Nikita Ivanich started putting signposts all over town. Next to his own house he carved one that said “Nikita’s Gates.” As if we didn’t know. No gates there, but still. They rotted. Well, all right. In another place he carved “Balchug St.” Then: “Polyanka Rd.” “Strastnoi Blvd.” “Kuznetsky Bridge.” “Volkhonka St.” You ask him: Nikita Ivanich, what’s going on? And he says: I want to keep memory alive. As long as I’m breathing, he says, and I’m planning on living forever, as you can see, I want to make my contribution to the restoration and rebirth of culture. Just wait, he says, in a millennium or so, you people will finally set foot upon the path of civilized development, curse your bloody souls. The light of knowledge will finally dispel the impenetrable darkness of your ignorance, O obstinate people, and the balm of enlightenment will flow down over your coarse manners, mores, and customs. Above and beyond everything, he says, I hope for spiritual runnysauce. For without one, all the fruits of technological civilization will turn to murderous boomerangs in your callused hands, which, for that matter, has already happened. So, he says, don’t stare at me from under your eyebrows likes a loutish goat; when you listen to someone, keep your mouth closed. And don’t shuffle.

pg. 24, The Slynx

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