Crossroads. Chapters 9 and 10


- Dima! This can no longer continue. Imagine that I would have met you then at the party at Shtokolov in such a state that you have been in for almost a year. I didn’t, - Lena paused, trying to find words sharper and more painful, - I wouldn’t let you go to bed, I wouldn’t even pay attention to you, and if I did, I didn’t feel anything but disgust ...

Halperin shrank from these phrases, but as if he had been beaten for a very long time and the body would stop reacting to pain. Only the eyes were still filled with red, and muddy moisture hung over the eyelashes, not rolling down, but spreading over the eye socket, inflamed insomnia and temples. He shook his head and painfully squeezed out of himself hopeless:

- What do you want?

- I want authority in all our affairs. I myself will deal with your friends and talk with Shtokolov.

- Will you talk to Shtokolov? - Dima stretched his mouth in a sarcastic smile.

- Halperin, it is disgusting to look at you. I will talk to Shtokolov, and this does not mean that I will fuck with him. This statement will calm you?

- Do what you want, but without mean tricks, however, you don’t know how differently ... And remember, these guys are a thousand times smarter than you, and if you seriously worry them, they will mix you ...

- Well, and with what they mix me? Substitute yourself in the continuation of this phrase - it will be to the point.

- What exactly do you want?

- Well, already "specifically"! This is a completely different matter. First, you should not interfere in what I do, and secondly, and this is the main thing, I must know from this minute about everything that is happening in Cohen’s team - their every step - and I must understand for myself in detail the essence of their ideas, and in this you must help me. And further. Roma Epstein goes into my complete submission.

- Roma? Do you need a hacker? Climb into their programs?

- Yes, and in phones, and in Skype, in all their communications. I told you: I need control over their every step. Sober, Dima! Stop sucking your whiskey, we're on the edge. You're a man, at any rate, once he was!

- Okay. - Halperin focused his gaze on the bottle with the black “black label” label, but did not dare to lend a hand to it. A spark of hope appeared in his brain, but with such a disgusting smack that he felt the urge to vomit, and yet the horror of her phrase: “We are on the edge!” - made him change his position. He straightened up sitting in his chair, and promised everything to tell his wife in a popular way about what his friends had prepared, saying to himself, “ex”, that should interest the largest investor in this field, Georgi Shtokolov. With him, Halperin had two incredibly successful projects, and a third one was equally unbelievable.

- We'll talk in the evening, and work with Romka as you see fit, - having finally realized that he crossed the line, Dima even somehow calmed down: not everyone should be decent people!

Scrooge went into the bedroom, closing the door tightly behind him.

He was lying on a wide designer bed, created by some cool Italian factory. In this box, in his and Lenkin's notion, there should have been the love pleasures of the highest sexual intensity, which he could not even really remember today. But something else was recalled: the debt burden that fell on him, the failure to develop a new game, Lenka's trips to the casino, into which she sucked him. The plane that left at half price and the yacht sailed for ridiculous money. Everything is laid: a house on Rublevka, a villa in Marbella and this apartment in London. But the horror that squeezed the throat with an iron hoop, burned with the sharpest spike when, in his imagination, Elena was drawn, naked, in someone's arms, with a distorted, wry smile on her face, grinning that she didn’t own herself at that instant, a moment in which he alone could feel himself her master. He had not touched her for months already and knew for sure: she does not allow herself to have such terms of abstinence.

Maybe shoot the fuck? Such an easy, affordable and quick way out of this situation. But a faint ray of hope to return her gaze — only a gaze in which there would be no contempt — kept him from getting Beretta blued steel and pulling the trigger. He tried on this action several times, and it was scary, very scary. But it was possible to drink whiskey, a lot, a bottle or two, and then, under such anesthesia, it is quite possible to force a finger to press on ...

Dima fell asleep and slept until the morning gloomy rainy morning.


A table with a chair, a bookcase, a clean faience sink, two bunks, a mattress, a sheet, a woolen blanket, pillows in pillowcases. Almost a room in a cheap hotel.

Ilya lay, stretched to his full height, clutching at the metal bars of the head of the bed. He watched Smolkin, turning his head slightly, and mechanically fixing his friend's movements around the camera, he thought about his own. Smolkin made rhythmic throws: from a prone position — a small jog along a six-meter route from wall to door, then, sitting down on the bed, swaying ritually, squeezing his head and repeating the same phrase: “I aimed at her heart, my God, I could have killed Wanda! ”- and again a jerk along the wall – door route, and, having completed the algorithm, flatly fell on the bed. After repeated repetition of these monotonous manifestations of despair and extreme excitement, he, as if seeing for the first time Cohen lying half a meter from him, wondered if he had interrupted his circular movements:

- Are you really calm? Or do you just pretend to be a haughty observer who despises the miserable alarmist and murderer Alexander Smolkin?

- I am waiting for you to get tired of rushing about the prison and it will be possible to calmly discuss the situation.

- Easy? Do not you understand? I could kill this girl, I face a life sentence, but that's not the point! How can I live after this horror?

Ilya silently turned to the other side. Smolkin poured for a while with his: "I aimed at the heart," but gradually began to look in the direction of the fixed back of a comrade.

- Ok, Swedish, give me a drop of your calm. I will listen to you, - and after a pause he added: - Humbly.

Ilya sat down opposite Sasha, raised his hand with an open palm - a soothing gesture.

- So, first: you did not kill anyone. The injury is not serious and, cynically, as it may sound, we both have to thank God for not giving you Robin Hood talent. I carefully examined Wanda before the ambulance and the police arrived. The bullet passed between the arm and the rib cage, severed the skin on the arm and, possibly, broke a rib. Some large blood vessels were not affected, there was very little blood. She did not lose consciousness and behaved calmly, I would even say, bravely. Unlike you, the hero of tank battles. So fear for the life and health of this girl shake off. Secondly, the fact that instead of my Eyrsoftov pistol in the trunk turned out to be a real pistol, an exact copy of the one that shoots ceramic balls, nine-millimeter “Glock-17” with a padded chuck and cocked hammer, says that we were hard-pressed, with the most monstrous intentions and it could all end in a really tragic way. These people should have known that I would charge you to get a gun from the trunk and shoot a ball at someone from this artistic couple, because if I picked up the Glock, I could determine that it was a real gun. Therefore, we must remember everything that preceded our plan to shoot a video with live actors for this little plot.

On the word "alive" Sasha shuddered. But the logic of Ilyushkina's speech calmed him down and tuned in to the brain, and since Smolkin’s brains were of very good quality, the energy of despair bursting out, as soon as Illya’s steady voice brought him to a constructive position, activated his mental abilities, playing the role of doping.

“Your order,” Sasha somehow turned to army lexicon, “so that I got the gun out of the trunk and fired at the actors, I received by phone, and this conversation took place only once - the night before. This idea occurred to you when I had already gone to my room, and it did not happen again. Or rather, you repeated these words just before the performance, when you were holding the camera, and the guys were ready to play the scene of their tragic demise.

“Are you sure you didn't tell anyone about our script that evening?”

- Absolutely!

“We spent the next day together.” I always keep the Glock in the trunk, in my gym bag, with spare clips, a supply of balloons, batteries, a walkie-talkie and even small things. I have been doing airsoft for several years now and I was going to fly to Plymouth at the end of the week: my friends invited me to play for their team somewhere on the coast. So, several people knew that I had such a weapon, but that I would ask you to take it from the trunk and shoot at a certain time and place, they only knew you and me.

- Conclusion?

- We listened to our phones?

- It turns out that way.

“In the afternoon I brought this bag to my room, I bought something at a local airsoft equipment store: gloves, goggles and a mask. All this neatly laid and carried back to the trunk at about 23:00. Returned to the car with you, and we went to the meeting place with the actors at 00:30. It turns out that they replaced the Glock in those one and a half hours.

- Ilya, tell me, do you think the same thing as me?

- You wanted to say about the same?

Smolkin spoke hotly, hurrying to throw out the sudden revelation.

“Scrooge, after you denied him a few months ago with such a harsh form ... With the guys, Ilya, this seemed even excessive at the time.” He then met with me five times, or rather, was looking for meetings, somehow it turned out by chance, inadvertently, and I did not attach any importance to this, I did not even tell you. No, I said a couple of times that I saw them with Helen at a birthday party with our mutual acquaintances, and then again - in Courchevel we came across. I was with my own, and in the evening Dima came up to me in a restaurant. He then drank hard and almost burst into tears - it was so insulting to him that we parted. I drank too, and you know ... - Sasha faltered, Illya looked at him point blank.

- Come on, well-wisher, tell me what you laid out to him?

- Yes, nothing like that, - Smolkin mixed up - in general ... And, by the way, what now ... Probably, he told him something about the idea itself, but we, he did not find how to continue, - honestly, not I remember that I spoke there. Lenka poured on both of us, and my Tanka was offended that she was not included in that conversation. Lena got offended and Lenka helped out, now I understand that. She is gone, and we sat for a long time, the university remembered, and I probably told too much.

- What was the main thing in his questions? What saddened Dimka most of all, how do you think?

- The fact that we did not want to communicate through him with Shtokolov.

And Smolkin looked eloquently at Cohen.

- So, what is the essence ... Yes, Halperin from the very beginning, when he really did not know anything about our project, offered me to accept him as an intermediary in the search for an investor, and I refused. I saw that he was rolling in the wrong direction, and the evil will of the beautiful wife always peeped from behind his back.

- Ilyukha, well, is Dimka really capable of such a thing? Substitute us for real death, kill a person - for what? It's impossible! Me in jail, Shtokolov refuses to work with us - and ...?

“And concludes a contract with him, and we, if they let me out — and, most likely, will be, under some suspended sentence — the remaining four, gratefully accept his help.” - Ilya sadly smiled. - This is not Dimka, I'm sure, this is Elena. Apparently, they are in such a difficult situation that their perverted fantasy seemed to them both an acceptable, probable opportunity to cling to the brink of the abyss.

- This officer, who spoke to us the day before, seemed like a decent guy, and I saw that he was very doubtful about the incident. We need to try to tell him all this history and background of ours with you and find out what materials they have from the scene. I am sure that you can get access to the video cameras on those sections of the streets where the events occurred before and after the incident ...

- Lord, Ilya, do you hear yourself? Incident! Disaster, horror ...

- Okay. Let the place of a terrible disaster. So will you?

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