Today is a special day. Herr Professor Schevchenko has been
celebrating this day already for many years and in his own way.
On this day, he leaves his lab exactly at 23 hours
and 2 minutes, very late at night.
Before leaving the lab, he
checks the overnight runs on all the instruments.
He arrives at his small house 23 minutes before midnight and
locks all the doors. He shuts blinds on windows and drops 2 potatoes to bake them fast in his fireplace. Then, he crashes his aging body into a spacious oak chair in front of the fireplace and starts recalling his times of yore, his old brave days in lands far from Fatherland. His nostalgic thoughts drive him far away from this room.
For many years, he travels through his past only for a few minutes in the end of this special day. Now, it is one of those moments: Professor slowly passes half-illuminated corners gazing at shadows of his mental recollections.
At midnight, he emerges out his dreams, loosens the tie and rolls up sleeves of his white shirt. Professor leaves the chair and picks up a big blackened potato from the fireplace. The potato burns his fingers, but his fingers do not feel the pain. He feels larger pain, but it is not in his fingers.
"All these years have gone by like one long day... first, working as postdoc in the chemistry lab in the basement and then having no life while earning tenure in this modern lab on 4-th floor.... Donnerwetter... All these time working like a poor servant to the ungrateful host, so far from home!"
He starts singing in a muffled voice what seems to be a marching song and a single small tear rolls down his cheek. He wipes it up
leaving a black trace on his face - the charcoal picked from potato.
Professor takes a shot of vodka. A warm feeling rolls down into his stomach... He takes another shot. Well, after the two shots, life is not too bad after all.