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 dissolved.

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 enemies.

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