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On Equilibrium

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Everyone now knows how dangerous swallowing stones is. A friend of mine even coined the expression 'Dan-in-ston', which means: 'It's dangerous to ingest stones.' And a good thing too. 'Dan-in-ston' can be easily remembered and...

 

 

 

Daniil Kharms 

 

 

 

Everyone now knows how dangerous swallowing stones is. A friend of mine even coined the expression 'Dan-in-ston', which means: 'It's dangerous to ingest stones.' And a good thing too. 'Dan-in-ston' can be easily remembered and, as required, instantly recalled. 

He worked, this friend of mine, as a stoker on a steam engine. He travelled either the northern line or to Moscow. He was called Nikolay Ivanovich Serpukhov and he smoked Rocket cigarettes at thirty-five kopecks a packet, and always said that they made him cough less, while those costing five roubles, he says, 'always make me choke'. 

And so Nikolay Ivanovich once chanced to get in to the restaurant in the Yevropeyskaya Hotel. Nikolay Ivanovich sat at a table and at the next table some foreigners were sitting munching apples. 

At this point Nikolay Ivanovich said to himself: -- This is interesting -- said Nikolay Ivanovich -- A man's life this! 

Barely had he said this to himself when from out of the blue a Fairy appeared in front of him, saying: -- My good man, what do you need? 

Well, of course, in a restaurant you do get a commotion from which, it may be said, this unknown diminutive lady may have sprung. The foreigners even ceased munching their apples. 

Nikolay Ivanovich himself rather had the wind up and spoke rather offhandedly, so as to give her the brush-off. -- I'm sorry -- he said -- but I don't really require anything in particular. 

-- You don't understand -- said the unknown lady -- I -- she said -- am what is called a Fairy. In the merest jiffy I'll lay on whatever you fancy. 

Nikolay Ivanovich happened to notice that a citizen in a grey two-piece was listening intently to their conversation. The maitre d'hotel was rushing through the open doors and behind him some other specimen with a cigarette in his mouth. 

-- Bloody hell! -- thought Nikolay Ivanovich -- there's no telling what's going on. 

And there was indeed no telling what was going on. The maitre d'hotel was leaping around the tables, the foreigners were rolling up the carpets and generally the devil only knew what! They were all doing whatever they felt like! 

Nikolay Ivanovich ran out to the street and didn't even pick up his hat from the custody of the cloakroom; he ran out on to Lassalle Street and said to himself: -- Dan-in-ston! It's dangerous to ingest stones -- Nothing like this ever really happens, surely! 

And arriving home, Nikolay Ivanovich told his wife: -- Don't be alarmed, Yekaterina Petrovna, and don't get worried. Only there's no equilibrium in the world. It's just an error of some kilogram and a half over the universe as a whole, but it's really a surprising thing, Yekaterina Petrovna, totally surprising! 

And that's all. 

 

 

 

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