Monday, October 15, 2007


He looks like Vladislav Kardashev, a Russian man who was somehow talked into signing up to be a mail order groom by his sister, Masha, who had grown old and fat as a spinster and was determined not to have her shy, sensitive younger brother suffer the same fate.

"In America, you find movie star to adopt you, like Angelina," she said as she filled out the paperwork while Vladislav sat quietly next to her, stroking his cat, Sergei.

"A man must be with woman, share bed, make babies," Masha said as she filled out Sergei's basic information, checking the box next to "thin" under the section "Body Type" rather than being truthful. She figured a woman purchasing a husband through the mail should not be a stickler when it comes to minor discrepancies. Vlade meanwhile, was looking out the window, hoping to catch the young boys from the nearby primary school passing by on their way home. He had a particular fondness for the slight, dark-haired timid boy who always walked alone, far behind the laughing, playful group.

"You deserve to be happy, Vlade. Do not let your life waste like mine."

Though Vlade had stoically stayed by her side and been her constant companion ever since their parents had died while they were both young, she always did feel that her inability to find marital companionship should not also obligate her younger brother to a lifetime of bachelorhood. But to be honest, there was a larger ulterior motive for this plan--she had heard from her neighbor Raina, that she had been paid 250,000 rubles for her son Boris by a lonely American widow living in Florida. And despite occasional worries about not having heard from Boris since he left for America, she now lived comfortably by her neighbor's standards. Masha hoped Vlade would fetch close to the same amount, as she had her heart set on a liposuction operation that would cost 120,000 rubles and maybe an extensive facial hair removal procedure with the remaining funds in hopes of pleasing the eye of the charming postman who had once told her she would not be so repulsive if she didn't look like a cow.

When the letter from the service arrived and stated that a woman named Sarina was interested in Vlade, Masha insisted he accept the offer. Sarina was looking for a loyal, virile man to be her companion and was willing to pay a hefty fee that would afford Masha her surgery and then some.

Vlade obediently accepted and headed off to Beverly Hills, California, where he discovered Sarina not to be the exotic, dark-haired young woman in the picture that had come with the offer, but an old, demanding Iranian woman who kept him in her house as a house boy and who often whimpered in her sleep. He did not mind though, as he had been able to take with him his faithful companion, Sergei, and he spent most of his days laying in bed in his boxers, dreaming of a fantasy life of friendship, hand-holding and secret-sharing with the slight, dark-haired timid boy he had seen walk by his house so many afternoons in his memory.