Communal Living in Russia: From Books
From Fiction: Daniil Kharms, "Myshin's Victory"
  Summary
  A miniature story by Daniil Kharms, 1940. Translated by Alice Nakhimovsky.
  Translation of the Russian Transcript
  Myshin was told: "Hey, Myshin, get up!"

Myshin said: "No I won’t," and continued lying on the floor.

Then Kulygin walked up to him and said, "If you, Myshin, don’t get up, I’m going to make you get up." "No," said Myshin and continued lying on the floor.

Selizneva walked up and said, "You, Myshin, are always lying on the hallway floor and making it hard for us to go back and forth."

"That’s the way it’s been, and that’s the way it’s going to be," said Myshin.

"You know," said Korshunov, but he was interrupted by Kulygin who said, "What’s the point of a long conversation? Call the police."

They called the police and got a cop.

A half hour later in came the super with a cop.

"What’s going on here?" asked the cop.

"Get a load of this," said Korshunov, but he was interrupted by Kulygin who said, "So. This citizen keeps lying here on the floor making it hard for us to walk through the hallway. We’ve tried all sorts..."

But at this point Kulygin was interrupted by Selizneva, who said, "We asked him to leave, but he’s not doing it."

"Yes," said Korshunov.

The cop walked up to Myshin.

"What are you doing lying here, citizen?" said the cop.

"I’m relaxing," said Myshin.

"This is no place to relax," said the cop. "Where do you live, citizen?"

"Here," said Myshin.

"Which room is yours?" asked the cop.

"He’s registered in this apartment, but he doesn’t have a room," said Kulygin.

"Hold on, citizen," said the cop, "I'm having this talk with him. Where do you sleep, citizen?"

"Here," said Myshin.

"Let me say something," said Korshunov, but he was interrupted by Kulygin who said, "He doesn’t even have a bed, he just sprawls out on the bare floor."

"They’ve been complaining about him for a long time," said the super.

"There’s no way we can walk through the hallway," said Selizneva. "I can’t keep stepping over a man. And he sticks out his feet on purpose, and his arms too, and sometimes he turns on his back and stares. I come home from work tired, I need my rest."

"Let me add," said Korshunov, but he was interrupted by Kulygin who said, "He even lies here at night. Everybody stumbles over him in the dark. I tore my blanket because of him."

Selizneva said, "He always has nails falling out of his pocket. You can’t walk in the hallway barefoot, if you don’t watch out you’ll puncture your foot."

"Recently they wanted to pour kerosene on him and light it," said the super.

"We poured kerosene on him," said Korshunov, but he was interrupted by Kulygin who said, "We only poured kerosene on him to scare him; we weren’t intending to light it."

"I would not permit a living person to be set on fire in my presence," said Selizneva.

"But why is this citizen lying in the hallway," exclaimed the cop.

"That’s a good one!" said Korshunov, but Kulygin interrupted him and said, "Because he doesn’t have any other space: this room here is mine, and that one is theirs, and this fellow lives there, and Myshin here, he lives in the hallway."

"That won’t do," said the cop. "Every person has to lie in their own space."

"But he doesn’t have any space except the hallway," said Kulygin.

"That’s the point," said Korshunov.

"He’s always lying here," said Selizneva.

"This won’t do," said the cop and left together with the super.

Korshunov leaped over to Myshin.

"See?" he hollered. "You had it coming to you."

"Hang on," said Kulygin, and stepping over to Myshin, said, "Did you hear what the cop said? Get up off the floor."

"No I won’t" said Myshin and continued lying on the floor.

"Now he’s going to lie here on purpose forever," said Selizneva.

"Absolutely," said Kulygin in an annoyed voice.

And Korshunov said, "I have no doubt about it. Parfaitement.

Tuesday, August 8, 1940


[Translated for this project by Alice Nakhimovsky. Translation Copyright © 2008 Alice Nakhimovsky. All rights reserved.

This translation is based on the version of the original text published in «Даниил Хармс». Антология сатиры и юмора России ХХ века. ЭКСМО, 2003. Translation is presented here by permission of Galina Dursthoff, Literary Agency, Marsiliusstr. 70, D-50937 Koeln, galina@dursthoff.de, www.dursthoff.de.]

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