Translation:A case in provincial town

A case in provincial town  (2016) 
by Viktor Pinchuk, translated from Russian by Wikisource
Literary miniature from the book "Six months by islands... and countries" (Russian: Полгода по островам… и странам), published in 2016. The source:Провинциальная_история_(из_книги_«Полгода_по_островам…_и_странам»).jpg

Literary miniature, written during a long solo expedition that included nine countries.

Walking along the park, I noticed a strange person: either a buffoon — or a clown, and with him a monkey on a leash. This couple looked slightly provincial, was imbued with deep sadness and so expressive that they still stand before my eyes. I sat down on a bench, took a pen with a notepad from my pocket, and wrote the title.

They always worked as a duet, filling in the pauses between the performances of real artists: jugglers, magicians, acrobats. It was rumored that many of the regulars came to the circus just to see these two. When the ringmaster, not without the help of a joke on duty, announced the entry of this pair into the arena, the ranks applauded enthusiastically, and somebody usually supplemented the applause with exclamations of approval. A clown in a stupid cap and a little monkey with sad eyes — you can't imagine of a more funnier duet. After another performance, they always got home walking on a dirt road, extremely rarely using a tram.. The clown, as usual, recited poetry, and the monkey walked in silence. At home, in the cozy silence of four walls, the speaker of an old tape recorder was quietly broadcasting King Crimson’s "Epitaph", as if recalling the frailty of life, the meaninglessness of the past, present and future.

After a modest meal, the owner reading a book, and a "girlfriend" watched the street events with interest through the window. Perhaps she saw the palm trees of sultry Africa there, or vice versa — the skyscrapers of megalopolises. Being a lover of esoteric literature — which is often among people of this profession — the clown sometimes turned to his partner with a request to clarify the paragraph had read. In response, interlocutress usually thoughtfully looked at the ceiling and scratching the back of his neck.

Once, during a performance, the monkey lost her favorite plastic pearl necklace. The whole troupe was looking for it. Found a couple of days later in a hippopotamus cage. How it got there remained a mystery to everyone. However, the tale is not about this loss.

One day the famous folk-rock-ethno group "New Baboons" came to the town with a concert of their hits. The lead singer was dressed in gray-blue overalls, reminiscent of a sanitary technician's uniform uniform, and a monkey wrench made of Styrofoam was sticking out from his front pocket. The group's compositions were like drinking songs that are performed on New Year's Eve, on Salary Day and other festivities, by plumbers, spliting a bottle three ways. "The goal of our creativity is to get close to the people..." — said the star in an interview with local television.

The tour did not last long: other cities and, possibly... countries were waiting for the group. Once upon a time a certain leader said that "the most important of the arts is cinema." Now are different times : music is a worthy competitor to cinema.

Waking up in the morning of an ordinary day, outwardly not portending anything bad, the clown noticed that the assistant had disappeared. He hurried to the circus, hoping to find a monkey behind the scenes there. But none of the staff knew anything. Not finding a place for himself, the unfortunate man spent the whole day in search, trying to put forward various versions of what had happened. He even called the hospital and the morgue, forgetting that these institutions serve only people. And only by the end of the day, the upset artist found out that his marmoset had left with vocalist of the ill-fated rock group.

…When on Saturday evening the clown entered the arena, dragging a huge chest with a padlock behind him, the admirers of the duet, as always, loudly applauded. At first, no one understood what was going on, expecting that the heroine of the act was about to appear, unexpectedly jumping out of the most unpredictable place: for example, from a chest. But, instead, the unexpected happened: opening the inflatable lock with a giant key, comedian pulled out a large props pistol from inside and shot himself in the temple...

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