Returning home from the employment center, Varsonofiy noticed that in the rays of the bright midday sun, his old, not repaired apartment seemed particularly uncomfortable. Ancient linoleum, worn wallpaper, gas pipes that had not been painted for a long time, as if by agreement, simultaneously flaunted all their flaws, leaving no opportunity to overlook them, as could be done already from light twilight. Alas, a long stay unemployed, forced to earn a living at odd jobs, could not but affect the state of the dwelling, as well as everything that required periodic renovation, not to mention wardrobe, shoes, a toothbrush, and a razor.
Many things that Varsonofiy constantly used, had been going on for the third or even fourth decade. Once upon a time, back in Soviet times, he carefully stored on the loggia with half-rotten frames the things which others ruthlessly threw out as soon as the current need in them fell away. That is why Varsonofy Onufriyev went to the institute with a suitcase, where he carried textbooks to school, and then, years later, already in another institute, he started to wear shoes, bought in the mid-eighties and carefully set aside as a reserve on the shelf in the furniture wall.
He was even very surprised when different people at the sight of these shoes laughed and asked where he found such an ancient style, because the shape of the shoes for him had no meaning at all, and never worn shoes that had lain for about thirty years in the closet next to no longer needed video cassettes, never used Vietnamese table tennis rackets and the same new Czechoslovak plastic balls, as well as some already very ancient and incomprehensible from where they appeared, but also perfectly preserved sports pants and windbreaker were in perfect condition.
Nevertheless, in a long time, there was so much trash collected in the apartment that there was no place to store it anymore, and just in case things saved for the future became useless right in their factory packages. All this had to be ruthlessly thrown away, and Onufriev, reluctantly, proceeded to a morally painful for his thrifty nature process. At first, he collected and handed over to waste paper old magazines, many of which, despite the firm intention to read at least half, he never once opened. At the same time, he managed to get rid of the old books, which described the principles of managing the first computers, in which punched cards were used.
Soon, the old Radio Cassette Boombox of the famous "International" brand, which eloquently spoke about the fact that all the underground workshops of the world seemed to be united under it, moved to the garbage bin standing in the courtyard. It should be noted that this brightly colored tape recorder, equipped with colored LEDs flashing around the speaker to the beat of the music, did not hit the face into the mud and fully justified the brand`s reputation under which it was released in the mysterious Asian or maybe European cellars, where forced laborers were sitting, assembling these surprisingly cheap devices for a piece of bread, as well as, quite possibly, "AKAIWA"s, "Powersonic"s and other counterfeit genius creatures.
The beautiful and light "International" broke down only two months after it was at the disposal of Varsonofiy - though not completely, but only in one of the cassette niches. After a while, the second tape drive mechanism broke, and the long "International" became a simple radio receiver. Alas, after about a year, instead of broadcasting, the radio started to give out dull background noise, and this was the end of the tape recorder`s career, but it lived on the cluttered up loggia for about a quarter of a century more. Strangely enough, immediately after getting into the garbage container, the "International" disappeared, which caused Onufriev to surprise as for a long time no one has been using magnetic tape cassettes, and one can listen to the radio directly from a mobile phone.
Little by little raking piles of garbage, Varsonofiy got to the box, where toy bricks lay with which he played as a child, magazines Maly Modelarz, appendices to magazine Young Technician, and some models assembled from ready-made plastic sets. It must be admitted that being light on his feet, Onufriyev, without undue hesitation, took up a lot of things at once, but rarely at least one brought to an end. That is why trucks, ships, and airplanes, partially assembled from cardboard magazine blanks, were lying in this box, which he did not finish assembling nor a month later, as he planned, putting them aside, nor thirty years after.
By the current moment, all the billets carefully glued together in school childhood came to a miserable form, covered with a thick layer of dust, strongly wrinkled, and therefore they had to move into the trash container following the tape recorder. Rummaging in the packing-case, Onufriev also found a cardboard box he had once glued together, which the authors of one construction toy presented as the Future Repair Shop.
They argued that after a couple of centuries, the failed machines would not have to be repaired manually, but would just have to be loaded into a certain spacious chamber, and the radiation sent by computers would spray metal where it had worn out, repair threadbare details, clean the body from rust and connect the parts of broken units. According to the makers` plan, the gray cardboard shop was equipped with a battery socket and a simple toggle, after switching of which a lamp flashed above the door and from somewhere inside came a hum that lasted about five seconds. The control panel also had a button labeled "Scaling and imparting additional features", which, as was explained in the instructions, allowed "to resize the fixed machines in a smaller or larger direction and significantly expand their functionality."
Due to the fact that this Future Repair Shop consisted of only a dozen parts, it was lucky to become one of the few structures that Varsonofy had assembled completely. True, then he did not have at hand a flat battery with a voltage of 4.5 volts, which during his school youth, like many other things, was a terrible deficit. That is why he never once looked at how the lamp flashes and did not listen to how the unknown mechanism is buzzing placed in a closed box supplied with the toy constructor in a ready-made form. This box had to be glued to the back wall of the toy workshop and the wires sticking out of it were to be stretched to the toggle switch that started the "machine recovery process".
Remembering that somewhere in another room in the iron vase the old flat battery, bought at the flea market already after the collapse of the Soviet country, was carefully saved for the future, Onufriev decided before throwing away all his unfinished and even completed models, including "Repair Shop" heavily deformed by spacecraft "Vostok" and the helicopter "Mi-8" pressed into it, to see how it "works".
After inserting the battery into the socket, he threw into the chamber a washing machine and a drum set, both of which he had half assembled, closed the door and turned on the toggle switch. As the instruction promised, the lamp above the camera of the workshop flashed, and a short rumble was heard from inside. While the process was underway, Varsonofiy several times pressed the "Scaling and imparting additional features" button. Opening the camera, he shook out the unfinished models from it, which were now tightly bonded with some kind of green substance, which looked like clay. "It is very similar to PVA glue, only tinted," thought Varsonofiy.
Immediately having lost interest in glued blanks, he again pressing the button next to the tumbler during the buzz, conducted a "recovery" procedure with the models of the refrigerator and the tracked tank platform, then threw in a toy bath and plastic wheels for the truck, a paper sideboard in the company of cardboard arrows from the excavator and crane, chandelier and shower mixer, remaining from the toy constructor for making multi-storey buildings.
All of these models and parts came out of the shop concatenated with "tinted PVA glue", somewhere it seemed to change the color shade from light green to emerald right before the eyes. "It`s already old stuff, even glue fermented, and how has it not hardened for so many years?" - Varsonofiy was surprised and threw back into the box the parts from different constructors and sets for modeling that joined in the chamber. Right after the completion of the last restoration procedure in the workshop, something clicked, and the lamp above its doors went out.
"Well, and how did old battery still last for a full ten minutes?" - Onufriev thought and threw the shop into the box to the grappled with antennas, wings and stands models, old toys and toy bricks. It fell there bottom up, and, looking closely, Varsonofiy saw in the lower left corner the logo in the form of a strange smiling green creature with huge eyes. Next to it, there was the inscription: "Send feedback on our products to the Horsehead Nebula", after which there was a long continuous series of numbers.
"They produced toys at their factory and themselves have decided to play a bit in aliens,"- Onufriev grinned. The same evening, the box with all its contents migrated to the container for household waste in the courtyard and was soon covered there with a pile of packages with potato peel, tin cans, used toothpaste tubes and other debris.