Cards on the table, gentlemen! This deck is marked. Itís glaring! He switched it, yes, he switched it when You drank your liquor, Baron. The Jack is painted. Take a look! My God, we never noticed! Sir, youíre a grifter and a crook, And I am at your service! Now, Count, you can speak your part. I say you are out of order! (That day Napoleon Bonaparte Was crossing Russiaís border) You arenít finishing this round: An urgent matter beckons! You Baron here and you Viscount, I hope youíll be our seconds. Now you can argue till you drop - Itís all damn lies, Iím sure. The choice of weapon, hurry up! Which one do you prefer? Soon youíll forget about cards! Your gambling days are over! (That day Napoleon Bonaparte Was crossing Russiaís border) Enough, Iíll make the call myself: Itís pistols. Wait, make it sabers! But I suspect youíd rather have Your choice of ladiesí chambers! A dagger? Now I am amused: I mastered it in combat! But I suspect youíd rather use This very deck youíve loaded. Now I am ready to depart. Iíll see you in the courtyard! (That day Napoleon Bonaparte, Was crossing Russiaís border) No need to help me, Iím alright. See? Iím not falling over! Iíll challenge this man to a fight Again, when I am sober. Be silent, dear Baron, sit! Viscount, stop your bleating! I want this bastard to admit The truth about his cheating! Reveal the secret of the cards, And youíll escape your murder! (That day Napoleon Bonaparte Was crossing Russiaís border) But if your arrogance prevails, I promise, my dear Count: The Countess can send you mail Some six feet underground! Itís not amusing anymore! I solemnly declare: Iíll put a bullet right up your - Pardonnez-moi - derriere! (It was a warm day off the charts, And would get even warmer. That day Napoleon Bonaparte, Was crossing Russiaís border)                         My dear Count! Forgive me my Deplorable behavior! I had to call you out to try And ask you for a favor. I had to ask you for a loan, While no one else was watching. So, just to be with you alone, I staged all that debauching.                 Oh yes, I had a drink (or twelve) And made the play on Fours... "A fool?" Whatís that? Oh, very well! The first shot, then, is yours.
© Vadim Astrakhan. Translation, 2013