Viktor loses count of how many times he hits rewind on the security tape. He’s numb to the whirring, hissing sound of the rewind. But the image is fuzzy. No matter how many times he goes back, home many times he pauses, he can’t quite see what he’s trying to focus on.
The man in the video is clearly young. At least Viktor assumes he is. The men with him are older, larger. Lackeys, for all intents and purposes. Security detail. The young man in the center is slight, his forearms exposed by the roll of his sleeves are slender, but even in the fuzzy image Viktor can tell a muscle cords beneath the skin. He’s no slouch.
The most Viktor can make out in the black and white video beyond that is black hair and a tattoo that stretches down the back of his forearms. But no amount of pausing, of staring, of getting so close to the screen the brightness is making him dizzy, has made him able to make out what that tattoo may be.
“Viktor!” Christophe whines from the desk beside him. “You’ve watched that tape hundreds of times. What else do you expect to see?”
“I can’t make out what is on his arms,” Viktor replies, pausing the video again. Is it another arm inked on to his own?
“You can barely make out anything,” Christophe points out with a sigh. “That’s the misfortune of having a security tape from these washed up casinos as evidence.”
Viktor leans back and sighs, leaving the video paused on the man reaching out with one of his tattooed arms to take a briefcase from the casino manager.
“I need a better picture.”
“Don’t we all.” Christophe rolls his eyes and pushes himself away from his desk. He’s already changed out of his uniform and into a well fitted, black button down. His sleeves are rolled up in a manner reminiscent of the mafia member Viktor can’t take his eyes off of. “How about you dwell on that another day and come out with me? We could both use a drink.”
Viktor shakes his head and flips open the file on his desk, pressing his fingers to his chin in contemplation. Newspaper clippings, witness testimony, images of property damage left behind are all they have to help them track down the newest member of the Russian mafia.
They say he’s Japanese. That he’s young. That he rose up the ranks in the Yakuza so quickly, so efficiently that no one questioned his reign. That the Russian mafia all but begged him to make his way up here, to resurrect their dying presence. But Viktor can’t quite tell fact from fiction yet.
Is this young man really Japanese or is he just another Russian member that was kept hidden from the press and the policy force? Is he here to stay or does he have a singular purpose? Has he really bitten someone’s ear off? Or torn out their eye? He suspects some of the rumors are just that… rumors. But he’s determined to find out which ones are rooted in truth.
“Go on without me,” Viktor tells Christophe, offering a weak smile. “Tonight I would only cramp your style.”
Christophe snorts and slams the file shut. “Viktor, your style is my style. You could never cramp it.” He pushes the file aside and loosens Viktor’s tie until he pulls it over his head. He flicks open the top few buttons of Viktor’s uniform. “None of this is going anywhere. Besides,” He grabs Viktor’s hand and pulls him out of his seat and Viktor gives up fighting. Christophe is too persistent to struggle against. “Maybe our little mafia man likes the clubs here too.”
Viktor chuckles and resigns himself to a night out. Christophe is right. He could use a drink, something that can distort his mind into forgetting the swipe of dark hair and black tattoos reaching down sure, confident arms.