Hayriddin Sulton

People's Writer of  Uzbekistan

What a sweet, bitter life you are!

(The story)

(Translated into English by Holder Volсano)

The great commander of the russian occupation Kurban Jan Datha was such a brave woman that when she came to the gallows, where Kaufman's executioners publicly executed her son, she said loudly: - Goodbye, son! Your ancestors, too, just like you, fought for the freedom of their people and became martyrs. To die for the motherland, for the freedom of the people - this is our pride! - With these words, she turned her horse around and proudly left. From 1865 to 1880, in the mountains of Pomer, she gathered people around her and, with a sword in her hands, fought heroically against the imperial-minded Russian invaders to the last.

Gafur Gulyam.

* * * *

1876, February 26. Margelan.
The day was coming to an end, in fact, no different from the usual days of that harsh and gloomy winter. The city, as usual, woke up to the voices of the muezzins, who read the azan from the minarets in the pre-dawn silence for the morning prayer "Bamdad". Having heard the azan, the Muslims who had performed a small ablution - takharat, hurried to the mosque, walking on the plaintively creaking ice. Today, too, as on other days, thin and fluffy smoke rose from chimneys, similar to cotton wool and hung over the high and low roofs of houses. The weak sun of winter shone dimly with its barely warming light, like an old silver coin, and disappeared into the gray fluffy clouds, like a cold man wrapped in a warm blanket. Noticeably, people tired of the cares and troubles of everyday life began to revive the deserted streets of the city.
In the silence of a harsh and tedious winter day, when the ancient city was immersed, as if in the atmosphere of a bygone era, a fuss suddenly arose and a crowd of people quickly began to overflow the square, which began to flock from different parts of the city.
The city square has not seen such a crowd of people since its formation. The cracking frost penetrated people to the bones, icicles hung like crystal carrots on the edges of the roofs of houses. In the square, the crowd was seething like a group of alarmed ants on an anthill. Local merchants and artisans hastily closed their shops, frightened by the mustachioed Cossacks' bloodshot, owl-like eyes. The people who were forcibly driven by the soldiers were standing around, not knowing what to do. Women looked with wild fright at the gallows, through the slit of their burqas and whispered like a mantra, repeating the prayer "La havla vala kuvvata illa billahi aliul azim...". Old people and snotty children shivering from the cold watched... Everyone had only one thing on their lips: -Kamchibek is being hanged!.. The town square was cordoned off by the russian cossacks... The so-called Governor-General of the Turkestan Region fon Kaufman rose to the podium. After him, the general-Maer Trotsky, the adjutant-wing, the mild-mannered Prince Boyarsky, the short, pot-bellied and temple Colonel Lusarov, the traitors of the people, officials of the military governorate of Fergana, Abdurakhman oftobachi in a fox fur cuff and local rich people took their seats, hunched over, either from the cold, or from fear.
By this time, the cold wind began to intensify. Then two companies of infantry soldiers came up to the square and they stopped at the order of one officer, halting and becoming as still as a statue.
Officer Lyakhov began to report to Kaufman, saluting:
- Everything is ready, Your Majesty!
Kaufman looked at his pocket watch and said,
- Just a minute, Maer. My wife must come... Ah, here she comes, I think.
Just then a green carriage pulled by a pair of horses pulled up to the square. The adjutant hurriedly approached the carriage, carefully opened the door and the two women, carefully lifting the long hem of their blue dresses from under their coats with fur collars, got off the carriage. One of them, a rather elderly woman with a slender figure, mincing small steps and simultaneously chatting about something with her companion, began to climb the steps to the podium. Kaufman himself approached the women and helped them up.
He was followed by other officials with a smile on their lips.
- Oh, I'm sorry, dear, that we were late. Don't get upset, please. You know us women well. There exists such a thing as a mirror in this world which will not let us leave so fast. With these words, the woman who was in the front smiled at the officers, greeting them.
- Hello, gentlemen!
Trotsky, Lusarov, Lyakhov and adjutant Boyarsky approached the women, gently and alternately kissed their hands.
— Oh, Prince, Prince! Kaufman's wife said, looking at Boyarsky, pouting like a child and rolling her eyes with a sense of resentment.
— Lately you have completely forgotten about us, It's not good, gentlemen, oh, it's not good. After all, the time of our earthly existence, we can say, is running out. Meet this woman, the wife of Colonel Countess Shcherbakova Anna Ippolitovna... Oh, do you know each other? Oh, Prince, Prince!
The aide-de-camp stood there, smiling shyly.
— I am not a fan of such terrible performances - the wife of the governor General said, referring to Lusarov. Then she added: - I asked my husband yesterday about what kind of people rebels these are? He said that I will come to the square tomorrow and see everything with my own eyes. Tell me, are they really that scary?
Lusarov was laughing with his mouth closed. Then, closing his eyes, he began to talk about something. The governor's wife pretended to listen to Lusarov's words, but her carelessness shone through her façade.
— Let us commence! Kaufman said, looking at Lyakhov. - Bring him here!
An old, bearded soldier in red boots walked up to the middle of the square, took off his overcoat and inspected the stool that stood under the gallows, and touched the noose, as if checking its stability. After that, shaking the snow off his boots, he headed to the other side of the square.
Here the crowd began to fuss, seeing the soldiers leading a guy in a torn overcoat with numerous abrasions on his face, whose hands were in shackles.
- Is that him? - The countess Shcherbakova asked, opening her beautiful blue eyes wide.
—Yes, Countess,- Boyarsky replied.
- Poor man!
— Oh, monsieur, it seems that I will not be able to stomach watching the execution and the cold is also getting worse — the governor's wife complained.
- My dear, you'd better go home,- Kaufman said. — Look how cold the weather is. I'm afraid you'll catch a cold. Yesterday you complained of a headache. This isn't St. Petersburg for you.
— Okay, it's nothing. I'll stand still for a while,- the governor's wife whispered.
Colonel Lusarov handed the paper to Lyakhov. The major walked forward, unfolded the paper and began to read the verdict in a loud, clear voice.
—... The Field Court of the Fergana Governorate considered the criminal activities of the accused - of Sartian origin from the dynasty of Alai beks Kamchibek Alymbek oglu against the authorities and his Excellency the Emperor! The court handed down the verdict, based on the totality of evidence, taking into account the testimony of witnesses headed by local rich traitor Abdurakhman Oftobachi! Thus, it was revealed that Kamchibek Alymbek oglu was really engaged in harmful criminal activities against his Majesty the Emperor, violating the established laws by the local governorship!
The brothers of the accused Kamchibek Olimbek oglu Abdullabek, Mamudbek and Hasanbek are the leaders of an armed criminal gang! These bandits have committed a number of serious crimes in the Alai region! In the last three years, these thugs have become especially active, bringing noticeable damage to the manpower of our army and its food supply! In addition, they conducted active advocacy of revolution, calling on the people to revolt, openly agitating people against the established order! As a result of the reckless activity of this bloodthirsty gang of robbers-
Here an officer of no great stature came up to the gallows and whispered something in Colonel Lusarov's ear.
Colonel Lusarov turned pale sharply and, turning to Kaufman, said:
- Your Majesty, I have been informed that Kurban-Jan-Datha is coming here!
- How?! Are the guards even doing their job?! Where are the warriors who are supposed to guard all the roads?! - Kaufman said, turning around sharply.
- The guards are posted, Your Majesty. Prince Boyarsky's Rifle Division and the third Dragoon regiment are vigilantly guarding all gates and main roads... Only, here... Kurban Jan Datha is coming here alone!

— Yes, Your Majesty.
Hearing this, Kaufman's lips curled with anger.
- So she's in town?! I don't understand. I think she's gone crazy?! Does she really not know that a bounty of 15 thousand soum has been placed on her head? Well, go on, then, Colonel, let's see how it all ends,- Kaufman said, barely pulling himself together.
- Do you give us the order to apprehend her?
- Why? An unarmed woman in broad daylight, in the city square, in front of a crowd?.. No, Colonel, just give the order to keep an eye on her. Maybe she wants to say goodbye to her son. Why should we deprive her of the pleasure of it? Be humane, Colonel!
— Yes, Your Majesty!
After that , Major Lyakhov continued to read the verdict of the military field court:
— "...Of Sartian origin, from the dynasty of the Alai Beks, Kamchibek Alymbek oglu was found guilty of committing a number of serious crimes against his Majesty the emperor and he was sentenced by a military field court to execution by hanging! The verdict is final and cannot be appealed!
Chairman of the military Field Court, Governor General fon Kaufmann. New Margelan. 1876, February 26.
After reading out the verdict of the military court, Major Lyakhov turned to Kaufman and nodded his head.
The soldiers led Kamchibek to the gallows. Kaufman, having called Sibgatullin, an interpreter of Tatar origin, who was dressed in a lieutenant's uniform, said.
- Ask the condemned man if he wants to say his last words?
- The translator Sibgatullin did not have time to ask. The crowd then roared in chorus, seeing Kurban Jan Datha, who was riding a horse, wearing a green beshmet and a white scarf.
The distance was about thirty meters. The crowd froze in surprise and fright.
- Colonel! - Kaufman waved his glove and turned to Lusarov:
- Look, Datha is coming straight to us, not afraid of anyone! It would be nice if your officers learned from her! After all, a stray bullet can kill her, can't it?!
— I understand, Your Majesty - Lusarov whispered — There is a sharpshooter in my regiment, Sergeant Epifanov.
- Very well, Colonel. Only Datha should come out of the square alive! A stray bullet will catch her in any corner, understand?
- That's right, Your Majesty.
The translator Sibgatullin repeated his question three times, but Kamchibek did not answer. He looked at his mother and said:
- Mom! Dear!
The crowd buzzed again.
And Kurban-Jan-Datha was still riding on a horse and her thoroughbred horse, throwing up his head, snorting and clacking his hooves, rapidly continued to approach the square. On the tightly closed lips and on the face of Datha, a quiet self-confidence and spiritual proud calmness was reflected. The commander rode with her head held high and the cold wind fluttered her clothes and hair like the flag of the free state. As if she didn't notice her son, who was standing in the claws of imminent death.
The people made noise like a stormy sea. The soldiers and officers froze in anticipation. People didn't know what to do. Even Kaufman himself stood like a statue of a man with a frowning face.
And Kurban-Jan-Datha, sharply pulling the bridle to herself, stopped her horse at a distance of five meters from the place where the soldiers of the occupying army stood like a wall. The surrounding area was plunged into a heavy Arctic silence.
— Son! Kurban-Jan-Datha said and her voice trembled. But, she pulled herself together, continued in a calm voice: — Son! To become martyrs, to die for the Motherland, fighting for the freedom of your people, is a legacy for you and me! Your ancestors also died on bloody gallows, in the hands of the vile executioners of the enemy! Goodbye, son! You have become worthy of my nursing of you!
- Mom, be satisfied with me, be satisfied! - Kamchibek said, wheezing with bitterness, looking after his mother with tears in his eyes.
— I'm a thousand times happy nursing you with my mother's milk and raising you! See you in paradise! With these words, Datha opened the palms of her hands to say a prayer. Then, having blessed her brave and worthy son, she leaned on the stirrup and whipped the horse with a whip. The horse, rearing up, rushed forward in the direction from where the sun rises. It was as if the burning tears that dripped from the eyes of Kurban Jan Dath burned the horse's neck.
The crowd was still buzzing, boiling, like the sea before a thunderstorm.
— Huh... Strange..., — Kaufman thought.
— Is this the "Alai Princess"? - his wife asked.
— After all, they said that she was elderly, and she, like an 18-year-old girl, freely rides a horse. Please tell me, dear, why didn't your soldiers arrest her?
-It's not worth it, my love,- Kaufman said, with a thoughtful smile on his lips. - She herself will soon crawl to me on all fours, begging for mercy! You'll see, I'll just make her give up! - he promised.
— Darling, I know that you don't like it when I interfere in your affairs. But, really, can't you let him go? Kaufman's wife said, adjusting the collar of his coat.
— He is still very young, I feel sorry for him. Of course, I'm not insisting on leaving him unpunished. There are other ways, for example, to banish him to Siberia or sentence him to hard labor.
-No! Kaufman replied sternly. - No! You yourself heard the verdict of the field court. There is no mercy for the enemies!.. Lusarov!
— Yes, Your Majesty!
— Don't be afraid of what you're doing!
— Good!
— So, the name of the sergeant is Epifanov?!
— That's right, Your Majesty, Epifanov!
— good.
Lusarov nodded his head approvingly to Lusarov. Lyakhov waved his handkerchief and jumped back.
Drums thundered. Two soldiers put a noose around Kamchibek's neck. An old soldier with a bag on his head sat down on his knees hastily and widely crossed himself. Then he stretched out his hands to the rope of the gallows to carry out the sentence.
— Oh, my God! Countess Shcherbakova whispered, turning sharply pale and convulsively clutching Prince Boyarsky's hands. — Jesus Christ, what a horror! she kept whispering.
- Don't be afraid, Countess, don't be afraid. It's momentary,- said Prince Boyarsky, holding her elbow.
— Ach, mein Gott, das is sch! Ah, mein Gott! - The governor's wife whispered, turning pale and closing her eyes tightly.
Kamchibek's legs came off the stool and he uttered his last words:
- Have mercy on your servant, O Allah!
From these words, the crowd began to fuss in chorus and someone bitterly and loudly sobbed.
The executioner's assistant wearing an executioner's hood, sharply kicked the stool...
Kamchibek's body swayed then fell to the ground with a crash.
Lyakhov was silent for a moment from surprise and ran to the scaffold with a bare sword in his hand, and froze like a statue over the body of Kamchibek.
An enraged Kaufman turned sharply to Lyakhov. The crowd again shouted in chorus:
Oh, almighty Allah!
— What's wrong with him?! Matkarim, what's wrong with him?!
— Allah probably did not want to…
— What are you looking at, muslims?
- Hey, move your head, you're in the way!
— Move to the side yourself, you fool!
Trotsky 's thunderous voice sounded above the noise of the crowd:
- Quiet! Calm down, I say! The ATO will send you all to hell with cannon shots! - he threatened.
Hearing this, the artisans directed the barrels of the guns towards the crowd.
Then someone's shrill voice sounded above the crowd:
- Hey, is there at least one man here?!
Kaufman stared at Lusarov with an angry look.
— What is this, Lusarov?!
— Your Majesty...
— What is this?! I ask!
— Oh, please, Your Majesty…
— That's enough! What a shame! This is a betrayal!
— Your Excellency, I'm sorry, for God's sake. It's an accident...
— An accident?! You say this is an accident! An accident will not happen only when you find yourself on these gallows! Oh, how embarrassing! The bastards! Get out of here!
— Oh, what happened? Tell me, Prince, what's going on here?! The countess Shcherbakova Anna Ippolitovna asked, hurriedly opening her eyes, which she had closed with fear.
- Yes, the rope broke, - Boyarsky answered, with bewilderment.
— Oh, I said, my God! You see, even God didn't like his death! - said the governor's wife.
— You must be tired, dear. You'd better come home... Prince, please accompany them!
— No, no, we want to see to the end, right, Anna Ippolitovna?
The Countess, pale, wiped her face with a handkerchief. Then she wiped her forehead.
Kamchibek was still lying unconscious under the gallows.
The soldiers, in order to bring Kamchibek to his senses, began to rub his face with snow. Finally he opened his eyes. Then, trying to get up, he looked around, wiping the blood from his swollen lips with his palm.
- The rope turned out to be rotten,— he whispered. Then, standing up and rising to his full height, he shouted loudly, with pride: - The rope turned out to be rotten after all!
The old soldier, greatly frightened, took a new noose and with trembling hands pulled it back on Kamchibek's neck...
the earth trembled from the roar of the drums.
Kamchibek took a deep breath of the last breaths of air, like a diver who is going to dive into the sea. Last breath! The last seconds of life and the last torment!
What a sweet, bitter life you are!
White clouds were boiling in the sky and the cool wind of the Aravan Mountains brought the last smells of meadows and fields, the smell of the Motherland.
Then everything disappeared. Sky, clouds, wind.
Kaufman went downstairs to see the women off and stopped for a moment. Boronessa, putting on her mittens, kept saying: - Oh, how pathetic, how pathetic! After all, a man after all, a man, Lord... Then, turning to Boyarsky, she continued:
- Okay, bye, sir. Tell me, will you come to us tonight to play preference? Definitely come, you look sharp. Don't judge us, but this is our only hobby, our only entertainment.
- Living in this wild country, we, too, will probably soon become savages. There is no music, no theater! I would rather return to Tashkent,- Boyarsky said.
- Yes, Prince, you are right! Okay then, come definitely, we will be waiting for you. Get to know Countess Shcherbakova better. Oh, you are very clever! Okay, bye! See you later, monsieur!
The carriage left. Kaufman, surrounded by officers, walked towards the market gate. The young adjutant offered him a Turkmen horse, but he refused. Then he turned towards the alley.
Everyone walked in silence, without saying a word. Lusarov was also walking, looking at the ground.
After walking 30 steps, Kaufman turned to Colonel Lusarov:
- Colonel Lusarov!
- I'm listening, Your Majesty?
- Where is the constable?
Now, Your Majesty, after this turn, now...
here they saw the tall sergeant Epifanov, of a thin build, who was walking, barely dragging his feet. But when he saw his superiors, he immediately came to attention.
— Well, Sergeant Epifanov, have you completed the task?!
- Epifanov's bearded jaw trembled. He was silent.
— Well, why are you silent? Speak up,- Kaufman said, politely putting his hand on Epifanov's shoulders.
— Your Majesty... — Epifanov found it difficult to speak. It was as if his tongue had swollen to an incredible size.
— Your Majesty...
— Whats the matter? Couldn't pull the trigger or what?! And they call you a good marksman! - Lusarov's eyes were bloodshot with anger.
Epifanov gripped the butt of his gun so hard, the fingers of his hands were already red with pain.
- I couldn't shoot her, Your Majesty, I couldn't.. - Epifanov said, barely moving his fleshy lips.
— Why couldn't you, Epifanov? - Kaufman's asked in a polite voice.
- Your Majesty... Forgive me, for God's sake, I'm sorry... - Epifanov said, and, widening his eyes, looked at Kaufman with frightened, pleading eyes. - Your Majesty… I'm sorry, for God's sake, Your Majesty... I watched her as I lay on the flat roof of the clay house. I wanted to, but I couldn't shoot her, you know?.. Looking at her, I suddenly started to remember my mom and...
They were silent for a moment. Then Lusarov 's furious cry rang out: - Your mother!.. .- The colonel, overcome with rage, wanted to attack Epifanov, but Kaufman stopped him. Then, going up to Epifanov and looking him up and down, he said in a loud voice:
— Epifanov, well done! You acted like a real soldier, well done! With these words, Kaufman patted the shoulder of sergeant Epifanov, and hopped onto his horse, which was held by the bridle by a young adjutant and began to leave. Colonel Lusarov also mounted his horse and followed behind Kaufman.
— Lusarov! Kaufman said, dismounting from his horse at the garrison barracks. - We need to reward Epifanov for his service, do you understand? We must definitely reward him!
— Understood, Your Majesty! - Lusarov said, nodding his head obediently.
Two months later, a drunken driver, who was sitting over an old mail coach, knocked on the door of a hut located in the village of Gribovo, Orlovka province. The driver handed a piece of paper to an old woman in a black handkerchief, who took the paper, unfolded it and read the contents. When she read it her legs went limp, as if made of cotton wool. Then she fell face down on the ground, losing consciousness.
On the threshold of the hut, a cold wind ruffled the paper, which fell to the ground like the last leaf of an autumn maple, where the following words were written:
"... With deep sorrow we inform you that your son, sergeant Epifanov, died heroically, honestly and faithfully serving the russian emperor and the Fatherland.
The commander of the regiment is Colonel Lusarov."
Then the wind howled long.

1979. Tashkent.


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Holder Volcano

Member of the Uzbek Union of Writers

Holder Volcano was born in 1959 in Uzbekistan. Graduated from Tashkent State University. He has been writing poetry and prose since 1975. Lives in Canada. He has written 4 collections of poems, a number of novels, short stories and novels in two languages.In Uzbek and in Russian.His works have been translated into English.Has no titles and awards.


Excerpt from the fantastic story of Holder Volkano "Yakan ibn Hakan"

- When we entered your cave, your wife said that you were 750 years old. Your daughter is 170 and your son will soon turn 300. Is this true, or did I hear it wrong? - Yes, it's true, Lainjon Lanat. I'm actually 750 years old. Do I look older or something? - Baltabalyk said. - That's just it. You look very young. I just wonder, how can a person live so long? - Lainjon Lanat was surprised. - And what, people don't live so long on your Earth? - Baltabalyk asked in surprise. - Our people live on average 50-60 years. We have polluted air, countless factories were smoking day and night all over the planet, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the radiation is off the scale, - Yakan ibn Hakan replied. - What are you guys joking about? - Baltabalyk was surprised again. - Honest pioneer- said Lainjon Lanat. - Well, you poor earthlings! Our monkeys even live longer than you! - Baltabalyk exclaimed. - If people on Earth would live as long as you do, then our dictators would sit on the presidential chair for 2000 years!


Ibn Kambal

(The story)

To be honest, I'm not going to draw a verbal portrait of the literary hero of my story, nor will I give his real name under any pretext, keeping his safety in mind. To describe the appearance and parameters of the character, would be like handing over a sketch of him to the police department, which has declared him as being on the interpol's most wanted list. This is extremely dangerous for him. We will be limited only by calling his pseudonym "Ibn Kambal". Ibn Kambal walks with a tightly glued beard and mustache, having grown his hair down to his shoulders, having dyed it gray so that he would not be accidentally recognized on the street by local police officers. Otherwise, he may be arrested and put in jail for many years for the economic crimes he committed. The fact is that our literary hero Mr. Ibn Kambal writes good poems and one day a crazy idea came into his head to publish his first book, hoping to get a substantial fee for it. He talked to a hunchback employee of a publishing house, who promised to publish Ibn kambal's book of poems, cheap, in high-quality, fast and, of course, advertise it well. Ibn Kambal, believing the words of the employee, gave him a lot of money from the sponsor without a receipt. The hunchbacked worker turned out to be a greedy, mean-spirited and inveterate swindler, and soon he broke his promise and published a book of poems by poor Ibn Kambal at the expense of low-quality papers that he stole once from the warehouse of the publishing house and safely hid in the basement. As if that wasn't enough, he put paper on the cover, as well as on the drawings and on the circulation of the book. It so happened that the book of Mr. Ibn Kambala was published and not advertised well. The book resembled a thin school notebook. Such a "book" could not be sold on the market. Even a bookworm, that is, an avid book lover of flea markets, who is well versed in art, does not even want to buy such a pathetic garbage. The cunning and hunchbacked worker was delighted that the gullible Ibn Kambal payed him a large sum of money without a receipt. As a result, Ibn Kambal himself had to advertise his book, which was similar to a student's notebook. But he didn't realize it. Half a year later, Ibn Kambal's sponsor began to demand him to return the money received with interest. The poor literary hero of our novel, Mr. Ibn Kambal, did not know what to do. He's up to his ears in debt. At home, a grumpy wife who reproached Ibn Kambal day and night, calling him a pathetic loser, a loafer, a lazy man, a parasite and a sucker.
- God, why did I even marry this idiot, a poet with empty and leaky pockets! Normal husbands go to work in the neighboring countries and earn serious money by working as janitors, barn keepers and freight car loaders, loggers and such. When they return, they build luxury houses, two-story cottages with basements, and buy cool cars. And you?! You sleep during the day like a stray dog with no hind legs and from night to day you scribble the devil knows what, in the light of a kerosene lamp, not letting me sleep soundly. Is literary creativity a job these days?! Here, just recently, this fool released his book, a thin one, similar to a birth certificate, a work book and got into debt up to his ears! And there's nothing to eat at home. A single pair of dress shoes, which we share at a time! It's embarrassing to walk barefoot in this space age! We are afraid to go outside! We sit at home, holding our breath, as if we are in a bomb shelter in the midst of a carpet bombing, when all of a sudden, the sponsor's agents show up, demanding we return the money that this bastard borrowed! This debt grows not by the day but by the hour! My God, what kind of a life is this?! What a pity that Comrade Stalin Joseph Vissarionovich is not with us now, who sent dozens of such unsuccessful Tunisian intellectuals to concentration camps in freight train cars designed to transport horses! If Comrade Stalin were alive, I myself would have given you into the hands of the NKVD, carefully writing a denunciation against you that you were an English spy! Oh, it's not for nothing that poets were hanged and shot in the old days, not for nothing! No, I've had enough! I'd rather climb on a stool and hang myself or burn myself by pouring kerosene on my worn clothes than live with you, jerk! - she screamed loudly, dropping bitter tears on the floor. Then, abruptly changing her mind, Ibn Kambala hastily packed her things into an old wooden suitcase from Stalin's times and threw it out into the street through an open window. Then, pointing to the door, she said: - Get out of my house! Go and don't let me ever see you again! Thus, the poor literary hero of our story, Ibn Kambal, found himself on the street.  But it didn't end there. The sponsor's bouncers quickly found him and broke one of his legs, forced him to collect documents and fraudulently get a huge loan from the bank. Ibn Kambal submitted an application and submitted the relevant documents with a business plan to the bank claiming the loan was to open a trading and manufacturing company. But he immediately had to give the sponsor all the money received on credit. Half a year later, the police put him on the wanted list. Since then, he has been walking with a glued on beard and mustache, having grown his hair down to his shoulders and dyed it gray. Ibn Kambal searched for a house for a long time and finally he found a small hole that had formed on an old abandoned road during a mudslide and decided to live in it. He erected a small roof over the pit, resembling a chapel. This roof performed two functions at once. Firstly, it did not allow rainwater to get inside of the pit and served as a kind of warning fence for random passers-by, so that they would not fall into Ibn Kambala's squalid dwelling, during an evening walk in the dark or in a thick fog when they walk their beloved dogs. The peculiarities of this peculiar housing is that here he will not be disturbed by police officers, tax officers, inspectors of energy supervision, gas supply and housing and communal services department. Most importantly, there are no evil neighbors, rhythmic creaking of the bed, sweet moans, loud music, trampling, crashing, heart-rending cries for help, the noise of the feast, drunken laughter, swearing, crying children and women, the clanging of a hammer, the buzz of a drill, the sounds of shattered glass windows, broken porcelain dishes, and the roar of kitchen dishes that violate the peace and quiet of citizens. There are also a number of inconveniences in this pit. That is, there are no windows in it from which you could look out on the street, to enjoy the autumn leaf fall or night snowfalls in winter. Another inconvenience in this housing is the lack of a kitchen. There isn't even a washbasin. The pit also lacks the most important thing, that is, a toilet. In spring, summer or autumn, you can relieve yourself at large, for example, in the thickets or somewhere else. In winter you will have to sit on the pot and take the contents to the top, so as not to accidentally freeze some important parts of your body. But there he could build a small stove to heat the pit and cook food. However, this is only useful for the cooler seasons. In summer, you will have to cook food outside, on a campfire. With such thoughts, Ibn Kambal first of all, took out all the garbage from the pit, carefully glued some wallpaper to the plastered, putty wall, and laid cardboard boxes at the bottom of the pit. He made a small bookshelf and hung a portrait of the president of the country on the wall. He descends into his dwelling like a submariner descending through the upper hatch of a nuclear submarine with cruise missiles on board. Sometimes he feels like a tankman, rushing forward at breakneck speed on his tank, destroying everything in his path, schools, hospitals, kindergartens, trees and burning houses, crushing livestock, and a crowd of refugees and children. Ibn Kambal loves to read at night in the light of a kerosene lamp an interesting book that he bought at the bazaar, where you can buy a book much cheaper than in bookstores. Ibn Kambal loves bookfairs, especially a specific flea market in the bazaar, similar to an old open-air museum where people sell old things. Almost anything can be found in there. Torn chrome and kirza boots, breeches with a red streak of a general who once died, school bags, books without covers, bugles and drums of pioneers, textbooks, icons, rosaries, a bronze bust of Lenin, a dog-fur hat, an old accordion, a portrait of Stalin, cages for songbirds, aquariums, even wrenches, is there something they don't have, my God! Fashionable dresses with the hats of long-dead old ladies, chains, crimson jackets, telephones of the twentieth century, globes, primuses, traps, samovars, wooden suitcases, old coins, buttons, brass musical instruments from a brass band, axes and saws, scissors, children's toys, heavy cast-iron irons working on hot coal. You c an buy whatever you want or just look at things for free, like museum exhibits. The most valuable things at this flea market for Ibn Kambal are old books with yellowed pages and worn, torn covers. Those who sell old things at a flea market do not know the price of these books, since they do not read them. They simply lack the refinement of feelings and thoughts, emotions such as surprise, admiration, perception, witchcraft influence and the effect of words on consciousness, which, like magic, enchant, giving a person a certain mood, giving him the opportunity to dive into the depths of sweet memories of his youth and love, forgetting for a while about pain and suffering in a cozy spiritual solitude. One day Ibn Kambal heard a very interesting conversation between a a customer and the cashier.
-You know, yesterday I just saw this guy in a dream -said a cheerful customer, smiling at the portrait of Stalin.
- Really? What's  your name? -said the seller.
-My name is Valdemar Catin -answered the customer.
- I wonder what Comrade Stalin's doing in your fucking dreams? - the seller asked in surprise, with a smoking cigarette in his teeth.
- In short, it was like this. I had died in my dreams and was taken to a stone cave, where there was a huge crowd of sinners who stood looking with horror at the blazing fire and their huge shadows swayed on the stone of a giant cave. I see some of them sitting on stone benches. I approached a man who was wearing breeches and chrome boots with long tops, big-eyed, thin build, with a sharp nose and rectangular mustache. He was dressed in a brown uniform, with an iron cross and his hair was combed to the side. I approached him cautiously and said.
- Move aside, please, Uncle, otherwise i'll get exhausted... Hearing my words, the man in the brown uniform was furious. He was so furious that he blushed up to his neck, like an angry turkey. His eyes widened with anger and the cheekbones of his face began to twitch convulsively.
- Do I look like an uncle to you, schweine! Don't you recognize your Fuhrer! I'm Adolf Hitler! - he shouted.
I got scared when I recognized the bloody dictator of the twentieth century, Adolf Hitler, who turned the world upside down, turning beautiful cities into ruins, killing 50 million innocent people.
- About Bitte, I'm sorry, Herr Schicklgruber - I asked for forgiveness.
Here, interrupting our conversation, a man of about forty-five, fifty, bald, short, with a red goatee beard in a suit and with a red tie around his neck came up to me. He looked smilingly straight into my eyes, as if into a deep well, and began to speak fluently, holding his cap in his hand.
- And me, tovayishch? Do you yecognize me? Well... ESEDYEPE, Smolny, the Bolshevik payty...Kyupskaya Nadezhda Konstantinovna, the uprisings of the  workrers and farmers in Petyagyad... wintey palace, Octobey yevolution... .Bank of the lake"Yazliv", Kyilataya fiaza, the slogan "pнoletaians of all styans unite!"..Well, do you yemembey now, the уed Aymy soldier? "What is it?" - he asked, holding on to the lapel of his world-famous jacket with one hand.
- Oh, is that you, Comrade Vladimir Ilyich? Wow! I never thought that I would ever meet you here. I'm sorry I didn't recognize you right away. This must mean you will be rich,- I said, rejoicing.
-What do you mean, you'll be yich, comyade? Do you even think when you talk? I will nevey become yich, exploit! After all, I am the leadey of the pyoletayiat all, right?And you'ye compaying me to some damn bouygeoisie! You aye wandeying like a the blood enemy of the woyld pyoletayiat, like social revolutionayies and monaychists and beelogvideytsy! It's not good, comrade, oh it's not good - Lenin said, offended by my words.
- Excuse me, Comrade Lenin, I wanted to say that you will get rich not materially, but spiritually - I justified myself.
Hearing my answer, Lenin's mood quickly lifted. He was delighted, as a little boy, and the pupils in his narrow eyes gleamed with joy from a smile.
- This is quite a big deal, comyade  the уed Aymy soldier! Well, did the bloodthiysty gangs of the Basmachi Kuibashi Kuisheymet and Ibyagimbek in Tuikestan? - the leader of the proletariat asked, looking into my eyes again, as if into a deep well.
- Yes, Vladimir Ilyich, they crushed it. Defeated, but... I replied, fearing that my next words might again greatly upset the leader of the world proletariat.
-It's a shame, tovayishch kyasnoaymeyets, why do you say "but"? Lenin asked again, holding on to the lapel of his world-famous "troika" jacket with one hand, nervously clutching his cap in the other hand, looking like a platypus.
- You see, Vladimir Ilyich, I don't even know how to explain this to you. In short, the USSR has collapsed! - I said.
- What?! The USSY collapsed?! What aye you talking about, comyade?! Oh my God! - said the leader of the proletariat , looking at me with bewilderment. His mood soured again and he began to nervously pace back and forth, like a wolf in a cage.
- Were you not aware?.. That is, have you not heard about the collapse of the USSR, Vladimir Ilyich? - I said surprisedly. Lenin stopped abruptly and said:
- Aye you out of your mind, comyade  the уed Aymy soldieys, how can I find out if there is no telegyaph  here?
- Yes, you're right, Comrade Lenin, that makes sense. - I agreed.
Then Hitler began to rejoice: - Zuldatun und offitzigen des dgitten gijches! Communishten kaput! Their gratulige! Huwah- hah hah haaaa! Yeh- hah hah hah haaaa! - he laughed, and began to dance, singing a cheerful song by Lily Marlene, masterfully playing his harmonica, which he took out of the top of his chrome boot.
Lenin began to pace nervously back and forth again, occasionally casting an angry glance at Hitler. Then, stopping abruptly, he asked me.
- What, now the USSY into the hands of the social yevolutionayies?
- No, Vladimir Ilyich, first General Secretary Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was elected president of the country. And then the State Emergency Committee and power passed into the hands of Yeltsin Boris Nikolaevich, who was put into a bag by the saratniki, and thrown from a high bridge into the Moscow River. He miraculously survived... - I replied.
- Who is Mikhail Gaibachev and what is his name... Boyis Yeltsin ! Oh my God, why weye they knocked out and not appointed! Wheye have the Communists gone?! Such a large and great country was destroyed by the mice! - Lenin said, nervously hitting the knees of his legs with the palms of his hands.
- This is nothing, Vladimir Ilyich, in comparison with the statements of the State Duma deputy Mr. Zhirinovsky. He said that it was high time to take your corpse out of the mausoleum and burn it in the crematorium, and bury the ashes in Ulyanovsk, where you were once born.
- Yeally? Did he say that? Foy such woyds of such countey-yevolutionayies, it is necessay to shoot them without tyial and investigation, and send them to the concentyatijn camps! Let them byeak the gyanite stones theye in the negative 40 degrees and make them cayyey heavy stones on theiy backs, jingling the chains on theiy heels and on theiy feet in theiy styiped pajamas! - said the leader of the proletariat, clutching his cap even more tightly in his hand.
In order to somehow distract comrade Lenin from discussing such a topic, I began to lead the conversation in a different direction.
- Excuse me for a stupid question, comrade Lenin, what are you doing here?
-You see, comrade, I naively obeyed the woyds of comyade Kayl Marx, well, this Kayl and his yich dude, like him, yes, Fyidyih Engels, thinking that judgment day does not exist. It tuyns out that I was veyy wyong then... Meyciful Loyd, have meycy on me, youy dear God, in the name of the fathey and the son and the light of the spirit, Amin! Lenin crossed himself briefly, looking with wild horror at the blazing flames of hell and at the lava that bubbled like molten metal. At that moment, a man in a military tunic and breeches appeared near us, of medium height, with his hair combed back, with a bushy handlebar mustache and with a smoking pipe in his teeth. One of his hands turned out to be withered.
- Gamarjoba, genatsvale! - he said, puffing on his pipe. I recognized him immediately and said:
-Oh, hello, Comrade Stalin! Are you here too?
- Yes, unfortunately... Well, genatsvale, did the Crimean Tatars, Jews, Armenians, Ukrainians, Ingush and Chechens, who we deported to Central Asia, get used to the new living conditions? What's the news? - he asked.
-No, Comrade Stalin, unfortunately many of them died from lack of air in the wagons of freight trains designed to transport horses. They were forced to bury their dead children and other loved ones in the sand of the Kazakh steppes along the way. Many died later, from hunger and disease. Only a few remained. Many Jews, Armenians, Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, Chechens and Ingush were sheltered by our Uzbeks, sharing with them their last pieces of bread in difficult times. This is nothing compared to those who died in concentration camps located in the Gulag archipelago, in Salikamsk and in Magadan. Intellectuals were mostly sent there, declaring them the worst enemies of their people, accusing them of espionage. Millions and millions of people rotted alive in cold barracks, from lack of food, from dysentery, from typhus and tuberculosis. Many went crazy and hanged themselves on ropes, others committed suicide by cutting off their genitals. And how many soldiers and officers, old people, and children, innocent people died in the war! From the lack of weapons and ammunition, poor soldiers with wooden machine guns in their hands went on the attack in companies, shouting together "For the Motherland, for Comrade Stalin!"and the Germans shot them like partridges, creating a mountain of corpses of dead soldiers, sergeants and officers. Beautiful cities, factories and factories have turned to ashes - I said, sighing sadly.
- Well, what can you do, genatsvale, war is war and it requires sacrifices. Let's have a better conversation with you about positive events... I was once informed about the heroic work of the Uzbek people, who built the great Ferghana canal manually in 45 days, with the help of hoes and shovels, headed by this bald guy... Unfortunately, I can't remember right now. After the stroke, my memory deteriorated. I remember I gave him my watch when he came late to the meeting. I once jokingly told him, they say, I want to invite you to Moscow, but I'm afraid that you will open channels around Moscow... How we were laughing then, Lord... Well, how are things going there? The Mirzachul desert with the Kizilkum probably would have turned into green cotton fields, into gardens and vegetable gardens rustling in the wind? Stalin said, stroking his bushy mustache like a cat.
- No, Comrade Stalin. After improper use of water resources, the water level in our rivers dropped sharply and our Aral Sea dried up. It turned into a puddle. There is an ecological catastrophe there now. Sandstorms are rising, covering the entire territory of Karakalpakistan and Khorezm with salt. There is a fear that very soon the entire Central Asian region will turn into a desert. By the way, I even wrote a poem about it. It's called the "chase". Would you like me to recite it by heart, Comrade Stalin? I said.
- Yes? Here's the news. I used to write poetry, too. Come on, read it, genatsvale, if you wrote about an environmental disaster in Central Asia. Only read it briefly. Otherwise I don't have time for this,- Stalin granted me permission, lighting his smoking pipe. I started reading my poem.

The chase

In my youth I chased the desert,
To turn it into cotton fields.
Also grow watermelons and melons,
Where poplars will ring white.

The desert was running away from me, afraid,
From the traces of agama on the dunes patterns.
Now I regret, singing in
the sand, that our sea has dried up.

In vain, oh in vain I chased her then,
Although all this happened a long time ago.
Now I'm running from sandstorms,
And the desert is chasing me.

After listening to my poem, Stalin applauded me, clapping his hands, smiling slyly with a smoking pipe in his teeth.
- Wah wonderful, genatsvale, wonderful! You write like Shota Rustaveli!
- Thank you, comrade Stalin! But it seems to me that your words don't sound very sincere,- I said, as if skeptical of his words that he uttered.
- What are you saying, you bourgeoisie! Is it possible to lie in such a place like this? Look how the fire is burning! O Lord Jesus, have mercy and bless your sinful servant Joseph Dzhugashvili! Lord, how many churches, synagogues, mosques and Buddhist temples have I destroyed to the ground, ordering by secret decree to demolish crosses from the domes of temples, crescents from the mosques and erase the six-pointed star of David from synagogues! By my order, the Red Army soldiers removed the bells and sent them to metallurgical plants for casting to create parts for tractors from them! We have turned the sacred temples, mosques and synagogues into a vegetable storehouse! The Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, and Muslim clergy were exterminated. Oh, how I've sent so many saints to distant death camps, from where no one has ever returned home!
Just at this time, a tall, fat and bald man ran out of the crowd and approached Stalin. Then he began to speak:
-Have you been summoned, Comrade Stalin?
Stalin took his smoking pipe out of his mouth and looked at the bald man in surprise.
- What are you doing here, enemy of the people?! You English spy! This friend here says that due to the incorrect distribution of water resources, the Amudarya and Sirdarya rivers in Uzbekistan have turned almost into a dry riverbed, and the Aral Sea into a puddle! It turns out that the entire Central Asian region is gradually turning into a desert day after day! Fertile lands, cotton fields, orchards and vegetable gardens are covered with salt! Where are we going to sow cotton now? In your grandmother's garden or something?! It's all your fault! Bukharin's tail! Answer me, you bastard, before I repress you! Otherwise, today, in the predawn darkness, NKVD officers will come for you in the car of the GPU "Black Raven" and will quietly knock on your door covered with dermantin to take you where you need to go,- he said.
Hearing this, the tall, fat and bald man sat down on his knees and began to move his knees towards Comrade Stalin, pressing his headdress to his chest, like a disabled person who had both legs amputated due to gangrene.
- Oh, come on, Comrade Stalin! Don't repress me! Your secret service can shoot me according to the verdict of the military tribunal! I am not an enemy of the people and not the tail of Mikhail Dmitrievich Bukharin! We mastered the Mirzachul desert according to the project of Comrade Lenin himself! It's Lenin's fault for everything! - he said crying.
- Oh, you damn contya! You want to accuse me, the leadey of pyaletayat, of the cyimes of the centuyy, which you youyself have committed! I fiystly heay about the deseyt "Miyzachul"! My pyoject says "Hungyy Steppe". Holy shit... The scoundyel! Come on, put youy payty ticket on the table, invadey! The cyiminal element! - Lenin said, angrily.
- No, never! I'd rather die than put my party card on the table! - said the tall, fat and bald man and began to sing:

Arise ye workers from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise
We’ll change henceforth the old tradition
And spurn the dust to win the prize.

So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.

After he sang the international communist anthem, he ran shouting "For Comrade Stalin!" and jumped straight into the abyss, where hell's flames were burning and lava was bubbling like molten metal - the customer at the flea market said, finishing his story.
- You see, dude, I'm not a sorcerer, but it seems to me that this dream of yours predicts the approach of your inevitable death. In order to prevent this, you should buy a portrait of Comrade Stalin or this bronze bust of Comrade Lenin. I also have a book by Karl Marx called "Capital". Buy it. I think you have no other way. And I'll sell it for cheap, almost for a gift, it's a pity to throw it away, you know?
- No, I'd rather buy this woolen ceremonial jacket together with state orders and medals, - said the buyer.
- Why do you need this jacket of a recently deceased World War II veteran? another customer was surprised.
- What for? I will participate in the celebration dedicated to Victory Day, wearing this jacket along with orders and medals, and everyone will congratulate me on the holiday, as a hero of a bloody war. They will hand me flowers, shed tears of joy, set off fireworks and even pour alcohol - he replied.
- You bastard! How can you do that! What a vile, disgusting person you are! - another customer said.
- what? Am I a vile person?! Well, well, you better look at yourself! Look in that mirror over there! Your head is too small, it's the size of a lemon. And your nose is like an elephant's trunk, like the breathing hose of a gas mask. Your arms are long, like an orangutan, your legs on the contrary are short and crooked. I don't even want to talk about your ass. It hangs like the huge backpack of a tourist who came from distant Europe to ancient Bukhara.
After that, a fight broke out between the buyers and Ibn Kambal decided to hastily leave the bustling flea market with a worn book in his armpits until the police arrived.

1:29 PM.
Canada, Onterio.


eb23ebae4e2f0a5747a3836a73a792433eb756231883193 (700x510, 39Kb)



Holder Volcano

Member of the Uzbek Union of Writers

Holder Volcano was born in 1959 in Uzbekistan. Graduated from Tashkent State University. He has been writing poetry and prose since 1975. Lives in Canada. He has written 4 collections of poems, a number of novels, short stories and novels in two languages.In Uzbek and in Russian.His works have been translated into English.Has no titles and awards.

In my love novel "Boomerang" I tried to convey the pain and suffering of my people, which they experienced in the recent past. The novel tells about the beautiful and tragic love of the main cross-eyed literary hero named Sayak, who goes to work in Russia in search of a better life. It tells about his funny, sometimes sad adventures, which do not leave the reader indifferent, do not let him go until the very end, making him laugh and cry. As a result, the Uzbek labour emigrant, that is, the cross-eyed literary hero of the novel Sayak, returns back to his historical homeland like a boomerang. Read and enjoy. We recommend it. Have a nice read to everyone.

With deep respect to everyone, Holder Volcano.


(The novel)

Translated by the author

Chapter 1
The watchman of the vineyard

Sayak is a man about 25 years old, medium height, oblique, skinny build, black-haired, curly, snub-nosed. He lives in the village of Kuiganyar with his young wife named Zebo.
He works as a watchman of a grape orchard and sits all day in a hut on high stilts, as if on a border watchtower, from where the neighborhood is visible at a glance.Sitting in a hut, Sayak drives the birds away with a repeller made from empty iron cans of canned fish and Coca Cola suspended on wires.He shouts at the top of his voice, clapping his hands loudly. When he pulls the wires, the deafening sounds of empty iron cans are heard, scaring away flocks of voracious birds.Sayak is madly fond of watching flocks of birds flying in a cloud over a grape orchard, over cotton fields, creating the noise of a bird blizzard with their wings, abruptly changing their directions, this way and that, like a parachute blown away by the wind.
At night, lighting a kerosene lamp, he cleans the barrels of his double-barreled shotgun with a cleaning rod and wipes it's wooden stock with a rag. Moths silently begin to curl around the burning kerosene stove. The sky above the hut overflows with stars.Then comes Sayak's favorite moments.He enthusiastically watches the moon, which slowly and silently rises over the September cotton fields, over poplar and willow groves, illuminating the neighborhood like a powerful searchlight with its dazzling light.Such silence that you can hear the buzzing of a mosquito swarm, similar to the distant and anguished crying of hired mourners at the magnificent funeral of deceased officials.From afar comes the tired barking of a stray dog. The moonlight twilight will ring with restless crickets. Frogs will sing in the distant marshes and sublunary reeds of the kashkaldak River, making the sound of boiling soup in a cauldron. Under the moon, you can see with the naked eye deserted country roads and even paths, as in the daytime.On the bank of the river in deep ravines overgrown with junipers, foxes live, who love not only to eat chickens, they also love to eat juicy ripe grapes.Under the moon, foxes can be seen even from afar. The fox moves quickly, sniffing the ground, as if simultaneously identifying the smells of things. Sometimes he will stop for a moment, carefully sniffing the air.It is in such trembling moments that Sayak, throwing his gun on his shoulder, carefully takes aim, and shoots. "Dttish! Dttish!" The silence of the night echoes with a rolling echo the roar of a shot, like the sounds of spring thunder in mountain gorges.Frightened birds sleeping on the branches of nearby trees will fly away from fright.On moonless nights, Sayak takes aim at the animals between their eyes, which burn in the dark like a light and pulls the trigger.
The moon, slowly making its journey across the sky, wanders sleepily and for a long time over deserted fields.Sayak, taking off his outer clothes, covers himself with a cotton blanket called "kurpa" and goes to bed, thinking about his past, looking at the countless stars twinkling with diamonds in the boundless heavens and at the moon, which carelessly shines over distant cotton fields. He thinks about his distant and difficult childhood and his father, who abused alcohol, drank without drying out for weeks and months, going on a binge. When he came home drunk, he began to beat Sayak's mother, dragging her around the yard like a sleigh in winter on a snowdrift. Sayak's mom cried, screamed, calling for help from people. Sayak tried to protect her somehow, but he was unable to stop his strong, angry and drunken father. The neighbors were also silent, although they clearly heard the cries for help. Instead of helping, on the contrary, they secretly watched from behind a crack of clay douvals, rejoiced, as they laughed heartily.One day, his father took Sayak's tricycle and headed outside to exchange it for vodka.Oh, how Sayak ran after his father then, begging him not to sell his beloved bike.But his drunk father hit him in the face with his elbow and broke his nose.Blood was oozing from Sayak's broken nose.A year later, Sayak's father died. That is, he was hit by a huge truck as he was crossing the road and he died at the scene.After his father's funeral, his mother fell ill.Despite the autumn cold, Sayak, in order to help his sick mother, decided to work, washing cars that descended from mountain passes and stopped by the road to have a snack and relax in a local teahouse. The cold winds of the snowy peaks blew from the mountain slopes. Sayak was standing on the side of the road, constantly twisting a wet rag like an airplane propeller to somehow attract the attention of rich drivers.Here, one driver stopped his car on the side of the road and Sayak offered him his cheap service.The driver agreed. Little Sayak scooped a bucket of icy water from the ditch and began to work hard.While he cleaned the dirty wheels and washed the windows of the car, his hands turned red in the cold and the joints of his stiff fingers began to ache, which he tried to warm with his breath.He worked tirelessly, thinking about his sick mother and was very happy when the driver gave him money. Sayak, in order to save money, returned home hungry, not allowing himself to eat anything for dinner. Having collected all the money he earned by honest work, he ran home to please his mother.But when he went into the yard, there he saw the neighboring women and one of them, hugging Sayak tightly, sobbed bitterly.
- Oh, poor Sayak, you're all alone now! Your mom is gone! - she said sobbing, stroking his head. Oh how Sayak cried then, oh how he cried, hugging the body of his late mother, shaking her. After the funeral, they wanted to send him to an orphanage where orphaned children were brought up, but Sayak's grandmother drove away the newcomers, waving her cane.
- Leave now, I won't give him to anyone so long as I'm alive! You can only take my grandson over my dead body! - she screamed, crying and making desperate resistance.
Years passed. Sayak has grown up. In those days, he reluctantly attended school, like a mongrel dog which the owner leads to hunt, dragging it behind him. The school for Sayak was like a penal colony, where he felt like a prisoner in a striped robe.
The teachers seemed to him to be evil guards, and the school principal reminded him of the prison governor. Sayak was sitting at a desk made of pine boards, located near the window, which was sometimes open, where he made paper airplanes from a notebook sheet and sent them flying. He was the first to run out of class during recess, especially when lessons were over, feeling like a prisoner released on parole. In summer, on vacation, Sayak grazed a cow from morning to evening in the floodplain of the Kashkaldak River.While his burenka was grazing with other cows in the meadow, he and his friends were swimming in the river, over which pugnacious seagulls flew in flocks, shouting together and noisily, like restless women at the bazaar. With the arrival of thoughtful September, his days again became empty, sad, like autumn itself, like the eyes of a donkey with a sad look.The teachers' questions seemed to him like interrogations under torture in a pre-trial detention center.One day Sayak went to school with a backpack on his shoulders, rustling the fallen leaves of autumn maples, simultaneously planning an escape from school. But what he saw at the beginning of the lesson dramatically changed his plans and he had to postpone his escape for another day.
- So, quiet, fellow students! We have a new student from the city! Meet her, her name is Zebo!Niyazov's her last name!The documents show that she studied perfectly at her school - said the teacher Uvadaguppiev.
The students were silent. Zebo, too. She looked out of the ground at her new classmates with big deer eyes, blushing with embarrassment and playing with the tips of her pigtails.This skinny, black-haired and black-eyed new student with long cow eyelashes turned out to be a very attractive girl. Her scarlet lips, reminiscent of ripe cherries, a thin and delicate neck smooth as ivory, thin and long fingers like musicians simply bewitched Sayak.
- Well, Niyazova, sit down at the desk next to the student Satybaldiev. His name is Sayak.He's an underachieving student.So you will help him, - said the teacher Uvadaguppiev, pointing out to the new student the desk where Sayak was sitting, as if hypnotized.
Zebo sat down at her desk.The teacher Uvadaguppiev turned to Sayak.
- Why are you staring at me, schoolboy Satybaldiev?! Are you dissatisfied with something?! You, this, don't even think of offending her!Otherwise, I will personally write a complaint against you to the district policeman comrade Dyryldaev, and he will send you to a children's colony?! - he said.
- I understand, Comrade Uvadaguppiev, I understand... A little like the police, a children's colony... Yes, I'm not looking at you, but at her, that is, at the new student. And what should I do if I have such oblique eyes?! - Sayak said.
Hearing this, the students laughed in unison. Zebo blushed even more.
The teacher Uvadaguppiev laughed like Aladdin, looking at the ceiling. He laughed for a long time, bursting with laughter.Then, barely suppressing his laughter and wiping his tears with his checkered, leaky handkerchief, he said:
- Well, sit down, comrade schoolboy Satybaldiev.
Sayak sat down, thinking about how good it was that he was oblique.Now no one will suspect when he looks at this beautiful Zebo girl. The naive teacher Uvadaguppiev will also think that Sayak is looking at the blackboard...
With such thoughts, Sayak lay for a long time in a hut, looking like a watchtower of penal colonies, looking at the moon and did not even notice how he fell asleep.





Holder Volcano

Member of the Uzbek Union of Writers

Holder Volcano was born in 1959 in Uzbekistan. He graduated from Tashkent State University. He has been writing poetry and prose since 1975. He lives in Canada. He has written 4 collections of poems, a number of novels, short novels,and stories in two languages, in Uzbek and Russian.His works have been translated into English.He has no titles or awards.

(The short novel)

Translated by the author.

Any commercial use of the novel "Dalakazan" by Holder Volcano is prohibited without the prior written consent of the author.

Chapter 1
Bank robbery in broad daylight

A gang of masked robbers, armed to the teeth, suddenly burst into the Bank with wild cries, threatening to shoot anyone like a partridge who dares to show the slightest disobedience or resistance. They ordered all Bank employees to lie down on the floor and not move.
- Anyone who tries to raise his head, immediately receive a bullet in the forehead! - one of them shouted.
One of the employees of the Bank, of about forty, tall, skinny build, with a nose like the beak of an eagle named Dalakazan, the bandits raised, pointing at him nervously, with trembling hands, the barrel of the machine gun:
-Come on, bastard! You will help us commit the robbery of the century!Come on, open the safe and put the money in those bags! If you try to give signals to the cops, pressing the alarm button, then you, instantly turn into a corpse! - shouted another thug, as he kicked Dalakazan's butt hard.
-Okay!Okay! I'll do anything you say!Just please don't kill me!I have a family and young children! -begged them Dalakazan. He obediently walked towards the cash register, raising his thin arms high, like a young soldier in a hot spot of the planet who had just been captured.But he, turning suddenly back, sharp movements knocked the bandit to the floor and quickly took his Kalashnikov machine gun. Then he pulled the trigger of the machine to neutralize the gang of robbers and save the staff, but the shot was not followed.There was a loud scream! - Stop! Okay, abort! The exercise went well!Thanks to all the participants of the unplanned exercise and we apologize for the fact that we conducted a training alarm without warning a group of employees of our Bank! It was a training event!Training! We must learn to behave correctly in such difficult situations!Although Mr. Dalakazan OSA Ibn Kosa left in danger the lives of other employees of our Bank and hostages, but he still managed to show the heroic qualities of a brave man!We thank him for his bravery! the Bank's head of security shouted.
-Huh! Well, you have a drill! I almost killed those innocent guys!Thank God, that all go off!- said Dalakazan, helplessly squatting on the floor and a sigh of relief.
The fake robbers laughed in unison, looking at the ceiling, removing the masks from the faces.
Then Dalakazan was given a vacation and a trip to Yalta resort to rest together with his family on the French Riviera of the Black sea, for the shown heroism during teaching.
Yes, to work in a Bank, all the same, how to sit over the awakened Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull , which is about to explode. Dalakazan, risking his life working in this dangerous institution, as a commercial Bank, for his faithful and charming wife Sadoqat sweetheart and loved his daughters.His wife is actively engaged in the education of daughters.She and her husband Dalakazan live together, as they say, soul to soul. Dalakazan sometimes proudly thinks, looking out the window of his office that he's the luckiest man in the world.Beautiful, plump, young, Loving wife, daughter, luxurious house, car, a prestigious job.As if that wasn't enough, the Bank Manager where he works is his loyal friend.This means that he has a real chance to climb the career ladder. Well, what else does a person need to feel like the happiest person on the planet? Such thoughts Dalakazan decided today to have dinner at home with his wife, at the family table, in a romantic atmosphere, by candlelight and to please his wife and daughters, telling them about the vacation and a free ticket to the resort "Yalta". Dalakazan went home in his car "Honda civic" Japanese production.He drove along the road, turning the wheel with one hand, the elbow of the other hand sticking out of the car window, whistling and singing some song about love.Finally he arrived and left his car on the side of the street, tiptoed into the house, so as not to accidentally Wake up his incomparable wife, who sleeps on the Italian chic double bed, breathing perfume. - Now in the bedroom my favorite Princess will wake up and be happy like a little saw me and heard about the holiday, about the free ticket, thrown my arms, cuddle me, even cry with joy thought Dalakazan.But then he froze, hearing the tread of footsteps and a mysterious whisper.He stood frozen, not knowing what to do and carefully climbed the stairs to the second floor. When he entered the bedroom, Sadokat was lying on a luxurious bed, like a Princess and slept sweet infant sleep in a delicate silk robe. "Thank God my wife is all right.I thought I heard something.I'm tired.Well, nothing, now we have a ticket to the resort and I will rest properly on the shore of the sea, together with my family, healing my shattered nerves, lying on a hammock, looking at the scarlet sunsets, listening to the rustling waves and the sad cry of seagulls - he continued to think. Then he saw his wife's scattered clothes and picked them up to hang on the hangers.Then he opened the closet and stiff with shock for a moment, as bewitched. In the closet sat naked his best friend - the Bank Manager, clutching to his chest his clothes, which he did not have time to wear.A friend of his who swore all the time in loyalty, declaring that he was ready to die for Dalakazan, if required.He, trembling with fear, began to speak:
-Dalakazan, my friend, I am not guilty!Trust me!I Swear It! This wrong Sadoqat is your wife to blame! She confused me like Satan, assuring me that we would make it... well, that... sin... Please, for the sake of our old friendship, don't kill me! Have mercy, Dalakazan, I have small children!Do you want me to make you my Deputy tomorrow? Well, think about it, why do you have such a slut? Find another.I'll give you the money, "- he said, trembling with fear.
Dalakazan turned toward the bedroom bed and saw Sadoqat, which was preparing to run.But she didn't succeed.Dalakazan caught her by the hair.
-Oh, you bitch! Horrible creature! I thought you were the most loyal, the perfect woman on the planet, believed in you, and you bitch made a cuckold of me! It's good that there were no daughters here!God, how will my poor daughters live now?!You disgraced the whole family! How dare you cheat on me, and this rascal, who believed all these years and believed the reptile to its loyal and faithful friend!You day and night swore that you loved me and can't live without me in this world any day! I loved you! What a puzzle!Oh, what skin!-shouted angry Dalakazan.
- Let me go, you bastard!What kind of love are you talking about?! There is no love in this world!Why are you not heard the saying, such as "Why to love and to suffer, when all roads lead to bed."Oh, you naive and stupid haryp, peasant! Believe my words!I've never loved you, and don't get your hopes up!This is firstly, and secondly you have no right to talk about my daughters! Because they're not from you! -Sadokat said.
After these words Dalakazan instead of trying to strangle his unfaithful wife and to kill, is why it was released, saying: - Everything from now on, you're not my wife, bitch! Cumtalak! The terrible word "cumtalak" by Sharia law means the final divorce spouse before Almighty God.
After Sadoqat and her lover ran out of the room, Dalakazan laughed as genie from a magic lamp .Then he began to shout in a loud voice: -Jit -Jit- Jittalalu -lalu la! Jit -Jit- Jittalalu -lalu la! A few hours later came a polite team of doctors in white coats and taken away Dalakazan a shirt with overly long sleeves that are tightly twisted.On the way slightly recovering, Dalakazan asked the doctors about where he is being taken.The doctor bespectacled man with a velvet voice, explained.
-Calm down, my dear, you cannot worry.You have tired nerves and you need to relax in our cozy resort.We'll take care of you there, "- he said.
Hearing this, Dalagazan again began to shout:
-Jit -Jit- Jittalalu -lalu la! Jit -Jit- Jittalalu -lalu la!

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Таниқли ёзувчи ва шоир Ҳалим Карим ижоди ҳақида қисқача сўз.


Яхши асарни ўқишга тушиши биланоқ, ўқувчи, то асар поёнига етмагунича ўзини тўхтата олмайди.Тиниқ туйғуларга бой шеърлари, юксак дид билан ёзилган экзентенциал модерн ҳикоялари билан адабиёт иҳлосмандларининг меҳрини қозонган, шеъриятда ҳам, прозада ҳам ўз овози ва созига эга истеъдодли шоир ва таниқли ёзувчи Ҳалим Каримнинг ҳикоялари ҳам ўшандай, ўз ўқувчисини (яхши маънода)куйловчи қумлардай ютиб, ўз домига тортиб кетадиган асарлар сирасидан. Ҳикояларни ўқир экансиз, ўзингиз сезмаган ҳолатда ҳикоя қаҳрамонлари билан бирга яшай бошлайсиз. Воқеалар ҳаётий, образлар эса, тирикдай. Айниқса ҳикояларда бадиий қаҳрамонлар руҳий оламига оид психоаналитика - руҳий таҳлил кучли.Сўз сеҳри бор у ҳикояларда. Бугун шоир ва ёзувчи дўстимиз Ҳалим Каримнинг яна бир ҳикоясини каминанинг таржимаси орқали, қуйида, рус ва инглиз тилларида ўқишингиз мумкин.Асарни ўқиб, таҳайюл ва таҳайюр уммонига шўнғимоқчи бўлсангиз, мазкур ҳикояни охиригача узуликсиз ўқишни тавсия этамиз.


Холдор Вулқон.


Ҳалим Карим

Юлдузлар чиқмаган кеча


“Бошлиқ – бошлиқда, йўқ деёлмади. Йўқ деб бўлармиди! Ўзиям эриб кетди-да. Шундай катта одамнинг ўзи “Нозимжон ука, сизга ишонаман”, деса, бунинг устига елкасига қоқиб қўйса-ю янаям эримасинми. Мана энди уч кундан бери қоғозга кўмилиб ўтирибди. Узоғи билан яна икки кунда тугатиши керак.  Акром Муродович тайёр материалларни текшириб чиққач, Тошкентга жўнайди. Нақ министрнинг ўзига ҳисоб беради-я! Шундай ишни унга ишониб топширди. Ихлоси борда, бўлмаса, қачон қарасанг бошлиқнинг кетидан “лўккиллаб” юрадиганлар озмиди. Ҳаммаси ҳам яхши кўринсам дейди. Мана Нозимжоннинг ўзи ҳам қанчалик иззатталаб бўлишига қарамай бошлиқларни кўрди дегунча ипакдай мулойим бўлиб қолади. Қайси бири нимаики иш буюрса ғурури эзилганини ҳам,  малол келганини ҳам сездирмай бажаради. Пойтахтда қийинчиликлар билан ўқиб, жангари муҳитда таълим ва тарбия олган учун бўлса керак, Нозимжон Бошқармага илк бор ишга келган кунлари бу ердаги ҳодимларнинг ҳушомадгўйлиги, ўзидан катталарга бутунлай тобелиги унга ёқмаган, ҳатто ғазабини келтирган эди. Кейинчалик эса баъзан билиб, баъзан билмай ўзи ҳам улар қаторидан жой олди. Аввалига қийналиб, эзилиб юрди. Лекин ўксиган ғурурининг кифтига қоқишдан бўлак илож тополмади. Мана энди кўникиб ҳам кетди. Тўғрида, бошлиғингни кўрганда хоҳласанг-хоҳламасанг ишшайиб салом бермай, ёки айтган ишини кўнгилдагидан зиёда қилиб бажармай кўрчи, ёқармикансан?! Қобилиятинг ҳам, билиминг ҳам арзимаган нарса бўлиб, ҳатто дипломнинг икки пуллик қадри қолмаган ҳозирги замонда каттароқ таниш-билишинг ёки оғирроқ чўнтагинг бўлмаса қийин экан. Акс ҳолда ҳаммаси бир-биридан муҳим сонсиз идораларнинг остонасига бошингни уриб, бири биридан улуғ бошлиқларнинг хизматига югурдак бўлиб ўтиб кетасан экан”.
Минг машаққат билан бошқармага ишга жойлашган, тўрт-беш йилдан бери бирорта бошлиқнинг назарига тушиб дурустроқ лавозимга кўтарилиш орзусида юрган Нозимжон тўртинчи қаватнинг бир чеккасидаги торгина хонада ўтириб тартибсиз уюлган қоғозларга тикилганича хаёлга чўмган эди.
Касби бўйича алоқаси йўқ одамга мутлақо тушунарсиз кўрсаткичлар туширилган рақамлар билан тўла бўлса ҳам аллақандай файзсиз кўринадиган бу хонада уч кишига мўлжалланган стол-стул бўлиб, пойгакдагисини Нозимжон эгаллаган эди. Якка-ю ягона дераза токчасида сарғайган газета парчасига ўралган гултувак бўлиб, унда ҳали қуришга улгурмаган, номи ҳам нотайин ўсимлик тумшайган хонани яна ҳам мунғайтириб турар, ҳеч қандай рамкасиз деворга қоқилган Дарвиннинг каттакон сурати бу диққинафас хонада уззукун ўтирадиган одамларнинг “юксак диди” ва ҳафсаласидан дарак бериб турар эди. Фақатгина пойгакдаги столга ёнбош деворга кнопка билан қадалган “Барселона” футболчиларининг журналдан қирқиб олинган расми хонага ҳартугул илиқлик бағишлаган.
Шу хонанинг пешонасига битган эски, лекин пухта ишлайдиган девор соат сукунатни “ағдар-тўнтар” қилиб кеч соат саккизга занг урди. Нозимжон қўлидаги соатининг тўғрилигини беихтиёр текшириб, яна ниманидир ёзмоқчи бўлиб турган эди қорни очиққанини маълум қилаётгандай ичаклари «қулдираб” овоз берди. Овқатланиш ёдига тушиб, ютиниб қўйди. Ўрнидан туриб узоқ керишди. Дераза олдига келиб ташқарига қаради. Вақт кеч бўлиб, борлиқ аллақачон қоронғиллик қўйнига сингган, шаҳар чироқлари зулмат бағрида хира порлар, “лип”-“лип” ўтаётган машина чироқларининг нури институтнинг бетон йўлкаларини бир зум ёритиб ғойиб бўларди. Ҳайбатли бинода ўзидан бошқа ҳеч ким йўқлигини эндигина ҳис қилган Нозимжоннинг юраги уюшди. Шоша-пиша столининг устини йиғиштирган бўлди. Галстугининг ҳозир яна мода бўлган ингичка тугунини тортиб, костюмини кийди. Зинапоялардан деярли югуриб пастга тушди. Йўлакдаги тўшакча солинган диванда бир оёғини Афғонистонга кўмиб келган Мамасоли тоға ёғоч оёғини курси устига узатиб, чинни косада ош еб ўтирар эди. У бу қадар кеч қолиб кетган ҳодимни кўриб аввалига ҳайрон бўлди, баъзида айрим ходимларнинг алламаҳалгача ишлаб ўтиришларига кўникиб кетганлиги учун кейин юзи ёришиб  – ия, ҳа домла бола, кеч қолиб кетибсиз…,- деб сўрашди. Нозимжон чолга бепарвогина қараб, -ҳа, ишлар кўпайиб кетган экан, - деб мужмалланиб қўя қолди. Суҳбатдошга зориқиб ўтирган Мамасоли тоғанинг  “ э э…, домла бола, бу дунёда иш тугармиди, борасизда ўша томи қийшиқ уйингизга, келинг яхшиси бир отамлашайлик”, -деб ошга қисташига қарамай, хонасининг калитини қоровулнинг  столига қўйиб эшикка қараб юрди. Баланд ойнаванд эшикни “ғийқ” эткизиб очаркан тоғанинг ўзича ғудранган овози эшитилди: “Тавба, кўнгил учун бир ошам олиб қўйишни ҳам биламайди бу ёшлар. Ҳаа… етказганингга шукур…”
Эрта баҳорнинг кечки салқин ҳавоси Нозимжоннинг димоғига урилиб, диққинафас бўлиб кетган юрагини ёзгандай бўлди. Чўнтагини ковлаб, сигарет туташтирди. Эзилиб кетган “PALL MALL ” қутисини ғижимлаб, бир чеккага улоқтирди-да, автобус  бекатига қараб тез-тез юриб кетди.
Кўчада одам сийрак, онда-сонда одимини тезлаб кетаётган йўловчи учрайди. Бугун тун пардасини қалин ёйган кўринади, баланд симёғочдаги чироқлар кўча юзини зўр-базўр ёритади. Кўкда ой ҳам, юлдузлар ҳам кўринмайди. Шаҳар кўчаларининг зим-зиёлиги Нозимжонга ғайритабиий кўринди. Беихтиёр “уфф” тортганча қоп-қора осмонга қаради.
“Шундай катта осмонда, наҳотки битта ҳам “милт” этган юлдуз кўринмаса?! Қизиқ бўлар экан. Аввал сира эътибор бермагандайман. Юлдузсиз осмон ҳам бўлар экан-да. Мана, ҳозир тепамда осмон бутунлай йўққа ўхшайди. Аслида ҳам мавҳум хаёлотдай ёйилган сўнгсиз бу зулматнинг ниҳояси бормикин. Мана шу қора булутлар ортида ой, қуёш… яна минг-минг юлдузлар... Кейинчи… кейин… йўқ, хаёлнинг қуввати етмайди… бўшлиқ… бўшлиқ… бўшлиқ”. Йигит ва қизнинг  шармсиз кулгуси Нозимжоннинг хаёлини бўлди. Қўлларини бир-бирининг белидан ўтказиб олган икки шарпа унга тескари қараб кетишди. Хотини ва унинг “Каерларда юрибсиз?”, деб берадиган дашномини эслади. Юраги сиқилиб ҳўрсинди. “Тўйимизга ҳам беш йил бўлиб қолибди. Вақт ҳам орқа-олдига қарамай ўтаверар экан. Баъзан кунлар, ойлар узоқ чўзилганга ўхшайди-ю бундай ўйлаб қарасанг, ўтиб кетган воқеалар кечагини бўлгандай кўринади. Бутун ҳаётинг бир лаҳзада ўтганга  ўхшайди.
Университетнинг охирги курсида ўқиб юрган кезлари ота-онаси “Ўртоқларингдан қолиб кетма”,- деб тўйдан гап очишди. Қўшни маҳаллалик кўҳликкина Манзурани кўрсатишганида ишқ-муҳаббатда омади юришмаган Нозимжон қаршилик қилмади. Манзура эсликкина экан. У кутгандан кўра ҳам тотув яшашди. Фақат ота-онасининг бешта емакхўри аввал биттага, кейин иккитага кўпайди. Аста-секин тирикчилик юки, фақат бир марта бериладиган ҳаётда тўкин-сочин яшаш истаги турмуш ташвишлари номи билан унинг ҳам елкаларини эза бошлади.
Хотинига ҳам қийин бўлди. “Ишга кириб олсангиз турмушимиз яхши бўлиб кетади. Сиз тез кўтарилиб кетасиз. Машина оламиз. Мен ҳам фалончининг хотиниман, деб мақтаниб юраман”,- деб кўп гапирар эди. Мана энди гапирмай ҳам қўйди. Дурустроқ бирор нарса совға қилиш уёқда турсин, йилда бир марта у ёқ - бу ёққа ҳам олиб  бормайди. “Ана-мана” деб орқага суради. Ҳайрият, хотини ёмон эмас. Баъзан эрини тергаб турса ҳам турмушидан нолийвермайди. Билади, эрининг иши юришмаётганини, қилаётган ишидан кўнгли тўлмаётганини билади. Шунинг учун ҳам боласи кичик бўлишига қарамасдан ишга кириб кетди. Ота-онасичи?! Улар ҳам ўғлимиз ўқишни битириб келса ёнимизга кириб қолади, деб ўйлашарди. Уларнинг оғирини енгил қилиш қаёқда, ҳали ҳам дадаси баъзан сездирмай ўғлининг чўнтагига пул солиб қўяди. “Боре” деб, шу диққинафас, каммаош ишини ташлаб мактабда ўқитувчилик қилса ҳам бўлади-ю майда болачаларнинг ичида ўралашиб юришни ўзига эп кўрмайди. Савдогарлик эса қўлидан келмаслиги аниқ. Ҳамма ўзини савдога урган, “тирикчиликнинг уяти йўқ” деган гаплар тез-тез айтиладиган бўлиб қолган ҳозирги пайтда олиб-сотарлик қилишдан уялади. Ёки ўзининг ношудлигини бир замонлардан қолган эндиликда эса йўқолиб бораётган ана шу ҳиссиёт билан яширгандай бўлади. Иложсизликдан боши қотган дам эса синифдош ўртоқлари ишлаётган комбинатга ишга кириб кетсаммикан, деб ўйлаб ҳам қолади. Ахир, ўртоқлари туппа-тузук ишлаб юришибди-ку. Ишдан ҳам, турмушдан ҳам нолишмайди. Қора иш бўлса ҳам, қайтанга бировдан ҳайиқмасдан, кимларгадир юкинмасдан эркин юрасан. Ойлиги ҳам яхши… бундай деса, таниш-билишлари, қўни-қўшни, қариндош-уруғлари “ана, шунча йил ўқиб нима бўлди” деб кулишмайдими. Ҳее… ёшинг улғайган сари ташвишинг ҳам кўпаяверар экан. Беташвиш ва беғалва болалик йилллари, яхши туш каби тез ўтиб кетган студентлик даври қани энди… одам ўз йўлини топиб, яхши яшаб кетиши ўз-ўзидан бўлмас экан. Университетда ўқиб юрган пайтларида доим баҳмал дўппи кийиб, алмисоҳдан қолган каттакон портфель кўтариб юрадиган, ёши саксонга яқинлашган бир профессор бўларди. Шўроларнинг қурбони бўлишига сал қолаёзган, ўзининг айтишига қараганда “ҳаётнинг катта қозонида кўп қайнаган” болалардай содда ва оқкўнггил бу одам талабаларига кўп насихат қилар, шунинг учун ҳам кўпчилик уни “эзма чол” деб хуш кўрмас эди.
– Манга қараларинг, ўвв..., -дерди домла, - санлар бу туришингдан дарахтнинг баргида юрганга ўхшайсанлар. Билиб қўйларинг, ўқишни битириб боришларингга ҳеч ким алоҳида кабинет-у креслони тайёрлаб қўймайди. Умид ҳам қилмаларинг. Ҳамма ҳам амалдор, олим бўлавермайди, шарт ҳам эмас. Ўҳҳўў… ҳали катта қозонда кўп қайнайсанлар. Ҳаётда ҳамма нарса бўлиши мумкин. Бунга доим тайёр туриш керак. Ҳаёт ҳамиша ҳаётлигини қилади. У шафқат нималигини билмайди. Фақат бир эзгу тилакни юракларингга жойлаб олларинг. Ана шундагина хоҳ олим бўл, хоҳ амалдор бўл, хоҳ оддий фуқаро… ҳаётинг мазмунли бўлади. Элга хизмат қилларинг! Эл кўтараётган юкнинг бир четига елкангни қўя ол! Шундай деб кўнглингга тугиб қўй, акс ҳолда топган давлатинг ҳам, орттирган мартабанг ҳам санга таскин бермайди”.
... Эҳ, раҳмат қилгур домла, роса билиб айтган эканку! Ҳаёт деганлари шу эканда… ахир Нозимжоннинг ўзи эмасмиди яқин-яқингача телба хаёллар билан маст бўлиб, саробдек орзуларга шошилиб интилган… Тошкентдай шаҳри азимда дорулфунунни тугаллаб келган мендай зукко йигитни хоҳлаган жойимда бажонидил ишга олишади… Тез орада кўтарилиб кетаман… Алоҳида кабинетим, машинам бўлади… Ҳамма мени ҳурмат қилади… Ҳамма менга ҳавас қилади… Ҳамма мендан ҳайиқади… Ҳа, у жуда кўп нарсаларни хаёл қилар эди. Хаёл қилавериб ўзининг шу хаёллари гирдобига тушиб қолганини сезмай ҳам қолибди. Мундоқ ўйлаб қараса, шунча хаёллар, орзулар қилибди-ю лекин бирон марта қилаётган ишим, юриш-туришим атрофдаги одамларга, домла раҳматли айтмоқчи эл-юртга, ялтироқ гап бўлса ҳам Ватанга бирон нафи тегармикан, деб сира ўйламабди. Нозимжон ногаҳон ўзининг китобийроқ фикр юритаётганига ҳайрон қолди.  Шунда Тошкентдаги кекса домланинг Ватан сўзини тез-тез тилга олишини эслаб ҳайратланди. Нимагадир бир оёғи йўқ Мамасоли тоға кўз олдига келди. Ўзининг тўрт-беш йил олдинги кайфиятини ҳозирги аҳволига солиштириб ичидан қашшоқлашиб бораётганини ҳис қилди. Ҳис қилди-ю тирноқларигача иссиқлик югурди. Ўзини оқлайдиган, таскин берадиган сабаблар излаб кўрди. Арзигулик баҳона тополмади. Тугаб боратган сигарет тутунини аччиқ ичига тортди...
Йигит бир дам ишлари юришиб кетмаётганининг сабабини англагандай бўлди. Ҳаётдан кўнгли тўлмайдиган бўлиб қолганини ҳис қилди. Лекин кўнгли бундай кўникмаган ўйлардан толиқди ва чуқур бир ҳўрсиниш ҳом хаёлларининг хулосаси бўлган, бу қимтилган лаблар кўп бор пичирлаган эски гапни унинг оғзидан юлиб олди: – Қани энди каттароқ ишга кўтарилиб кетса, зап иш бўларди-да…
Кечки совуқ таъсир қилди шекилли, Нозимжоннинг эти жунжикди. Автобус келмаяптимикан деб орқасига қаради. Чаккасидаги кичкина яшил чироғини ёқиб олган такси тезлигини камайтириб, унинг ёнидан ўта бошлади. У тескари қаради. Такси ҳайдовчиси орқасига аланглаб, шошиб кетаётган йўловчининг қурумсоқлигини билди шекилли жаҳл билан газни босди... Бир вақт ёнгинасидан яшил “Isuzi” ғиззиллаганича ўтиб кетдида, нарироқдаги кимсасиз бекатга бориб тўхтади. Оёқлар беихтиёр автобус кетидан чопдилар. У ҳансираганча орқа эшикдан кўтарилди. Машина салонида беш-олтита йўловчи ўтирар, негадир уларнинг ҳаммаси Нозимжонга тикилиб тургандай эди. У ўзини ноқулай сезиб ўртароқдаги бўш жойга бориб ўтирди. Тез югурганидан ҳали ҳам юраги гурсиллаб уриб тургани учун икки марта чуқур-чуқур нафас олди. Автобус ойнасидаги ўзининг хира аксига тикилиб яна армон тўла хаёлларига берилди. Ишда узоқ қолиб кетганидан, бировларнинг ҳам ишини ўзи бажараётганидан оғриниб, оч қорнига тасалли бераётган бир пайтда нарсанинг бехосдан пастга тушганини билдириб, “тап” этган товуш келди. Нозимжон беихтиёр овозга ўгирилди. Упа-эликка саҳийлиги билиниб турган, тор ва калта қизил юбка кийган ранги зоҳил олифта қиз негадир унга аччиқ билан қараб турарди. Нозимжон бир зум ҳеч нарсани тушунмай дам қизга, дам қизнинг полга тушиб оғзи очилиб қолган сумкачасига қаради. Қиз Нозимжонни ҳайрон қолдириб – Олиб бермайсизми – деди жаҳл билан. Нозимжон беихтиёр сумкача томон энгашаётиб қизнинг гапириш оҳангидан энсаси қотди ва дабдурустдан “Ўзингиз олинг!”, – деди-ю тескари қаради. Оқ юзлар бир зум қизарди. Юлинган ингичка қошлар алланечук чимирилди. Қип-қизил лаблар нимадир деб ғудранди. Қиз юзини буриштирганча калта ва тор юбканинг шарофатидан заҳматланиб сумкачасига дўнқайди.   
Нозимжон ўзининг қилмишидан энди ҳижолат бўла бошлаган эдики, – Олиб берсанг ўласанми, ўвв... сўтак! – деган овоз эшитилди... Муқаррар жанжални кўз олдига келтирган Нозимжоннинг миясига нина санчилгандай бўлди.
Автобуснинг ўнг биқинидаги жойда сочининг ўртасидан ёрма очиб, ингичка сариқ мўйловини пастки лабигача тушириб қўйган, қора чарм курткали алп қомат йигит унга тикилиб турарди. Нозимжон дастлаб унинг оғзига кириб кетгудай бўлиб турган мўйловига эътибор берди. Негадир хаёлидан “Ғаши келмасмикан” деган фикр ўтди. Бор аламини ичига ютиб:
– Ўзингиз олиб бера қолинг бўлмаса, - деди-ю қўрқоқлик қилаётганини тушуниб қолди. Ичида аввал ўзини сўкди, кейин дабдурустдан деди:
– Ўзингсан сўтак!
Йигитнинг олайган кўзлари бир зумда қаҳрли тус олди. Кўз очиб юмгунча ўрнидан туриб, бир қўли билан Нозимжоннинг галстуги аралаш бўйнидан олди:
– “Ўвв… тилингни узиб оламан билдингми?! Қиз болага шунақа “обрашшасса” қиласанми, сўтак… манови бўйинтуриғинг билан манави жойга осиб қўяйми ҳозир?!” – деб автобуснинг тик турган йўловчилар ушлаб кетадиган тутқичига ишора қилди. Нозимжон иккала қўли билан йигитнинг билагидан ушлаб ўзини ажратмоқчи бўлар, ранги оқариб: – “Оғзингга қараб гапир.. Қўйвор деяпман”, – дея уни беҳуда силкитмоққа уринарди. Автобусдаги йўловчилар ҳам анча жонланиб қолишди. Бири “Ҳой, кап-катта йигитлар уялмайсизларми, қўйинглар-е”, – деса, яна бири “Муштлашсанглар машинадан тушиб муштлашинглар” дерди.
Шу пайт ҳайдовчига яқинроқ жойда ўтирган сочини баланд турмаклаган аёл ўрнидан туриб уларга яқинлашди. Курткали йигитнинг енгидан аста тортиб, - Қани ука, қўйиб юборингчи,- деди хотиржамлик билан.
Йигит аёлга ўқрайиб бошдан оёқ қараб чиқди. Аёл эса бошини тасдиқ маъносида қимирлатиб, яна ўша босиқлик билан такрорлади:
– Қўйиб юборинг! Нега мошхўрдага қатиқ бўласиз… Олиб берадими, йўқми, бу ўзининг иши. Сиз нима қиласиз аралашиб...
Аввалига йигитнинг авзойи ўзгарди. Лабларини ғалати қилиб қимтиган эди пастки лабигача тушган мўйлови ростдан ҳам оғзига кириб кетгандай бўлди. Чамаси ўзининг “авра-астарли” сўкишларидан бир-иккитасини тахламоқчи ҳам бўлди. Лекин унга тикилиб турган нигоҳларнинг ўта хотиржамлиги таъсир қилди шекилли истамайгина қўлини бўшатди:
- Ҳев опа, нега бу сўтакни тарапини оласиз? Ўлиб қоладими олиб берса?! Сиз ҳам онасиз, опа, тўғрими?! Қиз болага ҳам шунақа обрашшасса қиладими?! – деди ва зўр гап айтдимми, дегандай атрофдагиларга қараб қўйди. Аёл бу сўзамол йигитнинг сўзларига муносиб жавоб тополмадими, ёки унинг мутлақо қовушмаган гапларини яхши тушунолмадими, ҳар ҳолда унга бошқа гап қайтармади. Аёл бошини сарак-сарак қилганча Нозимжоннинг ёнига ўтириб олди. Нозимжон титраётган қўллари билан ёқаларини тузатаркан ёнида ўтирган ҳалоскорига миннатдор кўзлари билан қараб қўйди.
Ҳайдовчи ҳеч нарса бўлмагандай машинани елдириб борар, текин томоша кўриб бироз ҳордиқ чиқарган йўловчилар эса унинг шошқалоқлигидан ичларида хурсанд бўлиб, бугун жуда файзсиз кўринаётган шаҳар кўчаларига автобус ойнасидан бемаъно тикилиб ўтиришарди.
Автобус навбатдаги бекатга яқинлашганда жанжалнинг сабабчиси бўлган бояги қиз ўрнидан туриб, тушишга ҳозирланди. Чарм курткали йигит ҳам ўрнидан турди. Кейин бир ҳалиги аёлга, бир Нозимжонга тикилиб:
– “Элга хизмат – олий ҳиммат” билдингми?!” – деди тўсатдан ва яна “қойил қилдимми?!”,  дегандай атрофга аланглади. Нозимжон, “Битта эл сенми”, деб жавобга оғиз жуфтлаган ҳам эдики, автобус эшиклари “вишшиллаб” очилди. Қиз автобусдан тушди. Йигит эса ўқрайганча – “Ҳе, сени ўша… сўтак!” – деди-ю бекатга сакради. Машина бир тебраниб олдинга интилди...
Автобусдан тушган Нозимжон чекмоқчи бўлиб чўнтагини ковлади. Сигарети қолмагани ёдига тушиб сўкинди. Чуқур хўрсиниб уйи томон юриб кетди. Унинг кайфияти бузилган, бояги гапга чечан олифтани боплаб башарасига туширолмагани алам қилиб ўзини ўзи дам алдаб, дам овутиб борар эди. “Вой аблаҳ-ей, ўрнимдан туриб сумкани олиб берармишман-а!... Ҳозир бўлсайди афтига шундай ўхшатиб туширардимки… Вақти келса ўша қизни кўчадаёқ зўрлашдан тоймайдиган бир ярамас қизга ён босиб, ўзини кўрсатмоқчи бўлганига ўлайми?! Ўзини донишманд билиб айтган гапини қаранг, “Онасиз”... эмиш… Яна нима деди, ҳа, “Элга хизмат – олий ҳиммат”, ҳе, ўргилдим сендан...”.
Зулмат қоплаган қора осмонда бугун кўринмаётган юлдузларни масхара қилаётгандай ернинг юлдузлари – шаҳарнинг сонсиз чироқлари порлайди. Сийраклашиб қолган машиналар илк баҳорнинг салқин шабадасини бир зумга тезлатиб “ғиззиллаб” ўтиб боради. Онда-сонда одимини тезлатган йўловчи учрайди. Аллақайси уйнинг очиқ қолган деразасидан “Ахборот”нинг тугаганини билдириб таниш оҳанг янграйди… Йўлнинг бир четида муштумини маҳкам қисиб кетаётган йўловчининг ғудранган товуши эштилади: - “Элга хизмат – олий ҳиммат” эмиш, тавба… “Элга хизмат – олий ҳиммат”, ҳмм… “Элга хизмат…

2019 йил.Андижон.

Халим Карим
Беззвёздная ночь

Начальник есть начальник. Подумайте сами, как можно вообще на радоваться, когда такой большой начальник, как Акрам Муродович говорит ему, мол Нозимжон, я вам доверяю? От таких слов он просто тает, как снеговик весной. Ну как не таять, когда начальник положит свою руку и по -отцовски похлопает его по плечу? Теперь вот, три дня уже он сидить, копаясь в бумажках. За три дня Нозимжон должен закончить эту работу. Начальник Акром Муродович, сразу после того, как проверит все эти документы, поедет в Ташкент, чтобы отчитываться перед самим министром! Вот какую сверхответственную работу Акром Муродович доверил Нозимжону! Эвон сколько работников ходять за ним, как тень, в надежде завоевать его доверие. Но он, выбрал именно его, Нозимжона, когда все хотят, мечтают  как -то понравиться Акраму Муродовичу.Нозимжон тоже становится гладкий как шелк перед ним. Он готов выполнить любую работу, которая поручит он.
Выполнит, не смотря на унижение, на усталость. В первые дни, когда только пристроился на работу, Нозимжону не понравилось подхалимство сотрудников по отношению к начальству, даже розозлил его такое поведение работников.Теперь вот, сам того не замечая, он тоже стал таким же подхалимом, как они. Поначалу ему было трудно, но потом Нозимжон начал тихо и спокойно стал привыкать как -то к этому. А что прикажете делать? Как говорится: "С волками жить- по волчьи выть! Попробуй не поздороваться с вежливой и мягкой улыбкой на устах с начальником, когда встретишь его в коридоре или еще где нибудь. Эх, в наши дни, особенно когда потеряло свое значение человеческий талант, знание, даже диплом, трудно стало жить людям с пустыми карманами и без влиятельными связами. Нозимжон, с огромным трудом устроился на работу, в надежде поднятся в верх по служебной леснице.Но увы, пока это ему не удается никак. Такими мыслями он сидел в офисе, задумчиво глядя на кучу документов.Он неочень хоршо разбирается в этих документах, где различные термины и цифры, которые не понятно ему.
Рабочий стол Нозимжона находится у входной двери на вид скромного офиса.В этом кабинете с единственным маленьким окном, кроме Нозимжона в этом кабинете работают еще трое сотрудников управлении.На подоконнике засыхает полуувядший цветок, кой никто не поливает. Наоборот, в глинянному горшку бросают окурки сигарет. На плохо покрашенной стене крыво висит портрет Чарльза Дарвина, демонстрируя "эстетический вкус" сидящих сотрудников в этом офисе.Над столом Нозимжона на стене был прикреплен кнопками фотомонтаж с изображением играков футбольного клуба "Барселона", вырезанные из глянцевых журналов.Наконец, часы на стене пробили восемь вечера.Нозимжон сверив свои часы, хотел что - то писать на бумаге, но услышав урчание в своем желудке, которое предвещало голод, вспомнил о вкусной еде на ужин и проглотил скопившуюся во рту слюну.Потом встал с место и долго потянулся, широко зевая и разминая таким образом затекшие конечности.После чего Нозимжон подошел к окну и посмотрел на улицу. Город, кой за окном погрузился уже в вечернюю тьму, зажег свои грустные уличные фонари. Железное стадо легковых и грузовых машин мчалось в сумраке ощупывая дорогу рыжим светем фар, исчезая быстро из виду, словно водомерки над зеркальной воды старого пруда.Нозимжону стало еще скучнее, когда почувствовал, что он один остался в огромном здание. Приводя спешно в порядок бумаги, разбросанно лежащие на столе, он затянул потуже галстук на шее и надел свой пиджак.После этого, он почти бегом спустился вниз через лесницы и увидел сторожа у входа здании дядю Мамасоли, потерявший свою ногу в Авганской войне.Он протянув свою деревянную ногу на табуретку, ел свой нехитрый ужин. Увидев запоздалого сотрудника сторож сначало удивился.Потом, подумав о том, что иногда сотрудники работают допоздна, вежливо улыбнулся и поздоровался с Нозимжоном. - Домля, почему вы так поздно уходите домой?Дел наверное много? -сказал он. -Да - ответил коротко Нозимжон. - Э, домля, зачем так спешить. Дом ваш с покосившей крышей не убежит. Садитесь, плов вместе будем кушать.Поговорим о чем нибудь -продолжал сторож дядя Мамасоли, который остро нуждался в собеседнике.Нозимжон, поблагодарив седого, одноногого вахтера, ветерана авганской войны за гостепримство, вышел на улицу, сдав ключ от кабинета. -Эх, молодежь, молодежь - пробормотал себе под нос старик Мамасоли вслед за Нозимжоном.Подышав прохладным воздухом ранней весны у Нозимжона нимножко приподнялось настроение. Вынув сигарету из кармана, он закурил.Потом помяв опустевшую пачку сигареты "Pall Mall" выбросил и пошел в сторону автобусной остановки.На улице пешеходов было мало. В облачном небе не было видно звезд. В густом вечерном сумраке фонари едва освещали своим призрачно бледным, грустным светом безлюдные тротуары.Такое бескрайное небо, а ни одной звезды не видать -подумал он, задумчиво закуривая сигарету в кулак. Раньше как -то не обрашал внимания на это. Я не мог себе представить даже о том, что небо бывает без звезд.Как будто нет неба надо мной. Будто не небо, а мрак, который не имеет конца и края, словно мысли...За этими темными тучами скроются несметные звезды, луна и солнце... А дальше? Дальше наверное, пустота... - подумал Нозимжон, глядя в темное ночное небо, глубоко вздыхая. Его мысли перебила влюбленная пара, которая звонко смеялась. Гляда на них, Нозимжон, почему - то вспомнил свою ворчливую жену и её грустные слова: -"Где вы ходите, на ночь глядя?! Потом он снова продолжал думать: -Прошло пять лет, как мы с ней поженились.Боже, как быстро летит время! Иногда события, случившихся в далеком детстве, кажется, что происходили вчера.А жизнь словно миг.Помнит, как вчера. Учился он тогда в последнем курсе Университета. Родители его торопили, чтобы он не отставая от своих ровесников, как можно поскорее женился. Когда они предложили женится на Манзуру, неудачник в области любви Нозимжон, согласился. Манзура оказалась неплохой девушкой. По этому они начали жить, как говорится, душа в душу. В скором времени у них появился первый ребенок. Потом родился второй. Постипенно мечты о роскошной жизни и забот -хлопот, легли на его плечо, словно мешок с тяжелым грузом. Манзура раньше подбадривала его, говоря мол если Нозимжон пристроится на работу, то быстро поднимится по служебной леснице, станет большим начальником, разбогатеет и они купят роскошную легковую машину.Теперь она перестала мечтать.Все время молчит. А он не то, что купить ей подарки на её день рождения или на 8 марта, не может даже везти ее куда -нибудь на отдых. Хорошо что, жена его неплохая. Не жалуется она на жизнь.Она знает о том, что у Нозимжона дела не идут в горы и он не может хвастаться тем, что достиг.Именно по этому Манзура пристроилась на работу, не смотря на то, что у нее маленький ребенок. Как родители Нозимжона мечтали о том, что он совсем скоро станет каким нибудь начальником. Их мечты так и остались мечтами. Ему иногда становится стыдно, что он не может помочь им, наоборот, его отец иногда положить деньги в карман его пиджака. Иногда ему захочется бросать эту низкооплачиваемую работу и пристроится учителем в школах, но он на этом поприще чувствует себя не в своей тарелке. Заниматься торговлей тоже не умеет. Порой он думает пойти работать в какой нибудь комбинат разнорабочиком, как свои друзья ровесники, кои живут не хуже, получая нормальную зарплату. Ну что, если станешь простым рабочим? Зато будешь жить свободно, не приклоняясь начальству.Но Нозимжон не может так поступать. Ему мучает мысли о том, что думает его знакомые, соседы, родственники, когда он начинает работать чернорабочим в комбинатах? Будут тайно смеяться, подумав, мол кем он стал, окончив Университет? Эх, чем старше становится человек, тем у него увеличиваются проблемы, словно снежный ком.Где его беззаботное детство, где юность, студенческие годы? Помнит, в те далекие годы, когда он учился в Университете, был один скромный преподаватель с тюбитейкой на голове и с большим портфелом в руках, едва не ставший жертвой сталинских репрессий.
-Эй, вы, слушайте сюда, наивные лентяи! Вот, закончите Университет и пойдете работать кто куда. Но учтите, никто не придоставит вам кабинет и кресло. Даже не надейтесь. Каждый, кто окончил высшее учебное заведение, не становится ученым или начальником. Для этого, нужно потрудится как следует.То есть вам придется кипеть в большом казане общества, прежде чем добиться чего -то в этом беспощадном мире. Кем бы вы не стали, вы должни помнить одного. Быть полезным для общества.В противном случае, вы горько пожелеете на закате своей жизни, подумав о том, что вы были жалким эгоистом, который зоботится только о себе -сказал он однажды во время лекции. Как будто профессор с тюбитейкой на голове и с больши портфелем в руках предвидел всё это. Действительно, все эти годы Нозимжон думал только о себе, мечтая о том, что он быстрыми темпами поднимится по служебной леснице и став начальником, разбогатеет. Купит себе какую нибудь роскошную легковушку иностранного производство. Увидев его успехи многие почернеют от зависти. Многие будут его уважать и даже боятся.Оказывается, он забыл те слова старого профессора, ни разу не подумав о других людях, об обществе, о Родине.Почему -то он снова начал думать о седого сторожа дяди Мамасоли, который потерял свою ногу в Авганской войне. -Было бы здорово, если я стал не ректором, то хотябы заведующим кафедры или деканом -подумал он снова, докуривая последную сигарету.Спешными шагами идя в сторону автобусной остановки, он почувствовал вечернюю прохладу, которая ветер нес.Тут начал подезжать к нему такси, снижая скорость. Нозимжон обернулся лицом в сторону. Таксист увидев идущего в сторону автобусвной остановки человека, на вид бережливого и жадного, сердито нажал на газ и такси двигаясь на болшой скорости, исчезла из виду.Какраз в это время один автобус, проезжая мимо него, остановился на следущей остановке. Ноги Нозимжона сами по себе побежали в сторону автобуса и он залез в него, тяжело дыша.В салоне находились последние пассажиры и ему казолось, что они все смотрели на него.От этих взглядов Нозимжону стало не по себе и он присел на сидение, находяшегося в середине салона.Потом снова продолжал думать, глядя в окно автобуса, за которым мелкали городские здания, безлюдные улицы, опустевшие тротуары, грустящие уличные фонари, деревья и столбы со светафорами. Тут его мысли перебил звук упавшей дамоской сумки и он, обернувшись лицом, увидел тощую, девушку высокого роста в мини юбке, с длинными ногтями, похожие на когти ястреба, с бледным, густо напудренным лицом, и ярко красными, вздутыми накрашенными помадой губами. Она глядела на него из под- лобья презрительным взглядом.Потом начала говорить: -Чего вы стоите, как этот самый?! Поднимите мою сумочку, помогите! - сказала она, еще сильнее удивляя Ножимжона.Услышав в голосе девушки приказа, Нозимжон рассердился и сказал: -Сами поднимите! От этих грубых слов девушка разозлилась. -Придурок! -шепотом сказала она. Потом, с трудом нагнувшись в тесной мини юбке, начала поднять свою сумочку.Тут один чувак в кожанной куртке, с рыжими усами в колкости крикнул на Нозимжона: -Эй, козел! Ты мужик или баба? Настоящий мужчина должен помочь приставительницам прекрасного пола! А ну-ка, помоги даме, быстро!Услышав такое, у Нозимжона екнуло сердце. Испугался. -Сами помогите ей тогда - сказал он, обращаясь на вы к парню в кожанной куртке с рыжими усами.Потом, еле задавив свой страх сказал вдабавок: -Сам ты козел! От этих слов Нозимжона парень взбесился и резко схватив за галстук, начал его душить.
-Что ты сказал!? Ов, следи за своим языком! А то я могу его вырвать! Кто ты такой а?! Кто дал тебе право так обращаться с девушками?!Хочешь, я повешу тебя за галстук на эту перилу автобуса, невоспитанный интеллигент вшивый?! - сказал парень в кожанной куртке с рыжими усамы в колкости.
Нозимжон, задыхаясь от нехватки кислорода, храпел и изо всех сил старался выпутаться из цепких рук злого парня в кожанной куртке с рыжыми усами в колкости.Наконец ему удалось освободить свое горло от рук назойливового бандита в кожанной куртке с рыжыми усами и продолжал держать оборону: -Отпусти меня! Отпусти говорю! -кричал он, свё активно оказывая сопротивления парню в кожанной куртке.
К этому времени остальные пассажири тоже стали активными, стараяь разнимать дерущихся.
-Э, остановитесь, мужики! Что вы, как маленькие деретесь между сабой? -сказали одни.
Другие пассажиры предлогали им сойти с автобуса и выяснять отношения в низу. Тут одна женщина высокого роста, с романтичной прической волос, похожая на стог сена, поднялась с место и обратился к парню в кожанной куртке, с рыжими усами, спокойным голосом:
-А ну-ка, отпустите его, молодой человек.
Потом тем же спокойным голосом продолажала: -Это вы вмешиваетесь не в свое дело. Оставте человека в покое!Хочет, поможет.Не хочет, нет.
Парень в кожанной куртке, с рыжими усами оглядывая ее с головы до ног, спросил?
-Слушайте, вот вы тоже кажется мать. Подумайте сами, разве можно так грубо обращаться с девушкой в общественном транспорте? Простите, мадам, но вы как адвокат защищаете этого не воспитанного грубияна, интеллигента несчастного.Мой вам совет, не вмешивайтесь в мужское дело! Мы сами разберемся как нибудь без вас. -сказал парень в кожанной куртке и когда он крепко стиснул губы от злости, Нозимжону казалось, что его рыжие, загнутые усы полезли в его рот.
-Отпустите его немедленно или я сейчас вызову милицию! -сказала женщина с романтичной прической волос, похожая на стог сена. Услышав такое парень в кожанной куртке, с рыжими загнутыми усами, отпустил наконец воротник рубахи Нозимжона. Нозимжон приводя себя в порядок, с дрожащими руками присел. Женщина с романтичной прической волос, напоминающая скирду сена в заливных лугах, тоже присела рядом с Нозимжоном. Нозимжон бегло бросив благодарный взгляд на свою спасительницу, начал привести себя в порядок.Шафер все спокойно гнал автобус на большой скорости, словно ничего не произошло. Пассажири тоже ехали, сидя на сидениях и рассеянно гляда на ночной город из окна автобуса.Когда автобус остановилась, на следующей остановке, зачиншица конфликта поднялась с места, чтобы сойти с автобуса. Парень в кожанной куртке, с рыжими, загнутыми усами тоже. Перед тем, как сойти с автобуса, он сказал, глядя на Нозимжона: -Помочь людям - дело благородное, понял?
Нозимжон хотел что -то сказать в ответ, но тут двери автобуса раскрились и пара пригнула в низ.Автобу поехал дальше. После того, как Нозимжон сошел с автобуса, ему захотелось курить.Но, подумав о том, что кончились сигареты, мысленно руганулся.Потом, глубоко вздыхая, направился в сторону своего дома.Шел он, жалея о том, что не ударил в морду того парня в кожанной куртке с рыжими, загнутыми усами.
-Вот, козел а! По его словам, я оказывается, должен поднять ту сумочку и помочь девушке легкого поведения , которая занимается древней профессией!Вот засранец а! Был бы он сейчас рядом, я бы одним ударом отправил бы его в глубокий нокаут... Негодяй, который готов изнасиловать ту девушку, возомнил из себя защитника и мудреца... Что он сказал? "Помочь людям в трудные минуты, дело благородное..." Идиот... Такими мыслями Нозимжон снова бросил взгляд в облачное и темное небо, где не видно было звезд. В темноте сонно и грустно горели огни опустевшего города. Из открытых окон домов виднелись шипящие голубые экраны телевизоров. Нозимжон шел по безлюдном тротуару, крепко стиснув кулаки и шепча: "Помочь людям - дело благородное". "Помочь людям..". Хмм... Помочь...

2019 год. Андижан.
Перевел рассказ с узбекского языка Холдор Вулкан.
31/05/2022. Канада, Онтерио.

Halim Karim
Starless Night
(short story)

A boss is a boss. Think for yourself, how can you not be happy at all when such a big boss as Akram Muradovich tells him, - Nozimjon, I trust you? From such words, he just melts like a snowman in spring. Well, how could he not melt when the boss puts his hand on his shoulder and pats him like a father? Now, for three days he has been sitting, digging through papers. Nozimjon has to finish this work in three days. The boss Akrom Muradovich, immediately after checking all these documents, will go to Tashkent to report to the minister himself! That's what kind of super-responsible work Akrom Murodovich entrusted to Nozimjon! Even when many workers follow him like a shadow, hoping to win his trust, he still chose him, Nozimjon, when everyone wants, and dreams of somehow being liked by Akram Murodovich. Nozimjon also becomes smooth as silk in front of him. He is ready to do any job that he assigns.He will do it, despite the humiliation and not knowing what fatigue is. In the early days, when he just got the job, he did not like the sycophancy of employees towards their superiors, even angered him by such behavior of employees.
Now, without even noticing it, he, too, has become the same sycophant as they are. At first it was difficult for him, but then Nozimjon began to quietly and calmly get used to it somehow, and what do you want me to do? As they say: "To live with wolves is to howl like a wolf!"  Try not to say hello with a polite and soft smile on your lips to the boss when you meet him in the corridor or somewhere else.  Eh, nowadays, when human talent, knowledge, even a diploma has lost its significance, it has become difficult for people with empty pockets and without influential connections to live. Nozimjon, got the job with great difficulty, hoping to get to the top of the service ladder, but alas, so far he did not succeed in any way. With such thoughts, he sat in the office, thoughtfully looking at a bunch of documents. He is not very well versed in these documents, where there are various terms and figures that are not clear to him.
Nozimjon's desk is located at the front door of a seemingly modest office. In this office with a single small window, besides Nozimjon, there are three other employees of the department. A half-withered flower was drying on the windowsill, which no one was watering. On the contrary, cigarette butts are thrown into a clay pot. A portrait of Charles Darwin hangs on a badly painted wall, demonstrating the "aesthetic taste" of the sitting employees in this office. Above Nozimjon's desk, a photomontage with images of Barcelona football club players cut out of glossy magazines was attached to the wall with buttons. Finally, the clock on the wall struck eight in the evening. Nozimjon checked his watch, but when he heard a rumbling in his stomach, which foreshadowed hunger, he remembered the delicious food for dinner and swallowed the saliva that had accumulated in his mouth. Then he got up from his seat and stretched for a long time, yawning widely and stretching his stiff limbs. After that, Nozimjon went to the window and looked at the street. The city, which was already plunged into evening darkness outside the window, lit its sad street lamps. An iron herd of cars and trucks raced in the twilight, feeling the road with red headlights, disappearing quickly from sight, like water skimmers over the mirrored water of an old pond. Nozimjon became even more bored when he felt that he was alone in a huge building. Hastily arranging the papers scattered on the table, he tightened his tie around his neck and put on his jacket. After that, he almost ran down through the stairs and saw the guard at the entrance of the building, Uncle Mamasoli, who had lost his leg in the Afghan war. He stretched out his wooden leg on a stool, ate his simple dinner. Seeing the belated employee, the watchman was initially surprised, then thinking about the fact that sometimes employees work late, he smiled politely and greeted Nozimjon. - sir, why are you going home so late? Is there a lot to do? - he said. - Yes, - Nozimjon answered shortly. - Hey sir, why hurry so much. Your house with a crooked roof will not run away. Sit down, we'll eat pilaf together. Let's talk about something, - continued Uncle Mamasoli, the watchman, who was in dire need of an interlocutor. Nozimjon, thanking the gray-haired, one-legged watchman, a veteran of the Afghanwar for hospitality, went outside, handing over the key to the office. "Eh, young people, young people," old Mamasoli muttered to himself after Nozimjon.Having breathed the cool air of early spring, Nozimjon's mood lifted slightly. Taking a cigarette out of his pocket, he lit it.Then he crumpled the empty pack of Pall Mall cigarettes and threw it away and went towards the bus stop.There were few pedestrians on the street. There were no stars visible in the cloudy sky. In the dense evening twilight, the lanterns barely illuminated the deserted sidewalks with their ghostly pale, sad light.Such a boundless sky, and not a single star to be seen, he thought, thoughtfully lighting a cigarette in his fist. I somehow didn't pay attention to this before. I could not even imagine that the sky is without stars.It's like there's no sky above me. It's like not the sky, but the darkness that has no end and no end, like thoughts...Countless stars, the moon and the sun will hide behind these dark clouds... And then? Then, probably, emptiness... Nozimjon thought, looking up at the dark night sky, taking a deep breath. His thoughts were interrupted by a couple in love, who were laughing loudly. Looking at them, Nozimjon, for some reason remembered his grumpy wife and her sad words: -"Where do you go, looking at the night?! Then he kept thinking again, "It's been five years since we got married.God, how fast time flies! Sometimes events that happened in early childhood seem to have happened yesterday.And life is like a moment.Remembers how yesterday. He was then in his last year of University. His parents hurried him to keep up with his peers and get married as soon as possible. When they offered to marry Manzura, the loser in the field of love, Nozimjon, agreed. Manzura turned out to be a good girl. That's why they began to live, as they say, soul to soul. Soon they had their first child. Then the second one was born. After all, dreams of a luxurious life and worries and troubles lay on his shoulder like a bag with a heavy load. Manzura used to encourage him, saying that if Nozimjon gets a job, he will quickly climb the service ladder, become a big boss, get rich and they will buy a luxury passenger car.Now she stopped dreaming.He's silent all the time. And he's not like buying her gifts for her birthday or on March 8, he can't even take her somewhere on vacation. It's good that his wife is not bad. She doesn't complain about life.She knows that Nozimjon's business is not going to the mountains and he cannot brag about what he has achieved.That's why Manzura got a job, despite the fact that she has a small child. How Nozimjon's parents dreamed that he would soon become some kind of boss. Their dreams remained dreams. He sometimes feels ashamed that he can't help them, on the contrary, his father sometimes puts money in his jacket pocket. Sometimes he will want to quit this low-paid job and get a job as a teacher in schools, but he does not feel at ease in this field. He doesn't know how to trade either. Sometimes he thinks of going to work in some factory as a handyman, like his friends of the same age, who live no worse, receiving a normal salary. Well, what if you become a simple worker? But you will live freely, without bowing to the authorities.But Nozimjon can't do that. Is he tormented by thoughts about what his friends, neighbors, relatives think when he starts working as a laborer in factories? Will they secretly laugh, thinking, they say, who did he become after graduating from University? Eh, the older a person gets, the more problems he has, like a snowball.Where is his carefree childhood, where is his youth, student years? He remembers, in those distant years when he studied at the University, there was one modest teacher with a tube on his head and a large briefcase in his hands, who almost became a victim of Stalin's repressions.
- Hey, you, listen up, you naive idlers! Here, graduate from University and go to work who where. But keep in mind, no one will give you an office and a chair. Don't even hope. Everyone who graduated from a higher educational institution does not become a scientist or a boss. To do this, you need to work hard.That is, you will have to boil in the big cauldron of society before you can achieve anything in this merciless world. Whoever you become, you have to remember one. Be useful to society.Otherwise, you will regret bitterly at the end of your life, thinking that you were a pathetic egoist who cares only about himself - he once said during a lecture. It's as if the professor with a tube on his head and a big briefcase in his hands foresaw all this. Indeed, all these years Nozimjon thought only of himself, dreaming that he would quickly climb the service ladder and become a boss, get rich. He will buy himself some kind of luxury foreign-made passenger car. Seeing his success, many will turn black with envy. Many will respect him and even fear him.It turns out that he forgot those words of the old professor, never once thinking about other people, about society, about the Motherland.For some reason, he began to think again about Uncle Mamasoli's gray-haired watchman, who lost his leg in the Afghan War. - It would be great if I became not the rector, but at least the head of the department or the dean - he thought again, finishing his last cigarette. Walking with hurried steps towards the bus stop, he felt the evening coolness that the wind carried. Then a taxi began to approach him, slowing down. Nozimjon turned his face to the side. The taxi driver saw a man walking towards the bus stop, who looked thrifty and greedy, angrily pressed the gas and the taxi, moving at a great speed, disappeared from sight. At that time, one bus, passing by him, stopped at the next stop. Nozimjon's legs by themselves ran towards the bus and he climbed into it, breathing heavily. There were the last passengers in the cabin and it seemed to him that they were all looking at him. From these views, Nozimjon felt uncomfortable and he sat down on the seat in the middle of the cabin. Then he continued to think again, looking out the window of the bus, behind which city buildings, deserted streets, deserted sidewalks, sad street lights, trees and poles with traffic lights flashed. Then his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a lady's bag falling and, turning around, he saw a skinny, tall girl in a miniskirt, with long nails like the claws of a hawk, with a pale, heavily powdered face, and bright red, swollen lips painted with lipstick. She looked at him from under her brow with a contemptuous look. Then she began to say: -What are you standing for?! Pick up my purse, help! - she said. Hearing the order in the girl's voice, Nozimjon got angry and said: - Pick it up yourself! These rude words made the girl angry. - You idiot! - she said in a whisper. Then, bending down with difficulty in a tight mini skirt, she began to pick up her purse. Here one dude in a leather jacket, with a red mustache in a taunt shouted at Nozimjon: - Hey, asshole! Are you a man or a woman? A real man should help women! Come on, help the lady, quickly! Hearing this, Nozimjon's heart skipped a beat. Scared, he said. - Help her yourself then, addressing the guy in the leather jacket. Then, barely suppressing his fear, he said in addition: - You yourself are a idiot! From these words, the guy went berserk and abruptly grabbed his tie and began to strangle him.
- What did you say!? watch your mouth! Otherwise I can rip it off! Who are you, huh?! Who gave you the right to treat girls like that?! Do you want me to hang you by your tie on this railing of the bus, you ill-mannered lousy intellectual?! - said the guy tauntingly.
Nozimjon, suffocating from lack of oxygen, snored and tried his best to get out of the clutches of the evil guy. Finally, he managed to free his throat and continued to hold the defense: - Let me go! Let me go, I say! - he shouted, actively resisting.
By this time, the other passengers had also become active, trying to separate the fighting.
- Hey, stop, guys! What are you, like little kids fighting? - someone said.
Other passengers offered them to get off the bus and sort things outside. Then a tall woman with a romantic hairstyle, looking like a haystack, got up from her seat and addressed the guy in the leather jacket, in a calm voice:
- Come on, let him go, young man.
Then , in the same calm voice , she continued: - You're meddling in the wrong business. Leave this man alone! If he wants to, he will help.
The guy looked her up and down, asked:
- Listen, you seem to be a mother too. Think for yourself, is it possible to treat a girl so rudely on public transportion? I'm sorry, madam, but you, as a lawyer, are defending this ill-mannered brute, an unhappy intellectual. My advice to you, do not interfere in a man's business! We'll figure it out somehow without you. - said the guy in the leather jacket, and when he tightly clenched his lips in anger, Nozimjon thought that his red, curled mustache climbed into his mouth.
- Release him immediately or I will call the police now! said the woman. Hearing this, the guy, finally let go of the collar of Nozimjon's shirt. Nozimjon, putting himself in order, sat down with trembling hands. The woman also sat down next to Nozimjon. He briefly cast a grateful glance at his savior, and began to put himself in order. The bus driver calmly drove the bus at high speed, as if nothing had happened. The passengers were also sitting on the seats and absentmindedly looking at the night city from the bus window. When the bus stopped, at the next stop, the instigator of the conflict got up from her seat to get off the bus. The guy in the leather jacket, got off too. Before getting off the bus, he said, looking at Nozimjon: - Helping people is a noble cause!
Nozimjon wanted to say something in response, but then the bus doors opened and the couple ducked to the bottom. The bus drove on. After Nozimjon got off the bus, he wanted to smoke, but thinking that he had run out of cigarettes, he mentally cursed. Then, taking a deep breath, he headed towards his house. He walked, regretting that he had not hit that guy with the leather jacket in the face.
- According to him, it turns out that I have to pick up that purse and help a girl of easy virtue who is engaged in an ancient profession! That asshole! If he were around now, I would have knocked him out with one punch... The scoundrel who is ready to rape that girl imagines himself to be a protector and a sage... What did he say? - Helping ladies in difficult moments is a noble thing..." idiot! With such thoughts, Nozimjon again cast a glance into the cloudy and dark sky, where the stars were not visible. The lights of the deserted city burned sleepily and sadly in the dark. From the open windows of the houses, sizzling blue TV screens could be seen. Nozimjon walked along the deserted sidewalk, clenching his fists tightly and whispering: - Helping people is a noble cause. Helping people...  Hmm... helping...

2019. Andijan.
The story was translated from Russian into English by Holder Volcano.
31/05/2022. Canada, Ontario.


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