Serik and Berik were best friends since the student’s bench. Together they studied at the university, together they started business, together they earned their first money in simple “buy-sell” operations, got rich, created their families.

       But at some point the turnover of their company began to fall, and, in the end, the stores had to be closed and sold. But even after that, there remained a great debt to one creditor. The question arose how to repay it.

       Serik and Berik got together for advice in their office.

       – We are out of stock. There is already nothing to sell, – Berik was the first, who has uttered terrible words. Someone had to say them.

       – Yes, agreed Serik. – Except that…

       – What? Berik asked in surprise. He did not really have any ideas left, although he seemed to have changed his mind.

       – We can sell our apartments and cars, Serik said quietly and looked at his friend’s eyes.

       – How? – Berik sincerely perplexed and excitedly went around the room. – And where to live? Both of us have wives and two children. Where are we going to do with them?

       – I can live with my parents in the suburbs. Yours generally live in the center. We need to somehow get in the way. And there’s something we can think of. Once we all started from scratch. Can not we do it again?

       – No, no, wait. We are awesome businessmen who drove on the Mercedes, wore the “Rolex”, had several shops, now we will live with relatives and go by bus? Are you serious?

       – And what do you suggest? Are there other options?

       Berik continued to walk around the room, frantically running his eyes across the floor, and, apparently, thinking of something. Then he stopped in front of Serik, looked into his eyes and, already looking away, said:

       – We will not repay the debt.

       – How?

       – Hens do not peck this agashka’s (man’s) money. He will not become poor without our debt. And you see in what situation we are. Who needs money more, him or us? Think by yourself.

       – Are you an idiot ?! What is the point, at whom it is how much money? Debts must be returned!

       – Well, it is unfair! Someone’s got everything, but somebody’s got nothing.

       – Yeah, tell the homeless people. Compared to them, you are a rich man.

       – But, wait! Tell me, how were you given the money? Cash and no receipt. Correct? That is, he has no evidence.

       – Berik, come to your senses! What are you talking about?!

       – No no. Wait! Listen. By law, he will not prove anything. And he will not send bandits, because now it is not that time. We will write a statement that he is a racketeer and extorts our money from us. He will also be tied up for this. That’s all.

       Serik looked at Berik in bewilderment, still not believing his ears.

       – Listen, he began slowly, and when he gave us the money, you forgot how grateful we were to him? We almost kissed his hands. After all, he then helped us great. If it were not for him, we would not have risen at all.

       – Yes, yes, replied Berik irritably. I  remember. But we are not to blame for the circumstances.

       – And is he guilty, that we could not raise a normal business and missed his money?

       Berik continued to walk excitedly up and down, and again kicked off the chair that had fallen on the way. Apparently, he no longer had arguments, but he did not intend to retreat from his position either.

       After sitting silently, looking thoughtfully at the floor, Serik finally stood up slowly and began to button up his jacket.

       – So, brother, he said quietly but distinctly, I made my choice. Tomorrow, I go to the car market to sell a car and give an announcement about the sale of an apartment. With a good deal, the money can be enough to close the debt. And what about you, you know by yourself.

       Serik fell silent and looked expectantly at Berik’s back. He stopped at the window and silently looked at the street. It was dark there, and the snow was wet. I did not want to leave the warm office in the slush.

       Without waiting for an answer, Serik silently pulled the cap deeper into his head, threw on the hood and firmly stepped out the door.

       Berik, without turning, shook his head and whispered: “Fool.”

       Suddenly the light in the office went out. Apparently, the administrator of the office center, as well as threatened, nevertheless cut off the electricity in their office for debts.

       Berik began groping for the road to the exit and, already moving away from the window, he caught a glimpse of Serik on the street. He walked with a leisurely, but resolute gait from the darkened office to the bright spot under the street lamp where his car was. As a law-abiding citizen, he always parked his car. Berik preferred to put his car, though on the sidewalk, but closer to the entrance of the office. He barely groped out of the office and just strode along the corridor to his car. Now, though it was closer, te car stayed in the dark, and he had to long swish in the darkness in search of the keys.


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