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

miércoles, 22 de febrero de 2017

Everything is nothing

   As the blood dripped down to the floor, getting the thick white carpet wet and stained, the man just looked through the window, contemplating the lights of the city that had been his home for so many years. He hadn’t been born there but he felt as if he had. He had always felt like someone from the city and not the son of a farmer. Either way, it had all lead him to that moment in his life and he realized by looking at the city that he was all alone, as he was on the farm all those years ago.

 His name was Alan and his blood was very dark. He barely felt it sliding down is hand, his fingers, falling almost silently to the floor. The dagger he had used, an old antique he had bought on a trip to Vietnam, laid in the sofa. It was clean because his blood had not rushed out from him but had rather been very slow to come out, as if his body was trying to hold on to life as long as it could. But he had decided his own faith and there was nothing that could save him from it. There was no turning back.

 His apartment was very large, with five bedrooms, each with a bathroom. The kitchen had a lot of space to do all kinds of recipes and the cabinets added an almost never-ending amount of storage space. The living room was the part of the apartment where he stood, barefoot, looking at the twinkling lights of the city below. He had other antiques all around the house, including on his dinner table and the small lobby where he had greeted so many of his so-called friends and family.

 There was no family anymore. Helen had left months ago. She argued it was because of him, because he failed to touch her as much as she wanted too and hadn’t really been a sweet and caring husband during their short marriage. He had a different point of view to the matter: Alan knew his wife had been sleeping with someone, almost from the first day they had been married. He had pictures and even a couple of witnesses. But he wasn’t the kind of man to play all his cards at once.

 By the way, what she had said was the truth: Alan had never really loved Helen. The real thing was that Alan had never cared for anyone in his life. He had been born into a poor family with two sisters and three brothers. That house did not have any love either, just responsibilities. He had learned from a young age that what mattered was to work like a horse every day of your life to make some money and to be someone. To make people tremble when they heard your name, if possible. And Alan had dedicated his life to achieve exactly that.

 His eyes were beginning to go foggy and he stumbled bit, almost banging his head against the window’s glass. But he didn’t fell down; he remained where he was, his blood dripping still. He felt thirsty but he didn’t even try to go to the kitchen for something to drink. He just stood there, remembering how Helen had thought she had the moral high ground when they argued for the last time. She was an overly dramatic woman and he asked himself often why he had chosen her and not another.

 Well, that had a rather simple answer: she had been there when she was necessary. Helen was the daughter of a wealthy man, very well known in the business circuit. As Alan was climbing levels, he realized he had to have someone by his side to be supported by others. For some reason, people still mistrust someone that has chosen not to have a family or even not getting married. And Alan was one of those but he had to fake he was just like them. So he met Helen and eventually married her.

 The relationship lasted for less than three years. During that time, she slept with another man at least three of the seven nights of the week. Other three nights she spent at her family home, where her father and mother would shield her against her “horrible husband”. Only one night a week she spend it in her actual home, where she bitched and moaned at everything because that was the way she was, always trying to end something she had agree on building too, whether she remembered or not.

 Alan was not the kind of man to fall in love or have lovers. He had never hired a prostitute or even visited a strip club. He didn’t feel any of those urges that are the norm among men. And no, he didn’t felt it either for men or other living creatures. He didn’t really have any perversions of the mind or of the soul, at least not related to his romantic interests. That was because he had none. Love was not one of his priorities in life. It had never been like that and it would never be.

 It was probably the reason why, after living his farm at a young age and thanks to his own efforts getting a scholarship, he just left his family and never saw them again. They tried to contact him several times and he even checked on them she had checked on his wife, but every time he got information on them he realized he wanted them far from everything he had. His family was greedy and could be summed up as a group of awful people, stepping on each other to climb little bit further. They were awful and Alan did not want to have anything to do with them,

 With no family and no need or urge to love or even to fuck someone, Alan had always been alone. Because, of course, friends hadn’t been a priority either. No friends had meant that he finished high school and college much faster than anyone else. It had meant for him that no money was thrown into useless things like alcohol or drugs, instead he did the best investments possible and got much more money than he had always needed. Friends would have only been a distraction.

 He had always been alone and he had always been fine with been alone. Those long and luxurious trips he had gone to in order to get half of the things he had on his house, had been done by himself. He had no guides and no nagging wife telling him anything. He had enjoyed the purity of those places and he had even felt he belonged to something greater than him, something he had never reflected on in his life. Knowing the world changed some of his preconceptions on people and the world.

 His family was not religious so he had never learned what it meant to have faith. His wife was supposedly catholic but he had never seen her got to mass or say something in that regard. When he traveled, he discovered that spiritual side that had never really been in him. He started having many ideas about it and would spend long nights trying to decipher his own sense of religion and faith. For Alan, it was something fascinating to discover but he never really became a fanatic. He knew when to stop.

 It was during that study of faith, when he realized the kind of life he had lived. In general, nothing too bad could be said about it. His business movements had always been clean, he had tried to provide for a wife who hated him and had attempted to save various artifacts that he thought could be lost if he didn’t buy them and put them on display in his apartment. In his mind, he had done many good things and nothing that could be classified as “bad”. But he was very wrong.

 He had lived a sad, pathetic life, alienating everyone from it. Religion showed him that living with others improved a person’s well being, it improved their lives in ways he had never even thought possible. His life had been lost to material things, to what does not remain.


 Realizing he had done nothing with his life, that he had decided not to give any of what he had to an heir, Alan decided fast and firmly, as he had always done. He grabbed his precious dagger and cut his wrists the best way he could. And then waited, because there was nothing left to do.

miércoles, 11 de enero de 2017

Strong woman

   By then, she had become a professional. She knew every single trick to travel, no matter if it had to do with packing her suitcase or buying the best hygiene products for herself. She knew which airlines offered what, the amount of room she had on any plane and the time she had in every single flight to work, sleep and relax. You could say she was a little bit to rigid with her life but Christine would have answered that she was just very well prepared. And that’s why her bosses loved her.

 Not only she was very practical in her travelling life, she was also like that with work. She travelled around the country and to other parts of the world, helping companies with their problems with technology and innovation. Christine went everywhere to hold meetings and conferences to anyone interested about how a company could survive in the new digital era. She knew about every single new development and was very well versed in the finance world too.

 Some people saw her as a danger to their way of doing things, specifically those people that were just corrupt and had arranged the system to work for them instead of working for everyone. During her fifteen-year experience, she had been responsible for unmasking a very high number of corruption scandals on many different companies. No matter if they produced video games or handled supermarkets, there was always someone trying to make more than the rest.

 That possibly was why so many people hated her too. In her world, in her order of things, there was no such thing as personal interests. She couldn’t understand how someone could put themselves in front and leave everyone else behind. Granted, she was not the best to speak about group efforts as she never did them herself, but she knew the value of having a good team to make a company go to directions no one else had ever gone. She tried not only to make them all win money and be successful, but Christine also wanted them to have a heart.

 That made her enemies very angry and that’s why many companies that had once asked for her help, suddenly rejected her and even campaigned against her actively in order for her bosses to be tempted to fire her or something but that never happened. Not only because she was really good at her job, but also because they feared her. They knew that if she was so good, she must have had something on the company she worked. It was only natural that she did, to protect her own interests.

 But that was where they didn’t understand her. She didn’t have anything on anyone in the company. She had even checked on that. And it was because she believed a relationship based on trust was much better than one based in fear. So from her side, everything was just fine. From their side not so much, but she had decided long ago that she couldn’t be worried about things she had no real control over. There was no way she could convince them that she wasn’t going to turn on them one day.

 Real problems came the day her enemies, people that had robbed millions, sued her in court with allegations of her work being unethical and, also, for receiving money in order to help improve conditions in some companies and not in other. They said that she refused to help their companies because she was under orders not to let them have any part in the business. They were very specific in their statements and even presented evidence of every single thing they were claiming.

 Christine would have wanted to laugh and she did when she got home but certainly not in the courthouse, where everyone’s eyes were fixed on her. She tried not to make any telling expressions and only limited her words to denying what those men in suits were saying. She was very calm and one could even say she didn’t care much for having to loose time there when she could be doing something much more interesting. Her rivals even pointed that out but the judge seemed not to mind much.

The actual trial was set to begin two months later. She would have to keep working until then because she had many prior commitments. But her company had asked her to please hold any engagements until after the trial was done because they didn’t want any of their clients to feel they could lose not only money but also their prestige in the business world. Of course, she understood perfectly what they were asking of her. So the day before she went to trial, was the same day she finally stopped at home and realized how her life would change now.

 The trial was very well publicized because many people in the media had been bought by the owners of the companies that were suing her. So it was obvious what their position was. They wanted her to be turn to shreds by people too, which was very hypocritical as those same companies were the ones that robbed everyone of their savings and their hard won money.  She had some big lawyers on her side too but the ones in the other side were particularly vicious. So much so that, on the second day, they even dared to attack her personal life, which was preposterous.

 Her lawyer told her not to say anything about that and she didn’t but it was the first time she seemed out of control. She wasn’t happy, at all, that her enemy was so visibly desperate that they wanted to find a weak spot wherever they could see it. Their questions and allegations hovered around the fact that she was an unmarried adult woman that lived her life travelling around. They called her irresponsible and immoral, which was perfect for the always religious people in juries. There’s always a couple.

 The trial went on for weeks. Whenever she thought they had been discredited by her very well built case, they came again with claims of bribery and corruption. It was then when she really got tired and decided not only to do her own defense but also using their own tricks. She would go personal and to the facts they were attacking on her. She was very tired and she had never felt that way. Christine was a very strong person but know, for some reason, she was beginning to feel the weight of years of work.

 The first day, in which she defended herself, she attacked them head on with proof of their own corruption. She had the papers and the data, which she always kept on her records to bring them down. One by one, one by day, she destroyed their credibility in front of the judge. Of course, they came against her hard with more personal questions and other attacks but Christine was ready, she had prepared herself thoroughly for that occasion, so she had brought the big guns.

 Did they want to talk about hidden children, lovers, weird fetishes and many other things? Fine, she went there with proof. During her years as a woman in business she had also made a lot of good friends, friends with enough talents to actually uncover things about people that they would have never thought no one would ever know about. But those good friends, many of those owed a lot to Christine, came to help in her hour of need. They really did the best they could to help her win that damn case.


 The day she actually won, the papers suddenly went silent and she went back to work. She decided to work now for smaller companies in order to help them be bigger and better. Christine wanted no more juggernauts in the game. Instead, she wanted to help where she was really needed. And she knew that they would let her do that because now she was a big name. Now they knew who she was and what she could do: bring empires up or down to the ground. There was clearly no one better in the game and Christine knew it very, very well.

jueves, 6 de octubre de 2016

Rejection

   Jean grabbed her purse and the bag where she kept her laptop. She walked very fast but tried not to look angry, disappointed or anything else. She just wanted to leave that place as fast as she could. It was very uncomfortable to stay there after she had been so insulted. As she arrived to the elevator, the door closed as someone was going down just before her. She whispered a course word, frustrated that she had to wait like an idiot in order to leave a please she definitely didn’t wanted to stay in or return ever again. She felt too humiliated.

 Out of nowhere, one of the guys that had been there during her interview walked up to her. He told her that they had been looking for her. A tiny shimmer of light appeared in her heart only to be crushed moments later when she realized the man had come to find her because she had left her pen in the table. What was even more annoying, was that he started talking about the results of the interview and telling her, once again, about all the flaws she had as a writer and so on. She wanted the Earth to swallow her, as his voice was very loud and everyone around seemed to be listening.

 She had to close her eyes and just try to relax by breathing slowly, feeling the air through her body. Ignoring the man was not easy but she could at least think of something else as he talked and talked and talked. The lady that managed the reception on that floor looked at them with surprise and obvious disgust. When Jean opened her eyes, the lady looked at her straight in the eye and shook her head, then looking at the guy. Jean only smiled, thankful that at least one person realized in what an uncomfortable situation she was.

 Finally, the elevator opened up and she stepped in without even acknowledging the man. For a moment, it seemed as though he was going to follow her into the elevator but fortunately he didn’t. He was even able to say anything else to Jean as she pressed hard the button that made the elevator close faster. She then pressed the number for the ground floor and started breathing normally again. She felt seriously awful and couldn’t believe she had to go home now in a bus that would take at least forty-five minutes. She didn’t felt good at all.

 Luckily, the bus didn’t take long to pass and she was able to find a free seat next to the window. She really wasn’t feeling ok and even though she was going to fall asleep, her brain wouldn’t let her. Not only because it may not be the best idea to fall asleep on a bus, but also because she had their words in her head. She could hear them once and again, trashing every single part of the work that she had done for them. Saying that they destroyed her isn’t enough to describe what went on in that conference room. A few tears rolled down her face.

 She had to clean herself with her hand because she had no tissues or anything like that. But it was clear to her that she had no intention to be the crazy woman in the bus that cries “for no reason”. So she tried to clean her tears off and attempted to think about something else. For example, the fact that she had left her family cat by herself. It wasn’t something that she did for the first time but it was something to think about. The cat was obviously ok but she had to create a problem in her mind in order to be able to resist the urge to cry.

 The bus took less time to her stop than it usually did. She hadn’t realized but she had left that office so early that there wasn’t even the normal traffic jam of peak time out in the streets. When she came down of the bus, she checked she had everything with her, including the pen she had forgotten in her pocket. Walking home took only five minutes. Her house had a cute garden that was brimming with light and color as she entered. It was as if nature was trying to cheer her up.

 And it did make her smile at least. When she entered the house, she called for her parents. Fortunately, no one answered back. They were normally there but she didn’t care where and why they had left, she only wanted to go to her run and be able to fall asleep and nap for while, all afternoon was possible. She dropped her purse and laptop bag on the ground and took off her shoes before lying down in bed. She faced upwards, towards the ceiling and, again, she could her all the criticism and the things all those men had said.

 She began to cry again but, this time, Jean didn’t clean her face or attempted to appear tougher than she looked. She didn’t need to do that, as that was her bedroom, her place in the world. There, she could do whatever she wanted and in that moment she wanted feel miserable for her. The words those men had said had been like daggers and they had stabbed her with them once and again and again. It was almost as if they had enjoyed themselves by doing so. To her, it was a very sick thing to do but she only reflected on that many days later.

 It had been really unnecessary to tell her all those things. They didn’t have to sink every single fiber of her soul by saying a lot of things that, even if part of the truth, weren’t as important in real life as they might have portrayed them. They essentially told her she had no idea how to write, that she couldn’t put three words together and that she made no sense whatsoever in what she had written for them. It was an essay about internal practices in very big companies.

 Jean had no idea of that. She had not been to business school or anything like it. She was just a normal girl trying to make her way into the world. She had thought that her English level was good enough for them but apparently it wasn’t. And of course it wasn’t because they had told her that she didn’t need to correct her essay for them and she didn’t. They lied to her because she would always do corrections but they had assured her they weren’t necessary. Besides, she had no idea of any business practices. She had a degree in creative writing, for God’s sakes!

 They had also told her that her way of portraying the business world was not very professional. And when she attempted to explain that she had no experience in the actual business world, as she had told the woman she had applied for the job too, they wouldn’t let her speak. They would only raise her voice and just keep talking. The guy that gave back her pen had been particularly nasty when saying that she shouldn’t have told them that she was actually good in English. At that moment she felt so enraged, she stood up and decided to leave.

After all, three men in one small conference room were attacking her. And it was all because of one miserable test they had set up in order to chose the perfect person for the freelance job they were looking for. They weren’t even going to take her into the company; they only wanted to see if she was available to do some texts for them once in a while. And, later that week, Jean realized the pay for one piece of writing was extremely mediocre compared to what people with no big company attached to them could pay her.

 It wasn’t the fact that they hadn’t hired her but the fact that they had been deceitful in a way and that they had been so rude in explaining to her why she hadn’t been selected. After all, it made no sense that they had invited her to their offices only to insult her. It would have been better to receive an email with two phrases: one thanking her for applying and the other rejecting her application. It would be more direct and less surrounded with bullshit. She realized those guys only wanted to feel superior somehow and they had found their guinea pig in her.


 Jean fell asleep as she was thinking all of this. She woke up to the voice of her mom telling her it was dinnertime. When her parents asked how it had all went down, she told her everything that had happened and that she was planning to move along. It was hard for her to be her age, living with her parents and she did wanted to earn some money for herself but she wasn’t going to stop looking for a perfect fit to her talents. That company wasn’t the only one in the world and she was certain that, sooner or later, someone would be interested in what she could do.

martes, 13 de septiembre de 2016

Anne Cheevers and the mystery at Caltot

   The sound of the train passing over the tracks had been enough for her to fall asleep. But now that she was waking up, the sound seemed to be louder, much less calming. Anne had decided to visit her aunt Sylvia once in the spring, as her mother had asked her so many years ago, way before she had died in that horrible accident with her father. It was a tragedy the family didn’t discuss openly but that had carved deep scars between all of them. The deepest one had to do with the Cheever girls, Anne and her sister Marissa, having to run the business her father had owned. Her aunt and uncles had wanted that for themselves but her father had been very clear now in his will.

As Anne watched the trees pass by her the window beside her, she felt suddenly annoyed. Even with the shiny sun outside and the beautiful scenery of the region, she couldn’t forget the reason she was there: her sister Marissa, who was older and supposedly wiser, had realized running a store such as her fathers was a very difficult task that needed the hand of a strong man. After all, the times they lived in weren’t precisely easy for young women like them and not one or the other had chosen a bachelor yet. The fact that they were orphans made the deal even harder to achieve, as most parents would be quite disturbed to have to arrange everything with the bride instead that with her parents. Traditions were not something people threw away often in that corner of the world.

 Aunt Sylvia had married Octavius Potter, a businessman who owned a very well known chain of new restaurants called Norma’s. Those places were supposed to bring the charm of country cuisine into the big cities and towns of the country and, by whatever rumors Marissa had been listening to, apparently Potter was hitting the jackpot with such an invention. People hadn’t heard about anything like that in this side of the ocean and, naturally, they were all eager to try out something new and exciting that everyone just wanted to experience. Even Anne had been to a Norma’s restaurant with Marissa but their experience had left a lot to be desired.

 As she contemplated a small town of beautiful small red houses, Anne remembered the dreadful deserts and sour tea she had tasted with her sister in that restaurant. And the comments from their friends who had visited were not much better. Maybe it was that branch in particular that wasn’t really working up to Mr. Potter’s expectations but Marissa soon forgot all about that when she heard about the money. It was what they needed. The small convenience store managed by the Cheevers was going through a very rough season and, if they couldn’t find a solution, they would have to close down the store that their father had inherited from their grandpa, who had established it himself at a very young age. It would be the disgrace of their name and the final nail in the marriage coffins.

 As the train started to hit the brakes, Anne felt she was sweating. Of course, she was very nervous about seeing her aunt again. They hadn’t talked since her parent’s funeral and after that not even a letter had been exchanged. She knew everything was going to be tense and Marissa had had the stupid idea to make her stay there for a whole week. As she stood up to grab her suitcase from the upper compartment, Anne realized that she was there and there was no turning back. She owed it to her parents to try to make the best sales pitch ever to her aunt and her husband in order for their lives not to be ruined for good.

 However, as she stepped on the platform of the station, she couldn’t see her aunt Sylvia or Octavius Potter anywhere in the vicinity. Many people descended along with her, so the platform got very crowded and she decided it was better to stand outside and wait for them to arrive there. But nothing happened either. Everyone who had come for a passenger, or had been a passenger themselves, had already left. There was no one else there except an old man who appeared to manage schedules and helped people in need although it wasn’t very clear who would need any help in such a small station. It had to be said that Mr. Potter, although managing a successful business, had decided to leave rather away from the spotlight, in a small town called Caltot. So Anne was not very surprised to not see a single soul near her for the following hour.

 Yes, Anne had to wait for up to an hour in the shade, trying to keep her hair from curling further and her skin from being exposed to the damaging sunlight. She was about to lose it when a young man, about her age, appeared on a bicycle. He stopped in front of her and talked as if they had been acquainted for quite some time. The truth was that Anne was so shocked at this behavior that she didn’t even acknowledge what the man was saying. Out of nowhere, she turned around, grabbed her suitcase from the floor and entered the station again. She had decided to go back home.

 The young man rapidly crossed her path and talked to her again, slowly and looking straight into her eyes to make sure she was listening this time. He didn’t grab her, yelled or did anything inappropriate. He just said he had been sent by Mr. Potter to pick her up at the station, as they knew she would be arriving momentarily. They apologized for not being able to pick her up themselves, but apparently everyone was too busy in their house and couldn’t be bothered to just go to the station and pick their relative. Anne calmed down and the man waited until she seemed less furious. Then he suggested she jumped onto the bike and rode with him but that made Anne even more furious so the boy realized he should stop talking and just decided to walk back to the house.

 As they walked over the narrow streets of the town, he told Anne he was Mr. Potter’s assistant. He was in charge of getting everything his boss needed in order to be comfortable in any given day. Normally, he would only do things related to work but often Mr. Potter had other demands that had nothing to do with work. Out of nowhere, Anne said that was appalling. As she lived in the city, she knew how horrible it could be to work without a proper pay. Granted, she was a woman and there was no real way she could know anything for a fact, but she assured the young man she wouldn’t rest until she got a fair pay.

 Then she stopped and went all red. Not only because she talked so candidly to that man but also because she hadn’t been a proper lady. She did not know her name. He said his name with a big smile on his face, as he was proud of something he hadn’t chosen for himself. Frederick March. He was called March by Mr. Potter but everyone else in town called him Fred. They shook hands, as Anne presented herself to him in a manner that made him smile even further. She stopped short when she realized she was being mocked. As headstrong as she was, Anne decided not to talk anymore with Fred, instead leading him into the town and towards the Potter’s house but that ended shortly because, of course, she had no idea where to go. Fred was kind enough not to laugh anymore although Anne felt he smiled behind her back.

 Once they arrived at the house, Anne realized all the rumors were true: the house was enormous and occupied a large portion of the side of the main square of town. The church was directly across it and the city hall was just on the side. It was beautifully decorated. So magnificent were the paintings on the wood on the outside, that Anne had to step away from the building to appreciate it better. Fred told her that the house had been restored completely by Mr. Potter, just a couple of months after him moving here with Anne’s aunt. Fred also said the lady of the house could be very strong in character but she made her voice be heard and her opinion be respected.

 Anne wanted to know more about Fred’s perception of her aunt as he said this, because the hard truth was that she didn’t know anything about her own relative. They had been apart for so long that the girl even doubted she actually knew what her aunt looked like. Two seconds afterwards, the front door of the house burst open: her aunt was there, breathing heavily, her hands and face covered in blood. She was hysterical, crying and yelling and saying something. Both Fred and Anne ran to help but the scene they saw through the threshold of the house was enough to freeze them solid: Octavius Potter had his intestines out and about, leaning against a piece of furniture.


 As Anne tried not to keep watching the horrible scene, she heard her aunt say: “I didn’t do it!” She sobbed so hard everyone in town was attracted to the square and, in no time, Anne saw herself submerged in a mystery she could have never seen coming, or the people of Caltot, which she would be able to get to know very well in the upcoming days.