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

martes, 31 de mayo de 2016


   Mister James arrived in the late flight. Mrs. Nakamura was there to receive him as soon as he stepped out of the baggage claim area. She was very nice, greeting him with a sign with his name on it in both Japanese and English. She asked him about his journey as they walked towards the door. Not even a minute later, as they were talking about how difficult it could be to sleep on a plane, a small black car, which seemed brand new, appeared out of nowhere and parked in front of the two of them.

Minute later, the car was on a highway, speeding next to many other cars and motorcycles. Mrs. Nakamura was talking on the phone and he didn’t know whom with. He was too fascinated with the view from his window to care: the city rose in every way, buildings all over. It was impossible to see the moon in the sky. It was late but there were lots of cars in the road. As they approached the core of the city, the denser it became.

 When Nakamura hung up, she smiled again and explained where they were going and the name of his hotel. It was a very prestigious five star hotel with every single commodity a person could ask for. He personally thought it was a bit too much for a four days stay but he didn’t say a word. He knew Japanese people loved to be hospitable and it would be rude to say anything against it. So he just smiled and said that the city was very impressive. It was extremely big in every way.

 Soon, they crossed the most popular neighborhoods, where people gathered to have a drink after work and the young ones paraded around to have fun, whether it was on the numerous arcades or on the specialized stores that sold comic books and other anime and manga related items. There were so much people, more than Mr. James had ever seen. He had being born in a very small city and had only left after high school so he was still impressed by large cities.

 They arrived in the hotel just a few minutes afterwards. The building was beautiful and someone, a small man, came out of nowhere and took James’s suitcase. He almost went running after him but it was obvious he was an employee and he was only looking to be efficient. The driver left and Nakamura joined him in the reception for the check-in procedure.

 The lobby of the hotel was very big, filled with flowers. There was no one around except the staff who was also very nice and smiled every single moment. It was late and they were probably tired so it was a very nice thing of them to keep smiling. The short man took the suitcase to the elevator and took them directly to the assigned room. It was locate on floor number 44. The view was outstanding. He almost didn’t hear when Mrs. Nakamura told him she would be there by seven in order to take him to the conference.

 Once alone, he checked his suite: it was almost like a proper apartment with a living room, a small kitchen space and a large bedroom with a very comfortable bed. The bathroom, which had a circular Jacuzzi type of bathtub, had a window overlooking the city. He felt tempted to have a bath but he decided it was better to rest as he had an early day the next day. He took of his clothes and hopped into the bed. There, he stared at the window for a while and realized the bed was big enough for two. So he put a hand on the space next to him and fell asleep.

 The conference that was being held in the city lasted all the four days he was going to be there and would take most of his time. When Nakamura came in to take him there, he was sad he couldn’t walk around the city first. But she noticed something in his face because she told him that they were going to have lunch in a traditional restaurant and dinner in an interactive place where many foreigners love to go. So he decided to look forward to both those activities.

 The conferences were about security in the XXIst century and how could people feel safe in every single one of the spaces they frequented the most such as public transportations, shopping areas, recreation venues and so on. He had given the same conference once and again and again for the last five years. James was considered to be one of the experts in the subject, always invited by television networks to talk about terrorism and how it worked in urban areas and so on.

 Sometimes, he grew very bored of hearing his own voice. And he knew that he also bored many people, no matter how interested they were in what he was saying. It was one of those traits that are impossible to erase from the personality. But he was looking forward to lunch so he decided to be as gracious and nice as he could.

 He was awarded by the most delicious meal he had ever had, at least in recent times. There was some sushi but also ramen and noodles of all kinds and various cuts of fish and seafood. There were also sweets made of what he thought were strange ingredients. But he tried every single thing and was commanded by the chef for being such a good sport with everything. They even took a picture of the whole table, James smiling.

 At night, Mrs. Nakamura took him to the strangest place he had never been in: it was called a café but it was more a hybrid between a bar and a restaurant. They had a live show featuring some people in costumes and the food was all filled with sugar:  milkshakes, ice creams, sweet cocktails, cheesecakes and all kinds of desserts to enjoy as you watched the show.

 When he arrived at the hotel and Mrs. Nakamura left, he had a big smile on his face. The place they had been last was filled with typical tourists and also younger people but he had a lot of fun looking at the costumes and the very creative show they had put up. He was a bit drunk because of some funny colored drinks he had but the first thing he did when he arrived at his bedroom was not to fall asleep but to grab his tablet and start looking for everything he wanted to see all around the city.

 He had decided he wasn’t going to waste any time, no matter how short or if it had to be done at night. He wanted to see every single landmark that was worth a watch and also visit more places like that café, places that felt unique and special. He had gotten such a good vibe out of that place and maybe it was because he had never been in such a fun place, filled with color and with people having fun.

 As he finally got into bed, he realized his job had its perks. It was depressing to talk about security every day but he got to visit such great places and have a fun time. It was always better that been at home where he had no one to come home to, where he had long nights in which the old insecurities came back to hunt him. No, when he travelled he was always happy and had the most fun he had ever had in his life. He wished it could always be like that.

 The second day they went to the shopping areas and James decided to splurge a little. He wasn’t a fan or anything of the sort of manga but he decided to get advice from the owner of the largest store of manga they saw and ask him which ones he recommended to begin with. He bought four books, all in English so he could understand. The owner, as all the other people, was always very nice.

 He also bought some clothes, making Mrs. Nakamura help him with the sizes and telling him if he looked good in them or not. At first, she had been a little apprehensive that he was not as she had expected him to be. But after some conversations, she realized he was lonely person, which wasn’t all that uncommon in her city, in her country. So she decided to help him as well as she could and follow him to all his adventures.

 The night before he had to leave, they went to a very quiet sushi bar which she had recommended as she had dinner there with friends quite often. They discussed his schedule for the last day and when she mentioned his flight, James smile disappeared. He obviously didn’t want to leave yet. She promised to take him to a special place the next day, before the flight and he smiled to that.

 James last night was one of almost no sleep, mostly thinking and thinking. And when he was done doing that, the sun was about to rise. By the time he arrived to the conference hall for one last lecture, he had taken the decision to change his life and to make that presentation the last he would ever make.

viernes, 17 de julio de 2015

Anna's diet

   The smell of chocolate filled the air, liquid chocolate being heated in large tanks. Some of them also had the smell of oranges, others smelled of strawberries. In the factory, they also created various candy and even flavored soft drinks. Temco was one of the largest companies in the country and it only dedicated itself to sugar-based goods. The amount of it that they used in a year, was worth a good contract and that’s why Anna was there, touring the facilities. She wasn’t especially fond of sweets. To be honest, she was one of those people that avoided eating many of the most delicious things. Some called it taking care of herself; others thought it was self-deprivation.

In any case, Anna represented a sugar company that had the capacity to provide several more tons of the precious good in order for Temco to produce more and even new products. Anna was a great saleswoman and the idea of growth always attracted people and companies that wanted to grow more and more. They signed the contract that same afternoon; after a nice lunch where they praised each other often and had no sugar at all. Anna liked to celebrate her contracts with champagne, which was the only time she allowed herself to step out of her strict diet. But maybe this time she shouldn’t have done. Somehow, the following morning when the maid entered the room to clean the bed, she found Anna still in the bathtub but dead.

 It was all over the news and many concluded, even before she got to the morgue, that she had fallen asleep and drowned in her own warm water and bubbles. But when the body was thoroughly examined, they found no traces of water in her lungs. Oddly enough, her hair was dry and she had only ingested the equivalent of one cup of champagne. They did a toxicology exam on the contents of her stomach and found out Anna had been poisoned. The police then took the case, as it had happened on one of the most prestigious hotels and soon Temco was also dragged into the storm by various reporters that had found out about everything before anyone else had.

 Detective Preston was in charge of the investigation and the first thing he did was talk to the CEO of Temco. After all, he had had dinner with Anna the same day she had died and maybe he could say something about her demeanor during that time. But the man did not remember anything strange, nothing that would be notable. He only said that he found strange she didn’t really ate much. She had ordered a salad with tuna and many vegetables but barely touched any of it. Preston visited the restaurant and talked to the young waiter who had served them. He also remembered the almost full plate of salad at the end of the dinner.

 Preston decided then to talk to the family. Surprisingly enough, Anna’s mother was not at all shocked or visibly sad by the death or her daughter. The father had died several years ago from a heart attack and the mother seemed to be focused on other things such as exercising, tanning her skin and also dieting. She told Preston that Anna’s diet was one much more strict than the one she was on. She was very adamant about respecting it and they had quarreled several times over it because the mother thought her ways were better. Besides that, she didn’t really provide anything new or insightful. It was obvious she didn’t really know her daughter besides those silly details. Maybe that’s why she looked absolutely oblivious to the whole thing, as if it had nothing to do with her.

 The detective then visited Anna’s house and checked every corner of the apartment. She had no alcohol and no drugs. The medicines she had were harmless and there was barely enough good food to feed an adult human being. The place was tastefully decorated and it was obvious Anna’s job was a very good one. Her clothes and shoes were pretty expensive and they filled a large room she had between the main bedroom and the bathroom. But nothing there could lead anywhere, neither to an accidental death nor to a reason to kill her. She did deal with multi-million contracts but she never handled actual money so why would anyone kill her? Maybe blackmail was the reason.

 Preston’s next stop was Anna’s office and it was the first time he met someone that apparently cared about the death of the woman. Her secretary sobbed and cried a bit as she opened the office were her boss had worked for almost three years now. She told Preston that Anna was not really a people person but that she wasn’t and ogre or anything. She saw herself as Anna’s friend and her only one as they had shared a couple of laughs and nice times, mainly attached to work. Preston realized that Linda, the secretary, was absolutely honest so he decided to ask her if Anna was dating someone. Linda only looked at Preston, which was enough of an answer for him.

 There was nothing interesting in the office. Many papers relating to contracts she had made with several countries around the country and the world. She was clearly very prolific and documented everything in detail. Linda gave him access to Anna’s personal agenda but there was nothing he didn’t know in there. He couldn’t discard the idea that maybe she did have a lover that no one knew about and that it had been him or her that had killed her. Maybe because of the money she had. Preston had seen her two bank accounts and it could be said that her mother was going to have a very nice old age with all that dough. It was amazing for Preston, who struggled every month, how much others made in a single month.

 It was better for the detective to head back home and just check every piece of the puzzle at the same time. He had checked with the hotel and they hadn’t found anything curious in her room besides her clothes and the bottle of champagne she had never finished. Besides, they confirmed that no one had entered Anna’s room besides her and the maid that discovered the body and there were cameras everywhere in the building so the theory of the lover had to be ruled out. Nevertheless, Preston still thought that people always have at least one private thing, something that they hide to others because it’s embarrassing or simply because they don’t want anyone to know everything about them.

 He went through Anna’s school records, as well as her college ones but nothing was found there either. She had been a great student, having failed no courses and always a teacher favorite. Someone might have not like that but it wasn’t enough to poison her. Anyway, Preston checked the hotel once more and everyone who had made any kind of contact with the bottle. But, as it turns out, the poison was in Anna’s stomach but not in the bottle of champagne. She had been poisoned earlier that day and died slowly at night in the bathtub. So Preston headed to Temco and talked to everyone who saw her and realized she had not accepted a single glass of water and they did offer Preston one at lest ten times. Anna was just a strange woman and it was becoming more and more difficult to understand her.

 Finally, Preston designed a theory were someone from a competitor company, also selling sugar, killed Anna to get to the contract first. Maybe this was all about the possibility of making tons of money. But as he looked for the other companies, no other was large enough to cover the amount of sugar that they had signed for in the contract. Temco was very big and at the moment, only Anna’s company was big enough to supply them what they needed. So competition was scarce, close to null. So Preston decided to check everything once more and then he realized he had forgotten about a key aspect of the night of the death: the dinner at a prestigious restaurant. He had interviewed the waiter but nothing more.

 He went there and asked for the tapes of the cameras that covered the area where Anna had dinner. He also asked them for the menu and everything they had to eat that night. He checked every ingredient in his computer, at home, until he realized about something: Anna’s salad had a very curious ingredient, a mushroom that grew wild in the vicinity and that people had started consuming only in the recent years. He looked it up and discovered that the mushroom was potentially dangerous if consumed with alcohol. And Anna had it with wine and then drank champagne in her hotel room. The forensic team agreed that, with her very poor diet, Anna’s stomach wasn’t able to process the mushrooms as most people could. They were only toxic if the gastric juiced were just weak enough, which was her case.

 So Anna had, in a strange way, killer herself. Preston was relieved to solve the case but just sad for someone who had taken such steps to be healthier and had ended up killing herself.