In a restaurant there hang on the wall: "Three Bears," "The Stabbed Knight." A lonely captain sits at the table. "Excuse me," I asked. "Sit down. Have a cigarette." - "Sorry, I don’t smoke “Kazbek”." "Then drink. Here are the glasses." "Well, before they bring it..." - "I said, drink it! To your health!" - "Thank you, I am grateful." "So, what then?" said the captain, already drunk, "You drink the vodka beautifully, you know, But have you ever seen a machine-gun or a tank, And have you ever fought in the battle? In forty-three near Kursk I served as a chief, Behind my back-such awful terror... A lot of bad things behind my back, brother, So you could live in peace, fellow." Then he began to cry, he asked about my dad. He screamed, bluntly, looking at his plate: I gave half of my life for you, scoundrel. And you’re wasting your life, punk. And give a rifle to you? And send you to fight? And here you are drinking the vodka with me!.. ...I sat as though in a trench near Kursk, Where the captain had served as a chief... He was cursing and drank. I just followed his steps. Only in the end of our conservation, I insulted him, and I said: "Captain, You will never become a major."
© Nathan Mer. Translation, 1991