Azerbaijan International

Spring 2004 (12.1)
Pages 84-89

Magsud Ibrahimbeyov
On A Beautiful Day (1972)
V Odin Prekrasniy Den (in Russian)

Magsud Ibrahimbeyov's short story, "The Pistachio Tree" was published in Azerbaijan International in our previous literary issue, AI 7.1 (Spring 1999). The Azeri version of "Pistachio Tree" along with these stories published here are also available in Azeri Latin script. Search at

Magsud Ibrahimbeyov was born in Baku on May 11, 1935. He is recognized as writer, dramatist and scriptwriter. In 1960, he graduated from the Construction Department of the Politechnical Institute. But in 1964, he began focusing on literary studies and writing and attended Master courses for screenwriters and directors in Moscow in 1964. Since then, he has written many novels as well as screenplays for 12 feature-length movies and 11 documentary films.

Ibrahimbeyov has been a member of Azerbaijan's Parliament (Milli Majlis) since 1985. He is President of the PEN (Writers') Association in Azerbaijan. He has been awarded The Order of the Red Banner (USSR), The Order of Glory (Azerbaijan), and an award from the Pope at the Vatican (2002).

His major novels and stories include: Wish He Would Stay with Us, To All That is Good - Death!, Story with a Happy Ending, Bit of A Spring Holiday, and A Comfortable Place in the Square.

His novel There Was Never a Better Brother along with An Owl Flew By and Love Song for Baritone and Orchestra, are available in English in paperback, published by AZ&S Company: Baku, 1997 (414 pp, small format).

Magsud also is known for his stage plays such as Mesozoic Story, A Man for a Young Woman, To All That is Good-Death! His new play The Oil Boom is Smiling at Everyone has recently been staged at the Baku Drama Theater.

"On A Beautiful Day" was translated from Russian into English by Arzu Aghayeva and edited by Betty Blair.

· · ·

Art: Vugar Muradov. Visit for contacts.

Judging by the morning, it seemed it would turn out to be a bright, sunny, hot day. And this same morning, Vasif Rafibeyli - a 32-year-old chemical engineer (a positive person and, in general, a rather successful one, at that) - saw a flying saucer. At first, he didn't realize that what he had seen was a flying saucer.

There he was, shivering from the morning chill, standing on his fifth floor balcony - all eyes. Slowly and silently, the large, silvery disc approached the city at a low altitude from the direction of the bay. In the pale, rose-colored dawn, it was possible for him to see it quite clearly.

On the unidentified flying object (UFO), you could distinctly make out dark stripes, girding it like a spiral and two or three strange symbols, looking much like hieroglyphs, painted in black. The UFO descended even lower and seemed almost to touch the rooftops of the buildings.

Vasif stood, watching, as he clutched the banisters of the balcony. His heart was pounding from excitement.

The cat Pakiza was also sitting there on the balcony, watching the flying saucer with the same attentiveness. She was a very inquisitive and observant creature.

Now the UFO hung motionlessly over the roof opposite Vasif's building, and you could see that it was reversing itself and moving backwards very slowly, revolving on its axis.

Vasif saw it with his own eyes from the balcony of the house in which he had been born. The UFO was hovering above the very street that he had known since childhood - the street by which he had first gone to school, then to the Institute and later to work. It was hovering above this ordinary Baku street - originally of cobblestone, which had been repaved with asphalt.

The UFO hovered over this very ordinary street on which a tramline used to pass which later was replaced by a trolleybus route. The flying saucer passed over the grocery shop and the milk store, above the traffic light, which was controlled by electronics automatically. All this - on a very ordinary summer morning in Baku.

And thus, a very unusual phenomenon entered Vasif Rafibeyli's life.

A strange sound came from Vasif's throat and, suddenly, he ran back into room. Grabbing a notebook and a pencil from the writing table, he ran back out on the balcony and quickly copied down the strange hieroglyphics, noting the dimensions of the UFO that he estimated by sight. The flying saucer was huge - twice or, perhaps, even two and a half times the size of the six-floor building over which it was hovering. The air was filled with the faint smell of hot metal.

Rather spontaneously, Vagif reached up to feel his hair that was standing on end. From the material of his silk shirt, he heard a faint crackling sound. Had it been dark, he sensed he would have been able to detect faint blue sparks coming from it. Pakiza cat gave a long meow and the hair on her back stood straight up. Her eyes flashed as she rushed back into the apartment.

Never before had Vagif ever experienced the delight of such a phenomenon. He could not take his eyes off what he knew, beyond a doubt, was an extraterrestrial spaceship. In the meantime, the UFO continued slowly revolving on its axis; the whirring sound intensified, reminding him of bees hovering around a beehive in cloudy weather. The surface of the UFO must have been very hot, maybe, even scorching, because the tar on the roof of the building opposite theirs had begun to melt. Already within two to three minutes, the tar began to trickle down over the white façade.

Vasif rushed back into apartment. This time he ran into the bedroom to wake up his wife.

Art: Vugar Muradov. Visit for contacts.

"It's morning! Come on, get up!" he begged, trying to speak as calmly as possible in order not to frighten her since she was still half asleep. "Come out on the balcony!"


"You'll see." Vasif hesitated and then added, "Right in front of us, hovering above the building opposite ourswell, there's a space ship!"

"It can't be true! Wow, great!" His wife immediately jumped up and started getting dressed. She slipped a dress over her nightgown and ran to the mirror and started wiping off the night cream on her face.

"Hurry up!" Vasif insisted. "Come out on the balcony. Why do you need to put on a dress and make-up?"

"But you, yourself, just said that there was a spaceship in front of our house! "Or were you just kidding? So, do you think I should appear naked in front of guests? Would I go out naked?! And, please, don't shout.

"You'll wake up the kids."

But the UFO could not be seen. It had disappeared. Only the smell of hot metal lingered, but the air was no longer full of static. Pakiza returned to the balcony. The narrow stream of melting tar, flowing down over the wall of the building opposite theirs, was the only proof that a UFO had been hovering there just a few minutes earlier.

"Rush to the kitchen," Vasif said. "It may have moved to the back of the house. Run!"

But from the kitchen window, the saucer could not be seen either. The mysterious visitant from outer space had disappeared.

"Can you imagine," Vasif told his wife as he nervously paced back and forth in his shorts in the bedroom. "It has finally happened! Some celestial form of civilization has managed to have contact with us. Where could it be from, I wonder. I wouldn't be surprised if we learn that it has come from a different galaxy. The shape of the UFO was so unusual.

Unbelievable, I saw it with my own eyes! Today marks the first day of a new era for mankind."

"Great!" his wife replied. She had already crawled back into bed. "Listen, why did they come so early?"

"What do you mean, 'early'?! This could have happened a thousand years before us or after us."

"Look at the clock, it's half past four," she noted. I thought, somehow, that there would be a formal ceremony. I thought they would be met somewhere - maybe at the airport. But, instead, they arrived at dawn, even before the street cleaners had started to work. It doesn't seem right. And why did you wake up so early?" she asked, stretching.

Suddenly, she shivered. "Who are you phoning so early?"

"Your dad. He'll never forgive me if I don't break the news to him first."

His father-in-law, half asleep, could not understand at all what was going on. Gradually things started to clear up.

"Very interesting," he said. "Thanks for calling." He hung up the receiver and turned to his wife, who had been listening intently to the conversation.

"What's the matter?" she asked. "Tell me what's happened?"

"Vasif has just seen a flying saucer," the father-in-law said, after a pause.

"Where did he see it?"

"Up in the air, where else. He saw it and called me up."

"Oh, my God!" said the mother-in-law. "What's going to happen? After all, he has kids! Poor Sanubar!"

"What do the kids have to do with this?" the father-in-law said in defense. "He just saw a flying saucer, I don't see anything wrong with that."

"But did you stop to think why, out of nowhere, he would see a flying saucer?" she said in a small meek voice. "I'm sorry, but you're talking as if you've never heard our relatives or friends telling that they had seen something flying around in the air. It's purely anecdotal.

"I'm going back to sleep," he said.

"I know," she said. That's convenientBut still you're a very callous person," she said with a sigh. "And this, despite the fact that you carry the responsibility for both our daughter and our grandkids. As for myself, I've stopped reminding you about me a long time ago."

"You're keeping me from sleeping."

"Whether I'm keeping you awake or not," she said in a much quieter voice, "it doesn't change anything. I think something strange is going on with our son-in-law. I've always told you that there was something weird about him; and this call, I think, will convince you as well. He has bad genes."

Without saying anything, the father-in-law got out of bed, gathered his blanket and pillow, and settled down on the sofa in the living room to go back to sleep "Egotist," she said, calling after him. "Pick the blanket up off the floor." She leaned back on the pillow, engrossed in thought.

This was the reaction about the UFO, supposedly of extraterrestrial origin, which Vasif Rafibeyli first announced at the apartment of his father-in-law.

Outwardly, this knowledge did not manifest itself in any way. He was simply a man walking down the street with a business-like gait. You couldn't even detect anything unique about his smile. Simply, there was a subtle or, you might say, a smile-difficult to discern-etched all over his face.

Just to look at Vasif, no one would have ever guessed that he knew something to which when compared, all state secrets of the world would fade. He was the person who had just witnessed an event this morning, which would probably change the destiny of all mankind.

Outwardly, this knowledge wasn't evident at all because Vasif was an extremely well-bred person and absolutely knew how to conduct himself in the street. But, inwardly, everything was singing. As they say, he was enjoying life in a big way. He was thrilled with having discovered the UFO. Besides, he was in a hurry. He felt he didn't have the right to enjoy this alone; he needed others to enjoy it, too.

He didn't wait for the elevator. It took him just seconds to run upstairs to the fourth floor. To his surprise, his announcement was met with rather cold stares in the lab, even after he had disclosed all the details of what he had seen on the space ship and after he had showed them his notes and sketches with the symbols.

"Why didn't you take a picture?" Sevda asked, blushing. She was Vasif's colleague whom he always liked simply because she was able to blush at the most innocent topic.

"Because I've never taken a photo of anything in my life," Vasif said, suddenly feeling himself redden. "I can't take photographs. And, besides, I don't even have a camera."

"Wonderful," said the junior research assistant Mursal, glancing aside. "By the way, Vasif, you didn't forget to warn Hajiyev yesterday that we're running out of hydrofluoric acid, did you? Well, thanks."

It wasn't that Vasif's mood turned bad or became worse. No, simply it changed. The feeling of exuberance began to fade. However, since there was a lot of work to do, he was distracted from thinking about the impressions that he had had earlier that morning.

Two hours later, Vahid from the polymeric shop poked his head through the door and asked cheerfully, "Which of you guys in this lab today, in a state of half stupor, saw something green with a tail and horns?Hi, Vasif. Listen, were you serious about that? Come on, tell me about it! You know how much I love such stories. So, you were standing there, minding your own business, when suddenly this thing flew up to your balcony and said"

"It didn't say anything," Vasif said and laughed. "Come back during break, we'll chat about it. But right now I'm busy, as you see."

During lunch break, Vahid brought all his polymeric team to the canteen and, forever winking at them, he proceeded to clarify with Vasif if it were true that he had seen a "tray" with a chicken on it and had not started drinking a bottle of chacha on it in the air.

Everybody, including Vasif, laughed a lot because this Vahid from the Polymeric Lab was so good at imitating how Vasif was unable to reach the "tray" from his balcony and, how in the end, it moved away, swearing like a villain in an extraterrestrial language, unknown to science.

It was so much fun, but still Vasif could not figure out why Arif Musayev, a researcher from his laboratory, who in the past used to address him as "Vasif Muallim".
1 But today, he had suddenly dropped this deferential prefix and for some reason started addressing him in the singular2.

Anyway, this thought flashed across his mind and then disappeared. Vasif continued to watch Vahid who had entirely flown off the handle. Vasif thought to himself that Vahid was a very gifted person and had a very valuable talent; that is, the ability to make people laugh - even those who weren't in the mood.

Vasif, himself, didn't have such a talent and, in general, that made him sad. Then he proceeded to think about how unfair life was. Some people, already at birth, were endowed with special talents, which later on would assist them tremendously in life; for example, with extraordinary vocal cords or a sense of humor. Others just had to rely on their wit and hard work throughout their lives.

Vasif was starting to forget about the spaceship but after break, they didn't let him forget about it. The news spread throughout the whole institute and Vasif had to retell the story over and over. Some of those who approached him brought up the subject in a low voice, glancing around cautiously and looking at him sympathetically.

"It's an absolutely weird story," he thought to himself sitting at his work desk, looking through the results of his morning measuring. "I admit that on the face of it, the news about a UFO may seem unbelievable. But I swear that I saw it myself. I didn't hear it from someone else. I saw it myself. I've always told the truth, then why doesn't anybody believe me? And I know for sure that all those people whom I've told have always treated me with great respect and trust. So what's going on?"

The telephone of the internal system rang, distracting his thoughts. It was the director's secretary asking him to come see the boss.

In addition, the deputy economic director was also in the office.

The director - a tall guy, slim for his age, with a slender, nervous face - stood up to greet Vasif as soon as he entered the office. This formality was carried out a little more hastily than usual.

"How are you doing?" the director asked. "Today I read your report. I just finished it and I have to admit, it seemed very interesting to me."

Vasif was astonished. Usually because of the overload of work, it took the director at least one and a half, or two, weeks to read the reports; and he had turned his report in only the day before yesterday.

"Very interesting," the director repeated and proceeded to analyze the virtues of the report thoroughly, elaborating on the details. He went on for about 20 minutes. Then he stammered and, after a pause, obviously embarrassed, he asked:

"Is it true?"


"I was told you had a dream about something?" the director said, glancing sideways.

"It wasn't a dream. I really saw it," Vasif said, deciding to stick with the story. And he told the director about what he had seen - repeating the story for the umpteenth time that day. Nevertheless, Vasif somehow sensed that the director didn't believe him despite that he listened carefully and the well-wishing expression didn't leave his face.
In conclusion, Vasif showed his notebook with the symbols that he had copied.

"Well, well, well," the director said looking at the pictures, "how interesting. Well, of course I don't have any grounds not to believe you. But I'll tell you frankly, I would be much more pleased if you said that all this story was told you by somebody elseAnd nowI know you as a very serious and thoughtful scientistBut extraterrestrial space ship? Still, it's not believable, you'll have to agree. And this topic is so hackneyed in science fictionYou must be fond of science fiction. I also like to read in my free time. Especially this writer, I always forget his name, it starts with "Sh". He writes very well, I always forget his name, it's on the tip of my tongue, but I can't remember it"


"No, noI'll tell you when I think of it.

"And then you know how difficult the situation is at our institute. You remember how much people complained when you were appointed Acting Lab Director. Even take this professor Akhundov. He's not an intelligent man, absolutely far from science and a trouble maker. Can you imagine now what a trump card he has: the person claiming to direct the lab has seen a flying saucer! My dear, I hate to remind you about the situation that has, unfortunately, developed at our instituteBut I liked your report. Great job and I think that your calling is in this stuff. And not in UFOs."

"Simply, let popular scientific magazines deal with these saucers, but we, scientists, don't have to do that, we have our own problems. How's everything at home? I'm glad. Stop by, I'm always glad to see you."

A melancholic Vasif said goodbye and headed for the door.

"I remembered it!" the director called it. "That writer's name is Yefimov. He writes very interesting stuff."
Outside the director's office, the secretary looked at him with curiosity and whispered something to the typist. In the corridor, the deputy economical director, Mubariz Mammadov, caught up with him.

"You know how I treat you, why do you need that?" he said in one breath, gasping from the fast walk and asthma, "Why do you need that? I was sitting in director's office this morning when suddenly this Javadov came, Akhundov's nephew, you know him, what a character he is.

Then Javadov said with mean grin, 'There's your pet Rafibeyli. He's seen a flying saucer. And not only did he see it, but he's been telling everybody about it. And you wanted to appoint him Lab Director!' Can you imagine? Of course, I immediately stood up for you, I told him it couldn't be true, that all that was malignant gossip and talk. You have to give the director credit: he didn't even want to listen to him. But facts are facts. Why do you need this?"

"But I really saw it," Vasif said in utter despair. "I saw it and can't do anything about it."

"Wonderful that you saw it," Mubariz Mammadov picked up, "Good for you. But why do you need to tell about it, do we talk about everything that we see?"

"For example, the other day in our courtyard, a husband hit his wife. It was just one of those usual married couple's quarrels. She scratched his face and he left her with two bruises. And all this happened right in front of the eyes of the neighbors. And I saw it, too, I, myself, was pulling them apart. She made a complaint to the police. I was called as a witness and I said, 'I've known these people for many years, and I'll never believe that they're even capable of fighting. It's impossible.'

"And they told me, 'How can you say that? Here are the scratches and here are the bruises.' And I replied, 'It's impossible that these people would fight, I'll never believe it.'

"And what happened in the end? They made up. And now they don't greet any of the neighbors who were witnesses to the police. You're a serious person. Why do you need to tell people that you've seen a UFO? They're from a different planet and will fly back home, but you will stay here. Why do you need this? Why do you need to compromise yourself?"
He walked slowly along the street, nodding absentmindedly at his acquaintances, of which there were many in this section of town. Quite by accident, without even thinking, he turned up a side street and after a few blocks, suddenly appeared at the Cemetery of the Honored Ones [Fakhri Khiyaban]. He walked past the monuments of famous scientists, composers and poets and read the short inscriptions on their gravestones.

He stopped in front of the grave of a poet whose short and dramatic life was known to every school kid. The impartial faces carved in marble and granite with their wise, all-understanding expressions looked calmly at him.

The day was fresh like spring. It smelled of grass. Not a single cloud was in the blue sky. For the first time since morning, Vasif didn't feel tense. He walked slowly, becoming reconciled to himself. His thoughts were calm and no longer troubled him. He smiled to himself, remembering Vahid, and the talk with the director. It all seemed so trivial and humorous now.

He came back out onto the street and, having remembered that he had promised to call his wife after work, he went up to a payphone. She said they had been invited to dinner at her parents' place, and she asked him to pick up the kids from the kindergarten. In the meantime, she would run to her parents' to help out.

There were guests at his father-in-law's place-mainly relatives, both close and distant. At the entrance, Vasif was met by Aunt Mirvari, who rarely ever made an appearance, except for funerals or premature births or in situations requiring expressions of condolences and moral support. She blandly smiled at Vasif and asked about his health and, at this, the expression on her thin face became sympathetic with wet, sorrowful eyes.

"Well," she said, "Thank goodness, you look good. Take off your coat, my dear. Everybody is waiting for you to sit down at the table."

Dinner was unusually quiet. The first course was eaten in absolute silence, as was the vodka toast: "For our prosperous youth".

"Listen," Rashid suddenly said, loud enough for the whole table to hear as he vigorously chewed on something. Rashid was the son of Uncle Hasan­Vasif's mother-in-law's second cousin, whom all the relatives knew as a rude and ill-bred person - as was everyone else who came from Asaman.

"Listen," he said, "So, is it true that you've seen something extraordinary? Tell us about it, please."

"Rashid! Why do you need that?" Vasif's embarrassed mother-in-law said. "Vasif has come tired from work."

"I think it's better to ask a person straightforward, rather than whispering behind their back. There are no outsiders here."

Rather coldly, Vasif said that he really was tired and didn't feel like saying anything.

Personally, I believe you," Rashid said, encouragingly, not stopping his chewing for even a second. "I can believe anything, but some of your relatives," at this he alluded to Agha Dadash, a rather portly, impressive-looking person about whom rumors had spread among relatives for many years that he was involved with governmental circles. "They don't believe it; they say it's a figment of your imagination."

"It's not true," Agha Dadash protested. He cleared his throat and continued in his thick baritone, "I only said that if there were any certificates or, at least, some witnesses who could attest to this phenomenon, then our dear Vasif could get a corresponding award or even, in due course, receive a special pension as the first person in Azerbaijan to see a flying saucer."

People at the table started quite a scientific debating about the possibility for extraterrestrial bodies to enter the airspace of Azerbaijan. In the end, the relatives never arrived at a consensus and so they decided to play cards.

"Let's go home," Vasif whispered in his wife's ear, taking advantage of the situation. "I'm tired today."

His wife got surprised. "But how can we leave? What about tea? Mother will be so offendedToday, I intentionally read all the newspapers - not a single word about your flying saucer."

"But how can it be written in newspapers if it only appeared this morning?" Vasif said in a tired voice.

"I knew you would say that," she said, "and I listened to radio all day long and the radio didn't mention a word about it eitherWhat kind of fruit jam do you want?"

Vasif noticed that his mother-in-law had pulled her uncle on her father's side away from the card table. He happened to be a psychiatrist, and she was eagerly discussing something with him. The conversation was carried out almost in whisper, but still Vasif whose senses were heightened could catch some phrases: "very bad signs, you're saying 'it's nothing', but I've observed it in him in the past as well"

Vasif understood they were talking about him, and again everything became boring and unpleasant.

"I'm going to leave, I'll go by myself," he decided and stood up.

"Vasif, dear, tell us," the mother-in-law called to him in a tender voice, "Forgive me, but I still haven't asked you why your aunt in Kirovabad
3 died so unexpectedly. When this misfortune happened, you were in Moscow and I've always wanted to ask you."

"The official version," Vasif said, "is that she had a car accident."

"Aagh! And as a matter of fact?"

"People said different things," Vasif shrugged his shoulders with indifference. "But to you, I can say that during her lifetime she suffered from a simple form of schizophrenia and had other complications. We have grounds to think she committed suicide," Vasif continued, gaining some inspiration.

Having slandered his innocent aunt, he was just about to proceed on some of his other relatives, when he caught the psychiatrist's sarcastic look.

"Alright," he said, winking at Vasif, "let's drink some tea. And as for your aunt, may she rest in peace. Let her alone. I knew her very well. We graduated from the institute together the same year and then we worked together. God grant us to be as calm and balanced as she was."

At the dinner table, those who weren't playing cards continued talking.

"All chemists," stated Aunt Mirvari, "drink alcohol. All of them! Take any chemist: they all drink alcohol. And how can they not drink it if it lies around in every room. I had a friend who didn't drink anything but alcohol. He said it didn't give heartburn. And his head was clear in the mornings and it was 100 proof alcohol. God knows what else can appear in your dreams if you drink it."

"Vasif doesn't drink anything at all," said Vasif's wife angrily, "neither alcohol, nor cognac. So you, Aunt Mirvari, don't think like that about him."

"God forbid," Aunt Mirvari said, "I didn't mean Vasif. We were just talking."

"What a stupid thing I've done," Vasif thought to himself. "Why did I have to tell everybody about it? I'll never do such stupid thing again. I need to find some way out of this idiotic situation," he finished up his tea and smiled at Aunt Mirvari.

"I just played a joke on you," Vasif said loudly. "I made a joke and you all believed me immediately. I would never have thought that it would have been so easy to play a trick on you!"


"Of course, joked! Judge for yourself. How can a flying saucer appear out of the blue?"

"Oh! Thank goodness. Otherwise, you scared me - an old woman - to death! And I'm not a stranger to your wife - you're my closest people. I remember once I came here about 20 years ago and she," Aunt Mirvari pointed to Vasif's mother-in-law, "was punishing Sanubar. As soon as I saw that, I put my hand to protect the child and she hit my arm twice. I still remember that - as if it were only yesterday."

The mother-in-law was watching Vasif. She was still suspicious.

"Of course, he joked," his wife said happily. "Vasifka is a joker, there's nothing that he likes better than making up something!"

"Good joke!" Rashid shouted at the card table. "Three Aces against your three Kings! How do you like such a joke?! You think I already forgot how you punished me with your square last Sunday? I remember everything! Jokes continue!" he proclaimed and gathered all the color chips of frustrated Agha-Dadash.

That night they decided to leave the kids with the mother-in-law.

Vasif walked silently in the street beside his wife. The sky was clear. The stars above were shimmering with a mysterious light - those stars whose light rushes for many hundreds of thousands of years to Earth for an unknown purpose and, in the end, arrive at different times.

For some time Vasif kept peering into the sky and then he started looking for a taxi. He failed to get one. But his bad mood disappeared and he walked along calmly, chatting with his wife.

"Zema called me today. You know, she turned out to be so mean. I told her you had seen a flying saucer. I didn't know at that time that you were just joking. She thought a little and said that if you started inventing such fables, then soon you would start to cheat on me, and that I should start keeping an eye out on you. She thinks if her husband goes to meetings on Saturdays and holidays, then you're like him, too. Of course, I didn't say anything to her, but I thought to myself, 'My Vasif is not like that, he's the best.'"

By the time they reached home, it was quite late.

"Where are you going?" his wife asked in surprise when instead of entering the front door, Vasif crossed the street. With the light from a flashlight, he started to look for something on the opposite sidewalk next to the wall. "What are you looking for there?"

"Well," Vasif said. He ripped off a piece of tar from the asphalt, which in the morning had flowed from the roof right in front of his eyes. "Nothing special."

"What's this?"

"A piece of ordinary tar," Vasif said. "For some reason, it melted this morning and flowed down here from the sixth floor."

"You've really become weird."

"But still I'm not going to cheat you," he laughed. "I'm terribly worried that our neighbors' roof will start leaking because of this piece of tar."

Vasif was going upstairs looking at the piece of tar in the dim light of the front door. It was ordinary black tar-sticky, smelling of oil and dust. Vasif twisted the tar in his hands and thought. He almost didn't listen to what he wife was telling him, because he was being overcome by weird thoughts, vague thoughts flowing in his brain slowly, aloud, and uninterruptedly. He felt a strong desire to stop them even for a moment, to lock them in a finished, concrete form.

When in the end, he managed to do that for a split of a second, he understood that he would never again see the world the same as before. He felt he had become different todayThose seconds passed and his thoughts again hid in the depth of his consciousness, from where you can extract them only in the sleep or in the minutes of highest spiritual awareness.
As they reached their apartment entrance, they heard the phone ringing.

"Who could be calling us so late?" his wife said in surprise. "Do you have the keys?"

"Hello," Vasif said, "No, no problem, we go to bed late. 'Not on your life!' he thought to himself, 'I won't tell you'. No, no, I haven't seen anythingIt was a jokeyou know, an innocent anti-scientific joke"

"Strange thing," the despondent voice on the phone replied. "In addition to me, three other people saw the space ship this morning and all of them are refuting their words I can't understand what's going on."

"So, you saw it?" Vasif asked cautiously.

"Yes, I did," said the voice. "I'd like to meet up with you tomorrow morning and talk."

"Do you like beer?" Vasif asked.

"Yeah! Good beer!"

"I have a of genuine Khirdalan beer," Vasif said. "If you can come over right away, please do. I'll give you the address. So?"

"I'm coming," the voice said.

He moved away from the telephone and suddenly saw Pakiza who, because of the light was sleepily narrowing her eyes, lying on couch. He went over and picked up the cat in his arms.

"But still did you and me see something this morning? Yes, we did."

"Who are you talking to?" his wife asked from the kitchen in surprise.

"To Pakiza," Vasif said, "who else? I think she's the smartest cat in the city." He went to the fridge and checked if the beer was sufficiently chilled.

End Notes:

1 "Muallim Vasif" literally means "Vasif Teacher". In other words, he addressed him with respect.

2 In Azeri, adults generally address each other in the more formal plural forms until close relationships are established. This relates to the verb forms when "you" is used as well as to pronouns.

3 Kirovabad was the Soviet name given to the ancient Azerbaijani city of Ganja, located in north central Azerbaijan today.

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