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and go down.
But don't go anywhere!
Wait for us outside!
I hope you haven't got anything
like that?
- Like what?
- Like a gun.
No. As a last resort
I've got an ampule.
- What ampule?
- lmplanted ampule. Poison!
Oh, God! Did you come here to die?
No, it's just in case.
Writer! Come back!
Come back! You want to get yourself
I told you to wait by the exit!
Stop! Don't move!
That's all your pipe.
- Why?
- You should've gone in there first.
He was so scared that he went
the wrong way.
One more experiment.
Experiments, facts,
truth of the highest instance.
There's no such thing as facts.
Especially here.
All this is someone's
idiotic invention.
Don't you feel it?
But you, of course, must find out
whose invention it is.
And why.
What good can your knowledge do?
Who is going to get guilty conscience
because of it? Me?
I've got no conscience.
I just got nerves.
Some bastard would criticize me,
I get wounded.
Another would loud me,
I get wounded again.
I would put my heart and soul in it,
they gobble up both my heart and soul.
I would relieve my soul of filth,
they gobble it up too.
They're all so literate.
They all got sensory deficiency.
And they're all swarming around,
editors, critics,
some endless broads.
And they all demand:
more, more!
What hell of a writer am l
if I hate writing?
If it's constant torment for me,
a painful, shameful occupation,
sort of squeezing out a hemorrhoids.
I used to think that someone would
get better because of my books.
No, nobody needs me!
In two days after I die they'll start
gobbling up someone else.
I wanted to change them,
but it's they who've changed me.
Making me in their own image.
The future used to be just
a continuation of the present,
with all the changes looming far
behind the horizon.
Now the future and the present
are one.
Are they ready for it?
They don't want to know anything!
All they know is how to gobble!
Gosh, how lucky you are!
My goodness, now...
You're going to live a hundred years!
Yes. But why not forever?
Like the eternal Jew.
You are probably a fine man.
I almost didn't doubt it.
I can imagine what torture it was
for you being in there.
This pipe is a horrible place!
The most horrible in the Zone!
It's called "the meat mincer",
but it's much worse than any mincer.
So many people perished there!
Porcupine sent his brother
to die there.
The boy was so delicate,
very talented.
Here, listen to this.
So summer is gone,
Leaving no epitaph.
It's still warm in the sun,
Only that's not enough.
All that true could have come,
Like a five-fingered fluff,
Folded into my palm,
Only that's not enough.
No evil was slighted
In the good aftermath,
World was festively lighted,
Only that's not enough.
Life forever was tucking,
Caring, making me laugh.
I was really lucky,
Only that's not enough.
No leaves ever seared,
No limbs broken rough.
Day, like glass, washed all clear,
Only that's not enough.
Good, aren't they?
That's his verses.
Why do you fidget?
Fussing all the time?
- I'm just...
- I get sick just looking at you!
I'm so happy! It's not often that
everyone who goes makes it.
You did everything right.
You're good, kind, honest people.
I'm proud that I was right about you.
Look at him! He's happy
that everything ended well!
Fate! Zone!
I'm a fine man, he says!
You think I didn't see how you
shoved the two long matches at me?
- No, you don't understand...
- Of course, how could l?
I'm sorry, Professor,
no offense meant,
but this jerk has chosen you
to be his favorite.
Come on, it's unfair!
And me, a second-rate creature,
he shoves into that pipe!
Meat mincer! To think of such
a word!
What right have you got to decide
who is to live and
who is to go into the meat mincer?
You've chosen it yourself!
What? One long match out of the two
long ones?
The matches are nothing.
The Zone had let you through
earlier, under the nut,

- XX
- 2

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