It was no great surprise to Mr Petrov when he looked out of his bedroom window and saw a huge snow cock in the front garden next door. His neighbours were artists. Olga was a sculptress who chiselled erotic shapes out of lumps of stone, whilst Luigi painted landscapes – mostly white.
Mr Petrov marvelled at the anatomical correctness as his eyes wandered from the asymmetrical testicles, up the shaft to the skilfully crafted knob. He had always found Olga’s sculptures bizarre and grotesque, but this one made him smile. He was still smiling as Olga crunched through the ice to load yet another of her stone sculptures into the van. It looked heavy. She was a tall and well-built woman, but surely her husband should be helping her?
By the time he had made it to the sub-zero outdoors, Olga was going by again with yet another sculptured lump of stone, bigger and heavier than the last. She had to stop for a breather …
“I’m sorry I can’t help you with that, Olga. You know I would if I could.” He leaned on his walking stick, already shivering with cold but noticed she was sweating from exertion.
“Don’t worry, Mr Petrov, I can manage. Hey, did you know we were moving away?”
“Yes … to a faraway country where the climate is warm. I am leaving tonight.”
“So soon? So suddenly?”
“Ha! We have not been good neighbours for you … I hope you will get better neighbours next time.”
It was true that Mr Petrov had not enjoyed listening to the arguments next door … Luigi was a small, fiery Italian and Olga seemed to thrive on lighting his fuse.
“But why isn’t Luigi helping you with this?”
“Luigi? He has gone already. Gone to the hotter place. His landscapes now will mostly be red!”
Mr Petrov shook his head. How selfish of Luigi to leave his woman to clear the house. He didn’t know what to say … “Well, they forecast that it’s going to be warmer this weekend. We’re expecting a bit of a thaw.”
“Really?” Olga glanced with regret at the magnificent snow cock she had created. “But of course I will be far away by then.”
It was no great surprise to Mr Petrov when he looked out of his bedroom window and saw that the sun was shining and the snow cock had begun to shrink. But what was that mark on the top? By the time he found his binoculars and focussed them it had expanded. Mr Petrov dropped the binoculars and fell back on his bed. The knob had melted away to reveal a mop of short black hair.