it going to be then, eh?'
There was me, Your Humble Narrator,
and my three droogs, that is Len, Rick, and Bully, Bully being
called Bully because of his bolshy big neck and very gromky goloss
which was just like some bolshy great bull bellowing auuuuuuuuh.
We were sitting in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks
what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard
though dry. All round were chellovecks well away on milk plus
vellocet and synthemesc and drencrom and other veshches which
take you far far far away from this wicked and real world into
the land to viddy Bog And All His Holy Angels And Saints in your
left sabog with lights bursting and spurting all over your mozg.
What we were peeting was the old moloko with knives in it, as
we used to say, to sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit
of dirty twenty-to-one, but I've told you all that before.
We were dressed in the heighth
of fashion, which in those days was these very wide trousers and
a very loose black shiny leather like jerkin over an open-necked
shirt with a like scarf tucked in. At this time too it was the
heighth of fashion to use the old britva on the gulliver, so that
most of the gulliver was like bald and there was hair only on
the sides. But it was always the same on the old nogas - real
horrorshow bolshy big boots for kicking litsos it.
'What's it going to be then,
I was like the oldest of we
four, and they all looked up to me as their leader, but I got
the idea sometimes that Bully had the thought in his gulliver
that he would like to take over, this being because of his gibness
and the gromky goloss that bellowed out of him when he was on
the warpath. But all the ideas came from Your Humble, O my brothers,
and also there was the veshch that I had been famous and had had
my picture and articles and all that cal in the gazettas. Also
I had by far the best job of all we four, being in the National
Gramodisc Archives on the music side with a real horrorshow carman
full of pretty polly at the week's end and a lot of nice free
discs for my own malenky self on the side.
This evening in the Korova there
was a fair number of vecks and ptitsas and devotchkas and malchicks
smecking and peeting away, and cutting through their govoreeting
and the burbling of the in-the-landers with their 'Gorgor fallatuke
and the worm sprays in filltip slaughterballs' and all that cal
you could slooshy a popdisc on the stereo, this being Ned Achimota
singing 'That Day, Yeah, That Day'. At the counter were three
devotchkas dressed in the heighth of nadsat fashion, that is to
say long uncombed hair dyed white and false groodies sticking
out a metre or more and very very tight short skirts with all
like frothy white underneath, and Bully kept saying: 'Hey, get
in there we could, three of us. Old Len is not like interested.
Leave old Len alone with his God.' And Len kept saying: 'Yarbles
yarbles. Where is the spirit of all for one and one for all, eh
boy?' Suddenly I felt both very very tired and also full of tingly
energy, and I said:
'Out out out out out.'
'Where to?' said Rick, who had
a litso like a frog's.
'Oh, just to viddy what's doing
in the great outside,' I said. But somehow, my brothers, I felt
very bored and a bit hopeless, and I had been feeling that a lot
these days. So I turned to the chelloveck nearest me on the big
plush seat that ran right round the whole messto, a chelloveck,
that is, who was burbling away under the influence, and I fisted
him real skorry ack ack ack in the belly. But he felt it not,
brothers, only burbling away with his 'Cart cart virtue, where
in toptails lieth the poppoppicorns?' So we scatted out into the
big winter nochy.
We walked down Marghanita Boulevard
and there were no millicents patrolling that way, so when we met
a starry veck coming away from a news-kiosk where he had been
kupetting a gazetta I said to Bully: 'All right, Bully boy, thou
canst if thou like wishest.' More and more these days I had been
just giving the orders and standing back to viddy them being carried
out. So Bully cracked into him er er er, and the other two tripped
him and kicked at him, smecking away, while he was down and then
let him crawl off to where he lived, like simpering to himself.
'How about a nice yummy glass
of something to keep out the cold, O Alex?' For we were not too
far from the Duke of New York. The other two nodded yes yes yes
but all looked at me to viddy whether that was all right. I nodded
too and so off we ittied. Inside the snug there were these starry
ptitsas or sharps or baboochkas you will remember from the beginning
and they all started on their: 'Evening, lads, God bless you,
boys, best lads living, that's what you are,' waiting for us to
say: 'What's it going to be, girls?' Bully rang the collocoll
and a waiter came in rubbing his rookers on his grazzy apron.
'Cutter on the table, droogies,' said Bully, pulling out his own
rattling and chinking mound of deng. 'Scotchmen for us and the
same for the old baboochkas, eh?' And then I said:
'Ah, to hell. Let them buy their
own.' I didn't know what it was, but these last days I had become
like mean. There had come into my gulliver a like desire to keep
all my pretty polly to myself, to like hoard it all up for some
reason. Bully said:
'What gives, bratty? What's
coming over old Alex?'
'Ah, to hell,' I said. 'I don't
know. I don't know. What it is is I don't like just throwing away
my hard-earned pretty polly, that's what it is.'
'Earned?' said Rick. 'Earned?
It doesn't have to be earned, as well thou knowest, old droogie.
Took, that's all, just took, like.' And he smecked real gromky
and I viddied one or two of his zoobies weren't all that horrorshow.
'Ah,' I said, 'I've got some
thinking to do.' But viddying these baboochkas looking all eager
like for some free alc, I like shrugged my pletchoes and pulled
out my own cutter from my trouser carman, notes and coin all mixed
together, and plonked it tinkle crackle on the table.
'Scotchmen all round, right,'
said the waiter. But for some reason I said:
'No, boy, for me make it one
small beer, right.' Len said:
'This I do not much go for,'
and he began to put his rooker on my gulliver, like kidding I
must have fever, but I like snarled doggy-wise for him to give
over skorry. 'All right, all right, droog,' he said. 'As thou
like sayest.' But Bully was having a smot with his rot open at
something that had come out of my carman with the pretty polly
I'd put on the table. He said:
'Well well well. And we never
'Give me that,' I snarled and
grabbed it skorry. I couldn't explain how it had got there, brothers,
but it was a photograph I had scissored out of the old gazetta
and it was of a baby. It was of a baby gurgling goo goo goo with
all like moloko dribbling from its rot and looking up and like
smecking at everybody, and it was all nagoy and its flesh was
like in all folds with being a very fat baby. There was then like
a bit of haw haw haw struggling to get hold of this bit of paper
from me, so I had to snarl again at them and I grabbed the photo
and tore it up into tiny teeny pieces and let it fall like a bit
of snow on to the floor. The whisky came in then and the starry
baboochkas said: 'Good health, lads, God bless you, boys, the
best lads living, that's what you are,' and all that cal. And
one of them who was all lines and wrinkles and no zoobies in her
shrunken old rot said: 'Don't tear up money, son. If you don't
need it give it them as does,' which was very bold and forward
of her. But Rick said:
'Money that was not, O baboochka.
It was a picture of a dear little itsy witsy bitsy bit of a baby.'
'I'm getting just that bit tired,
that I am. It's you who's the babies, you lot. Scoffing and grinning
and all you can do is smeck and give people bolshy cowardly tolchocks
when they can't give them back.' Bully said:
'Well now, we always thought
it was you who was the king of that and also the teacher. Not
well, that's the trouble with thou, old droogie.'
I viddied this sloppy glass
of beer I had on the table in front of me and felt like all vomity
within, so I went 'Aaaaah' and poured all the frothy vonny cal
all over the floor. One of the starry pitsas said:
'Waste not want not.' I said:
'Look, droogies. Listen. Tonight
I am somehow just not in the mood. I know not why or how it is,
but there it is. You three go your own ways this nightwise, leaving
me out. Tomorrow we shall meet same place same time, me hoping
to be like a lot better.'
'Oh,' said Bully, 'right sorry
I am.' But you could viddy a like gleam in his glazzies, because
now he would be taking over for this nochy. Power power, everybody
like wants power. 'We can postpone till tomorrow,' said Bully,
'what we in mind had. Namely, that bit of shop-crasting in Gagarin
Street. Flip horrorshow takings there, droog, for the having.'
'No,' I said. 'You postpone
nothing. You just carry on in your own like style. Now,' I said,
'I itty off.' And I got up from my chair.
'Where to, then?' asked Rick.
'That know I not,' I said. 'Just
to be on like my own and sort things out.' You could viddy the
old baboochkas were real puzzled at me going out like that and
like all morose and not the bright and smecking malchickiwick
you will remember. But I said: 'Ah, to hell, to hell,' and scatted
out all on my oddy knocky into the street.
It was dark and there was a
wind sharp as a nozh getting up, and there were very very few
lewdies about. There were these patrol cars with brutal rozzes
inside them like cruising about, and now and then on the corner
you would viddy a couple of very young millicents stamping against
the bitchy cold and letting out steam breath on the winter air,
O my brothers. I suppose really a lot of the old ultra-violence
and crasting was dying out now, the rozzes being so brutal with
who they caught, though it had become like a fight between naughty
nadsats and the rozzes who could be more skorry with the nozh
and the britva and the stick and even the gun. But what was the
matter with me these days was that I didn't like care much. It
was like something soft getting into me and I could not pony why.
What I wanted these days I did not know. Even the music I liked
to slooshy in my own malenky den was what I would have smecked
at before, brothers. I was slooshying more like malenky romantic
songs, what they call Lieder, just a goloss and a piano,
very quiet and like yearny, different from when it had been all
bolshy orchestras and me lying on the bed between the violins
and the trombones and kettledrums. There was something happening
inside me, and I wondered if it was like some disease or if it
was what they had done to me that time upsetting my gulliver and
perhaps going to make me real bezoomny.
So thinking like this with my
gulliver bent and my rookers stuck in my trouser carmans I walked
the town, brothers, and at last I began to feel very tired and
also in great need of a nice bolshy chasha of milky chai. Thinking
about this chai, I got a sudden like picture of me sitting before
a bolshy fire in an armchair peeting away at this chai, and what
was funny and very very strange was that I seemed to have turned
into a very starry chelloveck, about seventy years old, because
I could viddy my own voloss, which was very grey, and I also had
whiskers, and these were very grey too. I could viddy myself as
an old man, sitting by a fire, and then the like picture vanished.
But it was very like strange.
I came to one of these tea-and-coffee
mestos, brothers, and I could viddy through the long long window
that it was full of very dull lewdies, like ordinary, who had
these very patient and expressionless litsos and would do no harm
to no one, all sitting there and govoreeting like quietly and
peeting away at their nice harmless chai and coffee. I ittied
inside and went up to the counter and bought me a nice hot chai
with plenty of moloko, then I ittied to one of these tables and
sat down to peet it. There was a like young couple at this table,
peeting and smoking filter-tip cancers, and govoreeting and smecking
very quietly between themselves, but I took no notice of them
and just went on peeting away and like dreaming and wondering
what was going to happen to me. But I viddied that the devotchka
at this table who was with this chelloveck was real horrorshow,
not the sort you would want to like throw down and give the old
in-out in-out to, but with a horrorshow plott and litso and a
smiling rot and very very fair voloss and all that cal. And then
the veck with her, who had a hat on his gulliver and had his litso
like turned away from me, swivelled round to viddy the boshy big
clock they had on the wall in this mesto, and then I viddied who
he was and then he viddied who I was. It was Pete, one of my three
droogs from those days when it was Georgie and Dim and him and
me. It was Pete like looking older though he could not now be
more than nineteen and a bit, and he had a bit of a moustache
and an ordinary day-suit and this hat on. I said:
'Well well well, droogie, what
gives? Very very long time no viddy.' He said:
'It's little Alex, isn't it?'
'None other,' I said. 'A long
long long time since those dead and gone good days. And now poor
Georgie, they told me, is underground and old Dim is a brutal
millicent, and here is thou and here is I, and what news hast
thou, old droogie?'
'He talks funny, doesn't he?'
said the devotchka, like giggling.
'This,' said Pete to the devotchka,
'is an old friend. His name is Alex. May I,' he said to me, 'introduce
My rot fell wide open then.
'Wife?' I like gasped. 'Wife wife wife? Ah no, that cannot be.
Too young art thou to be married, old droog. Impossible impossible.'
This devotchka who was like
Pete's wife (impossible impossible) giggled again and said to
Pete: 'Did you used to talk like that too?'
'Well,' said Pete, and he like
smiled. 'I'm nearly twenty. Old enough to be hitched, and it's
been two months already. You were very young and very forward,
'Well,' I like gaped still.
'Over this get can I not, old droogie. Pete married. Well well
'We have a small flat,' said
Pete. 'I am earning very small money at State Marine Insurance,
but things will get better, that I know. And Georgina here-'
'What again is that name?' I
said, rot still open like bezoomny. Pete's wife (wife, brothers)
like giggled again.
'Georgina,' said Pete. 'Georgina
works too. Typing, you know. We manage, we manage.' I could not,
brothers, take my glazzies off him, really. He was like grown
up now, with a grown-up goloss and all. 'You must,' said Pete,
'come and see us sometime. You still,' he said, 'look very young,
despite all your terrible experiences. Yes yes yes, we've read
all about them. But, of course, you are very young still.'
'Eighteen,' I said, 'just gone.'
'Eighteen, eh?' said Pete. 'As
old as that. Well well well. Now,' he said, 'we have to be going.'
And he like gave this Georgina of his a like loving look and pressed
one of her rookers between his and she gave him one of these looks
back, O my brothers. 'Yes,' said Pete, turning back to me, 'we're
off to a little party at Greg's.'
'Greg?' I said.
'Oh, of course,' said Pete,
'you wouldn't know Greg, would you? Greg is after your time. While
you were away Greg came into the picture. He runs little parties,
you know. Mostly wine-cup and word-games. But very nice, very
pleasant, you know. Harmless, if you see what I mean.'
'Yes,' I said. 'Harmless. Yes
yes, I viddy that real horrorshow.' And this Georgina devotchka
giggled again at my slovos. And then these two ittied off to their
vonny word-games at this Greg's, whoever he was. I was left all
on my oddy knocky with my milky chai, which was getting cold now,
like thinking and wondering.
Perhaps that was it, I kept
thinking. Perhaps I was getting too old for the sort of jeezny
I had been leading, brothers. I was eighteen now, just gone. Eighteen
was not a young age. At eighteen old Wolfgang Amadeus had written
concertos and symphonies and operas and oratorios and all that
cal, no, not cal, heavenly music. And then there was old Felix
M. with his Midsummer Night's Dream Overture. And there
were others. And there was this like French poet set by old Benjy
Britt, who had done all his best poetry by the age of fifteen,
O my brothers. Arthur, his first name. Eighteen was not all that
young an age, then. But what was I going to do?
Walking the dark chill bastards
of winter streets after ittying off from this chai and coffee
mesto, I kept viddying like visions, like these cartoons in the
gazettas. There was Your Humble Narrator Alex coming home from
work to a good hot plate of dinner, and there was this ptitsa
all welcoming and greeting like loving. But I could not viddy
her all that horrorshow, brothers, I could not think who it might
be. But I had this sudden very strong idea that if I walked into
the room next to this room where the fire was burning away and
my hot dinner laid on the table, there I should find what I really
wanted, and now it all tied up, that picture scissored out of
the gazetta and meeting old Pete like that. For in that other
room in a cot was laying gurgling goo goo goo my son. Yes yes
yes, brothers, my son. And now I felt this bolshy big hollow inside
my plott, feeling very surprised too at myself. I knew what was
happening, O my brothers. I was like growing up.
Yes yes yes, there it was. Youth
must go, ah yes. But youth is only being in a way like it might
be an animal. No, it is not just being an animal so much as being
like one of these malenky toys you viddy being sold in the streets,
like little chellovecks made out of tin and with a spring inside
and then a winding handle on the outside and you wind it up grrr
grrr grrr and off it itties, like walking, O my brothers. But
it itties in a straight line and bangs straight into things bang
bang and it cannot help what it is doing. Being young is like
being like one of these malenky machines.
My son, my son. When I had my
son I would explain all that to him when he was starry enough
to like understand. But then I knew he would not understand or
would not want to understand at all and would do all the veshches
I had done, yes perhaps even killing some poor starry forella
surrounded with mewing kots and koshkas, and I would not be able
to really stop him. And nor would he be able to stop his own son,
brothers. And so it would itty on to like the end of the world,
round and round and round, like some bolshy gigantic like chelloveck,
like old Bog Himself (by courtesy of Korova Milkbar) turning and
turning and turning a vonny grahzny orange in his gigantic rookers.
But first of all, brothers,
there was this veshch of finding some devotchka or other who would
be a mother to this son. I would have to start on that tomorrow,
I kept thinking. That was something like new to do. That was something
I would have to get started on, a new like chapter beginning.
That's what it's going to be
then, brothers, as I come to the like end of this tale. You have
been everywhere with your little droog Alex, suffering with him,
and you have viddied some of the most grahzny bratchnies old Bog
ever made, all on to your old droog Alex. And all it was was that
I was young. But now as I end this story, brothers, I am not young,
not no longer, oh no. Alex like groweth up, oh yes.
But where I itty now, O my brothers,
is all on my oddy knocky, where you cannot go. Tomorrow is all
like sweet flowers and the turning vonny earth and the stars and
the old Luna up there and your old droog Alex all on his oddy
knocky seeking like a mate. And all that cal. A terrible grahzny
vonny world, really, O my brothers. And so farewell from your
little droog. And to all others in this story profound shooms
of lip-music brrrrr. And they can kiss my sharries. But you, O
my brothers, remember sometimes thy little Alex that was. Amen.
And all that cal.