Syedyshev Oleg
Syedyshev Oleg

Humorous Essays Based on students' memories

"All have died
except for those who are alive, and those whom we remember"Confucius

Essay 28. Muster

After graduating from the institute all male students were given a rank of "a lieutenant of medical service of reserve". During our study we had a Military Training course at the Military Training Department. What was left was the muster in an annual camp and an examination. The muster was in summer, in July, in my fifth year. As for me, I got lucky again. Our whole group passed the forensic medicine exam ahead of the schedule. I passed the propaedeutics of children diseases ahead of the schedule as well, but alone. So I flew to Frunze to summon up fresh energy before the muster for the whole month ahead. My Batya was a law obeying person. During the war time he was raised from a private to the rank of a major. He was giving talks to me about respect to the senior by rank and all the other army intricacies. I was listening to Batya, but, without any offend of him, not very attentively. All in all by the beginning of the muster I came back to Kemerovo being physically stronger and politically well prepared after the talks with Batya.

The muster was in a village of Plotnikovo on the base of a civil defense division. The territory of the military unit was fenced in by a two meter fence. At the gate at the control post there was a twenty four hour post.

I am not going to tell you how we were taken to banya (sauna) right away and were given a heap of uniform each. The uniform was outdated, so we differed from the units' soldiers very much. Before the departure for the muster the officers of the Military Training Department explained to us, that we had to obey all the requirements of the service regulations on the unit's territory, for example, salute to the approaching officers of the unit, not to violate the regime, etc. At the assembly all the students were called the cadets and all of us together - the company. After we settled at the military unit, we were divided into platoons, and platoons - into squads of nine-ten people. Each squad was given a tent, where we slept. Felix An, who had served in the army and received the rank of a sergeant before entering the institute, was assigned to be the master sergeant of the company. The platoons' commanders were the Department's officers, and the squads' commanders were assigned from our cadets, and to distinguish them from the rest, they were "thrown a drop of snivel on their shoulder straps". This military jargon means that they were given a rank of a corporal. I was assigned to be an orderly of the colonel Feodorov (the head of the Military Training Department), the one whose car Ilgam Gasanov and I merely ruined five years ago. The position of an orderly was good because I had a permanent pass at the control post to come and leave at any time of the day. And the most important thing was that Feodorov visited the muster camp only once. So I was free like the bird. Of course, I was not left without tasks. All officers who came to the muster lived in a small house, which was about one hundred meters away from the military unit. So, all officers shaved by electric shavers, and only major Glebov was using a safety razor. My main and the only duty was to bring to the major a kettle of hot water from the kitchen at six thirty in the morning before the reveille and wake up the officers. Well, that way I got acquainted with the kitchen, and that turned to be a useful thing during the muster. I will not waste your time by telling you about the hardships of the military service we faced.

Upon the arrival the students brought with them who a carton, who two or three cartons of fine quality cigarettes. Though for some reason in the open air, and we were constantly outdoors, because one could be inside the tents only during the lights-out time, we ran out of the cigarettes, and then it started. First we smoked all the cigarettes' butts, and then (that was the first time, when my position of an orderly came useful) equipped me with a backpack and money, and I went to the village store to buy something cheap to smoke. It was good, that by that time I had already known all stores in the village of Plotnikovo, as the officers concluded that one task (to bring Glebov hot water) was not enough for me and gave me one more duty - to bring them wine in a backpack from a store. So I brought the backpack full of packs of rustic tobacco to the unit. Yes, everybody learned how to make hand-rolled cigarettes, and when we returned to Kemerovo our fingers were yellow because of tobacco.

How could it happen! I almost forgot about one more of my duties, which I got from the students that time. I liked to perform that task, and was doing it with all my zeal and diligence. Even more to that, in the performance of that task there were elements of adventure, detective and real danger, the danger to be locked up in the detention room (to be arrested in order to be punished for...). Well, I was given a task to get out of the tent every night after the lights-off time and as loud as I could shout: "To the first (and then the second, the third and etc.) day of the camp assembly FUCK...", and the whole company very loud as well, at the top of their voices, as it is called, replied: "... OFF", I would go - "FUCK...", and the company - "...OFF". And we did that three times in a row. The detective element and the danger were in that, that the officers of the unit, and event not only the officers, but the head of the headquarters of the Civil Defense - were hunting for me.

He promised to lock me up or someone else he would catch performing that thing in the detention room for a month. Thus, every evening one of us followed that head of the headquarters and watched him, and as soon as he moved away on a sufficient distance, we were informed about that, and then I with my "FUCK..." made my entrance. Wow, how outraged he was! A couple of words to describe the appearance of that head of the headquarters. His height was one meter and sixty centimeters max, he was frail, and had a rank of a captain. He obviously did not make his jacket, but received it at the storehouse; its size was two or three sizes bigger than he needed. The sleeves were long; the jacket was almost down to his knees. To put it in one word, he was like a clown. To compete with such a character was pure fun. The matter was that he did not have right to penalize us personally. All he could was, after we shout, come running and order everyone to fall in, then run in front of the line, sputter, and that was it. He could ask our officers to announce a penalty to us.

Knowing all that Felix An always in about five minutes after the captain had made us fall in, asked him whether he remembered that the students after the "hard" day needed some rest; and he let us go or went to our officers to deal with the issue. I cannot say that the department officers protected us that much, though when that oddball ran to them with the demand to punish us, they told him to get lost and did that so convincingly, that he never came to them again.

And what did he expect? In the village there was delivered vodka, and the very evening I brought to our department officers a backpack not of wine, but of vodka, and at the very high point the captain rushed in. It looks like he was not lucky in his life. Things were that way day after day. We swore in at the parade ground of the unit. I shouted three times "FUCK..." for the 24th day. And there came the twenty fifth day of the muster, the last one. The buses were waiting to bring us to Kemerovo to the institute. For the last time we were drown up at the ground. Someone from the military unit, some of our officers were talking about the sacred duty of protecting the Motherland and so on and so forth. The speeches were over, and then Felix loudly went: "Private Syedyshev, three steps forward march." I stepped out and faced the line. And Felix continued: "Command!" And right on the parade ground in front of our and other officers and that captain I loudly, clearly and distinctly shouted: "To the camp assembly "FUCK..." and everybody answered: "OFF", and three times like that. The whole company moved to the buses. At the institute at the department the military training exam was a pure formality. I was taking the exam to the major Glebov. Instead of answering the examination questions I asked him directly, whether he had any complaints (to be more precise, whether he had had the complaints) about the boiled water. And I clearly hinted him that I was about to get an enhanced stipend next semester. Glebov looked in my student's record book and gave me an "ex". The other guys had approximately the same. It is me, the major of medical service of reserve, is telling you. I did not serve until any higher ranks. That's kind of a pity!

july 17, 2011

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #21202101832

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content