On the walls of this restaurant were hanging "Three Bears" and "Fallen Soldier". A Captain was seated alone at one table. "May I", I asked. "Please", he responded. "Cigarette?" I offered. "No thanks, not my brandí, he answered. "Fine, how about a drink - but I need a glass." "Theyíll bring one.". "Ein Prosit to you!" I said. "Your health!" said he. "Iím working on it!" said I. "So", says the Captain - a bit under the weather - "I see you can handle your vodka just fine, but... Have you ever seen a machine gun, or a tank - up close?" Have you, say, ever been in an attack?" He continued: "In í43 I was a Sergeant-Major at Kursk. Iím glad thatís behind me - that kind of stuff! And lotís more, friend! Over! Done! So that you could lead a good life, sonny boy!" He continued drinking and cursing, then asked about my dad. He was talking loudly, glancing at the food with disinterest. "I put my life on the line for you, kid, and you, youíre just living it up, like some whore!" "What if I gave you a rifle, sent you into combat?! You, who just sit there drinking up my vodka?" I felt like I was in a trench there in the Kursk salient, When this Captain was serving as a Sergeant-Major. He kept on with his drinking, but I was not far behind. Finally, at the end of our conversation, I insulted him, when I said, "Captain! Sorry, but I donít think you are ever going to make Major!"
© Rolland Amos. Translation, 2020