The old women’s apartment. Luara is sitting at the computer; Nura is sitting at a desk, writing on some paper.
Nura (Nura sets down her pen and dials the phone) I don’t believe it. What is going on? It’s already dark outside. Earlier her number was unavailable. Now, no one answers.
Luara—Its all clear as day.
Luara—It’s simple arithmetic.
Nura---What do you mean?
Luara—The currency exchange rate is discoverable by the use of an equation, for the base currency—we use a numerator. When the numerator grows, the base currency’s position strengthens and it becomes more expensive. When the numerator falls, then the base currency’s position weakens and it becomes cheaper.
Nura—It’s 1am and she’s not home.
Luara—She’ll come, she’s not a little girl.
Nura—How could this happen?
Luara—I’m training, I’m learning new rules.
Nura—And how do you plan to use these new rules?
Luara—It’s all very simple really. There are of course exceptions, for example, the English pound—in relation to the dollar—could be used for the base currency in the equation.
Nura—Wait, I think its time we did something about this. We need to...
Luara –You need to listen to your intuition—you can spend a lot of time on analysis. Earlier I was never led by my intuition.
Nura—I am listening to it--and I don’t feel anything bad—but it’s very late.
Luara—When making a decision every trader uses his or her own strategy, which becomes the foundational technique of his analysis—otherwise known as intuition, you understand?
Nura—Maybe we should call the police.
Luara gets up and walks over to Nura.
Luara—Don’t get into a panic here---you’re acting like chicken with its head cut off. Sit down, do your writing and relax. Take deep breaths and when you exhale –ahhhh.
Nura exhales quickly—ha ha ha.
Luara—You need to do it in cycle—one exhale and one ahhh—what is all that ha ha ha ha?
Nura—I’m going to go have a look.
Luara—Where are you going to go? To the door—what for? You need to go to Valery’s class at the fitness club at least once a week. By the way, today he noticed my new hair-do. "Luara Vikentevna" he said "You look just like a sunbeam" and he has the most charming smile, his teeth are white, and in my opinion he is always dressed very tastefully. His warm-up suit is dark blue and he has quite the solid build—legs that go on for days—I’d go so far as to call him elegant. And at the broker’s course the other night he was wearing a suit, just like I like it—no tie, but in a white polo with an open neck.
Nura—Maybe we should call Rurik.
Luara—I don’t want to. It always ruins my mood to talk to him in the evenings.
Nura—Well, I’ll call him.
Luara—And what is that going to do? Best case, he’ll say, "I don’t know anything"—in the worse case, well, you can guess that yourself.... I consider it a great, simply an unspeakable blessing from God that things have ended up like this as far as he is considered. Could you imagine if, I wouldn’t even want to dream about, it, if...
Luara—If he lived with us here...Every night I thank the Moscow Arts Council—I’m speaking for myself now, by the way, Valery taught me that—thank you, most respected Moscow Arts Council that you have given my ungifted son a studio so that I don’t have to look at him everyday at home—he actually looks a lot like a movie star—so charming.
Luara—What does Rurik have to do with it? Valery.
Nura—It’s already 1am. We need...
Luara –I need to sit and review my strategies---It’s a no on the conservatives, but there are futures and moderators, I need to buy into those more.
Luara sits down at the computer.
Luara—All right. So, it’s preferable to fill your profile with shares of high-risk financial instruments—in fact, not only blue chip stocks, but stocks from companies of the second echelon in order to create greater potential for growth and thereby improving the overall health and value of your portfolio.
Nura jumps up.
Nura—It sounds like the door is opening.
Luara—What did I tell you? Sit down, don’t even think about going to her. Let her come in herself and explain it all—and we’ll listen. Pick up your pen and write.
Nura—What should I write?
Luara—Whatever it is you write...that’s right, I remember, I was still a young girl and Leo Nikolayevich sang to me and played his balalaika "Laika, laika bla,bla,bla "
Vika and Brusha’s voices are heard from the hallway.
Vika—Put the portfolio case down there.
Brusha—We slaughtered him.
Vika—Here, take these house shoes.
Luara—Victoria, come in here!
Vika—Damn. I thought they were already sleeping.
Vika and Brusha come into the old women’s room.
Vika—This is Brusha, we go to school together.
Luara—Do you know what time it is?
Luara—Where have you been?
Vika—We were studying, slaving away...
Luara—And what were you studying until 1:30 in the morning? What exactly were you slaving away at? (Luara looks at Brusha) Listen, I’d like to ask you something—are you planning on crying soon?
Brusha—I’m sorry, what is it you’re asking for?
Luara—As I understand it, your kind's always asking for it.
Brusha—Asking for what?
Luara—I've read about you guys on the internet—what are you called? Emo. Always just about to cry and open up a vein.
Nura—Are you hungry?
Vika—What do you think? You spend all day at the factory, you come home and it’s the Gestapo.
Brusha —I'm not Emo—It's just a look.
Luara—Just a look? Nothing's ever just a look—it's clearly ruining your health—you're wheezing, your voice is hoarse, you have a cough, don't you—might even be consumption.
Brusha—Nope. Nothing like that yet.
Vika—Are we having dinner or what?
Nura—Of course, let's go, I'll show you.
Vika—I'm going to have a shower while you heat it up (to Brusha) Go with her and she'll get you everything.
Luara—Better not to start, Nura, we'll end up having candle light dinner with a bunch of punks.
Nura—Come on, sweetie. Take off your coat, you'll be more comfortable.
Luara—Thank God, you're found yourself something to do—there are coats to take, nose-rings to straighten, tattoos to do! (She immerses herself in the computer again) Futures and Options in the emergency sector of the Russian Stock Exchange…
Nura and Brusha go into the kitchen.
Nura—Sit down---there's some soup, of course it’s a little late for soup, there's chicken, some sauteed vegetables, some fruit juice.
Nura — Nothing to thank me for. Don't mind Luara, we had just been waiting so long and…. its a very good chicken.
Nura —Don't be shy.
Brusha—I don't eat meat.
Nura—There you go, neither do I. You and I will have the sauteed vegetables then—some cottage cheese, a little bread, there's some honey. I'll heat the chicken up for Vika now. She takes forever in the shower, so we can just start. I missed something I think, what's your name?
Nura—And I'm Nura. Are you in the same year as Vika?
Brusha—No, I'm a third year.
Nura bustles about, sets things on the table, heats things up.
Brusha—Here, let me cut the bread.
Nura—Only be careful not to cut yourself. I sharpened the knife today.
Nura—When I was your age, I also liked to dress extravagantly. True, it was harder back then, but we always thought up something, pulled something together. Luara, by the way, also liked to, but later…
Nura—Late, I studied at the conservatory. But that's probably not very interesting to you. Here you are, eat! (She sets down a full plate)
Brusha—You studied at a conservatory?
Nura—Yes Sweetie. But that was a long time ago. You can put a little salt on the cottage cheese if you like, do you want some honey?
Brusha—Did you sing?
Nura—No, I studied piano performance.
Brusha—And did you perform?
Nura—I worked as a concertmaster, but that was also back in the stone age, as they say.
Brusha—But you said, later.
Brusha—You loved to dress up, but later...
Nura—I had the most amazing teacher, Goldenweiser. I'm writing about it now, as a matter of fact.
Brusha—You're a writer?
Nura—Well that sounds too grand. I just write some things down, I reminisce.
Vika comes in after her bath, wearing a robe.
Vika—And where's the food?
Nura—Sit down. Some chicken, a little tomato…
Vika (to Brusha)—Well, are you totally overloaded yet?
Brusha—We're just talking.
Vika—Yeah, well, don't bother.
Brusha—It's interesting, Nura was just telling me…
Vika—Nura loves to tell bedtime stories. Now the healing starts—wash you hands, don't smoke, don't do this, back in our day, lai lai lai—but her favorite is, its like banging your head against a door, her favorite is to tell you all about Leo Nikolayevich and his wife and lai lai lai…
Nura—There's some lemon, do you want it?
Vika—Are you gonna take all night, or what?
Nura—No, no—I'm pouring the tea now.
Luara comes in.
Luara—Isn't this just lovely! Late night conversation. (to Vika) Will you be dressing like that now? (Looking at Brusha)
Vika—What do you care?
Luara—Listen, I feed you, I dress you, I can ask what I want.
Vika—And what? You're gonna shoot me because I’ve started college and I'm still eating a little bit of your food?
Nura—Whose going to shoot you. Vika, honey, why?
Vika—Listen, if I wanted to I could get outta here tomorrow.
Nura—Stop it. Your tea is getting cold.
Luara—And where, I wonder, would you go?
Vika—I'd find a place.
Luara—Right, there are lots of places in the world, but you finding one, I somehow seriously doubt that.
Vika—I don't give a shit about your doubts.
Luara—Well in that case, why don’t you go?
Nura (to Luara) Here, have some tea with honey.
Luara---Looks like I have a nanny, too.
Nura—Just sit down.
Brusha—Thank you (stands up)
Vika—Where are you going?
Brusha—Time to go.
Brusha (to Nura)—The vegetables were really good.
Luara (pouring some tea)—Well, despite your funny look, it seems you have some rudimentary sense.
Luara—You have basic manners.
Brusha—I think its just natural.
Luara—Well, not for everyone, it’s not.
Nura—Where are you going? It's very late. Your parents are worried probably, maybe you should call them.
Luara—His kind is always fine.
Brusha—My mother's in Samara.
Luara—What does she do there?
Brusha—Business, she has investments there…
Luara—And your father?
Brusha—I don't have a father.
Luara—Ah, there's the trouble. You need a father. A strong hand.
Vika—Wonderfully said—strong hands—amazing. My dad has strong hands so he can grab at anything that moves,
Luara—Could you stop?
Vika—Why are you always on my back, nagging?
Nura—Vika, what's wrong with you?
Vika—I'm just sick of it.
Brusha stands up.
Brusha—Thank you. Good-bye (He leaves)
Vika—It smells like shit in here.
Luara –Then don't breathe.
Vika—Fine I won't! (yells to Brusha) Wait, I'm coming with you.
Nura—Where are you going?
Vika—I'm getting out of here. Sit down—you can nag at each other!
Vika—Sweetie! (She goes out. Sings from the hall) Mama don't wait for me, your bad boy's never coming back home. (to Brusha) Grab the portfolio.
The door slams.
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