Curious Family

 

In a tiny one-bedroom apartment there lived in misery one family. This family was far from ordinary: both father, mother, and daughter were all boys, and all of them were tough cookies. The boy-father would often send the boy-daughter to get salt: “My dear daughter, go get some salt from the third shelf!”

“But daddy,” the boy-daughter would say, “I have already gone twice to get salt today.” “And you will do so even three times if your father tells you to!” the father would say, irritated. And the obedient boy-daughter would get up on the stool trying to reach the salt. The boy-father and the boy-mother would then run up to the stool and kick it from under the boy-daughter’s feet and start beating her up, screaming, “You damn boy! We’ll tear your balls off!”

They beat her up frequently and brutally, because the daughter was a boy, and also because, due to the fact that the entire family was of the same gender, the government wouldn’t give them a new two-room apartment. But one fine day the boy-daughter realized she was a goose and flew away. It was right on time, because otherwise she would have been simply thrown out of the thirteenth floor window, where the poor family was residing.

1989, Moscow
Translated from the Russian by Vitaly Chernetsky