At s restaurant table, thatís standing aside, Thereís a captain, whoís sitting alone. "Can I join you"- I asked him. "Come on" - he replied In a tired and colorless tone. "Wanna smoke?" he asked. - "On this brand I will pass". "Then letís drink, donít you sit like in palsy". "To your health" - said the captain while raising his glass. I responded: "Iíll sure be healthy!" He grew redder, he rumpled the cloth as we drank, Then he said: "Vodkaís what you excel in... Have you really seen a machine gun or tank? Have you, sonny, attacked under shelling? At the battle of Kursk in 1943 Just a sergeant I was down there. So that in the future youíll live safe and free I went through blood and deadly despair! And he asked cursing hard: "What about your dad? In the army, I guess, he was mustered? And his blood, I am sure, he also shed, And you are but a profligate bastard!" With a rifle at war could you show your worth? For an error there is no margin!" I was sitting as if in the trenches of Kursk Where the captain was simply a sergeant. He was getting too drunk, chewing herring and crap... In the end I insulted the stager - Leaning straight to his ear I told him: "Cap! Youíll be never commissioned to major!"
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2011
Edited by Robert Titterton