Martynova doesn’t know anyone in the Russian mafia.  She hates vodka.  She does know a guy named Vadik.  She referred to him her cousin but I think he’s really a friend not a relative.  He has a farm up near Paint Creek.  He was fine with us coming up there at 3 AM to threaten a bound man with farm implements.   

Whenever I’m in a situation like this I’m desperately thankful when people help me but also very disturbed.  What is going on in the world?  By all rights these two people should be stopping me, not aiding and abetting me.  I appreciate it.  It makes you wonder. 

I told Martynova that she and Vadik might hear some strange things.  Martynova gave me a look that said “what could be stranger that what we’re already doing?”  Cousin Vadik fired up some weird farm machine that looked like a fifty-foot-long screw slanted upwards and threated to jam our captive’s hand into the spinning part where I think grain goes.   

Cousin Vadik said that he was just trying to scare him, that he wouldn’t have really mangled a man’s hand.  I have my doubts.  Luckily it didn’t come to that.   

The apartment manager told me that his brother had given him the necklace and he couldn’t do magic without it.  Eventually I realized he meant brother like Martynova meant cousin.  He was talking about a frat brother.  When I pointed out that he was way too old to be in a frat he said “brothers forever”.  I wanted to jam his hand into the blades for that.   

He was using the skull necklace magic to steal his older resident’s social security checks and to magically roofie Red Roses’s sister and another young woman in the apartment complex.  This is a good example of how you don’t need to be smart to do magic.  Besides being evil that’s not a very creative use of magic.  You’ve given magic power and all you can think to do is rip off old people and commit sexual assault?  You don’t need magic for that. 

The big question.  What to do with him.  Martynova said that Vadik has a pond, we could put a cinderblock around his neck and throw him in and that would be that.  She said that in Russia they did that to rapists all the time.  “Really?” I asked and she admitted that no, that wasn’t a thing.   It sounds like what people would believe about Russia.

I noclipped him to the land of yellow wallpaper with 50 bucks worth of bottled water and beef jerky from a gas station.  I’ll deal with him later.  Somehow.  If I can find him in what may be an infinite realm.  I won’t feel great if he dies in there but I’ll feel better about it than if I murdered him in cold blood.  I think. 

On the drive back to the house I asked Martynova what she thought of all this.  She said –  

“My grandmother says,  in the old days there was a bargain.  Division of labor.  Men handle worldly threats.  Hunt for food.  Fight in wars.  Protect family from animals, thieves, and evil men.  Men, they don’t like to think too much.  Men, muscle and courage.  Men only want to see what is in front of eyes.  They like straight forward.  Women, they handle the other threats.  Protect home from spirits and bad magic and tryasavitsa.  Women more subtle, in tune with the world that you cannot see.  Old days was balance with men and women.  Problems today in world, no more balance.  You hold up your side of bargain Grace?” 

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