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Four minutes past midnight Karen Gambaryan, Donetsk 10 October 2008


I am waiting for angels. They will definitely come today. At four min- utes past midnight. Why are you smiling like that? Is something the matter with me?


Yes, I am waiting for angels. Every night before going to bed I set my alarm for 23:50 so as not to miss their arrival. But I don’t need the alarm clock. I’ve got used to wak- ing up a minute earlier and switch it off so as not to wake up my folks at home. The truth is that if the an- gels come they’ll wake everybody up anyway. Even those who sleep deeply. So everybody can see how they are going to save us.


They will come in a big sparkling starship which they used to save more than one world. I saw them do that on TV. They cleaned up – cleaned up everything, the air, the water. And everything started grow- ing again on the planet. They had beautiful white clothes too with the letter “A” on the shoulder because they were space angels. They said that on TV. But when I talk about it everybody smiles as if something was wrong with me and tells me I shouldn’t believe everything they say on TV. But why shouldn’t I believe


it? After all when on one occasion they said on TV that many people were dying of cancer every day, some of the neighbours came and told us Auntie Valya from next-door had died of cancer. And when on TV they warned us about the big R-E-L- E-A-S-E at our plant I wasn’t allowed out onto the balcony. They wouldn’t even let me open the window. I like our plant though. Especially at night when I wake up to see the angels. The sky above it has got a wonderful purple glow. And after the big R-E-L- E-A-S-E all the puddles that are usu- ally grey and dull became wonder- fully red and carrot-coloured. Why are you smiling like that? Is there something the matter with me?


Once we were taken to visit the mine where one big guy showed us the ma- chine which can catch gas. The gas is called methane. It just happens there is a lot of it under the ground. When men drill to dig out some coal, the gas leaks away. When there is a lot, it explodes. And then people die. But the guy’s machine catches this methane and mixes it with air, so it can be used to power cars. It could also be used to heat the water in ra- diators for almost nothing. I bright- ened up at that as we don’t have a lot


of money and in winter the radiators are always cold at home. I asked the guy if he could heat up the radiators in my home, but he said he couldn’t. I asked why. He looked at me, smiled as if something was wrong with me and said the baddie called Zozo Pow- er would not allow it. It would not be P-R-O-F-I-T-A-B-L-E for him. I’ve remembered the name of the bad- die so when the space angels come and clean up the planet I’ll ask them to leave the dirtiest place for Zozo Power and not to heat his radiators. Why are you smiling like that? Is something the matter with me?


The other day they said on TV that a lot of methane had been released at the mine and exploded. Right away Tanya screamed behind the wall. Tanya who recently got out into the yard in a beautiful white dress. Lots of people gave her flowers and threw sweets and coins. But somehow she didn’t pick them up. Neither she, nor the guy who was next to her. I was told that Tanya was getting M-A-R- R-I-E-D to this guy and taking his last name. But now Tanya can’t be with her husband because he used to work at the mine which explod- ed. That’s why he died. Tanya will no longer smile with her wonderful


“I like our plant though. The sky above it has got a wonderful purple glow.”


smile I love so much. But I hope that when the space angels come I will be able to persuade them to R-E-C-O- V-E-R Tanya’s husband. So that she can smile again. They do R-E-C-O-V- E-R air and water, don’t they? Why shouldn’t they recover Tanya’s hus- band? And Auntie Valya from next- door? And all the others? Why are you smiling like that? Is something the matter with me?


They will definitely come, just wait and see. At four minutes past mid- night. When the national anthem has finished on TV. And when the sky has got a wonderful purple glow. We will hit the streets in rubber suits with hoods and gas masks, just like on the planet the space angels have already saved. And I will step for- ward, take off my gas mask and say as if on TV: “Our miserable planet welcomes you! We hope you can save us!” And surely they will help us! Why are you smiling like that? Is something the matter with me?


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