— Called? Ivan asked, entering his boss’s office.
— Yes, — the chief nodded.- immediately go to the capital. Tomorrow morning you will speak at the board of directors there. Take the text of the speech from the secretary.
— Why me again? Ivan exclaimed indignantly. – I’m not the director, and it’s not my responsibility. And anyway, I have hockey tickets. Tomorrow our team and CSKA are playing at our stadium.
— Nothing, – the chief grinned. — Work is more important than your hockey. And in general – this is an order. Understood?
Ivan nodded dejectedly. — And the ticket?
— Hand over your ticket, and that’s it!
— I’m talking about a plane ticket. Who will buy it for me? I don’t have any money on my card.
— What kind of plane do you want? — The chief grinned again. – Your train, as usual, departs tonight. A reserved car. You will also get a ticket from the secretary.
— Why again in the reserved seat? All the time — in the reserved seat! I want to go to the compartment! I’m going to an important meeting. Instead of you, by the way.
— It will be fat for you… — the chief smiled. — And besides, it’s better for unmarried people to ride in a reserved seat. It’s easier to meet girls there. If you were married, I would have sent Smirnov, but, as if for evil, his wife is pregnant again. And you only have hockey. That’s it, go, take your performance and teach. So that I don’t blush for our office later.
In the evening, dressed in a strict suit and a white shirt, Ivan sat in his seat in a reserved carriage on the «sidewalk» and drove to the capital.
In the city of Zelenodolsk, the train stopped as usual. Ivan at this time, too, as usual, was drinking tea, which the conductor brought him. Then he was going to make the bed, change clothes and go to bed.
But suddenly, at the most inopportune moment, when he lifted the glass in the cup holder and carried it to his mouth, the composition jerked. Yes, he jerked so hard that a young girl passing by on the aisle could not resist and collapsed right on Ivan.
— Ah, well, what are you, girl!.. «Stop it!» he yelled. – You can’t fall on me!
To be honest, Ivan screamed not at all because the girl fell on him, but because she knocked over all the tea on his snow-white shirt. But this was a real tragedy for him.
— Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please, — the girl was floundering helplessly in his arms, and at this time he was ready to cry.
The people in the car were instantly excited by such a shake-up and also began to be indignant:
— What is this?!
— So you can kill yourself!
— What kind of machinists do we have? They can’t move smoothly!
«What am I supposed to do now?» Ivan groaned, looking with pitiful indignation at the girl who somehow got up from him and froze guiltily, realizing what she had done. – I have an important meeting tomorrow at eight in the morning. How am I going to confer in such a shirt? I’ll be fired from my job.
Hearing this, the whole car quickly pulled up closer and stared at Ivan.
— And you’re a guy, call the conductor here, — one smart woman gave the idea. — Let her wash your shirt, and dry it with an iron all night, since they don’t know how to drive.
— Well, well, well… – the conductor herself immediately appeared in the aisle. – What are you crowding for? What happened here?
— And here, look, a girl fell on this guy because of you! – the same woman attacked her. — And I spilled tea on his stomach. And he has an important meeting in the morning.
The conductor looked at Ivan carefully.
— Let him be glad that the girl fell on him, and not some guy. There’s nothing to drink tea in shirts. Smart people have been sitting in their pajamas for a long time.
— And he’ll file a complaint against you if you don’t wash his shirt! the woman retorted.
— Let him ride. I’m not a laundress. It’s not my fault that we have a trainee trainee today. Everyone, citizens passengers, let’s disperse and get ready for bed!
Slowly, the people dispersed, the conductor dimmed the lights, and it became quiet in the car.
Ivan hardly slept all night. He lay there and painfully pondered how to get out of such a catastrophic situation. In the end, he decided to try to buy himself a new shirt somewhere at the train station, even though he understood. that this is most likely impossible.
At six in the morning, the train was already at the station.
As soon as Ivan put his foot on the platform, the girl who spilled tea on him suddenly appeared next to him.
«Man,» she said timidly, «come with me.»
— Where else with you? Ivan was taken aback. – I need to run to look for a shirt, and you’re calling me somewhere.
— I have a bunch of white men’s shirts at home.
— A bunch? Ivan stared at her in surprise. – My husband’s, or what? Or do you sell shirts?
«No,» she smiled. «They’re left over from my brother. He recently got married and moved out of my mom and me.
— Yes? Ivan was delighted. — What size is it?
— It will suit you. There are also costumes left from him. The tea stain is also noticeable on your jacket. I didn’t sleep all night, I was worried about you. It’s all my fault. I’m sorry, please…
— What’s that got to do with you? Ivan smiled sourly. — Do you live far from here? I have to be at Proletarskaya Street at eight o’clock.
— We’ll make it.
P . S .The meeting for Ivan was successful. But he showed up at his company only a week later, and then only to apply for dismissal and go back to the capital. To the very girl who fell into his arms thanks to the trainee driver. Or to be more precise – thanks to God…