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 57. 21 Gurgles

I have told you that the topic of the assembly is inexhaustible, and you did not believe me. It is like a good well; the more water you take from it, the more rise.
Not only former school leavers, like me, entered the institute, there were also the guys who had already served their time in the army. They were allowed to keep their shoulder straps they had received earlier. And they not only kept their badges of rank, but were appointed squad leaders. Felix An and Sasha Stus were appointed company master sergeant and platoon master sergeant. And when the counting was done it turned out that one squad was left without a commander.

Our fathers-commanders contemplated for a long time about who had to be dropped a "snivel on a shoulder strap", that was how awarding of a military rank and correspondingly putting new badges of rank on shoulder straps was called in soldiers' slang; and they chose Tolik Lopatin. The choice was favorable both for the commanding officers, as they thought of Tolik as of a very responsible person, and for the students, he was just a nice guy among us. A whole week was spent on bureaucratic details, and finally in official setting at the parade ground an order of awarding A.G.Lopatin with a military rank of a junior sergeant was read and new shoulder straps with the very "snivels" (badges of rank) on them were presented. Of course, Tolik had been explained beforehand, what badges of rank, as they were cold among soldiers, meant and how they had to be drunk. And they had to be celebrated without fail, in order to become badges of rank, and without the drink they will stay just "snivels".

I had told you that Tolik Lopatin was a great guy; he, in spite of the fact that there had recently been another incident in the unit, and two statutory service soldiers had been run in the guardroom, and everybody had been searched at the control - post, he addressed your most humble servant. And he did that in front of the support group of Felix An, Sasha Stus and Volodya Kardashov, in order I was filled with a sense of necessity. To put it short, I was asked to bring vodka from the village. And there was search at the control-post! Of course, I agreed without a moment's thought. Well, I am an adventurer by nature; Tolik was my friend, and the guys asked for him.

To begin with I demanded two soldier flasks from the warehouse. I did not say why. I received the flasks and attached them empty to my belt from both sides and several times went through the control-post to the department head colonel Fedorov. I was searched a couple of times, to be more exact, they checked, if there was anything in my flasks, and they were empty. And the guards became convinced that the student orderly was a funny guy, as he was carrying two empty flasks. For the third time I filled the flasks with "Stolichnaya" vodka and the same way went through the control-post. The guards rather habitually asked me what was in the flasks. I answered: "Stolichnaya". They laughed and ordered me not to be stupid and pass though. That stage of the task was completed. The guys were happy.

At night, after the lights-out time the participants of the "celebration of the badges of rank" gathered in Felix' tent: Felix, Sasha, Volodya, Tolik and I. And there we had another dilemma of how to share? At the unit there were only aluminum mugs, and one could not see through a flask how much had been poured, and a mug was a new container for us. And all that was in semidarkness; there was no light in tents. Once I heard that there was hydraulic impact sound against a bottom of a bottle when pouring out into glasses or other containers, the sound was heard as

"gurgle", and there were exactly twenty one of them. I immediately shared my knowledge with the rest. Everybody agreed except Kardash. The latter started blaming me in fooling the people.

He was asked not to blow his top. Though, he insisted. The majority was "for" and we started pouring vodka from the flask into the mugs counting the gurgles.
The badges of rank were celebrated. Since that moment nobody could call them "snivel". Everyone was happy, but Kardash was grumbling at me till the very end of the assembly. Why? I don't know.

Felix An


Aleksandr Stus


Vladimir Kardashov


Anatoliy Lopatin


Oleg Syedyshev


5 September, 2011.

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #21204260438

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content