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

viernes, 26 de mayo de 2017

Failure

   I pulled the cape over my head and ventured outside the module. Rainfall was minimal, so I could finally see how this world looked liked. It was kind of beautiful, with tall smooth mountains rising towards the sky and a small like very near the place I had been trapped in for so many hours. Well, I wasn’t really trapped but it did feel like it after everything that had happened. The ground was muddy and it was better to walk slowly. The possibility of falling to the ground was very high.

 When I got to the edge of the lake, I walked a little bit more towards a large boulder that was half in the water, half in the land. For a moment, I thought it wasn’t a good idea to seat by a lake without knowing if any beasts inhabited it. But then I remembered the moon had been surveyed several times and no life forms had ever been found. It was a barren wasteland that happened to be perfect for us at that time. We had landed only a few hours ago but it seemed like forever.

 I sat on the rock and a gust of cold wind moved my cape and my hair. I bowed down to it, trying not to feel that cold in my bones, but the truth was I did want to feel physically bad. Somehow, it eased the pain of what had happened earlier in Kristomo. I would always ask myself why I had gone to that planet instead of just staying put where I had been told to stay. I had never been the best at following rules, especially when I felt something could be done if I broke said rules.

 A single tear came down my face and I cleaned it fast. I didn’t want to feel bad for what had happened because I just couldn’t blame myself for it. It wasn’t my fault that people weren’t loyal anymore, than they preferred to do things differently. Sean had been with the team for a long time, much longer than I had been there. It made no sense that he would leave just like that but that’s exactly what he did. I thought it through several times but couldn’t really understand why.

 The point was that he had betrayed us on Kristomo. He had gone there with us, where we would try to retrieve a powerful mineral that was better away from the hands of any wrongdoers, as its properties made it not only unique and powerful but also extremely dangerous. It was good then that I managed to truck them and the crystal fell several meters and into an open volcano but it was then when Sean turned on us and started firing like crazy. His new friends did the same and we barely survived the attack. Actually, I was the only one who survived.

 Rom, our pilot, also counts of course, but he had been waiting for us the whole time on the ship. He hadn’t come down to retrieve the crystal or fight the band Sean had “suddenly” joined. He didn’t feel bullets coming all over the place, passing over the shoulder, under the feet and even millimeters away from his eyes. I had to live through that and also watching how my team, the people I had chosen to go there, died next to me in a matter of minutes. It was a bloodbath.

 When I entered the ship and yelled Rom to take off, he thought I was crazy or something. Not only because he knew the team was made up of six people but also because when he turned around, he could see that there was blood spattered all over my face and that my skin had turned to the clearest tone of white I could ever turn to. I yelled at him again and he obliged, taking off as our attackers fired on the ship, trying to make it explode or, at least, trying to prevent takeoff.

 But Rom was very skilled and, in minutes, we were able to make the jump towards the headquarters of our organization. I had no time to mourn for the loss of my team or the conversion of Sean. It was better to communicate the mission’s failure to the central command. So I asked Rom, as calmly as I could, to patch me through to them. He did, handing me a white rag too, which I used to clean the blood of my face. I almost cried then but I breathed slowly and avoided it.

 Central command was content with the crystal been destroyed but they were very concerned with Sean betraying all of us. They didn’t say much about the fallen men and women, I guess because it wasn’t that uncommon for them to hear about people not coming back from these sorts of missions.  They were the ones who told me to come to this barren moon in order to wait here, in case Sean and his new friends were chasing us through the stars. Honestly, I couldn’t care less.

 But that was a lie. I did care, I cared a lot. Because Sean was not only one of my go to people in the organization, he was also someone I had started to like more and more, in ways I had only discovered very recently. Not too long ago, we had shared our first kiss. It had been on another rainy place, much like the one I am right now. His lips were so soft and warm that I thought to myself it would be a very nice way to die, to be killed while kissing those beautiful lips. Of course, I was delirious at the time because it was a stupid thing to think, I could see it now.

 Ram put a hand on my shoulder and I almost fell off the rock. He laughed but I didn’t. Feeling nervous was never funny. He told me had had made some repairs to the ship, as some of the shots aimed at making us land had actually hit the right parts of the ship. He had been able to fix it all with patience and time and now he had decided to check on me. He asked about his friends, our team and I couldn’t look at him to the eyes. I was ashamed of how I had handled everything back there.

 They had died because I had taken too long discovering that Sean was a traitor. He had to say it before I realized it and that was a mistake, clearly because I had grown fond of him. Maybe he used that in his advantage, but the point was that he had betrayed us all and we only had a short period of time to run for our lives. Being on a volcano, stones and hot weather had played against us big time. Some of them fell to the ground and then were shot or they were just reached by very good snipers.

 I told Ram I had no idea how it was that I survived and they died. For a moment, I had wished the roles had been reversed. But that didn’t help anyone, seeing myself only as a victim and make people feel sorry for me. I had to pull myself together, even if it meant moving on from such an awful mission. Ram suddenly came closer and hugged me. Only Sean had done that before but this hug seemed different. I could feel he wanted me to feel good, safe in a way, not bad for what had happened.

 A beeping sound was then heard, so we went back to the ship where a call from our headquarters was waiting for us. I answered. They gave us authorization to proceed with our trip towards them, as they had determined that our enemy had stayed in Kristomo. Apparently, they were mining for a new crystal. We all knew it was almost impossible to find another one but they clearly believed they could work at it a little bit more. In any case, they were dangerous.


 As Ram raised the ship towards the sky, I felt confused and very tired. I had not felt like that since escaping the planet and it was just now that my whole body suddenly felt as if it was made from solid lead. I leaned back into my seat and the last thing I saw was Ram looking at me, with a somber expression on his face. I didn’t worry though. I needed to rest.

martes, 2 de agosto de 2016

Pet party

   As Mary got out of the bank, she realized there was only one more chance to get her dreams to come true. If she couldn’t work it out this time, she would be done for good, as she had nothing to fall back on. She had quite her job in a prestigious company and now she had withdrawed every single penny she had saved. Once she got him, she started making plans for every single cent, knowing how she would spend her money in order to make her dreams come true.

 Since she was a little girl, Mary had a tendency never to get what she wanted. It was always some other kid, more likely her sister, who got all the attention, all the love, all the gifts and presents and everything from everyone whereas she had to settle with whatever landed on her lap, basically. The times she complained, her parents argued that she was jealous of her sister and that she shouldn’t be such a nasty little girl. That kind of response was the main reason why she hadn’t spoken to any of them in such a long time.

 She wrote on a small yellow notebook every single plan she had in order to make it all a success: she had to invest some money buying stuff and then there would be a time of a few months in which she would have to reduce the amount of money she spent drastically in order to survive and have enough time to be successful. She had read several books and informed herself of what she had to do, so it wasn’t like she had rushed herself anywhere.

 As per usual, no one would help her achieve what she wanted. Mary had broken up with her boyfriend a few weeks ago and they didn’t spoke at all after that. It had been a very healthy break up, when she had accepted her mistakes and he had been very surprised she hadn’t attacked him or tried to make him stay. The truth was that Mary had changed quite a lot and simply had no time for such behavior now.

 After she quit her job and decided t be independent, she also realized there would be hours and hours of free time as her business began to from so she decided to exercise at home and also try some kind of diet. It would help a lot to spend less money and it would make her a little more agile and awake, what she needed urgently because of her new lease on life.

 Even if people hadn’t seen it, she had always been a very careful young woman, with her money and what she chose to say and not to say. Mary had never been distracted but rather very focused and driven. She knew most men didn’t like that and her family thought she was just jealous of everyone so her achievements had always been clouded by the shadow of someone she really wasn’t.

 The idea was pretty simple. Since she had been very young, her ambition had always been to have a pet. She had tried to make her parents buy her a dog but that didn’t happen until she was fifteen and her sister got one but she was twelve and wouldn’t really take care of the animal so Mary ended up having to feed him, and groom him and do everything for him in order to be healthy.

 She noticed back then that the food pets got could really use some work. They didn’t seem to be really delicious and she even tried one to check out the flavor. Her sister saw her doing that and immediately told her parents who told her she was disgusting and that they wouldn’t let the dog near her if she did it again. And yet, she kept looking at his toys, the ones that they sold at the stores and how the dogs interacted in the park and, even back then, she had the idea.

 Only now she was making it a reality. She had many designs and recipes kept on that yellow book, thousands of small idea she could bring to life if she only had the money and the energy to do it. She had not tried it before because she was certain the idea would fail but now it was different. Maybe it was that she had heard about her sister recently and was jealous of her, as they had always claimed. Or maybe it was because of that man that tried to have his way with her at work. Whatever reason it was, she was thankful for it.

 She bought ingredients, fabric, even clay to do small versions of the toys she would like to produce. She tried the food with the pets in her building or at the park wearing a vest and a hat she had sewed herself with the potential name of her company: Pet Party. Some people were interested and happily gave their dogs some of the treats and it was surprising to see how they all wanted more. Of course, there was no sugar or nothing like that in them, only vegetables and various proteins.

She submitted her toy ideas to several factories and many of them rejected her ideas because she thought she was joking or because they didn’t think her designs were good. But she finally found one specialized in pets and they were thrilled to work with her ideas.

 Everything was slowly falling in to place. She was making some dog’s clothes by herself, she had many ideas for smaller animals like rabbits and hedgehogs and also for larger ones like horses. She really had thought her idea through and was hoping to be able to achieve the dream of her life. She wanted to prove herself that what people had always told her was just a lie and that she was a good person and a smart one too.

 Right then though, her parents made an appearance. Of course, they criticized every single thing she was doing, they hated the fact that she was doing a diet and that she had gotten slimmer, saying she just wanted to be like her sister. They talked about her all the time, telling her how successful she was as an actress and the fact that she had paid for their trip, including the hotel and business class in flights and all those things they had never enjoyed because of having two kids.

 Mary did not say anything, trying not to let them get to her. However, her father found her yellow book and started reading it. He mocked her for her ideas and told her that she had to realize those perfect businesses where everything goes perfect doesn’t exist and that they are only achieved, if they exist, by people that have talent and that special thing that she clearly didn’t have.

 She didn’t love them but in that moment she understood how devastating it truly was to have always been a disappointment and a mistake for her parents. She let them know how much she had tried to be a good daughter and how awful and despicable they were. Mary told them about every single time in her life in which she only needed her parents to love her and she had to do everything by herself because no one got her back, no one was there to support her at all.

 They tried to argue but she just told them she was done with them for good and not to talk to her ever again. She pushed her out the door and asked her building’s security guy to come and fetch them and never let them in again. Same went to her sister, who she never heard about anyway, unless it was trough his parents. She just quit to having a family and it was surprisingly a very easy thing to do for her.

 Six months after quitting her job, her business had begun taking off. She received a lot of orders for her pet food and also for the dog clothes she had designed. The toys were a bit cheap in their build but people bough them anyway. She kept an online store for a while until she was able to pay the rent of a small store not far from her house. In a single year, she had won much more than in the rest of her life. She hired an assistant and Pet Party was an example of good planning and success.


 Mary loved the fact that she made people happy. She wanted to make everyone feel that their pets deserved better, as she had deserved better all her life and had needed a push to just do whatever it was that she needed to do. And she was grateful for it. She had never been happier, even if she had to give up her blood relatives in the process.

jueves, 3 de diciembre de 2015

Scorched

   Devastation. That’s the only word she could think about. Tally Green had been taught, throughout her life, that science was inherently good in its intentions and only very devious men, often on the side of the scientific path, would used it for dark purposes. But now, seeing what she had helped create, Tally was not very sure of that any more.

 She saw herself as a good person. She always helped various organizations during Christmas time, she gave money to non-profit groups that helped women and children around the world and she had never been particularly nasty against anyone. She didn’t liked violence, to the degree of never having seen a real fight between two people. Tally thought herself innocent even, of some of the things that human life had to offer.

 But that was the past. Wearing her light gray uniform, checking every camera in the field to check if what she was looking at was real, Tally realized her so-called innocent days were over.

 Applause came from her side, from the politicians and high-ranking military people that had attended the demonstration. They were all please and she could see in their faces that they were not innocent. Actually, it was rather easy to see they loved everything that had to do with destruction, with war and the capacity that someone had to destroy every single thread of decency left in this universe.

 The machine was identified as XLIU897 but the team that had created it called it The Fireman. It was a term of endearment for a weapon able to destroy entire acres of vegetation. It had been created so it would destroy all organic life but leave all the rest intact. They said it would come in handy if an army needed to liberate a city or if some townspeople needed to begin again with their crops. The weapon would destroy it all and then new crops could be put in place, as life could grow again on site.

 That was actually the only thing those men in ties didn’t like about the Fireman. They said they didn’t see the use of a weapon that destroyed and then left the land untouched. It was clear that the military uses for the weapon were a priority and that no government would really let farmers use it in their lands. All they wanted to do was to create hell on Earth and they had already done so.

 Just minutes ago, when everything disappeared under a red light and a hot wind, those awful men were smiling and apparently felt exceedingly happy with themselves. They were awful people, Tally knew that, but she felt she was an even worst person because she had helped create what those men were enjoying and were going to use to destroy.

 When she went back home that night, she was not only exhausted but the weight on her back felt much heavier than usual. Tally thought of the various books she had read about science and instantly remembered of Oppenheimer and all the other men and women involved in the creation of the first atom bomb. She thought that they were even guiltier than she was because an atom bomb had no possibility of being used as any other thing than as a weapon. The Fireman, on the other hand, had real possibilities as a helper to regenerate the land on places were it was needed. Tally had always wanted to help people and thought she was going to do it with that creation.

 But now, opening a can of beer in the kitchen and taking a sip, she realized she couldn’t just let things be. She left the can alone on the counter and grabbed her phone. Without thinking much about it, she called a friend that worked for the ethics committed of the department of defense. Tally told him about her case (she knew he was aware of the weapon) and asked him if was possible to stop the use of such a weapon in the world. After all, it had been created in an independent laboratory.

 The answer was somewhat disappointed, as he told her that if the army decided to acquire the weapon, the government would just block everyone trying to talk or know more about the subject. He said that they could even make her loose her job, just to make her look desperate and use her in public as a case of anti-patriotism.

 When Tally hung up, she had another idea in her mind. She knew her friend was honest and that the army was practically taking over the project. As she walked out of the laboratory, she saw some more military men arriving. That wasn’t normal and it was very likely the department of defense was already enabling the purchase of the weapon, even if the army wanted it to be changed and target also the ground itself.

 In her bedroom, Tally put some clothes on a backpack and also some food. She carried that to her car and drove back to work. As she was one of the main people on the project, she had every key possible. She entered the building, smiling to the security man and hoping she wouldn’t find any military men inside. But there were none. So she entered her lab and almost ran to the main computers. The idea was simple: to erase everything and make it disappear or simply take some vital piece on a portable device and just vanish with it.

 But she was too late. There was nothing on the computers. It had already been taken and people hired by the government were already monitoring the project. She had acted too slowly against them and the world would pay.

 Tally found a job in a pharmaceutical company, not a big one like those in movies but a smaller company that produced cheaper versions of very expensive drugs used to treat HIV and many virus related diseases. The company was controversial because it gave a chance to people suffering the AIDS pandemic to survive and live a happy and healthy life. She loved it there and loved to see reporters and protesters every morning. That way she knew she was finally doing some good in the world.

 She was not really involved in the creation of the drugs but rather on something even more interesting: the development of an effective cure. And they felt they were closer and closer and she felt proud of herself everyday because of that.

 That was until it happened. Half of the whole woke up to the news, the other half saw it begin live. Something was happening in Eastern Europe, some kind of wave was burning every single piece of land, meter by meter. People could see how everything died, slowly. Some ran away from the wave, others stayed and were burned alive by the invisible wall that advanced toward the east. Entire countries were burned alive and survivors were very scattered and not many.

 Then, out of nowhere, a huge army appeared and started invading the devastated lands. It was the first time in History that Moscow fell into foreign hands, half of its population killed slowly by burning. The men that had taken the city proclaimed the end of the failed Russia and announced the annexation of the country to their own new empire.

 All work at her company was stopped that day. Outside, there were no protesters or really anyone. People were too scared to go out to the street. What if one of those invisible walls advanced towards them and turned them into ashes in a matter of seconds?

 It was announced the next day that it had been, as Tally knew, a move by the most powerful country in the world. She had left that place years ago and it haunted her that her work was killing millions somewhere else. What she had been working on now just didn’t cover the evil she had helped create, the enormous guilt she felt for what she had done with her so-called innocence.


 The next day, as more and more troops, more and more bombs, and another wall advanced to the west, Tally decided she just couldn’t keep on living. She hung herself in her living room and was only found weeks after, when the invading army entered the city and saw her charred bones.

sábado, 28 de noviembre de 2015

Sock Empire

   The place only sold socks. They were everywhere and in every single color you could imagine. It was very nice to see rows and rows of different tones and drawings on them. Special socks for Christmas, for Halloween, for Thanksgiving, for Valentine’s Day, for Easter and even for New Year’s Eve. Every employee knew where everything was and how socks were made and could help a costumer find anything they wanted in a matter of a few minutes. There was a reason why the store was called the Sock Empire.

 The Empire was also divided into types of socks, not only color, and between those made for men, for women and for children. Ruben Rostenkowski had been the creator of the Empire and many of his competitors admired him for his amazing take into the world of footwear. People had been focusing so much on the foot for so long, that it was refreshing that one store could focus its whole attention solely to socks and all the types that existed.

 No one knew how Ruben had come up with the idea but they were envious he had had it. Everyone in the city knew he made millions of dollars every year and only from the main store. He had stores in other states but they were not as extravagant and amazing as the one in his hometown of Cleveland. He had been born there over sixty years ago and, although he had lived and worked in other parts of the country when he was younger, he decided to go back to his home in order to make his dream come true.

 Back then, Ruben was just a young boy, not really a full adult. He was still shooting cans with his air rifle and drinking the content of those cans with his group of friends. He had gone to school to study medicine but the truth was that Ruben was the lousiest student ever. He attended only half of his classes and the rest of the time he just spend it with girls and drinking. For all that, he wasn’t apparently as childish. After all, he was twenty-five years old.

Many thought that a man that owned such a store dedicated only to the foot had to be some sort of fetishist. And they were right. Ruben found that out in college, as he met lots of beautiful and not so beautiful young women. The first thing he did every time, as a form of foreplay, was to massage the girl’s feet. He would do it in such a professional manner; the girls never really realized he was so into it. To be honest, he was obsessed with it as he detailed every foot he saw, the curves and the skin and the complexity of it all. He was very obsessed.

 In class, he would suffer sometimes when a fellow student decided to remove her shoes beneath the desk. He instantly wanted to touch the foot and have it for his own but then he remembered he was in class and he couldn’t risk shaming himself even more than he already did when getting drunk. So he learned to breath deeply and just think about something else, maybe even count backwards in order to relax his mind and get any ideas out of it.

 It worked, sometimes. Other times, he would just ask the girl out and massage her feet as soon as he was able. He decided, and that a very healthy choice from him, to visit a shrink. He was sure a person with enough experience in these things would be able to help him stop his obsession and live a healthy life.

 However, it was a surprise when the psychologist told him it was pretty normal to have a fetish. He told Ruben most people had one, whether they realized it or not. Maybe it was a hair fetish, or maybe a “tall” fetish or maybe even weirder stuff like liking sex in costumes or always in public spaces. The point was, and the doctor repeated it constantly, that it wasn’t a disease and it wasn’t something bad as long as he learned to control it and not the other way around. So he advised him to get a hobby with which he could control the thoughts he had.

 It was difficult to find the right hobby, though. Ruben had never been really good at sports. Actually he sex appeal didn’t come from his body at all but from the way he spoke to women and how they responded to his voice and careful and intriguing demeanor. Anyhow, he still tried to play softball, rugby and gold but he failed miserably at all of them and it was then when he noticed he had started looking at men’s feet and he hadn’t even realized.

 Now he was really worried because in his mind he thought that his obsession had made him gay. But after calming down and watching a pornographic movie, he realized he was not interested in men, at all. Only their feet. So it was in that moment when the idea of the Empire first came to his mind: he thought that if his obsession was to be put to good use the best thing to do was something with feet.

 He looked everywhere and finally found a small workshop where people could go and learn how to make shoes. Of course, it was more about seeing the process than doing it because the materials were not all that easy to find and the idea was to attract people into the footwear business. There were just a few sessions but he became obsessed about shoes now and started reading all there was to now about the history of shoes and also about the making of shoes.

 As far as Ruben’s parents were concerned, they were happy to see him doing his last year of med school. He entered that time when he actually had to help patients and do shifts in a hospital and so on. But he was as lousy in that as he was in class. Besides, he was reading all he could about shoes and started thinking a business dedicated to shoes might be just what his life could be all about. Making them was not that easy but maybe selling would be a lot more interesting. He would see feet every day but he would have under control because it would be his job. Perfect.

 But after months of research, he realized the market was just filled with shoe stores selling the same types of shoes to every single idiot in the United States. He had to be unique and bold.

It was around that time that Ruben met Carly, a student of reflexology. She wasn’t from college but she had attended a rare conference about the subject there and Ruben had instantly fallen in love with her. She took some time to liking him however, but after some weeks they were dating and enjoying each other’s company. They rapidly found out about their mutual interest and engaged in long and detailed talks about the history of the foot and its pressure points.

It was the day Carly took him home for Christmas, when he realized his biggest idea yet. Her grandmother was there, a lovely lady, and she was knitting the socks that were left for Santa to put on the presents. And it was then when he had the idea to dedicate his business, not to shoes, but to socks. He told Carly this over dinner and even her parents thought it was a very funny and smart idea. They had never seen a store that only sold socks.

 The following year was the one. It was hard at first because Ruben had to drop out of college only months before finishing. His parents were devastated and told him not to come back home. He was destroyed by that but moved on thanks to Carly, who traveled with him to Cleveland, finding a nice flat for the both of them. There, Ruben created the logo of his company, the idea, the details of the first store and so on.

 He asked for a loan and with that he set up shop and asked for socks from all around the world. Then, he decided to wait a year and see how it went. If it failed, he had lost a lot of money. If not, it was just the beginning.

 That was the birth of the Sock Empire. The name was made fun of sometimes but he loved it and people loved what he did with the place. He would come into the shop sometimes with Carly in order to visit his workers and shake hands and tell everyone how much he thanked them and how much he loved his sock world.


 Even now, years after his invention, he still massages Carly’s feet before bedtime. And he still looks at all the feet he can on the beach and on his store. After all, he couldn’t stop doing something that gave him his livelihood and so much happiness.