Act Two

Translated from the Russian by
Gennadi V. Alexeyev & Dmitri G. Alexeyev

Act One       Act Two       Act Three       Act Four


(The edge of a wattle-fence; naked, wind-shaken branches of a withered tree; distant rumbling of the Caspian Sea. Behind the wattle-fence, a wooden extension of a hut in the form of a huge porch or a passage. A writing table is in the middle of the passage. All this occupies the right-hand side of the stage.

(The left side trails off into the vague, empty distance. Downstage left stands a column with the Soviet State Emblem and the inscription: "USSR. Agricultural Shepherds' Kolkhoz 14 Little Red Huts. Elevation: 19.27 meters. Average annual rainfall: 140 mm. Mouths to feed: 34. Chairman: S.I. Garlamova".

(In the center of the stage there is a scarecrow made out of clay, straw and rags. The scarecrow resembles a stern man, one and a half times the size of an average person. Its right hand is raised in a gesture of obscure threat. It is evening.

Hoz and Suenita enter, finishing their long journey. Suenita carries the same things she had at the train station in Moscow. They stop. Not a single human voice is heard on kolkhoz.)

SUENITA:     (listening) I don't hear anyone. They put up some kind of scarecrow -- must be there's not enough people around. (A short pause.) Here we are, gramps. You see, it's our shepherds' kolkhoz. We graze sheep here and fish a little. Let's change into clean shoes.

          (They sit down on the ground. Suenita begins to change her shoes)

HOZ:     I don't have any clean shoes to put on. I'll take a seat beside you to have a rest from my cogitation.

SUENITA:     (changing her shoes) Go ahead, sit and bore yourself a bit, then you can go to sleep on the stove.

          ( Somewhere, far away from the kolkhoz, a baby is heard crying; a woman's voice utters something softly.)

HOZ:     Who's that crying out there in your socialized fields?

SUENITA:     Those are our babies playing in the day nursery.

HOZ:     But I hear them crying.

SUENITA:     What's the good of you hearing them?

          (A distant baby's cry is heard again .)

HOZ:     Again I hear some little grieving cry.

SUENITA:     It's probably my baby who is crying -- he misses me; he hasn't seen me--his own dear mother--in a long time. Turn around; I'll clean my nipples before I go and suckle my baby.

( Cleans her both nipples. Hoz stares at her breasts, not intending to turn aside.)

SUENITA:     Don't you see there is a lot of milk accumulated, my breasts are swollen?

HOZ:     So I see.

SUENITA:     What's the good of your seeing it?

HOZ:     I've gotten tired of walking along this most indefinite earth! Amidst flowers, tears and dust the people live; and I, an old man, find myself among them as a witness. Oh, my poor dears, how will it all end?

SUENITA:     Well, gramps, tell me now--do you like our USSR? Everything can happen here, whatever our hearts desire! And so what's all this, "It will end"?

HOZ:     Yes, indeed, I like your USSR. A lot of contradictions all around, and inside nothing is clear. I ask: when will we exhale our last breath in this empty space and embrace each other in our common grave? When , my little girl?

SUENITA:     As for us...never; but as far as you're concerned -- it's gonna be pretty soon. You're a grandpa, an old man. You're withering up already!

          (Having changed her shoes, she stands up)

SUENITA:     Well, the shoes are ready. ( Shouts out toward the kolkhoz ) Antoshka! Ksyusha! Uncle Filya! We're here! Ksyusha, come and bring my baby-boy, quickly. ( in a softer voice ) I miss my baby so much. ( to Hoz) And you, gramps, you'd better go to kolkhoz. Find a stove that's warmed up and lie down there. They'll feed you. When I clean and tidy up my room, I'll call you over.

HOZ:     I hate eating. Do you have anything chemical, instead?

SUENITA:     We have the kolkhoz pharmacy in a box. You can have some powders.

HOZ:     I'll go have some. (He exits)

          (Suenita climbs the porch and unpacks her things )

SUENITA:     ( sorting out the books she brought ) Oh, how I want to see him soon. A small, warm body that always smells like something tasty. Why has it become so quiet on the kolkhoz? (Calls out) Ksyusha! Ksyusha! Come and bring me baby-boy!

( Silence everywhere. A slight pause .)

SUENITA:     Soon I'll give birth to still another child -- I love it so much when something hot, poor and crying comes out of me, just a poor piece of my life. ( Calls out ) Ksyusha! Where is everyone? Where's my baby-boy and where's the kolkhoz?

(Filip Vershkov appears quietly . )

VERSHKOV:     Hello, Comrade Chairwoman! I congratulate you on your return, on the attainment of health, and on various other successful accomplishments. ( Shakes hands with Suenita) Did you see our good people in the capital cities and pay our respects to them? Or did you clam up?

SUENITA:     I paid them..

VERSHKOV: And how's their health?

          (While talking, Suenita keeps on changing, coming in and out of the hut, and appears finally with a new dress on.)

SUENITA:     They're fine. They wanted me to tell you to work more and talk less--to keep from playing into the hands of our enemy.

VERSHKOV:     I can't believe my ears, Suenita Ivanovna! Have they really received reports on my sentiments? Oh, now you'll hear me thunder! With everything I have--with all of my bones!

SUENITA:     Uncle Filya! How are the things here, on our kolkhoz? Have you harvested all the fodder grass? On my way in I didn't see any stacks anywhere! And what about state meat purchase? Have you met the quota?

VERSHKOV:     We haven't managed to do it all yet, Suenita Ivanovna.

SUENITA:     You devils! I gave you orders! What were you doing? What good are we to the government then? It would be better if there was just a sea here and not people. At least the sea has fish in it.

VERSHKOV:     The sea?! It's an interesting question, Suenita Ivanovna... Have you brought any vitally important books for us? When are you going to enlighten our people?

SUENITA:     Where's Antoshka? And where on earth is Ksyusha?

VERSHKOV:     They've gone to the sea to look for dead fish on the shore. As for Antoshka, he even tried to fry burdock, and now he's baking loaves out of sheep-stomach waste. We have absolutely nothing to eat: to say nothing about mutton.

SUENITA:     But what about our kolkhoz sheep? Uncle Filya!

          ( The tempo of their talk becomes quicker and quicker .)

VERSHKOV:     ( hurriedly, choking in his throat ) Just listen to me, Suenita Ivanovna... I'm speaking on behalf of the whole community, on behalf of all the best shock-workers and those who are most conscious. Just listen to me and I will tell you the real facts, reliable to the utmost degree: a Bantik was here.

SUENITA:     What are you talking about, "bantik"? The whole story, quick!

VERSHKOV:     I'm speaking to you in abbreviated forms, arithmetically, like SovNarCom or CheKa. B-A-N-T-I-K -- white BAndits and ANTI-Kolkhozniks!! Fyodor Kirilych Ashurkov is a bantik! The same kulak you dispossessed during the Second Bolshevik Campaign. He's shown up again.

SUENITA:     Did you kill him?

VERSHKOV:     No way! He whacked me three times on my hump. They trampled Antoshka with their boots and they beat him on his head...right on his consciousness--with bricks. But the bricks were soft--they were adobe, not baked, so Antoshka got up again with no damage.

SUENITA:     They beat him on the head, on his consciousness? And what were you conscious of at the time?

VERSHKOV:     We had no time to be conscious of anything, Suenita Ivanovna; there were seven of those bantiks! They came like a bolt out of the darkness of the steppe, Our kolkhoz fishing boat, the "Distant Light", was at its moorings. Antoshka and I were there, washing the kolkhoz sheep to get rid of the parasites--the entire sum of our property. As for the others -- they were digging a well in the distance -- no sight, no sound of them.

SUENITA:     Make it quicker! You're so's like you're not speaking at all!

VERSHKOV:     They drove our flock of sheep aboard the kolkhoz boat...only one ram was left. They also dragged the hut down to the shore, part and parcel with the window panes, and they loaded it on the ship. Then they set sail and rushed off. It was a dreadful manifestation of negligence!

SUENITA:     And what about the salt beef? Our common bread stored in patched-up sacks? Tell me at once!

VERSHKOV:     At once I can't -- the fear is still choking me. The salt beef, and our bread, our poor people's bread, stored in patched-up sacks -- that also sailed away on the boat to the shores of imperialism.

SUENITA:     Why didn't you kill the kulaks? You have a revolver!? So that means you've taken their side? He who is a coward is now a subkulak! You're nothing, swine, and not Bolsheviks at all! You should all be investigated, to make your hearts beat and not act like cowards!

          (Suenita runs down the porch.)

VERSHKOV:     ( calmly ) And why not? Of course we should investigate everyone! There's too little cultural work among us, that's what I say. As to the revolver, it was dangerous to even show it -- they could have taken it away.

SUENITA:     ( cries out ) Ksyusha!

KSYUSHA'S VOICE:     (nearby ) Ah-ah-a-a!

VERSHKOV:     ( in a quiet voice ) This is a tragedy, indeed!

KSYUSHA:     ( embraces Suenita tenderly ) My dear Sunya has come at last.

SUENITA:     Ksenya! How did it all happen? Our hut is lost, all our sheep have been stolen away, our children are crying?...

          ( Pause. The friends still embrace each other, standing.)

SUENITA:     There is an old man who came with me. Give him something to eat from my share.

KSYUSHA:     I already gave the order. He's slurping up a grass soup over there, and he had two powders from our pharmacy..

SUENITA.     Do we have anything tastier than grass soup?

KSYUSHA;     Nothing. The bantiks have robbed us of everything.

SUENITA:     Ksyusha! You suckled my baby all the time I was away, didn't you? You didn't run out of your own milk, did you?

KSYUSHA:     No, my breasts are still full.

SUENITA:     Well, then bring me my baby quickly. I'd like to suckle him myself. My breasts are swollen.

KSYUSHA:     ( uttering a frenzied scream ) Cry for them, Suenita: we have no children any longer!

SUENITA:     (not understanding ) What shall we do then? And why are you not crying?

KSYUSHA:     ( restrained) I've cried all my tears out already. (loosing her restraint) I can't stand it, it's terrible, the wind knocks me around as if I were empty. I want to believe in God!

SUENITA:     Ksyusha, dear! There is no God anywhere -- we're all alone with our grief. ( Feeling the pangs of loss, but trying to control herself ) How can we escape this torture -- how can we live this intolerable life?!... Where did you bury my little boy?

VERSHKOV:     ( hurriedly, choking in his throat ) Suenita Ivanovna, let me express myself at last! I know everything and am ready to tell all!

SUENITA:     ( cries sorrowfully, nonstop ) Uncle Filya, why didn't you save the kolkhoz? Why did you bury my baby?

VERSHKOV:     Bury?! Nonsense! You needn't cry over him. He is now sailing safely on the Caspian Sea -- in the hands of the class enemy!

SUENITA:     Don't scare me! Uncle Filya, where are our children?

VERSHKOV:     I have no information, whatsoever!... But just listen to me! Bantik Fedka Ashurkov attacked our huts. He couldn't smell out our wealth right away, so he dragged one of our huts to the shore. That was the hut with our day nursery --damn him! Your little one and Ksyusha's suckling child were most unfortunately fast asleep inside. I attacked the gang, but I was struck with some sort of kulak weight and I sat down on my behind--thank goodness I had something to sit on.

SUENITA:     Uncle Filka, why didn't you do anything to get the children back from them?

VERSHKOV:     Children? I tried to get the sheep back, not the children. Children are merely love, while sheep are our property. You shouldn't overestimate children. You're a healthy woman, you'll have more of them if you want to.

SUENITA:     Get out of here!...

          ( Babies are heard crying in the distance .)

SUENITA:     ( forgetting herself ) Ksyusha! They're bringing our babies!

KSYUSHA:     The kolkhoz women are coming back from the shore. They're afraid to leave the children at home, so they take them with them. And the children are crying from hunger.

SUENITA:     Go and fetch me somebody else's baby. I'll suckle it and keep it beside me all night. Take Serafima Koshunkina's baby...

KSYUSHA.     Stop playing the saint! I'll bring you one...

          ( She exits )

SUENITA:     ( calls out ) Antoshka! Antoshka!

ANTON'S VOICE:     Let me finish. I'm close by, in the vicinity.

          (Hoz enters ).

HOZ:     Thanks for your hospitality. I filled myself up with some strange desert grass.

SUENITA:     That's nothing. You'll have mutton for tomorrow's dinner. ( calls out ) Antoshka!

ANTON'S VOICE.     Wait a bit. I'm measuring the wind. The airways of the Republic should be safe!

          (Ksyusha brings two babies to suckle. She hands one of them to Suenita and keeps the other with herself . )

KSYUSHA:     Let's feed someone else's babies, otherwise the milk will go to our heads and we'll die of grief. ( She exits, cooing to the baby )

SUENITA:     ( examining the baby ) Why is his face so dull? ( Suckling him ) He refuses to take my breast!

HOZ:     Lay him on the ground, Suenita. Your baby probably wants to die.

SUENITA:     He will remain alone in this world -- without us and without any life around him!

HOZ:     Don't feel so miserable, Suenita. You conceived this baby in jest, enjoying yourself and panting with passion. So why get irritated about it now? It's not serious of you... What's one baby for you? You are rocking in your hips, like in a cradle, the whole future of the mankind! Come to me!

          ( The distant, indistinct hum of a flying airplane )

SUENITA:     I can't hear you, gramps. Life is too hard on me right now.

(Anton comes in, his wounded head is dressed with a cloth. )

SUENITA:     Antoshka! Get a horse and ride to the District Party Committee. Call the GPU and tell them to get out to the Caspian Sea. Why haven't you gone after the kulaks already?

ANTON:     We've been organizing an edible food out of all sorts of reject dust. Besides, the frontier posts are on high alert. No one can escape by sea!

          ( The rumbling noise of an airplane is getting louder: an airplane is coming down .)

SUENITA:     An airplane is coming. Antoshka! Signal it to land! We'll take it and catch up with the kulaks.

ANTON:     ( looking up in the skies ) I'll get him down. I'll get him down at once! I never flew in an airplane before. Such great technology that my heart is pounding and I want to shout out, "Forward!"

HOZ:     Do you know the signals?

ANTON:     I'm a member of the Society for the Support of Aviation and Chemistry. I'll light a fire and create the smoke of state danger. And you, by the way, should be arrested: you distract me. ( He disappears )

HOZ:     Your baby is asleep.

SUENITA:     Yes, my baby boy is asleep. ( Covers the baby and lays him on a bench in the passage ) All are asleep -- both here on earth and there on the sea. Only one faraway child cries now on board our small ship... He's calling me, he is defenseless there. I'll throw myself into the sea, I'll swim to him through darkness...

HOZ:     ( approaching Suenita) Don't be noisy, poor girl, our fate is soundless. ( Embraces Suenita and bends in front of her ) I also want to cry with you and be in anguish by your poor skirt, by your dusty feet, smelling of earth and your babies.

          ( He embraces the weakened Suenita and holds her tight. The distant, fading roar of an airplane flying away .)

HOZ:     I have lived through a century of sadness, Suenita. But now, when I have found your small body, I'm yearning for you as a poor, sorrowful man. I would like to quietly earn my living on your kolkhoz.

SUENITA:     ( caressing him gently) Stay with us on our shepherds' kolkhoz till your dying day and be happy a little. You can go to the district center and take a course to become an accountant.

          (Anton enters)

ANTON:     The airplane has flown by high in the sky without stopping! But I'll keep watch; the airplanes fly by here often on their great journey. I'll keep on signaling by setting fires throughout the night.

          (Anton exits . Suenita goes into the passage and bends over the sleeping baby. Hoz comes up to the wattle-fence. He stands there for a while in complete silence. The twilight grows into the darkness of the night. )

HOZ:     It's a fraud! ( a slight pause ) What a really universal, historically organized fraud!... Wind, they say, is blowing as if it were sad, and infinity is vast like a silly hole, and the sea worries and weeps onto the shores of the earth... As if everything were serious, plaintive and exquisitely fine! But it's all just raging nonsense!

SUENITA:     ( Speaking out from the passage ) Who are you wasting your time talking to, gramps?

HOZ:     Oh, Suenita, girl, it's all a fraud! Nature isn't like that. The wind is never sad, and the sea never calls anyone anywhere. The wind feels itself nothing out of the ordinary, and there is a bastard beyond the sea, not an angel.

          (Anton appears and passes by. )

ANTON:     Nobody's flying. Darkness all around, and the sea is roaring.

          (Anton exits. Suenita goes into the hut and comes back with a lighted lamp. She sits down at the table an busies herself)

SUENITA:     Why are you so clever? Or maybe you're just an ordinary old man?

HOZ:     I'm not that clever. I have lived through a century and know life by the habit of living it, not by wisdom.

SUENITA:     And who are they, these frauds? Why don't they shoot them? What do they think?

HOZ:     They think exactly like I do: the world exists just because of a mere trifle which was long ago forgotten. So they deal with life mercilessly, like a delusion. Come to me, my daughter, I'll kiss you on the head.

SUENITA:     Why?

HOZ:     Because I love you. We're both deceived... Don't irritate me! When two deceived hearts hold tight to each other, it turns out to be something almost serious. Let's deceive our deceivers.

SUENITA:     I don't want to.

HOZ.     Why not?

SUENITA:     Because I don't love you.

HOZ:     Milk! Give me some milk! Where's my Intergom?

SUENITA:     We don't have any milk for you -- we need to feed our children... Go, gramps, go and count the work-days -- I've gotten confused.

HOZ:     All right, girl. Let's busy ourselves with trifles so we can exhaust our souls.

SUENITA:     These are not the trifles. This is our bread, gramps, and the whole of our revolution.

          (Anton enters )

ANTON:     Nobody's flying in the air. I'd better check the inventory. I ought to do something at least.

          (Anton departs . Hoz comes up to Suenita.)

HOZ:     Where are my eye-glasses? And where is the whole of your revolution?

SUENITA:     You left your eye-glasses in your lover's trunk. You've come to us without even spare trousers, without a loaf of bread. Our shepherd glasses are lying over here. You can wear them now. (Changing her tone and attitude) Listen, grandpa Hoz!

          (Pause. A distant noise of sea waves. Darkness of the night. )

SUENITA:     I'm sad again. My heart is aching and my body is ashamed to live.

HOZ:     There, now. Your body doesn't sit well on your soul yet. It'll settle on properly soon.

          ( Puts on the metal-rimmed eye-glasses in metallic rim, fastens them behind his ears, sits down at Suenita's place and checks the registers .)

HOZ:     Why should I do all this counting? Why should we count up all these figures when everything in this world is approximate?.. Suenita, love me with all your sad, unconscious heart -- it's the only exact thing in life.

SUENITA:     On the contrary! I love you consciously!

HOZ:     Consciously!.. Consciousness is the bright twilight of youth, when you don't give a damn about the trifles governing this world.

SUENITA:     Consciousness is our mind. If you can't understand this, you'd better shut up.

HOZ:     Oh, my conscious one! I feel glad when I don't understand.

SUENITA:     And I feel sad when I don't understand...Make it quick with the accounts; the pay-roll list should be ready by tomorrow morning. You're delaying the payment of the kolkhoz workers! And everything should be clear to everyone; we don't like any vagueness... I'll be back soon! ( She picks up the swaddled baby and starts to depart with him ) It's getting cold, I'd better go warm him up by a warm stove. ( She exits .)

HOZ:     ( alone ) Everything's clear for me. But I want vagueness. Vagueness! I lost you long ago and now I live in a void of clarity and despair.

          ( Sounds of a hammer on the kolkhoz; screech of a file. These sounds come and go repeatedly. )

HOZ:     ( Counts the pay-sheet figures by abacus. Suddenly stops counting .) Let them be happy approximately! All the same, every account and calculation will have to be redone. ( Writes in the register ) To Prokhor Berdyanschikov -- ten kilos only; you, Prokhor, were lazy enough while harvesting grass and you look askance on Soviet power... Ksyusha Sekuscheva -- you've done well, Ksyusha, breath of God, you should build up your body -- and accordingly you'll get a hundred kilos of mutton, plus the wool. To that Anton -- Antoshka -- a whole double portion: eat your beef! Because you sowed the grass with the aid of the wind, you also dug two wells -- both of them still dry -- you measured the sea for the Academy of Sciences, you staged a play about an axe and explained to all kolkhoz members the idea of cost-accounting... Is there an airplane flying there or not?

ANTON'S VOICE:     Nothing in view -- just darkness and the empty elements resounding!

HOZ:     ( counting ) I'll cut 'em! I'll cut 'em! I'll cut everyone's pay by half! They've been messing around with this communism for 16 years already, and still they can't organize this small globe good and proper. Bloody scholastics! I'll fine each and every one of you!

ANTON'S VOICE:     Fine us, comrade universal academician! Strike at the psychology of the masses with our work-days payments!

HOZ:     No, we can't, Antoshka... Karl Marx told me in the middle of the last century that the proletariat doesn't need a psychology.

ANTON' VOICE:     You knew Karl Marx?

HOZ:     How could I not know him?! Of course, I knew him! All his life he was looking for something serious and laughed at the everyday trifles of current events.

ANTON'S VOICE:     You're telling lies, you man of science, you! Marx didn't laugh at us -- he loved the people always and well in advance, he cried over the coffin of Paris Commune, and he stretched out the path of his thought beyond the horizon of the world history! You'd better get rid of your world outlooks here. You'd better understand us -- or we'll understand you!

HOZ:     ( counting ) To Serafima Koschunkina and her husband -- zero to each; that's nothing, double zero.

          (Anton enters )

ANTON:     Why do you keep irritating me with your understanding of every issue to the N-th degree? You're blurring the effect of life before my eyes.

HOZ:     Blessed are the mumblers. ( Counts the pay-sheet ).

ANTON:     We're not blessed yet, we're workers; and why are you behaving like such an awful madman?

HOZ:     ( indifferently, still doing his business ) What can I do for you, you young whippersnapper?

ANTON:     Act like an awful madman--I'm telling you! Just tell me what is the world made of? Of atoms or of something else?

HOZ:     Out of mentally disturbed nonsense!

ANTON:     (in torment) So, that means that every atom is also suffering! I'd better go measure the sea and check the weights, for there's something wrong with reality -- we should organize the world in a more accurate way!

HOZ:     Antoshka! Why did you put up this scarecrow? You wasted three work-days. You squanderer!

ANTON.     We put it up to scare the class enemy! A scarecrow is more frightening than a person. And, besides, the people should be working, we don't have enough of them.

HOZ:     But the class enemy wasn't frightened!

ANTON:     Since the scarecrow's not alive, of course he wasn't frightened.. It was Filka Vershkov who told me to do it. Make a scarecrow, he said; you don't need a guard. People started leaving the huts--they all went to dig the wells-- and the class enemy attacked. I'd better go, I have a lot of things to do. The airplane is still missing. It's dark everywhere.

          (Walks away from the stage. Suenita appears with a baby in her arms.)

ANTON:     Not asleep yet?

SUENITA.     No, he's delirious. It's cold everywhere and nobody cares to heat a stove; his mother is dead hungry and indifferent.

HOZ:     What's the use of carrying that child around? Let him die. Or don't you have enough love in you to piteously give birth to another one?

ANTON:     ( to Hoz) I'll give you such a blow that'll knock you right out of your boots! You'll fly apart into pieces right in front of us--smashed by the proletariat!

HOZ:     You're wrong, Antoshka. What's the proletariat to me? It's much younger than me. When I was born there was no such thing as a proletariat, and I'll die after it's gone! The proletariat will get mutilated if it tries to strike against my rigid bones!

SUENITA:     There's no airplane?

ANTON:     Not yet. Let me take him. I'll put him in a basket and rock him. ( He takes the child from Suenita 's arms and exits )

SUENITA:     ( to Hoz ) Are you finished counting up the pay-roll?

HOZ:     Yes, I am.

SUENITA:     Give it to me. I'll check it.

HOZ:     It's no use, Suenita. All the same, the sheep are not on your shepherds' kolkhoz, but in the hands of the class enemy.

SUENITA:     Poor gramps! You haven't got the slightest idea about the very strict border guard of ours... Our sacred bread will return to our body.

          ( Pale dawn. The distant roar of an airplane. Suenita strains her ears. Pause . )

SUENITA:     ( shouting ) Antoshka! An airplane is flying toward us! Stoke up the signal fires! Or, wait a bit, I'll set the hut on fire! (Runs off )

VOICE OF ANTON:     I already see everything and am taking maximum measures!

( A pause. The approaching drone of an airplane )

HOZ:     All sorts of chance events are rushing about. I have to sum up the balance sheets.

          ( An intense red light. A hut on the kolkhoz is set ablaze by Suenita . The engines of the landing airplane roar down. Pause. The Pilot and Anton appear followed by Vershkov. )

ANTON.     And where's Suenita Ivanovna?

VERSHKOV.     She'll come in a moment. She set the hut's roof on fire and can't put it out yet.

          (Suenita rushes in.)

PILOT:     ( to Suenita) You are the Chairwoman?

SUENITA:     Don't you see it for yourself?

PILOT:     Reporting for duty. I am the pilot of agriculture support airplane number 42-07. I was flying en route to a rice sovkhoz. Noticing the signal fires, I landed here. Comrade Anton has informed me about the urgent necessity of pursuing a gang of kulaks. I am ready to perform air reconnaissance over the sea area, but I need a guide for the purpose of identifying your fishing vessel.

SUENITA:     I'll go with you. Quick!

ANTON:     I'll go, too. My heart is bursting with joy!

PILOT.     Both of you? Okay. Hurry up!

          ( They depart. Suenita turns back for a moment )

SUENITA:     ( to Hoz) Gramps, take care of the kolkhoz, 'cause you love me, right?

          ( She departs.)

HOZ:     Fly, my poor little birdie. I'll be on my guard.

          (Hoz and Vershkov remain on the stage.)

VERSHKOV:     So, you and I are in charge now, Ivan Fedorovich! Let's give orders.

HOZ:     Orders? I'll show you! Get out there and work!

VERSHKOV:     You're right, Ivan Fedorovich. I'm going. We need firm leadership.

          ( He exits. The light from burnt hut dies down. Grey, boring dawn. The roar of a departing airplane. )


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© 2012 Gennadi V. Alexeyev & Dmitri G. Alexeyev All rights reserved.