Evening. Vika stands near the door of the Institute of Art. She powders her nose, makes herself up, arranges her hair, takes a pack of cigarettes out of her bag and smokes. The door opens and Brusha appears in a long black coat. He has long hair, a face that is painted white and carries a black artist’s portfolio.
Brusha –- Well, here I am.
Vika looks at Brusha with interest.
Brusha—Could I bum a smoke? —I’m feeling hungry, must mean I need to smoke.
Vika, without saying anything, offers him the pack.
Brusha—And some fire, please, if its not too hard—seems all my flame’s flown away.
Vika takes a lighter from her bag.
Brusha—Thanks friend, humane human.
Vika gazes at Brusha attentively.
Brusha—I’m Brusha—"the crusha'". And you’re a new first-courser?
Brusha— Do you talk to people or just shrink away from them?
Brusha – Both, huh? You do the former with difficulty and the later prevails over the former so you’re kinda led around by your jaw. I understand you perfectly. What’s your name, princess?
Vika – Vika.
Brusha—Well, there it is. Vika, I think that things have gotten a little gloomy, despite the fact that there’s no rain, the weather’s seemed to sort itself out, still there’s this bad smell hanging around.
Vika – You got that right.
Brusha—Which concentration did you end up in?
Vika—Fabric and Clothing.
Brush--Nothing. Nothing. The important thing is not to scratch too much and little by little you can cicatrize the wound.
Vika – I think this whole place is a joke, I mean, you don’t even start doing the work and they’re already telling you what’s wrong with it—this isn’t right, that’s not right. Which concentration are you in?
Brusha—I ended up in Fashion and I was bitter, so bitter about it – the only thing to do was to dress in mourning—usually, of course, I’m dressed like a celebrity.
Brusha—Well, nobody has it easy.
Vika—And they don’t anything about your get-up?
Brusha—What are they gonna do? They deal with it, it pisses them off, but I don’t care.
Brusha—I wanna look glamorous.
Vika—Do you hang out with them?
Vika—With the Goths?
Brusha—God, no. This is just a look.
Vika—Do your parents give you shit for it?
Vika—All the time.
Brusha takes a bottle of beer from his pocket.
Brusha—I always try to carry the necessary things to deal with any unforeseen circumstances.
Brusha uses the door handle to open the bottle and hands it to Vika.
Vika—Nice. (she drinks)
Brusha—Seems like every stop I come to and at every point I have to go it alone—I have to row my boat far away from one shore to the next and when I get to the next shore it’s always the same—I’m looking at Repin’s "They Didn’t Wait". Small sips, friend.
Vika—What do you mean?
Brusha—I’m just asking you, politely, to not drink all the beer—but you know, if you’re really that thirsty, you can drink it all—I don’t mind.
Vika hands Brusha the bottle.
Brusha—Any plans for today?
Vika—I don’t know.
Brusha—I don’t feel like cross-stitching, I do the laundry on Fridays, I don’t feel like doing the baking for Easter. Last month it was the movies—wasn’t interesting. I don’t do drugs. I could hang out with my friends, but I don’t have any. The only thing left is to study—which is also forbidden, because at the beginning of the year, well, I never do that. I mean I do have my principles.
Vika—And what are they?
Brusha—Put everything off. You’re not gonna be worse off for it. You could hang out, but what for? Hanging out, you know, requires a reason.
Vika—What does that mean?
Brusha--You find a reason and you hang out.
Vika—But I just like to joke around.
Brusha—Just is never interesting.
Brusha—That’s what I’m saying, this world is boring. God. What did you think I meant? Maybe everything’s already worked out for you—in that case, I’ll let you go.
Vika—I was getting ready to go home, I still need to go see my dad at his studio to get a portfolio case.
Brusha—To see your Dad at his studio? And why didn’t you say anything about this miraculous opportunity?
Vika—It’s really a shit-hole.
Brusha—Your Dad’s an artist?
Vika—Something like that.
Vika—If you want, we can go, but I’m telling you, it’s a total pile of shit.
Vika—It's not gonna be cool, but you know...
Brusha—Like how big of a mess is it?
Vika—The shit is up to your ears—he won't listen to anyone.
Brusha—Well sometimes that can be good.
Vika—Listen, I'm begging you, my dad is a complete dick with a capital ?D?
Brusha—I love capital letters.
Vika—I mean in the bad sense of the word.
Brusha--Well I don't know then.
Vika—If you want, we can go.
They walk on the sidewalk, kicking up leaves as they go.
Brusha—We still got a ways to go?
Vika—Nope. It's by the Moskhovskoes Studios, you know 'em?
Brusha—A wonderful place complete with rat holes, piles of garbage, piles of every kind of feces and in the center where the queen bee should be you find artists sitting there—with their ears twitching, their eyes all swollen, ringing their hands, noses sniffling, fumbling around with their little dicks and hanging on all the walls, you find... shit.
Vika—That's what I was saying.
Vika—That’s not exactly the word—doesn't go far enough.
Brusha—Does he drink?
Brusha—I don't have one of those.
Vika—You need one?
Brusha—You know, to keep things in order.
Vika—I'd rather have a mom.
Brusha—You don't have one?
Vika—She took off to America.
Brusha—A long time ago?
Vika—I don't even remember her. It's all a blur. I think I was an unsuccessful experience for her—like she tried it out, didn't like it—Mama tried to be a mother—didn't happen so she picked up and took off –didn't leave a trace. I don't even know where she lives.
Brusha—You said she lives in America.
Vika—America's a big place.
Brusha—Did she leave you with your dad?
Vika—You crazy? I told you he doesn't listen to anyone—he doesn't give a crap about anything. It might seem like he did a good thing—getting me into the Institute. Right, what a favor! Truth is, he and the Dean studied together and he doesn't have to pay for anything. The only thing is he forgot to ask me if I wanted to or not.
Brusha—You didn't want to?
Vika—I hate artists.
Brusha—Why is that?
Vika—I've been observing them since I was a kid. They’re a bunch of jerks and idiots. You need to keep your distance from them—the farther away you are the better, like in America.
Brusha—Do you live alone?
Vika—No. With my grandmas.
Brusha—You have grandmas, too?
Brusha—Is that a good thing?
Vika—It’s better than with my dad, of course. I would've croaked years ago with him. My Grandmas told me that once they sent me on a walk with him—I was still in a stroller then and he forgot me in the park! So you know. Still, with my grandmas it's...
Vika—They don't really see me.
Brusha—I don't understand?
Vika—Like they imagine I'm someone else.
Vika—It's a "one man show".
Vika—You know I go it alone.
Vika--My motto is ?one-woman show?. What do your parents do?
Brusha—My mom's a businesswoman.
Brusha—Allow me to disagree with you.
Brusha—Looks like we've made it to the rat holes—which one's your dad's?
Vika—That's his entryway.
They go into the entryway and knock on the studio door.
Brusha—Is he there?
Vika—He should be, unless, of course, he's at a funeral.
Brusha—Did someone die?
Vika—They die everyday, practically—they’re like flies.
Vika—He doesn't care who they are—funerals are my dad's hobby. He's a professional mourner.
Rurik calls from behind the door.
Rurik—Who is it? Door's open.
Vika—Welcome to the Pit! (They go in)
Rurik, yawning, gets up from the couch.
Rurik—Vika, my little steam engine.
Rurik—I was just thinking about how things always work out somehow—I was at a funeral today.
Vika—Happy New Year and congratulations! I'm just here for that portfolio—it was in the corner somewhere, where is it?
Rurik—Do you guys go to school together?
Vika—We go to school together, but we still live apart.
Rurik—I'm Rurik—and you're Bru....
Vika laughs and goes to look for the portfolio.
Rurik—Have a seat, Brusha, have a seat. This is where I do my thing, have a look at my work—this is old, from when I was about your age. How old are you?
Brusha—Basically, you know, about that old.
Vika—Where did you put the portfolio?
Rurik—Back then we were all searching, we were trying to embody something important, sometimes even...do you like formalism?
Brusha—Formalism is my credo.
Vika—(to Brusha) Watch the time, we're not staying too long, so it’s better not to get into it with him. (to Rurik) I don't get it—are you planning on taking him with you to your funerals—on your fly chases?
Rurik—Would you like some vodka?
Vika—Of course you had to start in on this, you gonna try to feed us your formalism?
Rurik—I have a little left, I bought it for the funeral...
Vika—How 'bout we close the discussion for now—if not I think I might vomit.
Rurik takes a dirty bottle from a cupboard near the bed.
Rurik—I've only got one shot-glass, you mind drinking from a cup?
Vika—We can drink from cups, you just pour your own death.
Rurik—For refreshments I've got some cucumbers and some liver. Brusha, that's a pretty name. It suits you.
Brusha—I like it too.
Rurik pours the vodka.
Rurik—I suggest we drink to the memory of...
Vika—How about no? That's not gonna happen.
Rurik—All right, to art then. From a certain point of view, one can say that art and heartfelt fervor will always...
Brusha—Umm without all the pretense—that possible?
Rurik (drinks and moves closer to Brusha) Tell me, has anything here caught your eye?
Brusha—Of course, the cups are cute and the vodka is very...white.
Rurik—Have I caught your eye?
Vika—God, I can't handle this.
Rurik—And what about these? (pointing to his work hanging on the wall)
Brusha—Would you like me to be honest or do I need to be careful about it?
Rurik—And which would you like to be?
Brusha—Honestly, it would take a while to explain.
Rurik—Are we in a hurry?
Rurik—Brusha here isn't saying anything. Vika you can go if you want, but I think we're enjoying ourselves.
(Rurik tries to embrace Brusha)
Brusha—Okay, that's not necessary. I don't like that.
Rurik—Oh, so that's how we are.
Brusha—To be honest, I'm really not into them—just don't get offended. You asked, after all.
Rurik—I like honest people and modest people. Let me kiss you, Brusha.
Brusha (pulling away)—Do you have anything more recent?
Rurik—I work and I work. I think and I ponder...Listen, I have this idea spinning around—how about I lay you down on this couch, undress you, drape this sheet over you and then I'll sketch you—how do you feel about that?
Brusha—I don’t feel very enthusiastic about it.
Rurik—Why not? You don't think it'll be interesting?
Brusha—I’d rather not think about it at all.
Rurik—What is going on in that pretty head of yours?
Vika—Seriously, I can't take this. (to Brusha) I warned you.
Rurik—Vika, what did you warn him about?
Vika—Nothing, its just that I'm also honest.
Rurik pours some more Vodka, They all drink again.
Rurik—I have this energy, it guides me with a certain power and, actually, you could say, this power—this striking order—brings with it a concrete sense of character—its always very present, do you understand?
Brusha—Power and order?
Rurik—But on a more literal level... move a little closer.
Vika---Uncle Rurik would like to explain to you, Brusha, what crocodiles have for lunch.
Brusha—I understand, everything is about words with you, right? But the only real way to evaluate things is to look at the work.
Rurik—Look at who's biting now? The most important thing, Brusha, is to never hurry. Concentrate, Symbolize—and then with brisk, even steps—ready, set and go! (He kisses Brusha)
Vika—I think I'm gonna hurl.
Rurik—I just had this idea.
Brusha—A moment of revelation?
Vika—More like a second.
Rurik—Stay with me tonight.
Rurik—(to Brusha) Where are your thoughts on this?
Brusha—They're in my head.
Brusha—It's an interesting offer.
Rurik—Does that mean yes?
Brusha—It’s a resounding no.
Brusha—My mother won't let me.
Rurik—Get out of here.
Brusha—She doesn't allow me to spend the night in the studios of my girlfriends' fathers---its not polite. The girls get offended. (He pulls out a cigarette and smokes)
Vika laughs loudly.
Rurik—What is this shit? (to Vika) Is something funny?
Vika—It's like being at the circus and watching a tiger chase its own tail-- with all those stripes—the end is the darkest—the fur is smooth and shiny—it almost sparkles—orange, then black, orange, then black—its like you just can't wrap your mind around it.
Rurik—I've told you, there’s a kind of aura in this studio—ideas are being born every minute—and you just produced one! It has a certain dynamic, a certain sociality—I just need to grab it and go with it.
Vika—So do it.
Rurik—Here's what I'm gonna do (he pours vodka into the cups) (to Brusha) Let's dink bruderschaft.
Brusha—That's totally not me.
Vika—Listen, how about we stop the game.
Rurik—Go then, no one’s forcing you to stay.
Rurik—And what would you like to do?
Brusha—I would like you to lie on the couch, you don't need to undress, and I will sketch you.
Brusha (to Vika) And what about you? Do you wanna sketch him too?
Vika—Are you kidding?
Brusha—What do we need another studio for, we can both draw you, right, Uncle Rurik?
Rurik—Of course, honey.
Brusha—Do you have some paper?
Brusha—Any kind, just not toilet paper.
Rurik gets, looks through some packages and hands Brusha a few sheets.
Rurik—Will these do?
Rurik—And what do I need to do?
Vika—Take off your pants and dance.
Brusha—You don't need to lie down, it’s better to sit. Sit down and relax.
Rurik awkwardly sits down and smiles.
Brusha—(to Vika) Are you gonna draw?
Vika—I'll just watch for now.
Brusha—OK. (He walks around the studio—whistling)
Rurik—Should we lock the door?
Brusha—I can't really speak to that, I don't think there's really any need, but only of course on an energetic level. What do you usually, do?
Rurik—I lock it.
Vika—Isn't there any food here—except for those sorry cucumbers?
Rurik gets up from the couch and locks the door.
Vika—Give it here.
Brusha (to Vika)—Look over there in the corner—some cockroaches built themselves a little house with a terrace, they put up an umbrella to keep out the dust and they're sitting around a table playing cards.
Brusha—Go have a look.
Vika—The portfolio case. It was hiding, the sneaky bastard!
Brusha—I whistled him out—can I use it for the time being?
Vika—Of course. Where are the cockroaches?
Brusha—They went to sleep on empty stomachs.
Rurik—Well, I'm waiting.
Brusha—Just a moment!
Brusha takes a pencil, an eraser from his pocket and places a sheet of paper on the portfolio case.
Brusha (to Rurik) Turn your head to the side a little, please (He begins to draw Rurik)
Rurik—Aren't you a bright one.
Vika (standing behind Brusha) –Awesome!
Brusha quickly sketches and finishes a draft, removes the paper from the portfolio.
Rurik—Come on, come on—show it to me. How did this old guy turn out?
Vika—You're the same as you always were, but this looks just like you—oily eyes and smile—you gotta be kidding!
Rurik—I won't argue with that, but it’s a little too...
Vika—A little too nothing, it's the spitting image of you.
Vika—That we play ?Bandera’s?.
Rurik—What do you mean?
Vika—Think of a number.
Vika—You have it?
Vika—Ok, what was your number?
Rurik—Do I need to say it?
Vika—Of course, we're playing.
Rurik—Well, it was 49.
Vika—Mine was 50, I win.
Rurik—And what now?
Vika—You lost and you have to grant my wish.
Rurik—We didn't agree on that.
Vika—We're playing a game.
Rurik—Ok, what’s your wish?
Vika—Go into the bathroom, sit on the toilet, grunt and count to 40 ten times.
Vika (to Brusha) –Come on; tell him, you have to play fair.
Brusha—Fairness above all!
Rurik—Oh, youth...(He stands up and goes)
Vika (calling after him) And don't try to trick us! (whispers to Brusha) Had enough? Let's get out here, quick—grab the portfolio.
Vika goes to Rurik's easel and unscrews the lids to all his oil paints.
Vika (in the dark)—Say good-bye dumb ass and Happy New Year!! Surprise!
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