Carrying out the sparkling clean new pipes from the basement, the plumber collided shoulder to shoulder with the boss. His comment was not long in coming:
– Well, hello Kohl… Are you pushing building materials to the left again? Look, if you get caught by the director, he will definitely not pat you on the head for this.
Looking around, Nikolai scratched the back of his head as if trying to remember something.
And good afternoon to you, Petrovich, you’re wrong. I take it for business, you’ll come to my dacha later in the winter, you probably haven’t forgotten the road and the fragrant smell of kebabs.
The boss waved his hand in response, mumbled:
– Go so that in ten minutes your feet won’t be here. By the way, it’s good that I reminded you. This weekend, organize a bathhouse for me, I will bring a new friend there with whom I recently met.
In response, Nikolai comically rolled his eyes and laughed and snickered:
– And where did the old companion go? Eh, Petrovich… You’re greedy for women, not a serious man. Here your new friend will take you and hook you up. Then let’s see how you’ll run over other ladies.
Squinting his left eye , the boss said:
– Well, yes, you’re our saint Kolya. Probably never cheated on my wife.
– Yes, and I don’t know what it is, – nodding his head, the plumber replied. – That’s right Petrovich, I love and respect my wife, but you don’t understand it. You’re a single man. Okay, I don’t have time to sharpen things with you here, I’ll carry the pipes to the car and that’s what, if you come to ban, then you’ll chop wood yourself. I have enough other worries without pleasing someone. You are in demand among women, so let them revolve around you.
Nikolai could afford to talk like that with the boss only because he also had sins, and on such a scale that no plumber dreamed of.
By the way, Petrovich had his own dacha, but his mother often visited there and in order not to spoil relations with her, he met women on neutral territory. True, it was not always a separate apartment, most often, like this time, Nikolai’s dacha, it is comfortable and there are no unnecessary witnesses who could somehow tarnish his reputation.
After unloading the pipes, the plumber arrived home an hour later. Seeing the displeased face of her husband, the wife quickly found out who was responsible for the spoiled mood of the faithful and asked sternly:
– Again, this scoundrel asked for a visit, but how long can Kolya? Do we have a dating house there?
Nikolai guiltily lowered his head and said:
– You understand that my earnings depend on him. There will be no mercy from the authorities, so there will be no good money.
With a shrug of her shoulder , the wife said slyly:
– Well, nothing… I’ll figure out how to put him in his place. You’ll see, he will soon stop coming to our dacha. I will pray to God that your boss forgot the way here at all.
Nikolai did not delve into the details of his wife’s idea, but already this weekend Petrovich really changed his mind about using his dacha for his pleasures. As usual, they met at the exit of the office.
– Oh, Kolya, Kolya, and you told me that you were an exemplary family man. I knew you were being dark, but I believed you anyway. I’ll probably have to look for another place, otherwise I won’t see female affection as my ears.
Why the boss said this, Nikolai did not figure out, and at first he did not want to go into details, fearing that some bad moments would come up. On the other hand, if Petrovich touched on the topic of his personal life, then it’s time to think about where the wind is blowing from. It was only then that he realized that his wife had tried. She also said that she would find justice for the conqueror of women’s hearts and seemed to force events in order to wean him from their dacha as soon as possible.
The next Saturday he went there with his wife. There is nothing better than outdoor recreation, and even with a loved one. There is silence around, a complete distraction from the hustle and bustle of the city. After all, the hum of cars is so annoying that sometimes you want to howl like a wolf. Looking at the garden, Nikolai thought about moving completely to his country house. He is tired of the apartment, then the dust will fly into the window, then the noise of restless neighbors is heard, then some other attack happens. It’s another thing to live outside the city, where birds are singing all around, and the smell of herbs and flowers is such that it seems like you are in a greenhouse. Noticing Kolya dreaming about something in the gazebo, his wife came up to him and hugged him by the shoulders:
– But it’s still good that we put your boss in his place. What a grace no one bothers, and most importantly, no one to be shy.
The mention of Petrovich interested Nikolai and he asked seriously:
– Wait, how did you manage to solve the problem? Did my boss just like that right away and refused to go to the country?
The wife smiled slyly and immediately replied:
– Not quite right away. I had to resort to deception. I told him that you were secretly dating his women and added that I had caught you doing it several times. I’m sorry, Kolya, but I had to sacrifice your reputation.
Such unexpected news stunned him like a butt on the head.
– You can’t say anything. Very pleasant information, and even served with an interesting sauce,” wiping the sweat from his forehead, Nikolai said. – You give in, and you also say that you love. Well, okay. Since it is necessary for the case, then you can be patient. By the way, those pipes that I brought will be enough for your mother’s plumbing. She’s been saying for a long time that she wants to replace them. I will take it so that my mother-in-law does not hire other specialists. Just don’t forget to remind me, because next week the director plans to repair the heating main. I’ll try to find time to visit your mother tonight.
A couple of days later, the boss came up to him again and quietly asked:
– Kolya, were you seriously with my women? Just don’t think I’m holding a grudge against you. I just want to understand what they saw so interesting in simple plumbing. Well, let’s say your meeting with your future wife is just luck, but I only meet beautiful and wealthy ladies. What did they find in you? Come on, admit it. You probably have some kind of persuasive gift. Although no, you may be physically superior to me.
Nikolai , burning with shame , had to come up with an answer on the go:
– Soul Petrovich. That’s what they saw in me. Do you think women love only for their looks? No, they still have a heart that feels sincerity and kindness. Here to take you. If you invite one of your friends and tell her that there is not enough money, but you want to have fun. How will she react to this?
The boss stretched his neck like a goose and replied with displeasure:
– He will say goodbye to me and will not meet again.
– I don’t see any other option.
– And you thought what kind of beautiful eyes will remain?
Raising his finger to the sky , Nikolai enthusiastically said:
– That’s what it is, that in your case everyone makes money, without them no one needs you. It’s quite another thing when you meet for love. Feelings and the measure of responsibility are of primary importance here. I mean, if you are ready to be responsible for yourself and for your woman, then your relationship will be strong. Remember this Petrovich, and better write it on your forehead. Although what am I teaching you. Still not in the horse oats. You have no understanding of the subtleties of love communication, when any spoken word, and affectionately, can bring good luck.
Strongly forged a simple plumber of his boss. Yes, but as he correctly put it, if he doesn’t want to, then nothing will change.
A few more days passed and Nikolai’s wife suddenly remembered that she had promised to send him to her mother, but it so happened that at that very moment her husband was busy repairing the heating main. The city’s leadership was in a hurry, and therefore he even returned home when his wife was already asleep.
Dissatisfied with the long absence of her husband, this time she still waited for his arrival and spoke out:
– So Kolya, stop living at work, you have your own apartment, dacha. Yes, I am in the end! My opinion should also be respected! Go to your mom tomorrow and find out what’s wrong with her plumbing. I’m asking you not to get carried away with the liquor, otherwise I’ll have to call a taxi again to take you home.
Whatever you say, the mother-in-law loved her son-in-law. When he came, she always set the table and fed him, as on a name day. Going up the stairs, Nikolai almost brushed an old woman who was coming down with his shoulder. She had an old bag in her hands, and her eyes seemed so empty, as if at least some signs of life had long since died out in them. Shaking my head and thinking to myself:
“That’s how it happens, old age creeps up, and you don’t notice.”
He knocked on the door, shuffling footsteps were heard and he heard the familiar voice of Valentina Yurievna:
– I’m coming, wait a minute. I’m not a meteor to jump into a jump.
The mother-in-law even beamed when she saw her beloved son-in-law.
– Kolya, come in, don’t stand at the threshold. I just baked pies with berries, you’ll lick your fingers. Just don’t say anything to Larisa, otherwise she will be offended later.
The son-in-law, grateful for the attention, was not going to do this. He knew that his wife would talk about her mother’s dining room for a long time. Sitting down at the table, he took two pies at once and began to braid them on both cheeks, he liked his mother-in-law’s cooking, he would go to the old lady every day.
After a little snack, Nikolai went to look at the front of the work and was greatly discouraged by the fact that there was work for at least a few days. Having dialed his wife ‘s phone number, he began to speak with restraint:
– Larisa, I didn’t do it here for a single day, so look. Either I undertake repairs, or let him hire private owners.
Hearing that someone would have to pay, the wife replied threateningly:
– Don’t make it up. You’ll do everything yourself. There is nothing to give money to the right, to the left, and do not be cunning. I don’t like being led by the nose.
Short phone rings announced that the conversation was over. The wife was echoed by her mother – in – law:
– Really, Kolya, you’re a jack-of-all-trades, and even if you need money, I’d rather give it to you, my beloved.
The son-in-law perked up when such praise was showered on him.
– All right… I don’t need to be persuaded twice. In general, I’ll bring the pipes in a couple of hours, while you free up access to the plumbing. Let’s start with the bathroom, and then smoothly move on to the kitchen. Time allows, so we will do everything carefully, without too much haste.
In the late afternoon, Nikolai returned and brought the pipes. Passing by the shop, he drew attention to the same old woman. She sat and fed the cats, not paying any attention to him. Having risen to the apartment , Nikolai called out to his mother – in – law:
– Tell me, is your neighbor mute or something?
Looking at him with an uncomprehending look , Valentina Yuryevna asked again:
– Is it from apartment 20? Yes, she rarely communicates with anyone, only if she really needs something. Her children do not visit her, but her grandson sometimes comes, but it seems to me only for money.
Raising his hands up , Nikolai said:
– I see. Then it’s none of my business, because it seemed to me that Grandma was a little out of her mind.
Starting with the bathroom, he began to carefully dismantle the old pipes. The mother-in-law also joined the process.
– Come on, Kolya, I’ll at least take out the garbage, if you want to rest and have a snack, then everything is in the kitchen.
Nodding his approval, the son-in-law continued to repair. At the same time, his mother-in-law’s words about the children’s attitude to the neighbor did not go out of his head. Nikolai felt a chill run through his skin.
“Wow, what an oddity. Usually old people have relatives who take care of them. ”
At least that’s what he thought, but he didn’t seem to understand exactly what old age was. Although he worked as a plumber, he saw many families, but for the first time he realized that it was possible to be completely alone with children and grandchildren. There was such an impression as if there was no one around and you were in some kind of closed room.
After completing part of the work, he had dinner, and then said that he would go home. Since it is necessary to bring something from the tools. Only Valentina Yurievna saw off her son-in-law, when the doorbell rang again.
– I’m coming. Have you forgotten something, Kolya? – However, on the threshold she saw the same old woman. – Oh, I’m sorry, I thought it was my son-in-law who came back. How is your health, Galina Alekseevna. Is everything all right?
It was obvious that the woman was asking these questions only out of pure curiosity, without any hint of sincere emotion. Grandma nodded her head in response:
– Nothing Valya. I’m moving slowly and that’s fine. I noticed here that you have your own master. I would also like to see the pipes in the toilet, otherwise I’m constantly laying rags. My hands are no longer obeying, soon I will flood the neighbors from the bottom. Shrugging her shoulders Valentina Yurievna replied:
– This is my son-in-law. He works as a plumber. I can call him and tell him to look in on you.
Frowning , the old woman said:
– Come on. I’ll just make an application, maybe the masters will get to me, and if not, I’ll continue to wet my feet.
Nikolai soon returned and was a little annoyed:
– That’s why someone needed to call a plumber. Now the dispatcher called me and gave me the address. It’s right in your entrance. After all, I told her that I would change the pipes for my mother-in-law. She asked me to go on a call.
Glancing at the apartment number , Valentina Yurievna said ruefully:
– It was my neighbor who made the application. She has problems with the pipes there too.
Looking at the elderly woman , Nikolai muttered almost in his ear:
– Oh, and you know how to puzzle me in full, Valentina Yurievna.
Shaking her finger at him , the mother – in – law whispered:
– Don’t get mad. As compensation, I’ll bake your favorite fish pie.
Hearing about this, he immediately went limp:
– Okay, we’ve talked you into it. After all, know how to approach your son-in-law. I’m going to see what happened to this granny.
Having crossed the threshold of the apartment, Nikolai immediately felt an aura of loneliness. It turns out that the mother-in-law was right when she said that almost no one visits her neighbor, except perhaps her grandson. And this one came only when he needed something. Pointing to the toilet granny said:
– Here, son, take a look for yourself. The pipes are completely rotten, probably need to be changed, what do you say?
Shaking his head , the man replied:
– Of course, unless you want to constantly collect water from the floor with a rag.
It took a few minutes to estimate the cost of repairs.
– Grandma can’t do without two or three thousand here.
And the answer he saw her pull out a change from her pocket and pour it on the nightstand:
– I’m sorry I can’t pay now. The pension is only in a week.
Nikolai was taken aback when she offered him the last trifle for work.
Sitting down on a chair , the old woman covered her face with her hands and quietly answered:
– Yes, my grandson takes money from me all the time, but I can’t refuse. I don’t know where he puts them, but he works as some kind of boss.
The plumber suddenly felt uneasy from the fact that the poor old lady’s relatives were wiping like a stick.
– You tell me where he works and I’ll talk to him myself. You’ll see, he will realize everything and ask for forgiveness.
The old lady did not immediately, but replied: Yes, it seems to be in a communal organization, or something. I don’t know for sure, I won’t lie.
Leaning against the wall Nikolai asked the question again:
– And what’s his name, your granddaughter?
With a heavy sigh , Grandma replied:
– That’s how they call Anatoly, and I’m just a little bit. At least once he asked me how my health was.
The old lady fell silent, and the interlocutor suddenly dawned:
Wait a minute, does Tolik’s last name happen to be Churov? Churov Anatoly Petrovich?
Grandma immediately nodded:
– Yes, that’s right, but do you know him?
The man squatted down and answered with sadness in his voice:
– That’s not the word. I can say I know everything about him. Only I didn’t think that he treats his elderly relatives like that. Okay, Grandma, I’m going to fix everything here now and I don’t have to pay anything for it.
What the old lady told him next horrified him. The details of her lonely life not only caused sadness, but also made her cry. It turned out that Petrovich even brought his women to his own grandmother. Moreover, I walked on her pension…
No wonder they say arrogance is the second happiness, though not quite pleasant.
Various thoughts were born in Nikolai’s head, up to the point of pressing the boss and forcing him to repent to his grandmother for all his sins. But at the same time, he understood that only the grave would correct a breed of people like Petrovich.
He changed the pipes for the old lady and the very next day, when he came to work, he disgraced his boss in front of everyone. He stood silently, as if spat on, then quickly jumped out into the street.
Hearing the noise, the director came and asked:
– What is it? Why aren’t you working?
Nikolai did not back down and told him everything. Without thinking twice, he organized a complete renovation of the old woman’s apartment, and at the expense of wages and all the bonuses of her grief granddaughter. Who knows, maybe after that he will think about his behavior and will no longer humiliate a person close to him.