Chapter 8: Comparing Beginnings.
Life in the ghetto was horribles, but Grigory and Anastasia worked hard to provide for Anton. They sent him to school where he studied English language and geography as well as Russian literature and mathematics. He was very talented (he is where I am comings from after all) but sometimes a bit lazy. Always he sat in back row of class and threw ink pellets at the swotkats in front row. One swotkat, who was called Stanislav, eventually asked Anton to make a deal. If he do Anton’s homework, will Anton stop throwing things at him? My Papa thought this was fair deal and they became friends.
One day, Anton invite Stanislav back to his home. After they have had some ladybird tea and toasted maggots, they went exploring boxes. In one dusty box they discovered the many, many paintings of The Orlov Collection. Anton held them up for Stanislav (or Stan as Anton called him) and asked which one is better? Then it was Stan’s turn. They were very entertaining themselves and went on comparing meerkats until it was dark.
Next day they skip school and spent whole day comparing. Then they did the same thing next day and the next day… and then they were caught. They were both put in detentions and told to write out “Comparing meerkats is not clever and it is not funny” three hundred times. Grigory and Anastasia were furious.
But Anton was determined to prove there was something in his comparings, so one day in the middle of the night he fill his bag with all the paintings and ran away from home to make name for himself comparing meerkats in Moscow markets. Stanislav was left to break news to Grigory and Anastasia. They were double furious. For support himself, Anton thought he would try entertaining. Performing in the middle of Red Square was magiciankat, the Great Furdini. He did terrifying things like pretend to cutting up young meerkats and making them disappear. Anton offered to be his assistance, but after three nights of having his whiskers nicked by throwing knives, he retire.
He decided to pursue less scary career and went to the Hotel Sovieto Splendido around the corner and got job as disher washer. In the evenings he practised his comparing which left him exhaust during day. Eventually he was caught falling asleep in the soapy water and given sack and thrown out into Red Square. Lying with his whiskers in the gutter, he felt sadder and more useless than he had ever felt sad and useless in all his whole life. But just by his nose was the foot of a big meerkat with bad breath.
He drag Anton to his feets and tells him it is his lucky day. Anton not feel lucky, but big whiskery meerkat told him he going to make him a star. Anton, with no better thing to do, followed him down the steps to a dark and smelly cavern. When he got there, he saw many meerkats in boxing rings, punching twenty-seven bells out of each other. It all look very violence. But the bad breath meerkat (who turned out to be Moscow’s most ruthless boxing promoter) told Anton that he was purpose builts for boxing.
Before he knew it, Anton was getting ready for first fight against Masher Egorov, the middleweight meerkat champion of Soviets. But not only did Anton avoid too much damage to his handsomeness, he knocked Masher clean out. This was beginning of Papa Anton’s next job, as professional boxerkat.
It was a long way from his dream of professionally comparing meerkats but it kept the door from the wolf.