Fragments from the novel “The Cyclops Bomb”. 2009


Ladies and gentlemen, profoundly esteemed world community! I must confess to you: I am done for.

My thoughts will be recorded in the black box of the airplane and, when they retrieve it from the sea, more precisely, from a depth of 237 meters, the only thing they will find out will be the thoughts, my thoughts, which you are reading at this minute. Exactly how this will occur, that is, how the black box will record my nervous desultory thoughts, I have no idea. But now, at this very minute, I know that it will occur like this and only like this. How do I know? The explanation is simple – I am dead meat! My time-span is different from yours, my brain works differently…

This fact is of interest to kings of all five continents, presidents, premiers… Swindlers, poets… And TV – first and foremost.

Along with me, my seven journalist colleagues will also perish, and nobody will be able to understand who these thoughts belong to. So, dear friends, a person is one thing, but his thoughts are something quite different. Especially if this man flying at a height of twelve kilometers.

So, my kind friends, I am incognito! I am lying on a fragment of the aircraft’s tail, gripping the edges. A strange stream of air is pulling me along and – which surprises me most of all – I am calmly scrutinizing the earth. Evidently I am calm because (as you have already guessed) I am perishing! This, it turns out, is what it’s like – death in an air disaster.

If only at least one camera would turn up somewhere close by and film me. What a super thing that would be!

Farewell, farewell, film star kisses valued at $30,000 at charity evenings!

Farewell,“AtoZ” fans, who are now on Ozone Square, listening to a hologram of an Elvis Presley concert! Elvis is singing “Suliko”. Farewell, farewell interactive respondents, of whom 35% consider that white is white and not black, 12% abstain (they are confused), and the rest consider that white is black!

“AtoZ”! “AtoZ”

Kiddies, kiddies, how do you contrive to force statues of kings to run? Maybe they put them on wheels, attach motors and mobilize them, and then away you go, scooting around the city – right to left, backwards and forwards, up and down!

And you, you, esteemed ladies, how do you teach your kids? David the Builder was macho, fought with two Japanese swords, lopped off five heads in a minute, dealt to ten ninjas with one hand.

My reportage should become the champion of all reportage; I, luckless victim, am cr-o-a-k-i- ng…

What happened to the airplane? However, there is no point in inquiring about this at the moment.

My homeland for a camera!

In the end it was we who gave humanity the first steel! And medicine? Medea! What, have you forgotten?

Stalin! Borjomi! Wine! Khachapuri! Satsivi! Сhicken!..

And they drink our wine and bomb us. Is that fair?

Life has become a variety of death.

People are already fearful of the caresses of the strange beast hiding in the entrance to their housing block. We show it on TV ten times a day. Shot close up. Even that man is afraid who twenty years ago roared in front of the zoo gates: let me screw the lioness!!!

We wandered aimlessly between academic elite and underground bordellos, cracking seeds.

I lived in a country which was not able to accom135 modate the energy of a president and presidential candidates, and they were compelled to declare themselves messiahs to the whole world.

I listened to a man playing on a violin. He had no hands. He was playing with his heart. How? I didn’t understand. I listened also to women singing in a snow covered city. I sat in the snow and it seemed to me that time was always a barbarian, and history was bluff! And only groans were eternal.

One MP beseeched us: film me, film me, let me say at least one word in front of the camera. My son is studying in Europe, he will see me on TV, and be pleased. He was even ready to make a speech about UFOs, if only we would let him out into the airwaves.

No problems! – that expression has eaten its way through my bald patch, dried my blood up. And the word “worthy” as well?.. Enough to drive you crazy!

“My girl is pleased”, “background is needed”, “dirt”, “My ear is tuned”, “we’ll do that client over”, “fine, well, we’re on the threshold of the twenty-first century” – even now these words still buzz in the ears.

I loved Elsa, a revoltingly popular television host, organizer of politico-gladiatorial battles. Once she even persuaded a medium to “bring” the soul of a murdered professor into the studio. She tried to arrange a TV link-up under the title “God is humanity”. It almost came off. She even shouted at some politicians: “How popular I have made you, and you mess everything up for me!” And once she began to cry and suddenly became so nice and vulnerable that for a lo-o-o-ng time I kissed her hair, eyes, lips, breasts.

Sponsor of the TV serial – “Khinkali House”!

Sponsor of the concert – “Lalulishala” factory for the production of toilet paper!

And why of late are cars tumbling into the river and people drowning?

The plane on which we were to have flown out of the besieged city had risen up on its tail in the airport – that’s how heavily the hucksters overloaded it with mandarins and lemons.

The President announced the joyous news to the whole of humanity: our “Mosquito” children’s group consisting of three members has been victorious in an international contest!

Have you noticed that trains abroad have a different language; people and cars have different voices. The crunch of an apple is different when you bite into it. The natural scenery there, like the language there, is unfamiliar to us, alien to us.

I also drank wine made from roses, and even ate a kebab made from blackbirds’ tongues on the shores of a translucent sea, but of late for some reason they have been calling me the man from the government-battered media. The battered weirdo.

And yet, what will survive of me? Surely not just that he was good at greeting, had a strong handshake.

Well, where, where is it to be found – a single camera?

What devastating reportage it would be…

Have I time to smoke just one cigarette?

What an audacious smile Elza has – Elza with her kisses of genius. How alike her words and her naked body are.

There, below, a salty maritime morning awaits me.

The tragedy of man lies in the search for truth.

On the sea surface I inspect my parade: childhood, war, war, you, you, you, Elza, an aircraft tail… An eternally old and youthful and cogitating sea.

I also see the vertical rise of water from the sea. The genesis of a turbid stream on the sloping surface of the ocean. An ocean crest. Blocks of stones and ice mixed into a homogeneous mass.

Flying, flying, flying, I am perishing. On the other hand I am hardly like those ancient elders, beloved people, who have been settled in heaven: through time, wars, illnesses…

My teacher had his eyes operated on. After that he was able to see for 32 days. Then he went blind again.

But over this period he made a thorough study of the road to the sea. In this sea I cut my foot on a barnacle, by the piles of a mooring pier. I saw my blood under water embracing the sea weed in clouds of red smoke. Sea embraced by fire. Or a village the Mongols had burnt in some bygone

century. Or – the way a Grad rocket launcher set fire to the forest.

Or the volcano Vesuvius with Fujiyama in the background. .. I saw all this at once in my sea, and I was the whole world.

And yet – where, where is it be found, just a single camera?

What devastating reportage would be forged out of all that has happened here!

But maybe, perhaps, somebody in the aircraft’s passenger cabin had a video camera switched on, and it is now flitting about somewhere nearby and taking pictures…

Lord, do a good deed – film me! At least now hear my prayer, when you are so close to me, and humanity is so far.

Give me a sympathetic hearing, Father, with tenderness; I would swap the entire earth for a single camera!


Pilgrim: I read on the Internet that over there five people have been killed in a fight. A king boxing competition for grandfathers was organized in a khinkali bar. French footballers are better than Italian ones, declared the fans of the French national team. The fans of the Italians went crazy: what do you mean, Italy is better! First they bombarded each other with khinkali dumplings, then they smashed each other’s heads with beer tankards. What are you laying down your heads for, whose celebrations are you marking, whose joys?

Comedian: Whoever you hate, it’s never the one you think you hate. A bullet never hits the person you fired at. Lasha, don’t become like those embittered moaners who are eternally cursing someone. They cannot love, and only hatred gives them strength. But if it helps you, then please, hate us. Do you have a beloved?

Pilgrim: MMMMMM… excuse me, Comedian, my finger accidentally got stuck on the “M” key! A beloved!

Does love still exist? That I have women, don’t have any doubts about that. As far as sex is concerned, everything is tip-top! MMMMM – it got stuck again. You hear, I am bellowing like a pedigree bull: Bull-rearer!!!

P.S. I beg your pardon, Comedian; I’m not Lasha, but

Pilgrim: Don’t confuse me with someone there.

Comedian: Understood, Pilgrim, but now tell me this: do you have a friend?

Pilgrim: Friendship? It seems to me that even this “something” no longer exists on earth either.

Comedian: Thank God, not everyone thinks like you.

Pilgrim: They think and think. I read more than you believe. True, it’s the twenty-first century, but the concept of a “book” still exists. Quite recently I read that, apart from six billion people, there are around a billion pigs living on earth. Imagine how many pigs there are among those six billion and how many people there are in that one billion?

Comedian: You write without thinking. Although that doesn’t surprise me, there’s a lot happening in the country in which the head does not participate.

Pilgrim: What, does the mention of pigs grate upon your ears? Haven’t you read the New Testament?

Comedian: And you are not at all like a zealous follower of biblical teaching. During your own boyhood you were like a lamb, now you howl like a wolf. Judge not!

Pilgrim: I do not judge, I merely cite facts, sir. If you saw me now, I have such a calm face… Calm as the Creator’s, cross my heart… It’s really true: at the moment I am like an ancient sculpture.

Comedian: Ancient? But in those times they listened differently to what was said by others, with a different voice, in a different tone, in a different rhythm. Even gossip was different, and the wine had a different taste, and even women had a different look. You are my idea of hopelessness,

Pilgrim: Well, I think you are exaggerating, Comedian, there’s no place for hopelessness among you… Given that we’ve referred to ancient times, remember: when Jason took away the Golden Fleece, and kidnapped Medea at the same time, your forefather was playing with a drinking horn, sir. You are also a link in the chain of that nation, aren’t you? You are eternal victors, even during

the biggest defeat… When you celebrate your chronic defeats, it means that your affairs are indeed in a very bad state.

Comedian: Nobody knows who will emerge as a victor and when. Sometimes you have to let the opponent win, in order for him to be defeated. You must recall the old Buddhist, who was told by the village: a boy has been given a horse. And the Buddhist said: let’s wait and see what happens next. The boy fell from the horse and broke his leg. The Buddhist said: let’s wait and see what happens next. The war started, the lad was not called up, he had an injured leg. The village said: well, the lad survived, how nice. But the Buddhist said: let’s wait and see…

Pilgrim: Let’s wait and see… Do you see what time period has been knocking at your door? You are talking in parables again. I understand you, getting money for bread has shortened the lives of many, and before Giordano Bruno they knew that it is the Earth that revolves, but they had families. You surprise me – where are you and where is the family, what are you afraid of?

Comedian: If I were as you depict me, I wouldn’t have lasted until now.

Pilgrim: And you are telling me this? True, it’s a remarkable time for not losing one’s head.

Comedian: You are not by chance making corrections in Shakespeare texts, are you? Come on, get on with it, addle the brains of the Spanish. As if it were Shakespeare, and in actual fact it’s you yourself. Come on, come on!

Never mind the Spanish, the English themselves don’t read Shakespeare any more. Even Shakespeare scholars.

Pilgrim: Oh dear, mother! The coffee has spilled onto the keyboard. Has the aroma of my coffee not reached your room by any chance? You see, I have become like you. And you are great at shakespearising.

Comedian: I don’t understand; if you don’t love your own country, can you really love a foreign one?

Pilgrim: Surely love and hate are one and the same thing? So you no longer respect other people’s gods.

That means that your own god is weak.

Comedian: Leave God in peace.

Pilgrim: Aye, aye, Father-Commander! But remember one thing well: until you visualize  yourself even for a short time in the skin of those you have been fighting for so long, until they become even a little bit like you, misfortunes will not leave you alone, and even your own God will not look in your direction. Then you can yell “God is with us” as much as you like at your demonstrations.

Comedian: Well I never! How well your reasoning accommodates all this!

Pilgrim: It’s a difficult time, and therefore it reads easily and quickly, like magazines full of pictures.

Comedian: But you have grown up, learned to write better. Only you are growing in the wrong direction.

Pilgrim: That’s why I write to you, to understand myself better.

Comedian: Or to be fulfilled. If only one could shed one’s wrath and vexation that way.

Pilgrim: You don’t understand anything. What is rising in my throat you regard as wrath. It’s ballast. That’s how I lighten my balloon from you. I am pulling away from the earth and drawing near to a new sky. Yours is a world with sharp edges. I have bruised myself all on them. You are always gyrating on the edge of a dagger. Gravitating alternately towards one strong man or another. And you spin the world like a top. Here it is, your cosmetic progress – you are progressing quickly and going nowhere. Your souls have long since fallen behind your bodies.

Comedian: And now we are sitting and waiting for them to return to us.

Pilgrim: I don’t believe it! Keep out of the firing line, live quietly, like the grass, hide in a burrow, until the weather clears, and the foul weather has blown itself out. The earth’s collisions with meteors and the ice ages destroyed the dinosaurs, but the snakes and lizards survived.

The country is becoming like its leader, and you select only idlers and obsessives as leaders. You would do better to choose a good table companion, a good toastmaster; maybe frequent convivial dining sessions would save you (in this I agree with you). For before it was quite often like that – the country collapsed, and you proposed newer and newer toasts and knocked back glass after glass. Ready to give the guests everything. Yes, gentlemen, everything used to be like that, but you are now surprised at something else: here you are, so nice, warm and fluffy, but why don’t they like you? Truly, why?

Comedian: There are many things you are completely unable to work out. If you don’t know your past well, you won’t have a future. You are laying it on too thick,

Pilgrim: We met enemies with hostility, sword in hand, friends with wine, peaceably. This was something we did not confuse. And you chatter away to me… So many paths, and not a single one to your heart.

Pilgrim: Not a single one, you say? Well, give me just one reason why it would be worthwhile living with you and like you, taking part in your bazaar-performances, in a mothballed existence, with formalin-pickled relations between us. Give me just one, a single solitary reason.

Comedian: Your homeland…

Pilgrim: Oh dear!

Comedian: Yes, we are being pulled along on a tow rope, but that is today. And we have disturbed the neighbors: who needs a battlefield directly over the fence, right by the gate? But the policy will change – and a lot will change. You must change your country and make it better, and let others worry about themselves, you yourself wrote this to me. If the people curse their mother, what is such a nation actually capable of?

Pilgrim: Those who abuse their own mother are doing so to take revenge on you for leaving them such a country. They are your sin and your punishment. Now you are renouncing them, but it is too late. The new people have set back your generation and now they themselves are dashing along new roads in new cars. What else is would you to expect from the “f**k your mother” generation? And overall I am sincerely sorry for you: you, the generation of fathers, are the victim of a confrontation between grandsons and grandfathers.

Comedian: I did not allow myself to converse with my father in such an insulting tone. What has made you the way you are?

Pilgrim: You were blind, Comedian. And I can see how you are gradually becoming like those nations which arrive like conquerors and live like slaves. They spill blood in order to become slaves. Isn’t that surprising?

You think that you are building the future, but you are building the past – fighting for lands and on them you seek the relics of prayer sites, stones, ornaments, inscriptions…

That is how wolves mark their territories.

Comedian: Don’t go away. I really wish I could give you a good tanning with my belt.

Pilgrim: There you are, you are all like that, and nothing more; you entice with one hand and hold a belt in the other. Your whole country is like that, you threaten other countries like that. Yes and, by the way, on your Broadway haven’t you started to reveal the stars of the bum show yet? You soon will. I can imagine Miss “Rear of the Nation” laying her derriėre on freshly mixed concrete.

And not just laying it, but dunking it in the cement, like a bun in white coffee.

Comedian: Hey, Pilgrim, use your loaf. If you imagine yourself as a lion, be like a lion – a lion does not need poison. You click along the keyboard like a scorpion.

Pilgrim: Poison is something genetic. I am repaying your debt. Yesterday I lay on a Barcelona beach and suddenly remembered a funeral feast for your friend. I was a child. His friends were recalling him: when he drank beer, he would belch forcefully. More than that they could not remember. For one thing: he only belched from our local beer, not imported beer, and therefore he didn’t like the imported stuff. He liked drinking beer on the river bank, next to the brewery, and would bite off a piece of dried fish as he drank; that is where he belched best of all. And a belch was all that remained of him, a grandfatherly, fatherly, classic belch! Just like that! If only you were all able to leave nothing after you but something like that!

But now goodbye and good luck!

Thank God I am once again alone! I am putting on a new production, Comedian – “The Cyclops Bomb”! I have no time to chat now.

Comedian: Wait, wait, Pilgrim, what does your farewell signify?

Comedian: Pilgrim, where are you?

Comedian: Say something, Pilgrim!

Comedian: Lasha, where have you vanished to?

Comedian: Look after yourself, Lasha!

Comedian: Look after yourself, Lasha!

Comedian: Look after yourself, Lasha!

Comedian: Look after yourself!

 English translation by David Foreman

Text edited by PJ Hillery

Fragments from the novel “The president’s cat”. 2006


They say Fidel Castro never came to Sukhumi. What are they talking about? Of course he came. But only a few people know about it, almost nobody in fact.

It is no secret that Fidel visited Pitsunda, but what about Sukhumi?

It happened like this. I was working then as part of Bgazhba’s security team. Hardly anyone noticed us, such was the way we worked our routine. Not like now, when whole teams of bodyguards look after some barely known bureaucrat. The times were different. They were good times.

Khrushchev had brought Castro to Pitsunda. One day they were invited to Lykhny. The toastmaster, of course, was Bgazhba. Mzhavanadze was also there. They were drinking red Lykhny wine. Temurovich handed a drinking horn of pure Alaverdi wine to Fidel Castro. I can’t remember what the toast was. Castro was already pretty soused and flatly refused to drink out of a horn. Khrushchev, who was already legless, was pleading: “Give it to me. These Cubans don’t know how to drink.” And gallantly tried to “drink brotherhood”, arms interlocked, with the First Secretary of the Gudauta district Party Committee, Dmitry Khvartskia. But even Khrushchev was unable to drink the horn to the very end and spilled half of it on Khvartskia. Dmitry Andreyevich was clad in a white tussore suit and the wine turned all his apparel red. He looked as if he had been wounded, soaked in blood. Khrushchev was wearing a Ukrainian style shirt and white trousers. He was also looking bloodied. Red wine was dripping from both of them. Khrushchev’s security team took him away to his holiday home at Pitsunda. And Khvartskia went home as did Mzhavanadze, he drained the same horn and left.

But Castro stayed on.

It was one o’clock in the morning.

Bgazhba was pestering Castro: “You haven’t seen Sukhumi. Let’s go. You’ll see what sort of city it is. It’s like Havana. We also have examples of colonial architecture. We can view everything in an hour since you’re leaving the day after tomorrow. It could be several years before you come to Abkhazia again. Let’s go. You’ll see what a great city Sukhumi is!”

He won Castro over and talked the Central Committee security team into it and that wasn’t easy.

We made our way to Sukhumi covertly, like guerrillas. We had three vehicles: Fidel’s security team, Temurovich’s security team, an interpreter, and Mikhail Temurovich’s deputies.

It was 2.30 a.m. and we were still strolling along the Sukhumi embankment. The city was asleep, no one on the streets. But we, the security team, were on the ball, all eyes and ears.

From the port we walked as far as the drama theatre.

“Well, what do you think of it? Is it a nice town – Sukhumi?”

“It truly is, extraordinary,” Fidel replied, tugging at his beard.

Suddenly, by the fountain close to the theatre, with its gryphons and other monsters, the midnight silence was broken by a chorus of frogs. The fountain had been switched off and was not making any noise and therefore the croaking of the frogs soared to the very heavens. I was amazed. I had never heard frogs there before. The city facilities management services must have done a poor job or else there would hardly be croaking in the city centre, would there? The fountain had not been looked after.

Fidel could not conceal his surprise: surely they weren’t frogs or did it just appear so?

Of course, Bgazhba was not expecting an encounter with frogs either, but he kept his wits about him: “They are our pride and joy, our sacral frogs, and therefore they live near the sights of the city.” Then he spoke at length about the rare breed of frog found only in Abkhazia: ”They are our aboriginals. This kind of frog is called a ´guest frog.´”

The Cuban, who was a great connoisseur of delicacies from frog meat, instantly believed Mikhail Temurovich: “What fantastic frogs you have!”

Incidentally, several years later, when Bgazhba was no longer First Secretary, he put out a scientific work about frogs, a small book. If I am not mistaken, here, too, he mentions in passing this aboriginal “guest frog”.

So, when they say that Fidel Castro did not come to Sukhumi, don’t believe them. Fidel did come to Sukhumi, I swear on the soul of my mother. He was there and only a few people know about it. Of these people I am the only one still living. Though that’s not quite so, there are Fidel and I. So, if anyone asks Fidel if he has been to Sukhumi, I am sure he will reply that he has. If he can’t remember, ask him about the frogs infront of the theatre, the frogs in the gryphon fountain, the “guest frogs”. And you will see he is sure to recall that evening.


“Oh, Europe mine, aged and eternally young, wise and cultured! You know nothing about my satsivi and adjika sauces, my mineral waters and wines, elargi and khachapuri cheese breads. You know nothing about our toasts and our Academy of Conviviality.

I see you often, almost every day, while for you… It is as if through a glass darkly I see you, but as for you seeing me – not a show!

Just ask for once, how am I getting on here, what distresses me, what delights me… Tell me, what have I done wrong, what have I done right…“


A homeless puppy started to frequent our common yard. Because he was black, we named him Pele. He was an affectionate dog, continually fussing around somebody, whether big or small and trying to lick everybody’s hands.

Then one day he was hit by a car.

He died like a child, his whole body trembling and breathing rapidly.

At that moment Mikhail Temurovich appeared from somewhere. He knelt down in front of the pup, stroked its head, caressed it, and said something to it. Pele died in his arms.

Mikhail Temurovich got up and left us without saying a word.

When I attended Mikhail Temurovich’s funeral, I saw that his body was shod in fairly worn shoes, and my heart skipped a beat. The day Pele died he was wearing the very same shoes.


“Here’s to women! All women! Dark-eyed, grey-eyed, brown-eyed and blue-eyed. Blondes, brunettes, redheads! Here’s to them!

Hot as ovens, relaxing as an August sea, cool as an April breeze, cold as snow, as silver – here’s to them in all their most varied diversity, to all of them!

Summer and winter women. Night-time, daytime and morning women! Women rivers! Women mountain peaks! Women oceans! Women winds!

Here’s to live women wings!

Women pyramids!

Women icebergs!

Women who listen to the world with a breast swollen with desire and drink in the world with bewitching eyes and mouths.

Long may their light shine!

Women who are ever hurrying somewhere and seemingly betraying us and at the same time apparently being faithful to us and loving us.

Women whose caresses and smiles and entrancing curves have been working their magic for thousands of years and for whom bishops have drunk wine from their shoes while kneeling before them.

Yes, here’s to women whom we shall never meet and yet love and those women whom we see every day and yet love. Have loved and shall love.

Women of Fujiyama, women of the Sahara, women of the Ganges, women of the steppes, women of the seas and oceans, of the prairies and mountains, women of the Bible, women of all the earth’s continents, women of space.

Here’s to the Taj Mahals, temples, verses and melodies dedicated to them.

Here’s to their colors – green, red, yellow, white, black!

Their embankments, their streets, their beaches, their rooms, their telephones, their bathrooms, their addresses, their beds – here’s to them! Their perfumes, their breath, their aroma!

The centuries in which they lived, and the centuries in which they will be born anew.

Here’s to women who have been lucky in love and those women who have not been lucky in love!

Here’s to their bodies, their dresses, their cosmetics, their hips, their legs, necks, lips, breasts, their life, their bashfulness, their bewilderment, their groans, their tightly bound hips…

Those moments when you are dying, and dying, and dying inside them – and are yet still alive, and you are coming and coming to a climax inside them – and you begin anew….

You are dying and you are climaxing and you revive and you begin again, and come to climax, and die and revive…

Those moments, those moments – here’s to them.

Here’s to women! All women! Who… Whom… Who…”

Thus, he concluded the toast and within our hearts a joyous light suddenly began to play, to throb.


A breeze caresses the Taj Mahal… And the snow of Canada shows the reflection of a rosy sky. Somewhere the last man on the planet is wandering…

On the seventh day after Christmas Eve, he distinctly heard the last bird trembling in his cage say to the Lord:”Surely this planet was not created just for humans?”

It was like a reproach. To be more precise, it was a reproach.

He talked for the last time just with the bird. And then he said not a word more, the bird died.

But there is more, the guardian angels of the house and all the houses that had been abandoned or burnt gathered in his apartment on the seventh day after the Baptism of Christ.

It’s a lucky number, seven.

And all the other days and all the other nights, all the tender words and all the beloved faces, all the actions, kisses, embraces, toasts, sounds, memories, hopes, everything blended on this day and in this night.

The last thing he heard was the voice of that dead bird saying:”Open your eyes.”

He opened his eyes and beheld God.

And he was astounded – he had not expected that God would be like that.

In the morning, he was found dead. He was lying on the floor next to the bed, covered by a felt cape, clutching the edges of the cape with both hands. He was smiling. In his trouser pocket they found three packets of some kind of seeds.





From a flower


From a tree.

During the war, the Gumista River divided the warring parties. One of Mikhail Temurovich’s favourite restaurants, the “Eshera”, remained open to Abkhazians and another, the “Merkheuli”, remained open to Georgians.

Not far from the “Eshera” stood an Abkhazian rocket launcher bombarding the Georgian positions. The Georgian rocket launcher next to the “Merkheuli” was firing at Eshera Hill.

During the war even Mikhail Temurovich’s favorite restaurants declared war on one another and, instead of select wines and exquisite delicacies, dispatched explosive shells at one another.

During a war everything changes. Restaurants, too. They become deserted, plundered, solitary, orphaned, silent in desperation and longing.

They cannot withstand war.

And Mikhail Temurovich did not withstand it.

And on the day of the funeral, the “Eshera” and “Merkheuli” rocket launchers howled and roared.

On the day of the funeral, the small procession moving towards Mikhailov Cemetery included Zinaida Nikolayevna. In her arms was the President’s Cat’s grandson. He was also ginger, like his distant great ancestor. He was also called John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And of course, he was also a healer.

The day of his funeral was sunny. At night, the moon shone.

The moon that night was not the usual moon and therefore, the meowing of all the Sukhumi ginger kept lapping it up till dawn.

The moon resembled the President’s Cat.

English translation

by David Foreman