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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Women in books - "Between two chairs" by Eugene Kluev, translated by Maria K.

Before we wrap up this series of posts, let us venture one more time into the realm of the ridiculous with the help of Eugene Kluev and his characters. Not only does he introduce another mind-boggling female figure - he also brings up a very interesting philosophical concept.

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"My dear sir, mind your attic!"

Peter-Paul came to, but almost fainted again at the sight of his hostess. She consisted of two clearly defined halves - left and right, and these halves had to have belonged to two different people. The left side was undoubtedly borrowed from a beauty: golden curls, a sweet gray eye with long thick eyelashes, a half of delicate nose and flawlessly outlined crimson lips, a half of chin with a half of a dimple, a half of chiseled neck, a seductive shoulder, beautifully sculpted arm, waist and hip, a slender leg - one could easily fall madly in love with it all, had it not been for the right side. Strands of tangled whitish hair hung over a slanted eye, followed by a half of flat and apparently broken nose, a corner of thick flappy lips, a wrinkled neck, multiple chins, a powerful male-like shoulder... and so on to the ground. The vertical seam on her dress connected a lacy sundress with a heavy wool robe, the small left foot was dressed in a silver slipper, and the right - in a black rubber boot. The shoes were prominently different in size.

Having noticed Peter-Paul, the hostess also appeared surprised and immediately apologized in a very odd manner, "Do forgive me: I thought it was the Sanctimonious Knight [a play off Pushkin's "Parsimonious Knight"], and I'm about ready to puke from him!"

Peter-Paul was struck by the entire thing - the insane combination of the two halves, the strange linguistic contrasts, not to mention the voice that somehow combined two different octaves - that he not only forgot to apologize, but didn't even say hello.

"Splice Queen [play off Andersen's "Ice Queen"]," the hostess smiled charmingly-revoltingly and not having received an answer, suggested, "Please do come in, or get lost!"

Peter-Paul couldn't seem to sort out his options and continued sitting on the ground.

"Have you taken leave of your senses, or did you just whack your head something awful? Or are you retarded?" the Splice Queen inquired.

Having checked his head for bumps, Peter-Paul got up and bowed: it was all he was capable of at the moment. The Splice Queen shrugged the two different shoulders and returned into the house. Peter-Paul followed her, as if mesmerized. As soon as he closed the door behind him, he sensed a light push, as if the house lifted off. So it was: the dwelling's only, albeit vast, room became incredibly drafty, because all four walls had an impossible number of doorways with no doors, with the exception of the front door. It felt very much like a gazebo open to the winds. "I might fall out!" Peter-Paul thought with some concern, as he tried to get comfortable. However, there was no furniture in the room except for an enormous throne made of red wood: it stood in the middle. The Splice Queen settled onto it and hung a simple but carefully made tablet around her neck. The tablet read "The Splice Queen". "It's my nametag," she explained. Peter-Paul nodded.

"May I suggest that you lie down on the floor?" she asked pleasantly and added, "Or else you'll get scared shitless. You must be an earthworm or something."

The house tilted and Peter-Paul reluctantly stretched out on the floor.

"Do you always hitchhike?" the Splice Queen waited for an answer as long as she could and then became angry, "I don't get it. What kind of passenger are you?! Spill it for Pete's sake! Cat got your tongue?!"

Peter-Paul shook his head and asked out of the blue, "Why do you keep cussing?"

"Me? Cussing?" she was surprised, "First of all, slang is not the same as cussing. And second, what is considered slang or even a cussword today, might become a popular high society term tomorrow."

"I'm going to Elephug [play off Krylov's fable about an elephant and a pug]. Where are we flying?" Peter-Paul mumbled.

"Must you bug me with your questions?" the Splice Queen said with some disappointment, "Actually, I don't give a crap where we are flying. In any case, it's not as if you could get off right at the moment."

Peter-Paul sighed and inquired, glancing at the doorways, "Why is it so open around here?"

"You see, it's a spliced room - I am totally into that!"

"Spliced with what?"

"None of your damn business, if you please," she winked disgustingly-sweetly and explained magnanimously, "Spliced with the entire world! It's kind of hard to dig from the start, but it's a hell of a buzz!" The Splice Queen squinted her left eye suspiciously, "Perhaps you don't like the idea of spliceness? Or don't you get it?"

"I don't get it yet," Peter-Paul ventured, "Spliceness, pardon me, of what with what?"

"Spliceness, if you will, of everything with everything! It is a highly seductive idea - that of spliceness, I am totally all over it!"

The stylistic changes in the lady's speech, the wealth of facial expressions and gestures between the two seemingly unconnected sides made it very difficult to focus.

"The cool part is," the Splice Queen continued, "that I am the embodiment of spliceness myself. I am the transition from what is to what it ought to be... Or vise versa. The Sanctimonious Knight (he's my gentleman), like totally loses it at the sight of me. I can really go over the bend sometimes! In the meantime, even if he attempted to comprehend all of me, he never could. And you never could," she warned, "Don't even try, you schmuck!"

"I had no intention of comprehending all if you!"

"That's freaking disappointing..." his companion noted inconsistently, "For example... What do you think I rule as the Splice Queen?"

Peter-Paul became afraid of the responsibility of giving an answer and kept mum, while the lady concluded, "In general, you are a bit of a dork. I even feel sorry for you."

Peter-Paul didn't know what being a dork meant, but thought it appropriate to become upset, "You are out of line!.."

"Did I offend you? She-e-esh! I didn't mean to offend you!"

"Well, what else did you mean to do? Flatter me?"

"Flatter you? You knock me out! No - I was merely stating the obvious. Would you make a fuss if I said you were a brunet?"

"No, of course not," Peter-Paul bowed gallantly, "Especially considering that I am blond."

"Oh, little blondie! Goldilocks!" the Splice Queen pressed her hands to her chest, "But it doesn't matter. What really matters is spliceness. There is nothing cooler in the world than spliceness. You are being like the Sanctimonious Knight: he doesn't get it either when I pontificate about spliceness." She became bored and tucked a cute golden curl behind her little left ear with her stumpy right hand, "You, for instance, don't understand what I rule. I rule nothing! Is that cool or what? I couldn't be buggered to rule. The difference between me and the Queen of England is that I have no England!" and she laughed nauseatingly-infectiously.

"Then why are you considered a queen at all?"

"You, my dear sir, are bugging me with your tediousness!.. The awesome part of it is to be on the border with both sides in your field of vision at the same time: two countries, two ideas, represented by one image in your mind - one! - the image of the boundary itself."

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