Chapter 12

The newcomer approached the counter, greeted everybody and turned to Victor:
“It’s good I met you here, I was going to call you,” He said.
“What is the matter? Aren’t you bored with me a job?” Victor grinned.
Ole Nortvilt, that was the name of this sporting figured, about thirty-five-year man, this time more thoroughly peered at a colleague. After a second, having seen Victor Utvac’s noticeable flabby features and half-drooped eyelids, he said with slight disappointment:
“I see you didn’t waste the time.”
“Why? Did something happen?” Victor responded distractedly.
“Happened…in short,” Ole started telling and at the same time continued looking with doubt at his work-mate. “After you left the chief came and announced: for Monday morning the machine would be ready.” He was talking with gradually increasing disillusionment and in the end turned to Sara at all:
“Please, give me orange juice.”`
The woman nodded and turned to shell behind her, where all sorts of bottles, coffee machine, microwave oven, and squeezer were placed. In the latter, she put three oranges and made the apparatus to buzz.
Victor was thoughtlessly watching her activity some time and then without turning his head asked Ole:
“He’s got a new job for us?”
“Yes, and we would be glad. If you remember, the Project soon will stop to cooperate with us; the expedition is almost ready to depart.”
“I see no difficulties here: we’ve checked it all separately, we just need to put it all together and perform a general test; it all can be done tomorrow as well. Isn’t today Friday?” Victor told calmly.
“It’s not exactly so,” Ole said with a wry face. “I’ve promised Linda that we’ll spend the weekend at the lake. We should today carry that testing out.”
Victor fell in thought at first, then, now with substantially concentrated mind, he said:
“Man, I’m very tired and I’ve drunk three mugs of beer already. I was about to go to the football. Linda will understand… it’s not your guilt the chief had found a rush order, after all.”
Ole carefully stared at him once again. Then he threw one sidelong glance to bar-code and hostess, who listen to that conversation almost without hiding. Next, he took the glass intended for him, drank several gulps, put it, seized Victor’s elbow and offered him:
“Let’s go aside, I’ll tell you something,” having said this, he turned to “listeners” and told them smiling: “sorry, I’m sure you’ll understand: official secrecy.”
Both barwoman and consumer politely nodded, though with slight frustration.
“Vic,” at once as they had moved away from the counter at enough distance, whispered Ole. “You don’t have to do anything. You just should attend the process for the protocol. I wouldn’t have spoiled your watching of the semi-final unless the rules forbade doing the ultimate assembling alone, as you know. I understand that the record and the stadium are different things, but for that, I’ll be your slave at any moment!”
Victor started to meditate. He wanted to go to the stadium; he even told to Bony, his bride, that today they can’t meet. Till then he wanted to have one more beer… but… recalling his own bride or maybe with the help of alcohol, Victor grasped that love is the most important thing in life and compared to it the football and the beer are insignificant wishes. He heavily sighed, showing to his colleague the immensity of his sacrifice and grumbled in agreement: “OK, let’s see, what will bring me the possessing of such slave.”
Also, he consoled himself inwardly -anyway I have no guarantee our guys this night wouldn’t spoil my mood.