Baretski begins to tease Lale about the note and how he must have lost his touch with the ladies. Lale ignores his teasing, asks him if he’s read any good books lately.
‘Books? I don’t read books,’ Baretski mutters.
‘Why? What good are books?’
‘You can learn a lot from them, and girls like it if you can quote lines or recite poetry.’
‘I don’t need to quote books. I’ve got this uniform; that’s all I need to get girls. They love the uniform. I have a girlfriend, you know,’ Baretski boasts.
This is news to Lale.
‘That’s nice. And she likes your uniform?’
‘Sure does. She even puts it on and marches around saluting – thinks she’s bloody Hitler.’