Tuesday, 31 May 2011

...of the unexpected

And suddenly Strokotov leaped to his feet, terrible and black, his hair standing on end.
'To hell with you!' he howled. 'To hell with a-a-all! of you-ou-ou! I just can't...'
And, swinging the pot-bellied bottle above his head, as if he were an Indian with a tomahawk, he hurled it out through the open window.
'Hold me back!' wheezed Kyate. 'Hold me back! I'm probably going to kill him.'
'Be quiet!' the old woman shouted hysterically, and suddenly, to universal astonishment, lifted up her leg and began to pull off her shoe. She then slipped a hand down her stocking and removed a piece of folded newspaper from beneath her heel. Everyone froze, silently watching in fear and wonder, the way people watch a conjuror as he produces a live chicken from an empty hat.
The old woman unfolded the newspaper and took out a compressed hundred-franc note.
'There! Maybe this will shut you up,' she said calmly, holding the money out to her daughter.

[A Family Journey, Teffi.]

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