It was Sunday - that is why I abstained from pocket picking, Like all people I must rest one day at least! But then - bang! - a whistle blows, I am captured, someoneís shrieking: "Heís a thief and heís a damn recidivist!" "Easy, buddy, donít get pissed, My nameís Luzhin, is it clear? And whoís this recidivist - I donít have a deuced idea!" It was Sunday, but the cops hustled on with no repose - They must carry out a plan for catching thieves! If a cop on duty catches a repeater, I suppose, A promotion and bonus he receives! I was brought to the police, Captain met me with a sneer: "Welcome home, recidivist! Sign the protocol down here!" It was Sunday - in the park folks were strolling, dating, chatting, In the sky the sun was careless and glad; But for me the day was black as at the station I was sweating, With the Captainís questions banging on my head: "Times in jail? - the captain quizzed. "Listen, cap, itís a delusion!" - "But youíre a recidivist?" - "No, comrade, I am Luzhin". It was Sunday but for me ítwas the day of perspiration, I was hoodwinking, confessing no crimes; But the captain took a pen and did a thorough calculation And he said Iíd been in prison seven times! "Sign your name, - he clenched his fist. Be precise, I hate confusion!" So I signed - "Recidivist", And then added - "Surname: Luzhin!" It was Sunday - I was crushed, Captain being hard and pushy, Yet thereís one thing that improves my gloomy moods - I have made my very modest, though honest, contribution To the seven year plan for catching hoods!
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2013
Edited by Robert Titterton