Apr 15, 2012 9:25 PM
Russian Picnic ! by Zakhar Prilepin
Chapter 1 !!!
We were broke and yet somehow had to find a way to charm the ladies. That's when our friend Rubchik had an idea: " Let's do kebabs and have a picnic ."
" You're a genius, Rubchik ," my brother Valek, mocked . " What are we going to cook ---birch wood ?"My brother stood smoking. His right arm was wrapped around a birch tree as if it were a girl's waist.
" I'm serious , " Rubchik said " We could use a dog ." Rubchik had studied to be a veterinarian before dropping out.
" What dog?"
"How about the last one that barked at us ?"
" Are you fucking nuts?" I asked . " We can't barbecue a dog."
My brother , however, seemed to take the idea seriously.
" It'll work , he finally decided . " You take care of the dog and I'll invite the girls."
It should be noted that this episode took place at a strange time, when our country was poor and its future uncertain . But we were young and deaf to the thunder above us .
The picnic was arranged for then next day . The promise of kebabs cliched the deal. Like many people in those days, the girls were probably underfed . This was a small town, but we decided to pay a visit because of a mutual acquaintance who lived here. The town's only attraction was the women's dormitory of an old Soviet vocational school .
We spent an uneasy night in the house of our acquaintance . He was out of town and had left us the house and the permission to smoke. We lay around and blew our smoke at the ceiling . A gray blanket hung above us , its contours curling in the corners of the room.
The dog was marinating in a large basin on the floor. Rubchik had improvised a concoction from pepper , salt, flour, pickling brine, vinegar and spices he picked outside , including tree buds. It was spring and the morning brought us the first truly warm day of the year. So sweet you could taste it .
During the night I had risen several times and hovered over the basin in a state of horror .
" Wait until it's cooked , " my brother moaned in his sleep. I swallowed hard to keep down the bitter bile rising from my stomach .
When I finally got off the couch for good, the basin was gone. Rubchik had already made a fire in the yard and was warming his hands over the flames, which jittered in the wind. The basin was on the porch.
" The meat should be kept cool for the time being ," Rubchik explained .
" What if you end up poisoning them?" I touched the top pieces of meat with my shoe.
rubchik shot me a contemptuous look ; so contemptuous was this look that I paused for a second and tried to see myself through his eyes, but I found nothing worthy of such infinite scorn .
" Nobody's ever died from eating fresh meat , " he said.
" This isn't meat ," I objected .
" What's a dog then ? A mushroom ?" Rubchik argued.
The girls came around lunchtime, their keen faces beaming with anticipation . As we introduced ourselves, their eyes searched for the food. My brother didn't want to keep them waiting . He brought forth the basin covered with a towel and looked over the contents with affectionate pride.
" This was my favorite pig ," he said, putting down the basin with an exaggerated sigh. " They fed us from the same bottle."
" Such an old pig ," one of the girls asked skeptically " Or do you still get fed from a bottle?"
End of Chapter ONE !!
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