By Andrey Kurkov
Victor is depressed: his lover has dumped him, his brief tales are too brief, and the sunshine has long gone off in his dingy house. His purely better half is Misha, the penguin he rescued from Kiev's Zoo, while it could not feed the animals anymore. Misha is the silent witness to Victor's melancholy, and joins in his celebration—fish and vodka—when Victor's good fortune turns out to show: he's commissioned to jot down obituaries. the unusual factor is that the editor wishes him to pick topics who're nonetheless alive, the movers and the shakers of the hot, post-Communist society.
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Sergey grinned, unscrewing the cognac. Misha, having meanwhile abandoned quilt for ice, set off at a comical waddling run and dived once more into the ice-hole. 21 In the small hours of Monday morning, Viktor was roused by the insistent ringing of the phone. When finally awake, he didn’t feel like getting up, but lay waiting for the caller to lose patience. But the caller didn’t lose patience, and even the penguin woke and gabbled. Viktor got out of bed and made his way unsteadily to the phone.
He accompanied these words with a lordly wave of the hand. “I’d prefer coffee, if I may,” said Viktor, settling into a leather armchair facing the vast executive desk. “Two coffees,” the Editor-in-Chief said, picking up the phone. “Do you know,” he resumed amiably, “we’d only recently been talking about you, and yesterday in came our Assistant Arts Editor, Boris Leonardovich, with your little story. ‘Get an eyeful of this,’ said he. I did, and it’s good. ” Viktor nodded politely. Igor Lvovich paused and smiled.
By next morning Viktor had earmarked a possible first obelisk. It only remained to get the Chief’s blessing. 30 next morning, having got the Chief’s blessing, drunk coffee, and been solemnly presented with his Press card, Viktor bought a bottle of Finlandia at a kiosk, and set off for the office of sometime author, now State Duma Deputy, Aleksandr Yakornitsky. Hearing that a correspondent of Capital News wished to see him, the State Deputy was delighted, and immediately told his secretary to cancel all his remaining appointments and admit no one else.
Death and the Penguin (Panther) by Andrey Kurkov