The Heat Of Arkhangelsk. Part 1. Chapter 1.

Olive was walking back home from work, bent beneath the burden of her old schoolbag cram-full with filed papers. It had been a heavy day: the attorneys had sent her to the 46th revenue where she’d spent all day since seven am without bite or sup.
The queues to that revenue snaked out of the doors, coiling multiply around the building. People would line up to the office from six or even five am, hang outside all day long but the office was so congested that many couldn’t get into there anyway. Of course, Attorney Vita couldn’t be bothered to go there and sent Olive instead. To crown it all manager Elagin called her over the coals for she hadn’t made it to the bank on the business of the accounts department. But how was she supposed to make it? Hungry and tired. With the salary of four thousand per month minus taxes. That’s chicken feed, really.
Olive fingered her filed papers once again. She hadn’t made them done in the revenue today, which meant she’d certainly be dancing the carpet tomorrow. Elagin had long been threatening to sack her. Now he’d definitely find a good reason for it.
While Yana was riding a gravy train, working as a secretary to the management. Doing nothing but sitting at the computer and playing games all day. And shoving the office cookies in her face. Yet she gets a salary three times bigger not to mention boxes of chocolate coming regularly from visitors. Yet she said it wasn’t good enough for her. Along with that, Olive, assigned a utility room as a workplace, had to run around Moscow rain or shine for some wretched peanuts. Of course, she had got that job upon the recommendation of Yana, Olive’s only close friend. Still, Olive felt like there was something unfair about the situation. What was wrong with her since she held a lower position than Yana did? Was she more stupid than Yana? No, she wasn’t. The reason was just her plain looks and the poverty of her parents. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. If Olive had been born as pretty as Yana, with ivory complexion, golden curls, big blue eyes and fine features she would have gotten a place in the sun as well. But since she was destined to be so plain, narrow-eyed and short-legged, she wasn’t supposed to have anything better than a utility-room with an old tattered chair and a miserable salary. Even though it was Moscow, the capital of Russia.
Still absorbed in her gloomy reflections about the world’s injustice, with her head down, Olive ducked into her yard.
The familiar apartment houses built in the end of 80s stood here as well as they used to ten years before, when Olive had moved over here as a child. She didn’t know back then that this nice and cozy bedroom community with three blocks and a school in the middle would become a true bugger to her.
However oppressed with her thoughts Olive was, however exhausted of this hard, unlucky working day she felt, she couldn’t help but notice those motherfuckers, her former classmates sitting on a bench right on the way to her front door and drinking beer as though they had been on the watch for her. Three lousy skunks, the constant bane of her school days – Theodorov, Zaycev and Polozuk and some chicks with them.
Olive instinctively hunched her shoulders, trying to sneak past them unnoticed. But it didn’t work.
“Hey, look who’s coming! Philipok!”
“Wearing the same old jacket as ever!”
“Hey, Philipok, lend me that shitty bag of yours!”
Theodorov and Polozuk jumped up from the bench and approached Olive blocking her way.
“Hey, Philipok, that’s cheeky! Why don’t you say hello?”
Olive gave them a haunted look. A nervous flush overspread her plain childish face.
“Be off. Stop griping my ass!” was her asnwer.
Polozuk’s eyes popped. He exchanged looks with his mate and gave Olive a flick in the forehead.
“Mind your language, you lousy bum, or I’ll kick your ass into the middle of next year!”
“Piss off!” Olive gave the guy a punch on the chest.
That was enough. At that exact moment she got a hefty blow in the face. Then there was a kick on the belly. Olive flew aside like a wet rag. The filed papers spilled out of her bag.
“What is this shit?” Theodorov grabbed one file and, having undone it, began to read the papers. “Orders for payments… reporting for taxes… Ha-ha, Philipok’s quite a biggie, isn’t she? Or just running errands for somebody?”
“Give it back now, motherfucker!” Olive flew at her affronter but the last threw his hands holding the papers up high so that Olive being only 158 cm tall couldn’t get at them.
“There!” Theodorov crushed the papers, poked them in Olive’s face and flung them into a mud puddle. “There you go, you maggot crap! Another time you’ll be lying in that puddle along with your shit papers, if we see you here once again! Get it?”
Olive, having just gotten a black eye, burst into sobs and rushed for her papers in the puddle, but vainly: they were irreparably defaced. Now she was definitely going to face the music. Nobody would actually care whether or not it was her fault.

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