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Daniil Kharms
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Obstacle, The

Pronin said: -- You have very beautiful stockings.
Irina Mazer said: -- Do you like my stockings?
Pronin said: -- Oh yes. Very much. -- And he made a grab at them with his hand.
Irina said: -- But why do you like my stockings?
Pronin said: -- They are very smooth.
Irina lifted her skirt and said: -- And do you see how high they go?
Pronin said: -- Oh yes, I do.
Irina said: -- But here they come to an end. Up here it's bare leg.
-- Oh, and what leg! -- said Pronin.
-- I've got very thick legs -- said Irina. -- And I'm very wide in the hips.
-- Show me -- said Pronin.
-- I can't -- said Irina. -- I've no knickers on.
Pronin got down on his knees in front or her.
Irina said: -- What are you kneeling for?
Pronin kissed her on the leg, a little above the stocking top, and said: -- That's what for.
Irina said: -- Why are you lifting my skirt even higher? I've already told you I've no knickers on.
But Pronin lifted her skirt all the same and said: -- Never mind, never mind.
-- What do you mean, never mind? -- said Irina.
But at this juncture someone was knocking at the door. Irina briskly pulled down her skirt and Pronin got up from the floor and went over to the window.
-- Who's there? -- asked Irina through the door.
-- Open the door -- said a sharp voice.
Irina opened the door and into the room came a man in a black coat and high boots. Behind him came a pair of soldiers of the lowest rank, rifles at the ready, and behind them came the caretaker. The lower ranks stood by the door, while the man in the black coat went up to Irina Mazer and said: -- Your name?
-- Mazer -- said Irina.
-- Your name? -- asked the man in the black coat, turning to Pronin .
Pronin said: -- My name is Pronin.
-- Do you have a weapon? -- asked the man in the black coat.
-- No -- said Pronin.
-- Sit down here -- said the man in the black coat, indicating a chair to Pronin.
Pronin sat down.
-- And you -- said the man in the black coat, turning to Irina, -- put your coat on. You'll have to come for a ride with us.
-- What for? -- asked Irina.
The man in the black coat did not reply.
-- I'll need to change -- said Irina.
-- No -- said the man in the black coat.
-- But there's something else I need to put on -- said Irina. -- No -- said the man in the black coat.
Irina put on her fur coat in silence.
-- Good-bye, then -- she said to Pronin.
-- Conversations are not allowed -- said the man in the black coat.
-- Do I come with you as well? -- asked Pronin.
-- Yes -- said the man in the black coat. -- Get your coat on. Pronin stood up, took his coat and hat down from the peg, put them on and said: -- Well, I'm ready. -- Let's go -- said the man in the black coat.
The lower ranks and the caretaker stamped their feet.
They all went out into the corridor.
The man in the black coat locked the door of Irina's room and sealed it with two brown seals.
-- Outside -- he said.
And they all went out of the flat, loudly slamming the outside door.