skyler.reid (elbativenisti) wrote in heardinthedark,

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With Much Respect to Anton Chekhov

On Mortality: A Carnival Tale by Anton Chekhov

Court Counselor Semyon Petrovitch Podtikin saat down at the table, spread a napkin across his chest, and quivering with impatience, awaited the moment the bliny would appear. Before him, as before a general surveying a battlefield, a vista unfolded: rank upon rank of bottles, from the middle of the table right up to the front line - three typres of vodka, Kiev brandy, Château La Rose, Rhine wine, and even a big-bellied flask of priestly Benedictine. Crowding around the liquors in artful disarray were platters of sprats, sardines in hot sauce, sour cream, caviar (at three rubles forty kopecks a pound), fresh salmon, and so on. Podtikin greedily ran his eyes over the food. His eyes melted like butter; his face oozed with lust.
Frowning, he turned to his wife.
"What's taking so long? Katya!" he called to the cook. "Hurry up!"
Finally, the cook arrived with the bliny. At the risk of scorching his fingers, Semyon Petrovitch snatched up two of the hottest from the top of the pile and slapped them onto his plate with gusto. The bliny were crisp, lacy, and as plump as the shoulders of a merchant's daughter. Podtikin smiled affably, hiccupped with pleasure, and doused the bliny in hot butter. Then, as if to tease his appetite, luxuriating in anticipation, he slowly, deliberately heaped them with caviar. He poured sour cream oner the places the caviar left bare. Now he had only to eat, right? Wrong! Contmeplating his creation, Podtikin was not quite satisfied. After a moment's thoght, he topped the bliny with the oiliest slice of salmon he could find, and a sprat, and a sardine; then, no onger able to hold back, trembling with delight and gasping, he rolled up the two bliny, downed a shot of vodka, wheezed, opened his mouth - and was struck by an apoplectic fit.
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