FOURTEEN LITTLE RED HUTS
Translated from the Russian by
Gennadi V. Alexeyev & Dmitri G. Alexeyev
The Caspian Sea shore. Afternoon horizon. The high blue sky. Sparkling light over the distant, vacant water. The kolkhoz jail in the form of the cylindrical wicker basket with a cover on top; it is placed on three stones surrounded by barbed wire. Beside the jail Anton is sitting, holding the The Guard's home-made rifle. He is guarding the imprisoned Suenita.
SUENITA: (from inside the jail, feebly singing )
Alyalya, my poor one
Alyalya khalma sarvaidzha!
SUENITA: Are you here, Antoshka?
ANTON: I'm always there where I should be in full accordance with the appropriate order or from my personal point of view on the matters of benefit to the State.
SUENITA: From here I see though a crack -- how bright the sun is shining on the kolkhoz!... How long am I to be kept here in the darkness?
ANTON: For an "N" amount of time.
SUENITA: How much is that "N"?
ANTON: Nobody knows; it's mathematical. There is N-amount of water in the sea; in the desert, there's no n-amount. Everywhere is one gigantic "N"!
SUENITA: I'm cold here. There are shadows all around.
ANTON: Taking into consideration that nature radiates quite a sufficient amount of temperature – you are slandering the entire climate of the USSR!
SUENITA: (singing in a low voice )
The grass around is green and warm
It rains in torrents over my homeland
And though Lenin is far from my heart
He is awaited impatiently on the kolkhoz.
ANTON: We are a state controlled from the bottom to the top - through region, district and kolkhoz authorities – but it's me who is the supreme authority here; so suffer without complaint! (Pause.)
SUENITA: Antoshka, I'm going to get out. (She scratches against the prison walls)
ANTON: Then it would be the death of you.
SUENITA: And who was Filka?
ANTON: Filip Vershkov was none other than an unmasked class enemy, a dangerous double-dealer, disguised as an award-winning shock-worker.
SUENITA: You're lying. He was a true shock-worker!
ANTON: But all the same, a class enemy.
SUENITA: And a true class enemy.
ANTON: So, then the matter is closed.
SUENITA: According to our Constitution a class enemy is outlawed. He can be killed. I'm getting out. ( She scratches to get out).
ANTON: I'll liquidate you to death on the spot, since there are no orders for your liberation.
SUENITA: Do you know our Constitution?
ANTON: I know it by heart. Every letter of it. Ask me anything!
SUENITA: Why not set me free, then?
ANTON: I'm not sure about all the amendments and supplements introduced into the Constitution by relevant acts of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR.
SUENITA: But I do know them.
ANTON: All the same you don't have any documents on you.
SUENITA: You're an accomplice of the class enemy!
ANTON: Comrade Anton Kontsov knows himself better than any crazy, unsubstantiated girls taken into custody for exceeding the authority entrusted upon them!
( A slight pause.)
SUENITA: Somebody's coming over there, Antoshka, call him! .
ANTON: (looking intently ) It's the district's old man, the one in charge of socialist competition and the evaluation of the quality of production. He's on foot, distributing directives on the district's most important measures.
SUENITA: ( slowly drawing out the words ) His face looks so alien!
ANTON: A face is only a mask for ideological and military preparedness, ready to fight on both sides of the front.
THE DISTRICT OLD MAN: ( a voice ) Guard! Listen to me from here. My legs are worn out. I'm sitting down to catch my breath.
ANTON: I'm listening, comrade from the district. Speak.
THE DISTRICT OLD MAN: ( a voice ) Listen to me! Set Suenita Ivanovna free – it's the order of the district prosecutor! Henceforth, until a special order is issued, neither you nor anybody else shall touch her. All her rights and authority must be returned to her!
ANTON: Henceforth until a special order? How long henceforth are we talking about?
THE DISTRICT OLD MAN: ( a voice ) If it's henceforth, that means forever. Until the very grave she'll be free. You think the prosecutor doesn't have other affairs to attend to? Suenita Ivanovna is a very kind woman. She doesn't kill anybody just for the hell of it
ANTON: Go and tell comrade Hozov. Let him give his own order in his capacity as acting Chairman. I find you somewhat dubious.
THE DISTRICT OLD MAN: I'll give him a shout in a second. I got tired of walking. I hope I live to see the day when we have some kind of transport!
ANTON: You capacity won't entitle you to any transport.
THE DISTRICT OLD MAN: ( a voice ) Then I better make a career for myself--get promoted. I'm a hard working and zealous fellow... It's high time I should move on. That's what district service is like in this period of time. ( Mumbles and groans .)
SUENITA: A very old man, but what a bastard he is!
ANTON: Old age, in the event of it being profitable to the State, is permissible for an "N" portion of time.
(A demobilized Red Army soldier, vigilantly examining the place, enters wearing a greatcoat and carrying a knapsack. He is Georgy Harlamov – Suenita's husband.)
SUENITA: Have you come back to the kolkhoz? Have you come back to me? Georgy! I'm sitting here imprisoned.
HARLAMOV: ( getting frightened ) Sunya? Where are you? Why are you here and imprisoned? Who's tormenting you?
SUENITA: Come closer here, to the wattle-fence – I'll kiss you.
HARLAMOV: What about our baby-boy? Is he alive or dead?
SUENITA: He's alive. He resembles us so much. Bend down to me, so that I can see you. The barbed-wire is pricking me in the face. ( Clawing away at the inside ) Quick! I'm getting cold here.
(Harlamov is groping for her. )
ANTON: ( rising to his feet ) Get away from that secret installation, citizen.
HARLAMOV: ( recognizing him ) It's you, Antoshka Kontsov, isn't it?
ANTON: Whoever I may be, I am a definite man!
HARLAMOV: Comrade Kontsov, set my wife free.
ANTON: I've seen lots of masterpieces like you – keep away from here!
HARLAMOV: Don't be afraid of me. I'm a Red Army soldier. I won't harm you. I miss my family so much.
SUENITA: Egorka! You are a Red Army Soldier and I'm this kolkhoz Chairwoman – just take the rifle away from Antonshka, I order you!
HARLAMOV: How dare you treat her this way! ( rushes at Anton). She's the Chairwoman here – the Soviet boss!
ANTON: ( Fires his rifle .) I live seriously. Everyone is scared of me.
SUENITA: Aha, missed!
ANTON: Don't rejoice – I won't miss next time. That was just a warning shot. ( striking the pose of a rifleman ). A reserve platoon commander of the Red Army never misses.
(With a yelp, Harlamov falls upon Anton, snatches away his rifle, breaks it in two, and tosses it aside.)
ANTON: So, assaulting a guard on duty! In peace time you'll get ten years for that, guaranteed! That's a hard fact.
HOZ: Antoshka, get out of here – I've come to replace you!
ANTON: It's about time for you not to be late! An official from the District has ordered that Suenita Ivanovna ...
HOZ: I know, I know that. I've known and understood everything for a long time already.
ANTON: And this fellow ( pointing to Harmalov ) should immediately be deposited in a prison institution for a term of ten years.
HOZ: Who is this? Whose warrior?
ANTON: Suenita Ivanovna's husband has dared to attack the guard, it's necessary to subject him to the most merciless....
HOZ: Will you shut up, you classic of the masses! We'll register this event at the end of the calendar year in the summary of the class struggle. Go check the weighing scales, make up a weather report, get busy with pasture-land organization, examine the stove in the dining room, draw your invention on a large scale...
ANTON: Which invention? I have a maximal quantity of them!
HOZ: Your most important one – this hut, enclosing a human being.
ANTON: I have an idea to conduct an electrical current through all the barbed wire.
HOZ: Well, go stick yourself in it, Antoshka.
ANTON: Antoshka knows what and where to stick and unstick.
HOZ: Then, hurry up and get organizing!
HARLAMOV: Hey, old man, release my woman.
HOZ: In a second. Save up your patience for your passion.
SUENITA: ( clawing away at the inside ) I am cold here. I'm wrapping my arms around myself to keep warm. Something burning inside me is going cold.
HOZ: Yours are warm hands. You'll warm up whatever's cooling down.
SUENITA: Grandpa Hoz, I don't know. Maybe cold alone will be left in my hands, and then my hands will get cold, too!
HARLAMOV: Sunya, breathe on yourself and you'll get warm.
SUENITA: I'm doing it, and I'm getting warmer already. But you'd better go and dig up the wells and do your best to feed the people. They haven't had anything to eat for so long a time. Do you see a sail over the horizon?
HARLAMOV: ( looking intently at the sea ) No sail, Sunya.
HOZ: ( unlocks the door of the jail ) Come out, Suenita Ivanovna, and return to your former happiness. Soviet power loves you.
SUENITA: ( Comes out, blinking and rubbing her thinned body with her hands.) And where's the Red Army soldier Egor? He is my husband!
HARLAMOV: I am here, Suenita Ivanovna!
SUENITA: Have you served your time already?
HARLAMOV: I was released ahead of time because of my good services. I've returned to my place of permanent residence on unlimited leave to help build up the kolkhoz!
(Suenita embraces Harlamov tight, while Harlamov's embrace is soft and tender. )
SUENITA: You are not going to become a class enemy, are you?
HARLAMOV: ( turning aside ) I am a Red army soldier! Do not dare to insult me!
SUENITA: ( leaning to him ) I will love you and be your wife again.
HARLAMOV: Thank you, Suenita Ivanovna. I'll be a kolkhoznik again. I missed the soil so much.
SUENITA: Look to it, and try to do your best. We've had lots of trouble and suffered much from hunger and class enemies. Now we are waiting for our ship to come with all our bread and sheep... Don't you see the sail over the horizon? ( Stares out to sea .) A breeze has started blowing.
HARLAMOV: And where is our son?
SUENITA: He's with Ksyusha now. Go and have a look at him, then start working – you'll have to redo everything that Antoshka did.
HOZ: But Antoshka himself is a model shock-worker!
SUENITA: You'd better keep silent; you have no vigilance whatsoever! All that was done by Antoshka lacks strength and stability. He dug a well, and it goes dry; he baked a hundred weights out of clay – and all of them broke apart; he built this jail – it terrifies criminals, and they can escape from it. We need everything to be done good and proper and forever... This Antoshka is a mere unserious trifle.
HOZ: ( meekly ) I keep silent.
SUENITA: ( to Harlamov ) Let's kiss now.
(Harlamov, having wiped his mouth, tenderly kisses Suenita, embracing her carefully. )
SUENITA: I love you; we need good husbands and loyal kolkhozniks.
HARLAMOV: ( Answers clear-cut like a soldier .) I'll do my best to live strictly, both as your husband and as a kolkhoznik.
HOZ: (thoughtfully ) Men disappear in this world, but women remain eternally.
HARLAMOV: Good-bye, Suenita.
SUENITA: Come and see me in the evening – I'll note down your actual work-day output.
SUENITA: What is it, grandpa Hoz?
HOZ: Let's kiss.
SUENITA: Only not on the lips.
HOZ: As you wish -- as long as it's your body.
SUENITA: All you care about is my body -- you don't love my world outlook.
HOZ: Body, just your body.
(He kisses Suenita on the temple)
HOZ: I love this essence! Girl, you don't have anything chemical with you, do you?
SUENITA: No, grandpa, you've already gobbled up our whole pharmacy. Go and take some bleach from Ksenya, I told her to buy some long ago.
HOZ: I'll go eat this bleach. ( He exits )
SUENTIA: ( alone ) I can't see any ship on the sea! What a bright light is burning everywhere -- it must be joyful to live in the world these days! I hear a noise! What's going on there out in the world? ( Stares into space in puzzlement and listens ). There's imperialism; it's sad and terrible there. I'm here, alone on the shore, and behind me is the whole entire Soviet Union of Bolsheviks. But I've grown weak, you can see my ribs, my husband won't love me... We'll have to make the winter sheep-folds quickly; we'll have to look after the grain, I'll guard it myself, I won't sleep... ( A distant, harmonious rumbling is heard. Suenita looks up at the sky .) An airplane is flying above the desert! It's also ours -- it carries a drop of our kolkhoz blood. Let it fly higher, we shall endure.
KSYUSHA: Sunya, there's nothing left to eat, the men are all suffering. Anton's puking his guts out -- he ate some poisonous grass.
SUENITA: We should have guarded our grain and sheep from the kulaks. Let them suffer now -- it'll teach them science and technology.
KSYUSHA: My milk is running out -- there's nothing to feed to our children.
SUENITA: Squeeze out your lymph; that's how I fed my son yesterday.
KSYUSHA: Sunya, what if the people rise up?
SUENITA: The sub-kulaks aren't the people – they'll lie down, they won't rise up.
KSYUSHA: Suenita, surely body and soul must depart from such a life!
SUENITA: Ksyushka! You take me for a god! Go to hell! Did you give my child something to suck?
KSYUSHA: I did. Your husband put some chewed up bread into the baby's mouth. He brought a few pieces with himself.
SUENITA: Let him be. Listen, take my husband and go to the state meat farm. Maybe they'll give us a sheep for all our hay!
KSYUSHA: And who will feed the child without me?
SUENITA: I'll feed him. Go, quick.
KSYUSHA: Your milk has dried up.
SUENITA: That's not your concern. I'll let him gnaw on my bones.
KSYUSHA: ( affectionately) Sunya, when's the last time you ate?
SUENITA: I gobbled down some fish soup in Astrakhan. That was twelve days ago.
KSYUSHA: But how can you...?
SUENITA: Get out of here, like I told you! Don't try to frighten me or coddle me. Oh, such a kulak molly-coddle...starting fights, then bursting into tears.
KSYUSHA: Don't be grumbling at me. You dried-up old stick. I don't even want to look at you. You're disgusting. ( She departs .)
SUENITA: ( calling ) Grandpa Hoz!
VOICE OF HOZ: I'm coming, girl! Don't do anything without me.
SUENITA: Well, hurry.
HOZ: You miss me when I'm gone?
SUENITA: Yes, I miss you! Do you know, gramps, I am slowly learning to love you.
HOZ: Go on and love me a little. But gramps won't love you back.
SUENITA: And why did gramps love me?
HOZ: For your imaginary value. You've been like imaginary seduction for my sadness.
SUENITA: That's true. I have never put on airs – I'm an empty illusion.
HOZ: I have learnt precisely the inner mechanisms of the world construction. It is a mere and purely accidental mixture of crazy actions and trifles. And you're just the same, being part of it.
SUENITA: ( Lies down on the ground .) There are also trifles inside me, gramps, I feel them.
HOZ: You are just a poor body, aching from the sad substance that it is stuffed with.
SUENITA: I have so little substance left. I haven't had anything to eat for such a long time.
HOZ: That doesn't matter. I've eaten for one hundred years, and all the same I'm an absolute nothing.
SUENITA: Grandpa Hoz, you're a great scientist of world-renown; please, do something to feed our people!
HOZ: What shall I do, my girl?
SUENITA: Think it over, just invent something chemical! Otherwise death will be soon here, for all of us – feel my bones.
(Hoz feels her bones. )
HOZ: You're so thin. I hear your heart beating – it's quite close now.
SUENITA: Soon it will beat its way out of me. I want to sleep.
HOZ: Keep awake, please, my eternal one. Keep on talking to me – I'm sad.
SUENITA: Please, invent some kind of food for us and do it quick. You know the substance of this world -- it's all trifles, you said so yourself. ( A slight pause .) Think of something quickly. You know everything.
HOZ: I've started thinking already. Kiss me.
SUENITA: Later. First, invent some food for us, if only just a little.
HOZ: Wait just a moment.
(Hoz tosses and turns on the ground in the torment of vain thoughts.)
SUENITA: Well, do you get any ideas?
HOZ: I'm thinking.
SUENITA: Have you invented anything?
HOZ: Not yet. Don't disturb me with trifles. I want to sleep.
(Sounds of crying babies on the kolkhoz.)
SUENITA: Okay, have a nap. I'd better go to feed the children.
HOZ: With what will you feed them? You're all withered up.
SUENITA: I'll squeeze something out of myself, my blood at least.
(Suenita departs. )
HOZ: ( alone, lying on the ground ) How can I think up bread for the kolkhoz?... Nobody in the world thinks anything! And there is not a single thought, there is just fraud, the combination of random occurrences.
(Intergom appears with her valise in hand and sees Hoz. )
INTERGOM: Oh, is that you, Johann? So you are here alive and kicking, thank God!
HOZ: ( rising to his feet ) Intergom! A loyal and crazy child of mine!
INTERGOM: ( leaning to Hoz, speaking hurriedly ) I was driving around the steppe for ten days, all by myself. The driver died. I was searching for you all over the republic, the car is parked in the District where all the authorities are; I've covered 70 kilometers on foot. I was told that Mr. Hoz is living in the huts. How glad I am to have found you at last. As of old I'll always stay with you and we will never part. Mister Ubornyak has authorized my field trip all over the Soviet Union to search out the ancient dreadful forces that fight against the Revolution. But there are no such forces; I grew weary searching for them, but didn't find any. He is a triumphal man! I had a wonderful time with him, but he was not a Marxist, so they took away his...how do you call it...the horse on which a career is made! My darling, Johann, you look quite worn out, my eternal grandfather-husband! ( Kisses Hoz .)
HOZ: Wait a bit, you worthless creature! You know well enough that I like to do caressing in a radical way.
INTERGOM: I've given up hack-work, too.
HOZ: Hack-work! What are you now?
INTERGOM: I'm a Marxist, Johann. Mister Ubornyak taught me – it was so easy and pleasant. Everyone was surprised by me, and they adore me! It's so interesting to live and die for the sake of all working people! I am eager to join the Communist Party, I'd like to participate in the struggle! But there's one thing I forgot. They advised me to be more...more...conscious?...serious?... No, not that. To be more something else.
INTERGOM: Yes, that's it! You got it; you're a genius!
(A slight pause.)
HOZ: Where have you come from, you dirty swine? Who thought you up?
INTERGOM: I'm not a swine. They taught me all this charm and fine talk in Moscow Palaces of Culture. I've been restructured!
HOZ: ( in a serious, almost sad voice ) Listen to me, young girl! It's Bolsheviks who live here, not "Ubornyaks", they'll turn you out of here.
INTERGOM: Deception! Underestimation! I'm an ideological worker, a warrior on the cultural front. I've written three sketches and a play with a co-author! I am a member of the All-Union Union of the Soviet Writers, I'm sure to raise the quality of my writing, I will be welcome everywhere.
HOZ: ( getting more thoughtful ) You're quite right, Intergom. If our world is going to hell, it means that you're living. What is there in your valise?
INTERGOM: My food and hygiene.
HOZ: Okay. Let's go and caress each other in a most radical manner. There's nothing new, except for our feelings.
INTERGOM: Oh, Johann! But where?
HOZ: Just over there ( points to the jail ).
INTERGOM: Only I ask you to be quick. I've withered on the road: without love there's no full hygiene.
(They depart and disappear in the jail. Pause. Suenita's voice is heard, singing a lullaby to her baby. )
SUENITA'S VOICE: (singing)
Go to sleep and wake not soon
Go to sleep and do not miss
Our cows will soon grow up
We'll drink tea with sugar
SUENITA: ( calling ) Grandpa Hoz!
( Silence. Suenita appears on the stage, holding her baby tight to her bosom.
SUENITA: My bosom is getting cold, too... Where should I lay my baby to get him warm? Shall I hide him in my belly again? But it's cramped there, he'll suffocate. Out here it's so spacious, though empty -- he'll die. ( lovingly examining her baby ) Do you suffer much or not? Say, that it's not so much. Say something! Why do you close your eyes and keep silent? What are you thinking about to yourself?
(Some squeaking sounds are heard from the jail. Suenita lends an attentive ear but fails to determine the source of these sounds)
SUENITA: What's this? Somebody's driving in the distance! They've stopped! Come quickly, we're suffering! ( She bends down )
(Anton rushes in)
ANTON: My body begins to languish with death. I'm afraid to loose consciousness! The people have all became silent, lying half-asleep on the ground.
SUENITA: But are they still breathing?
ANTON: I ordered them all to breathe non-stop! I promised to credit an extra work-day to whoever breathes until evening.
SUENITA: Don't do that, Antoshka! That was a mistake. Our bookkeeping won't be approved.
ANTON: Nothing comes without mistakes. We learn from our mistakes. It's already ten days since I've had any rations to eat – my hands keep on working, my body is suffering, but my head refuses to think. ( Rushes about the stage .)
SUENITA: I wish I could exchange myself for some bread and oatmeal to feed the people in the kolkhoz. Anton, where can I get food for those who have not eaten? ( Sits down on the ground feeling sad .)
(The squeaking sound in the jail stops. )
ANTON: It's high time to organize some food! Warm up your baby, save his life for the future.
SUENITA: I'm trying my best to save him.
ANTON: Your baby will live eternally in communism!
SUENITA: ( examining the baby closely ) No, he won't. He's dead. (Hands the baby over to Anton.)
ANTON: (taking the child ) It's a fact pure and simple: he shall die forever.
(Gurgling Intergom's screaming is heard from the jail. )
SUENITA: A woman has died somewhere.
ANTON: It's not important. Science shall accomplish everything. Your son and all those who died before time, and who can be of use, will be immortally reanimated and brought back to active life.
(A slight pause.)
SUENITA: Don't try to fool me. Give me my baby – I'll weep over him. I don't believe in anything after death. That's the end of it all. ( Takes the child from Anton.)
ANTON: Sit down here and weep like rain. But we'll take your tears as sabotage of our activity. ( Disappears .)
HOZ: Cry, Suenita.
SUENITA: I shall endure.
HOZ: I've heard everything, my poor girl. How shall we get along with you now?
SUENITA: Have you invented any food for the kolkhoz?
HOZ: Yes, I have. I strangled the class enemy, and there is some food left – some sausages, butter, condensed milk... You may have some of it.
HOZ: In the jail-hut. There lies Intergom – my former European woman. I stopped her breathing...
SUENITA: Why did you kill her?
HOZ: She posed a danger to you and to the whole of socialism – she was more dangerous than the old imperialism.
SUENITA: Get away from me, grandpa Hoz.
HOZ: But where's nowhere for me to go, Suenita.
SUENITA: You'll find somewhere. You'd better leave us. We'll bury your woman in a grave, we shall find our own food... You are a trifle!
HOZ: But where can I go, Suenita?
SUENITA: Just go and die.
HOZ: It's high time, I see... It's already become late in this world! Although... maybe you're joking! What is death? Raw material for silly elements. There is nowhere for a serious man to disappear to!
SUENITA: Hold my dead son. I want to wash my face in the sea. ( Stands up from the ground, hands her child to Hoz and departs .)
HOZ: ( alone, to child ) So you are dead, my little human being. You cooled-down piece of Suenita's flesh, my dear one, my little one. ( Kisses the child .) So let's lie down on the ground, side by side, and I'll try to die with you. ( Lies down on the ground, puts the baby down close to himself and embraces him.) Let everything get dark before my eyes and my heart stop beating its irritating pulse. Oh, my god, my god. -- childish and forgotten!
(Ksyusha and Harlamov appear on the stage.)
KSYUSHA:  : Where's Sunya? Everyone's lying down and sleeping. How annoying!
SUENITA: Did you barter our hay for something?
KSHUSHA: Ha! We met with their kolkhoz steward. "All you've got is wormwood," he says. "It won't make a sheep's fleece grow. Eat it yourselves if your starving!" So that's what we get from the kolkhoz; go and die now! Who would've thought it would come to this?! My baby is slowly dying.
SUENITA: And mine is dead.
HARLAMOV: Who's dead?! ( Rushes to the baby, lying next to Hoz .) Oh, my weak one, what shall I feel without you?! I doubt if I can go on living.any longer. ( Almost falls over the body .)
HOZ: Stop making noise over me, citizen, let me alone...Ksyusha, bring me something chemical for the night.
KSHUSHA: You should be treated with dung-wash, you old cripple! I wish you'd croaked, then I could eat you! ( yelling ) Chemistry! I'll scratch your eyes out, 'cause you're the one to blame for all our misfortunes! ( Disappears from the stage .)
(Anton rushes in. )
ANTON: The counter-revolution has untied its hands! ( Falls down from weakness, then stands up again .) It's nothing, my mind is clear, the idea is fully intact, a nest of hunger has established itself only in my body...nowhere else! I shall rise again and throw myself forward and fight till final victory! Long live... ( Looses his consciousness .)
HARLAMOV: ( rising to his feet, leaving the baby alone and coming up to Suenita ) Suenita, why have you spoiled the discipline in the kolkhoz so there's nothing to eat, our children die from hunger!?
SUENITA: It's only our child who's died. You fed him too much bread. All other children are alive. ( Being lost in reveries, starts singing .)...Nulimbatuiya, nylimbatuiya, my poor Alyailya. ( She takes the baby again .) Oh, my little weak one! ( Regaining control of herself a bit, lays the baby next to Hoz .) Warm him up now!
HOZ: I'm cooling down myself.
HARLAMOV: Away with grief! We have to come to our senses! We are not a family, we're all of humanity! It's time to work. Give me an order while my mind has come to its senses.
SUENITA: Bury that jail-hut in the sea. Put more barbed wire on it. We shall use it for catching fish, and we shall feed ourselves.
HARLAMOV: Aha, I see, it's a rationalization. I'll improve it and make a fish trap out of it. The only thing that's lacking is bait. Where shall I get it?
SUENITA: I'll give you some, later.
HARLAMOV: Then I would need a thick rope.
SUENITA: Go and fetch one from the kolkhoz.
HARLAMOV: There's no rope there.
SUENITA: Then I'll cut my hair to make you one...
HARLAMOV: You don't have to do that. I'll make the rope myself. ( Departs.)
SUENITA: Hey, grandp Hoz! ( Hoz keeps silent .) Get up, gramps! It's getting dark already – make a fire – we'll cook fish-soup... Antoshka, get up, we'll have something to eat soon. ( Antoshka is silent. She leans over Hoz .) Grandpa Ivan! Stop pretending! ( Feels him .) Alas, he seems to have gone dead. Gramps, stop pretending, your cheek is still warm... Grandpa Ivan, death is a trifle, so why have you died? ( Weeps softly over him .)
ANTON: It's indecent when someone cries over an alien person... I have one eye still open– I see everything!
SUENITA: He knew Karl Marx personally, besides he was working in our kolkhoz as a book-keeper, so that's why I'm crying. I am the master in this kolkhoz. I ought to be sorry for him.
ANTON: My mind is clear, and that is dialectics, I have nothing against tears.
SUENITA: Sleep, Antoshka.
ANTON: Sleep without food replaces bread. I'm sleeping.
SUENITA: If everybody dies around me I'll be left alone... There has to be someone, or else it would be very bad in the world.
HOZ: ( Stands, then sits ) I thought I had gone dead, but then I burst into laughter and woke up.
SUENITA: You won't die anymore?
HOZ: Nothing would come of it, girl; Death is not a serious thing.
SUENITA: ( Sitting down next to Hoz .) What will you do now?
HOZ: Nothing. Just languish motionlessly in the flow of historical events. I am as much a trifle as is everything, living and dead. It is possible to understand everything, my poor orphan, but there is no salvation.
SUENITA: ( sorrowfully) Are you going to leave us?
HOZ: I'd better go. I'm fed up with all your youth, enthusiasm, capacity for work, and your belief in the future. You are at the beginning, whilst I am at the end. We won't understand each other. Farewell, Sunya!
SUENITA: Farewell, gramps, forever! ( Rushes to Hoz, embraces him and kisses him on the lips .)
HOZ: ( holding Suenita in his embrace ) Forever? No, it is simply not possible to part with you forever... I'll come back to you once again, though maybe not so soon! I'll come back to you when you are an old women, my withered thin creature, warmth of my old heart. ( Kisses Suenita on her eyes, then turns aside and departs .)
(Pause. There appears a sailing boat with a red flag hoisted far away off in the sea, Suenita doesn't see it. )
SUENITA: My child does not breathe. Grandpa Hoz has gone away. The night is coming – it's a bore to be alone.
ANTON: ( jumping up to his feet ) I alone remain here with you till our final victory – we shall see who defeats whom – in a N-number of centuries! (Falls down again .)
SUENITA: ( indifferently noticing a sail ) There is our boat coming up at long last, with all of our bread and sheep, bound for home... Only my child feels nothing. I'd better go to the kolkhoz and wake up the people.
(Anton and Suenita's dead child remain lying on stage. A sail lingers on over the horizon. Pause. )
ANTON: ( standing upright ) High time to go forward!