Arkady Averchenko: The professional

Not so long ago he burst into my room and anxiously exclaimed: “Why don’t you answer the door?” “Someone has broken my door bell. I will call a serviceman and get an electric one instead.” “My friend! And you’re telling me this? Me, who was born an electrician…Who else will fix it for you, if not me?” His eyes were glistering with tears of sincere joy. “Usatov!” I said sullenly “You shaved me once and I had to call two doctors. You tuned my piano and I had to call a tuner, a joiner and a polisher to come in.” “Oh, you called a polisher?! Dear! You could have told me, and I would have…” He had already taken off his coat, not listening to my objections, rolling up his sleeves: “Glasha! Go buy me twenty meters of wire. Ivan! Run to the electrical store on the corner and get two buttons and a double pressure bell.” Since I did not know anything about fixing door bells, the term “double pressure bell” brought me hope that electricity was something I can trust my old friend with. “Maybe,” I thought, “he is a professional at exactly that.” But when they brought in the wire, I asked the professional with suspicion: “Listen…Why is it not isolated?” “From what?” said Usatov, mock pity in his tone. “What – from what?” “Isolated from what?” “Nothing! From itself” “What do you need that for?” Since I was not in need for it, I quietly let him work. “We already have the holes in the door. We need to put through the wire, tie the button to it and fasten the bell in the kitchen. You see how easy it is!” “Where are all the elements?” “What elements?” “The bell will not work without the elements!” “What if I just push the button a little harder?” “You can hit it with your head…The bell will be silent as an old shoe.” He was thinking. “Just drop the wire” I said “Let’s go have lunch.” Nevertheless he was sad to part with the door bell. He was eagerly attached to this simple instrument… “I will take it with me” he declared “There is probably something else I can do with it.” There was something else he was able to do. He tied the bell to the hanging lamp. Immediately after, he tore the lamp off the ceiling and directly after that he scalded my little son with hot soup. Translated by Maria Aprelenko, RT


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