It is just as I suspected! thought the doctor, breathless and perspiring.


“What is it?” asked Ovitch, blowing his nose. “What did you see?”


The doctor gestured for the poet to sit, and paced in silence a moment.  Finally he said:  “A dancing gnome.”


“Indeed!  A gnome?  Fascinating.”




“I wonder what his name is, do you know?”


“No, I do not know the name of the gnome.”


“But nonetheless, a gnome in my noggin resides.  I shall write a glorious poem, a fable, about this gnome carousing betwixt mine ears.  Surely I am a brilliant artist, for only the brilliant artists have gnomes in the head.  But” — and with this the famed Ovitch turned gravely to the doctor — “only with genius comes smoke from the ears.  Find me the cause of Temkin’s death, Galashnikov, and I shall see to it the Czar makes of you his personal physician!”




Mikhail Papavich Dzhugashvili was a husky Georgian slab of man with a bearish gait.  He wore a golden pince-nez with hexagonal lenses.  “Fitting, yes?” 


“You have been working at the honey plant for how long?”