Bought a Military Plane at an Auction and Was Unjustly Hustled into the Isolation Cell
Published by Manol Petrov, 03 Sep 2017
The military greatcoat, soaked-through with rain, perfectly fit the scarecrow in Mincho’s yard. The chubby military physique of the General was replaced by hay stuffing sticking out of the sleeves of the sorry wight. Gentle wind swayed a few jar caps strung on a twine tied to its wooden arms, thus producing musical cacophony amongst the heavy bunches of grapes.
The General scratched his short neck, cast a grumpy glance at his huge garden, and pulled an angry grimace at all the harmony in the yard. It had been ten years since he retired, but he was still after troubles and wars. His grandkids had put Internet through the house and he would rummage for conflicts around the world to sate his hunger for war and death.
He had ordered over the Internet from the US ten stubs of “Marshal Foch”, a French-American hybrid grape variety. The stubs had born a huge amount of fruit for their first year of growth, which the General would regard with great distrust when he happened to have one over the eight. He would scan the sky with his eyes for passenger planes scattering chemtrails over his vineyard garden.
It was Friday afternoon and the sky was clear of planes. An engine revving sound was heard in front of Mincho’s house; then silence came. The front door opened and Colonel Truth appeared - a retired old buddy, too. He owed his nickname to a phrase he kept repeating to his subordinates – “Tell me the truth, only the truth and thoughts of truth”. He was the only military man who had no desire to fight, as he knew that truth denied war.
‘Hail to the General!’
‘Hail to the Colonel!’
The hugeous man placed two bottles of lemonade on the table in the yard and went back to the car to bring the other things too when Lieutenant Ghosh showed up in the street. The Lieutenant was still in the army and he would visit the General now and again to report on the situation in the regiment. Ghosh took some of the things Colonel Truth had brought and accompanied him to the yard, the realm of absolute peace and quiet! The General surveyed them with his eyes and went into the house to fetch fuel for the upcoming military operations. After about twenty minutes of preparation, the three of them sat around the table and set about talking. They began with the order of the mayor to clear all the sidewalks in front of the houses, passed through the government's decision for further cuts in the army, the Syrian crisis and the election of a sane - insane man at the US top.
Then they reached the moment when Ghosh spoke about what was going on with the airport regiment.
‘I got to know, Lieutenant, they’re gonna scrap planes again?’ Mincho asked.
‘Oh, General, they held the plane auction yesterday. We sold four MiG-21s.’
The General and Colonel Truth scratched their necks and pulled grumpy faces. They had flown the planes sold for scrap dirt-cheap.
The Lieutenant went ahead and reported on the auction held.
‘The strangest thing happened after the auction. Some pushy gink, an artist or was he a painter, got into the office of the regiment and asked for a registration certificate issued to him for the plane he’d bought. I found the secretary off her head explaining to him that planes were not cars and had no registration certificates. That idiot of an artist was seated opposite her pressing his point. I turned up at the point when he was telling her he would not leave without the certificate. So I asked him: “Wouldn’t you like us to fuel your plane and load it up with bombs, Sir?” And that idiot looked me blatantly in the eye and said: “Can ya arrange it?” We gave him some old operational papers to make him go. Then I asked the secretary what he needed that document for and the dear lady said – he wanted to boast he had a plane when kissing the cup in pubs. “It’s not every day that I buy a plane, Ma’am … I’ll pro’bly never have a plane again. So please issue a certificate for me to show to my buddies and kith ...”
‘Oh, God, too much have we disgraced ourselves, laughing-stock of artists to poke!’ Colonel Truth struck off and took a large sip.
‘He’s not an artist but a painter!’ Lieutenant Ghosh corrected him.
‘None the less, a pansy or something!’ General Mincho added.
‘О-о-о-о, things didn’t end up with the old permit. I had a call from the guys in the hangar asking if they could sell the written-off fuel. I was just about to say ‘yes’ ‘cause we had put aside some fuel for a big-shot who kept his helicopter with us when it dawned on me that it could be that idiot of an artist trying to fuel his plane and take off.’
‘He was a painter, wasn’t he?’ Mincho corrected him.
‘Well, yeah, the painter! I jumped into my car right away and was off to the hangar to see what was going on. I found that jackanapes talking my guys into filling his plane up with fuel to try to start it. And those guys of ours, stupid lil’ things, took on faith when seeing his dough.’
‘Guys, don’t fill up anything, give back his dough; let him take his plane and go away!’
‘But, Lieutenant, that’s why I want them to fill up fuel, for me to go away.’
‘Are ya an idiot or something?! Ya’ve bought a waste plane that can’t fly. The only thin’ ya can do with it is cut it up for scrap.’
‘But you’ve issued me a document, didn’t you?!’
‘We’ve issued ya an old document to boast with it in the pubs, so take your plane and go away.’
‘About three hours passed and my phone rang! It was one of the guys from the hangar; I had told him to call me when they filled up the plane.’
‘Lieutenant, the plane started!’
‘How could it possibly start, ya idiots?’
‘It started, Lieutenant... Spas and the painter are taxiing it on the runway.’
‘I jumped into the car and went there right away. Me and two of my guys caught the artist and hustled him right into the isolation cell; Spas was made to write explanations all day long in the office.’
‘And what happened with the painter, did ya let him go?’ Colonel Truth asked.
‘No, I ordered the superintendent to let him go only if a woman called to look for him.’
‘Let’s hope he’s married!’ Mincho added with a smile on his lips.
The three of them took a sip and fell silent. The General stood up and staggered into the vineyard garden. He cut the first bunch of American grapes with a knife and one of the Mavrud, too. He washed them and was back to the table.
He pulled a grape of “Marshal Foch” with his thick fingers, smacked; then he pulled a grape of Assenovgrad Mavrud, smacked again and whooped: ‘God damn America!...’ And his fellows answered together: ‘Long live Bulgaria!!!’