Apples

Translated by Nikita Pavlov

The father chases his son into a corner.
"You had two apples. I threw one out. How many are left?"
Quiet whimpering.
"You had two apples. I cut one into pieces. How many are left?"
Whimpers, shoves, hugging the wall.
"You had two apples. I ate one... I took it and ate it! How many do you have left?"
Crying, bawling, slaps.
"You held in your dirty hands two unwashed apples. I grabbed one from you and devoured it. How many apples are left, damn it?"
More bawling: "No, daddy, don't."
"Oh yes I will. You had two apples. I yanked one out of your dirty hands and stomped it into mulch! One out of two is now rotting on the floor. How many do you have left?"
Shivering, howling, shouts. Shrieking from the mother:
"Leave the child alone!"
"He is an idiot! I'm changing the conditions. You had two apples. You ate one of them! You yourself ate it! How many apples, you idiot, you dummy, do you still have?"
"Aaaah! Don't hit me! Daddy!"
"No zoo for you! No guests! You're never having a birthday party again! I'm spending the whole holiday with this moron. You had two apples... Zina, do we have apples? What? Fine, give me the carrots. You had two carrots, you stupid creature! I took... give it... let go, you idiot, this is arithmetic! I forcefully took one from you and ate it. Here. Crunch, crunch. Are you watching? Crunch, crunch!"
"Grisha, it hasn't been washed."
"Fine! Let him see. I just ate an earth-covered carrot. How many carrots do you have left?"
Sniffles.
"Look!!! How many dirty carrots are left in your stinking paws?!"
"O-o-o-one!"
"Very good, sonny. Now let's get back to apples."
"Da-a-a-addy-y-y!"
"Gri-i-isha-a-a!"
"Stop bawling! Answer me! You had two apples..."
"Grisha, I'm begging you..."
"This is necessary! This idiot answered correctly with the carrots. Therefore, there's hope. I'm developing abstract thinking in him. You had two apples..."
"Aaah! Don't wanna!"
"Grisha, don't!"
"Damn it! Either he won't be such an idiot, or he's never growing up at all! You had two apples..."
"Aaaah!"
"Silence! The whole house shut up! No hints! I, your dad, have taken from you... one out of two apples."
"Aaaah!"
"I, your father, out of two apples have taken one... stop! Shut up! You had one apple. I snuck up and gave you... stop bawling! I snuck up from behind... no, I snuck up from the front and gifted you a second apple... how many do you have now? Alright, I'll change the conditions. You have no apples whatsoever, you're just standing there like an idiot. I surreptitiously crawl up to you and give you, my favorite little son, one apple. How many apples do you have now? Oh no you don't, you bastard! No! Don't you even dare say it. Where the hell did the second apple come from? Where in all that is holy did you find the second one? I only gave you one. Let's try this again. You, my most beloved son in the whole world, are standing there like an idiot and looking around... you have no apples. You have nothing! The wind blows: aaaaah. The wolves howl: ooooooh. And then I crawl out of the woods. Quietly sneak up on you. You're just there alone. You have nothing. Wind, wolves... then I quietly sneak out of the dark forest. Come up to you from behind... and Bam! Give you a whole two apples."
"Daddy, don't!"
"Who are you saying this to? You didn't have anything. I gave you two apples. How many do you have now? What do you mean you won't take them?! It's winter! Woods! You are all alone and won't take the apples? Zina, go away... close the door. Nobody around. You are alone. Only the wolves are howling and the cops are blowing their whistles somewhere. And here I am, sneaking up..."
The bawling became intolerable. The neighbors began to knock on the floor.
"Okay, fine. You gave me one yourself. How many are left?"
Quiet whispering: "One."
"So, how many apples do I have?"
"One."
"And how many do you have?"
"One."
"Let's go ahead and eat them."
"Let's..."
"But we have no apples. There's nothing to eat. Now that's what's called abstract thinking."

- M. Zhvanetskiy

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