Fool-Snow Maiden

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Short Stories

Fool-Snow Maiden

Nyura’s situation was not distressing, not hopeless, it can be worse, although overall there was little good… The army of pensioners was multiplying, the budget was cracking at the seams and there was no longer enough oil, gas or other deflated mechanisms, but so far all these were only hints, hints of something that many people wouldn’t get out of. The young ones didn’t have a sweet time either ... Somehow in the subway, Nyura saw very young musicians in the red circle. Music nervously rushed about in the dungeons of the underground crypt, tearing shreds of meat, eagerly licking a wave of ants in a hurry along the path - more and more were thrown ashore and, frozen, they stood, leaning against the granite cold of the wall. Having woken up, people one by one approached a skewed, one-sided, legged package, the bottom of which was covered with soft, lisping pieces of paper. Coins drizzled with liquid rain ... Then, when Nyura was traveling surrounded by tigers painted on the walls at one of the stations, a hefty kid entered the car, put a bag under his feet, unzipped it and pulled something long, long from the inside. With memorized lamentations, the man stretched almost over the whole carriage an iridescent one, to which a winking garland would not fall. What happened without getting into the seller at the next station, he got out and immediately ducked into the next car, while the woman sitting opposite Nyura kept stuffing the box with the garland in her handbag, but it still did not fit. In fact, there are only two ways to correct the shaky business: to take on any job indiscriminately - this is not a matter of ambition, but there is another way. A rare, happy pensioner does not think about reducing his expenses, it's time to think about it for Nyura.

To live a person does not need much, to survive it is necessary even less - you need to get dressed, to get booted, feed yourself. Would Nyura have been born in a different climate, she would not have known the trouble, but that same winter had come that had once driven both the German and the Frenchman, she was sprinkled with Nyura, although she had none of those in the family. Nyura’s wardrobe was once extensive, now it could not withstand any criticism and it would have been worse for her if it weren’t for the special charities, the existence of which she had never known before. In the old, good times, Nyura herself distributed things to others, and now all this was once distributed to her by someone as if returning to her. Nyura did not disdain, was not conceited, and then even got a taste - many things turned out to be more whole and better than her own, - so Nyura updated her wardrobe, put on a new jacket, she found some more strong shoes and the first snow had not yet laid down, and Nyura was already dressed, shod, all in stock. Such societies exist everywhere; no one will remain cold.

The situation was worse with "feed youself". The first friend of a pensioner, groats, buckwheat and oatmeal, if she had not had to have a kitchen garden, she would have to sell the plot seductively, the jackpot was frivolous for someone, but attractive for her, but Nyura, knowing about the vile ability of money to end, for the time being drove away these alluring thoughts from herself . As long as there is a garden - it’s a sin to complain, not only can you feed yourself and others! The situation was worse with things that the garden didn’t grow, but you can do it if you have no frills ... From the point of view of hygiene, laundry soap is no worse, and maybe even better, if only it’s fragrant ... Small things, sponges , brushes, a comic item but in everyday life an irreplaceable thing, seasonal goods, gloves, mittens, not a single blade of grass will be wasted. So Nyura decided to trade while her legs move.

In the summer they traded near the market, the year turned out to be apple-seasone, the breakthrough was born of apples, even though they carried bags on themselves. Nyura put apples in packages, scribbled a price on a piece of paper – trade for yourself’s joy, for others’ pleasure - did not have time to sit down on a stool, but local, dark-skinned authorities appeared already ... 100 rubles per kilo and not a single apple from a tree for less money it won’t fall - otherwise the ax is head, the law of guests from the south is severe! It turns out that no one has installed a fee. Every market has its own hot lads and there’s no escape from them ...

When the apple season ended with the market moved closer to the subway, adjusting to the passenger flow. Tatyana stood next to Nyura, selling sour cabbage, cabbage was a gold mine, it was cheap, a worthy profit, only a lot of fuss at first, and then go only, poke it. Katerina immediately pushed around, betraying bunches of Uzbek greens, skinny as she was, to her own production and didn’t even blush. There were competing goods, they were identical, just like brothers from the same tangerine branch, they traded persimmons and lemons, changing seasons. Among the sellers there were both regular and newcomers, but they always tried to stay together, to fold off the cops and to fight off cops more easily. And in general, one is not a warrior, and you can hide from the wind and spread the word, although there are some that you don’t shy away from them, but well, stand all day long until the last bunch of flowers!

Nyura outlaid with her goods on two wooden crates upside down were cans of pickles. Cucumbers were Nyurin’s pride and it wasn’t even about a recipe, she cherished them from a belly, removed them from a vine, bathed, cut their asses and, pouring vigorous syrup, clogged them in jars. At home, the cans were stored under the bed, here she uncovered each one, freed it from a thick layer of paper, pulled it out. Even slurping apples on apples, faced with the intricacies of pricing, Nyura went ahead to the supermarket, compared prices, calibers, saw cucumbers and marigolds on the shelves, but considered all this a pampering - Nyura allowed her cucumber to grow, although she did not allow it to be swine! Otherwise, the store cucumber was inferior to Nyurin - neither taste nor smell, but vinegar, and she had a currant leaf, a cherry leaf, and everything from her site, but, despite all the advantages, Nyura knew her place - no matter how she if neither “Uncle Vanya” nor “Frau Marta”!

Standing in the wind, Nyura, along with other women, was trampling, the frost was not the same, but it was already chilly to stand. The wind drove the rare passers-by, pulled everyone into some kind of speeding up, myriad funnel, into which even the stakes were racing faster.

¬ How much, old bones, cucumbers? - Nyura was not offended by the “old bones”, she used to be fine and smooth, but now the times are different, the client is always right, in many companies they even hint at this business on purpose - You even have a pot on your head, and you smile!

¬ 70 rubles, - Nyura did not abuse. Unlike other businesswomen, who traded along the roadsides, who set the price for the goods based on the cost of a car stopped near the bucket, Nyura assigned the same price to any buyer, wanted to add about the supermarket, but did not - all people with eyes, they in the shops don’t hide prices from anyone.

–Good pickles,– she added. Begging, persuading. For goodness sake! With trembling hands to poke cucumbers into a bosom of passers-by – this is the next stage ...

The man backed up, walked over, doused Nyur with a heavy amber, looked through the murky haze of his eyes, took aim, tried on and with all his urine kicked both drawers off the road.

Nyura already bounced! Inside it cuts, as if scalded!

– Hmm .. Gyr ... Cyr ... – the staggering man went on a crooked road further.

Nyura, a snowman, would have settled in a snowdrift if Tatyana hadn’t jumped ...

* * *

On closer inspection, the damage was negligible. Although the boxes fell over, they fell over in the snow and the jars, safe and sound, now lay with their lids buried in a snowdrift, only one crashed, on sharply broken fragments lay pimples, a brackish liquid drained into the snowdrift.

Nyura looked at her feet, as the liquid, flooding the frozen snow, gets to the boots, the hole framed by crispy, lace edges became deeper. The strong and insulting words rushed after the offender - despite internal internecine conflicts, trading at once as if everyone against the offender had gotten wet, stood by the mountain for each other, did not let the stranger descend.

– Yes, he is drunk! Can’t you see it ?! – reassuring everyone, conciliatory said the new merchant selling stockings and mittens. According to a strange custom established in Russia alone, a drunken person still has a lot to say goodbye, mercy and condescension pouring on him, and he finds himself in a kind of privileged position.

They encouraged Nyura as much as they could, reassured them, set them as they were, put the cans back in their place, Tatyana threw the fragments away with a strong boot, dusted the remains with white. Cucumbers were picked up by the bank, two at a time - except for the holidays, cucumbers do not add sweet to the cakes, - Nyura absent-mindedly stuffed the money in her pocket, somehow counted the change, and she seemed to go out, stood as if lowered into the water. She returned home with Tatyana, it turned out that she was on the way, she brought her to the porch, and then even to the apartment, waited while Nyura with trembling hands got into the castle, but did not go in - it was late and she needed to go home.

* * *

The next day, Nyura did not appear at the point. The duty at the metro was not everyday, so the event didn’t surprise anyone, she didn’t come on the second or third day, she didn’t come in a week, and when it was over two weeks Tatiana decided to pay a visit herself even thought about the police, but what about the police? Who was she to Nure? They would not even accept a statement. Standing at the apartment, Tatyana called for a long time. No one opened. Sent out into the courtyard, the light was on and that didn’t portend either good or bad, maybe a blow came and Nyur was lying about something that hit, or maybe nothing happened, but she only thought up something extra - not now people want to open to strangers with whom only for the whole day without having bothered to communicate. Tatyana left with nothing, giving herself a firm promise to come again tomorrow — maybe she’s more lucky. Nyura, meanwhile, while sitting in the kitchen, was listening to the nervous tic of the alarm clock...

Somewhere the phone rang, bursting with its perseverance. They started knocking on the wall, knocking angrily or maybe not on the wall, but on the door, knocking on the second day, winter, everything is pale, monotonously shabby, and if you don’t get out of the house , you can even completely lose the days ... Nyura finally went to the noise, forcibly managed the locks, although she drove them decently. The door finally opened ...

At the threshold stood an unknown woman...

Tatyana burst into the house.

– Well, glory to those, Lord! Alive, unharmed!

Right from the threshold, a wave of something sickeningly cloying was doused, Tatyana pulled off her hat as she went, and threw off her crumb little coat. Nyura, if not at home, stood propping up the wall.

– And what is up, gone sick or what?

Tatyana went into the room, ran into a dry crust in the corridor, and she scattered with a bang – she did not take off her street shoes well. Illumination burned all around. The furniture was still present, although there weren’t enough drawers in the cupboard, Nyura’s crates were suitable for cradles for stunted shoots, sparse vegetation grew everywhere in dairy bags, fighting for light in this seedy greenhouse - in the summer and spring, Nyura also sold houseplants — no carpets , no tracks, only scratches and cracks on the once strong flooring. The floor was especially dirty. In the middle, in the middle of the murky hall, there lay a flattened and already slightly spoiled mutilated corpse ... Those present, or rather, their few remains, came up, reluctantly pecking somewhere in the neck, into the place where the already bleeding wound gaped, indifferently dispersed .. . Tatyana almost sat down: "I really didn’t think that even hens are susceptible to cannibalism!" Of course Nyura did not tell her about the fact that she had not come alone for the winter, but with chickens. She was obviously ashamed to say ... Having noticed where the sickening smell came from, Tatyana went to the kitchen, found a bag, wrapped the corpse in feathers in cellophane and quickly carried it to the garbage chute, strictly forbidding Nyura to close the door behind her...

The reason for the plight of the birds very soon became clear – all the feeders were empty, there was no more water than in the Arabian desert, who was worse and weaker - it gave its soul to God: among the hens, it seems, the same principle worked – while the fat one dries, the skinny one dies. But here the process was already in full swing ... Tatyana was assimilating in the new territory, found grain reserves, threw shred here and there, especially not ceremoniously, the thin strings of survivors reached for the grains, the bird's pestilence did not end there, before Tatyana go for water - another fall and chicken, none other than the pleasures of feasting. Despite the strong frost, Tatyana opened the window wide open. Clucking from the shabby bodies, the tenants sat on the shelves, smiled, frowned at their worthless, useless life, complained that Nyura had not taken their life, as usual, at the end of the season, but as Noah dragged a couple for the winter in the city. They doomedly glanced at the swaying sky somewhere running behind the curtain, regretting that it was clear that they could not fly away to where all who had wings fly and shake grain, for a pinch of millet, they were doomed to eternal torment. Having fed the chickens, Tatyana slammed herself on the forehead from all over. “Here is a stupid woman!” – she took care of the chickens, but Nyura didn’t have poppy dew in her mouth! She conducted an audit, from the fact that she found a bruised, frail sandwich, boiled tea. The smell, astringent, pungent smell continued to haunt her, but from under the closed door the room was chilling, and she hoped that this smell would not immediately, but gradually disappear, freeze, and recede. Tidying up Tatyana was reporting Nyura for something ... It’s hard for everyone now, but still don’t have to go down ... Well, it’s not a good idea to arrange a chicken coop in a city apartment ... Cucumbers, cabbage are other staff, it can be ... It’s strange that the neighbors haven’t complain yet and she has not been poisoned so far. These are bugs, and cockroaches and all that you want ... At the same time, she looked sternly at Nyura, and she suddenly trembled with a big tremor. Tatyana went into the room, closed the window when she returned, the tea still remained untouched, Nyura stood by the window looking at something absent-mindedly, her skirt stuck strangely to her legs, stuck and did not stick.

Tatyana gasped!

Undressing Nyura was troublesome - Tatyana already realized that something was wrong with her – she forcibly managed, put the ward in the bathtub, where they had to be washed ... While Nyura sat wrapped in towels, Tatyana moved the bed, found that it was cleaner. Tatyana left Nyuru at night with a restless heart, and in the morning neither light nor dawn was again in her house when she entered the kitchen, Nyura stood by the stove, burning matches. Tatyana confiscated everything cutting, sawing, incendiary, but she didn’t calm down - it was scary to leave Nyura alone, she would burn both herself and her neighbors. Tatyana found Nyura's little coat, put on a warmer, thicker coat, and took it with her to work ...

* * *

By New Year, Nyur was completely dressed up as a Snow Maiden and things went even more well. Crazy, lepers, doomed people are still afraid of and the gendarmes are no exception. Nyura became for everyone a salvation, something like an amulet, a talisman. With her carelessness, affability, cordiality to people, she really looked like the granddaughter of Santa Claus - she didn’t let anyone pass in, she didn’t stretch sour cabbage with a sour smile, she didn’t recognize anyone, but she was happy about everything and of course Tatiana. And Nyura was fine again, Tatyana's untold efforts she was well fed and shod, only diapers for the Snow Maiden were expensive ...

* * *

Tatyana cut all the chickens since Nyura had a large freezer. There was a lot of gossip among the merchants. They hinted at Nyura’s apartment, while others reasoned sensibly – the Tsar-father is far away, the president is even higher, without Tatyana Nyura would have gone to the next world, and had she wanted it - Tatyana would have managed with her for a long time ago, but she still carries it behind, the Snow Maiden!

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