Chapter 046

Sergey and I went to get the money.

“Seryoga, what would you do if you had enough money? Let’s say we worked like this for a couple of years, we made enough money, the company grew, we hired people, and we had free time… What would you do?” Fidgeting in my seat, I prepared myself for a long, pleasant conversation. Half an hour round trip to “Fort” – I liked this route better than the others.

“Oh, Romych, well…” Sergey was confused.

“What do you like best, Seryoga?” I enjoyed the thought.

“Roman, I don’t know… Let me think about it…” Sergey stopped talking.

“Have you thought about it?” I shook my partner.

“I like to cook!” he said. “I would open a little restaurant, so that it would be almost for my own people… And I’d cook there myself! I mean, not all the time, but when I felt like it, I’d cook there myself and serve the customers…”

“That’s a good idea!” I exclaimed, realizing that I was pleasantly surprised. “I like it! We’ll make money and you’ll open your own restaurant! I’ll come visit you!”

The “Mazda” rattled its wheels at the crossing.

“And I’d be making movies!” I dreamily threw my hands back behind the headrest.

“Movies!???” Sergey turned his surprised face to me.

“Yeah, why? I like it! Cool activity!” I continued, fantasizing about the future and seeing myself on the set of a great movie. “It’s cool to be a director!”

“Why not an actor?”

“Actor? No, not interested! I mean… I could be an actor too! But… I’d rather be a director. An actor only if I’d get a really great script, not just as a profession – you act for ten years in some TV series, and then… maybe you get a good role! And the director is still the most important person on the set, he actually makes the movie… and the actors are no big deal…”

I brushed it off, the car rolled out onto the asphalt, and I was squeezed into the seat.

“Then you should go to Moscow!” Sergey said after a pause.

“I’d love to!” I shrugged. “But not so soon… we still have to develop the company here so that it works almost without us… and then I can go. It won’t be that soon, Seryoga! Only when everything will be fine here and each of us will want to do something else!”

Sergey remained silent.

There was a pause in communication for a few minutes – we drove around the temple, through the village market – and then, as if thinking about the new information, Sergey said:

“Movies are a good thing! So go ahead, Roman, practice filming! I’ll give you money then, I’ll invest in it…”


Sales of dichlorvos set and maintained the pace. The remnants of the season’s main product were melting away every day. By mid-June, there were about five hundred packs left.

“Seryoga, it’s time to order a second truck!” I said, turning in my chair at the table.

“Come on!” he raised his eyebrows and clarified with surprise, “You want to order another truck!??”

“Yeah, do the math. We sell the first one at the end of June. So it’ll be gone in two and a half months, by the middle of the season. And there are two more months, and if we’re lucky with the weather in September, two and a half months of good sales…”

“No, Roman, what two months!?” Sergey protested. “July and two weeks of August, and that’s it! A month and a half! What two and a half!?? No, what truck, what are you talking about!?”

“Seryoga, I understand that in September sales won’t be so good, but the peak – the last week of July and the first week of August – is still ahead of us! And sales will be even higher! The peak will compensate for the decline… Think about it.”

“No, Roman, this is reckless! I like what you’re suggesting, but it’s too much!” my partner shook his head. “Ten tons would be just right! But a truck – no, we won’t sell it!”

“Seryoga, just think about it…” I decided to reach Sergey through his doubts with cold logic. “We’ll sell half of it for sure… agree?”

“Yes,” he exhaled loudly, folded his arms over his chest and nervously jerked his knee.

“That’s two and a half thousand, and we’ll sell them by mid-August when sales slow down, right?”


“There will be sales for the rest of the warm season, right? We’ll sell something by the end of September anyway…”

“I guess we will, yeah,” Sergey nodded cautiously, thinking a little, as if he was afraid of making a mistake with every word he said.

“Well, how many more do you think we can sell in the meantime? Up to a thousand, right?”

“Uh… Seven hundred… Seven or eight hundred boxes or so we can sell…”

“All right, let’s say seven hundred,” I agreed. “A total of three two hundred out of four nine hundred…”

I looked at Vera who grabbed a calculator, poked at the buttons and said:

“One thousand seven hundred remains!”

“That’s fine!” I waved my hands, satisfied with the calculations.

“And where are we going to put it?” Sergey either didn’t understand or insisted.

“What do you mean, where? They will spend the winter in the warehouse! Let them stay until next spring… And during the winter we will revalue them and make money!” I added my argument.

“But we have to buy the goods!” Sergey stuck to his argument.

“Why? We’ll see!” I sighed, feeling the growing fatigue of the dialogue; it was like wading through a swamp, losing strength with every movement. “It’s not certain that we have to buy it, we’ll try to negotiate to freeze the debt until spring.”

“Naaah…” Vera frowned. “They won’t agree… it’s too much debt…”

“Vera…” I sighed again, as if I had fallen deeper into the mire, looked at my partner’s wife reproachfully, gathered my patience and explained. “They will agree… And they will agree precisely because the debt is large… This is the law of large numbers! If the debt is small, they will demand it, and if it is large, it will be difficult to demand it. What’s their choice? Take the goods back? Who will bring the goods back to Novosibirsk? It’s too expensive and unrealistic in winter. And it would be unrealistic to get such a sum from us… It would be easier to freeze it. Okay, why are we talking about something that hasn’t happened yet!?”

I was suddenly angry, I wanted to end the conversation with specifics.

“There is nothing to discuss yet, but I suggest we bring another full truckload. They’ll send it to us, no problem! We’ll pay for the first one, they’ll be happy, and they’ll send us the second one on the same terms. I think we should take it while they’re giving it to us. And what’s left over, if there’s any left over, fuck it, we’ll figure it out in the fall! If there is a problem, there is a solution! What’s there to discuss!?” I waved my hands and stopped talking, realizing that I was almost exhausted.

“Roman, I guess we could bring a truck…” Sergey started, but suddenly stopped and immediately waved his hand, having resolved his doubts. “Yeah, I guess we could! Yes! Let’s do it! I’m for it!

The decision was made. We placed an order and sent it off that same day, leaving the number in the main column unchanged. The stakes went up again, the adrenaline pumped through my blood, and I was even more excited.


“I want to create a dynasty,” Sergey surprised me as we began our next conversation in the car. We turned out of the factory gate and drove over the bumps.”

“Create a dynasty!??” I stared at him in bewilderment, unable to believe my ears.

“Yes, a dynasty…” Sergey repeated, not catching other shades in my surprise.

“It is when you have your own house… such an oak staircase to the second floor… and along the stairs hang portraits of dynastic ancestors, right? And yours is the first, the most respectable, right?” I described the image that immediately came to mind.

“Well, yes, I would like that…” Sergey said quite seriously.

“That is, you would like your children and grandchildren to come up to your portrait and say, I don’t know, to guests or relatives – here, they say, our grandfather! The founder of the dynasty. He started it all. He started the family business…”

I looked at Sergey’s face, which was turned to the road, and I did not find in it the slightest hint of a joke, irony, or anything that would allow me to doubt the seriousness of his thoughts and words. No! He was speaking seriously!

“Yes, I would like that…” Sergey nodded, which sent me into a stupor. I suddenly realized how different he and I were. “Man, that’s fucking bullshit… Seryoga is driven by vanity… I knew he was vain, but this much… What a joke. Doing something just so he can hang his portrait on the wall and have people pray to it… what a stupid and vulgar thing to do… creepy… ugh…” I shuddered, and the image of Sergey, which at first was almost in the sky, in a moment jumped the point of our equality, shrunk to microscopic size, and from that moment I began to look down at him. There, at my feet, stood the meager Seryozha Lobov, capriciously demanding from life a portrait of himself on the wall of achievements.

As we dangled on the dirt road, I silently pondered his words and the change that had occurred in me. As the “Mazda” roared down the asphalt, my thoughts stopped bouncing along with the car and my sarcasm was released from its chaos. I immediately recognized this transition, which had happened to me more than once in relation to people who had lost their authority and importance in my eyes. Sarcasm, like a hungry demon, slumbering but waiting for this moment, was released and immediately jumped on Sergey’s pathetic personality, wanting to nibble it to the bone. And the process inside me, which had been sluggish before, suddenly accelerated and came out – I was thinking about the future of the company, about my place in it. I looked into that future through my consciousness and saw nothing there. The air castle floated away, and the company with Sergey lost the future. I was thinking. And my thoughts were accelerated by Sergey himself.

“Romych, what are we going to do with the money?” he said on another ride.

“Seryoga, um…” I exhaled, compiling my thoughts. In June we had a flow of money for the goods we had shipped earlier. This money had to be used wisely.

“Come on! For what?” Sergey frowned and turned his surprised face to me when I again mentioned new distribution contracts with larger manufacturers.

“We are doing well with our product, Seryoga! But we’re almost at the maximum…” I waved my hands. “We can’t squeeze any more out of what we have… If we want to develop, we have to think seriously about distribution… We need to hire a staff of managers who will work closely with retailers, and add more cars to Petya… And let them run around.”

“Why do we have to do this, Roman?” Sergey’s face grew even more displeased.

“Seryoga, there is no other way. We’ve already exhausted our wholesale potential. And that’s not even the point. We use the barter system, and the barter sales are also wholesale, it will not last long… Everyone else like us is also pushing barter goods into the same depots, and they can’t take it all… You see how the competition in ‘Peresvet’ has intensified… It’s good, we have Senya in ‘Mercury’, it’s quiet there, but Senya might not be there at any moment… and that’s it. Where do we put the exchange goods? We’re hanging by a thread, Seryoga!” I spread my hands again. “So I would go into serious distribution, take a few large factories, sign contracts with them and start using them… Yes, there will be the usual minimal profit… but that’s not the main thing! The main thing is that such factories would pull us like a locomotive, and all our current goods would go like a trailer… And the markup on it would remain the same, you understand? We’d keep the markup on the goods at the expense of the ‘locomotive’.”

“What, you don’t think we can keep it?” Sergey’s look of surprise was mixed with worry and fear.

“Of course not! We’ll be driven into a corner sooner or later. What we have is a freebie! It can’t be considered normal. It just happened, we got lucky, just lucky! I told you when we merged, Seryoga, we’d mark up as much as we could and make money… Yes, we’d get nailed later, but the money would be in our pockets! And winners can’t be judged!”

“I remember you said we would only work for three years, and that was it!” my partner snapped in an arrogant tone. “Well, we’ve been working for two years now, and our sales are only growing. I don’t see anyone pushing us, as you put it!”

“Seryoga, you’re right!” I began to get emotional. “I am surprised myself that we have been working for two years and no one has tried… None of our competitors have even checked our markups! I’m just amazed, to be honest, and surprised!”

I put my hand to my heart, letting him know that my words were sincere.

“What makes you think anyone should be checking our markups at all?” Sergey’s lips curled up in an insult.

“Because I would!” And in this argument I repeated myself and smiled. “If I had my eye on a good that I could snatch for myself, I would check the office that sells it… And if there was a gap of more than twenty percent, I wouldn’t hesitate to go there!”

Sergey was silent.

“And we have more than twenty percent everywhere, Seryoga!” I added.

“Fuck, we have more than thirty!” he cackled with pleasure.

“Exactly!” I hummed too. “And now the market will start to shrink, it has already started… The networks will only grow and crush retail. Wholesalers’ retail sales will fall. Everyone will immediately go to the wholesale depots that we use… and the markups will go down… and everyone will look for more profitable goods, and we have exactly that… I don’t think anybody’s not going to start checking us… I’m surprised no one has done it yet…”

“What do you suggest?”

“I just told you!”

“Roman, what’s the point?” Sergey twitched irritably, grimaced as if he’d heard obvious stupidity, and looked at me in surprise. “The wagon runs as it is!”

“Seryoga, all right, all right!” I said impatiently, holding back the anger that was about to break out. “I hear you! You do not want to invest in the development of the company, I see… What are your proposals then? What are we going to do with the profits?”

“I would buy plots!” Sergey said immediately.

“What do you mean, plots?” I didn’t understand.

“Plots of land!”

“Which ones? There are different kinds of them – some for development, some for some kind of use… And we don’t have enough money for them… These plots are measured in hectares…”

“No – dacha plots, plots for private houses… They’re cheap now, they’ll go up in price, you’ll see… We could buy some…”

“How much do they cost now?”

“Roman, it depends! Here in Sladkovka a man sells six square meters for thirty thousand. Sladkovka is quoted, it’s considered a good place! And he’s been selling for six months, still no result. It’s worth ten thousand! Buy a plot for ten or twenty and let it sit there, it won’t ask for food. Keep it for two years and sell it for double the price, that’s fifty percent profit a year!”

I thought about it. The thought dived into my brain, ran through its convolutions, turned into our hard-earned money, and was immediately scattered on plots of land around us. I wrinkled my nose – I didn’t like the idea. It was a way to spread the money around, and I thought it was better to keep it in one or two properties. “We buy these plots… but how do we formalize them? Each plot for the two of us? That’s nonsense! We’ll drown in paperwork. We’ll have to register one for me and one for Sergey… That’s not an option either – the price of the land will be different… And it’s not sure that we’ll sell them all later. Half of them will be sold, half of them will stay, and that’s all the profit… stays in the ground. Besides, I don’t know much about land, how much it’s worth… We’ll buy it and then we’ll be stuck with it for five years. No, it’s easier to buy an apartment and have it built… It could get better for one and worse for the other, and all this crap will start – you bought the better land and I got the worse… No… I don’t need these squabbles!” I thought and even shrugged – I didn’t like the idea that the plots might cause discord between us in the future.

“No, Seryoga,” I wrinkled my nose and shook my head negatively, “I don’t like this idea very much, we will scatter the money among the plots and then we won’t be able to collect it!”

“Roman, why should we scatter the money!?” he exclaimed.

“Seryoga, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anything about plots… What lands to buy? Where? No!” I shook my head resolutely and remained unconvinced. “I would leave the money in the company and sign some serious distribution contracts!”

“No, Roman, this is definitely not something we should do. We’re fine the way we are. We’re going steady. You said, of course, I remember, that we would close down in two or three years… But as you can see, we are not closing, we are working and only growing!” Sergey sarcastically brushed it off.

“Seryoga, I did not say that we will close down in two or three years, I said that in two years, maximum three, we will be driven into a corner and we will have to go down to the usual markups, and the freebies with big profits will end!” I resented the twisting of my words.

“No, Roman, I remember very well – you said we would close down!” Sergey said with pressure, raising his voice.

“Seryoga, I didn’t say that, I said that we would be driven into a corner! I certainly did not say that we would close in three years!” I was stubborn.

“Roman, I still do not think we need to sign new distribution contracts and invest in them!” he snapped nervously.

“Seryoga, if you don’t think so, it’s okay… I’m not insisting… I just expressed my opinion…” I said conciliatorily, extinguishing the mutual irritation and dissatisfaction.

We both fell silent. Suddenly I remembered, and thinking aloud rather than admonishing Sergey, I said:

“When my father and I were busy with beer, our neighbors across the street were selling sugar…”

“Yes, you told me, I remember!” Sergey interrupted nervously, as if to nip the story in the bud. “You sold beer, took sugar from them and made more money with it than with beer! Well done, Roman!”

I turned a deaf ear to this sarcasm, caught a whiff of typical sharp envy, grinned and continued: “No, Seryoga, it’s not about that… not about how wonderful I and my father were… These ‘sugar guys’ had loaders, young men about thirty years old… And one of them once told me that he was also in business with his friends and they had everything… they started earning good money… and then, as usual, parties, bashing, wenches, saunas… and they made their money away together with the business…”

I paused, noticing that Sergey was all ears and paying attention, and continued satisfactorily: “So the most important thing, Seryoga, is not to become like those guys who ‘had it all’. Do you understand? We have a great opportunity to build a big company and a serious business. We’re at our peak right now, we’ve got sales so hot we can’t go any further… with the product we have. We need to move to a whole new level… we need an intensive step, now we are moving extensively… we have mastered this level, that’s it, we can’t squeeze more out of it… To make a qualitative leap, we need to invest… A qualitative transition implies a great expenditure of money and energy… But then it will be compensated by an extensive expansion at the new level… and it will be bigger than the current one… And then a new level… And so on and so forth. We must not blow our chance, Seryoga, lest we become the dudes who ‘had it all’…”

“Roman, I got it!” Sergey said sharply.

By the third year of communication, I was well versed in the nuances of my partner’s voice and intonation. I unmistakably recognized the sharpness and irritation in Sergey’s last sentence – his unwillingness to listen to supposed moralizing, and his aversion to words found more in books than on the backstreet. I noticed that he was embarrassed by such words – he remembered them badly and inaccurately. Sergey deliberately inserted narrowly specialized words into his speech in order not to appear backward and thus increase the weight of himself and what he said in the eyes of the listener. But Sergey found it difficult to understand and work with such words. And people who did it naturally and easily caused him dissatisfaction. My father and I were often the source of this reaction. At first Sergey hid it, but the longer we communicated, the more often and vividly it appeared.

There was a long pause. I turned to the window.

“It won’t do any good here… We should withdraw the money, accumulate it in one place, and then we’ll see…” I thought bitterly. I knew that I could convince him if I wanted to. And Sergey would agree. But I had already studied him enough not to do that. I knew that all the fuss about the company’s growth, hiring employees, their control, and in general – all the new problems – I would have to solve myself. Sergey would not refuse directly, he would only slack off. And this thought stopped me. At that moment, silently looking out of the window, I let go of the reins and left our business to the will of the current. I realized that I was actually spelling the death of the company. But I was no longer willing to paddle for two.

“We could buy another apartment and have it built…” I broke the silence.

“Another one?” Sergey woke up and looked at me in surprise.

“Yes… one room… we can make it, I calculated…”

“Where, in the same place?”

“Yes, in the same house! We can’t afford a two-room, but a one-room is fine!” I nodded.

Biting his lips for a few seconds, Sergey mumbled: “Well, let’s do it…”

“Okay. I’ll go and find out what’s what…”

“Yes, go and find out!” Sergey immediately softened. “You could do it today…”

“As for the plots, Seryoga, if you want, we can do it too! We can try. But I don’t know anything about them, so if you want, look for plots, we’ll check them, maybe we’ll buy some…” I took a step towards my partner, and the feeling of guilt that had somehow arisen in my chest and weighed me down disappeared.

Our conversation almost immediately turned to other distracting topics.

“What kind of movie would you like to make?” Sergey suddenly puzzled me.

“Damned if I know, Seryoga,” I shrugged. “I definitely wouldn’t make a horror or comedy movie… I’d do some action or sci-fi maybe…”

“Yeah, I kind of thought you’d say that,” Sergey said, adding after a moment of silence, “But why not comedy and horror?”

“Comedies are the hardest to make, they definitely need talent and desire, and I have neither of those things… Horror?” I grimaced and shrugged. “Ugh! No! Horror is definitely not my thing… Of course there are good horror movies that I like, but I wouldn’t film them… It’s on a subconscious level, you know… Sometimes you sleep and see some dreams, and I always have some kind of shooting, spaceships…”

“Is that what you dream about?” Sergey looked at me.

“Yes,” I said, embarrassed.

“I see, ‘Star Wars’ in short!” Sergey smiled.

“Well, sort of,” I smiled too. “I would make cyberpunk.”

“What’s that?” Sergey gave me a surprised look.

“Have you seen ‘Blade Runner’?” I perked up.

“Yeah… It’s cyberpunk or something!?” Sergey perked up too and playfully furrowed his eyebrows.

“Yeah, kind of… That’s the style I like! I would make something like that!”

“I didn’t like the movie at all!” Sergey curled his lips. “It’s about nothing, pointless! Some robots running around, some guy running after them, catching them for some reason…”

“You just didn’t understand the meaning of the movie, you looked at the picture, you didn’t get the point…”

“Then what is the point?” Sergey immediately reacted sarcastically.

“It is a simple meaning, the meaning of the value of life. He, the replicant, didn’t kill the hunter at the end because he himself had realized the value of life earlier and wanted him to learn it too, and the man realized it… when the replicant held his hand on the roof of the house and could let him go at any moment… He left in the finale with this secretary who turned out to be a replicant as well…”

“Really?” my partner looked at me surprised and confused.

“Yeah… you just have to look beyond the surface and understand the hidden meaning… Otherwise, yes – running around shooting… just an ordinary action movie, but beautifully filmed.”

“Someone comes up with such things, right?” Sergey shook his head.

“I think such things are usually not invented, they just pop out of the subconscious somewhere in a dream!” I waved my hand. “You sleep, and there you go! Get it and go filming…”

“I only have nightmares!” Sergey said in frustration.

“What do you mean, nightmares? What kind?”

“Oh, Roman, different things!” Sergey brushed it off. “Some creepy things – blood, I’m killing someone, cutting someone, someone is chasing me, I’m covered in blood, blood and guts all over the place…”

“Wow!” I almost whistled. “That’s quite a dream you have!”

“Yeah, I’m telling you, they’re horrible. I don’t sleep well. I fall asleep and then sleep in snatches.”

“Nah, I sleep like a baby!” I smiled. “I hardly dream about anything… just rarely. I go to bed and pass out immediately and am gone until morning!”


“Here’s a good plot,” Sergey said on the morning of Monday, June 18. He had brought a stack of fresh newspapers, spread them out on the table, and ran his eyes over the pages.

“Call them, we can take a look,” I said, relaxing in the chair by the door with the remnants of the sleep.

Sergey looked at me carefully, sighed, and began to press the fax buttons with his finger. As I learned from the conversation, the land was outside the city in the north, fifteen kilometers away. The owner wanted fifty thousand rubles for it.

“There’s another one not far away!” Sergey said. “We can look at it.”

“Call them, we’ll go there too!” I nodded, stretched and crossed my arms over my chest.

Sergey called and arranged to look at the second plot.

“So, let’s take a look?” he suggested, getting up from the table.

“Let’s go!” I cheered and jumped up.

“Vera, you’ll manage here, if anything, okay?” Sergey took the phone from the table.

“Okay, Seryozha,” Vera said without pleasure.

We went outside and approached the “Mazda”. The side of the car reflected the glare of the sun, revealing long, wavy scratches.

“Wow!!! Seryoga! How did you end up like this!?” I stopped and wrinkled my nose in pain.

“Melyokha, Fedot and I had a retreat on Saturday!” He splashed his hands. “We drove through the forest in our cars. Fedot ahead in his jeep, me behind… Almost got stuck there, had to wade through the bushes!”

“Sorry about that…” I said, seeing that the scratches were deep and had damaged the protective coating down to the paint.

“No big deal, when I sell it – I’ll have it polished and that’s it!” Sergey waved and ducked into the cabin. I walked around the car and saw the same thing on the left side, shrugged, went back and sat down in the salon. Inside, everything was to match – the floors, the panels of the car were smeared with dirt in places, as if several people had galloped all over the cabin and the seats. We drove off. I suddenly realized that Sergey’s carelessness had finally affected his car. The “Mazda” he had bought two years ago, when it was seven years old, and which had looked literally new with a neatly preserved interior, now looked noticeably shabby and worn. I looked around meticulously and squeamishly.

“It’s nothing, Roman, never mind!” Sergey brushed it off, noticing my look. “I’ll have to tell Verok, she’ll clean up here, wash everything…”

“No, no matter… But it’s obvious that you’ve been partying hard this weekend…”

We drove north. We touched the city on the ring road and got on the highway leading to Moscow. In another half hour we were there. The land was not far from an abandoned village with a few houses. Despite the fact that the village was on the highway, it was clearly dying out. “A dead place,” I thought, and gave up on the plot.

“So, Roman, let’s have a look?” Sergey said cheerfully.

“Let’s go,” I nodded and jumped over the ditch after him.

Behind the planting of trees we discovered a field divided into plots – a dacha settlement. The settlement looked as deserted as the village. Most of the plots were not even fenced, just marked with crooked sticks sticking out of the ground. The plot we were looking for was in the second row. We walked past the first row and stopped at a stick.

“It looks like this one, huh?” Sergey looked at me.

“Yes, this one,” I looked at the grassy rectangle of land.

“So, what do you think?” Sergey looked at me with a sour face.

“I don’t know… I don’t like it, I wouldn’t buy a plot here… Some abandoned dachas.”

“Yeah… I don’t like it either…” Sergey looked at me carefully, sadly. “Let’s go to another one? Or to the office?”

“As you wish, Seryoga,” I shrugged, showing complete apathy. “We can check it out, it’s not far.”

“Let’s go then!” He cheered up.

After a dozen kilometers to the north, we found ourselves in a large settlement. The second plot turned out to be the same – a weedy field on the outskirts of the village. Even the markings were missing. Sergey began to call the owner, trying to understand the boundaries of the plot. I walked back and forth beside the “Mazda” with a detached look.

“Let’s go, shall we?” Sergey suggested sourly.

“Yes, let’s go,” I nodded and got into the car.

We drove through the streets of the village and in five minutes we were back on the highway.

“When are you going to ask about the apartment?” Sergey said, making me realize that the topic of plots was closed. I showed no interest, and his enthusiasm had dried up in half a day.

“I can come by tonight…” I said, looking out the window. “What, you want me to check out the conditions and look at one-room apartments?”

“Yes, we’ll buy another apartment. Have it built…”

In the evening after work, I went to the construction company’s office.

“Five hundred thousand down payment and sign the contract!” the manager said as soon as I mentioned the purpose of my visit.

“We don’t have five hundred, we have three hundred,” I said.

The woman ran her fingers over the calculator buttons and said:

“Could you at least pay four hundred – thirty percent?”

“We don’t have four hundred now, we only have three hundred,” I repeated. “Don’t worry, we’ll definitely buy the apartment before the end of construction, it’s still two and a half years away! Our business is doing well, the income is good!”

The manager hesitated.

“But if it’s a matter of principle, I can come back in a month – it’ll be four hundred…” I retreated, having calculated the maneuver.

“Please sit here, I’ll ask the director!” The woman reacted and stamped her heels down the corridor. In a minute she came back, sat down in the chair, put the contract on the table and said with feigned seriousness: “All right, the director authorized it, I took the responsibility for it! You are a disciplined customer, in good standing with us! But remember, if anything happens, the director will hang me!”

“Don’t worry, everything will be fine. We won’t let you down. Okay, then we’ll come to you next Monday and bring the money.”

The woman froze and looked at me questioningly.

“I will not buy the apartment alone, my partner and I will register it for both of us, one second for each of us,” I explained, removing the question with a counter look.

“Ah, well, come back on Monday and we’ll sign the contract then!”

“Uh-huh,” I nodded, said goodbye, and walked out. The weather was beautiful and there was no rush, so I walked home, pondering a thought. The guilt I felt for my father weighed on my mind. I knew it wasn’t my fault that he left the company. Even when my father tried to blame me for what had happened, I didn’t accept his arguments. But I felt it in my gut. I looked for ways to get rid of this crushing feeling. And… I think I found it. I decided to register my half of the apartment to my father. With a distant goal in mind.

“If the company does well, I can buy the other half and leave the apartment to my father… as compensation for the money he didn’t earn in the company… and so he won’t think I’m such a bad son…” came to my mind.

The next day I suggested to Sergey that the apartment should be registered to my father and Vera. He immediately agreed, which even surprised me. On Monday, June 25, we signed a joint construction contract for a one-room apartment of 49.16 square meters in the same building where the previous apartment was built.

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