FRENCH PARTY, by Valery V. Petrovskiy
That evening she had French burst out of her after the second glass. It was more like kink of her mind than just getting drunk. Sure she wasn’t apt to drinking, so I put her to bed just to let her take breath. Because of the second glass, my role changed: instead of a “jeune premier” I turned out to be “a doctor”, for she needed my aid. French was babbling out of her monotonous, and rambling, and beautiful, somewhat guttural and melodious at once. At a moment she was declaiming, and then came to whispering, I never saw wine to act so on a girl, and as far as I remember, the wine was not from France.
Sure, I wasn’t ready to such an about-face, she’d better just vomit. My attempt to feel her pulse called forth a new surge of French; it was beyond my comprehension and scared me. А common occurrence was to treat her to some wine and get her laid. Then she was lying in my bed exposed and spoke non-stop in indefinite language: a Jeanne d’Arc on a silk bedspread! And I had a strange French party with her. When she came round I ordered a taxi.
The other day I felt unwell and didn’t go to my shop in the morning. There was nothing pressing, and I had to stay in bed. I could allow myself to stay at home: the world wouldn’t turn upside down. Then I was wrong, about noon my telephone rang: she didn’t find me at the shop. I was pleased to hear she worried about me, and then it was time for me to be upset.
She happened to stay at home too, and she was speaking very slowly.
“Do you know what I’m doing?.. I’m taking medicine, swallowing down pills… One more is coming… I wish I eat them all… I had swallowed up half a pack…”
“Wait a bit, what a pack? What pills? Why, what’s up?”
“I’m just swallowing down pills… Nothing more…”
And I knew nothing but her phone number after the unfortunate party at my place. First I called police to locate her house by the number, and then I called for ambulance to her place. When I rang her back, the girl was out; her Mom said that she just went out of doors. In long three minutes she called me from a telephone booth, and in a quarter of an hour I was beside her. She was still holding a receiver, her fingers ice-cold. She was chilly while talking to her friend.
In a small pack of soporific that I took out of her pocket a few pills were left there. Perhaps, she could do without outside help still. We got her friend on the phone and called on her nearby. A dipper with manganese solution was ready and I made the girl to sip the potion – she had to have her stomach evacuated. It was unpleasant to watch, and the rose-colored slop didn’t look like the wine I’d treated to her. And this time she didn’t speak French.
From the kitchen her friend took the girl to a bathroom. Soon they were back and she felt better. Her complexion turned pink, and she spoke passably while we were taking strong tea. They said, it was useful for her. She was sitting as if nothing had happened, then she wanted to sleep and I led her home. It was getting dark outside. The day happened to be a strange one: much of passion and so much tea, plus her Mom’s sleeping pills. I’d better have gone to work.
…When the ambulance had arrived, her Mom thought it was a mean joke.