Those Hard Nasty Years at University
How at 30 years of age to end up with 60 felony charges and a black-hole future. 2015, Vlad’s a fine-looking, seemingly successful young Canadian; he stands in a November crowd of vibrant urban professionals at a party in an East York mansion. It's a youthful multi-cultured crowd-they put the homogeneous baby-boomers to shame, and not just with clothes and money. However, they are also a product of their immigrant parent’s best intentions. Vlad's pressed black dress-pants and shining silk shirt carry pricey designer labels and his shoes are practically creaking; he looks cool; like a million bucks. The young party-goers laugh and joke with him. Though they have cultural backgrounds from all over the world and celebrate diversity, they're fully aware of their one important difference from Vlad. Indeed, Vlad is as well-off as the rest of them - better even - but he hasn't had to do the hard mundane university and college time of these young proficients surrounding him. He's as intelligent as them and comes from a nice suburban middle class Russian family in Etobicoke, the borough where the late Rob Ford and Doug Ford got their start in Toronto politics.
He's a Head of the Game
But He Has Cheated to Get to Where He Is.
Instead of going to educational institutions, co oping or apprenticing, he sells coke. He processes it out of a garage of a rented house on a residential street in North York. He's relatively straight himself; he has no tracks, no broken nose cartilage. He looks rested and focused. He drinks hard now and then; he'll occasionally do a few chalk marks with Eloy, his best customer, but that's it. Vlad lives in Scarborough and owns a four bedroom house which he is fixing up with his father's help. He has a younger brother who is studying Civil Engineering at Ryerson University. Vlad's girlfriend works full time at a large city-wide daycare center as a supervisor; she has her degree in ECE from Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough.
Even Eloy, his best customer, is doing the long hard grueling university trek through medical school at the U of T, but he too feels he has found a way to beat the system. He jokes that he'll get his medical degree on a complete unstoppable high. He's a short long-haired Canadian with an Ecuadorian background. He's 25 years old and speaks three languages. His IQ has been measured at around 160. He says to Vlad that the trick to successfully riding the white horse is to understand the science of it: "The chemical enters the brain and depresses centers like cerebellum and frontal lobes," Eloy explains. "Loss in coordination and suppression of centers causes dopamine to be released to compensate; this opens the working memory and tries to increase synaptic activity which leads to high extracellular dopamine. This amplifies IQ but activates paranoia centers. I can teach you how to move objects with your mind. You must think in a cascading fashion to create rapid thoughts. If you choose the right emotions, electrical activity in the brain will generate a mild B and E field outside the head. If the thinking is rapid enough, the energy leaves the system. If E&M from the brain is focused, a Thurring effect occurs and gravity waves will artifact the E&M from the brain then you must engage back lobes to produce a field and things start to move around you. One problem, dark thoughts cause a neurotransmitter's crash and you'll go insane."
Vlad thinks Eloy has gone insane. He also believes students are suckers - fools of the system - he calls it, The Brownie Factor. Eloy feels that going through life straight is for the dull at heart - conformists and idiots do it - he's an elitist.
Until recently, Vlad's business was booming but his friend Eloy never finished university. He is in rehab. Eloy's girlfriend is married, but not to him. He doesn't really miss her all that much. His father died last year, and as strange as it sounds, he's glad for it. Last month, 60 charges were laid against him by the Metro Toronto Police Drug Squad for use and distribution. It would have broken his father's heart to learn of it. His younger brother has agreed to help sell Vlad's Scarborough house to pay for a private defense, but they haven't been able to sell it. It doesn't look good; his crown-appointed lawyer wants to plea. The courts have offered a 12-year-term for everything. His lawyer wants to offer back 10, saying, "In Canada, for good behavior, 10 will get you five. You can live with five. After all, these were your choices."
Five bloody years. Well, at least now, he realizes, he can get from prison the college education he always managed to avoid on his own.
Note: (This ended in a jury trial after all. He was convicted on numerous drug and weapons related charges and as of January 2018, he still had over three years to serve--he was released at the end of 2020 for good behavior and immediately took to his old habits. In 2021, he was once again under investigation and by 2022 he was again facing charges, this time, all out of family and friends).
© 2022 - E. A. St. Amant