This was written in 2011. Now it seems even more accurate forecast ...
The call came when Andrei Petrovich had lost all hope.
- Hello, I'm on your ad. You give lessons of literature?
Andrei Petrovich stared at the screen videophone. A man in his late twenties. Strictly dressed - suit, tie. Smiling, but his eyes were serious. Andrei Petrovich sank below the heart, he posted an ad network only out of habit. In ten years, there were six calls. Three wrong number, two more were working in the old insurance agent, and one has beguiled literature with a ligature.
- D-give lessons - faltering with emotion, said Andrei Petrovich. - H home. Are you interested in literature?
- Interested - nodded source. - My name is Max. Let me know what are the conditions.
"Zadar!" - Almost blurted Andrei Petrovich.
- Hourly pay - he forced himself to utter. - By agreement. When would you like to start?
- I actually ... - companion hesitated.
- The first lesson for free - added hastily Andrei Petrovich. - If you do not like it, then ...
- Let's tomorrow - Maxim said firmly. - At ten in the morning you want? By nine I bring the kids to school, and then free up to two.
- Arrange - happy Andrei Petrovich. - Write down the address.
- Speak, I remember.
On this night, Andrei Petrovich did not sleep, went to a tiny room, almost cell, not knowing what to do with shaking hands on experiences. For twelve years he lived on a miserable allowance. Since that day, as he was fired.
- You are too narrow specialist - then said, averting his eyes, the director of the lyceum for children with humanitarian inclinations. - We value you as an experienced teacher, but that's your thing, alas. Tell me you do not want to be retrained? Tuition fees Lyceum could partially pay. Virtual ethics, based virtual law, history of robotics - you may well be able to teach it. Even cinema is still quite popular. He, of course, not much time left, but at your age ... What do you think?
Andrei Petrovich refused, then what a lot of regret. New job could not be found, literature remained in a few schools, libraries closed last, one after the other linguists who retrained in that much. A couple of years he pestered gymnasiums, schools and special schools. Then he stopped. Promayavshis six months retraining courses. When his wife leaves him, and threw.
Savings quickly ended, and Andrei Petrovich had to tighten the belt. Then sell aircar old, but reliable. Antique service, the remainder of the mother, for him things. And then ... Andrei Petrovich was sick every time he thought of it - then it was the turn of books. Ancient, thick, paper, also from my mother. For collectors of curiosities gave a lot of money, so that Count Tolstoy fed for a month. Dostoevsky - two weeks. Bunin - a half.
As a result, Andrei Petrovich left fifty books - the most favorite, read a dozen times, those with whom he could not leave. Remarque, Hemingway, Marquez, Bulgakov, Brodsky, Pasternak ... Books were on the shelf, occupying four shelves, Andrei Petrovich washed daily with roots dust.
"If this guy Maxim - disorderly thought Andrei Petrovich, nervously pacing from wall to wall - if it ... then it may be possible to repurchase ago Balmont. Or Murakami. Or Amadou ».
Nonsense, I realized Andrei Petrovich suddenly. It does not matter whether be able to repurchase. He can pass, that's it, that's the only important thing. Hand Off! To share with others what he knows, what he has.
Maxim rang the doorbell at ten o'clock, on the dot.
- Come, - Andrei Petrovich flustered. - Sit down. That's ... Where would you like to start?
Maxim hesitated, carefully sat down on the edge of a chair.
- How do you see fit. You see, I know nothing. Full. I was taught nothing.
- Yes, of course - nodded Andrei Petrovich. - Like all the others. In secondary schools do not teach literature almost a hundred years. And now no longer teach in special.
- Nowhere? - Max asked quietly.
- I'm afraid I have anywhere. You see, at the end of the twentieth century, the crisis began. Read once was. At first the children and then the children have grown up and become once read to their children. Even more once than parents. There were other pleasures - mostly virtual. Game. All sorts of tests, quests ... - Andrei Petrovich waved. - Well, of course, technology. Technical disciplines began to replace human. Cybernetics, quantum mechanics and electrodynamics, high-energy physics. And literature, history, geography receded into the background. Especially literature. You watch, Maxim?
- Yes, please continue.
- In the twenty-first century no longer print books, paper changed electronics. But also in the electronic version of the demand for literature fell - rapidly several times in each new generation compared to the previous. As a consequence, reduced the number of letters, and then they're gone completely - people stopped writing. Philologists lasted for a hundred years longer - at the expense of the written twenty centuries earlier.
Andrei Petrovich paused, wiped his sweaty hand suddenly forehead.
- Not easy for me to talk about it, - he said at last. - I am aware that a natural process. Literature died because they did not uzhilas with progress. But here's the kids, you know ... kids! Literature was what shaped the minds. Especially poetry. That defines the inner world of man, his spirituality. Children grow unspiritual, that's terrible, that's terrible, Maxim!
- I have come to this conclusion, Andrei Petrovich. And that's why you asked.
- Do you have children?
- Yes, - Maxim hesitated. - Two. Pavlik and Anya, the same age. Andrei Petrovich, I just want the basics. I find literature on the network, will be read. I just need to know that. And what to emphasize. You teach me?
- Yes, - said Andrei Petrovich firmly. - To learn.
He got up, crossed his arms, focused.
- Pasternak - he said solemnly. - Blizzards were blowing across the land, unto all the coasts. Candle on the table, a candle burned ...
- Will you come tomorrow, Max? - Trying to stop trembling voice, asked Andrei Petrovich.
- Certainly. Only here ... You know, I worked as a manager in a wealthy couple. Veda economy, business, egged account. I have a low salary. But I - Maxim eyes swept the room - I can bring food. Some things might appliances. In payment. You want?
Andrei Petrovich inadvertently flushed. It would suit and for free.
- Of course, Maxim, - he said. - Thank U. Waiting for you tomorrow.
- Literature - is not only what is written - said Andrei Petrovich, pacing around the room. - It is also as it is written. Language, Maxim, the same tool that was used by great writers and poets. Listen.
Maxim listened intently. He seemed to be trying to remember, memorize it by heart teacher.
- Pushkin - said Andrei Petrovich and began to recite.
"Tauris", "Anchar", "Eugene Onegin».
Baratynsky, Yesenin, Mayakovsky, Blok, Balmont, Akhmatova, Gumilev, Mandelstam, Vysotsky ...
- Are you tired? - Asked Andrei Petrovich.
- No, you. Please continue.
Day was replaced by a new one. Andrei Petrovich cheered, awakened to life, which suddenly made sense. Poetry replaced prose, her time was spent on much more, but Maxim appeared grateful disciple. Grasped it on the fly. Andrei Petrovich did not stop to wonder how Maxim, at first muffled by the way, not perceiving, feeling not embedded in the language of harmony, with each passing day it learned and know better, deeper than the previous.
Balzac, Hugo, Maupassant, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Bunin, Kuprin.
Bulgakov, Hemingway, Babel, Remarque, Marquez, Nabokov.
The eighteenth century, nineteenth, twentieth.
Classic, fiction, fantasy, detective.
Stevenson, Twain, Conan Doyle, Shackley, Strugatsky, Weiner Zhaprizo.
One day, on Wednesday, Maxim did not come. Andrei Petrovich Promayavshis all morning waiting for persuading himself that he might get sick. Could not, an inner voice whispered, stubborn and quarrelsome. Scrupulously meticulous Maxim could not. He never for one and a half years without a moment's too late. And there is not even called. By evening, Andrei Petrovich did not stay in one place, and at night and did not sleep a wink. By ten in the morning, he finally izvёlsya, and when it became clear that Max does not come back, wandered to the videophone.
- The number is disconnected from the service, - told the mechanical voice.
The next few days passed like a bad dream. Even favorite books are not saved from acute depression and reintroduced feelings of worthlessness, which Andrei Petrovich year and a half remembered. Ring up the hospital morgue, obsessive buzzing in the temple. What to ask? Or whom? Were there certain Maxim, under thirty, I'm sorry, I do not know the name?
Andrei Petrovich got out of the house when you are in the four walls became more unbearable.
- A Petrovich! - Welcomed the old man Nefedov, downstairs neighbor. - Long time no see. Why not go out, ashamed, or what? So you're kind of at anything.
- In what sense is ashamed of? - Andrei Petrovich was dumbfounded.
- Well, what's this, your - Nefedov spent the edge of his hand across his throat. - That you went to. I kept wondering what Petrovich in his old age with these people contacted.
- Are you talking about? - Andrei Petrovich went cold inside. - What is the audience?
- We know how. I immediately see these darlings. Thirty years, consider them worked.
- Who do with them then? - Pleaded Andrei Petrovich. - What are you talking about?
- Are you well, in fact, you do not know? - Startled Nefedov. - News Look, this is trumpeted everywhere.
Andrei Petrovich did not remember how to get to the elevator. Rose on the fourteenth, shaking hands fumbled in his pocket the key. On the fifth attempt opened, prosemenil to a computer connected to the network, flipped through the news feed. Heart suddenly went from pain. From the pictures looked Maxim, italic lines under the image blurred before his eyes.
"Who resorts masters - with difficulty focusing vision is read from the screen Andrei Petrovich - of stealing food, clothing and household appliances. Home robot tutor series DRG-439K. Defect control program. Said that self came to the conclusion that children's lack of spirituality, which decided to fight. Willfully subjects taught children outside school. From the owners to conceal their activities. Withdrawn from circulation ... In fact ... disposed. The public is concerned about the manifestation ... The issuing company is ready to incur ... specially created Committee decided to ... ».
Andrei Petrovich rose. Stiffly walked into the kitchen. Opened a cupboard, on the bottom shelf was brought by Maxim at the expense of tuition open bottle of cognac. Andrei Petrovich pulled the plug, looked around in search of a glass. Not found and pulled from his throat. Coughed, dropping bottle, recoiled against the wall. Knees buckled, Andrei Petrovich sat down heavily on the floor.
Down the drain, came the final thought. All down the drain. All this time he taught the robot.
Soulless, defective piece of iron. Put it all in there. All for the sake of which alone is worth living. Everything for which he lived.
Andrei Petrovich, overcoming jumped at the heart of pain rose. Dragged to the window, tightly wrapped transom. Now, gas stove. Open burners and a half hour wait. And yet.
Doorbell caught him halfway to the plate. Andrei Petrovich, gritting his teeth, went to open it. On the threshold stood two children. Boy about ten years old. And the girl for a year or two younger.
- You give lessons of literature? - Looking from the incident on the eye bangs, the girl asked.
- What? - Andrei Petrovich was taken aback. - Who are you?
- I Pavlik - the boy took a step forward. - This is Anya, my sister. We from Max.
- From ... From ?!
- From Max - stubbornly boy. - He told me to give. Before he ... his ...
- Blizzards were blowing throughout the land unto all the coasts! - Loudly shouted suddenly the girl.
Andrei Petrovich clutched at his heart, swallowing convulsively, shoved, pushed him back into the chest.
- Are you kidding? - Softly, almost inaudibly he articulated.
- Candle on the table, a candle was burning, - firmly said the boy. - It was he who told me to give, Max. You will teach us?
Andrei Petrovich, clinging to the door jamb, stepped back.
- Oh my God, - he said. - Come on. Come on, kids.