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Mar 26

A Fishy Russian

Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 in Strange and Unusual

A year ago I answered the door to a foreign dude who was selling paintings.  You know the type I’m sure, as every household in Ireland must have been scourged by this phenomenon at some point or another.  I bought two rather excellent paintings which now hang proudly in my livingroom.

On Good Friday, I was having a lazy day.  The hair was greasy, the PMS bad skin was in full eruption, and my slobaround tracksuit was mismatched and stained with motherhood.  TAT was out bringing the car for its NCT. 

A strange car arrived outside at 2.30pm and the doorbell rang.  It was the same guy who had sold me the paintings the year before, but he was emptyhanded.  This is an abundantly friendly guy, so I invited him in, not having the heart or valid excuse to turn him away.  The shock of having this relative stranger in the house gave me quite a dose of the shakes, which – let’s call him… Boris – noticed with amusement.  I supplied coffee and we chatted, while he played some of his CDs for me on the stereo. 

When TAT finally arrived home, Boris kindly let us copy every CD that his car posessed, then stuck around while we burned him a CD of his own.  By this stage it was about 6pm.  I left to buy Easter eggs and a few groceries, and when I eventually returned, I saw that Boris was still well rooted.  By 10.30pm, I was wondering if this guy didn’t have a home to go to, but felt too polite to ask, so I cooked some food and asked him if he’d like to stay over and have a drink or two with us.  He ran on delighted little legs to his car, and returned with DVDs which we watched, then proceeded to play BUZZ and cards until around 5am.

The next morning found me shouting to God on the big white telephone as a result of an overdose of Screwdriver, while Boris and TAT amused themselves on the xbox.  We finally had to kick him out at 2pm so that we could begin our weekend visitings.

This, in itself, might not sound weird, but a few points are niggling me:

1. I still don’t know where this guy is from… I know he was born in Moscow, then lived in Israel and worked for the army for a good while, but the details are hazy.  I know he was in prison for a short while, the word murder was mentioned, but I was watching ‘The Big Lebowski’ at the time and was too distracted by The Dude to notice details.

2. Boris has an extraordinarily nice car for a travelling painting salesman.

3. I witnessed some very strange clandestine phonecalls during his stay which were held in Russian, but noticed some strange english phrases thrown in such as ‘to be observed’, and ‘not a threat’, though I could be wrong.

4. Boris repeatedly mentioned that he was single.

5. He seems to be an extremely talented musician, cook, artist, and photographer, but asked me to look up strange unrelated jobs on the internet.

6. He also seemed very interested in my drug-taking history.

7. On Easter Monday when we returned home from our visitings, we found the bathroom window open, and I noticed that some things in the house had seemingly been moved, though again, I could be wrong.

7. I have emailed Boris once or twice, but with no reply.

I might just be paranoid, as I usually am, but doesn’t this seem fishy?  Where do you buy those gizmos that detect hidden bugs and cameras?  Have I been watching ‘The Wire’ too much?


Bring on the comments

  1. Darragh says:

    Jaysis, that’s just weird. Weird!!

  2. I agree with the other Darragh. That’s very weird.
    Seriously. your not making that stuff up are you?

    Surely you had some kind of frank discussion with him during the twenty four hours he was with you?

  3. Ben says:


    Wouldn’t have made it past the front door. I’d be well freaked now i have to say!

    Your very trusting.

    *din din diiiiin*

  4. Medbh says:

    Shit, K8. That is fucking creepy. I would be worried about hidden cameras and wiretaps, too.
    Don’t you know about stranger danger?
    Keep the shady single dudes OUT.
    Be safe.

  5. K8 says:

    Darragh; I knew it wasn’t just me.

    Digital Darragh; There were lots of intense and frank discussions… I’m just not very good at probing, but very good at reading body language. The situation just didn’t compute for some reason. Yes, everything in this post is strangely true.

    To Ben and Medbh; Yes, I hear you, but I’m a die-hard Samaritan. Remember the Christmas story about a family being kicked out of every inn and having to rest in a stable? I do. Who’s to say this dude isn’t some sort of second coming?!?!Common sense is over-rated to romantics like me.

    I know, I’ll come to a sticky sticky end probably, but I have a very excellent secondary alarm which is my dog. There are certain visitors he will bark at visciously, and others he will make instant friends with, like this one. If Wouldye trusts him, then so do I.

  6. The Dude abides.

    I wouldn’t worry excessively, worry is bad for you. Russians are hard to read. The one I worked with is an exceedingly nice chap but came out with odd things, such as when discussiong what you would do if Stabby McScrewdriver and his mates attacked you he came out with:

    “How to say, you put thumb in eye into brain. He is dead, his friends, they run. No problem”

    Culturally there may be nothing at all wierd about what he did? But lock them doors all the same.

  7. This is bizarre. What did he say when he was still on the doorstep without his paintings? Did he ask to be invited in?

    Sounds like he has a something of a back story, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s up to anything dodgy now. Not that you shouldn’t be wary, of course. Has anyone else in the area seen him recently?

    Also… oooh, The Wire!

  8. Baino says:

    I knew you were a nut! why on earth did you invite him in? I agree with the cultural thing tho, they’ve lived in another world for so long, maybe it was his own paranoia checking your bathroom to make sure there weren’t any hidden cameras copping him! Still he must have been good company to keep you up till 5am!

  9. H says:

    Drinking, buzz and cards until 5am?

    I know where I’m going next time me and the missus have a row…

    I hope Wouldye likes the scruffy, hobo type

  10. Caoimhin says:

    Making friends out of complete strangers, especially foreign ones, was outlawed back in ’97…be cautious very cautious…especially if he shows up next time with a bottle of Russian vodka and shows you how to drink shots while breathing a certain way…a law against spontaneous fun is being considered now among the lawmakers. :)

  11. Jaysus K8, you should be more careful! You never know what those Russians are up to! Of course, the same could be said of Americans. :)

    Seriously, be careful!!!

  12. conortje says:

    wow, I don’t even answer the door if I’m not expecting someone…

  13. @Conortje: How dutch is that? You have been assimilated!

  14. K8 says:

    Thriftcriminal; We were seriously thinking about naming our next kid ‘Dude’ at one point during the flick…
    You’re dead right about the cultural thing. This guy’s english is extremely good- university level, even. He just seemed like someone who needed a friend at the time, who just isn’t used to Irish social norms, perhaps.

    Jenny; When I opened the door he greeted me like a long-lost cousin! He didn’t ask to come in, but it felt somehow like a fate thing, like he was here for a reason, so I welcomed him. We did get some fantastic music from him!!

    Baino; I am a tad nutty, but we’ve always had an open door ‘mi casa, su casa’ policy unless there’s a darn good reason not to. I probably didn’t stress enough that this guy is so darn friendly, I couldn’t resist letting him in!

    H; Hey anytime, dude!!! You’re especially welcome if you’re a gambler. As for scruffy hobo types, you’re among your own kind in this gaff…

    Jefferson; I know, thanks – but I like to think I have a good judge of character and definately couldn’t smell any danger, neither could the Wouldye. I knew this guy needed somebody but he didn’t say why. I suppose it was on a need-to-know basis which is fine by me.

    5h4mr0(k; (genius name, btw) Cooooooooooooool. Ta!

    Conortje; I have this annoying doorbell add-on you see. Whenever the doorbell goes, it shouts ‘Mommy mommy mommy mommy look! Open the door mommy mommy mommy!’
    It’s virtually impossible to pretend there’s nobody here.

  15. Deborah says:

    In the throes of watching the greatest movie ever I can see how this all might not have seemed very weird, but it is indeed a bit odd.

    I think I’ve figured it out. He’s obviously KGB. They’ve joined up with the CIA and can’t breach Grandad’s security. They figure he’s got to come to your place at some point so they send Boris to make contact and set a few traps. Duh! ;-)

    Or maybe he’s a nihilist, I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos. ;-)

  16. K8 says:

    *giggle* You just… might… be on to something, there.

  17. Camron says:

    This reminds me of the time my Grandfather (who’s a cattle rancher in north-east Nevada, 15 miles from the nearest streetlight) came home and found a stranger in his chair, wearing his pajamas, watching his videos, and trying to tell him he was in the wrong house…

    Samaritan or no, I can’t believe you let him hang with you that long. Not safe. I’m glad you’re not gutted.

  18. K8 says:

    How surreal! Sounds like Grandpa Simpson :)

    I let him stay so long purely because he’s such a nice chap! Also he plays poker so he’s another chump we can invite to future games!

    I’m surprised I haven’t already been gutted by people closer to home… did I mention I live in a dodgy area? Dogs are handy.

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