When the sun was hot, I used to go watch the changing of the guard at Manezh. There's this one place there. You need to stand on the promenade over the fountain with the horses and look down. Moscow girls wander around there, from teens on up. They gather, the daring ones shout, or drink the fountain's spray. If they're in a group they carry themselves more boldly: they'll poke each other, splash water, laugh, squeal. If the wind is blowing, it always scatters water on them, and their nipples show clearly through their shirts. Young animals -- they are very fine.
In Moscow there are so few distractions and chances to show off your body, its borders, passion, tenderness. Nine months a year everyone walks around wrapped up to the throat in winter coats. The shorter it is the more valuable -- that phantasmagoric summer time. And there's this corner where a man of my age can observe those frisky young figures unnoticed. Incidentally, I wasn't the only one going there; I haven't gone anywhere alone since September 18, 1996. My Party surrounded me. As the boys' general, I oversaw their changing of the guard. Lokotkov was the oldest. He died in May, 1999. We burnt him at a crematorium. He was 28.
At the end of March 1998, when I arrived from Novosibirsk, I knew that I had lost Liza. Her trust-shattering lies had become unbearable. I didn't want to share her with anybody. And she wanted to share herself. She specifically liked that. We broke up over the telephone on March 26. Under her multilayered voice bubbled a man's voice. She was with somebody, and let her be! I told myself, calling a girl, Vasilisa from Vologda. She helped me recover from the loss and then left for Vologda.
Spring began and I went to Manezh during Kostya's watch. It was unclear if Kostya approved of his leader's behavior or not -- he didn't say. Kostya was a migrant worker from Ukraine, from outside of Zaporozhya, a city called Energodar. In the past, he had been a builder, butcher, actor and Soviet soldier serving in Germany. He had slept in the barracks of the old SS tank division, the Death's Head. His appearance wasn't welcoming: a shaved head, the face of one of Gering's Hitler Youth. Kostya was utterly impassive, never revealing whether or not he approved of his leader's lustful outings; I laughed myself, saying that I had come "in search of young sluts."
When Limbus Press publishing house backed out on me, their representative invited me to write a new book for them. I asked for a $10,000 advance and, laughing, told him that I had a plan and a title. The representative was interested. I told him the book would be called In Search of Young Sluts. The phone was silent for some time. I think I had surpassed their wildest hopes.
Continuing in an affected manner, I carefully diagrammed my current mood, explaining that I specifically wanted an open young slut. Irritable and accessible, happy and adroit, like a monkey, depraved and limber. I wasn't lying! That project with Limbus Press didn't work out. Kostya and I kept hanging around Manezh. My eyes roamed around. The choice was huge. An entire market of youthful creatures. I think they went there with the secret purpose of finding themselves a buyer.
I had one difficult relationship with a charming girl, twelve years old. On June 20 a charming girl was supposed to bring some things to me. In the evening. But it just so happened that that day, that morning, in fact, I came across Nastya's party card, with her photo and age. And that was that. There was no reason to go hunting young sluts anymore. Why bother, when a perfect child had appeared among my own followers? A child has everything. A young slut. Light.
Damn, how she worried me...how I lusted after her! We didn't do it until August. We did everything but. I know people usually think I, the libertine, seduced her. But who seduced whom? I don't know what prison will make of me, what I'll be when I leave it, but in 1998 I was an attractive middle-aged guy with well-defined features, hollow cheeks, bangs that fell on my forehead, echoing in the ears of young girls. The editor of an edgy youth newspaper, the leader of a revolutionary party. Who else should a young talented girl -- a girl who chose a book of Bosch reproductions when I invited her to select a present -- fall in love with? Who else? We fit each other perfectly. And, of course she was wild. But she was already showing signs of autism, she didn't love people. She declared her love for Chikatilo, but that was all a pose, or the prelulde to a pose. She was too eager to come off as extreme.