“I lived here once with these rats.”


“Yes. I slept there, near the house with showers.” Martin tilted his head toward the short building. “The rats sometimes crept up on me. But I was drunk, it didn’t bother me.”

It grew dark finally, and the sun sank into the ocean. An early half-moon rose in the sky. Somewhere along the water, a boat slipped with a raised white sail.

David, who was sensitive to the beauties of nature, even more so to those of the sea—yachts, gulls, the moon, the foamy waves—always fell into a sentimental mood at such moments, the tears coming to his eyes. He knew that Martin was also feeling the beauty now. But a simple thought came to David: how differently they look at the world! Just then a rat ran by. David noticed her and forgot right away, returning again to enjoy the landscape. But for Martin, the trail of this rat had led him to some remembrances of his life. Otherwise, why would he have such a cat-like expression on his face?

“I’m so bored with my magazine! I don’t care if somebody burns its office down,” complained David when they got up from the rocks and slowly walked along the sand to the wooden planks of the embankment, where the lights of the carousel twinkled and music boomed from the open bars.

“Deya-avid, is it possible to get bored working at a magazine?” wondered Martin. He pronounced his friend’s name in a sing-song manner, dragging out the first syllable, changing the ‘a’ to more of an ‘eh-ay.’ “How about mixing cement or painting walls 10 hours a day, what then? You’re an editor, you sit in your office, meet interesting people, you’re surrounded by intellectuals,” continued Martin. He pronounced certain words in his own way, softening hard vowels and lisping a little, because he didn’t have many teeth—he’d either lost them in fights or they were rotten.

“Sure, I’m surrounded by shitty intellectuals,” snapped David. “My fellow journalists only know how to kiss the boss’s ass.”

They went out on the boardwalk and stopped by a bench. David brushed the sand off his feet so that he could put on his sandals. He happened to look at Martin’s heavy, black, tightly laced boots. It seemed they were made to last. You could walk in them late into the fall, even winter. No doubt they would be pretty hot now. “It seems like we understand each other. I’d say we’re even close, to some extent. But what different worlds we are from!”