Everything in the existing world seemed strange to him; it was as if the world had been created for some brief, mocking game. But this game of make-believe had dragged on for a long time,for eternity, and nobody felt like laughing anymore.”
Andrei Platonov, Soul
The Idists historically gathered on Thursdays, this gave them some time advantages over the town militia and fishermen. There was nothing easier than identifying them from the rest of the town's residents - by a black square with a town number on the sleeve. In pursuit of fashion, some idists wrote their blood type and personal number on the back with the same paint. That day Lyss finally made up his mind to do it with his coat. The risk was considerable, because the residents buried such committed idists exclusively in parts. Lyss finished the careful process of painting his number and quickly fixed the paint with the iron. By all rights of town, he became a "black idist", which used to be equated with "the last enemies of Town", but recently the hatred factor was increased again.
- The gallows-birds of this town won't get me no matter what, they can take a dick, but not the Square, - Lyss exhaled a deep breath through his teeth in front of the mirror and started putting on the coat, which was a redesigned version of the father's old\shabby greatcoat. A small bundle, lying on the floor next to the mirror he slipped into his pocket. Right on the way out of the house he bumped into a new white banner stretched across the street.
«To each his own – own life, own language, own tears».
Lyss spat on the frozen ground and quickened his pace. It was already a cold autumn, one could feel the smell of rotten cabbage, old wooden boxes, alcohol and salty sweat from the sea. Against the sunset sky, loaders were creeping around the regular cargo barge from the combat armada "ABCfrontline ". Fifteen hundred fast steps through the narrow maze of lanes not far from the port – and the familiar wall of the idist’s cube already was seen. Lyss entered the hall and took up his usual place - he bought it a long time ago in the front row. It was freezing, because coal, like fires, again become relatively rare in town, so no one took off the outer warm clothes. This time, the idists asked the Death to come over. The distant relative of town on the Founding-father's side. She was sitting in a side chair, to the left of the presidium table, she hunched up a little bit and leaned forward – and was looking straight ahead at the floor. A very nice middle-aged woman, with short sparse hair, sad face, big blue eyes and thin, tightly closed lips. The chairman rang the bell, and the 321st meeting of town idists began. During thirty-three minutes everyone were traditionally sitting still. Keeping quiet. Listening to each other's coughing and the creak of old chairs.
- No! – Mulligans, the Chairman of the club took the floor.
- No, because of the no – Mulligan, the deputy, cut him off.
- No, whereas no and no! – feverishly countered his assistant Mulliga, rising from the presidium table.
- No, but no and when there is no...- strictly countered her husband Mullig from the second row.
- No, just when no! – Mally, the secretary of the community thumped the big table under the green cloth.
- No, because of no and won’t be no – Mull, the main poet of the club rose from his seat.
- No, precisely because of no and that is why no! - Mal fervently supported his elder brother.
- No, although with no, there will be no – from the back row bulky Ma leisurely stood up.
- No, let it be no! - summed up the dull voice of the retired veteran M from the last row. He couldn’t stand up. He has been living without legs for already 15 years.
All the others in the room stood up and looked at the Death. Remained silent. Lyss stood up and stepped up to the Chairman’s table. Gently took out of his coat pocket a carefully and tightly folded poster, unfolded it and showed to the audience. «Death can die!» - the audience began to repeat these words in a whisper, like a prayer. The buzz of voices grew louder. Suddenly there came chaotic cries from the audience.
- R-i-i-i-ight decision!
- We will support!
- It is high time! - It is the best way, and there's no other one!
- By all means!
- We’ll take care of everything!
- Glory! Glory!
At 25.26 minutes 10 seconds, the body of Death muffeldly fell on the floor. The Chairman got up from the table and started chanting: - Ding-for-dong! Ding-for-dong! Hundreds of voices picked up this cry: - Ding-for-dong! Ding-for-dong! Thus began the idist revolution. However, no one died for the next 24 hours. Everything started later, when everyone found out that the Death in town A may die or may not.
Translation by E. Podgornova