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English / 07.09.2019 / 496

Brasileiro. Chapter III

Nikolay Mokhov, author from the Dark Side of Business

Part I. Vaeroy
Chapter III. Camping

From his warm flat, Brasileiro fell into the moist, dark air. He had a rucksack behind his back.
In the rucksack, he had camping gear, a tent and some cod. Once despised fish was sun-dried in accordance with the Vikings’ recipe. He had a year and a bit on an island of fugitives and thieves, alongside unanswered questions and erratic memories, all under his belt. Brasileiro was thinking about his parents, with whom he hadn’t been in touch for many months. A phone call with them kept being postponed from one Sunday to another. Months disappeared that way. When was the last time he called home? Presumably when he was serving on that rusty vessel. A few years ago.

The man smiled to his thoughts. When he had just arrived on his very first Norwegian island, he saw a big, beautiful ship at the dock. For a few shameful yet pleasant moments, he thought that it’s that ship he would be working on.

Those dreams were interrupted by the port workers. They pointed at the rusty vessel. It was meant to be sent off to be repaired if a special inspection indicated the metal’s excessive thinness. If the vessel’s corpus got as slim as an anorexic girl, then it was supposed to be fattened. However, repairs — they’re expensive, and buying the silence of those who inspected the vessels — that’s cheap. From time to time, the vessels would sink. Nothing to do about that...

The reliable thought that «Everyone here had it this way» upheld Brasileiro’s shaky legal position

Thus, he started living a life of a seafarer. The island, on which he stumbled into his adventures, was called Karma. It was Brasileiro who changed its name to Karma.

The man’s life was tough on him, it would slap him on the back to kick the youthful romance out of him. On a rusty ship, through the boiling, freezing sea, he was transporting cargo of little importance — stones for construction work. One would think, that even a day of such roaming would be enough for the sea of romance to be swallowed by the ocean of cynicism and practicism… Perhaps, there was no sea left. But the underwater lake still fuelled Brasileiro. The long nights when he was standing by the wheel, all by himself, when the sea would get calm, and through the depth of the sky, above his head, the stars would come out… Those moments gave a purpose to his journey. And in his never-ending mental dialogue with his father, Brasileiro would say:

— At least I can see the stars…

In the recent years, even that naive excuse for the strangeness of his existence was gone. On Vaeroy, the light from the stars rarely pushed through the thickness of domestic life. He lacked the strength to lift his head up.

Brasileiro breathed in the cold salty air, nearby, there was turbulence in the sea.
Inside, everything was shrinking. The day before yesterday, he had officially quit the factory. Well, officially is one way to put it. Same as the rest of the fugitives, Brasileiro couldn’t get employed under his real name. Formally, it was the local drunkard working. Meanwhile, the drunkard, too, received a small share — the payment for his documents being used in the employment agreement.

The reliable thought that «Everyone here had it this way» upheld Brasileiro’s shaky legal position. There were no scary criminals on Vaeroy. Even if there were murderers amongst the fugitives, then they didn’t reveal themselves here. By going to the island, people weren’t trying to escape the police as much, as they were trying to escape their own bad thoughts...



Brasileiro

His fingers were freezing from the cold. Gauntlets over the gloves, winter boots… None of this protected him from the harsh wind. The arctic ocean is nearby. Is that where the wind is blowing from?

— Brasileiro, why did you get distracted? Hook it up... — commanded the crew chief. He was making sure that the workers were quick at hanging the fish to dry.

Brasileiro looked at the cod with hatred. Cod, cod, cod... Those who never lived in northern Europe would not understand the significance of this fish. It would be shocking to find out that in the second half of the 20th century, there were three times when Iceland was ready to start a war with England over codfish.

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Heavenly place

Far away from the yacht, closer to the shore, tourists were surfing the sea on water skis and jet skis. Children were wading in shallow water, and you could watch them from the little white house on the slope. From this house, you could hear the laughter of the vacationists, the squeals of the children and the roars of the engines. The housing in this area was blatantly called the “Heavenly place”. And in this heavenly place, an older couple was discussing their plans for the day:

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Bored

I once lived with a girl who knew the real nature of boredom.

- I'm bored to death! Tell me something ... ”, she said.

“Not now”, I stared at the wall. I wanted to think out an interesting idea.

“Why aren't you talking to me?"

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Escaping Fate?

My grandfather Semyon escaped dekulakization, a wave of Soviet repressions in the 1930s. He grew up in a big family. His father died fighting in the First World War, and his grandfather (my great-grandfather) had a fairly decent, by rural standards, household. He had a sturdy house, some horses… In the Soviet thirties, this was a death sentence.

Read more...

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