28 Feb 2003
I met Vlad about ten years ago in some shell hole feet deep in mud, blood and crud, situated somewhere near Ruslintingazzak in former Yugoslavia. We were both mercenaries, but fighting for different sides, and we had both expended the last of our ammunition. However, we both still had knives, Vlad a machete from his time in the jungle and myself a Kukhri from the months I spent training with the Gurkhas. Shells were still falling all around us as we circled about each other on our knees making threatening animal sounds and faking sudden attacks with our blades. Eventually we fell upon each other and Vlad chopped off my middle finger of my left hand whilst I lost him a testicle and an eye. Just as we were about to simultaneously impale each other, someone threw a stun grenade into the shell hole with us and we awoke on a French Navy hospital ship to be told that the conflict was over, we were both heroes and had been given the keys to the village of Ruslintingazzak. Since that day we have remained in contact that has proved to be financially mutually beneficial.