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Untrodden paths

or philosophy of Russian political system

Andrei Shkarubo

© Andrei Shkarubo, 2016

Created with intellectual publishing system Ridero

Untrodden paths

By Andrei Shkarubo

Dedicated to those who, in their quest for Truth, pass through Death

From the author: The author is in no way responsible for the politically incorrect actions and words of the characters in his play: it takes place in a psychiatric hospital 50 km. east of Moscow in the summer of 1985, at the start of Gorbachev’s perestroika.

To those who might view the plot as contrived and unrealistic, saying that people, finding themselves in a psychiatric hospital, are unlikely to spend their time debating at length the complex issues of philosophy, our being, and politics; thinking that in a psychiatric hospital these people are likely to be preoccupied with their own problems and sorrows, rather than the problems of the whole mankind – the author would like to remind those that the characters of his play are not normal healthy members of society, but personalities whose minds are thought to be seriously affected – which is evident from their painful, obsessive, pathological drive toward some alleged Truth; indifference toward their own fate and wellbeing; and finally total disregard for authority and state.

Gentlemen, and former comrades, too, please, be patient with my characters – they are sick people, besides, they are living in Russia – the country where the questions «who’s to blame?» and «what to do?» are inherent.

Act 1

morning in the ward – «Spy»

Bachkov, a tall, athletic, handsome male nurse in his mid-thirties: Wake up, wake up, you loonies! Everybody here, get up, get dressed, make your beds, wash your f-f-f-asses. Voronin, stop jerking off and start the floor scrub!

Voronin, a man in his mid- thirties: I ain’t jerkin’ off, I’m playing morning tattoo.

Imitates the sound of a bugle.

A general laugh, then someone: He won’t get up till his cock gets down!

Bachkov: Grab that broom and play scrubbing tattoo, instead.

Voronin, giving a loud raspberry, causing more laughter: Sorry, Captain, but scrubbing ain’t like jerkin’ off; it has to be done in turns.

Bachkov: Whose turn is it, then?

Voronin: See this new loony, in the corner?

Bachkov: Are you Andrei, the one police brought in yesterday evening?

Andrei, a young man of 27: Yes.

Bachkov, giving an amused whistle: I‘ve just read your case story, is it rue? They say…

Andrei: Never mind what they say, watch what they do…

Bachkov: Really? Well, frankly, it’s none of my business because I’ve seen enough to mind my own. Anyway, Mr. Spy, today seems to be your turn to scrub. Here’s a bucket and a mop for you.

(Sound of scrubbing)

Sasha, a young man of 27 with a guarded look characteristic of an ex-con, watching inexperienced scrubbing movements, asks quietly: First time here?

Andrei: Not exactly, I was in the institution before, four years ago, in fact.

Sasha: What for?

Andrei: American embassy…

Sasha: Wanted to emigrate?

Andrei: Not exactly, it’s a long story….

Victor, a handsome man of 45 with piercing shiny eyes: That’s what our gaga-houses are for: To cut our long stories short. As I understand it, once you’re on the KGB’s black list, your stays here are bound to become regular: a party Congress, Good-Will Games, or a Youth Festival, like now, and they round up all subversive elements which might spoil their fun.

Sasha: Yeah, man, you should have gone to some safe place before this fucking festival began.

Andrei: I didn’t know that. I thought – in fact I was assured – that if I laid low and kept quiet I would be left alone, unnoticed and forgotten.

Victor: Boy, you must be really naïve to trust what they say. It’s not in their interests to forgive and forget. They live by suppression.

Andrei: Why? Is it in their interests to increase the number of their enemies?

Victor: Friends and enemies are the notions which belong to the rosy world of Romance. The shady world of politics knows only «useful and useless». And if you should happen to be of any use to them, they label you as friend or enemy, depending on the way they want to exploit you. It doesn’t matter for them which side you’re on, as long as you play by the rules of the game.

Andrei: How’s that?

Victor: Whatever team you play for there’s only one goal in this ball game.

Tupikov, a portly man in his sixties, grinning: Victor Vasilyevich is a philosopher, got here because of it.

Victor: No, I’m not a philosopher. I used to practice yoga, until my enlightenment, then I wrote a book – and here we are…

Tupikov: Now psychiatrists are busy writing the review. After which, unless the author shuts up, the «publisher» would pay him lavish royalties, which you, Victor Vasilyevich, would be at pains to enjoy, say, in Sychevka, or in Kazan’s life ward.

Victor: Well, Nikolai Ivanovich, I’ve never shied away from the graces of our high and mighty. Besides, one can write in Kazan too.

Andrei and Sasha laugh.

Sasha: Victor, they’ll give you such hell for your ravings you won’t know how to read, much less write.

Victor: If I remember correctly, Porfiriy Ivanov was able to write his things when they locked him in Kazan psychiatric prison.

Sasha: Who’s that?

Victor: A Russian healer, a yogi.

Tupikov: Victor Vasilyevich, Ivanov, being a yogi and a healer, never meddled in politics.

Sasha: A pal of mine returned from Kazan recently. He says the guy who tried to shoot Brezhnev in Red

Square is still in solitary. The guys there have tried repeatedly to pass him cigarettes at least, but the coppers never let them.

Andrei, surprised: Is he still there? It’s been over twenty years since he…

Sasha: What did you expect? It’s a life ward…

The somber mood was broken by Bachkov reappearing in the doorway: Hey, loafers, breakfast time!

With a joyous cry Voronin leaps from his cot. In the doorway he receives from Bachkov a kick in the ass, so hard it might have knocked anyone else down, but Voronin just gave another loud raspberry and raced to the dining hall, reciting on the way children’s verses «I’m a jolly little cloud mistaken for a bear. I’m a jolly little cloud, floating here and there…»

The rest, smiling, leave the ward slowly, leaving behind only Victor Vasilyevich and Andrei, who went on scrubbing.

Andrei: Why don’t you go?

Victor: I take my meals only once a day.

Andrei: Oh, yes, you are a yogi. I myself have been practicing yoga for 15 years already. I’ve read lots of books on it, and on the occult in general.

Victor: Really? In our country one can get these books only by samizdat. You have a chance to get such literature?

Andrei: No, I just happen to know English and spend a lot of time in the library of foreign literature in

Moscow.

Victor: I see: a second language is a second life.

Andrei: Frankly, what I wanted to say is that I don’t know what a person could write about yoga to land him in a psychiatric hospital.

Victor: First of all, there are lots of things about yoga which the authorities would like to keep secret from the public, mostly things which concern mind control. That’s actually why the occult department was formed inside the KGB.

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