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Home Zoshchenko's Feuilleton Administrative Ecstasy - translation

Administrative Ecstasy - translation


Administrative Ecstasy

I’d like to tell a story about a certain police chief. A very deeply interesting individual.

It is, of course, a pity that I don’t remember in which town this individual exists. A little while ago, I read a small article about this chief in a Kharkov newspaper. The town—I forgot. My memory is like a sieve. Somewhere near Kharkov.

Well, it’s really not that important. Let the denizens of the town sort out their own heroes. No doubt, they will recognize the last name Drozhkin.

So, let’s see, it was in a small town. Frankly speaking, it was not even in a town, but in a village.

And it was Sunday.

Imagine—spring, the springtime sunshine plays. Nature, so to speak, awakens. The grass, perhaps, begins to green.

The citizens, of course, poured out onto the street. Scraping clean the exterior walls.

And right there among the citizens strolls, in the flesh, the assistant chief of the local police, Comrade Drozhkin. With his wife. In an exquisite calico dress. A hat. An umbrella. Galoshes.

And they stroll, y’know, so very similar to mere mortals. Without disdain. So they plow ahead, arm in arm, along the public sidewalk.

They made their appearance at the corner of the former Treasury Street. A sudden stop. In the middle, one might say, of the public pedestrian sidewalk there is a pig running around. A rather large pig, perhaps 250 pounds.

And the devil knows where it wandered in from. But it’s a fact that it did wander in and is clearly disturbing the public disorder.

And there, as ill luck would have it, appear Comrade Drozhkin and his wife.

Goodness gracious! Perhaps it may be unpleasant for Comrade Drozhkin to look at a pig?

Perhaps in his time off duty, he desires to look at some noble part of nature? But here is a pig. Goodness gracious, what careless behavior on the part of the pig! And who allowed such а stinker outside? It’s simply impossible!

And most importantly—Comrade Drozhkin was short-tempered. He flared up right away.

“This,” he screams,“whose pig is this? Be so kind as to liquidate it.”

The passersby, in a sense, were all in a tangle. They kept quiet.

The chief says:

“What is going on in broad daylight! Pigs blocking passersby. One can’t take a step. I’ll nip it right away with my revolver.”

Comrade Drozhkin, of course, takes out his revolver. There among the local public, confusion ensues. Some more experienced passersby with, so to speak, a longer term of military service jumped aside at the discussion of a bullet.

As the chief was about to shoot down the pig, the wife intervened. The spouse.

“Petya,” she says, “there’s no need to kill it with your revolver. Now, maybe, it will retreat under the gate.”

The husband says:

“It’s none of your civic business. Freeze. Don’t interfere with police action.”

At this point, from under the gate, a little old woman emerges.

This little old woman emerges and searches for something.

“Oh,” she says, “goodness! There it is, my boar. Comrade chief, no need to shoot it with your pistol. I’ll take it out of the way now.”

Comrade Drozhkin flared up again. Maybe he wanted to admire nature, but here, pardon me, is a clumsy old woman with a pig.

“Aha!” he says, “your pig! I’ll conk it right now with my revolver. And I’ll send you off to the station. You’ll let the pigs out after that.”

Here the wife intervened again.

“Petya,” she says, “let’s go, for goodness’s sake. We’ll be late for dinner.”

And, of course, through her own folly the wife pulled at his sleeve, as if to say, let’s go.

The police chief turned terribly pale.

“Oh, so,” he says, “interfering with police action and orders! Grabbing my sleeve! Now I’ll arrest you.”

Comrade Drozhkin whistled to the sentry.

“Take,” he says, “this citizeness. Send her off to the station. She interfered with police action.”

The sentry took the imprudent spouse by the arm and led her to the station.

The people kept silent.

And how long his wife sat at the police station, and what were the consequences of the familial woes, is unknown to us. About this, unfortunately, nothing is said in the newspaper.