Russian Literature since the Revolution

By Joshua Kunitz | Go to book overview

Gold Teeth

A story by Mikhail Zoshchenko

It's a long time, my friends, that I've been getting ready to tell you about the Komsomolets Grisha Stepanchikov, but I always forget somehow. And time passes, of course.

Maybe a half year has gone since this piece of unpleasantness visited Grisha.

Of course the boy was caught in circumstances that looked bad-- bourgeois leaning and the general undermining of socialism. But allow me to shed complete light on this redoubtable chronicle.

It took Place, I think, in Moscow. Or perhaps it was not Moscow. But it seems to me it was Moscow. I think so because of the sweep of the thing. But I will not insist on Moscow. The Red Gazette did not go into details. It only mentioned in small type--that it took place in the Semyonovsky nucleus.

And this is what happened. In this Semyonovsky, that is, in the nucleus, this same much-suffering Grisha Stepanchikov was a member. And somehow this Grisha had three teeth knocked out. Why they were knocked out--that is a matter unknown to us. Perhaps on account of too much physical culture. Perhaps he ran into a tree. Or perhaps he ate too many sweets in his childhood. The only thing we do know is that it was not in a drunken brawl that it happened. That is quite impossible!

And so, there's our Grisha, minus three teeth. The others are all in their place. But those three, well, they simply aren't.

And he a young fellow too! Many-sided! It isn't interesting for him, you understand, to pass his time without the three teeth. What is his life in their absence? He can't whistle. It's hard to eat. And there's nothing to hold a cigarette with. And then, there's a hiss when he speaks! And tea runs out of his mouth.

The boy did everything he could--he used wax in the hole, and bread to cover it--but it didn't help any.

Grisha saved a little money. And went to a dentist.

"Put in," he says, "if that's what is needed, three artificial teeth."

The dentist was young, careless. He didn't enter into the psy-

-257-

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Russian Literature since the Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents vii
  • Book One Wartime Communism - 1917-1921 xi
  • Soviet Literature: A Mirror of Soviet Life - Editor's Introduction 1
  • Foreword to Book One 15
  • From "Christ is Risen: 23" 21
  • Left March 33
  • We Grow Out of Iron 34
  • We Grow Out of Iron 35
  • We Grow Out of Iron 36
  • Flying Osip 37
  • The Baby 46
  • The Letter 58
  • A Mere Trifle 61
  • The Nineteen 82
  • Book Two the New Economic Policy - 1921-1928 245
  • Foreword to Book Two 247
  • On Ascending a High Mountain 253
  • A Mere Trifle 254
  • A Mere Trifle 255
  • Nepmen 256
  • A Worker Views Bureaucracy 256
  • Gold Teeth 257
  • The Embezzlers 259
  • A Theatrical Performance in the Hamlet of Ogryzovo 379
  • The Old Woman 394
  • The Old Woman 402
  • The Old Woman 408
  • A Peasant's Lament 418
  • Young Communist Plaint 418
  • Young Communist Plaint 419
  • Reconstructed Intellectual 439
  • My Soviet Passport by Vladimir Mayakovsky 440
  • Book Three Industrialization and Collectivization: the Five-Year Plans - 1928-1941 445
  • Foreword to Book Three. 447
  • We Do Not Want to Be Beaten 455
  • On Literature and Other Things 456
  • Seeds of Tomorrow 465
  • A Madhouse Preferred 626
  • Thinking is Forbidden 626
  • The Tanker Derbent 627
  • Western Capitalism 762
  • They and We 764
  • Book Four War and the Post-War Period - 1941-1948 773
  • Foreword to Book Four 775
  • A Writer's Duty in Wartime 782
  • Rodina--Motherland 787
  • Western Capitalism 787
  • New Name 789
  • Son 793
  • Son 800
  • Son 800
  • Son 801
  • Son 803
  • Son 810
  • Son 811
  • The Night Before the Battle 820
  • The Old Soldier 831
  • Titian 835
  • The Birthday 840
  • Katya 850
  • His Sweetheart 856
  • His Sweetheart 863
  • His Sweetheart 869
  • His Sweetheart 870
  • His Sweetheart 871
  • Anna 895
  • About the Authors and Their Works 909
  • A Selective Guide to Modern Russian Literature in English Translation 1880-1947 920
  • Acknowledgments 931
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