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The buoy

The monstrous sun blazed impudently; large dewdrops grew into fat, glinting puddles on the rocket-carrier’s deck; the repulsive blueness of the dreamy skyline dropped a sinful longing into our souls to be finally let out on leave, and our inflamed imaginations were picturing horrific scenes.

Our dear sub, that submerged “heap of iron” packed with the latest engineering spasms of Russian genius, the natural beauty around and the brevity of our cruise, along with the miraculous organisation of the navy, did not lead to a substantial alleviation of the desire to get on all fours and bite someone. The morning coldness woke us, like a bastard, and the air – soiled with negative ions – seemed as slippery as a jar of canned meat.

Some plane flew over us, greedily embraced by the sun, and threw down a few pieces of rubbish. The sub made a turn so we could lasso the thing and drag it onto the deck.

“Signaller and the head of radio-engineering on deck!”

said the captain. The team rushed below and soon enough, the signaller, and behind him the head of radio-engineering, nervously climbed up on deck. They both declared that the lassoed object was a radio-buoy.

“Is it American?” asked the captain.

“Yes, Sir!” they replied, and people gathered around, curious onlookers with cutting tools who were burning with the desire to take the enemy to pieces.

The captain nodded, and the curious onlookers started making a racket, as they surrounded the foreign present. But, just then, they heard a ticking. It went very quiet.

“What’s that?” asked the captain.

“Comrade captain, it’s better not to open it,” said the head of radio-engineering, “it’s probably a self-detonator.” The curious onlookers found that their desire to duff up the enemy was shrinking to miniscule proportions.

“We could sod the whole thing and get going?”

“Comrade captain, if we don’t open it, we could easily carry it around for a year.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Fine, we’ll take it to the base and deal with it there.”

“Comrade captain,” the signaller remembered suddenly, “they have a microphone in it which transmits everything to the USA.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Then everyone below deck!”

Only the captain held his ground on deck. He waited until everyone had disappeared, and then bent down to where he reckoned the microphone must be.

“Can you hear me, you stinking American bastard: burst your fucking locators! You’ll see how red, peeling stumps will hang from your bodies from the might of Soviet power!” And such feverish turns of phrases poured forth that even the most patient bit of wood would warp under its weight, most people’s ears would twist into a shell while they themselves collapsed altogether.

The captain got so carried away, swearing non-stop, that he knelt down in a daze, using his hands to demon strate, sticking his fingers into his mouth, champing them and tastily licking them all over. His face shone with ecstasy the whole time, with a sort of radiant passion. He was, in a word, alive, pulsating, existing to the full.

When they brought the buoy to the base, it turned out that it was one of ours.

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