To put it bluntly Vladimir is a son of a bitch. He’s the guy who you avoid at work, the one that is always up in your face about something or another. He’s a dedicated and brilliant but he lacks motivation, and he prefers to work alone. But he tries to put on the face of someone who is not. He rarely succeeds in covering his true nature.
Vladimir is 5’11”. You wouldn’t know it by looking at him but he has numerous tattoo’s depicting various things all over his body, but none can be seen while fully clothed.
Vladimir was born in Moscow, raised in Moscow and never had any dreams of leaving Moscow. Born into the business his great-grandfather had started before the CCD even came into existence. Igor’s was a hole in the wall in the Red Light district that served authentic Russian cuisine.
Vlad was a smart young man, he went away to University at Harvard when he was 16 years of age. Vlad studied Chemistry while there. He spent 3 years at Harvard, during the summer between his third and forth year, Vlad came home to visit the family and series of unfortunate events took place.
The trip home had been relatively uneventful for Vlad, not atypical of any flight overseas. His plane left at 6am and he landed at JFK airport on time at 7:17am. Vlad realized after he got to the airport he could have taken a later flight to JFK. If it weren’t for airport security Vlad would have taken a look around as his next flight didn’t take off until 2:20pm. He had several hours to wait. The took off on time, he hated the plane trip. It was no fun sitting in coach while they flew over the ocean, there wasn’t even anything good to eat on the plan. Nine and a half hours on a plane was torture, it was one reason he tried not to go home too often. The trip was awful.
Vlad had to take a taxi back to his home to dump his stuff. A note on the table from his father, “Come by the restaurant.” Vlad tore the note in half and threw it in the garbage bin on the way out. He hadn’t even had time to take a shower. He knew better than to pretend he didn’t see the note. Knowing his father he had cameras on the whole place and someone watching to make sure he did as instructed. Vlad grabbed his vintage motorcycle and headed for the Red Light District. The bike was much easier to secure inside than any of their precious cars he could have taken. But his father would be upset if any of them got a scratch. At least the bike was his.
Igor’s looked as Igor’s had always looked. The crumbling red paint on the outside. The beat up old door that squeaked when you walked in. The blinking sign that said Igor’s was missing the R in neon. Vlad wondered if his father knew. Surely he wouldn’t have let it slide. But he wasn’t going to be the one to tell him.
But inside, was lavious. The walls were painted in faux marble. The chair rails and molding were all specially carved pieces of dark wood that looked like mahogany but were much cheaper. The floors were whiter than the anything Vlad had ever seen. They were bleached nightly. He had haded that job as a child. It smelled and your clothes would be stained forever if you got any on you. The ceiling glittered with fake crystal chandeliers. Everything about the place was fake, but the clientelle didn’t care, it was in the Red Light district after all.
The place was hoping for the early morning hour. He hoped his father didn’t expect him to have to work on his summer break. Vlad received a few courteous nods from some of the patrons. Others sneered at him. He could only wonder about their thoughts, probably thinking he was a foolish bastard for going off to The god forsaken America to study in god knows what alien technology. He laughed at the thought. It was always good to laugh, even if you got strange looks. He only smiled as he pushed open the door to the kitchen. His father was no where in sight. Vlad didn’t expect him to be in the kitchen, his father was a horrible cook!
The kitchen was bustling with the chef telling the sous chef where to go and what to do. English might be the CCDs official language, but if you didn’t understand and speak Russian you didn’t work at Igor’s, it was the plain simple fact. But if you intended to work tables, well English better be on that plate too. Vlad got a nod from the chef and waved him out of the way. The back of the kitchen lead to the freezer, the large pantry and my father’s office.
Vlad’s father was named after his father’s father – Igor, just as Vlad had been named after his grandfather. It was tradition in the family, the first born son was named after the grandfather. It has been that for as long as anyone could remember. There was no sign on the door, it could have just been a supply closet for all anyone else knew. Vlad rapped three times on the door before his father called out, “Voydite!”
Vlad took a deep breath and grabbed the handle to the door and made his way into his father’s influential office. On the outside it might look like a supply closet, but on the inside, much like the restaurant itself it was lavious. Decked out in real mahogany paneling, lush red velvet curtain’s simulating a window, though Vlad knew a window did not exist there. The desk was made of mahogany as well with gold inlay for decoration and the handles were said to be pure gold, though Vlad doubted that extravagance. Vlad nodded to his father who was on the phone speaking Russian to someone Vlad probably didn’t want to know.
Igor ignored his son for what felt like hours. Apparently the phone call was more important than his own son. Vlad’s anger grew inside. He had come all this way back to the restaurant as his father had asked and he just let him stand there like he was some lackey.
By the time Igor had finished the phone call Vlad felt like his father should be able to see smoke coming from his ears. Igor didn’t even look up at his son, he didn’t say anything, clearly he had to see him standing there. But he never moved, never glanced at his son. Vlad reached a moment of pure anger and things went haywire. Igor started to pant and breathe heavily. Vlad stood and stared at his father, he could almost feel his father’s heart giving way under his hand. It had to be his imagination.
It was only moments and his father slumped over in his chair. The life was gone in his eyes and Vlad hurried to the phone and tried to feel for a pulse all at the same time. Emergency crews came and Vlad told them what had happened, he had been stunned into silence, he couldn’t move. They said it was shock. Vlad didn’t believe it was.
His mother planned the funeral and they were all required to attend, but that morning Vlad woke up with the worst cold he had in his life. He shook like he was bathing in an ice bath, but his temperature was through the roof. Vlad could barely move but he managed to make it to the funeral and sat in the back row. He had to make an appearance, but he felt too bad and he left early with out a word and crashed in the car that would drive them all to the plot for burial. He couldn’t even make it home if he wanted to.
Two days after he caught sick, Vlad was back to himself, he was up and around like nothing had ever happened. It was summer break, but instead Vlad started picking up the pieces of his father’s business. It was now his. Vlad never returned to the United States to finish his degree, instead taking over his father’s business.
Taking over his father’s business hadn’t been luck. But a month later luck was on Vlad’s side. A woman was walking in the lobby of Igor’s. She was prancing around in 6 inch black spike stilettos yelling on her cell phone. She was shouting in Russian and all of Igor’s could hear the woman even though everyone tried not to. One of the staff was sweeping near by. Neither of them were watching what they were doing. Everything happened so fast. The next thing Vlad knew he was catching the woman as she fell. Everyone was amazed at the feat of heroics but it was nothing new to Vlad, strange things happened to him like that most of his life.
Vlad remembered one time as a child when a bully was about to beat him down but the moment before the boy was going to throw his punch a bigger bully came over behind the building ready to smoke before heading home. But the strangest and luckiest thing Vlad had happen as a boy was winning the lottery from a ticket he had picked up off the ground. It wasn’t like they were poor and needed the money, but there it was staring him in the face a winning lotter ticket. His father promptly turned it in without a second though as to who the rightful winner was. No one ever turned up to say otherwise, so Vlad assumed they didn’t even know they had lost it.
Vlad ended up marrying the woman he caught. They have a son who will be six this November.
Luck had to be on Vlad’s side when he found the most impossible thing. It had been a rough couple of months getting his father’s business under control. Vlad was yelling at some of the managers of various things in the business. The accounts were wrong, and someone had to own up to it or Vlad was going to have heads. In anger, Vlad saw a dim darkness, if there was any such thing. It called to him. He blinked but it was not there, but he felt it. A power, he grasped it and the moment he did he had to gasp for air. It was like he was drowning in the power. He fought for control, and when it obeyed his will he found one of his managers gasping for air before him. Vlad remembered the face, he had seen it on his father’s the day he died. Vlad smiled and he thought about squeezing tighter and the man fell to his knees. The others just stared and watched as he gasped for breath. Vlad let go of whatever it was and the man fell to his hands and panted like the dog that he was. Vlad smiled at the others. They just stared at him and at the man on the floor. No one fessed up that day. But no one baked the books like that again.
At first Vlad could only touch the power when he was angry. Which he used to his advantage. He never killed again with the power he had, but he did use it to make his partners obey. It took Vlad years of practice to be able to freely call the power at will. He practiced everyday trying to do it while calm, but for the first several years that would make him angry. But the more he grasped the wonderful power, the easier it became and about 5 years after his first knowing attempt Vlad could call upon the power inside at will.