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 7. Slava Sizikov

Slava Sizikov, a nice guy, was born in a town of Kuzbass region. He had a very good memory, though he used his gift in a very peculiar way. He could catch someone in a hall, grip his button and tell everything about a carbine (arm is meant by this). He knew the inventor of a carbine, his biography and all carbine's parts. Or he could for no reason at all start talking about hunting or a rifle's calibre.

Slava Sizikov
From a student album

Why it was necessary to know to me, for example, (as I also was many times caught by a button) I have no idea. There were two ways to stop that "intellectual torture": either leave a button in Slava's hands and run away, or give him a cigarette. I do not want at all to say that Slava never bought cigarettes. He bought them, but once a month for his stipend money. And then the situation was the opposite. Slavka would wedge himself in any group, he did not care what the conversation was about; he cut in on it and started foisting on everyone his cigarettes. It was much easier to accept a cigarette than explain to Slava that you had just had one and did not want to smoke. Slavka could not have cared less about it.

Though this piece of reminiscences is not at all about Slava's nicotine adventures, on the contrary, it is about something very different. Slava had a habit to put his briefcase under his pillow. All our group knew about that. So on the eve of the holiday of 7 November during a class (I will not make up what kind of class it was, perhaps physiology) we were dissecting a frog. I do not remember, who was the first to come with an idea to put the dissected frog into Slavka's briefcase. Zhenya Romashov and I (though the oldest in the group, he was a notorious mischief-maker) took the most active part in the undertaking. Zhenka took Slava aside, distracted his attention with a question about a microscope or some other trifle, and at that moment I secretly filched a frog from a preparation table, wrapped it in some paper and put it into Slavka's briefcase. Zhenka and I did not tell anybody about our mischief, for the information would not reach Slavka before the time. We knew that after the classes Slavka would hurry up to the apartment where he rented a room, leave the briefcase there (we hoped that under the pillow), collected some stuff and would go home, either to Leninsk or Prokopjevsk, for two or three days.

Well, after the holidays, when early in the morning we arrived to the institute, Zhenka and I of course, told everyone about the frog in the briefcase. Everybody was extremely excited. All of us were waiting for Slava to come. Slava had one more peculiarity: in spite the fact that he lived two hundred metres away from the institute, he was minimum ten minutes late for classes on a regular basis. He even set his watch thirty minutes ahead in order not to be late, but it was of little help for him.

You can imagine how the group was suffering and scolding the absent Slava for his habit to be late. It was, as it seemed to us then, worse than tortures at Muller's torture chamber.

That day Slavka was a whole period late. Though he came before it was over, he did not dare to come into the class room. The classes were over, the professor left, and Slava entered the room.

One could not look at him without tears - there was absolute confusion and feeling of doom in his face. The group fell silent, and Slavka started complaining: "Guys, I can't get rid of a strange smell. It was not there at home, but when I came back to Kemerovo this morning, I feel the smell of rotten stuff in my nose, it is not strong, but permanent".

Of course, we started asking how he had spent the holidays. What he was drinking? What he was eating? How he felt? Whether the cigarettes' smell kills the stink... There were oceans of questions. We felt that Slavka was enjoying attention of the whole group, he did his best to answer with all details and even did not notice that no one went on a break. And then Zhenya gave up and asked where the stink was coming from, and even offered a hint - maybe from pockets or the briefcase. You know, Slavka was eccentric, but quick witted. Confusion and feeling of doom disappeared from his face, and he yelled: "You, bastards!.." He dashed to his briefcase, opened it and found the bundle. Maybe for a week Slavka was trying to find out who arranged all that for him. Then Zhenka and I invited Slava to a cafeteria and treated him to Zhiguliovskoe beer, so when his soul softened, we confessed in the committed. Slavka was happy with the treat and forgave us. He said that he had suspected that it was two of us, as others were not capable of this.

july 4, 2011

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #21202091760

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content