"Un cititor trăieşte o mie de vieţi înainte de a muri. Omul care nu citeşte trăieşte doar o singură viaţă." – George R.R. Martin

Quote of the Day – 6 August 2017: Picnic at the side of the road – Arkadi and Boris Strugatki

They've been struggling with these "bottles" for so long and probably to humanity. If I were him, I would have them up a lot and did any other work for the same money. But come to think of it, these bottles really have something bizarre. How many times have I not broken my back by carrying them, and yet, as I can see, I can't help but wonder every time. There are actually two copper discs the size of 5 mm thick saucers, with a distance between them of 400 mm. There's nothing between the disks. Nothing at all. Deserted. You can get your hand through them, even your head, unless you've lost your mind by moving; deserted and deserted again, just air. Of course, there's something between them, some force out there, come to think of it. However, no one has so far been able to bring them closer or remove them.

Well, reader, it's kind of hard to explain things like that to someone who hasn't seen them; it's hard precisely by their simplicity, especially when you are shown and you can research them, finally convincing yourself what it's all about. It's like trying to describe scientifically and with rich details, so to speak, a mug, or God forbid, a drink; you shake hands by not knowing what to explain in detail, and there's nothing left for you to do but cool off by swearing healthily.

Finally, let's say you understand what this is about and, even if there was something else unclear, you have only to take the Institute's Exhibits. There, at every reissue, there are also photographs of these "bottles".

All in all, Kirill struggled with these bottles for over a year. I've been working with him from the very beginning, except i still don't really understand what he wanted from them. Quite frankly, I'm not even trying to find out. First let him begin to understand, to fend for himself, and then I'll start maybe I'll listen to him. Until then, there's only one thing for me: he really needs a few bottles, which he can craft, decapitate them with acids, flatten them in the press and melt them in the oven. And only then will everything seem clear to him, will it be full of glory and praise, and even world science will shake with contentment. But, as I understand it, there's a long way to go. He hasn't discovered anything yet, although he's been struggling a lot lately. The only result was that he caught an unhealthy pallor, ashes, became silent, and his eyes began to tear them down more often, as in a sick dog (tail between the legs, blegite ears).

Let anyone else than Kirill have fit into my hand. I would have taken him through all the night bars and brothels in the region (that I only know them better than myself) and within a week I would pull out of him a new man (ears pinched, tail up). But for Kirill, this medicine is not valid, so it's not even worth it by proposing to him. He's got a different wire.

So I'm sitting in the warehouse watching him work, though I close his eyes from fatigue, when all of a sudden, I feel sorry for him, and I don't know why. Then I'll decide. The culmination is that, although I had not decided to speak to him, I did this, as if someone had pulled my tongue:

 – Listen, Kirill!

He kept the last bottle in balance, in such a position that you thought he wanted to get into it altogether.

 – Listen, Kirill! What if you had a full bottle?

 – A full bottle?, repeat and arch his eyebrows, like I told him some bascons.

 – Yes, I did. Your hydromagnetic trap, what do you call it… Object 77-B. Only it still has a filling with bluish reflexes there.

I notice that he begins to understand, raises his eyes to me and smiles at them, trying to hide his glimmer of intelligence and lucidity, as he liked to express himself sometimes…

 – Wait, go ahead. Full? Still like this, it's just full?

 – Well, yes.

 – Where are you going?

My Kirill flinch: "Ears pinched, tail up."

 – Let's smoke!

Throw the empty brisk "bottle", slam the door, lock a three-and-a-half revolutions of a tiny disc, and we head back to the lab.


The Roadside Picnic Book can be purchased from:

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