there"!
      PETER. (Tears in his eyes, looking into the distance) Maybe this is my swan song... What if I was born to churn out a lot of such pitiful and absurd babies like me? Hegh! Blast it all! Break down my chine! Trample under foot of me! (He"s battering with shudder) Here is no more Peter Puzemkin! (Hysterically and sarcastic reaches for Helen"s hands) Hello, Helen, my love, my one and only!
       Nicholas quickly rushes to him, grabs the hands, opens the door to the hall and pushes Peter out to guests. For a moment the noise in the hall fades.
       Peter stops, tears welling in his eyes. He sees two the policemen-relatives and slightly covers over his own face.
      NICOLAS. Here we are again, dear guests! That's the bridegroom! (Nikolas eyes Peter amorously, and solemnly declares) Please, congratulate us - he"s agreed! Yes, yes, yes, he"s agreed! He even invited us all to Karbyshev-town - there will be the second wedding ceremony with his parents. Sonnie! Am I right?
      GUESTS. How? Everyone?
      NICOLAS. Everyone, everyone! Well, Peter Dmitrievich, let me kiss you! Now, buddy, you are the closest person to me! You are my beloved son in law! Bitterly! Now a kiss! (Refers to the guests) Kiss!
       Nicolas fiercely kisses on the lips bewildered and crazed Peter. Tears flow on Peter"s cheeks.
      MARY. (Came from we don"t know where) Let me soul-kiss you, too, my chickabidy, as your mammy!
       Mary rushes to kiss him.
       Lonely and forgotten Helen is slowly walking behind them. Guests happily greet the newlyweds.
       Nicholas imperceptibly returns to the empty room, pulls a hidden suitcase out from under the bed and ...quietly walks out the back door.

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  • © Copyright Ляпин Виктор Вениаминович (snybegemota@yandex.ru)
  • Обновлено: 14/07/2016. 59k. Статистика.
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