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Volcano "The Moon Outside My Window" (Satirical Novel) (14) The Stunt Man"s "chrysler"

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  "The Moon Outside My Window"
  (Satirical Novel)
  Translated from the Russian by Alec Vagapov
  (14) The Stunt Man"s "Chrysler"
   The chief accountant of Uvada Factory Kunzhibay and I set out on Ramazanov"s car "Zaporozhets" to fulfill the task set by Kalankhan Adalatov. The doors of the car closed with difficulty. Once you opened them they wouldn"t close. Kunzhibay was a thin man and sharp-sighted like a mantis. He was about two meters tall. Talking about himself he would say with self criticism:
  : - I am tall but my mind is quite the contrary.
   - He was a liar by nature. That was the reason why the employers of Uvada Factrory had nicknamed him "Munchhausen". As he was tall Kunzhibay he sat in the car bending down and praising Ramazanov"s dilapidated car.
   - Yes, Buribai-aka , you"re a brave stunt man.! Your car is not a "Zaparozhets", it"s a "Chrysler". Propping up the torn mattress of his seat with his backside and turning to Kuzhinbai he said:
   - You think so? Well, thank you for appreciating my talent. The evil tongues call you Munchhausen. But you are right for once. Indeed, the stunt men are, in fact, suck men compared with me. For you to know, I am driving drunk at a speed now. Before we set out I had gulped a whole bottle of vodka. No problem, I am driving. Incidentally, one of the wheels of this "Zappi" is rolling on just one bolt. The rest of the bolts fell off as far back as last year. If you want to get some adrenalin I can show you with pleasure some dangerous tricks like driving on two wheels on the side. Look...
   Out of fear, I had my heart swollen, like a balloon.
   - Stop the car - I said. I have to relieve myself.
   Oh really? - he said - No problem. You"re always welcome.
   He stepped on the brake. But the car didn"t stop. He pedaled again and again. But the brake didn"t work. I thought he was kidding. But the brake really broke down.
   - That"s all! - Ramazanov said - you are done for! The break doesn"t work.
   Seized with panic, I started praying. "Zaporozhets" is not a bicycle. You cannot stop it by putting a stick in the wheel.
   -Why don"t you signal? - I asked Ramazanov.
   - How can I signal when I"ve got none? Istead of teaching me, you"d better lean out of the window and shout for people too hear:
   - Keep off the road, the brake doesn"t operate! Keep off the road, the brake doesn"t operate!
   Then Ramazanov turned to Kunzhibay:
   - Why are you crying? We should face death with dignity and with a smile!
   Hearing this Kunzhibay started crying more intensively. And I kept shouting:
   - Keep off the road, the brake is broken! Keep off the road, the brake is broken!
   - I don"t care now - Ramazanov suddenly said.
   - Because I have to catapult.
   - How come? Have you got such a launcher?
   - Of course, I have. Look, I will push this button and a hatch will open up there. Then I will take off, along with my seat, and make a parachute landing. The parachute is the best thing, for me anyway. As for your seat, it has no such a function.
   Just in case, I shouted again:
   - Keep off the road, the brake doesn"t operate! Keep off the road, the brake doesn"t operate!
   Ramazanov, steering the car, went on:
   So before I take off you can tell me whatever you want. I think you"d better put it in writing. Write down! I think it"s the best way. You know, women are mysterious creatures. Your wives may not believe me. And if I have it in written form I can use it as an indisputable proof in court. After all, your wives, too, will want to get a certain amount of money from the National Insurance. It won"t give you a coin without a document.
   On hearing that Kunzhibay started howling. I shouted:
   - Keep of the road, the brake doesn"t operate! Keep of the road, the brake doesn"t operate!
   Ramazanof kept on talking:
   - And men? They will not believe it when your wives tell them that you have really died in a car crash. They will need a confiding letter.
   - And what do they need it for? - asked Kunzhibay checking his tears for a moment.
   - What a question! Your wives are not going to remain widows for the rest their lives, are they? -Ramazanov answered.
   - I looked at Kunzhinbay and saw that after these words he stopped crying. He was smiling now. But, obviously, it was a smile without reason. Both his eyes and his smile were meaningless. Our dilapidated car was tearing at full speed along the rough road.
   - Well, - said Ramazanov - if you don"t want to make up your will, then "good bye, my friend, good bye", as they say. Farewell. I am flying off!
   He looked at the red button of the catapult, like an officer on duty sitting in a pit and looking at the push-button of a nuclear bomb with a mounted intercontinental ballistic missile. Then, closing his eyes he pushed the button. But, alas, the catapult failed to function. He pushed the button again but it jammed. To remove the defect, Ramazanov started pulling and punching the steering wheel. Now the wheel got torn off and our jalopy went totally out of control. I started shouting like crazy:
   - Keep off the road, the brake doesn"t operate! Keep off the road, the brake doesn"t operate! There"s no signal and no steering wheel!
   Meanwhile Kunzhibay kept smiling not responding to anything. At this point our uncontrollable car hit something and we took off like Yury Gagarin in his "Vostok" spaceship. The windows of our jalopy reminded me of a porthole and, as we were flying, I remembered the popular tune:
  The planet in the porthole,
  The planet in the porthole,
  The planet in the porthole, we can see!
  Like son misses his mother,
  Like son misses his mother,
  With our dear planet we always want to be!
  And though the stars are closer,
  And though the stars are closer,
  Yet they"re just as chilly all along the span.
  We"re waiting for the light,
  We"re waiting for the light,
  Like one awaits the eclipse of the sun
  It"s not the launching site we dream about
  And not the space of blue, as cold as ice,
  But in our dreams we see grass by our house,
  The green, green, grass of home before our eyes.
   While in flight, looking out of the "portholes", I saw women and children, working in cotton fields. Flying over he brook towards the mowed field, with autumn poplars and willows rustling above in the wistful winds, we bumped into a haystack.
   We had long sat in the "jet car" before we came round. As the doors wouldn"t open we climbed out through the "portholes". When our feet touched the ground the chief accountant of Uvada Factory was still smiling, and Ramazanov was still holding the steering wheel in his hands. As for me, I was crying:
   - Keep off the road, the brake doesn"t operate! Keep off the road, the brake doesn"t operate!
   The huge poplars and the willows rustled in the autumn wind, quietly and wistfully dropping their crimson leaves.
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