In the Middle – Ukraine: House with a Stucco Ship (Part 2)

by Gennady Bondarenko

Twenty minutes passed, and I had run out of cigarettes. Reaching into the pocket of my vest, I suddenly realized — or rather sensed —that my wallet wasn’t there. I searched the other pockets but with the same result. There were credit cards in that wallet and some nine hundred-dollar bills, all that was left of a translator’s fee I’d got for a finished book. I rummaged through my pockets again and dug up some 12 hryvnas with change. There was nothing I could to but feel utterly helpless, among all the romantic scenery of downtown Sevastopol, as I sat on a bench under planes and watched the sea. I did so for some time, vacantly gazing at distant toy-like ferries slowly moving to Severnaya bay and a few pleasure boats, coming and leaving the Artbukhta. Life was going on — that easy laid-back life of a Crimean seaside town. Still, sunbeams’ playful dance on the waves, the whitecaps left behind by the cruise ships were promising nothing extraordinary or threatening. Nothing spoke of trouble, so with a sigh I tried to summarize my current situation.

Had I lost my wallet or had it been stolen? It wasn’t very important for now. Its total absence — that’s what mattered. It was indeed a “big fat minus” for my situation. Still there were some “pluses” too; this included the return ticket on the very same train back, which was still in my bag in the hotel room. I had paid in advance for the day’s lodging so spending a night on the street did not await me. I would re-book the ticket for tomorrow. The only money left was enough for coffee and cigarettes.

It occurred to me that I could make a call to Kiev and ask the folks in the publishing house to transfer an advance to me without going into detail about what happened. All the more so since I expected a big order next month. But my mood had changed altogether. The sun, the sea and the girls in their summer dresses were not pleasing my eye anymore. And not because of the money I lost – I was annoyed by a holiday that had been spoiled so abruptly and mercilessly.

The melody on my cell phone unexpectedly cut off my brooding; the number was unknown.
“Good afternoon, Igor” said the handset with a pleasant lady’s voice, “Because you are Igor, aren’t you?”

“Yes, you are right,” I agreed, trying to pretend cheerful and even added sort of jokingly – and no need to be so official, ma’am: Igor Pavlovich will be okay, for the sake of simplicity. And who are you, may I ask?”

“My name is Rita. And one can only wonder that you don’t recall me. Because someone asked me to marry him no more than an hour ago, don’t you remember? But now I changed my mind: I won’t marry you.”

“But why?” – the conversation had taken such an unexpected turn that I blurted out the first thing that crossed my mind. “Because…?”

“Because of your habit of throwing around money.” – the girl who called herself Rita made me freeze up. “I mean losing your wallet and whatnot. You have to be more careful, especially when sami wy ne mestniye.”

“Rita…” I started. “Do you want to say that you’ve found my wallet? Want to return it to me, don’t you?”

She laughed:

“Alas, but being a good-mannered girl I have to. As to ‘found it’ – one doesn’t have to be a detective to find your wallet. By the way, where are you now?”

I looked around searchingly for something to use as orientation.

“Okay, stay where you are,” commanded the girl. “I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“Rita,” I shouted into the headpiece. A surge of excitement welled up inside me; I was enthusiastic and just didn’t want to let her go. “Wait a second, don’t cut me off! Tell me please… e-e-e… my phone number – where on earth did you get the number from?”

She audibly sighed as if talking with some dumbhead.

“Your business cards were in that wallet. And there was a phone number on those cards; do you want to tell me you carry someone else’s business cards by the dozen, do you? Okay. Just stay there, I’ll be right over.”

(to be continued …)

In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)

Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan

February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asryan

March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez

April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Toni Wallis

May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko

June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas

July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk

August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido

September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández

October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino

November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake

December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva

Background – Context

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

More work by Gennady Bondarenko

What You Sow Does Not Come To Life Unless It Dies – Gennady Bondarenko (transposing emblem)

Twenty Plus Years – Gennady Bondarenko (transposing emblem)

Hybrid War – Gennady Bondarenko (transposing emblem)

Emblems and stories on the international community

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world

Credits

Cover photo: Odessa, Ukraine – In the rain – Vitaliy Holovin (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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