Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta boss. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta boss. Mostrar todas las entradas

martes, 11 de octubre de 2016

Moving on

   As soon a he entered the premises, every single employee was requested to stand still in front of their assigned spaced and smile at him as he moved through the maze of corridors that made up the wellness center. Every single worker knew who Vladimir Natarenko was: the biggest name in boxing in the last decade. He had just defeated his closest rival. In doing so he had become the world’s champion and more than one woman was craving to get close to him. Not only he was very attractive, despite all the cuts, lacerations and so on, he was obviously getting wealthier by the second.

 Carmen stood still in front of her assigned room and waited for the big guy to pass. She wasn’t specially thrilled by the prospect of seeing him or anything. Of course she thought he was really attractive but that day she had receive news from the mortgage on her house and she was in desperate need of money. The one thought on her head was all about asking her boss for help, for a certain amount that she could pay with work or something like that. The center did very well and Mr. Crane was a very nice man that did the best for his workers. She trusted help would come from him.

 Vladimir finally passed in front of her door but, she was too distracted when he greeted her, smiling with his beautiful cherry lips and his big blue eyes. She just gave him her hand and shook it. Vladimir looked at Carmen as he walked away, being moved by his manager. She didn’t even notice him at all. She just went into her room and decided the best moment to ask for money was during lunch, when most people were outside of the building. She didn’t want anyone to know. It was partly because she felt embarrassed but also because it wasn’t their business.

 Trying to focus on her job, she organized her station and received her first costumer of the day. It was a very thin girl who started talking as soon as she walked in. As always, Carmen turned on some music, lit up an incense stick and asked the costumer for her favorite body oil from those she had available. Then she put on the oil on the person and the massage session would begin. They lasted for around forty minutes but people could ask for longer or shorter ones, depending on what they needed, if they felt pain somewhere in particular or anything like that.

 The girl was an actress and she just went on and on about her career and how it was very hard to get the right role and how sometimes she had to do things she wouldn’t normally do. The woman could have told Carmen all the secrets of her craft but she wouldn’t have listened to any of them. She did her job well but her mind was absent. Her hands glided over the girl’s body and sometimes she needed but that was the only way to know she was still, kinda there. Losing her house was too big of a deal to care about anything else.

 The same happened with the other two clients she had that morning: she was so distracted that, when the second one (a tall guy, very handsome) asked her for her number, she told him that it was a pleasure to have had him and just pushed him out the door. She really didn’t have time for men at that point in her life. She needed a miracle to happen in order to help her survive all the difficult things she was going to face if her house was taken away from her.

 What hurt her the most was the fact that she had inherited that house only two years ago, when her parents had died in a tragic car accident. They were traveling by car in order to have a relaxing weekend and a truck just rammed them on a very tight curve. She would always remember the day a policeman called her and bluntly told her that they were dead. She had wanted to know who he was to punch him and teach him how to have a heart. But she never knew who he was and maybe it was for the best. She was in no state to do anything.

 Thankfully she had that job and they paid better than in other places but still not as much to pay all the bills. At first, she had thought the house had been a very nice present from her parents but soon realized she would have many more financial responsibilities and Carmen was not ready to assume all of those. She barely made enough money to support herself, so paying bills for a house too big her was not easy on her. Many told her to sell it as soon as she had received it but there were too many memories and she was still in deep mourning.

 Now, years later, she had moved on. However, she still thought the house should stay with her and maybe use it one day to raise her own family. She thought of that as a tribute to his parents and her family in general. So when lunchtime came, she almost ran to Mr. Crane’s office. Her secretary asked her to seat down and wait until he was available and she complied but it was very difficult to sit still, repeating in her head what she thought were the right words to phrase her request. Her hands were now moist with sweat and she had to clean them on her jeans.

 The secretary finally told her to go in and she did so by trembling all the way to the door. She greeted her boss and he asked her what it was that she needed. She realized he was in a mood and that made her doubt for a second. Bu then she started talking, very fast, telling the whole story of the house and her financial situation. When she finished, her boss told her he was glad she was so honest. However, he confessed the business was not doing so well so he was unable to provide her with the money. He told her he would try to help her out with something but further along in the year.

 As she stepped out of the office, Carmen felt her knees shaking like crazy. Her boss had been kind, as always, but the answer she had received was obviously was not the one she had desired. As she walked to her station, she realized how obvious it was that he wasn’t going to give her any money: he was right, no one was coming to their spa. Well, maybe that was an exaggeration but the number of clients was diminishing. She used to have up to eight clients in the morning, now that was down to three, sometimes even only two.

 Carmen realized two things as she walked slowly through the corridors: the first thing was that she wasn’t hungry at all. She had brought a big salad from home but she had no time for food right now. And the other thing was that her only solution now was to sell the house she had grew up in. As hard as that decision was, it was the only possible one, unless she wanted to be jailed for not paying all of her debt. It was a horrible choice to make but her time had run out.

She stepped into her station just in time: tears came running down her cheeks and she covered her face as she squat on a corner of the room. She felt miserable. Not only sad but also very disappointed on herself. She felt ashamed of losing her family heritage and also because her life hadn’t taken her anywhere. She lived from massages and on the weekends she did the same thing for anyone who would call and she was getting very tired of all of it. She was getting tired of her life and that she was always, apparently, on the brink of losing it.

 Suddenly, she felt a hand on her forearm. As Carmen looked up, Vladimir’s big blue eyes looked down on her. He asked her what was wrong. She stood up fast and cleaned her face, in a vague attempt to pretend nothing had been going on but he interrupted her by saying he had been there the whole time as his next stop in the spa was getting a massage. He had been lying in there for a while when she came in. Carmen was embarrassed and tried to apologize but instead, Vladimir asked her o tell him what was happening. Surprisingly to her, she started talking.

 As Carmen kept talking, she indicated him to lay down for his massage. It was the first time it was her talking during a session and not the other way around. The best thing was that he seemed to ask all the right questions and seemed genuinely interested in her problem. When she finished, and the session was done as well, Vladimir told her losing the house might be for the best, as her parents would always live in her heart and mind and not in the house. With those words, he left with a smile. Silly enough, that session and those words were exactly what she needed.


 And the big tip he left her, too. Help comes in the most unpredictable packages.

miércoles, 20 de enero de 2016

Dolls

   It was always difficult to stand and just wait. Having no power over things that have to be done. Finally, I so smoke coming out of the warehouse and then an explosion. I was close enough to feel the heat of the shockwave but not enough to hear anything else than the sound of fire expanding rapidly to others roofs. The night had been lit and now the city presented, once again, the most awful of its faces. Then, I heard rapid steps coming towards me and I pulled my gun instinctively, in case it wasn’t the person I was waiting for. But it was. And she hopped into the boat and I got it going. Soon, the fire was just one of the many parts that gave shape to the landscape of the city at night.

 The next day, I woke up with a piercing pain in my back. The most possible reason was some fall or a sudden movement I had already forgotten I had done. I took one of those pills they recommended for these cases and went on to the kitchen. There, I poured some cereal and soy milk into a bowl and turned on the TV. The morning news was on and the anchor was talking about the fire: it had engulfed other three warehouses and was still ongoing. The owners, big companies, feared millions of dollars would be lost because of the fire but I knew that wasn’t really their concern. The reason we had been there was enough for any person to take a grenade and blow up that whole district off the map. So who cared about “millions of dollars”?

 The next piece of information was the fact that a new doll was causing seizures on young children. But I wasn’t interested in that, so I changed the channel and finished my breakfast watching a show about food in Southeast Asia. That meant that by the time I had finished my bowl of food, I wasn’t satisfied and I wanted to have some of those delicious dishes of food in front of me. I had always wanted to travel far and do just that, taste the foods and also enjoy the sceneries and tan my skin and swim and walk and sleep on a hammock by the most beautiful ocean ever. The saddest part of this dream was that I could actually afford it but didn’t have the time or even the permission to do something like that. Duty came first.

 I showered, put on some casual clothes and then drove to a rundown building downtown. Beneath it were the offices of the organization I worked for. We were a response team that acted faster than any other force in the world because we didn’t asked permission and we avoided laws by strangely abiding to them as there were offices of the organization in every single corner of the world. So we saved people’s asses from being killed or worse and no one really knew anything about it. Of course, the amount of secrecy was very high and only certain kind of people could work like that, lying and withstanding the pressure. But when you got used to it, it was a fine and easy enough job, after you learned how to use your skills.

 When I got there I got to the place where we held our talks and discovered that everyone in the office, about thirty-five people, were all looking at the news on a big screen. They were standing there like petrified, horrified faces and even crying a bit. To my surprise, they were actually looking at the news of the dolls that I had ignored back home. There were mothers protesting outside a building and children in hospitals and it was all very confusing. When the video ended, the oldest person in the room stood up and asked them all to calm down before moving on. There were enough seats for everyone but I decided to stay up, leaning against the back wall.

 The old woman was our boss and the only one that responded to an even higher voice, which none of us had ever seen or heard. This kind of reunion was done every single morning, in order for the team to know what was the next assignment. As usual, she explained the video. This time, apparently, someone had manipulated dolls in order to use children for their own advantage. The seizures only came after the child had committed something strange like stealing random objects or doing awful things to their pets or even to themselves. The information was even more grim than usual. Some of the people there were crying in silence and it was a relief for them when the boss decided to let them all go to their desks and offices. Only six of us stayed behind. We took seats in the front and listened, as the crystal walls of the room became opaque.

 The briefing had begun. The boss showed us a series of videos and images, taken from archives around the globe. It was possible that a man that had escaped a prison in Armenia several years ago, was now collaborating with the company that made the dolls in order to use children as some sort of sleeper agents. The idea, apparently, was that they could be use to retrieve information on very important people without ever being noticed. The children that were now in hospitals had parents in very high ranking positions and it was possible that the process of hypnosis, or whatever the doll did, had gone terribly wrong and now the kids had to pay for the stupidity of the ones seeking to use them.

 Peter and John were assigned to one of the families that had their daughter in the hospital. They had to talk to them, pretending to be from a support group, and that way get and idea of what important information they were holding. Maria and Marcus were tasked to track down the man that had fled prison and, finally, Lisa and me ha to go to the company and check out if they were really in alliance with someone or if they had been used for someone else’s purposes. The last thing our boss said was that a doll had been recovered and they were running all kinds of tests in order to understand why al of those children had to be hospitalized.

 Lisa and I frequently worked together. She had been the one to put the bomb in the warehouse and had a certain inclination towards violence. She could restrain herself from doing any physical damage but I know she felt a certain amount of pleasure when kicking and breaking and looking at blood. Sometimes, she scared me but I know she was there for good reasons, as was I.

 We decided to go to the office building of the doll company first, at night. The idea was to get information on paper or digitally hidden, in order to relate one part of the case to the other. I told Lisa she would be watching my back, as I looked for the files. Entering the building was easy and it seemed we had all the time in the world but someone else was there and he or she didn’t work there either. I told Lisa to hold her punches, and wait for this character to do something. What he did was beyond extreme: he just pulled a little water gun and shot everywhere and we go to the elevator just in time, before he threw a lighter at it and the gasoline ignited.

 Our next move, knowing something big had been destroyed, was to visit the mansion of the president of the company. He was also its owner and had inherited it from his father. The mansion was so exaggerated in its details; it was easy to see who really pulled the strings in the relationship. The man’s second wife was a very enhanced woman, in the sense that her many medical procedures were obvious. We hid in the dark for hours before we entered the house. But there was nothing on the studio, his computer or any of the man’s belongings.

 The wife, however, was still awake when we attempted to leave. And I say that because she caught us and stopped us using a taser gun. When I woke up, I thought she was just a scared housewife that had found mysterious people in her house, but then I realized she was speaking in some foreign language and she had no signs of terror or even surprise on her modified face.

 She got closer to Lisa first, and burnt her with a cigarette she was smoking, right on her face. Then, she walked towards me but it was in that moment the man we had seen in the briefing entered the room: he may have been in an Armenian prison, but now that we saw him groomed, wearing a bathrobe, we realized he was practically a swimsuit model. The woman went to him and kissed and I decided to seize the moment.

 I stood up as fast as I could and then attempted to pull out my gun. But it wasn’t there. But my smoke spheres were, so I threw those at them. I helped Lisa and, just in time, Maria and Marcus appeared out of nowhere and gunned down the couple. It was a mess when the smoke cleared.


 The owner of the house had been killed in his sleep, probably by the women or maybe both. They planned to escape as they had a lot of baggage in a car outside. But now that they were dead, it wasn’t easy to understand the reason to using the children. It was worst when we were notified one of them had died that night, as we did nothing really useful to help them. Working at the margins was always like this, frustrating, and not rewarding in the least. But that’s my job, I guess.

miércoles, 11 de noviembre de 2015

Fish market

   When Brody woke up, the light entering his room was practically nonexistent. The only object illuminating his room was the alarm clock he had always had beside the bed. He sat on his bed for a few minutes and just stayed there, fighting the urge to fall asleep. But finally he put his two feet out of bed and walked towards the bathroom. There, he woke up even more due to the light, which was very bright. He had thought of buying another light bulb for the bathroom but he always forgot. He removed his boxers and let the water run in the shower. When it was warm, he entered half asleep, almost leaning too much against one of the shower’s walls. He didn’t really want to go to work. He just wanted to fall asleep for several hours and only wake up when he was fully rested.

 But that wasn’t happening. He got in front of the water, in order to wake up properly and spend the following five minutes trying to wake up the rest of his body. When he got back to his room, towel around his body, there was still no light outside. The world was submerged in the darkness and he was one of those unfortunate souls that had to wander through the lack of light in order to earn a living. Or something like that, anyway. He let the towel fall to the ground and then spent some minutes looking for clothes. The proof that he was still asleep was that he dressed up in the weirdest way: he put on a t-shirt first, and then the socks followed by a jacket. Then he got to his boxers and finally some pants. He almost forgot to put on underwear but he realized it in time.

 When he was finally ready, he came out of his room and into a small room outside where the kitchen was. The apartment was not very big but it was just the size he needed it to be. He could bring friends and have some beers but it wasn’t the best place for a party, even if he had already tried (often), to have some of those in there. He drank orange juice straight from the bottle and then grabbed the milk and poured some into a cup. He had it with cereal, eating standing up and closing his eyes from time to time. He so wanted to sleep. And it wasn’t only because he was tired but because he remembered bits and pieces of a great dream he had been having and he knew it was one of the good ones.

 When he finished eating, he went back to his bathroom and brushed his teeth. As he did, he looked at his face and did funny faces in order to make himself laugh or at least attempting to make his eyes look a little bit more open. But it was to no avail. He finally took a backpack from the floor of his bedroom and then just went out the door. He went down the stairs rather fast and at the bottom he received a powerful gust of wind right in his face. It was very cold and already blue outside, not yet full of light but in an annoying twilight that could last a couple of hours. He closed his jacket and walked on.

 The bus was always on time and that day it wasn’t the exception. People were already making a line to get into it so he almost got to stay because of how filled with people the bus was. He had to take a little space at the back, between the window and an elderly woman that smelled a lot like onions. He was thankful the trip was not that long, or he would have collapsed due to the odor. Maybe she was from a region where they grew a lot of onions because she wasn’t carrying a bag with them or anything. He looked at other people in the bus and there were any like him: head going from side to side, eyes closing for a few seconds, then opening as if nothing had happened. There was a young student already fast asleep. He felt sorry for him, as it was likely he would overshoot his stop.

 Finally, the bus arrived at his destination: the market. The place was very active already, even for the hour. Most people were owners of the stands. With the help of their employees, they were filling their areas with fruits and vegetables and many other delicious things to eat like mushrooms and dried fruit. He had to walk past all of that area to get to the next building, where he had to work. It was the place where the meat and fish were sold. The stand he worked at was in an intersection of paths, which was perfect for business, as every single shopper would see their products, no matter the way they were coming from. The owner complained a lot but he was pretty successful.

 When Brody arrived, he told him he should have arrived sooner as it was the day they got fresh octopus. And when he said fresh, he meant alive. It was Brody’s job to get those creatures into a tank in order to have them in display like lobsters. He actually didn’t like to do that because it reminded him a lot of those movies that show how everything once when there was slavery. Of course an octopus is not a person but he felt back for the poor fellow anyway. He put on his boots, apron and “mouth cover” and started helping his boss putting everything into display. Fortunately, the boss decided to fight the octopus himself, so he didn’t have to experience that sad episode again.

 All fish were in boxes and he just had to put them on the ice over the refrigerator where every single costumer could see how fresh and clean and beautiful everything was. It was a nice thing to do and he was already used to the smell. He sometimes did some changes in the display, forming words with the fish and he always did it without the permission of his boss. For a person that claimed to be in control of everything, he never realized what was going on in his own stand. The truth was he always negotiating and going around asking if other had made more money than him and what new products were being sold.

 The morning rush started just as the only octopus of the day was finally inside his enclosure and all the rest of his marine friends were well displayed in the stand. Just then arrive Marcus, a huge man that spoke once every year, which happened to be the one to cut, chop and gut every single fish that was going to be sold. He never helped organize things and he always left before the boss could ask him to help them clean. That was Brody’s job and also cashier and actual salesman. He convinced people to shop there and he gave them the best deals, trying to make them good for the boss too but sometimes just looking to sell something as he knew his salary depended a lot on how many fish got to leave in some old lady’s bags.

 It started a bit slow but as natural light grew larger in the outside, the more people came in to buy their rations of seafood for the day. In the stand, they did not only sell fish and octopus but also clams, squid, mussels and many other creatures. As more and more people started to come in, Brody had a nicer time. It was fun to explain to people the differences between some types of fish and others and how they could cook them and make a delicious seafood soup. Many were actually surprised he knew so much about cooking. The thing was he had decided to learn all he could about what he was selling and the natural thing was also to learn how to cook what he was selling. At home, he had already tried every recipe he recommended and it was always a success.

 In the afternoon, things began coming to an end. People had already had lunch and very few buyers bought fish for dinner so late. They came for it in the morning. So at four or five in the afternoon, depending of the day, they closed shop, put into boxes everything that had not being sold and began cleaning their stands with hoses as fish guts had to be pushed into a main drain. It was Brody who did all of that because Marcus left and his boss was too busy trying to calculate how much money he had made in one day. The octopus was the last one to be put away. Thankfully for him, no one had wanted to cook him for a meal.

 Thirty minutes after closing, Brody cleaned his boots and apron, put them in the backpack and bid farewell to the boss. He hoped for Friday to come soon as he got his paycheck then. He had worked hard all month and, as he walked towards the bus stop ( again in the twilight), he repeated his plans in his head: he wanted to be a chef and had to get the right amount of money to study to be one of the best cooks in the country. Inside the bus, people moved because he still smelled like fish. He didn’t mind, it was an acquired taste. When he got home he enjoyed a warm shower and got into bed early, without eating. He had to save money and he couldn’t afford dining every day.


 His dream was the most important thing to him and he was willing to sacrifice a bit of himself in order to get access to it. Before falling asleep, however, his only thought was a clam chowder, nice and warm, with all the proper ingredients.

miércoles, 11 de febrero de 2015

All wrong

   Alan put one finger in the water: it was perfect. He closed the tap and took off his towel. He put it on a hanger just by the tub and then entered the water, laying peacefully in the tub, closing his eyes and smiling calmly. He hadn’t been properly relaxed for many days because of work and family and he had decided to take this Sunday to just be at peace with himself, enjoying what he liked and doing everything for him only.

 He opened his eyes remembering he hadn’t used the bath foam he had bought a day ago in the mall. He stood up, carefully stepped on the floor mat and walked to the sink. He grabbed the small bottle and poured some in the water. Then, when he was about to enter the calm of the bubbles, he heard the intercom’s sound. He decided not to answer it but then it kept on ringing. He grabbed the towel, put it around him and went to the kitchen to answer the call. Apparently someone from work had come to visit him and leave some documents. He asked the man to say he didn’t want any visitors but then he heard another voice: it was his boss and apparently he had come with his wife. There was no way to say no.

 He put on an old t-shirt and some gym pants and received them. He thought his clothing would make them go away but they certainly didn’t. The truth was his boss was very fond of him but he didn’t like him in return. He was the kind of person that would use other people’s time freely, as if it was his own. Alan had to give them some cookies he had gotten from his mother as well as coffee he had prepared for a post-tub breakfast.

 Their visit seemed eternal. Who visited an employee at nine in the morning on Sunday? His hatred of his boss grew exponentially as he told him his stupid stories about the club and encounter had had with a well-known actor in the airport and when he had gone to Thailand. Alan did not want to know any of that. He couldn’t give a fuck about what his boss did outside of work and, clearly, his boss didn’t really cared about his employee’s lives.

 Then, after all his stupid stories, he confessed he had only come to visit in order to give Alan some papers that he should read for a reunion the following morning. And the he just left, as if nothing had happened. Alan decided not to ask why he hadn’t sent those damn papers by email or with a courier or some other way. Why did he have to come and bother the only person that visibly disliked him in the office? It was funny how Alan really did not express any animosity for him but then he was all nice and kind to Alan.

 He tried to not think about work, leaving the papers on his coffee table. Alan walked back to the bathroom, where the bath foam had grown so much it was spilling on the sides of the bathtub. Deciding he didn’t really mind about it, he took off his clothes, left them on the floor and put one foot in the water. He almost fell backwards when he felt the icy cold water that was beneath the foam. Now he had to empty the tub and fill it with hot water again. Half of the cold water out would be enough to fill it again.

 When most of the water was out, he opened the hot water tap to refill it. He also added some more of the foam solution, as most of it had gone down the drain with the cold water. Then, the doorbell rang again. Alan let out an exasperated sound. He was going to kill the doorman if he had let someone in without asking him. He grabbed his towel and went to the door almost running. Before he realized he could have just not answer it, he had opened the door.

 It was his neighbor Marco, a big guy that apparently spent every hour of the day at the gym. Sure enough, he wore the right attire to go and work out but that wasn’t important right then. He was holding a white cat, very fluffy with a flat face.

 - Hey man. I was wondering if you could take care of Snowball for a few hours. I            normally leave with my…

 He’s face looked as if he had forgotten the word he was about to say or even why he was there. Alan stared impatient, looking from Marco’s stupid face, to his cat’s face and then back to Marco’s. Then, he realized he was only wearing a towel, which could fall at any moment because he had not put it correctly in the haste.

 - Am I interrupting something? – He said, looking at something over Alan’s shoulder,  which wasn’t very hard to do as he was very tall.

 - Kinda… - in a very cold voice.

 - Cool…. So my girlfriend won’t take him. She’s busy and can’t do it. So would you do  it? Just for a few hours. She has already eaten and she’s very well behaved.

 He held the cat in front of Alan’s face, as if the animal was an offering a weird sacrifice ritual. Alan took the cat that tried to release himself from the man’s arms, and told Marco not to be late because he had a very busy day ahead. Marco just nodded, smiling in a way he looked like a very small child. He gave the cat a pat in the head and then headed down the stairs.

 After closing the door, Alan left the cat on the floor and turned to go in the bathroom. But the cat crossed his path and tried to attract his attention. The creature just roared softly and circled him with his fluffy tail but Alan had no time for this. He grabbed the cat, walked back to the living room and left him there. But when he tried to leave, the cat would cross his path again. He grabbed it once more but then realized the cat’s paws were wet. He was about to yell in fury because he thought it was cat piss but it wasn’t.

 There was a very large puddle of water, still advancing, from the bathroom. Then he remembered the open water tap. He threw the cat away, which landed softly on the floor, and ran towards the bathroom, his towel falling to the damped floor. He almost fell trying to close the tab of water. There was soapy foam all over and the tub kept spilling water to the floor. He finally was able to close the tap and drain the water out of the tub. Now he was wet and soapy all over and his towel was more of a wet cloth than anything else.

 He went to the kitchen and when he was about to grab the mop, the doorbell rang again. Exasperated and frustrated because of his failure to be at peace, he opened the door, slamming in hard against the opposite wall.

 - What? What the fuck is it now?!

 On the other side of the door stood his landlady, an elderly woman who was always accompanied to the upper floors by the doorman, who stood behind her. They both stared at Alan and then the woman yelled and started saying things so loud no one really understood. But Alan did get one of the words: “Pervert”. And then he realized that he was still naked, having not replaced the wet towel with a clean one.

 He slammed the door shut and, for some reason, put the security chain on. He could hear the old lady yelling all the way to the elevator and the doorman trying to calm her down. It was a disaster. Alan just remembered she had told him she would visit in order to negotiate an extension on his rent contract, which he needed to do because of the great price and place he had there. Now that was, like the bathtub foam, down the drain.

 He slid down to the floor, covering his face with his face, frustrated and sad that this so-called “peace” day had been a total failure. Then, with his eyes covered, he heard a weird scratching sound. Panicked, he put his arms aside and realized that Snowball had been quiet, too quiet until now. As he got close to the sofa, he realized the cat was cutting it open, strings of fabric on the floor and even some of the foam from the cushions.


 But that wasn’t the only thing. The papers on the coffee table were now on the floor. And no one could say now what they had been because there was only a bunch of paper strips beneath the table. Alan looked at the cat, which meowed joyfully to him and kept on going with his destruction work.