|'m not an author. I'm just a translator from Russian|
Ivan Turgenev. A story by Andrey Stepanov
The director looked at the assistant and the assistant at the director, and the next day, Maria-Rosalia, or simply “Mary”, an eighteen-year-old beauty weighing one hundred and sixty kilograms, recently brought from Guinea, was moved in to live with Ivan.
Ivan and Mary had gone to the cave hand in hand and hadn’t left it for two weeks.
Volodya the terrier had fled, overcoming the ditch and fence at the risk of his life and hoping to never return.
Feminists and an animal rights activists were making the telephones ring off the hook. Not long after, a first summons began. The director was sitting in his office, wrapping his head in a wet towel and consulting with lawyers and Dudkin endlessly. In the end, it was decided to send a platoon of marines armed with water cannons to the rescue of Maria Rosalia.
Ivan met the aggressors with his chest out, but after a short battle he was forced to concede the advantage to the American military force.
When the incident was over, Professor Schwartz faced the cameras again.
“Apparently, Ivan is not yet ready to understand marriage as a voluntary union of two individuals,” he noted.
“Persons, Pep, persons,” Dudkin sarcastically corrected him standing behind his shoulder.
“Two persons, thank you. We should admit our mistake. I should note with regret that sexual life did not appropriately socialize Ivan. On the contrary, it killed any desire to connect with anyone else. Now he is in a severe depression and we need to seek new forms of work.
As soon as the journalists left, the director grabbed his head with both hands and began to stride toward his office with huge steps.
“Two wrong moves!” he exclaimed in despair. “One after another. If there is a third mistake, the press will not forgive me. So what do we do, J. A?”
“You know what?” Dudkin was suddenly struck by an idea. “Let’s try to have him meet with his compatriots. The basketball team of the Russian trade unions is visiting Iolanta. The Giraffes defeated them in a shutout and now the Russians need something positive. We’ll invite them here. Maybe once he hears the Russian language, Ivan will reach out to people again. Yes, it is very likely that it will work. I can even give them a tour myself. However, I need an interpreter.”
“Brilliant!” Professor Schwartz exclaimed. “I’ll give them a tour, and you’ll be the interpreter.”
“But I remember almost nothing in Russian.”
“You’ll remember J. A. You will.”
The next morning, the Russian basketball team leisurely walked along the paths of the zoo, marveling at the peacocks who were walking around free. The Russians were standing on tiptoe to see behind the tiger’s fence. Assistant Dudkin and Professor Schwartz stepped out on stilts after the athletes. Ivan was sitting by the pond and catching mirror carp by the bulk of a broken TV set. The sparkling scales of these fish reminded him of the body armor of the Marines. When he caught the carp, he carefully removed the tail first, then its head, and laid the fish out in an intricate pattern on the lawn. The team of trade unions members stood still in their tracks when they saw Ivan. There was a pause.
"Here is a muzhik!” center player Mostovoy finally said.
“So hairy. Probably Georgian,” swingman Lozhkin suggested.
“Come on, Georgian!” sub Malykh replied. “They have a lot of their own Schwarzeneggers here. Didn’t you see that yesterday?
Ivan flinched. He threw the last carp into the pond and cautiously approached the fence on two feet. There he stood for a while, silently looking into Mostovoy’s eyes, and then he suddenly sat down on the ground. Ivan slowly bent his body, extended his left hand, then folded his palm into a cup and crossed himself with his right hand repeatedly.
The Russian team gasped as if they had made three decisive points for the Giraffes in the last second.
“He’s ours,” Mostovoy exhaled.
“Not a Georgian,” Lozhkin muttered in amazement.
“He believes in Christ,” Malykh whispered.
But their surprise could not be compared with the burst of feeling that the Americans had.
“What is it, what does it all mean?” Professor Schwartz yelled, shaking Dudkin like a rag doll. But Dudkin did not answer. He couldn’t take his wide open eyes off Ivan, an he staggered on his stilts and hiccupped.
"Mat' yeti! Mat' yet!" he muttered in Russian.
Five minutes later, when the ability of English speech returned to the assistant, he explained to the boss that Ivan was fluent in sign language, though only Russian. Professor Schwartz was dizzy. Everything became clear: there was a real talent here; he had finally found the student whom he had been looking for all his life. Luck had finally found him. A sentient gorilla would open wide a gateway to shining fame. Ten minutes later, the two gentlemen called Moscow, and a week later Vavila, disheveled after a non-stop flight, appeared before the director.
“Do you have a method?” Professor Schwartz asked in English.
“Do you have any method down there?” Dudkin interpreted.
Vavila scratched his head, threw his hands up and mumbled something.
“What is he saying?” the professor turned to Dudkin.
“He says – so!”
“What does he mean?”
“He means that he has no method yet.”
“That's fine! Even better. I have a method. And this method will bring glory to all of us. Now listen to me carefully, J. A. We don’t have time to teach this guy English, so we will work through two interpreters – He’s the first; you are the second. You have to remember not only the Russian language, but also Russian gestures. We’ll settle the guy in Ivan’s second bedroom. Why? First of all, it’s so useful for business. Second, you should not show him to the press. Third, it will guarantee that he will not run away. But just in case, buy him insurance against wild animals. Feed him borscht. Do not say anything to journalists; we will call them when everything is ready. The first lesson is tomorrow at 7:00 a.m.”
It is difficult to describe Ivan’s delight when he saw that Vavila was climbing over his fence, laden with a mattress, blanket and pillow. He grabbed the teacher with both hands and pressed him to his chest with such force that, if not for the bedding, Vavila would hardly have been able to conduct even one lesson. The friends spent all evening and almost all night on the threshold of their house. Ivan, hungry for communication, used his hands and feet to tell his long-awaited companion of all the sorrows and joys that he had experienced in this crazy country. When he didn’t have enough gestures, he hit his chest with his fist and Vavila stroked his head, comforting him like a little child.
“It’s ok, it’s ok,” Vavila murmured. “Maybe we’ll get lucky. Let’s sleep on it.”
The next morning three folding chairs had been putting Ivan's enclosure. Professor Schwartz sat on the first chair. He was offering topics for studies and providing overall guidance. On the second, J.A. Dudkin sat like a snake out there in the gridiron. He was interpreting the boss’s words into gestures of American Sign Language and then trying to translate them in the Russian manner. On the third chair, Vavila was fidgeting and muttering about something as usual. His task was to understand what Dudkin wanted to say and explain the general meaning to Ivan. Ivan carefully copied his bodily movements, looking at his master with loving eyes. Although from the outside, this picture strongly resembled a conversation of four signoras in the Italian market, it was in fact very hard work. There was a lot of activity lasting from the morning until night, and little by little it began to produce results.
The days passed in continuous gesturing, and in the evenings Ivan and Vavila sat tired on the bench by the pond, watching the sunset under the skyscrapers. Vavila felt inexpressible longing.
“Eh, Vanya,” Vavila leaned against his friend’s shoulder and muttered, “We are in a tight spot, man. What’s wrong with these people? Dudkins - Budkins. Fuck if I know what this Dudkin wants. What does his arm waving mean? Bibila, raise your hand up. Bother! And worst of all is that egghead Professor Schwartz. Our heads are full of his shit, but why all this stuff? He needs glory and money - that’s why. Glory, money, not your mind. It sucks here, Vanya. I’m sik in my heart. And most importantly- it's all in vain. Well, you couldn’t speak their freaking language. Here I am - a person with an incomplete higher education who cannot understand anything. And what about you? Sorry, you are still a gorilla. There is a good proverb in your homeland of Africa: "The turtle cannot push a hedgehog up." Good point! And we say, "Above the forehead, ears do not grow." You know what I mean, don't you? But you're the exception. You are a talent! Eh, Vanya, it’s the river of glory, but it’s like go into a cold water. And we will drift along Mother Mississippi ... But we shouldn’t. How about we go back home, huh? I’m going to a grove, going to nature’s green and listening to the canaries there, and you’ll be listening to your African hummingbirds. All right then, let’s go to sleep. Schwartz will come tomorrow morning and we will study his crazy American stuff.”
Ivan carefully took the sleepy master in his arms and carried him into the cave.
But despite all Vavila’s misgivings and doubts, the training progressed extremely successfully. Ivan faithfully looked at Vavila’s eyes and worked hard with all his four hands. His vocabulary was improving every hour. True, he never learned American gestures, but after only three months he already mastered five hundred Russian gestures that expressed American meanings, but of course only to the extent that these meanings were understood by Vavila.
In addition, while listening to the dialogues of his mentors, Ivan gradually, without any gestures, began to understand spoken American language. He then learned the alphabet and even tried to read newspaper headlines with Dudkin.
Six months later, when the line of a thousand gestures was crossed, Professor Schwartz decided that it was the time to invite journalists.
The first press conference took place right at the zoo and exceeded all expectations. Ivan answered questions from two dozen reporters, spoke on a teleconference with an Oregon state animal group, showed some pantomimes and even galloped across the stage, playing a dying Russian swan.
The next morning he had become famous. The headline on the front page of the Washington Post said, “Our newspaper is the only one Ivan reads!”
On that day, a new life began for Ivan. Vavila’s prophecy came true: the river of glory took Ivan and swirled him in its whirlpools. His portraits were constantly on the front pages of the tabloids; every new saying of his was taken up by TV personalities and included in the dictionary of common aphorisms. The doll named “Ivan reading the Washington Post” became the mascot of the newspaper, and the National Geographic magazine did a survey that showed that sixty-six percent of Americans recognized Ivan in photographs by his famous red hair alone, which exceeded the results for Madonna and Britney Spears.
In the morning, a tent appeared in front of the White House, and a fat man in a stuffy gorilla costume was discovered inside. He demanded citizenship for Ivan and the departure of the President. Soon the photo of the protester was in all guides to Washington. In the summer, when the heat in the capital had risen to above thirty degrees, this man arranged a performance three times a day in which he turned from a gorilla into a person, removing his pelt in public. The man turned out to be red, sweaty and hairy. In autumn a second tent joined the first, then a third appeared, and a small camp of Ivan’s- rights activists gradually formed.
But a much larger camp spread out at the central gate of the Iolantian zoo. The fortifications of Professor Schwartz turned into a military camp, which was besieged by adoring fans and mad reporters. In the morning, as soon as the gates opened, the invaders burst into the zoo with a roar and crowded around Ivan’s fence until the zoo closed. They climbed onto each other’s shoulders, fussed, gestured furiously, buzzed and clicked their cameras, threw food forbidden by nutritionists to Ivan and poisoned his life in every possible way. All big TV channels and newspapers attached their own paparazzi to the Iolantian zoo, and the dream of each was an interview with Ivan.
Eventually, Professor Schwartz was forced to announce that the zoo had temporarily banned the entry of visitors, but by then Ivan hated the American celebrity system and the monsters it generated even more than the American Marines.
By Christmas Day Ivan’s vocabulary had reached two thousand gestures and was immediately published in a separate volume with pictures. The editor of the dictionary, Professor Schwartz, appeared in front of the CNN cameras once again.
“Contact with the animal world,” he announced with emotion, “of which humanity has dreamed for so long, can be considered completely and irrevocably established.”
Journalists applauded. Then questions rained down.
“Professor Schwartz, would Ivan want to become a naturalized citizen of our country?”
“This question is so personal that only Ivan himself can give an answer.”
“And when will Ivan finally give an answer?”
“Next Saturday, friends, next Saturday. Watch the Larry Goodman show.”
And then came that Saturday that all of America was waiting for. The day when people's long journey back to nature was supposed to end and the joint campaign of all living beings to total democracy began. Ivan was declared the main guest on Larry Goodman’s popular evening show. The show was directed by Larry Goodman himself – a brisk old man who wore red suspenders and looked surprisingly similar to Professor Schwartz. The entire nation had gathered in front of TVs, and to the sounds of a jazz band performing an overture from the musical “Gorilla Forever”, a radiant Larry appeared in the glow of spotlights.
He solemnly began: “Ladies and gentlemen, today I want to introduce you to a heroic person. Yes, a heroic person, for this word could not fit my guest better. Judge for yourself. Deprived from his birth of the ability to speak and understand others, he mastered valuable sign language with enormous efforts. To date, his vocabulary contains more than two thousand words. He knows the alphabet and loves to read newspapers. His IQ is close to seventy, which exceeds the results of thirty percent of our compatriots. He has a kind heart and rich imagination. He loves pets very much. He is interested in art and lays out complex compositions of fish on the lawn. His works have already sold out at the best museums of modern art. He remembers his difficult past very well, but does not regret it. He has an original sense of humor, which you will see more than once tonight. He is able to cry from loneliness and laugh with love, and herewith, ladies and gentlemen, he has a lack of most ordinary human weaknesses. He is not able to lie or flatter. He will not be afraid of strength, because he is stronger than any heavyweight and he will not get my autograph, because petty vanity is alien to him. Today we have more than just a show. Today all the honest people of America who watch our channel must decide whether this person is worthy of the human rights that he has been deprived of his entire difficult life. A life spent in countries where these rights are violated. Brothers and sisters, soulmates! You by yourself must decide this, and making a decision will not be easy, because our guest does not belong to the family of Homo Sapiens. Yes, he is not a man. The person I spoke about, the heroic person, ladies and gentlemen, is the famous African-Russian-American gorilla - Ivan Turgenev. A round of applause please! ”
But the last call was superfluous; the audience howled with delight and Ivan, who was entering on his two feet, felt light-headed for a second. For some reason, he remembered a whole platoon of marines with water cannons blazing approaching him.
“Make yourselves comfortable, gentlemen,” the host said warmly to Ivan and the scientists accompanying him. The gentlemen did. Ivan, in a tailcoat, but without boots, was sitting in a soft chair and sometimes scratching his right sideburn with his left foot with excitement. Dudkin, glowing, stood behind him, paternally resting his hand on the pet’s shoulder and Schwartz, also glowing, was leaning back in an armchair between Ivan and Goodman, radiating his mind, humanity, and benevolence with all his appearance. Vavila had been hidden in advance behind Ivan's chair, so that he would not spoil the fun with his gloomy face, but could see Ivan and interpret his gestures. They put a small TV there too.
Goodman waited for the enthusiastic hum to die down and began to talk.
“Professor Schwartz, we highly appreciate your scientific achievements, but I hope that you will not be offended if I start immediately with questions for Ivan. The impatience of our viewers is too great. So, the first question. Ivan, tell us what do you love more than anything in the world?
This was the first question from all those countless journalists who poisoned Ivan's life in Iolanta. Ivan gave Goodman a displeased look, then an uncertain one to Schwartz, and then suddenly got up and began to unfasten his pants. A wave of healthy, sympathetic, but completely irresponsible laughter immediately filled the studio. The popular show was at risk. However, the experienced Larry immediately managed to change the course of his ship.
“Oh, I understand, I understand,” he exclaimed with a shining smile, “It needed no interpreting. We have the thing you need.” And he offered Ivan a previously prepared banana. Ivan pulled up his pants, accepted the gift without much desire, weighed it in his palm, looked around and suddenly threw the banana directly at the bald head of Murray Krueger, the conductor of the jazz band, who was wearing a pink jacket, and whom Goodman used as a background. This was not Murray’s first day on the show, so he reacted as necessary - quickly and accurately. He caught the banana with his left hand and with his right instructed the band to play touché, bit off half of the banana with the peel, turned to face the audience, and winked at the camera with his right eye. With his left eye, he let the boss know that everything was okay and jauntily threw the stub back to Ivan. Ivan grabbed the banana and raised a thumb. The studio broke into applause.
“As I said, in addition to his outstanding intellect and talent, Ivan also has a very original sense of humor,” Goodman announced. “Like you, Murray. And now a more serious question. Tell me, when did you first understand that you are more talented than others are?
Ivan thoughtfully scratched his ass with his five fingers, and then showed the little finger to Larry.
“Fuck knows, a long time ago, in childhood.” Vavila sad hoarsely from under the chair. - I was probably a year old then.”
“I don’t remember exactly, but it was a long time ago. Apparently, when I was one year old.” - interpreted Dudkin clearly. Professor Schwartz nodded joyfully. He was not given an opportunity to speak and he just had to nod and smile.
“You lived in Africa then, right? Do you remember your family? Which of us was your father like?”
Ivan squinted at Schwartz. Schwartz nodded even more happily and stood up. Ivan got up from his chair and opened his arms wide for a hug. Schwartz also spread his arms, but Ivan suddenly easily, like a feather, pushed him to the side and went straight at Goodman. The audience gasped, but Larry raised his reassuring hand. Such a scenario had been addressed by the security measures of the show. A strong corset was put on under Larry’s famous suspenders and therefore the hug passed without consequences. Larry’s face didn’t even turn off a fatherly smile, although Ivan squeezed his imaginary dad with all his heart. The studio was touched. Ivan greeted the audience with the Red Front gesture and returned to his chair. Goodman wiped the cold sweat from his forehead, turned the glow of his smile up two degrees, and continued the interview.
“You arrived in America more than two years ago. What impression did the Americans make on you then?”
In response, Ivan put one hand around Schwartz and mimicked Cheburashka with the other.
“The people are warm, but a little goofy” interpreted Vavila.
“Americans are extremely friendly, but a bit eccentric for my taste,” Dudkin rapped out.
“Yes, yes,” Professor Schwartz finally added his two cents. “And you know Larry, the exact same thing can be said about gorillas. Eccentric and very friendly. But this is just a visual impression; this is not the main thing. The main thing is that they are like smart and kind children. Communication with the gorilla makes each of us a little child.
“There is no doubt about that, Professor Schwartz. All of America greatly appreciates your fatherly care for our wonderful contemporary. And on all the faces in this studio I see the most childlike joy. Okay, we're getting a little off-track here. It is known that you, Ivan, lived on three continents. Tell me which you lived best on.”
Ivan did not hesitate to pull Schwartz toward him, tear off the American flag badge from the lapel of his jacket and raise the badge high above his head.
“Oh, then this is America. But what about Africa, Russia? Where is your real homeland?”
Ivan thought for a moment and then he showed his fist to the camera and began to uncurl his fingers. First, he uncurled his little finger and cradled it like a child. Then he uncurled his middle finger and examined it from all sides, and closed the rest. Then he uncurled his thumb, raised his hand high, and immediately pretended to unscrew the raised finger with his other hand.
After having thought a little, Vavila interpreted this way: “In Africa… I mean... I was born there. In Russia... I lived there... no great things there. And you guys have… it’s quite nice, it’s a living… that'll be the rest of my life… I guess.”
“He says that he was born free,” Dudkin said enthusiastically, “then he suffered many troubles, and in the future he would like to die a free citizen of our free country.”
Professor Schwartz stood up straight as a string without word as if hearing a hymn. Larry Goodman shed a tear, which was immediately shown in close-up.
“I'm not shy about these tears,” said Larry after a decent pause. “Forty million viewers are now feeling the same way I do. We must help Ivan realize his dream, and we will help him. Ladies and gentlemen, Ivan is not the only special guest of our show. Now another extremely special guest will be entering the scene. I have never had such guests and, I am afraid, will not have them again for a long time. Whatever your political views, my dear viewers, you can’t not appreciate the greatness of this historical moment. I ask into the studio the President of the United States of America!” In the studio began something unimaginable: the audience jumped up from their seats, sang discordantly about the striped flag, clapped their hands frantically, stomped, and, at the same time, all wept as one. Larry’s plan worked perfectly. No matter what the audience felt about their president, who was losing popularity, now their souls were united by one tearful spasm. The president, looking remarkably similar to Larry Goodman, came in smiling in a fatherly fashion, making his usual placating gesture with his right hand. He began to speak almost immediately and the noise quickly subsided.
“I had a dream as a child,” he began, simply and unexpectedly. “In our house lived a little monkey - my friend in childhood games. Children of all countries like to imagine themselves as the parents of their pets, and I often imagined that Blondie, as my monkey was called, was my adopted son. I talked with him for hours and I saw that he understood me very well, but could not answer. And I dreamed that someday he would grow up and speak. I think that many of us, my dear Americans, shared this dream in childhood. We all once played Tarzan, we all cried over the unhappy love of King Kong. This is part of our culture. And now, I am happy to welcome the first representative of a friendly species, whom our great science has managed to make equal to all of us. On behalf of the people and the Congress of the United States, I announce that a male lowland gorilla, born in Africa and raised in Russia, Ivan Turgenev, twenty-three years old, who has shown extraordinary intellectual abilities and won the love of all our fellow citizens, will get, out of turn and without any exams, full American citizen rights.”
Immediately after these words, Murray Kruger waved his hand and the anthem sounded. People in the studio stood up and sang like one man. The camera glided on happy wet faces. As soon as the singing was over, Larry quickly took back control of the show.
“Mr. President, I think that Ivan is too shocked to express to you the whole depth of his gratitude; nevertheless, we must give him the floor. And, I want to ask Ivan a final question. What do you feel now that you have become human? What do you think when you hear the words “man” and “citizen of America”? ”
Ivan thoughtfully looked around the studio and then he suddenly threw his left hand behind the chair, pushed Dudkin aside and in an instant took a disheveled Vavila out of the shadows. He carefully put his master on the floor and dusted him off. Vavila blinked at the bright light. Ivan took his hand and led him to the President.
“Who is this?” the President asked in surprise.
“This is our Russian employee,” Professor Schwartz butted in hastily. “His name is Babilla and he helped us with training Ivan. They are friends and I think Ivan is asking you to grant citizenship to his friend as well.
Ivan nodded in a completely human way. No interpretation was needed.
The president was clearly confused. On the one hand, Ivan’s kind feelings undoubtedly aroused the sympathy of the forty million voters who were now awaiting his answer, but on the other hand, America has a citizenship law and violating it for someone unknown would mean coming under fire of criticism.
“And how much English do you speak and what do you know about the constitution of our country?” the President asked cautiously, addressing Vavila directly. Vavila mumbled something in Russian and made a helpless gesture with his hands.
“What is he saying?” Schwarz hissed.
“He says – so!” Dudkin answered.
“Mister President, our Russian friend says that he has not yet mastered enough of the language or the other knowledge and skills necessary for an American citizen,” Professor Schwartz said with regret. “But we will continue to work on him. I think, that he is on the right track, and in a year or two, Babilla, using the Iolantian method, will come to his cherished goal. Well, Ivan will help him.”
“That's fine,” the President smiled with relief. “We will all be waiting for this. And I want to tell Ivan that his good feelings resonate in my heart, as well as in the hearts of millions of our viewers.”
With these words, the President stepped towards Ivan, extended his open palm to him and looked curiously into the former gorilla's eyes. Ivan answered him with a long and hard look. There was a pause, and at that moment something went wrong with the new citizen. Ivan pulled his paw away, not responding to his fatherly handshake, and waved it in the air as if he had burned himself. Then he again carefully looked at the silver-haired person standing in front of him. Then he turned his face the silent audience, took a proud pose and three times rhythmically beat himself on the chest. He then turned sharply and kicked the president of his country from the stage.
“Do not shoot!” Goodman shouted like a madman. “ Plan B-Six!”
In the same instant, water cannons fired from behind the curtains. The President was immediately evacuated in full accordance with plan B-Six, and the wet Ivan remained standing in the middle of the stage, rubbing his eyes.
“Turn off the water jets!” Goodman snapped. “The show goes on.”
The water flow stopped immediately and Murray Krueger ordered a calming waltz to be played.
Ivan gazed from under his eyebrows at the quiet human biomass in the studio, and then he sharply put his right hand forward and hit it with his left hand and growled. The waltz broke off.
“What is he saying?” Goodman asked quickly.
“Babilla, what is it?” Dudkin said in a piping voice.
“ Says ‘fuck to you all, no more show!” Vavila answered. “Our redhead sensed evil people. Now, he’s going wild.”
“He says that he is an angry red-headed gorilla and that we all have difficult moments in our lives,” Dudkin said into the microphone in a trembling voice.
Ivan nodded in agreement and acted so lightning-quick that it was impossible to stop him. The interpreter was now unnecessary and therefore J.A Dudkin was flung on to the floor; then Ivan lifted both Schwartz and Goodman by the collar, banged their foreheads against each other and threw them next to Dudkin. These gentlemen were still in the air, and Ivan had already reached the orchestra in one leap. He grabbed the pants of Murray Kruger, who was just able to squeak, and lifted him high above his head, but then came Vavila’s pleading scream: “Vanya, don’t!”
Ivan stood still and then flinched, as if waking up. Once again he looked around the studio, and then laid Murray on the floor and sat wearily on him. Ivan propped his head in his hand in the thinker pose and watched with complete indifference how a platoon of marines had surrounded him on all sides.
The next morning the newspapers were full of headlines like: “The new citizen made an attempt on the life of the president”, “ A gorilla is still a gorilla”, “Ivan stood up for a friend”, “Hard case for the jury”, “Poor Larry”, “Bravo Ivan”, “ The show must go on, " and “Nothing bothers Murray Kruger ".
That same morning, Ivan and Vavila sat side by side on a bunk in a special cell in a federal prison. At the request of viewers, they were given a final face-to-face meeting.
“Don't beat yourself up, Vanya,” Vavila muttered. “The jury will acquit you. You are supposed to be a star. Moreover, you stood up for your sidekick. And don't be afraid for me. Well, they’ll send me home, but that's what I've been fishing for. Maybe I’ll become a hero. But if they won’t send me, then I’ll stay here. I will teach Russian culture at university. Here, you know, it’s interesting, not like the baboons in Moscow. I’ll teach them all to speak. Well, don't blame me; we'll meet again. Do you know what? Let's sing goodbye. What would it be? And here! Well, listen and howl.
“Why did you dump me? Please, explain to me, why . . .
I’m a human being and not a creep.
You wouldn’t care even if I died.
I have no place to eat and sleep.”
Ivan quietly echoed the sad song, and from the wall the lidless eye of CNN's camera looked straight into his eyes.