- Once upon a time, terribly long ago, there were such gizmos ... You know, in cafes and eateries of all ...

A pleasant old man in a light (walking) spacesuit without a pressure helmet hovers in the middle of a huge wardroom surrounded by hushed space kids who gathered from all over the station for an evening fairy tale “from Earth” - they opened their mouths, clapped their eyes - they look like curious tropical fish in their colorful walking overalls ...

- What am I talking about ... There were such things, they were also called juke boxes.

It seems as if from the old slang went, "disorder and horror" meant.

Why - I will not undertake to say.

Then there was a lot of all kind of disorder, and there was enough horror ...

The old man falls silent.

The children look at each other impatiently.

The most lively of the girls asks, taking the narrator out of his torpor:

- And what's there?

Kept all kinds of creepy creatures?

In these things?

Were they so annihilators?

The old man opens his eyes:

- What are you! .. What other creepy ones? .. They listened to music there ... I remember my great-grandfather told me: he had, they say, he had a girlfriend, such a beauty ... And so they went to these same cafes, or let eateries, they ate and drank all kinds of things, burgers, bacon cakes ... or were they burgers with bacon, and cakes by themselves ... Pop.

Yes, that's what he said - pop, all sorts of rootbergers, I don't know myself ... And a token was needed!


Smash me with thunder! .. Token or coin.

- Why why? .. - the children look at each other in utter amazement, whisper among themselves: "To put in a pop!"

- "So what???"

- To ... Play the music you choose. Or which your girlfriend likes. And so they threw coins into these things, and the music played. From small shellac records ... This is such a juice from insects ... Well, then they made resin from it, or maybe she herself ... And then, as my great-grandfather said, they came up with vinyl, and everything began to play directly from vinyl ... And you could order "Teddy bear" - and she played "Teddy bear" for you ... Rather, she played, and sang another, well, the one that was recorded on a small disc. One was very famous, very ... And others ... too.

- They ate there, threw coins and listened to "Teddy Bear"?

- On the faces of children, delight at the realization of the meaninglessness and incomprehensibility of life in the past is mixed with an almost religious horror from contact with the abyss of the unknown.

- And all with bacon?

What's the point?

Why did their girlfriends like it?

And themselves?

Didn't you like it?

Why couldn't you just listen to music in your head, in your thoughts, like now?

And can you immediately arrange the arrangement, or just leave the voice?

Why through the contraption?

Why gizmo and fizzy?

The old man skips most of the questions.

He's not even here.

He is far away in the heat of the South.

The stars are hanging low — pick that apples of yours.

Many of them collect for the last time - they move to cities where it is more convenient and easier.

And apples now grow in gardens that reach the sky, in tiers, as far as the eye can see - not to be seen from the ground.

But my great-grandfather did not want to leave.

He said that he would die on his own land, under his apple trees.

And he also said that for those who believe, heaven is always close.

How many years have passed?

It was then, 50 years later, that they learned to prolong life.

My great-grandfather had photographs, he specially kept them on paper and showed them that way.

Of course, they could be seen on the screen of any of the visors, but that was not the case.

But on paper ... Not too clear, with floating color and a lot of mysterious things and details.

Where are they now?

It seems to be found, but in the vault at the station's central warehouse.

It takes a long time.

But what is “long”?

There is plenty of time now.


On occasion.

Show kids ...

- No no!

They fit 50 at a time!

And on each - two, or even four songs!

Choose any.

Great-grandfather loved Teddy Bear and Only the Lonely.

One was sung by the king, and the second - such a tall guy in black glasses ...

- 50 thousand songs?

Just a little ... What kind of king is this?

The kings sang nothing!

Sing to us "Bear" too!

- they shout with each other.

How do you explain to them?

- No! I tell you - only 50 songs! And you choose one! And you flip a coin and it starts to play! And the one who sings and is recorded on a small record begins to sing ... And there were all kinds of bubbles, and everything poured and flickered. Beauty, in a word. And they listened and drank a pop with burgers, ate onion rings ... And all this seemed to be just for two, you know? Only for you and for her, who is with you forever. And you together ... And then someone else went to the thing and also threw a coin. And then another song began to sound, another music, and to those two, to others, it also seemed: now everything is only for them, and there is no one else in the whole world, and it will always be like this - well, or forever ...

- They twinkled like stars?

How was it to know which song to play?

Well for your girlfriend?

After all, thoughts were not exchanged as they are now?

And what, they listened to these 50 songs - that's all?

And did they eat?

- Well ... In another cafe there was another musical ... Smash me with thunder !!

They were called jukeboxes!

And each had different music, and maybe similar.

And so it was everywhere.

And when a new song came out or a new singer recorded it, they made a record, a lot of records.

And laid out on jukeboxes.

And everyone could listen.

Or on the radio ... Or maybe at home.

If you bought it ... And there is a turntable with a spinning thing.

But at home everything was not right.

That's what my great-grandfather said.

My parents were always at home.

Do you understand?

They do not understand.

But this is not what they need.

They frolic, somersault in a pure stream of consciousness, do not think about anything - what is there to think about when such fables are all around?

- And then?

What did they do next?

After they've listened to everything and eaten?

What are they, onion rings?

Are they made straight from onions?

Why did they only go in twos?

Why didn't we go?

Big companies?

The old man grins, looks at the children - as if he is seeing them for the first time.

- We also went in companies.

Only I am telling you about something else.

About romance.

And about love.

And she, love, was always associated with music then ... In those days.

But I had to go somewhere and listen to something, and that was important.

As it is all the same now, but in a different way.

Is this how you communicate now if you are friends?

He doesn't need an answer.

He knows: people exchange thoughts, create a common stream, recognize each other in seconds - as if they lived life together.

But what is this?

But what about ...

After all, if you do not know and read a page a day, that is the interest of life!

- Nothing is clear, especially about the fizzy!

And why were coins needed?

Why was it impossible to listen to the one who sang without a coin?

Sing us "Teddy Bear"!


Sing "Only the Lonely"!

- If you make a noise like that, then I won't hear myself.

And I never really succeeded in singing.

This is now ... Anyone who wants to can sing.

Only before it was different.

I'd rather let you listen to ... the King and the one who always wore dark glasses ...

The old man removes a strange, bulky device from a niche in the wall, connects it to the station field, takes out a shiny black disk from a small (paper !!!) envelope with a large hole in the middle and a colored circle.

He attaches some kind of washer insert, puts it on the circle and lowers directly onto the disc a strange tube with a device at the end that rides across the disc and emits a rough, a little evening and alarming, almost midnight sound of a forgotten dream from childhood ...

And the world closes in on itself.

No more station.

There is no space outside of it.

Only a voice that made its way through the thickness of time.

Only music for those two who decided to be together forever.

These things were really called jukeboxes.

In them, indeed, it was possible to choose the very melody intended only for two.

And maybe for one, if you were alone that evening.

Then, in times before everything, happiness was bought forever for one coin.

For another - pop and burger.

And the stars hung so low

And the apples of a foreign garden fell right into the palm of your hand - just stretch out your hands towards the stars.

And the stars in those days were much closer to us - people.

Baby let me be

Your lovin 'Teddy Bear

Put a chain around my neck

And lead me anywhere

Oh let me be (oh let him be)

Your teddy bear ...

Only the lonely

Know the way I feel tonight

Only the lonely

Know this feelin 'ain't right

There goes my baby

There goes my heart

They're gone forever

So far apart

But only the lonely

Know why

I cry

Only the lonely ...

The point of view of the author may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.