presented by
Honest Citizen
(letter to the militia)
by Mikhail Zoshchenko

n line with official policy, I am informing you that apartment Number 10 is suspicious in the sense of moonshine which, probably, citizen Guseva cooks up, and what's more, she fleeces all the workers for it. And when, for example, you don't have any money or you're just one kopeck short, they don't trust you with any credit and, what's more, not taking into account the fact that you're a free citizen, they give you a kick in the backside.

I'm also informing you, as I'm an honest citizen, that apartment Number 3 is also no doubt suspicious for moonshine, where, for taste, they throw in I don't know what, mushrooms or maybe fruit rinds, which makes you puke your guts out way more than usual. And, of course, they don't trust you with any credit either. For crying out loud!

And the harmful citizen herself makes the consumer wait in the kitchen and doesn't let you into the premises where they brew up the stuff. And there's this dog in the kitchen, a poodle-system dog and it attacks the consumer and bites his leg. This poodle--I ought to give it a good smack, damnit--came at me and bit my leg. And when I swung a dish to, of course, smack this poodle, this lady snatched the dish away from me and starts screaming:

"You, idiot," she says, "take your money back. I'm not gonna sell anything to somebody who torments a poor, dumb animal with a dish."

But, well, if it comes to that, I wasn't tormenting the poodle; I was just swinging the dish.

"What are you talking about, you harmful citizen," I said. "I didn't touch your poodle. Take your money back." I told her, "It's unacceptable to have poodles biting legs."

But the citizen threw the money back at me, and it fell on the stove. The money was lying there on the stove and their poodle drooled all over it and wouldn't let anybody near it.

Then I--really, I don't deny it--I kicked the poodle in the chest and beat it out of there as fast as I could.

And now this harmful citizen won't let me in her apartment and keeps the door on the chain all the time. And, what's more, the bitch spits through the crack at me if I, for example, show up. And when I swing at the spit to knock it back in her face or whatever else I can hit, she gets all scared and slams the door on my arm all the way up to the elbow.

I'm swearing and screaming bloody murder in front of the door, and their poodle starts yapping away inside the apartment. It hurts so much you want to cry. I've got a note from the doctor to prove it. And besides that, it still bleeds if, for example, I pick off the scab every day.

And besides these suspicious apartments, I inform you that the "Happy Valley" tavern is also undoubtedly suspicious. They punched me in the face over there and shoved me into the corner.

"Pay up," they say, "you dog's arse, for the broken mug!"

But I didn't break their mug, and, in general, I really should break their mug.

I tell them, "I didn't break your mug. Let me," I tell them, "finish my sandwich, citizen."

But they drag me all over the place and don't let me get back to my sandwich. They dragged me to the door and threw me out. And the sandwich is sitting on the table. It makes you want to cry.

And also, as an honest citizen, I inform you that this girl Varka Petrova is suspicious and goes out a lot. But as soon as I go up to Varka, she acts like she's all disgusted.

Such above-mentioned people you can arrest or do whatever you like with.

Now I also inform you that my statement is verified because I'm in support of the policy, against the down-with-drink, and was laid off because of cutbacks due to the truth.

And I also request that, for the time being, you don't close the "Happy Valley" tavern because I still don't feel very well and I can't move. But soon, no doubt, I'll get better and move. Sandwiches also cost money.

Translated by Eric Konkol

See also: 3 ZOSHCHENKOS. Three short autobiographies by M. Zoshchenko

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