Book 2. Ringing cedars of Russia (1997)
I wrote quickly; From time to time Anton, Artem or Lyosha, the student programmers, would drop by and bring me a bite to eat. I still had not told them about Anastasia. But I explained to them that the organisation of the Fellowship could be facilitated with the help of the book I was to write. And so they set about keyboarding the text of the book into the computers. It was mainly Lyosha Novichkov who worked on this. He showed up every three days, bringing a print-out of his latest keyboarding and taking home a new chapter of the manuscript. This went on for about two months.
One day Lyosha showed up with the last printed chapter of Book i, a diskette with the full text, two bottles of beer, frankfurters and some other kind of food, along with a little money, and set it all down on the kitchen table.
“Where did you get all this bounty, Lyosha?” I asked in amazement.
He lived alone with his mother, on very limited means. He didn’t always have enough money to buy metro tokens or even sandwiches.
“It’s exam time, Vladimir Nikolaevich,” Lyosha responded. “I do drafts for some of the students, I make up computer programmes for them. For students who can’t do them themselves or are too lazy. They pay me for them.”
‘And will you make it through the exams yourself all right?”
“Will do. I’ve got just one exam left, and in a couple of days I’ll have to go off for a month on military training, to
Kineshma. It’s good you managed to get Anastasia finished. If there are any corrections to be made now, Artem will take care of them. Anton’s already off on training.”
“Tell me, Lyosha, how did you possibly manage to sit ex-ams, do drafts and make up computer programmes for others, and still keyboard and print out Anastasia every day?”
Lyosha didn’t respond. I turned to the kitchen table to serve up the steamed frankfurters. Lyosha’s head and arms were resting on the table, on top of the printed pages containing the Anastasia text. He was fast asleep.