At that moment steps were heard outside and the door-bell rang. Marina and Ira ran to open the door. Sasha [boy’s name] poked his head into the passage and hissed after them: “Don’t let him in!”
But Marina [girls’s name] had already opened the door. Sure enough, there on the threshold stood a militiaman [policeman]. The brass buttons on his uniform fairly shone. Sasha dropped on to his hands and knees and crawled under the sofa.
“Is this Apartment No. 6?” he heard the militiaman ask.
“No,” said Ira. “This is No. 1, No. 6 is in the house next door. The one on the right.”
“Thanks,” said the militiaman.
Sasha heaved a sigh of relief and was about to climb out from under the sofa when the militiaman asked:
“By the way, is there a boy called Sasha in this flat?”
“Yes,” said Ira [girl’s name].
“He’s the one I want,” said the militiaman and walked straight into the room.
When the girls came in they saw that Sasha had disappeared. Marina peeped under the sofa but Sasha shook his head violently and signed to her not to give him away.
“Well, and where is that Sasha of yours?” asked the militiaman.
By this time the girls were a little frightened too and they didn’t know what to say.
Finally Marina said: “He . . . er, he isn’t home just now. He … er, he went out to play.”
“What do you want him for?” asked Ira. “Do you know anything about him?”
“I know all sorts of things,” said the militiaman. “I know that his name is Sasha. I also know that he had a brand-new toy pistol and that now he hasn’t got it.”
“He knows everything!” thought Sasha in horror.
He was so nervous that his nose began to itch and before he could stop himself he sneezed.
“Who’s that?” asked the militiaman in surprise.
“That’s our dog,” Marina said hastily.
“What is he doing under the sofa?”
“Oh, he always sleeps under the sofa,” Marina went on.
“Indeed? And what is his name?”
“Er .. . Bobik,” said Marina, turning red as a beet-root.
“Bobik! Bobik! Hallo there, Bobik!” called the militiaman and whistled. “Why doesn’t he come out, I wonder?” He whistled again. “Doesn’t want to. Funny dog. What breed did you say he was?”
“Er … he’s … er….” Marina couldn’t for the life of her remember the name of a single breed. “He’s a … what do you call it. A very good breed. . . , Oh, yes, a Doberman pinscher.”
“That’s a fine breed,” said the militiaman with a broad smile. “I know that breed very well. They have long hair all over their faces.”
He bent down and peered under the sofa. Sasha stared back at him, his eyes round with fright. The militiaman whistled again, this time with amazement.
“So that’s your Doberman pinscher! Hey there, young man, what are you doing under the sofa? Come out. You’re caught anyway.”
“I shan’t come out,” cried Sasha.
“Because you’ll take me to the militia station.”
“For that old woman.”
“What old woman?”
“The one I frightened with my pistol.”
The militiaman raised his eyebrows. “Whatever is he talking about?”
“He was outside playing with his pistol and an old woman was passing just as he fired and she took fright,” Ira explained.
“This must be his property then?” said the militiaman, producing a shiny new pistol from his pocket.
“That’s his!” said Ira. “Marina and I bought it for him and he lost it. Where did you find it?”
“In the back yard near your door. Now what do you mean by frightening old women with a pistol, young man?” said the militiaman, bending down to Sasha who was still crouching under the sofa.
“I didn’t mean to.”
“You’re not telling the truth. I can see by your eyes. If you tell me the truth, I’ll give you back your pistol.”
“And you won’t take me to the militia station?”
“I didn’t mean to scare her. I only wanted to see whether she would be scared or not.”
“Now that isn’t nice at all, young man. I really ought to lock you up for that, but since I promised, I won’t. But if I catch you doing anything like that again…. Come now, get out from under there and I’ll give you your pistol.”
“No, I’ll come out when you’ve gone.”
“You are a funny one,” laughed the militiaman. “All right, I’m going.”
He laid the pistol on the table and went out. Marina showed him to the door. Sasha climbed out from under the sofa, snatched up his beloved pistol and hugged it.
“Hurrah, my dear darling pistol. So you’ve come back to me after all. But how did the militiaman know my name, I wonder?”
“You wrote it yourself on the handle,” said Ira.
Just then Marina came back. She pounced on Sasha at once.
“You naughty boy! When I think of all the lies I had to tell that militiaman because of you I could nearly die with shame. The next time you get into a scrape like that, don’t expect me to protect you.”
“I shan’t get into any more scrapes,” said Sasha. “I’ll never frighten anyone again.”
Best wishes and next Wednesday we will continue reading Stories from Soviet Childhood!
comments always welcome