Comprehensive Research (text)

YERMOLAYEV

I have been at Blinov’s and he gave me a demonstration of his strength. I’ve never seen anything like it. The strength of a wild animal! It was awful to behold. Blinov lifted up a writing table, swung it about and tossed it all of four metres away from him.

DOCTOR

It would be interesting to research this phenomenon. Such facts are known to science, but the reasons for it are not understood. Where such muscular strength comes from, scientists are not yet able to say. Introduce me to Blinov. I’ll give him a research pill.

YERMOLAYEV

What sort of a pill is it that you are intending to give Blinov? DOCTOR Pill? I don’t intend to give him a pill.

YERMOLAYEV

But you only just said yourself that you were intending to give him a pill. DOCTOR No, no. you are mistaken. I didn’t mention a pill.

YERMOLAYEV

Well, excuse me, but I heard you mention a pill.

DOCTOR

No.

YERMOLAYEV

What do you mean – no?

DOCTOR

I didn’t say that.

YERMOLAYEV

Who didn’t say it?

DOCTOR

YOU didn’t say it.

YERMOLAYEV

What didn’t I say?

DOCTOR

You, it seems to me, didn’t finish saying something.

YERMOLAYEV

I don’t understand. What didn’t I finish saying?

DOCTOR

Your speech pattern is very typical. You swallow your words, you don’t complete the utterance of your initial thought, you hurry and then you stutter.

YERMOLAYEV

When did I stutter? I speak quite fluently.

DOCTOR

Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. Do you see? You’re even starting to come out in red blotches from the tension. Your hands haven’t gone cold yet?

YERMOLAYEV

No, but so what?

DOCTOR

Yes, that was my supposition. I think you’re already having trouble breathing. You’d better sit down, before you fall down. That’s right. Now have a rest.

YERMOLAYEV

But what for?

DOCTOR

Shh! Don’t strain your vocal chords. Now I’m going to alleviate your fate.

YERMOLAYEV

Doctor! You frighten me.

DOCTOR

My dear friend! I want to help you. Here, take this. Swallow it!

YERMOLAYEV

Oh. Ooh! What a vile, disgustingly sweet taste! What is it you’ve given me?

DOCTOR

Nothing, it’s all right. Calm down. It’s a sure remedy.

YERMOLAYEV

I’m hot and everything seems to be turning green.

DOCTOR

Yes, that’s right, my dear friend. In a minute, you’ll die.

YERMOLAYEV

What are you saying? Doctor! Oh! I can’t! Doctor! What have you given me? Oh, Doctor!

DOCTOR

You have swallowed the research pill.

YERMOLAYEV

Save me. Oh. Save me. Oh. Let me breathe. Oh. Save… oh. Breathe…

DOCTOR

He’s gone quiet. And he’s not breathing. That means he’s dead already. He has died, not finding on earth the answers to his questions. Yes, we physicians must comprehensively research the phenomenon of death.

1937