Gyorgy and Arakadi Veyner1 Salaam aleikum to you We are acquainted with you in secret, We know the criminal code by heart2. Seven of elders write to you From the land of Hindu Kush Because seven magazines of yours Have been translated you for us. And during the cotton harvest (By the way, cotton is now silk)3 Our magazine "Star of the East" Found space (seven pages) for you And our head elder - Criss-crossed all of Moscow in a ZIM4 And couldnít find your books In a single store Two of the elders Pulled all the hair from their beards There ainít any [books], in spite of all the connections, In the Central Bookstore - or anywhere else For the "Era of Mercy"5 (And for that, a big thanks to you!) - I gave the officer two melons And a kilo of pomegranates And at the end of your TV series - I swear on a gray hair! - We will provide, eight melons For each additional episode And to avoid any hitches (Do you like kufta-bazbash?)6 Please send your wives to the Central Market, {We will provide] a sheep for each chapter. Maybe itís too crass But, for songs about prison, (The singer Vysotsky should sing them), We will pay twice as much. One canít find your proofs Even in Paris. And they say... But, what can we buy with francs? Grapes, again, what else. Today we read you, Oh how you words work up a sweat, Brothers, we consider you to be - An amazing people. Our great-grandson at the grocery warehouse, Where the money is crap. But if youíre hungry, In that case, come every day. We wished he studied at the foreign language department. I even prepared a big bribe... But...[it didnít work out]. If Niyoziy were alive7 [heíd vouch, but without him] what connections? - Europe and Asia have connections, Only those connections are nonsense. You mustíve been to the Kamaz plant8: There are no fruit. And this time, Come to Hindu Kush!
1 The Vayner Brothers were popular Soviet mystery fiction writers who authored some 150 books and 22 screenplays.
2 Both Arkadiy and Georgiy were educated as lawyers, and Arkadiy Vayner was a detective before they went into writing, and most of their writing are detective stories, so thatís the joke. It may also imply that perhaps the salesman has reasons to know the ins and outs of the criminal law.
3 Pokes fun on the deficit of cotton even in Central Asian areas of the USSR where it is grown.
4 ZIM is a type of car.
5 "Era of mercy" is a book by the Vayner Brothers.
6 Kufta bazbash is a lamb-based soup from Central Asia.
7 Hamza Hakimzoda Niyoziy, the founder of Uzbeki Soviet literature.
8 Truck factory.
© ?. Translation, 2017