The Russian city of Perm made headlines earlier this month with its nightclub fire that killed over a hundred people. This tragedy stemmed from numerous instances of corruption and code violations. Worse, I saw YouTube's video of the nightclub's hired dancers dancing to (of course) American music. They were terrible! Take the money you spent on the dancers, and add it to the money you spent to bribe the inspector, and buy a few more emergency exits.
Anyway. What caught my eye was the end of the story on page 3 of the Pearl Harbor Day edition of the IHT. "Perm ... has sought to rebrand itself as a thriving cultural center. But lately, it has seemed to some residents to be ill-fated. An Aeroflot plane from Moscow crashed on the outskirts of Perm in 2008 as it was landing, killing 88 people. In October, video of an out-of-control bus ramming into numerous cars in Perm was circulated widely on the Internet. Last month, the Perm police arrested three homeless men and charged them with killing another man, eating part of him and trying to sell the remainder to a restaurant."
Of course, the last one is the icing on the, well, ice. Fires and vehicle accidents don't really stand out that much, but the last one is quite new to me. It's a dark comedy sketch waiting to happen. How did the buyer know it was man-meat? I mean, if they ground it up first, or baked it in a pie, or maybe made a stew with some beets or Fried Green Tomatoes, who would know? I doubt they bothered to DNA test it, or that the restaurant manager recognized the taste of human. So we have to assume it was more obvious.
Are you manager?
We have here nice fresh meat to sell you.
We have regular butcher, he sell us good meat, sorry, you go away, to somewhere else.
Ah, but this meat very cheap! See? Top quality.
That look like human arm.
It was very skinny cow. And pale. He was albino cow. That is why, so cheap. And taste a little funny. But good with wodka.
The arm has fingers.
Cow from Chernobyl. But very cheap.
There's tattoo on the arm.
No, is brand. Brand from slaughterhouse.
The tattoo look like names. Pavel and Svetlana. With heart around it.
Yes, he was bull in love. Best meat, yes?
Hm. Can I see papers from slaughterhouse? I get arrested for buy meat with no papers.
No, you can bribe inspector. Like nightclub over there.
I do not trust you. I call police chief. Hello? Hello, where is police chief? Hm. They say Police Chief Pavel not here today.
Yes, you see? He busy with more important work.
Still, I not interested. You, go fuck yourself and walk off a short pier.
Wait, I make better deal. I also give you ring for free.
Hm. Ring say: Perm Police Academy, Class of '84.
Ah, very good. I thought it just scribbles, and backwards R.
It is Cyrillic, stupid man with head of shit and ass of jack. We in Russia. For last time, I not interested. You take your ring and put where sun do not shine, because so much shit is there. Then you die and eat shit and then you eat more shit. Then, you go jump in lake. Of shit.
I make even better deal. You buy this meat, or I kill you and eat you and sell part of you to competitor.
Man know how to bargain. I buy the meat.
While I doubt that's precisely how it played out, the incident was probably not the best way to attract tourists. I'm guessing there's a pretty short wait at the taxi stand at the Perm airport. If the airport shuttle is a little late, nobody complains. Travel agents looking for new jobs don't get much benefit if their resume includes "familiar with Perm." William Shatner, who did his best acting as the Priceline Negotiator, probably doesn't have much trouble wheedling a discount out of the typical Perm hotel. I bet banner ads on the City of Perm tourist website are pretty cheap right now. Local signmaking companies aren't getting rich off new "Welcome to Perm" and "Standing Room Only" signs. The company that sells new ink pads to inspectors who stamp passports is probably not thriving either. The tattoo on the next victim probably will also be written in Cyrillic. Hotel owners who rushed to add tea kettles to their rooms after seeing my earlier post are still waiting for that influx of British tourists.
" ... may I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there is no cannibalism in the British Navy. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit, but all new ratings are warned that if they wake up in the morning and find any toothmarks at all anywhere on their bodies, they're to tell me immediately so that I can immediately take every measure to hush the whole thing up." -- Graham Chapman, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Episode 32.