art by Melissa Mead
Pavlov's Final Research
by Gary Cuba
The front doorbell jingled. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov reflexively pushed his aged body up from his chair, his bones creaking in protest, and shambled to the foyer to answer it. Was it the postman, delivering good news? Probably not, he thought. He hadn't received any good news for years now.
Pavlov opened the door and, after a moment of mental confusion, recognized Sergei Mikhailovich Tyshenko, his old friend and patron, now the head of the Soviet Bureau of Physiology and Psychology. "Welcome, comrade! It's been a long time. Years!"
"Sadly, yes," Sergei said. "And I apologize for that. May I have a few words with you, Ivan?"
Pavlov ushered the man into his living room. "Tea? Or perhaps vodka?"
"The latter, I think. But only if you join me with a glassful of your own. I don't like to drink alone!" Sergei chuckled and sat down.
Pavlov moved to his credenza and poured two glasses. "So, what's the news from the latest science politburo? Am I now considered a persona non-grata? Will my stipend end, and my name be relegated to the dung heap of history?"