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War Game /by Basa Janikashvili/

Size: 130x195 mm
Number of pages: 166
A new novel about the Russian-Georgian 2008 August war by Basa Janikashvili. As the war starts, one family's summer holiday destination becomes the front-line. Husband and wife, Guram and Vera, conduct their own war. A pebble, thrown by their son, hits and downs a Russian fighter plane. The captured pilots are to be shot dead. However, before the death penalty is to be carried out, the Georgians astonish the Russian pilots with their hospitality and warm reception.

The boundaries between the real and virtual worlds are often lost in the novel. It is up to the reader to decide whether the characters will become real participants in the conflict or players of a computer game.




The Hot Barrel 2

     Another report made Guram start again.
     "Let me have a shot, let me! You promised!" Giviko couldn't settle down.
     Vera blew out the barrel like Clint Eastwood.
     "Why did you promise? Can a little boy play with a gun?" Vera did not like the idea.
     "He is a man and he's fond of arms", Guram tried to put himself right with her. He took the gun from Vera. Giviko did not let him utter a word. The boy snatched the Colt out of his father's hands. Giviko came running up to the first pilot, calling "Вот, если не могу слезть"* and shot right in his temple. Nikiforov Anatoli Giorgievich rolled on the ground unexpectedly.
     "You made it!" His son's boldness made Guram really glad.
     "That's enough!" screamed Vera. She ran after Giviko. The boy ran up to the fourth pilot and fired a shot from the pistol with a cock in the pilots neck. Zumut Tumezovich Izmailov heaved a groan. He had no time to thank the boy. It was a momentary death.
     Giviko stood at Izmailov's head.
     "Я не мальчуган!"** he said on the top of everything.
     However, the pilot couldn't hear him. His soul had just started its forty-day journey.
     Guram was the first one to dash to Giviko. Now Guram snatched the gun from the boys hands and stroke him on the head.
     "Are you out of your mind?"
     Vera saved Giviko from a kick. She put him against her breast and gave the man a sign with her eyes not to hit. Giviko started sobbing.
     "It's my pistol", whispered the boy on his mother's knees. Guram played with the pistol taken from the boy for a moment. He stepped to the last guest alive and put the gun against him. "Прощай, друг Боря"***, said Guram mournfully and shot. Boris Ivanovich Surkatov fell down with a smile on his
face. The family stood silent looking down at the killed pilots.

The Codename "Dacha"

     The night had already fallen. Birds, wasps, frogs and gnats were all silent. Giviko's hiccups were the only thing breaking the silence. Now he had nothing in common with the terrible magician making fireworks in the sky over Sioni. Like a little
man he was clinging to his mother's knees with his shoulders slouched.
     Far, far away, maybe in the vicinity of Gori, attackers were flying in the sky easily. People had come out of their houses, vainly trying to remind the pilots that there's history besides all commands.
     "What if I clear away tomorrow?"
     Guram did not answer Vera. It was all the same, for she'd still clear away the next day.
     "I think they were pleased". Vera seemed to be even more pretty in the moonlight. "I served them with everything I had". She knew she was observed.
     "No, the party was really good". He found Vera's hand in the darkness. He felt her palm with his fingers and patted it. Giviko saw them and stopped hiccuping.
     "You did not touch anything", said Vera. She looked at Giviko, trying to hide her shyness.
     "I patrolling", said the son proudly.
     "Teach the kid how to speak Georgian at least", Vera freed her hand in a bashful manner, "I'll clear away tomorrow. I'm too tired... Go to bed now and don't wander".
     Vera came in. She stepped out in a couple of minutes and disappeared behind the house. She had a flash in her hand. There was a facility in the end of the yard. The father and his son were left alone. The man got back to the table. He sat
down on one of the chairs and took his boy onto his knees.
     "What was that?" he gave the question to himself, rather than to the boy.
     "What, dad?"
     "I'm a bit drunk", he thrust his hand into the pocket of his trousers to take some cigarettes out of it. He found some pills there. He looked all over the pills for a while and put them on the table. Then he started to feel for cigarettes in another pocket
and finally took one out of it. He lit the cigarette and smoked.
     "I don't like you taking it", it was impossible to make it out whether the boy meant alcohol or the pills.
     "I don't like it too, but I couldn't do without it"
     "I don't want to sleep", said Giviko and yawned.
     He was really sleepy. He had not sat with his father with no worry for long. That's why the boy was trying to keep awake.
     "It seems everything is burning in Rustavi", he said and looked up to the sky. The noise made by an attacker could not be heard any more. There were stars burning in the sky.
     "Were they bombing there too?"
     "So it would seem".
     "I don't want to sleep", said Giviko again and opened his mouth so largely that Guram laughed aloud.
     "That's OK. Who's going to make you go to bed?"
     Guram took a deep puff. Then he had a deep sigh and mashed the cigarette butt on the table. Vera appeared from the end of the yard with a towel over her shoulder. She had a tooth brush in her hand. She stopped at the door of the cottage.
     "Men, go to bed now! Do you know what time it is?" said Vera and entered the house.
     Only now Guram remembered that he had come to the dacha where one hundred people used a single toilet every day of the week and the idea to hang up a door to the loo had never flashed into anyone's mind. That's why he leapt up like one in
a sudden horror and cried to Vera hidden behind the closed door of the cottage: "Vera, is the loo occupied?" Giviko, who happened to be dropped down on the ground all of a sudden, looked up to his dad. He was not hurt. He knew that his father
had not done so for fun. He also knew that the toilet in Sioni disgusted his father.
     "Dad", said the boy finally, "I know the name we'll give to my brother".
     "Don't tell me it's Frogerio", the man helped his son to get up. He dusted down the boys trousers and patted him on the hair.
     "How did you guess?" Giviko was surprised.
     "Sonny, bring the flash. Let's water and go to bed", said the father to his son and gave him a friendly boot. Giviko entered the cottage. Guram looked up to the sky once again and thought that it's the sky that one looks first, when a war
breaks out. Then he gave a glance around the leavings. Finally he looked to the place where the dead men were lying. No one could be seen there.

* If I can't get down.
** I am not a laddie!
*** Good-bye, my friend, Borya!


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