That Divine Democrat, the Flying Nunly, tagged me (fortunately not on the noggin) to do a book meme in which I:
1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
2. Find page 123.
3. Find the first 5 sentences and read them.
4. Post the next 3 sentences. (I'll add here that I'm going to post the next 4 sentences because I'm a cheater.)
The book I'm reading right now is One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, so it's right by my bed. You know, I just remembered this second that I was supposed to read this book for a world literature survey course a million years ago in grad school. I didn't... but then I didn't read a lot of stuff I was supposed to read. More True Confessions of an English major.
Anyway--I'm reading this book now, and then I'll read the others we have by this author on the shelf (thanks to Kat's minor in Russian) after having re-read some favorite sections of his masterpiece, Gulag Archipelago, to write my "Warning Shots" post a little farther down this page. And so... to page 123. Hmm... ah yes, someone's just been told to come to the front of the prisoner formation by the guards at the work camp:
The Moldavian did so. He was ordered to stand there, his arms behind his back.
That meant that they were going to charge him with attempting to escape. They'd put him in the cells."
Earlier in the book, we're told by the guards that "A step to right or left is considered an attempt to escape and the escort has orders to shoot without warning." I'm only on page 72, so I don't know if the Moldavian stepped out of the column to the left or the right, only that he is about to be put into "the cells," like "the hole" in American prison movies, a tiny confinement cell in which you're given even less food than normal.
I don't know whether he is ever mentioned again; I skimmed down the rest of page 123 and 124 and didn't see another word about him. But then, maybe that's the point. He goes to the cells and that's it; he's never heard from again. Not on that day, or any other day, in the life of Ivan Denisovich Shukhov.