The Apartment Battle

Ivan Nikolaevitch from the corner room had a major conversation. Or more precisely, a strange incident with the old women Sukhanova who lives in the room next to the kitchen. But let’s tell everything in order.
The thing is that for a whole month now, beginning in May, an all-out war against flies has been raging in our communal; apartment. The flies multiplied innumerably, first in the kitchen, then armies of them began to fly around I corridor and in all rooms. On Sunday morning at a general meeting of all residents, it was decided to give them a battle and a poster was hung up in the corridor that was created by our senior resident, Starodubovy saying: Death to Flies!
The children ran around the corridor with butterfly nets. Residents bumped into one another, banging the cabinets and the walls with newspapers rolled up into tubes, the old women Aniskina and some assistants made fly-swatters. And Sergei Aleksandrovich invented special fly catchers that he made in his own room so the process for making them remained a secret. This war united everyone in our apartment, which was usually filled with an atmosphere of animosity and disagreements.
Now everyone discussed in a friendly manner who had managed to destroy how many of the enemy, and by the fifth or sixth day of fighting the number of flies had dropped significantly, and they could be found only in certain places under the ceiling or you could spot one or two racing around in complete panic in the shadows. It was clear that the total victory was close at hand. The inspired residents began t make plans for a new battle for cleanliness. This time the topic of discussion was cockroaches, which were also numerous., all you had to do was to go into the kitchen at night and turn on the light. But the war with the flies inspired hope for a new victory, if only … But let’s turn to the beginning – to what happened between Ivan Nikolaevich and the old woman Sukhanova.

That’s My Fly!

Thing is that when the residents were finally close to victor, it was decided to conduct a complete inspection of all the spaces in the apartment to make sure that the cursed insects didn’t hide anywhere. Therefore, a few people, a specially appointed commission, began going around the rooms of the residents. The next place to be inspected was the small room near the kitchen where Anna Ivanovna Sukhanova resided, who was simply called Babka by everyone in the apartment., since she lived all alone and no one knew how old she was. Quite unexpectedly, the commission encountered resistance here. At the knock on the door, Babka answered that she does not let anyone into her room, and she does not “have any flies there and never did”. But in response to persistent demands and a threat to “break down the door”, after prolonged silence and some sort of noise in the room, from behind the door they heard that the door would be opened only very slightly so that could just stick their heads in. Ivan Nikolaevich – he was the chairman of this commission, looked into the crevice that opened slightly before him, and saw a room cluttered with all kinds of junk where here was so little light coming through the dusty window that not only was it difficult to see a fly, but the table as well. He wanted to end the inspection right there, when to his indignation he felt something land on his forehead and star to move toward his nose. “A fly!” Ivan Nikolaevich understood with horror, but since his hands continued to remain outside the door, he could not brush away the cursed insect, who as though understanding that its victim was in a trap, very calmly settled on his nose and began to look at him.
“How can you say that you do not have any flies, when here is one right in front of me!” was all he could say with desperation and anger in his voice.
“Well, you have no business sticking your nose where it is not permitted!” the old lady answered. “You have lots of homeless flies out there, go ahead and beat them to your heart’s content, but I only have this one, and it is mine!”
With these words Babka shoved Ivan Nikolaevich’s head back into the corridor, slamming the door and almost catching his nose that had already begun to swell and was itching terribly.

A Sack of Sugar

“So what did I need to stick my head in there for, after all, it has been known for a long time now that she is completely crazy”, Ivan Nikolaevich thought to himself, once he was free- “although, on the other hand, how should we see al this… A person is old, all alone… People in such a position get dogs, cats, and in the apartment next door the old man even took a rooster, he walks him on a leash in the yard. So, what can you say, in all truth a fly is no worse than these other animals, it guards the old lady, and you do not need to clean up after it and it eats less…” And then suddenly before Ivan Niolaevich’s eyes appeared a small sack made out of a white material hanging by a rope and attached to the small vent window. “What is this strange little sack for? He thought again, just like he had when he first looked into the room. All of a sudden everything very clear to him – “This was apparently lunch for her friend!” he said and only at this point did he notice that all the members of the commission were looking at him, waiting for the results of the inspection. Only then did Ivan Nikolaevich come to his senses and turn his attention away from his own thoughts and was able to say in a firm and authoritarian voice :”Everything is in order here. There are no flies”.
Ilya Kabakov

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