Daniil Ivanovich Kharms

(30 December 1905 – 2 February 1942 / Saint Petersburg)

Foma Bobrov And His Spouse


GRANNY Bobrov (Playing patience) Now that's the card. Oh, it's all coming out topsy-turvy! A king. And where am I supposed to put that? Just when you want one, there's never a five around. Oh, I could do with a five! Now it'll be the five. Oh, sod it, another king!

She flings the cards on to the table with such force that a porcelain vase falls off the table and smashes.

GRANNY Oh! Oh! My Gawd! These bloody cards! (She crawls under the table and picks up the pieces). This'll never glue back together again. And it was a good vase, too. You can't get them like that any more. This bit's right over there! (Stretches for the piece. BOBROV enters the room).
BOBROV Granny! Is that you clambering about under the table?
GRANNY Yes, okay, okay. What do you want?
BOBROV I just came to ask you: you wouldn't happen to have a chest of tea?
GRANNY Come on then, give me a hand up from under the table.
BOBROV What have you done, dropped something? Oh, you've broken the vase!
GRANNY (Mimicking him) You've broken the vase!
(BOBROV helps GRANNY up. But as soon as he lets go of her, GRANNY sits back down on the floor).
BOBROV Oh, you're down again!
GRANNY Down, so now what?
BOBROV Let me help you up (Pulls GRANNY up).
GRANNY The cards were going badly. I tried this and that... But don't pull me by the arms, get hold of me under the armpits. All I got, you know, was king after king. I need a five and all the kings keep turning up.
BOBROV lets go of GRANNY and GRANNY again sprawls on the floor.
GRANNY Akh!
BOBROV Oh, Lord! You're down again.
GRANNY What are you on about: down, down! What are you after, anyway?
BOBROV I came to ask if you've a chest of tea.
GRANNY I know that. You've already told me. I don't like listening to the same tale twenty times. The thing is: akh, I'm down again! and a chest of tea. Well, what are you looking at! Get me up, I'm telling you.
BOBROV (Pulling GRANNY up) I'll just, excuse me, put you in the armchair.
GRANNY You'd do better to prattle on a bit less and pull me up in a proper fashion. I meant to tell you, and it almost slipped my mind: you know, that door in my bedroom isn't shutting properly again. No doubt you messed the whole thing up.
BOBROV No, I put a staple on with fillister-head screws.
GRANNY Do you think I know anything about staples and fillister heads? I don't care about all that. I just want the door to shut.
BOBROV It doesn't shut properly because the fillister heads won't stay in the woodwork.
GRANNY That'll do, that'll do. That's your business. I just need to... Akh! (She again sprawls on the floor).
BOBROV Oh, Lord!
GRANNY Have you decided to fling me to the floor deliberately? Decided to have a bit of fun? Oh you useless devil! You're just a useless devil and you might as well clear off!
BOBROV No, Granny, 'onest injun, I just meant to put you in the armchair.
GRANNY Did you hear what I said? I told you to clear out! So why aren't you going? Well, why aren't you going? Do you hear? Clear off out of it! Well? Bugger off! (exits BOBROV)
GRANNY Off! Go on! Away! Bugger off! Talk about a reprobate! (Gets up from the floor and sits in the armchair). And his wife is simply an indecent madam. The madam walks about absolutely starkers and doesn't bat an eyelid, even in front of me, an old woman. She covers her indecent patch with the palm of her hand, and that's the way she walks around. And then she touches bread with that hand at lunchtime. It's simply revolting to watch. She thinks that if she's young and pretty, then she can do anything she likes. And as for herself, the trollop, she never washes herself properly just where she should do. I, she says, like a whiff of woman to come from a woman! And as for me, as soon as I see her coming, I'm straight into the bathroom with the eau de Cologne to my nose. Perhaps it may be nice for men, but as for me, you can spare me that. The shameless hussy! She goes around naked without the slightest embarrassment. And when she sits down she doesn't even keep her legs together properly, so that everything's on show. And -- there, she's well just always wet. She's leaking like that all the time. If you tell her she should go and wash herself, she will say you shouldn't wash there too often and she'll take a handkerchief and just wipe herself. And you're lucky if it's a handkerchief, because just with her hand she smears it all over the place. I never give her my hand, as there's perpetually an indecent smell from her hands. And her breasts are indecent. It's true, they are very fine and bouncy, but they are so big that, in my opinion, they're simply indecent. That's the wife that Foma found for himself! How she ever got round him is beyond me.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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