Vladmir the Great

by Nic Olson

How do you tell a Russian white supremacist steel worker that you disagree with his morals?

The day started with a pizza breakfast, fresh, and quantities more than I needed. Then for supper, a Snickers Blizzard. Wow.

Shotmakers; the finest sports bar of Southgate, Michigan. After ten minutes of first intermission chatter, the jukebox petitioned the bar patrons to a chorus of ‘Love Stinks’, and six Tigers fans answered with a vocal boom.  Children in baseball uniforms drinking mocktails and playing computerized card games while their parents downed cheap 40s of Bud Light. A haze of secondhand smoke made the HD showing of the hockey game like it was being brought to you by rabbit ears. The perfect place for a game seven.

The second intermission arrived, the Habs leading 1-0. Walk a block down Dix Toledo Road to The Modern Exchange, enjoy the stylings of my favourite active Saskatchewan/Indiana/Missouri band. Walk into Shotmakers with style, escaping the secondhand smoke and the nonsensical blabbering of Keith Jones and his awkward VS crew of analysts. Twenty minutes: game over. Two to One. Habs win. Biggest upset in playoff history, some say. One of the greatest days of my hockey watching career, I’d say.

Then I met Vlad. Vladmir. Living in Southgate. A Russian multilingual who was once a professional soccer player in England until knee problems prevented him from playing further. Take it or leave it. He sported a viking tattoo on his right bicep, which he said stood for white power. But he didn’t tell me that until later. He bought the next round(s).

Upon hearing the story of his tattoo, seeing a few gentlemen in the corner with ‘Hitmen Murder Crew’ leather vests on, and a quick call from the bands that the show had finished, we left Vladmir to his good times at Shotmakers as we headed to our home.

And all the good times shared with my new found twin brother, his name is Nick..

Another day. One more to go.