Born and raised in Kazakhstan, Ust-Kamenogorsk. Writer and screenwriter, author of several books of poetry and prose. Was named the best young Russian-speaking poet of Kazakhstan at the Festival of Creative Youth “Zhiger” (Alma-Ata, 1989).
Musician, composer, creator of ALGABAS (rock art). He currently lives in Vladimir.
WRANGLER AND JOYCE
Литературный перевод для Вранглер и Джойс (see категория Литературное Произведение)
Having ploughed through Joyce Wrangler breathed hot air of the victory out of himself and once more weighed up a hefty brick on the palm.
– Oh, shit, you, the Irish, amaze me! – he shared his admiration for the photo of Bono from “U2” on the wall. – You only need an occasion to show your mettle!
Wrangler got Ulysses as a gift as far back as in the spring on his homely semicentenary. Being a man of few words, mop-headed and big as a taiga bear, he was able only to say oho! — so heavy and thick the book with notes appeared to be.
– Thanx, buddies! My hat, nine hundred eighty three pages! Leo Tolstoy is no match!
– You bet! – perked his head Bonzo, a music lover, hipster and pacifist in times past. – It is not the magazine The Age Mate !
– I’ll manage to read it by the Day of Independence! – Wrangler promised his childhood friend, the former drummer. – Now welcome to the table! What did Jim Morrison tell of it? Right, he told that sobriety is disgusting and it separates people. In short, an icy vodka made from sea-buckthorn! And meat dumplings! Meat dumplings!
– You somewhat ain’t goin’ shabby, Wrangler, – with secret envy Big-Beat told the hero of the day. Big Beat was a good-natured stout man with sly eyes and almost hairless scalp. – It is somehow indecent at your age to have such a rocker hairdo.
– It’s a concept! – Wrangler coyly laughed off. – Plus the constitution.
– You shall remember the USSR hymn! – Funk, the former bass-guitar, huskily laughed. He was still longhaired, but sickly dried-up and wrinkled with work fatigue and bad habits.
– Oh, no, let’s better sing All you need is love! – The hero of the day nodded at the portrait of John Lennon above an old couch. – Does everybody remember the text?
Wrangler got his nickname in the last century, when he worked at the chemical fiber factory and finally set money aside for authentic branded jeans. «Wrangler» – that is how they were named. Wrangler had already had the electric guitar Eterna De Luxe – but it was not his own but the factory’s and had a big inventory number on the fingerboard.
The Eternal Pilgrims performed at a dance pavilion in the town park, amateur talent contests, graduation assemblies and even weddings. They performed not only Komsomol songs and Soviet variety hits. The major part of their repertoire consisted of their own works in the style of hard rock. About love and workers’ outskirts. About the power of good and about freedom. About jeans and flower children.
Wrangler let his hair grow long after finishing school and so kept them all through his life. At the age twenty he said the socium goodbye forever, and decidedly went on his own resources to be rather off from age mates who quickly grew old and early faded – with their petit bourgeois habits, inexhaustible conformism and regular talking of money.
At twenty two Wrangler met Marina at a dancing platform and they exchanged vows during the first night of love – to the music of Pink Floyd.
The proud parents named their sons, stair-steppers, after the heroes of rock’n’roll: Robert and Ian. However, when they had grown, they flatly denied living by rock-music and hippies’ philosophy. On which the hero of the day joked once more at the table.
– The world was catching you but failed! – Robert, owlish young man of wide reading, merrily gave forth to the parents. – Nowadays it is impossible – we are all hooked up right now. мы сейчас все на крючке.
– Yeah, old folks, it’s a pity that your epoch fell into oblivion so quickly! – Ian supported the elder brother. He was a hang-loose guy with stylish tattoos and an ear ring. – But without you we wouldn’t exist – it’s a fact!
Now they were doing real man’s business in big cities. Robert was a chief power engineer at the plastic articles plant. Ian was a trendy metropolitan photographer of glossy magazines and web-designer.
Wrangler once more gave a wink to Bono, took out plugs from his ears and for the thousandth time weighed Joyce’s brick on the palm. The rock-group Oral Contraceptives thundered and bellowed in the best traditions of the late punk. The duty period was tailing off and the soundman of the rehearsal room showed the leader of the group the spread five. In the sign language of the rock industry loud as a roll-mill shop it meant the following: “Mssrs. punks, your time is running out, only five minutes are left, wrap it up”.
– If you see a gun’s point and dial indicator pointers, no matter who you are! – Wrangler philosophically told each new group. That’s why the personnel turnover at his repertoire room was minimal. Everyone respected Wrangler that he respected others and taught nobody how to sing and play or live.
Wrangler put on the raincoat and went out into the fresh air of the chillsome October. Nature has long ago released the brakes: the impudent October rain was falling and falling like during the Flood, yet it hesitated to pass into sleet.
– Will you spare the lady a cigarette? – The girl-punk of 17 nicknamed Bird followed Wrangler into the crisp air.
– Of course, I will, why not? – The former idol of the town dance platforms smiled good-naturedly. He held out a pack of cigarettes to the girl with a dense piercing on her face.
– Could I take two?
– Sure. If only it is enjoyable and pleasant.
– How do you find The Oral Contraceptives, Wrangler? – Bird asked with a punk provocative tone and drew in on the free Marlboro. – Col, yeah?
– Let them play what they like! – Wrangler answered good-naturedly. – I don’t like many groups here and what of it? I love the old rock. When it was good-hearted and melodious.
– Mothballs, is it?
– It depends.
– How long do you live in this world? – Bird did not back off from the man who not only managed to live thirty years of independence, but plough through the diffuse Joyce.
– Long ago.
– Bloody hell! And how long have you been commanding sound?
– Three years and a half.
– Wow, I was only fourteen!
– I’m forty seven.
– My daddy is of this age now. Only he likes chanson. And like crazy he is unfaithful to mom.
– Well, people differ.
– You know, Wrangler, I ain’t gonna live so long as you are, it’s for sure! – the girl-punk all at once said sadly and flipped the ash off cigarette.
– If you do not drink and take off, you will survive to my age! – Wrangler threw his cigarette into a waste-bin. – Until thirty I also thought that I would die young. You see yourself — I’m safe and sound. Rock’n’roll helps to stick on the horse. Jagger and MacCartney are going on seventy, would you tell that?
– Who the hell are they?
– The English. The genre classics.
– I hate classics! And out of the English I respect only punk-rock and football players.
– Every generation has its own cult-figures and rats in the attic, right.
– And we are always willing to pack away shashlik and get laid with a cool dude! – The girl-punk laughed provocatively. – Besides I like unfiltered beer and skateboard.
Wrangler had a look at the electronic dial of the mobile phone and for some reason recollected that he had not been writing songs for fifteen years. They went from his life as suddenly as they once appeared. And not only because nobody already needed them.
The rollicking punk rock finally reached its noisy rugged coda, and calmed down for today.
The only thing left for Wrangler was to switch off the equipment, put the microphone stands into the corner, and collect empty cans and beer bottles into the garbage packet.
So he closed the heavy door of the room holding two packets in the hand. One packet contained the glassware and other punk-rock garbage, another one — the hefty Ulysses.
– When will it come to the end, Leopold Bloom? – Wrangler asked aloud the hero of the novel, not knowing himself why he did it. He thought that his bones and joints started aching due to weather, and this is a frank sign of inevitable old age which as is known has no advantages.
The road to home took usually not more than eight minutes. However, today Wrangler went slowly, in thoughts. His abstract paintings had been collecting dust on the dacha garret since the distant 80-es. His vinyl disks and own songs on cracked audio tape Svema are still put castaway in the closet. None of a well recorded album, none of a digitized song. Unless it be his proprietary phrase which became a saying in the town – “better a false note than a false song”. But that local TV invited Wrangler invited two times to take part in the programs Young at Heart and Rock’n’roll Tonight – that is all such trifles, Leopold Bloom!
– Trifles! Trifles! Trifles! – Wrangler for some purpose cried into the booming emptiness of the garbage bin where he had just delivered the punk-rock wastes. He went back to the thought that to be a longhaired and pacifist-hippy at 50 was not so much honorable and righteous as laughable and inconvenient.
But could he, Wrangler, become a rural priest, public servant or conceited business as did some of his classmates? Of course not! Everyone meets his own fate, everyone lives inasmuch as he once chose. This world needs not only creators and servants, but modest contemplators as well. Isn‘t it so, Joyce, the Irish?
– Leopold Bloom! – Wrangler couldn’t still went away from the booming garbage bin. – Bloom! Bloom! Bloom!
– Hey, you, bum! Come here, quickly! – Someone’s sharp crack voice trying to be low and horse suddenly pierced the humid twilight of October.
Wrangler turned head and weak-sightedly look around the young men’s shadow figures in hoods. They were precisely four as The Beatles or Led Zeppelin.
– Don’t you, bastard, have dough for a hairdresser? – sounded the sharper aggressive voice of another member of the quartet. – Are you collecting louses here on the dump? Bottles?
Right there Wrangler felt someone’s angry fingers grasped his curly head of hair as the great Robert Plank’s.
They batted, punched and kicked Wrangler with sharp-nosed shoes. They beat him until the man in the raincoat fell into mud and found that he kept the packet with Joyce in hand.
The yobbos’ quartet was so loudly excited with their toughness and walkover that they even missed to understand when Wrangler again stood to feet and upon their hoods strokes if not fate then vendetta indeed fell.
The most cunning one ran helter-skelter away first – their backs melted into the fog right during the first seconds of the counterblow. The third participant of the quartet tried to grab the flying packet with a thing looking like a brick, but gauge the situation just in time and beat feet. Only the fourth one for some reason still tightly gripping the bat in hand, remained to lie in wet mud, his sharp-nosed shoes occasionally jerked.
Wrangler bent over the lamest duck of the quartet, beaconed his face with the cigarette lighter and by the free hand turned back from the dirty face the hood black as night before Last Judgment.
– What you have done, Leopold Bloom! – Wrangler just uttered by the blood-stained. He did not recognize his own voice.
In the packet Ulysses’s main hero kept deathly silence. As did the yobbo with a whitish forelock from the perforated temple of whose hot steaming blood trickled pulsating out.
Wrangler dragged himself up from the dirt and sinful earth, took out the mobile phone with the pain twisted fingers.
– Marina, it’s me… No, I am not drunk. Call urgently police and emergency aid to the corner of Alabyev and Balakirev streets, right to the garbage bins. It seems I’ve just killed a man, with Joyce.