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

miércoles, 10 de enero de 2018

Sitting there

   Sitting there, with so many people worrying about their own business, was kind of soothing to me. It’s an awful thing to say, but I’d rather have that than a place where everyone is clearly waiting to hear what’s up with you. In other contexts, where nothing is really happening, every single ear in the vicinity would hear a bomb like that. There too but no one would really care because they are waiting themselves for some words they hope they might be hearing and other they don’t want to hear at all.

 I woke up very early that day and I have to say it was very strange to just stare at my own feet for several minutes, sitting on the edge of the bed, before I realized I wasn’t really doing anything and I needed to get going. I slowly dragged myself to the bathroom and had a shower, longer than those that I had daily. I wanted to make time feel longer, but when I put on my clothes and grabbed a glass of orange juice in the kitchen, I realized I hadn’t really spent much time and I would be getting early to work.

 It has to be said: I hate my job and the people I talk to in it. I hate my boss and the girl who’s supposed to greet people in the reception. I really hate them all. It’s not just that I don’t like them but I actually hate them, because they always seem to want more information about me than what they tell me about them. They clearly just want to gossip and my boss only wants me as a mule, as a beast to use for work and nothing else. I don’t thank him for this job at all, none of them.

  However, I need the money and no one else would hire me. So I go every single day to work, by bus, standing up and very rarely finding a seat before I reach my stop. That day I walked especially slowly in order to take my time to work. I managed to get there a little later than expected but still at least one hour before I was supposed to begin my work. I didn’t care. I turned on my computer as soon as I got in and started working right then, as I needed to make my lunchtime valuable.

 I was happy when my stomach started growling, towards the middle of the day. It meant I was hungry, of course, but also that I hadn’t been interrupted by anyone all morning. Not a single stupid question or a greeting that had no real intention of being kind. Nothing at all for almost five hours and that was simply the best time I had ever had in that place. I was able to reach some clients, fixing some documents I had to correct and even do a couple of things ahead of time to free my schedule even more. Other would not appreciate that but I didn’t really care.

 The moment people around me started talking louder and stood up to walk towards the elevators, I realized it was my time to run. I went down by foot, through the relative darkness of the stairs and I reached the main gate in a very short time. Luckily, the place I had to go to was nearby, only a couple of blocks away, so my time would be spent in the best way possible. My stomach growled the whole walk towards the clinic, but I ignored it by smiling at the beautiful weather.

 The sun was very high up in the sky and there were a couple of fluffy white clouds there but nothing to prevent the sun from reaching all the people below that wanted that beautiful day to last forever. I was a bit sad to get to the clinic, a place that should’ve been a lot less dark than it was, but I decided to just grab my number and sit down as I waited. The place was not a real hospital or something like that. It was more like a center to get help, something much more informal.

 That was a good thing because I had always hated the smell and the sounds of hospitals. They make my skin crawl. Maybe it’s because every time you’re in a hospital it’s because something wrong is happening with you or someone else. Not even the food is decent in a place like that. So I really don’t like those places. Burt that one was a lot warmer, both physically and in the décor. It wasn’t blue and white but orange and red and green and all sorts of other colors.

 Maybe that’s because people with children tend to go there. I saw at least three very young mothers with their babies, waiting for their turn to speak with a counselor. It has to be said there were not that many doctors there. People were not waiting to have a checkup or something like that. It was more of a social thing in general. I looked at those girls for a long time, and I realized many of them seemed ashamed to be there but they didn’t go anywhere until their names were called.

 I, on the other hand, was there for something between a medical procedure and a psychosocial thing. It’s hard to talk about it but at least I went there. The point of it all is I waited for about twenty minutes until a nurse, a very tall one, called my name and asked me to follow her. She asked me to wait in a very small room. She came back shortly with what she needed. A syringe and a small plastic bag. She asked for my arm and in seconds she extracted a whole syringe of blood from me. The nurse asked me to wait there, as someone would be with me shortly.

 Another woman came in and talked to me about all those things I knew about but I had ignored. She was very nice and kind and even tried to make me asked her questions. Just to be kind, I did ask a couple of things, of which I already knew the answer to. When I stepped out of the clinic, I still had a half an hour to have something to eat. Luckily, there was a fried chicken place in the way to work. I sat there and ate several pieces, with fries and a large soda. I was going to be late but I didn’t care at all.

 I sat on the restaurant’s terrace, where my face could feel the scorching rays of the sun. I didn’t mind at all. I was just so happy eating my chicken, getting all greasy and having such a blast eating and enjoying the sun. It was one of those short moments in life when you actually feel happy, truly happy. I did not feel my happiness then was artificial or the cause of something someone else had done. It was all about me and how good I felt for making a good decision and pairing it up with fried chicken.

 When I got to the office, the boss called me to his office to basically yell at me for being fifteen minutes late. Other people were still talking about the gossip they had heard at lunch, no one was really working, but I was the one being called to the boss’ office in order to be yelled at. I let him do that for a couple of minutes, not really paying attention, just nodding and saying, “yes” every so often. But then, he said something I cannot remember but that phrase somehow struck a chord deep inside me.

 I told him to "fuck off" and then went back to my desk. I did expect to be fired but nothing happened.  Actually, nothing has happened since then, almost two months ago. And now I’m in that waiting room again, waiting for them to tell me if there’s something wrong with me or not. I’m very nervous, of course, but somehow I feel as free as that day eating fried chicken. Because I defended myself once and I did something for me on the same day. I’m kind of proud of those things.

 The nurse calls my name. She’s the same very tall woman. She has such a kind and beautiful smile on her face. It’s so soothing to see someone greeting you like that. She asks me to follow her and we end up in a different room than the one the time before. She asks me to wait for the counselor.


 As I wait, I notice the pictures around the room. They are personal photos and items, collected through the counselor’s lifetime. She really does feel that place, that tiny office, to be her place. I hope I feel that way about a place too, someday. Or something else.

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.