Chapter 1: Meetin’ Putin
It has been three long months since you landed a job in the mailroom at the Kremlin (thanks Monster.com!), but something about it still makes you feel nervous and on edge.
Maybe it’s because you’re spending so many hours alone in the cavernous basement mailroom, sorting through stacks of mail as high as St. Basil’s Cathedral. (Well, like a 2-foot-tall replica of St. Basil’s Cathedral.)
Maybe it’s because you’re not always sure what’s going on, because you don’t speak any Russian.
Or maybe it’s because your breath gets caught in your throat like a prisoner in Siberia every time you catch a glimpse of your boss—Vladimir Putin.
It’s not like you see him very often. One time you passed him in a narrow hallway, and you were so flustered that you think you might have run over his foot with the mail cart. (You definitely ran over something with the mail cart, and at the exact moment that Putin let out a very loud Russian expletive.)
Now that you’re alone under the flickering lights of the secluded mailroom, you can barely keep your mind off of Vladimir Putin, and the way it would feel to run your hand along one of his completely hairless arms.
That’s when you catch a whiff of something—the heady scent of feral masculinity.
“Excuse me,” purrs a heavily accented voice, and you don’t need to turn around to know who it is. (You do turn around though. It would be weird if you didn’t.)
Vladimir Putin is leaning against the open door, dressed in his usual “Casual Friday” uniform: camouflage pants, hiking boots, and a tan, muscular chest.
There is an awkward pause, until you realize that he is waiting for you to say something.
“Mr. President,” you gasp. “Is there…something I can do for you?”
One corner of his lips turns up, as if the question amuses him, and he saunters into the room until he is only a few feet away from you. You shiver involuntarily.
“Am I getting a promotion?” you laugh nervously, trying to hide the quiver in your voice and probably not succeeding.
His expression turns serious. “No,” he says harshly. “You are a terrible mail clerk. Instead of sorting the mail based on who it is addressed to, you have been sorting it by envelope color.”
“It’s easier that way. Most of the envelopes are white!”
“I give all of the white ones to Olga from Accounting, because I don’t like her.”
“Yes, I know that as well! Her office is filled to the ceiling with envelopes. She has filed a formal complaint against you.”
“Are you here to fire me?” you ask uncertainly.
“No,” he says, looking a little weary now. “I should fire you, if nothing else because all of our outgoing mail for the past three months has been returned for insufficient postage. ”
“I’m going to figure it out one of these days!”
“But I have to confess,” he continues. “You intrigue me. When I look into someone’s eyes, I can see straight through into their soul. And then I can see straight through that, into their soul’s soul. Which usually just looks the same as their soul. But there is something different about you. You are special.”
You gulp, not sure what to say. You stand still and try to look special (which, you decide, means fluttering your eyelashes really fast).
“What are your plans for the rest of the day?” he asks suddenly.
“Well…let’s see. I’ve still got seven more hours of work…”
“Come away with me. I want to take you to my lavish vacation home on the Black Sea. Architectural Digest called it ‘obscenely large’ and ‘an appalling misuse of state funds.’”
“You can sit on the marble portico overlooking the dolphinarium, while you watch me wrestle a series of successively larger and more agitated dolphins.”
“That all sounds great,” you say. “But…what about the mail?”
“The mail can wait,” he says with a wink.
“Really? Because that is the opposite of what the mailman keeps telling me.”
“Who is this mailman that is bothering you? Tell me his name, and I will have him poisoned.”
“Um. That’s really not necessary…”
“Just a little poison then?”