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Kill to Defend... or Die for Nothing

September, 1st. The old castle of Odessa, where prisoners had been kept since God knows when precisely, opened at about 5 pm for more than 50 citizens to meet their hero set free. Vyacheslav Gratsiotov, aged nineteen, attacked by drunken scoundrels in the very heart of Odessa 10 days before, had had to defend his girlfriend and himself by hitting one of the drunkards with his mini-knife. Neither police was around nor people enjoying last summer days tried to stop the battle they were observing and even filming with their camcorders. A lad and a girl beaten by two mindless mad and drunk boys and never noticed by anybody. There was no reason to start the battle and there was none to put end to it, until the beaten lad drew his mini-knife into the drunkard's stomach. Then the local police on having failed to be in time and stop the outrage found no better way to hide their uselessness in civil society than accusing the lad, who defended, of murder. Then arrest followed and then accusation of the murder on purpose. 10 days of imprisonment. 10 days of scandal initiated by those who knew and would never be indifferent. The police playing fools instead of real working on the case grew focused in common attention for everybody to see who was working and who was fucking floor instead. And with August dying away and September being born to proceed the vital calendar things worked as they had to from the very start. The castle gate opened giving its way to freedom, to hugs and tears of those who had been longing for this day to come. Tears of joy and tears of memory waken up with the picture seen.

I remember myself aged nineteen when I walked with my female cousin through the heat of July along our sweet and picturesque nook by the Mersey side -- Albert Dock. Our free and easy chatting would last on and on, unless a fat and drunk scoundrel grew and blocked our way forward. Looking like twenty-five, his mind hardly controlled due to being fed up with whisky and heroine. We noticed him only when his question sounded:

"I say, guys, why d'you live like this?"

We were rather perplexed since the situation was beyond any sort of comprehension. The only thing clear for us, we never needed him around.

"Listen up, we don't want any problems, no need to start it, we weren't the first to bother you, were we?" I said. The drunken guy never thought of cutting the show.

"Look, I work, I make real money for living. What do you do in this life? What else but fucking floor?"
Something had to be done to stop this dirty bag being loaded on us. However the guy was older and bigger than myself and the bigger he was the less adequate he was to be able to come off it. "While I tear my arse to earn my living, you, guys, keep fucking floor, don't you? Why should a nuisance like you really live?" His fat fingers pressed my throat with might and main. Then I seized his and next we were rolling on the ground of Albert Dock, both running the risk of falling into the dock pond. His fingers were strong enough, so pretty soon I had problems with breathing. It looked like my pressing his throat was absolutely useless. My cousin ran up and shouting "cut it!" tried to drag him away from me. Gosh, you should only know what drugs and alcohol do with a human being! On taking up all these fucking things, it ain't human any more.

The scoundrel left me alone, stood up and punched my cousin on her head. With her nose bleeding she dragged his hair while he thoughtlessly beat her all through. Then he started to tear her clothes. It was all desperate. I could never leave her in a state like this. Fighting myself with the powers unequal was too reckless.

A crowbar was lying on the ground just behind the drunk guy. While he was busy with my poor cousin I ran and seized it. The drunkard was so busy with the victim, that the crow hitting his head was a real surprise for him. While he was turning around slowly, I hit him twice again. Cousin, when left alone, ran to me, trying to get me running. And when I discovered the guy was unable to move quickly, I hit his temple, threw the crow into the pond and both we ran off.

The nearest police station was really pretty close. There we reported on the guy who attacked. Two PCs took us to the place where the collision had been. The guy, who attacked, was lying there breathless, his head messed with the crowbar which saved us. Then we gave all the testimony we could. On having identified the dead body they knew the guy had been wanted by the local police for storing drugs. Later on, in hospital our scarves were treated.

It took me a year and a half to forget about the accident, for a year and a half the guy I had had to kill had been coming to me in my night dreams. It happened so that I left Liverpool pretty soon after this. For almost eleven years spent in Odessa, Ukraine I have never come back to the collision in Albert Dock. However it's obvious I would never remain indifferent to the accident having happened on August, 23rd.

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My background as it is

Thoughts are piercing my brain as I am putting down these lines,
through which crystal truth of reality is coming. It feels like being
unsure, where I ought to start from. Lots to remember, good deal of
the things I would lovely have forgotten, but they must be revealed
And though reproached by many after the skeleton leaves my wardrobe, I
am ready to dive and reach the bottom of the ocean of life, where the
pearl of my truth abides eternally. Gonner is my past, a second on its
run is my present, eternity is my future. Amen.

Glage Ail Ingwar is my name given to me by Ail and Jessica, my parents; and the older I grew, the less perception of family care I got. Years of life were running endlessly, turning me more and more bored with the old-fashioned breeding my parents provided. Both of them wanted me to become a Philosophy Doctor, for it had been the best alternative of their twenties. It might be a good choice, too, when my late grandparents had been students. But as young as I was I could see the end of scientific success. I knew how great amount of money was invested into university education and then no Philosophy Doctor could earn enough to make up the expense. Universities were settling great and uncrossable hole of debt. But reluctant to consider that, mom and dad wanted me to get settled in Oxford College of London for years. By that time I already planned to leave my hometown Liverpool, but the aim was different. The BBC predicted coming crash of the Soviet Union, though one could hardly imagine this great empire fall down. Nevertheless it did in 1991. And then the world heard of Ukraine, the x-Soviet republic, running to its independence with might and main, just as well as I was doing. By the end of 20 century it was obvious I wanted to live there. Democratic and free country, not bound at all with conservatism and never taking a line of the least resistance. It was there, where I wanted to live and find my other half. I started to learn Russian at home, having downloaded a course book from London Remote Library web site. The more time I spent for studies, the more irritated my parents grew. Family scandal occured when it was definitely clear I wasn't ever going to Oxford. Dad shouted either I was going to Oxford College or I wasn't going to appear at his house anymore. I chose Oxford only when I knew they were providing student exchange with Kyiv, Ukraine. And you know what? In 1999 I was in the group of students who went there. I liked the way the capital looked like. Golden church domes, old brick-constructed houses, solemn central square called May-done by locals and the scenery washed by glimmering saphire water of the Dnipro.
The exchange session was about to wind up, when I had strict decision to stay there in Ukraine. Learning Ukrainian map, I saw that Ukraine had much better places than Kyiv was. And I wanted to find myself at the Black Sea shore. Hard to imagine, but only 500 km separated me from my dream. To cover them, plane was an option, train was an option too, bus might be good as well, but... They were too fast for my desire to see as much of Ukraine as possible.
In Liverpool we rode bicycles a lot; me, my parents, my friends and neighbours - we were cycling along Liverpool and it was great, not as tiresome as reviving. Cycling from Kyiv to Odesa was like the best solution to travel and avoid my name mentioned at the ticket offices.
I might be looked for first in Kyiv, then in the UK. So with a little help of my friends in Kyiv I got a bicycle for myself. Four days of travel across Ukrainian land deserve a separate novel. Few lines could never be enough to describe the emotions and impressions the ride brought.
On arrival sad news were awaiting me. I got a phone call from my friend, my former neighbour in Liverpool. Mr and Mrs Ingwar, he told, had had a death-bringing collision. They were driving in dad's car when a dog attacked. It will remain a great secret of eternity, if dad got scared or the car he was driving did. The dog's aggressive barking was followed by three vertical laps the car made in the air before falling onto upper branches of a roadside oak. It took the local police an hour to excavate the car down and half of the day more to do spatula work and separate the two stuck and breathless bodies from the car seats.
My dad had always been impressed with Arthur Doyle's "Hound of Barkerviles". The terrifying novel and legend seems to have done their worst.
Now with no bind to the Kingdom I was free to stay in Ukraine for as long as I liked. Odesa, blessed by the sea, tenderly washing and caressing its shore, long as life itself, well, the city was a cozy home. I quickly found friends, who introduced local humour to me. They also gave me a hint where I could find many girls of my age speaking English fluently. Frankly speaking, I needed 2 in 1: a nice girl to help me learn Russian and Ukrainian and become my bride after awhile.
I was targeted to the main university of the city. The building is pretty close to the seaside and the personalities I wanted inhabited the fourth floor. I think I reached the third one when I saw her and our glances crossed. We stopped for a moment and a sort of flame burning I could feel inside. We spoke a little to each other. Ann was her name and she spoke English in the way I could easily understand her. She hurried to her class, but we arranged going out after dinner time.
That day we dined together and the next day we also did and then there was hardly a day when we failed to go out together. Beside romance she helped me learn Russian and Ukrainian. She had talent of teacher and pretty soon I could easily understand what native speakers talked around me. Later on I found myself decisive to speak and think Russian and Ukrainian, then I invented stories, and then Ann helped me do my first translations from English into Russian and Ukrainian. We travelled all around Ukraine - Lviv, Poltava, Kyiv, Vinnytsa - places, where Ukrainian sounded more than in Odesa.
Then a day came when I wanted to check if my language command was similar to that of the local people. I needed a Russian name to be accepted in Ukraine as a resident. That's how my pen name ***** ********* appeared.
I prefer skipping the details on what damned hardship it was to get myself registered and obtain a Ukrainian passport with my Ukrainian name written in it, but still I have done it! I remember to have paid a fine for (as I mentioned at police-station) "letting my passport get burned, when my house was set on fire".
But then I could introduce myself as a Ukrainian and I saw Ann had done her best. My Russian and Ukrainian speech never betrayed my being a foreigner. Though some people I spoke to guessed I wasn't a resident, because I do not look like a mere Ukrainian. As for my part, I never wanted to reveal I was an English man, because now I wanted to learn to speak Russian and Ukrainian as if they were my native languages. I felt I never needed people to make their speech more comprehensive for a foreigner, or translate things into English for me. When you avoid it -- that's the best way to learn how to speak a foreign language.
Romance with Ann needed money to invest and so I began private English teaching for school students and adult learners. To keep my "incognito" I played a role of a local English teacher but it felt that I wasn't teaching as much as I tried to learn Russian from my students. Meanwhile I had to make them think and speak English! And I was teaching my students as a Ukrainian person had to, but it was obvious, that Glage Ingwar might have done the objective better! With this mentioned and revelation once I got that local teachers were getting less salary than foreign ones I decided to cut my incognito and to reveal who I really was by 2010. Moreover Ann, who is my wife now, and I have got a baby-son these days and I want him to know the real truth by the time he gets older.