Pavel Nilovich shut the door up, put the three locks into
position and switched the alarm on. He started undressing only after that: took
off his coat, unfastened two shoulder holsters - with a sawn-off gun and a .45
caliber Colt, took containers with tear gas out of his pockets, as well as a
fragmentation grenade and a bicycle chain. The chain was especially good in
hand-to-hand fight: it did not take a lot of space and could be used instead of
both brass knuckles and a club.
Changing into his house clothes, he looked his armoury over
gloomily. It blinked with steel under the light of a crystal chandelier. He bit
his lips in annoyance. Well, what times we live in! An honest trader cannot make
a move without a gun! They will find you anywhere - behind your counter, in the
storeroom, in the lavatory! And though not everyone could bother Pavel Nilovich,
he did not succeed in fighting back today; Scar managed to take tribute from all
his establishments and there were a lot of them - fifteen shops, a parking lot
and two cafes. And he promised to knock out the interest for delay in payment
tomorrow as well! Scar said that he would come himself. In person! With the pack
of his dogs, camp followers and yes men!
Imagining the giant body, square shoulders and swarthy face
of the racketeer, Pavel Nilovich gritted his teeth angrily. Certainly, the tax "for
protection and patronage" teared from him by the local mafiosi, was a damage to
his business, but his pride suffered much more. He himself was a first-rate guy,
strong, a picture of health and would not think of fighting Scar face to face -
either with guns, American style, or fists, Russian style. But it is impossible
to go against a wall with a sawn-off gun; with its help he could only threaten
the common "tribute collectors", but today he had to deal with the whole
paratrooper detachment - two dozens of bastards, no less. And Scar having
threatened the most obstinate ( "Well, cockroach, where is the cabbage? Where is
the money, I am asking you? Otherwise..." ), did not intend to measure swords
with either Pavel Nilovich or the other oppressed and degraded; he stood calmly
sipping canned beer and watched his people taking desiatina. He drank his beer,
riff-raff, scratched the scar on his cheek and sneered!
Pavel Nilovich felt himself weak from hate then. Spitting on
the mahogany parquet floor, he put the sawn-off gun under his arm, took a small
box with four pills out of his pocket and went to the staircase leading to the
second floor of his mansion. The carpeted steps squealed angrily under his shoes;
the naked naiads carved from oak, that supported the railing, bared their teeth
with evident mockery. Gnashing his teeth angrily back at them, Pavel Nilovich
pressed the barrel below the navel of the nearest one.
He opened the door to the study with his leg; rosewood panels,
a low wide ottoman and frivolous pictures on the walls made the room look
playful and flippant. In one end, in a deep niche, there were two silver screens
of giant TV-sets, blocked with video recorders; there were also giant arm-chairs
with crimson plush upholstery, curious candelabra with very thick candles and a
well-stocked bar to which Pavel Nilovich rushed immediately. Neither whiskey,
nor vodka, nor cognac interested him today, he drank rum. Rum is really the
drink of anger!
"Well, that's okey," he thought, "half an hour more and we
shall settle accounts with Scar... Certainly if the Doctor did not lie... And if
he lied, he will swallow his spectacles tomorrow! Or will it be better to stick
a litre rum bottle up his ass and that's it?"
Looking at the transparent box pressed in his fist dubiously,
Pavel Nilovich knitted his brows. Four pills and each one cost more than a
Nikolay ten rouble coin (*)... The Doctor asks for a good price as it is due to
a fashionable shrink! On the other hand, if everything promised is true... if it
is really possible to go there where each account deserves another... Well, then
any money could be spared! One only has to choose a suitable place...
As the Doctor had advised, he found a couple of cassettes
with more savage films, hemmed, inserted them into the recorders and sat in the
arm-chair with the sawn-off gun on his knees. Beside him, on the chair arm, a
magic pill was dissolving in a glass of rum; he had been told to take it with
alcohol. In order to set his emotions free, the Doctor had said. And added as
well that he should look more attentively at what he wanted to take with him.
Pavel Nilovich looked tenderly at the sawn-off gun, then
pressed the keys of remote controls. Both screens came alive at once, erupting
with colours and sounds, splashing out into the room the thunder of hooves, the
clank of steel, ferocious cries of fighters, moans, wails, gnashing and ringing.
On the left Arnold Schwarzenegger, Conan the Barbarian, cut like cabbages some
horse-riders in chain armour and helmets with horns and flying plumes; on the
right John Terleski, the prince of thieves, was seeking safety in flight,
swinging his sword. There was a beauty by each of the scoundrels; they pressed
to their backs timidly and squealed at the necessary moments.
That is just it! Two bandits exactly like Scar! Nodding
approvingly, Pavel Nilovich shook his glass; the pill was already practically
The Doctor sweared and crossed his heart that that was not a
drug, not a hallucinogen from which one could go mad and one's guts flow out of
one's ears, but the most modern pill for coding dreams. Swiss! Or Swedish. Pavel
Nilovich did not remember exactly. The Doctor said a lot of wisecracks as usual
- about the Freud method, about the usefulness and advisability to let some
steam out, to take stress off in time, give way to negative emotions and all
other such things. Well, he was paid to talk! After listening to all the
Doctor's lofty phrases Pavel Nilovich took one thing in: after the pill - either
Swedish or Swiss - his dream will be as real life. And he will find there what
he sees during the last ten or twenty minutes.
He looked at the left screen out of the corner of his eye,
then at the right one. On the left Schwarzenegger was skinning a horrible
monster with horns, on the right Terleski was engaged in a deadly fight with a
giant Amazon looking like a shaved Yeti female. Our women degenerate, a thought
flashed in his head; if he could only send a one like this Amazon to Scar's
racketeers! After that he looked at Conan again, at his wide cheek-bones and
wolfish smile, square shoulders and powerful chest.
He looks like Scar! Definitely like him! And if the Doctor
did not lie, he could become his twin brother in a dream! One will not be able
to tell them apart!
Pavel Nilovich's fingers caressed the blue steel barrel of
the sawn-off gun. That was a threatening weapon - a "tulka"(**), semiautomatic,
with spring hook, capable to take down both a bear and an elk. If one shoots
from the distance of five steps, the hole will be the size of a fist... At that
moment Pavel Nilovich imagined such a hole in Scar's belly, cried from hate and
gulped the rum.
Then he looked at the screen where the prince of thieves
already at peace with the Amazons was taking them to attack the enemy redoubts.
The slaughter was in full force: arrows whistled, drums thundered, bones and
skulls cracked. Terleski swung his sword angrily, cut both his own people and
No, that's not it, Pavel Nilovich decided; that's not it
nevertheless, the thief will not do against Scar. And his face is too handsome...
But the other one will suit just fine! His height, face and bandit manner... The
things he is he doing! The way he spills blood!
Eating Conan the Barbarian with his eyes, Pavel Nilovich
waited for the Swiss-Swedish drug to take effect.
And he lived to see it!
Firy precipice opened in front of him; he sunk into its
flame-coloured depth soundlessly and inescapably, having no strength to move
either an arm or a leg, without feeling either pain, cold or heat; he fell down,
fell, fell as if the bottomless bowels of a star opened in front of him, pulling
him inside, turning and spinning round in a swift whirlpool. He did not hear or
see anything besides the shining of that ominous precipice; its crimson silence
closed above him like an unpenetratable shell.
He fell down.
The transfer was sudden and abrupt; he felt himself standing
on his legs, clutching something heavy, smooth and deadly in his frozen fingers;
low wind whistling and rustling of grass and tree leaves was coming to his ears.
Then he saw a face looming in five steps from him; a swarthy face with wide
cheek-bones above the powerful square shoulders.
The damned bastard! That twin brother! There was a white scar
on his right cheek, a giant bloody sword trembled in his hands.
"What a great guy the Doctor is!" a thought flashed in Pavel
Nilovich's head. He did not deceive him with his potion! He did not take his
money in vain! So the time has come to settle accounts... to take his revenge...
to let negative emotions out...
The giant looming above him took a can of beer out of thin
air, gulped with relish and sneered, "Well, cockroach, where is the cabbage?
Where is the money, I am asking you? Otherwise..."
His blade went to the sky.
The steel glimmered with cold threat, the wolfish smile of
the bandit became wider and wider, but Pavel Nilovich did not flinch. His soul
was singing and the sound of victorious choral thundered in his ears; the moment
of reckoning was approaching.
"You want the money, don't you?" he squinted his eyes,
fastened them on the hated racketeer's face and gritted his teeth. "You will
have your money, you will have! Tomorrow! And today... today... Have it, adder!"
And, shuddering from pleasure, Pavel Nilovich emptied his
sawn-off gun into Conan the Barbarian's chest.
*) Nikolay ten rouble coin - a golden coin with the profile
of Russian tzar Nicholas II minted at the time of his reign
**) Tulka - a gun made at the Tula Armoury