26 / CHRONICLESnfrom her eyes. She jumped up from the table, grabbed herncoat, which hung on a nail on the door, and rushed out ofnthe room.n”Mama …” Ida ran after her.n”She’ll calm down,” she said returning shortly. “She’llnbe all right. She had a fight with the neighbors today, that’snwhy she’s like that. I’m sorry,” she said to me.n”Listen, daddy,” Tolik said, “they told us in school todaynthat there’re five parts of the world. Is it true, or is it also anpack of lies?”n”This time they told the truth, strangely enough,”nMatvey said.n”Tolik, not everything they say in school is a lie,” saidnIda.n”Almost everything,” Matvey said.n”Matti, stop it, what’re you teaching him! Tolik, don’tnlisten to him. You better tell me why you fished all thencarrots out of your soup again?”n” ‘Cause I hate them. Say, daddy,” he turned to Matvey,n”can you color maps?”n”What maps?”n”For geography. I’ll show you,” he bent down, pulled anmap from under his cot, and spread it on the table. It was anblue contour map of the world. “See, we’ve got to colorneach part different.”nThey both bent over the map. Their heads touched.n”When is it due?” Matvey rubbed his chin against Tolik’snfluffy crown.n”By tomorrow. Stop tickling.”n”Well, then we better do it tonight. Listen,” he turned tonme, “how much longer are you planning to stay innAkulinsk?”n”I don’t know. A few days at least.”n”So you can stay till the weekend?”n”I guess so. Why?”n”In the mountains, about a three-hour drive from here,nthere’s a small Apollo temple of the first century. I want tonshow it to you, but I’ll be busy till the end of the week, gotnto draw a couple of wrappers. Saturday we could go though.nWhat do you think?”n”Fine.”n”Can I go with you?” Tolik said.n”Well, it’s a bit of a long trip for you on the cycle,nalthough …” Matvey looked at Ida.n”Where would you put him?” she said.n”In the sidecar, I suppose. Listen, maybe you can go too?nYou could sit behind me and they two in the sidecar, eh?”nShe thought for a moment, “I think it would be nice.”n”Hurray!” Tolik shouted.n”Now, we got to leave early Saturday,” Matvey said tonme, “so, at seven in the morning we’ll pick you up at yournhotel.nFor the next few days I didn’t see him.nI wandered about Akulinsk, painted its narrow, sunfloodednstreets, dusty littie squares . . . liked Matvey’s family,nand I thought about our trip with pleasure. And so, onnSaturday, at 10 before seven, I was standing in front of mynhotel, waiting for them. At seven o’clock, however, no onencame. Since Matvey didn’t have a phone, I couldn’t callnhim. At eight I decided to take a cab and go to his place.nnnRaising the dust, the cab stopped near the low woodennhouse, which looked like a barrack. A breeze rocked thenempty clothesline.nI went inside.nThe long corridor with many doors was dead quiet. Anweedy gray cat darted past me and disappeared somewhere.nThe plywood cupboard, emptied and flung open, thenchild’s cot, the table with its legs up, stood outside Matvey’sndoor. What’s going on? Are they moving?nI knocked.nThe door opened, and someone’s hand pulled me in.nA harsh light struck me in the eyes. The naked bulb mustnhave had at least 200 watts. Because of that light andnbecause of the presence of three cops, the small roomnseemed even smaller.n”Where to put him?” one of them asked.n”On the bed, next to the others!”nThe mattress on the old woman’s bed was propped up.nOn the bare springs in a row sat Tolik, Ida, the old woman,nand Matvey.n”Your ID!” demanded the cop with a broad face and anshort, hooked, owlish nose. He was, apparently, in charge.nThe other two cops were much younger. One wasnholding a lined sheet of paper with a seal. His big,nprotruding ears stuck out from under his uniform cap.n”Should we proceed, sir?” he asked.n”Go on!”nOn the small appliqued rug, now thrown on the floor,ncanvases, sketches, drawings of various sizes and shapesnwere piled up. Winged angels, flung up hands, tongues ofnflame, clouds, stones filled them.nThe third cop, who had a mustache, went into Matveynand Ida’s room.n”What was your purpose in coming to Akulinsk?” thenolder cop asked me, turning my ID in his hands.n”Just to relax.”n”Write,” the mustachioed cop said to the one with thensheet, bringing several canvases from Matvey’s room andnthrowing them onto the rug. “The old clenched hands.nChild’s fist. Two fingers.”n”Your address in Akulinsk?” the old cop continuednquestioning me.n”The ‘Mermaids,’ number 14.”n”How long have you known these people?”n”Not very long. Listen, why are you asking me all this?nWhat’s the meaning? …”n”Keep answering. I’m doing the questioning here.”n”A devil with a green face. A devil with a violet face,” thenmustachioed cop brought out a few more canvases. “Threencobble stones.”nMatvey sat motionless, clutching his fingers. At onenmoment he would look at the floor, then lift his head andnlook at the cops, then again look down and mumblensomething under his breath.”n”Fire and an eye,” the mustachioed cop said.n”What?”n”An eye. Just one eye.”n”I pity you,” Matvey said suddenly, raising his head andnlooking at the old cop. “You don’t realize what you’rendoing, and whom you’re serving.”n”Matti …” Ida said.n