In the Middle – Ukraine: House with a Stucco Ship (Part 3)

by Gennady Bondarenko

As I found out ten minutes later, the wallet flew out of my vest when I snatched it on the run. The waiter who seemed to be Rita’s acquaintance called her, and she dialed my number. Everything is wonderfully simple. My money came back to me, all by itself, along with a good mood – and above all, after saying good-bye to the girl and the wallet, both were returning. Everything seemed to be back on track. It was the right moment to invite my lady savior to dine.

“But you just came from the café, didn’t you?” – Rita laughed. “Though I don’t mind actually. I suppose that you, being ne mestnyi, vote for some local flavor? Want to drop in a Crimean Tatar place for chebureki? Not a romantic dinner, those turnovers, I understand… but in return you’ll get you fair share of authenticity. So – your treat, my ride, okay? Let’s stay gender correct, as they love to say in the places you’ve come from. We’ll have more of a business lunch. I have a kind of business proposal for you…

We were still in the city limits as I noticed that my new out-of-the-blue bride never paid any attention to such nuisances as speed limits or passing rules. Riding out to the Yalta highway, she ignored them just as the speedometer needle never fell below 120 km/h.

“Nice car,” I commented, trying not to lose a conversational thread, “except perhaps an expensive one. Kind of a present, is it? Or a reward from your business?”

“Yes, you are right. It is a present,” – she nodded, and my mood sank. Presents of this sort were definitely beyond my means. “My dad bought it for me. And no – I have no business… well, far from it! I am an artist. That’s what I do for a living. Some painting… but mostly design work. And you…by the way, what languages do you translate from? No mention of this on your business card.”

“English, of course. Well, and some Eastern languages too.”

“Interpreter? I mean, oral translation or written?”

“Written, for the most part.”

“Mind telling me something in English? Recite some kind of poetry?”

“Poetry, you said?” – I was taken aback and even didn’t try to hide my surprise. “What kind of poetry?”

“Any kind, whatever you want. Main thing is, in English.”

“Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say,” – I tried to improvise something on the run but wasn’t sure if she’d find my improvisation funny, “I said something wrong…”

But she laughed and for a moment averted her eyes from the road casting a teasing glance at me:

“Enough, enough! A lullaby, wasn’t it? Bet your dad sang it to you when you were a lil’ babe and didn’t want to go to sleep? But never mind – you indeed speak the language all right. The matter is… for the next couple of days you will be an American. A professor… well, no, you won’t pass for a professor – simply a young scientist from the USA. The emissary of UNESCO and the representative of some Copernicus Foundation.”

“There is such, isn’t there?” I asked mechanically.

“Of course there is. Funds the restoration works on the Chersones archaeological site. Ten million dollars… or maybe even twenty? That’s not the issue, actually. What matters most is that you’ll help my granddad to sell a house.”

“What granddad? What house?”

“My granddad, Alexander Ivanovich by name. His own house. You’ll be the buyer. You’ll agree on one hundred thousand dollars.”

Now was my turn to laugh:

“For you – for your eyes only, as they say – I’ll agree to be an emissary of UNESCO or even MAGATE, if you wish so. And a house in Sevastopol would be useful to me as well. But there’s a little mismatch that ruins that beautiful picture – I don’t have those hundred thousand…”

(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:  Falysh, Ukraine – Silhouettes – Andriyko Podilnyk (Unsplash)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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