Mikhail Bulgakov the heart of a dog and other stories

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Twelve tablets of saccharine and that's all...

"The sheet or the jacket?"

Not a word about cash.

Went upstairs today. The young ladies were very snappy with me. For some reason they can't stand ASS Lit.

"Can I check our pay-roll?"

"What for?"

"I want to make sure everyone's on it."

"Ask Madame Kritskaya."

Madame Kritskaya got up, shook her bun of grey hair and announced turning pale:

"It's got lost."


"Why didn't you tell me?"

Madame Kritskaya, tearfully:

"My head's going round. You can't imagine what's been going on here. Seven times I wrote out that pay-roll and they sent it back. Said there was something wrong with it. And you won't get your pay anyway. There's someone on your list who hasn't been officially authorised."
To hell with the lot of them! Nekrasov and the resurrected alcoholics. I hurried off. More corridors. Dark. Light. Light. Dark. Meyerhold. Personnel. Light bulbs on in the daytime. A grey army-coat. A woman in wet felt boots. Desks.

"Which of us hasn't been officially authorised?"


"None of you have."

But the best of it was that the founder of ASS Lit., the old man himself, had not been authorised. What? And I haven't either? What's going on here?

"You probably didn't write an application?"

"I didn't what? I wrote four applications in your office. And handed them over to you personally. Together with the one I wrote before that makes 113 applications in all."

"Well, they must have got lost. Write another one."

This went on for three days. After that we were all reinstated. And new authorisations were written.

I am against the death penalty. But if Madame Kritskaya is ever taken to face the firing squad, I'll go and watch. The same applies to the young lady in the sealskin hat. And Lidochka, the clerical assistant.

Get rid of the lot of them!

Madame Kritskaya stood there with the authorisations in her hands, and I solemnly declare that she will not pass them on. I could not understand what this diabolical woman with the bun was doing here. Who would entrust her with work? This was Fate and no mistake!

A week passed. I went to the fifth floor, in entrance 4. They put a stamp on them there. I need another stamp, but for two days I've been trying vainly to catch the Chairman of the Tariff-Valuation Committee.

Sold the sheet.

We won't get any cash for at least a fortnight.
There's a rumour that everyone in the building will get an advance of 500.
The rumour's true. They've spent four days writing out authorisations.
I took the authorisations to receive the advance. Had everything. All the stamps were in order. But I got so worked up rushing from the second floor to the fifth that I bent an iron bolt sticking out of the corridor wall.

Handed over the authorisations. They'll be sent for endorsement to another building at the other end of Moscow. Then returned. And then the cash...

Got paid today. Cash!

Ten minutes before it was time to go to the pay desk, the woman on the ground floor, who was supposed to put on the last stamp, said:

"It's not set out according to form. You'll have to write another one."

I don't remember exactly what happened then. Everything went hazy.

I seem to remember yelping something painfully. Like:

"What the hell's going on?"

The woman opened her mouth:

"How dare you..."

Then I calmed down. I calmed down. Explained that I'd been het up. Apologised. Took back what I'd said. She agreed to correct it in red ink. Scribbled: "Pay cash." Squiggle.

I rushed to the cash desk. Magic words: cash desk! Didn't believe it, even when the cashier took out the notes.

Then it suddenly hit me. Money!

From the drafting of the authorisation up to the moment of receipt from the cash desk passed twenty-two days and three hours.

There was nothing left at home. No jacket. No sheet. No books.

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