It was not the lucky day for Heinrich Schubert. The enraged Mrs. Corbin, with lips pressed into the thin line and the eyes narrowed behind circular glasses with the solid black rim, came closer, pointing the finger at his chest.
"Young man," she barked. "Do you realized what you have done? Such great insult to the uniform you wear. The disgrace for mother who gave the birth to such an insolent piece of garbage. Shame on you."
Schubert struggled to answer, but as he try to express all the complicated emotions, boiling underneath, he ended up stammering desperately.
Not that Mrs. Corbin intended to listen.
"You untamed beast of masculinity! Wandering around and attacking innocent women. You hormone-driven sexual monster, harassing the young sweet lambs, beating them into submission, erecting the statue of Moloch over their fallen bodies."
"Mo-Moloch? I assure you, ma'am, I would never..."
"Oh, spare me your insolence, give me the proof. Give me the Lieutenant Akane Anbi, the pure innocent angel, in the state she was before you had molested her, bruised her, humiliated her!"
The word machine gun he had to face was too much for Schubert to handle. Rampaging Mrs. Corbin did not give chances to return fire, valiantly suppressing the enemy units down the earth.
She loves to jump to her conclusions, doesn't she, thought Gromov, mildly relieved. In the light of present events, his previous encounter with that lady went surprisingly smoothly.
Despite the fact, he was rather enjoying Mrs. Corbin's terrific cadence and profound imaginary, the pity for slaughtered Schubert prevailed, so he decided to step in.
Uncovering his face and standing up, he gently tapped her shoulder.
"What is it?" she sighed, not bothering to turn around. "I hope no one dares to make excuses for the behavior of this scoundrel, just because of some false sense of solidarity. It is up to you, the men, who have to call him out, not me..."
Suddenly, she shrieked like the squirrel, grasped in clutches of a bird of prey.
"Is-Is it you, sir?"
"With no doubt. I'm the superior Major Sholto was referring to."
The hypnotized power he had exercised before did not weaken. Apparently, she dwelt in her delusions, not planning to ditch them.
"I am sorry to inform you that I put Lieutenant Anbi to the detention," said Gromov
"May-May I know why, sir?"
"She attacked Lieutenant Schubert."
"Did she? Why?"
"She thought she was acting on my behalf."
"On your behalf? Does it mean that the young man somewhat... You know... why would she have done that?"
"Why indeed? He said something he shouldn't... Didn't you, Lieutenant?"
Schubert stopped gathering the defense and blurted in sheer remorse: "I am so sorry, Captain. I'm such an idiot."
The sorrowful begging for forgiveness helped Mrs. Corbin to count two and two with result around a million. Forgetting all the animosity, her expression changed to a horror, mixed with hope in sensation.
"The regrettable boy! Is he going to be all right? I mean he is so young, isn't he? Whatever he said... There is no reason to... You know… the elimination.”
She whispered the last word, leaning toward the captain. Then, her curiosity shadowed her better judgment as she continued: "What happened?"
"Just check that fellow’s face," said Gromov gravely, pointing at Schubert. "I was a few seconds too late. Lieutenant Anbi was about to finish him off."
"Finish him off? But... you did stop her, right?"
"Of course, I stopped her. This is not how we do the things. Nota bene in public. I had to punish her."
"You went too far," mumbled Schubert who probably could not forget Gromov eating the chicken salad. "No officer would do that."
Wild assumptions brought tears to Mrs. Corbin’s eyes.
“Poor little angel,” she whispered. “I hope she’ll be all right.”
However, Gromov did not feel ample sympathy for the subordinate who caused him troubles. “She’ll be fine. By now she should have cleansed the blood from the shirt.”
“I told you it was unnecessary,” said Schubert. “I felt so sorry for her.”
“Oh, my God! The blood from the shirt?” repeated Mrs. Corbin in a high voice. “A mistreated little weasel!”
Gromov stared at her: ““Do you object? How would you like if someone forced you to eat repulsive crawling creatures, giving you no choice? I am not that lenient, understood?”
Pale Mrs. Corbin just nodded: “I-I meant no harm. Really! You surely have your methods. No need to waste your time. Please no crawling creatures for me - whatever they might be. I just…”
“Glad you don’t mind,” interject Gromov. “Sorry that I disrupted your photo shooting. Have you further questions?”
“No, sir. Thank you, sir. I am on my way.”
Suddenly, before she could leave, from behind Gromov a voice sounded, “I would have one, if I may, sir. Would you mind taking a picture with me? I do love rough men pretty much.”
It was the singer, Miriam B, followed by a suit of people from show business. She was smiling, offering Gromov the hand.
Born in the Czech Republic, Pavel Morava is not a native English speaker. Having been twenty-two years old, he published his first book, which did not become an international bestseller. After a few other attempts, Pavel Morava abandoned the literary career for over twenty years, during which period he has been focusing on processing of plastics, programming, and raising of children.
Recently, with more time at his disposal, he returned to the forgotten ambition, fighting a futile battle with English language, procrastination, and the tendency to give up too early.
Being vivid reader of not Anglo-Saxon origin, Pavel Morava was fortunate enough to experience books from different countries, including Czech, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Swedish, Dutch, Japanese, French, German, and English. Such a vast literary variety heavily influenced his own work, which typically relies on an one-point-of-view narrative, consecutive storytelling, and elimination of unnecessary details.
Web novels and online publishing made him reevaluate his approach to style and building blocks of the text; the result should be, hopefully, lighter, shorter, and more intelligible for reading on electronic devices.