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The homeless

(a gathering of officers who don’t have a place to live; an abbreviated account)

The officers who don’t have a place to live have been gathered in the assembly hall for the completion of a legal procedure. The admiral comes in. The command is given: “Comrade officers…”

It is drowned out by the noise of chairs standing up. The admiral:

“Comrade officers…” (The noise of chairs sitting down.)

Next is the admiral’s examination of the hall (the admiral makes it look as if he’s inspecting the Borodino battle field), then:

“You!” (Somewhere in the depths, maybe into the field.)

“You! You there! Yes… yes you! No, not you! Sit down! You! Yes, you, the red head, stand up! Why do you look like that… is this the way to attend a meeting? ... D-o-n’t look at yourself as if you’ve only just seen yourself. Why haven’t you had your hair cut? What? And where are your medals?

What’re you looking at your chest for? I’m asking you why you’ve only got one medal? Where are the rest? What ship are you from? It’s an outrage! Where are your bosses? ... Is that your officer? Eh? What, don’t you recognise your officer? What? He’s from the reserves? Well, who cares that he’s from the reserves? Does that mean he’s not an officer?

Or doesn’t he have anyone to beat sense into him? … Sort this all out… Then report to me afterwards… I said report to me afterwards… and on everybody else … alpha betically by surname… Well, we’ll get onto that later… I can see you don’t understand… After the meeting has been dismissed… I’ll get it into your head if you don’t understand. So anyway!

Comrades! What have we all come here for really? Yes! So we can get this situation with apartments sorted out… A complicated question… the situation’s not simple… there’s a lack of supply… pipes… complicated obstacles… We weren’t given the promised (lots and lots of figures) square metres… But! We – are – officers!” (For fuck’s sake!) We all knew what we were getting into! (Cut your mother in half!) Burdens and sacrifices! (Ugh, ugh!) To bear it all stoically! (Ugh, UGH!) And your wives mustn’t come anymore! (So there…) The army’s not a kindergarten… So! About the apartments… it should all be clear by now! There aren’t any apartments and there won’t be any… in the near future… But! … Here’s a waiting list… Everyone is to put down the surnames of their officers… So that no one will be forgotten! Other than the apart ments, are there any questions for me? No? Right, then you’re all dismissed. The commanders please stay behind.” “Comrade officers…” The noise of chairs standing up.

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