SUMMER ON THE RIVER

It’s Sunday.
The sandy shores of the Dnipro River are cluttered with bodies. Kyiv’s inhabitants are imbibing the sun’s energy to utilize it on Monday ‘for the revival of the national economy’.


This place is called a beach.
Lifesavers Beach.
Thousands of people – men, women and children – lie on the sand and burn away their ‘nerves and fatigue’ in the sun…
See those signs:
‘Women’s Beach’…
‘Children’s Beach’…
‘Men’s Beach’…
These are merely signs… No one takes any notice of them any more…
On the ‘women’s’ beach one can see a host of creatures, which no matter how short-sighted one may be, one could never mistake for females…
And no one cares…
Only occasionally a representative of the fair sex will say, more for her own justification than anything else:
“How insolent these men are! There’s a beach set aside for them, but no, they insist on crawling here! One simply can’t get away from them!”
And she turns to gawk at the ‘insolent fellow’, so that even he turns away, almost blushing…
The same goes for the ‘children’s’ beach…
Now here’s a child for you.
Stretched out to his full seven feet! Mustache hanging down to his collarbone; one would be able to carve seven children from his right leg alone.
And next to him some city-dweller has rested his paunch… You can’t see any arms or legs because of all the fat. It’s as if someone has dumped a pile of white manure… And the part of his anatomy called a face is crumpled up like a dirty handkerchief and whistles methodically… Relaxing on the beach…
And here is the ‘men’s beach’… At least that’s what the sign says…
But no, those can’t be men…
Can that be a man in a pink knitted bathing suit with bows on the shoulders…? Not on your life… Skipping along the shoreline and daintily prancing about… Quite unmasculine.
Or take that ‘specimen’, for example… How can you take him for a man, when his ‘difference’ is ready to burst out of his knitted bathing suit and to spill out onto the beach’s sandy expanse…
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Baskets, umbrellas, straw hats, sheets, glasses, bottles…
And bodies… bodies… bodies…
Nowhere to step…
People bending over, turning about, snoring, shrieking, yelling…
He’s lying there peacefully… Then all of a sudden up he jumps and splashes headlong into the Dnipro River!
“Ah! Ah! Ah! Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho!!!”
And back onto the sand.
The Dnipro River is calm…
Why should it care?!
It has seen its fair share of wonders over the ages…
Occasionally old man river wriggles and sends a wave rolling to shore…
When some incautious person ventures out further than they can handle, the Dnipro grabs at them… Then you hear:
“He-e-elp!”
On the first day the beach was opened the river was agitated…
‘So what?’ you might say.
It claimed thirty lives, they say…
The river likes sacrifices from time to time…
It can’t forget the past…
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
And the sun! The sun! It stings!
Whenever it gets sick of staring at those intertwined bodies, it pops behind a cloud…
There it rests, and then leaps out and flogs the human ‘worms’ with its golden whip so hard, that they begin to writhe…
What a great sun!
Hot, but gentle!
Because if I was to assume its place up there in the sky, I would have long since incinerated that old bag over there with pencilled-in eyebrows who has laid out her wares! I’d send those wares up in smoke.