Yatsko, Viatcheslav: другие произведения.

The Professor's Murder

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  • Аннотация:
    An intellectual humorous detective short story.

  Also published in Bewildering Stories
  
  
  
  1. The Murder
  
  Olga came into my flat and asked: "Don't you want to tell me anything?"
  
  I have always been puzzled by the ability of the women creatures to force me (and, as I guess, the majority of mankind) into a defensive position. When my ex wife would phone me from the other city where she was on a business trip her first question would always be: "What are you busy with at the moment?" That implied that I was being engaged in an orgy with at least two call girls. Finally I decided to do my best to fit her expectations and we divorced. Olga was my current paramour and the implication behind her question might be something like: 'If you are guilty why don't you kneel and kiss my feet to beg pardon?'
  
  She was married to a university professor (twenty years older than she was) who had recently been invited to work at a university in the USA. Olga had to decide whether to go with her husband to live a comfortable life in America or stay with me here in Siberia. She was reasonable enough to choose the first alternative and my great fault was that I didn't stir a finger to dissuade her from going abroad. I was supposed to rend my hair in despair pleading her not to leave me. I did nothing of the sort and that fact infuriated her so that she began each her visit during the last two weeks trying to have it out with me.
  
  I know from my experience that the best thing in such a situation is either to attract the woman's attention to her own appearance or to the appearance of some other woman. That was why I said pointing to a large newly bought LG LCD 43" TV: "With fair hair she looks much prettier and younger, doesn't she?"
  
  Olga immediately fixed her eyes on the screen where a famous actress was performing her new song. She examined the image for a minute and then said: "Ha! The fair hair has nothing to do with her good looks. Don't you know that she had her face lifted in Switzerland? And do you know how much she paid for it? One hundred thousand bucks!" Her voice rang with true satisfaction: at the age of 27 one doesn't need any plastic surgery. My little trick had worked and Olga began to share with me all the information about the celebrity she had.
  
  Meanwhile the picture on the screen changed and there appeared a handsome robust presenter of the 'Criminal Chronicles' programme. "The criminal situation in this city remains rather complex", announced he broadly smiling. "Today in the afternoon a famous scientist, Professor, Ph.D, Nicolas Smirnov was found murdered in his laboratory at the State University".
  
  Olga fell silent at once and stared at the screen. The famous scientist was her husband. The TV presenter began talking about his biography and scientific achievements.
  
  "But that simplifies matters!" - exclaimed she. "Now as I'm free we can safely marry!"
  I looked at her with pity. As a lawyer I knew very well that the main suspects in such cases were spouses and their lovers.
  
  "Dr. Smironov's throat was cut ear to ear and the body lay in the pool of blood. Our reporter managed to interview Colonel Egorov, the Chief of the Police Headquarters", cheerfully proceeded the presenter.
  
  "We will make all efforts to investigate this brutal crime", declared the bold-headed Colonel. "The reasons for the murder may be found either in Dr.Smirnov's professional activities or in his personal life". The Colonel stopped and seemed to scrutinize us from the screen.
  
  Olga burst out crying. Perhaps she remembered at last that Nick Smirnov was her husband to whom she had been married for seven years. Or she was impressed by such intimate details as 'throat cut ear to ear', and 'pool of blood'. Or something else.
  
  I headed to the kitchen and came back with a bottle of vodka and two glasses that I promptly filled with the crystal liquid.
  
  "Let's pray for the soul of the God's humble servant, Nikolas Smirov", pronounced I the traditional Russian phrase and empted the glass. Olga, still softly weeping, followed my example. The universal remedy produced its usual effect: the woman ceased weeping, she calmed, her large brown eyes brightened, the cheeks flushed. She looked so attractive that in an instant I found myself kissing her with my arms round her waist. I felt her relax and made up my mind to continue the relaxation process in a more comfortable place, i.e. on the bed.
  
  As we were lying after intensive relaxations it was time to seriously consider the situation.
  
  "Look here, darling, are you aware that you and me will be the main suspects during the investigation? Anyway you should be well prepared for long police interrogations".
  
  That idea evidently hadn't occurred to Olga. She frowned, raised herself leaning on the elbow with frightened look in the eyes. Her round rosy breasts touched my body and I couldn't help comforting her with another round of relaxations. When it was over I said:
  
  "The body was found in the afternoon. When did your husband leave for his office?"
  
  "About half past eight", answered Olga. "He said he had to be in the laboratory at no late than nine. They planned to conduct some experiments.
  
  "So the murder was committed between nine and the afternoon. With what were you busy between 9 a.m and 2 p.m. Siberian mean time? If you finished off the old man I'm ready to listen to your confession".
  
  "You, freak, watch what you are saying!" Olga sat up and began putting her clothes on with her angry back to me. I followed her example. My trick had worked again: the atmosphere changed from relaxation to concentration.
  
  Of course I didn't believe that Olga could have killed her husband. Her main advantage was that she was a Female, i.e. female to backbone. She would faint at the sight of a mouse, didn't stand the sight of blood, and was always ready to put to use her charms. As any other person she could commit a crime under some circumstances, in an uncontrollable gust. And I knew that she had had a hard time with Smirnov who I believe was an unpleasant personality. Being really a good scientists he thought himself the most intelligent man in the world, used to teach everybody (and his wife in he first turn), and displayed rudeness not typical of a university professor in case somebody contradicted him or underestimated his scientific contributions. But to cut a throat ear to ear? Impossible for Olga.
  
  "I didn't love Nick, you know, but he was kind to me and generous", continued Olga.
  
  Here she was right. Unlike most of his colleagues Nick Smirnov had money. His works were published abroad, and he had contracts with American firms, and he never forgot about his wife's birthdays. Olga had jewelry with diamonds, sable fur coats, and a Hyundai off-road vehicle. Smirnov himself was the proud owner of a Land Rover full-sized jeep that he ordered from Moscow and that was a rarity in this city. Local gangsters and regional officials preferred Land Cruisers.
  
  "And he was a good lover", added she looking at me with reproach and combing her fair hair. She was already sitting at dressing table.
  
  Once she told me the story of her romance with Smirnov. He made a pass at her when she was a graduate student and he read them lectures in Computer Science. He began courting her, invited to restaurants; they even traveled together to a fashionable resort at the Canaries. She did her darndest to resist the Professor's attacks but finally he coerced her by threatening that he would fail her in the final exams.
  
  For me there wasn't a grain of truth in the whole story. Smirnov was a typical representative of scientific species. He was tall and lean with broad forehead, thin hair, and thick glasses. Only a person with morbid imagination could believe he was able to seduce or coerce a woman into unwanted sex. As I was a practical man I was firmly convinced that actually it was Olga who seduced the Professor to get excellent marks in the final exams.
  
  "Listen to me, Ole", said I. I called her so after the personage in Anderson's tales who used to tell small children unbelievable stories. Olga herself had no idea of my implication. For her 'Ole' was just a diminutive of "Olga".
  
  "The first question that occurs to an investigator is 'Who has profited from Smirnov's murder?' As soon as he answers this question he asks a second one: 'What was that person doing at the time of murder?' So who will inherit Smirnov's property?"
  
  I sat at the desk, took a sheet of paper, wrote in the centre 'Smirnov' and included it into an oval.
  
  "According to the law hairs apparent are parents, children, and spouses", declared I and made three more ovals placing parents above Smirnov, children - below him, and spouses - to the left of him.
  
  "You are his second wife, aren't you?", asked I Olga who was painting her lips and seemed completely calm. My firsthand knowledge is that sex and makeup produce a sedative effect on women.
  
  She nodded. I put down her name in the oval with spouses.
  
  "And who was his first wife?"
  
  Olga knitted her brow and pondered for a moment having put aside her lipstick that was a distinct manifestation of her interest. I got all ears to listen to a story from my personal Ole Lukøje.
  
  "I got acquainted with Smirnov as I was a student, as you might remember", began she with inspiration. "By that time he was already several years divorced. His ex worked as a lecturer at the University. I happened to see her once. She was as flat as a board wearing thick glasses and shapeless clothes".
  "What was her name?", interrupted I; my fingers itched with the yearning to fill another blank in my scheme.
  
  "Her first name was Vera, and the last one - something like Kotova or Krotova".
  
  "And after divorce she resumed her maiden name?"
  
  "That is the point! She kept her maiden name when she married Nick".
  
  "Rather unusual", agreed I and put down 'Vera Krotova/Kotova?' in the corresponding oval.
  
  "Of course I asked Nick how he could have married such a scarecrow. The explanation was banal: he married because she got pregnant".
  
  "Ah, there was a child!" exclaimed I ready to fill the oval with children.
  
  "You don't hurry, Sherlock Holmes. I know it was a girl. I don't know her name and never saw her. As I and Nick got married his ex with the daughter moved to another city".
  
  "Very well", muttered I and put down 'daughter' in the corresponding oval. Then I drew another oval and entitled it 'Colleagues'.
  
  After their marriage Smirnov fixed his wife with an ephemeral part-time job of an assistant at his laboratory for which Olga got a symbolical salary of $50 per a month".
  
  Olga, who watched my manipulations with interest, said: "Both his parents died long ago. If you think that I can provide you with information about Nick's colleagues you are badly mistaken".
  
  "Yes, I understand that you never appear in the office but Smirnov could have told you something at home".
  
  She became thoughtful for a moment and even extended her fine lips painted in cerise. Then she said: "Actually Smirnov was on bad terms with many of the staff members. I remember one conflict between him and one of his postgraduates who stated that Nick was a magician rather than a scientist. Smirnov had nearly beaten him".
  
  "Is that all?"
  
  "That is all, sweetheart. I hope you will manage to extricate us from this mess".
  
  "We have much information to reflect upon", murmured I. "Thank you Ole...", said I and added mechanically: "Lukoje".
  
  "What? What did you say?" - Olga's eyes rounded and darkened acquiring an unpleasant expression.
  
  "What did I say?"
  
  "Yes. What. Did. You. Say." snapped the woman carefully separating each word.
  
  "I...just", began I mumbling. At that moment the room was filled with the rasp of Rammstein's music.
  
  "Du hast
  Du hast mich
  Du hast mich gefragt
  Du hast mich gefragt
  Du hast mich gefragt und ich hab
  nichts gesagt",
  
  bashed the German singers out.
  
  Olga's Nokia phone that emitted this cacophony trembled as if in fever.
  
  She opened the flip and snapped: "Smirnova speaking". While listening she bit her lip and began pulling at her gold necklace pendant.
  
  "My flat was robbed", - she informed me somewhat embarrassingly. "The police asked me to come there as soon as possible". She rushed to the door.
  
  For the first time I felt respect for Rammstein's music.
  
  Left alone I cast a steady glance at my drawing. It resembled an underdeveloped model of a molecule that I studied in junior high school or a helicopter's rotor deformed after a catastrophic crash. With the completely inefficient judicial system in this country it was up to me to undertake the investigation so as to find the murderer and be cleared of all suspicions. As Russian classic writers stated: "The rescue a drowning person is the responsibility of the drowning person himself".
  
   2. The Murdered Man
  
  
  I was driving my Ford C-Max along a busy road populated with Toyotas, Nissans, Mazdas, Chevrolets, Hyundais; the unhappy owners of Russian Ladas, which only twenty years ago were sweet dreams of Soviet citizens, constituted a timid minority. The vehicles bustled about in Brownian motion violating all laws of nature to say nothing of traffic rules.
  
  It was due to a car accident that I got to know Olga Smirnova about a year ago. She pulled an illegal U-turn and was deprived of her driving license. Somebody of her acquaintances recommended me as a lawyer and before I could bat an eye I found her between my sheets. In this way as she explained later she wanted to encourage me do my best at the trial. Her efforts were not in vain: I managed to prove that the road markings rubbed away and were not visible and after I oiled appropriate palms she got her license back.
  
  The state machinery in this country was corrupted to backbone, sporadic attempts of government representatives to launch struggle against corruption were doomed to failure from the start. Just after the current President declared war on corruption the average cost of a bribe more than doubled and next year it doubled again reaching a lump figure of 40,000 rubles. Actually, bribe-taking and bribe-giving became a way of life of all decent people in Russia.
  
  The corruptive schemes didn't boil down to primitive bribe taking and were as numerous as insect species. Several years ago I entered into such a scheme with Michail Rogov, an officer at the Police Headquarters. Rogov leaked me the results of police investigation of the persons whom I defended so that I could use this information at the trial, and I shared with him my fee.
  
  Now I was making my way to Vacuum Restaurant where I had a meeting with Rogov.
  
  The signboard above the door of the restaurant ran: VACUUM: TONNES OF ATTRACTION. The owner was a fan of the famous band whose harmonious music created a peculiarly relaxed atmosphere that I liked. Two years ago at this cozy place I had my tooth broken in a fight with a certain Ivan Voronin. At a trial I managed to prove innocence of my defendant and it occurred that clues of his innocence were at the same time evidence of guilt of Voronin who was then sentenced for two years of imprisonment. Later by coincidental misfortune we found ourselves at the same place and at the same time. The fight with Voronin cost me a broken tooth and him - another two years in jail.
  
  On entering the restaurant I carefully looked about. At this time of day it fitted its name: only several tables were occupied and at one of them sat Rogov who was enthusiastically consuming a big roast beef.
  
  As I sat at his table having ordered a cup of tea Rogov opened the conversation with a bromide: "Well, Alex, I have two news for you: one is a good and the other one is bad. What shall I tell first?"
  
  I responded with a commonplace cliché: "The good one".
  
  "Today at an international conference Kudrin, the federal Minister of Finance, declared that the struggle against corruption is the chief evil!"
  
  "I have always thought him to be an honest person but not to that degree", I raised my left eyebrow in surprise. "And what was the audience's response? A storm of applause?"
  
  "Burst out laughing, of course".
  
  "With pleasure, I guess. Everybody thought about the opportunity of legalizing a greater pat of his business".
  
  "Between the cup and the lip a morsel may slip", went on Rogov taking a big cup of cappuccino. "In a few minutes Kudrin admitted he had made a mistake".
  
  "You are disappointing me! I have just begun feeling myself a pillar of society. Is this your bad news?"
  
  "You are jumping to conclusions. The bad news is that Voronin got a ticket of leave and turned up in this city. Thanks to you he twice went the slam and now, as I was informed, cherishes plans of revenge. Take it seriously: this time you won't get off with a broken tooth and I will regret losing such a reliable partner."
  
  Rogov looked at me steadily to find out if the news had produced proper effect. He seemed satisfied with my white face and frightened look and poured a glass of white whine. I sipped my tea.
  
  "And now about Smirnov's case", continued he having made a hearty gulp. "When you phoned you told you had some questions".
  
  I took out of the pocket and handed him my drawing.
  
  "Looks like a helicopter's rotor", grumbled he. "I will try to dig up all information about Smirnov's first wife and the daughter. As for the colleagues. The fellows from Homicide Department questioned them after the body had been found. It turns out all of them hold hostility towards the Professor and everybody would be happy to screw his neck. He was famous for his peevishness and haughtiness. At a meeting of University's Scientific Board he called the Vice President of the University 'a silly cow' because she suggested reducing financial support of his projects. Can you fancy that? And he beat one of his postgraduates with his own hands! The boy wanted to report to the police but the scandal was hushed up. These two persons are under suspicion but I have a feeling that they had nothing to do with the murder. They knew he would soon immigrate to the USA and they will get rid of him anyway".
  
  "That is where the problem is", I cut in. "Do you know Smirnov held strong anti-American attitudes? He had a Web site where he published papers denouncing American politics, making fun of American political leaders".
  
  "I heard about the Web site but haven't read it. If you summarize its contents I'll owe you a bottle of vodka. The more we know about the murdered man the easier is to find the murderer. This is an axiom of a criminal investigation", pontificated Mike.
  
  "In a word, he had the whole conception about differences between American and Russian cultures and cultural values. Americans are crazy about their democracy, Russia has always been a totalitarian state; Americans are law-abiding, Russians are lawless; homosexuality is a norm in America and a universally despised perversion in Russia; bribe giving and taking are serious crimes there and are a way of life here; adultery is a bad sin there and a norm here".
  
  Rogov produced a broad grin and looked at me meaningfully.
  
  I pretended not to notice his mug and went on with my story.
  
  "His conclusion was that American and Russian cultures are antagonistic in nature and the struggle between them governs the development of the whole contemporary world".
  
  "Rather interesting but too far-fetched", remarked Rogov. "If there is such a struggle America is sure in the lead".
  
  "So far. Smirnov was sure Russia will win in the end since it represents a less civilized culture. In the same way as, for example, the Huns defeated the Roman Empire".
  
  I made a pause and Rogov fell into a reverie sipping wine from his glass.
  
  "I understand what you are driving at", announced he two minutes later. "Smirnov despised America and nevertheless decided to immigrate there. He must have had serious reasons for the decision".
  
  I nodded in appreciation of my friend's good brainwork.
  
  "What reasons?" reflected Mike aloud. "Threat for his life?" He looked at me questioningly.
  
  "Or threat for his scientific carrier", responded I. "Don't forget that his life was completely devoted to science. I think as soon as you find motives for his immigration to the USA you will find the murderer".
  
  Rogov nodded with a wise air. "Thanks for the idea. But now as an uncivilized Russian I will go back to the adultery question". He looked expectantly at me.
  
  "No problem".
  
  "Does Olga have an alibi?"
  
  "She doesn't. She says her husband left for office at half past eight. She stayed home till eleven when she went to my place. We were at my flat and learned about the murder from TV broadcast".
  
  "So she had more than enough time to go to the University to waste the man", uttered Rogov with true satisfaction.
  
  "And what motive did she have?" wondered I realizing that Rogov was mocking at me.
  
  "Suppose the old man found out about her affair with you. He phoned her and asked to come to his laboratory where they had a quarrel and she stubbed him".
  
  "If Smirnov's ideas are far-fetched your inventions are pure fantasy", said I gently smiling. "Firstly, Smirnov was aware of this affair, secondly, Olga could have fondled him with a frying pan in a fit of rage but she is not able to commit a cold-blooded murder".
  
  "Do you mean Smirnov didn't love his wife? And what about all these expensive presents, jewelry, and a car?"
  
  "You should understand the psychology of the man. He wanted to show he had money. He felt some affection to Olga but he used her to show how tough he was having the prettiest woman in the city".
  
  "That is, he just decorated her", concluded Rogov upon a minutes reflection.
  
  "That's quite right. You've got it. He decorated her. Like a New Year tree". I looked at him with respect.
  
  "OK, you've convinced me". Rogov mockingly put his hands in the air.
  
  At that instant my LG smartphone began to vibrate producing a melody from Vivaldi's "L'estate". I opened the slider.
  
  "Is this Mr. Anderson?" heard I an unfamiliar hoarse voice.
  
  "Wrong number, this is not Mr. Anderson".
  
  "Excuse me; this is Captain Murkin from Police Station 11. We detained a woman who says her name is Ole Lukoje. She has no identification papers with her, and she gave us this telephone number because, as she states, you can certify her identity".
  
  "I'll be at your station in fifteen minutes", snapped I.
  
  3. Ole Lukoje
  
  Captain Murkin turned out a small round-headed middle aged person with big moustaches. His appearance fitted his name1 and as he opened his mouth to greet me and Rogov I was ready to hear the purr. Instead I heard the familiar hoarse voice: "Good evening, Sir". He was addressing himself to Rogov. Mike decided to accompany me to prevent Olga 'from being put to tortures' as he loftily declared. As an officer from Central Headquarters he knew the heads of local police stations in person and could be very helpful.
  
  "Hullo, Captain", responded Rogov condescendingly. He had a higher rank and a much higher position.
  
  "And this must be Mr. Anderson", said the Captain scrutinizing my face and clothes.
  
  "I am not Anderson".
  
  Murkin, looking embarrassed, explained: "The woman gave your telephone number and told that your name was Anderson and you 'had begot' her. But you seem too young to be her father". He smiled evidently being sure he had paid me a complement.
  
  "My name is Alexei Larin", informed I him and produced my lawyers ID card.
  
  After the policeman carefully read it I added: "And the woman's name is Olga Smirnova".
  
  "Your name is Larin rather than Anderson; her name is Smirnova, rather than Lukoje", repeated Murkin. "And what shall I write in her examination record?" exclaimed he looking completely confused.
  
  "Nothing", intervened Rogov. "You will write nothing because there will be no examination record", added he with disarming frankness looking straight into Captain's eyes.
  
  "And what shall I do with this?" complained Murkin opening a folder on his desk and taking out several sheets of paper.
  
  "This is a complaint folded by Mr. Zilberman, the manager of 'Otvet' restaurant. He writes":... The woman who, as it was clearly seen, was very drunk jumped on the stage dashed to Miss Snegova who was performing a song, snatched the microphone out of her hands and rudely shoved her away. Miss Snegova couldn't keep her feet and fell down on the table standing near the stage. The table broke to pieces; Miss Snegova with numerous injuries was taken to hospital. Fortunately, people sitting at the table remained physically safe though their clothes sustained irreparable damage. Meanwhile the woman with the microphone uttered shrill sounds that were like the squeak of the pig. I was able to make out two words: 'Luk' and 'Oi' 2 . In that way she continued until the police arrived to arrest her".
  
  "And that's not all!" added Murkin offensively. This is a report of Sergeant Avarov: "...The woman put up strong resistance. She kicked me at the groin making me inactive for a while..."
  
  "If I release her what shall I say to Mr.Zilberman, Miss Snegova and other people who will come tomorrow bringing complaints about Smirnova?"
  
  "That complicates matters", agreed Rogov. "Can I have a look at the documents?" he extended his hand and Murkin, showing hesitation, handed him over his folder.
  
  Rogov looked through the papers and said: "Let us do it in the following way. I keep these documents with me. Mr. Larin will meet all these people to take signed releases and waivers. If he manages to do that the documents disappear and Mrs. Smirnova is set free. If he fails I give the documents back and the Captain starts legal procedures".
  
  Murkin pursed his lips manifesting dissatisfaction.
  
   "It goes without saying Mr.Larin must compensate Sergeant Avarov and Police Station 11 on the whole for the damage caused by the actions of his defendant at once. And you, Captain, must provide Mr.Larin with a list of the aggrieved persons with their addresses. Agreed?"
  
  Murkin assumed a detached air. They shook hands.
  
  "I'll see you later", said Rogov to me and disappeared from my view.
  
  Murkin sat at his desk and diligently began making notes compiling a list of the aggrieved persons.
  I fixed my eyes on him. He was obviously a good, ordinary officer who new the rules and never ran into trouble. The general practice at local police stations was to classify detained persons into two groups. One included people who had influential helpers or relatives. These men of consequence were informed about the incident and usually took efforts to hush up the affair, the police officers getting money or promotions. The rest of the people were subject to ordinary legal procedures. If the police had doubts about the personality of the detainee they tried to establish his or her identity as was in the case with Olga. Murkin did his duty and expected a reward. And I didn't let him down.
  
  As he handed me the list I took out my wallet.
  
  "This is for Avarov, for you personally, and an additional sum for Mrs. Smirnova if she needs something", explained I showing gratitude and giving him twelve thousand rubles. "How is she, by the way?"
  
  Murkin readily switched on a walkie-talkie.
  
  "Is this you, Sidorov? What about that woman in the third cell? A blond?" He looked at me questioningly. I nodded energetically. "Yes, a blond. No, her name is Smirnova, as it turns out. Who else is in the sell? And what are they doing? Really?"
  
  He switched off and reported: "She is in the cell with three prostitutes. Right now they are signing".
  
  "What are they singing???" I couldn't hide my surprise.
  
  Murkin shrugged his shoulders. "Let's go and see for ourselves".
  
  We left his office and went downstairs and entered a long corridor with cells for detainees. The corridor was filled with sounds of Russian folk song.
  
  Oh, Father Frost, Father Frost,
  Don't freeze me, don't freeze me!
  Don't freeze my horse!
  
  intoned women's voices and among them I unmistakably recognized Olga's contralto.
  
  Now I had no doubt Olga would survive. She got perfectly adapted to her imprisonment. Perhaps she had a propensity to living in a prison cell.
  
  "The last question, Captain. How much time do I have?"
  
  "I cannot detain her for more than 24 hours, you know. So the deadline is tomorrow's evening. But the sooner the better. I'll be here on duty the whole night".
  
  We shook hands and I went out to undertake my night odyssey.
  
  4. The Night Odyssey
  
  I sat at my desk examining Murkin's list. I made up my mind first to go to my place to think over the situation in quite surroundings. The Captain did good work having provided not only names but also addresses, telephone numbers, i.e. all information that was in police records.
  
  The list was surprisingly short and included names of four persons.
  
  Mr. Semen Zilberman, the manager of 'Otvet" restaurant.
  Miss Maria Snegova, a singer at the same restaurant.
  Mr. Oleg Ruchko, a student at the State University.
  Miss Marina Sotova, a student at the State University.
  
  "The restaurant will work all night and there will be no problem to find the manager", reflected I. "The restaurant is the last place to visit. As it's a quarter to eleven I must find the rest of the company before they go to bed. And in the first turn I must speak to Snegova who suffered most of all being taken to hospital with 'numerous injuries'. The students must be those persons who sat at the table broken by her body. It would be interesting to have a look at the body that can break a table to pieces".
  
  I opened my laptop typed and printed standard waivers so that it was left to fill in signatures.
  
  Then I phoned the hospital to which Snegova was taken. I was politely informed that Miss Snegova refused to stay at the hospital and went home after the examination showed she didn't have serious internal injuries.
  
  It was good news. Now to solve the problem with Snegova was much easier. I decided to call her at once.
  
  "Snegova speaking", answered my call a pleasant high female voice.
  
  "This is Alexei Larin. Excuse me for the late call; we are not acquainted but..."
  
  She interrupted me: "Yes, we are not acquainted, but I know you. You defended my friend Anna Krylova". She referred to a divorce process that I won. "She highly appreciated your work", prattled Snegova. Obviously, she was in good condition and injuries at the restaurant didn't affect her speech abilities at all. "You just worked wonders when you proved that her husband had another family and an illegitimate child. And Anna got his cottage, car, and almost all his money. After the trial she could afford a good rest at the Bahamas!
  
  I understood she would chatter endlessly unless interrupted and I did it rather rudely: "I must apologize, Miss Snegova, don't you mind if I explain the purpose of my call?"
  
  "Oh, sure, I am listening to you attentively!"
  
  "Currently I' am busy with another case and I need your assistance. Could we meet right now?"
  
  "I am not sure it is suitable... I live alone, you see. But if it's so necessary... But anyway they say that a lawyer is like a doctor...
  
  "I can be at your place in half an hour. Will that do?"
  
  "Yes, I think that's OK".
  
  I put the receiver and took a deep breath. That type of women was familiar to me. They are good-natured, light-hearted, they are fond of chattering, eating, and they make good wives, unless they are stupid, which is mostly the case. To get something from such a woman you must adopt simple tactics: listen attentively to what she is saying, display true interest, ask questions and agree with conclusions. I used such tactics from time to time though to constantly employ it was maddening and I could understand my friends who used to run from such women like the devil from holy water.
  
  Maria Snegova was a high, stout but pretty woman. To get her signature on the waiver cost me forty minute talk. She informed me that 'Miss Snegova' was her stage pseudonym and her real name was Grechko and told in detail the story of her relations with the ex husband, an officer who deserted her moving to the other city. I nodded my head as a Chinese figurine but managed to I cut in to explain the purpose of my visit. She first got angry, described the 'loathsome' behavior of 'that whore' and even tried to demonstrate to me her bruises. I expressed my sympathy and recounted the sufferings of Olga. Her flat was robbed, the husband murdered but even when he was alive he didn't pay due attention to his wife, never listened to the poor woman, and completely concentrated on his scientific work.
  
  "How horrible!" exclaimed the woman and put her signature without hesitation. She even offered her help.
  
  Inspired by this success I drove to the next meeting. It was a quarter to twelve but students never go to bed so early. Normal students at least. I felt sure Oleg Ruchko was normal and was still awake, but the reality exceeded my expectations.
  
  I stood on the stair landing pressing the button of the door bell for the tenth time to no effect. Loud music that was heard behind the door drowned the bell ring. I couldn't contain myself any longer and rashly kicked the door. The door creaked mournfully and opened: it wasn't locked. I entered the room and felt the specific smell of cigarette smoke mixed with the odor of vodka and other hard drinks.
  It was a standard two room flat with a long corridor that had a door to the drawing room and joined a smaller corridor where the door of the bathroom and toilet were seen. To the right of it was a bedroom and to the left - a kitchen
  
  Judging by the number of leather jackets on the coat rack there should be at least six persons in the flat but nobody took the trouble to come to greet me. I had to explore the territory on my own.
  
  I opened the door of the drawing room to see a fellow and a girl whose naked bodies were in a position that Kamasutra calls a 'pressed position'.
  
  I shut the door quietly. Even if the fellow was Oleg Ruchko I had no right to interrupt the process.
  
  Another guy tumbled out of the bathroom. He was dressed only in panties and had a typical red face. Noticing me he mumbled: "You ... late".
  
  "I understand that it's late but I'm in urgent need of meeting Mr. Oleg Ruchko".
  
   "Very late...freak" stubbornly continued the guy wagging his finger at me.
  
  I realized that standard language was of no use in such environment and it was time to resort to the lexicon of the mumba-umba tribe, as I call it.
  
  "I", shouted I sticking a finger in my breast, "Alex!" "And you?" I stuck a finger in his breast.
  
  "Oleg", answered he.
  
  "Ruchko?"
  
  He nodded.
  
  "I have something for you!" shouted I and pushed him into the bathroom.
  
  The bath was occupied by a girl who wasn't in the least surprised on seeing us.
  
  I turned on a cold shower and directed a spurt at Ruchko's head bending it over the bath. Ruchko puffed producing inarticulate sounds and then cried: "Enough!" When he raised his head his eyesight was clearer and the countenance more intelligent.
  
  "I have something for you!", said I again.
  
  He nodded, rubbed his head with a towel and went out of the bathroom heading for the bedroom. As he opened the door we saw round white buttocks of a woman who bent in a position not described in Kamasutra. The flat was humming with sexual activity.
  
   Ruchko made a helpless gesture and suggested going to the kitchen.
  
  The kitchen was not occupied, but it was not empty. The sink was filled with dirty plates, glasses, spoons, forks. The table boasted of a row of bottles and plates bestrewed with cigarette butts.
  
  "I can tell by your eyes you are a regular lad" admitted he, took a bottle of vodka and tried to fill the glass. The bottle produced a scanty drop. The boy looked though the bottle's neck as if trying to understand where the contents had gone.
  
  "You are late!' harped he on his favorite tune and struck his fist on the table. Some bottles fell on the floor.
  
  "I can tell by you eyes, you are one of the lads!" said I adopting new tactics and patting Ruchko on the shoulder. "Do you respect me?"
  
  "Sure"
  
  "Then sign this paper". I gave him a pen and a waiver.
  
  The boy stared blankly at the paper. "No. My mother always told me not to sign any papers". He put the pen aside. "What is it all about?"
  
  I reminded him of the events at the restaurant.
  
  Ruchkov's face brightened up. "We celebrated Vovan's birthday and that chick fell and broke the whole table". He chuckled. "And that zany woman, professor's wife!"
  
  "You, slyboots. You must compensate. My jeans were spoilt". He wagged his finger at me.
  
  "No problem. How much shall I pay?" I took out my wallet.
  
  "No. That won't do. You see we have run out of fuel". He waved his hand at the rows of empty bottles. "A box of vodka and we'll be even-steven".
  
  "And can I see Marina Sotova?" inquired I.
  
  "Marka? You have just seen her ass". He carelessly pointed in the direction of the bedroom. "She will do what I'll tell her".
  
  It took me about half an hour to find the nearest convenience store, buy a box of vodka and get two waivers in exchange.
  
  I left Ruchko's flat feeling almost happy.
  
  When I was approaching my car something heavy struck my head and I lost consciousness.
  
  
  5. Olga's Discharge
  
  When I came to my senses I saw a big head of a German sheep dog above me. The dog's tongue was hanging out and its saliva dropped on my necktie.
  
  "Are you alive?" heard I a human voice.
  
  I tried to raise myself a little and felt a sharp pain at the back of the head. Somebody picked me up under the arms and helped to stand up.
  
  "I walked Jim along the street and saw that man attack you with that bar! Can you imagine that? But for my Jim he would have beaten you to death!" spoke an elderly man in an agitated tone.
  
  "Voronin! It was he. With all these troubles I have forgotten about him", volleyed the thoughts through my mind.
  
  "Thank you very much. Could you, please, help me to get to my car?" asked I and in a minute was walking to the car leaning on the old man's shoulder.
  
  I was sitting in the car, my head reeling. The clock showed 1.20 a.m. It was time to visit "Otvet". I switched the roof light and turned back the sun visor to open a built-in mirror. The mirror showed a stained face with roughed up hair and battered clothes. I tried to tidy myself up as far as possible and then started the engine.
  
  Mr. Zilberman eyed me tentatively. As he was a businessman I began our conversation giving him my business card. He read it carefully.
  
  "I heard about you Mr. Larin", said he. "I'll keep your business card perhaps I'll need your assistance some day".
  
  "Now it's me who needs your assistance", I forced a smile. "I mean the incident with Mrs. Smirnova in the evening. I defend her interests."
  
  "Smirnova? But she gave some other name. Smirnova...Professor Smirnov's wife? I understand then. Yes, the episode was really unhappy. Miss Snegova and four guests were aggrieved".
  
  "Four of them?" wondered I.
  
  "Yes, they were sitting at the table that was broken".
  
  "Strange", thought I. "The police recorded only two names".
  
  "And what damage was caused to your restaurant?" asked I aloud. "I am ready to compensate you for it right now".
  
  "The damage was not so great", answered the manager. "Let me see...A broken table, plates, cups, glasses; spoons and forks were curved; the table cloth torn. Well, it makes eighteen thousand rubles in total".
  
  I took out my wallet that had grown very thin and gave him the money. He signed his waiver without any questions.
  
  At 2 a.m. Police Station 11 was crowded with ruffians, prostitutes, tramps, and other lawbreakers and troublemakers. Police details arrived bringing new portions of them, and the work was in full swing. I noticed long ago that restaurants and police stations are the most attended places at night time and they work in close collaboration: a number of restaurant clients would migrate to police stations.
  
  Captain Murkin greeted me as if I were his old friend. He read the waivers attentively and connected with unfailing Sidorov ordering him to convey Smirnova from the third cell with all her personal belongings to his office.
  
  Olga appeared wearing a jammed skirt and a blouse. Her hair was tousled, she looked unkempt but very attractive.
  
  "Where have you been all this time, you, pig?" greeted she me. "Where have you been while I was interrogated, then taken to a morgue to identify Smirnov, and arrested at that bloody restaurant? And here, at this stinky pigpen, I was fingerprinted, searched and this blockhead", she motioned to Murkin, "told me I was a prostitute, non Russian, and a criminal!
  
  "Not me! Not me!" cried the Captain mopping his brow with a handkerchief. "This is ordinary routine. All detained persons are fingerprinted so that we could match the fingerprints with information in our databases. Recently all police stations got from Moscow polygraphs, i.e. electronic lie detectors with strict orders to apply them in practice. When Mrs. Smirnova was polygraphed the computer detected she had lied when she answered that she wasn't a prostitute, wasn't a criminal, and was Russian. But I didn't believe it! That's why I phoned you".
  
  "Very instructive results", remarked I.
  
  Olga's countenance changed, a wild gleam appeared in her eyes. She raised her hand against me but overbalanced and began falling on Murkin's desk. I couldn't let another piece of furniture be broken and caught her up. As soon as my hands found themselves on her waist and moved somewhat lower the other parts of my body began functioning in unison with them. My belly nestled against her belly; by breast and her breast huddled together; my lips pressed to her lips in a fervent kiss.
  
  "Well, well. You are not wasting your time", heard I Rogov's voice. Murkin stood up and Olga moved away from me.
  
  "Alex, you are wounded!" her voice sounded with horror; she looked with fear at a red spot on her palm. The back of my head must be bleeding and the blood dropped to the neck.
  
  Olga's bellicose mood gave place to anxiety. When she saw me wounded her female instincts prevailed. I was her man; I suffered; I needed care. She demanded that Murkin should give her a bandage and iodine and began bandaging my head.
  
  Rogov who watched the procedures with true interest chuckled and said: "Olga, if you look around, you are sure to find a man better than this shabby dilapidated person". He straightened his shoulders and stuck out his chest.
  
  Olga looked around, her eyes rested on Murkin, and she stared at him in astonishment.
  
  "He has a wife and three children", warned I.
  
  Murkin got red: "How do you know?"
  
  I and Rogov exchanged glances and burst out laughing.
  
  The door of the office burst open, a policeman with lieutenant's straps stormed into. "A skirmish at Moscow Avenue! Several people killed", shouted he. Murkin cursed and rushed to his safe. We left the office and went out.
  
  When Olga sat in the car Rogov drew me aside and said: "Your idea about Smirnov's reluctance to leave for America proved true. I found out that he first rejected the offer and then suddenly agreed to accept it. As for his ex wife and the daughter. Seven years ago Vera Krotova and her daughter Glalina Krotova moved to Novoyarsk where Krotova's parents lived. In a year and a half Vera died; a thirteen-year-old Galina was supported by her grandparents. At the age of eighteen she married and assumed her husband's name - Filinova. Here is all information about them". He gave me a disk.
  "I'm sure the murderer can be found at the University. I included also personal data about two suspects: Vladimir Timkin, Smirnov's postgraduate, and Elza Goldberg, Vice President of the University", added he. "And what happened to you head?"
  
  I told him about the attack and my suspicions concerning Voronin.
  
  "Tomorrow I'll take care of him myself", promised Rogov.
  
  I thanked him and we parted.
  
  6. The Murder Solved
  
  In the morning using data on Rogov's disk I made appointments with Vladimir Timkin and Elza Goldberg who both worked at the State University.
  
  The spacious lobby of the University was decorated with the large portrait of deceased professor with a crepe band in the corner. The inscription under the portrait informed that the funeral was to take place the next day at 1 p.m.
  
  I went upstairs to the second floor where Dr. Goldberg's office was located. The secretary, a pretty looking girl, announced to her boss my arrival and I was admitted to the office without delay.
  
  I introduced myself, explained honestly that I defended Olga's interests and recounted the same story about her sufferings from Smirnov's rudeness and disregard of her.
  
  After listening to me Dr. Goldberg nodded her head:
  
  "Nobody can overestimate Dr. Smirnov's scientific achievements. He was a good scientist who greatly contributed to the field. But he was also well known for his intolerance and rough manners. I am sure his murder can be accounted for by these features of his disposition".
  
  "And you also suffered from his bad manners, didn't you?"
  
  "Yes, he rudely insulted me in public at the meeting of the Scientific Board. I just suggested reducing support of his projects so that to finance other scientists".
  
  "To tell the truth, Dr. Goldberg, I would have also been offended if somebody had attempted to reduce my financial support".
  
  "But you don't have contracts with overseas firms. It was common knowledge Smirnov earned lots of money, dozens of thousands dollars. One hundred thousand rubles was a trifling sum for him and substantial support for any other researcher. And my responsibility is to promote research at this University. I understand he got offended but that doesn't justify him. I was preparing to bring an action against him".
  
  "Thank you, Dr. Goldberg", said I. "I know Dr. Smirnov had a conflict with Vladimir Timkin. Where can I find him?"
  
  "He works at Computational Engineering Laboratory. My secretary, Lina Frolova, will tell you how to find it".
  
  I said goodbye and went out. The pretty girl secretary told that CEL was in the fourth floor. As I was talking to her I had a sense of deja-vu: it seemed to me I already saw her somewhere.
  
  Timkin, a strong handsome fellow, explained: "Smirnov had done good work in Computer Science and began considering himself a genius. He decided to take up the problem of Brownian motion. He stated that particles' movements were subject to definite laws rather than being chaotic and he could discover the laws. I tried to persuade him to give up the idea because we must work at the orders from American firms not lose profitable contracts. He didn't want to hear anything and even charged at me!
  
  "Really? And who won?"
  
  Timkin didn't answer anything but flexed his muscles.
  
  I nodded and asked: "Haven't we met before?"
  
  "I am sure, we have not".
  
  I took my leave and went downstairs. As I was approaching the entrance doors I cast another glance at Smirnov's portrait and stopped in my tracks. The solution of the crime dawned upon me. Separate facts (scenes at Ruchko's flat, Zilberman's statement, Smirnov's portrait) pieced together. I immediately phoned Rogov and asked him to make several inquiries.
  
  "Judging by your questions you have found the murderer", said he.
  
  "Yes, I have, if you get positive responses".
  
  "And if they are positive what shall we do?"
  
  "How much time will you need to get the information?"
  
  "I think I'll get it by the end of the day".
  
  "If the result is positive you should invite all of them to your office tomorrow at 10 a.m., before the funeral".
  
  "No problem".
  
  "Hope to see you tomorrow", said I and disconnected.
  
  Now it was necessary to speak to Olga and I went to my place where she decided to stay until her flat is done after the robbery. Besides, as she said, she was afraid of staying there alone.
  
  When I arrived Olga was cooking lunch. She was fond of housework and was always in need of taking care of a man.
  
  "How are things, my super-puper-sleuth?" greeted she me ironically. She was in good mood; all troubles of the previous day vanished into thin air.
  
  "I'd like you to answer some questions".
  
  "Fie! Another interrogation. How trivial!" she curled her lip. "And I thought you had already found the murderer".
  
  "Not yet. Everything depends on your answers".
  
  "If so I'll answer all you questions. But first sit at table and help yourself to my risotto".
  
  That was her favorite dish and it always tasted delicious. I suppressed desire to taste not only the dish but the cook as well since Olga looked very attractive in a dressing gown and without a bra.
  
  "The first question", said I sitting at table and eating risotto. "What was stolen from your flat?"
  
  "Jewelry and money. Fortunately, the sum was small, because Smirnov used to keep the money on his bank account. And I put on the most expensive jewelry before leaving for our rendezvous".
  
  "And what about papers, documents?"
  
  "Hard to say. In the flat everything was turned upside down, and on the floor were scattered numerous papers. But passports, diplomas were not taken".
  
  "Now, get concentrated and try to remember all about motives for Smirnov's divorce".
  
  Olga became thoughtful. "The divorce was scandalous, and Nick never dilated upon it. Once he told that his ex was afraid of him. She was sure he had a paramour and they planned to get rid of her. She even brought a complaint to police about him stating he wanted to poison her. Smirnov had to go to police to justify himself".
  
  "Very interesting. And what do you think, could he commit the crime?"
  
  "I think the woman was cranky. Nick was involved in his scientific work and never paid attention to women and simply didn't know how to lure a woman. By the way about two weeks ago he said a girl attempted to entice him".
  
  "That's very important. Who was the girl?"
  
  "He didn't mention her name but seemed rather worried".
  
  My smartphone played a melody signaling the arrival of an SMS. I opened it to read a message from Rogov informing me that he had at his disposal all the information necessary to unmask the murderer.
  
  7. The Murderer Unmasked
  
  "Ladies and Gentlemen!", began Rogov. It was 10 a.m. and we were sitting in his office at Police Headquarters.
  "I am Major Michail Rogov, and I was charged to investigate the murder of Nikolas Smirnov". He made a short pause. He looked impressive in the police uniform with major's straps, the breast decorated with medal ribbons.
  "I must inform you at once that the investigation is over and the murderer was found. This person is sitting here. I ask this person to make a voluntary confession, which, according to the law, will extenuate this person's guilt". He stopped and cast at the audience a peering look.
  
  "Gee!" exclaimed Ruchko and gave a short whistle. The others remained silent exchanging nervous glanced.
  
  "OK", went on Rogov. "Then I must inform you about the results of investigation that completely unmask the murderer". Не cleared his throat.
  "From the very start there were four main suspects: Mrs. Olga Smirnova who inherited Smirnov's fortune," - at this word everybody looked at Olga who wore her best black evening dress that matched perfectly her blond hair. Ruchko hemmed; Zilberman brought out a handkerchief to mop his bald patch, "Mr. Alexei Larin who was on intimate terms with Mrs. Smirnova", continued Rogov, " Vladimir Timkin, who had a conflict with Smirnov, and Elza Goldberg, whom he insulted in public. Besides Smirnov had a daughter by his first wife who lived in Novoyarsk and who could also profit from Smirnov's death". "The case was complex because nobody had an alibi and everybody could commit a crime. Smirnova and Larin stated they were together at Larin's flat; Timkin told he was at his laboratory but his colleagues witnessed he left the laboratory several times; Dr. Goldberg said she was at her office but her secretary asserts she also went away.
  "To solve the crime I decided to employ a police technique that we call 'catching on a bait'. "I asked Mr. Larin, whom I know well, to contact each of the suspects", Rogov lied without a twinge of conscience, in his usual manner.
  
  Everybody stared at me and I failed to see friendliness in their eyes. "Now I know your real name, Mister Bait", Olga said to me in a loud whisper so that all could hear.
  
  "I must say the technique proved its value. Mr. Larin's actions caused the criminal to act and make mistakes. Let us listen to Mr. Larin".
  
  "The first thing that arrested my attention was your words, Mr. Zilberman", began I.
  
  Zilberman looked at me doubtfully and uttered: "But I didn't tell you anything".
  
  "No, you told me about a very important fact. You said that four people sat at the table broken during the incident at your restaurant".
  
  "No wonder, the table was for four persons and all seats were occupied".
  
  "That's the point! And in the police records, as Major Rogov kindly informed me, only two persons were registered: Oleg Ruchko and Marina Sotova. It was strange. In such situations people usually take efforts to be compensated for the damage they suffered. It means that the other two, for some reasons, didn't want their names to be mentioned".
  "That fact prompted two more questions: Who were those two people? What were their motives? And it was you, Oleg, who helped me to find the answers."
  
  "I don't remember anything. I was in bad condition", quickly responded Ruchko.
  
  "You said that at the restaurant your celebrated 'Vovan's birthday'. So the first name of one of the two unknown persons must be Vladimir because 'Vovan' is its diminutive. You, Oleg, were in the company with the girl, Marina Sotova. It was logical to suppose that that Vladimir also was with a girl. But who was she? Here you helped me again, Oleg".
  
  "I never help coppers' sleuths!" contemptuously declared Ruchko.
  
  "Nevertheless you did it. Involuntary, of course. You said: 'zany woman, professor's wife'. You knew who the woman that shoved the singer was. And how could you know? Smirnov worked at Computer Science Department and you study at Law Department. He never taught you, and you never met. There could be only one answer: that Vladimir or/and his girl must be from Computer Science Department and they told you about Smirnov's wife".
  
  Ruchko didn't say anything, his eyes twinkled spitefully.
  
  "I found that mysterious Vladimir when I visited the University and met Vladimir Timkin. When he flexed his muscles to demonstrate that Smirnov was not able to beat him I remembered the man I saw in Ruchko's drawing room. He had the same figure and body".
  
  "And what of it?" said Timkin nonchalantly. "Yes, I was at the restaurant. I didn't want my name to appear in police records because I prefer to stay out of police affairs. I dislike the police in principle. Since when is it prohibited? Do you know many people who like our noble policemen?"
  
  "The fact is not that you dislike policemen. The fact is that you hated Smirnov who excluded you from his projects after the quarrel and you lost all the money you could earn. And he wanted to expel your from postgraduate courses. Another fact is that you like very much the girl with whom I saw you at Rucko's flat. Who was she?"
  
  Timkin didn't reply looking indifferently aside.
  
  "I answered this question when I was leaving the University. In the lobby hung a large portrait of Smirnov and I realized that the woman whom I had met several minutes ago had striking resemblance to him. It was Lina Frolova, Smirnov's daughter".
  
  Everybody stared at Frolova who sat calmly smiling.
  
  "Frolova is Smirnov's daughter?!" exclaimed Elza Goldberg in utter surprise. "But why?.."
  
  "Yes, that is the question", Rogov took up the ball. "I've told that Smirnov's daughter was one of the suspects from the very beginning. We thought she lived in Novoyarsk, where she and her mother moved seven years ago after divorce. How could Galina Krotova have turned into Lina Frolova? There was no difficulty to find out that two years ago she married and assumed her husband's name to become Filinova. Then she divorced and moved from Novoyarsk. We had to work hard to establish the fact that she married again, took her current name, and then divorced for the second time".
  
  "And what of it?" responded Frolova repeating Timkin's phrase. "I am free to marry and divorce as many times as I wish".
  
  "Sure, but why did you take so much effort to conceal your real name? You introduced yourself as 'Lina', which is a diminutive of 'Elena', rather than 'Galina'. Moreover you tried to disguise your appearance. This is a report from city's Optician's shop. It states that you constantly bought brown contact lenses, though the natural color of your eyes is blue", Rogov demonstrated a piece of paper.
  
  Frolova didn't answer anything and continued to smile calmly.
  
  "Do you mean Frolova wanted to kill her own father just to get his money?" intervened Goldberg. "I know her a little and she never produced an impression of a greedy person".
  
  "You are right, Dr.Goldber. The motive for the murder was not just money. This is a copy of her mother's case history we got from Novoyarsk. She suffered from mania of persecution. When she lived with Smirnov she reported him to police complaining that he planned to kill her. Perhaps she moved to Novoyarsk in hope to get rid of her disease but contrary to her expectations the illness aggravated. She became assaultive, was taken to hospital and killed herself. And psychiatric diseases are propagable.
  As we had good reasons to suspect Timkin and Frolova we decided to search their flats. And this is what we found".
  
  Rogov pulled the drawer open and took out ear rings, bracelets, necklaces.
  
  "But this is my jewelry!" exclaimed Olga. "It was they who robbed my flat?"
  
  "Yes, but they boned the jewelry, their main aim was this document", he demonstrated a piece of paper with a handwritten text. "This is Smirnov's avowal. But first I'd like to draw your attention to this certificate from the city's gynecological hospital. It states that Galina Frolova is in the second month of pregnancy.
  "And now I ask you, Mrs. Galina Frolova, whose child are you bearing? Who is its father: Timkin or Smirnov?"
  
  The audience got stupefied. Then somebody squealed; Elza Goldberg fainted; Olga rushed to the door pressing her palms to the lips.
  
  "I have all reasons to ask this question", explained Rogov. "In his avowal Smirnov writes that he was seduced by Frolova who then confessed she was his daughter and began blackmailing him. Hence his wish to leave Russia". He pushed a button on his desk and took two pairs of handcuffs out of the drawer. A policemen and a policewoman appeared at the door.
  
  Rogov came up to Timkin and put handcuffs on him. "Vladimir Timkin, you are accused of burglary and infliction of bodily injuries". Timkin smiled wryly without saying anything. A policeman escorted him to the door.
  
  "So it was him who attacked me", guessed I.
  
  Rogov approached Frolova and put handcuffs on her. "Galina Frolova, you are accused of the murder of Nikolas Smirnov".
  
  Frolova ceased smiling, her features got twisted.
  
  "He murdered my mother! He murdered my mom!", cried she while the policewoman was pulling her along.
  
  
  * * * *
  
  
  Galina Frolova was taken to court, certified and committed. When in mental hospital she gave birth to a child. Since it had a Down syndrome it was taken to a specialized hospital. Frolova stays at the hospital.
  
  Olga sold all her property and emigrated to Israel. At least in one point the polygraph was not mistaken..
  
  I continue my fruitful collaboration with Rogov. I have become famous and even get job offers from Moscow firms. I reject them: it won't be so easy to find another Rogov in Moscow.
  
  Rogov and I have become richer but that doesn't make me happy.
  Sometimes when alone in my room I remember Olga's brown eyes that so nicely matched her blond hair and the lines of a Rammstein's song occur to me:
  
  
  Sie will es und so ist es fein
  So war es und so wird es immer sein
  Sie will es und so ist es Brauch
  Was sie will bekommt sie auch
  
  
  
  
  
  Notes
  
  1.Murka (Мурка) is a Russian pet name of a cat
  2.Russian лук [luk] means 'onion', and 'Oi'(ой) stands for the exclamation 'Oh'
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Э.Бланк "Атрион. Влюблен и опасен" Е.Шепельский "Пропаданец" Е.Сафонова "Риджийский гамбит. Интегрировать свет" В.Карелова "Академия Истины" С.Бакшеев "Композитор" А.Медведева "Как не везет попаданкам!" Н.Сапункова "Невеста без места" И.Котова "Королевская кровь. Медвежье солнце"

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