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

miércoles, 7 de febrero de 2018

Fired

   Everything that could go wrong with that meeting had gone very wrong. The copies that Thomas had to give every single member of the board had been misprinted and he had not bothered to look before because time was of the essence and he had to arrange for the menu at lunch, the position of every single person in the room and even taking into account if they like the sun or not or if they have fallen out of grace with the big boss, something that was kind of important.

 After the copies, it was precisely the lunch menu that went to shit: the people from the catering service had mistakenly delivered a huge amount of vegan lunches instead of the pork or fish ones Thomas had ordered. It was only hours later, when none of that mattered anymore, that the lady from the service called to ask if she would be able to get the vegan lunches back because the clients that had ordered them were refusing to eat anything else. Thomas didn’t even bothered to tell her about his day.

 Besides that, the projector with every single slide from the big boss’s presentation had suddenly stopped working midway through the meeting and it had refused to turn itself back on. They called on every single technician in the building, but none of them were able to bring the machine back to life. Even worse than that, the cause of the whole mess had been some sort of power problem with the building’s wiring that had also fried the big boss’s portable computer.

 They tried to revive that too but it was obvious it wouldn’t work ever again. To call people down, he assured them he had a copy somewhere but that was bullshit. The person that managed the storage of the documents and the slides in the presentation, from that laptop, was Thomas. And he had created a copy of the document but had done so on an old removable drive that had been corrupted a long time ago with a very potent virus. Luckily, he had lost the drive at some time during the day.

 Of course, the meeting had to continue with a verbal presentation, with no images and no support documents on paper for the members of the board. Thomas had to stay put right there, next to the technicians that were still trying to save both machines. It was obvious they were doing so because the big boss was there. If it had been someone else’s computer, they would have just thrown the thing on a garbage bin and get on with it. But they couldn’t and Thomas couldn’t move because his boss had asked him, without really looking at him, to stay there.

 The outcome of that awful day was obvious: Thomas was fired at the end of that day and he was asked to grab everything of his right then. The boss told him he had been on of the worst, if not the worst, assistant he had ever had. He refused to give a recommendation of any kind and only wished Thomas luck, but not to find a new job. He told him he hoped he could get a brain or something that would work to make the world less of a pain in the ass while he was in existence.

 The words resonated with him for days, from the moment he put his belongings on a box and carried them all the way home, to the following days when he had to make a plan in order to survive with the small amount of money he had saved from that job. It was going to be very hard, especially because he was well aware that finding work was not going to be easy. As a matter of fact, finding the one, which he had been fired from, had been almost impossible and had only happened because of a friend.

 He actually felt the responsibility to tell that friend and he was very comprehensible. He told Thomas that, by what he was saying, he had simply been fired because the day had gone very wrong. Some of the things that had happened had been his fault, no doubt there, but others had been stuff that he wouldn’t have been able to control, even if he had wanted to. But his friend Fred had been most interested by the words the big boss had told Thomas when leaving.

 So interested in fact, that he asked Thomas to tell him the story, word for word, at least five times. Then, he grabbed a napkin from the place they were having a drink in and asked the waiter for something to write with. When he had to pen on his hand, he asked Thomas to say the words again. And Thomas had no problem with that because he was already a bit drunk and also because those words had resonated in his head, exactly as the man had said them, from the day he had been fired.

 His friend, when dropping him home, told him he was certain he could do something with those words. Thomas had no idea what Fred was talking about. The truth was that he only wanted to sleep and maybe just stay beneath the covers for some weeks. He wanted to have a moment to think about the next step to take in his live. It was nice of Fred to worry so much about him and about how he had been fired, but it was obvious he knew that Thomas had to move on and just see what else life had in store for him. That was his last thought before falling asleep.

 A week later, Fred called Thomas and then visited him shortly after. Thomas had been in several interviews for the last few days, but the truth was he had not been getting lucky at all. Most jobs involved things that were beneath him, and he knew that to be true. After all, he had gone places, studied a lot and spent a lot of money in education. And now he was going to ask for position in a call center and managing a register in some retail store. It was a bit degrading, to be honest.

 Fred only told him to keep trying. He seemed worried but also kind of happy. He has this expression on his face, which is very tricky to explain. Thomas didn’t ask what he was up to because he really didn’t want problems thrown at him. He couldn’t talk more drama or more denial or anything else that would make him feel like shit. He only wanted stability and it was clear that stability did not want anything to do with him. They spent the afternoon talking, Fred grinning every once in a while.

 It was kind of late when Fred finally revealed his intentions to Thomas: he had been talking with a good friend of his, a lawyer. Apparently, she was an expert on cases when people had been fired without any real reasons or in a manner that wasn’t the right one. Thomas was fearful of what Fred had planned but his friend assured him they could easily win a case against the company he had worked with. The only thing they needed was proof of the words that the big boss had told Thomas.

 They spent weeks looking for that. It seemed unlikely that the big boss would have a camera or a microphone in his office and Thomas was certain that he hadn’t been recording that dreadful evening with his cellphone or something. They tried security cameras and even other workers but at the end, they found that the answer had been literally seating there the whole time. Unbeknownst to Thomas, the big boss’s laptop had not really been destroyed by the power surge. It had been kind of working the whole time.

 The surge had opened and closed several programs, erasing some content also. But one of the programs opened was the microphone function that let people record audio with their laptop. And as the technicians had left the computer inside the big boss’s office after the meeting…


 Thomas got a good amount of money for the way he was fired, for the words that a powerful man had thrown at him. Those words had made him realized that he wasn’t worthless. But also, he realized what he wanted to do next. And he was going to need his friend Fred and that lawyer to accomplish it.

lunes, 13 de noviembre de 2017

In fashion

   Every single night, Maddie Compton would fix every single piece of clothing she had been able to find in the second hand stores she visited that week. Sometimes they weren’t even fashion stores but places where she could buy the fabric she liked the most and modify it enough to create something no one had ever wore before. She had the advantage of having a great eye for design and a great taste in clothing. After all, she read all the magazines she could get her hands on, for free of course.

 Maddie was not a wealthy woman but she pretended to be, going to the most prestigious parties with the elite of the city. Many loved her designs and praised her for it. She even got some friends during those parties but the truth was that she had accepted the fact she couldn’t’ really get too close to anyone. Realizing that she was not who she said she was wouldn’t have been too hard for someone close to her, so she tried hard not to overstay her welcome in such events.

 She had made some mistakes in the past, as going out after with a guy she had met at the party. It would normally be a one-night stand, as she would escape the room as silently as she could and then leave to her life far away from the skyscrapers and lovely apartments those people had. Sometimes it was really hard for her, because she really wanted to be like them. She wanted that life which was certainly much easier than her own. She wanted to feel people cared about who she was.

 Of course, Maddie knew many of the people she met in those parties were not fully honest with her but it wasn’t possible that among so many people there wasn’t at least one person that actually liked what she did. One of her ideas at first had been to find someone willing to give her money to design dresses for some brand, at least as a test. They were certainly the type to do that but it came to be much more difficult than what she had anticipated. Rich people were too in love with themselves.

 To be fair, she was too. Maddie was the kind of woman that always looks at her own reflection on the mirror in the morning and then several more times during the day. She couldn’t avoid taking pictures of herself and it wasn’t even to share with friends or family, it was just to take a look at herself and try to reinforce some weird acceptance of her own being in her brain. She knew she needed people’s approval to feel she had made it and that’s why she had gone after the opinions of people who mattered, the ones that had money and could take decisions.

 The young woman had made several dresses and then she would sell them in the same stores she bought the ones that she modified and turned into sensations. Many store owners were very grateful for what she did because many of her designs sold very well with younger women that wanted something different to wear at an affordable price. It was the only way for her to make some money, besides working some days in a call center, helping with pizza deliveries from around the world.

 Maddies wanted to live of her designs. That or get one of those rich men to make her a rich woman through marriage but that was a lot trickier because she would began their life together by lying at that was never the best way to initiate a new relationship. Luckily, none of the guys she had dated had ever asked too much about her. Most men her age were too focused on themselves and their own achievements to even ask about what she really wanted out of life.

 It wasn’t the life she would have wanted for herself but it was the one she had and the one that made sense. She needed to insist on her only talent and if making clothes were the way to go, she would try it as long as she could. She made a very small amount of money out of it but it was the only activity that clamed her down and made her feel the world is not as awful as one would think it is, at least sometimes. The sound of her machine was the perfect way to distract her brain.

 It was the exact opposite of the parties she attended where most people were vicious and just loved to tear others apart, especially the women. Maybe it was because they had always been under appreciated, even when they were such wealthy people, but the ladies could be savage with newcomers and when the tastes of others didn’t match what was generally accepted. Maddie had to check all that out before going out to one of those events, in order to be praised but never mocked.

 She was very successful that way. She even decided to learn a bit more about make up and how to achieve a complete look that would fool anyone. She would imitate looks from magazines or inspire herself from those, with her cheap fabrics and dresses and accessories she practically remade herself. She always laughed alone in her apartment, thinking that if a policeman found her there he would think she was managing the least successful pirating ring ever. She did it all perfectly but always in a very small scale, in order not to attract the wrong attention.

 After a very long time trying to make it, Maddie finally attracted the right person for what she wanted to do. Her name was Emilia Gobstone and she was one of the wealthiest women in the city. She had an amazing apartment where many parties were held, having appeared in numerous occasions in many magazines. She fell in love with Maddie and one of her dresses and asked the young woman to make her and her daughters the same dress for a special party in a country club.

 Maddie did as asked and Mrs. Gobstone could not have been happier. The fabric Maddie had used was one of the best she had ever worked with, spending a very large sum to get it. But she knew she needed the best to be successful with that particular request. She was right. The wealthy woman was so happy, that she paid double what they had agreed on in the first place and asked Maddie to make her clothes for every event in the fall season that was getting nearer by the minute.

 With such a success, she decided to retire from going to parties and such and focus more on her dresses and their quality. From the point of view of her craft, she had made the best choice. However, many people wondered where she had left to and it was then when they found out who she really was. Everyone made fun of her in social media, posting pictures they had with her and telling the most awful stories about her. Some were based on things she had said, but they all twisted her words and some were only lies.

 She finished her work on Mrs. Gobstone’s dresses and wrote her a letter apologizing for everything. She sent her creations and the letter one afternoon and then decided to leave the city for a while, needing some fresh air, something she wouldn’t be able to get in such a city, which felt a little bit too crowded sometimes. She grabbed a suitcase, put some of her clothes and just left, trying not to think too much about everything that had happened in the last few years. 

 To her surprise, Mrs. Gobstone’s personal butler found her in her parent’s home, many kilometers away from the city. He told her his mistress needed her urgently and that it couldn’t wait. Maddie accepted the ride and, a few hours later, she was in the woman’s apartment.


 There, the socialite gave her a check to pay for her dresses and told her she wouldn’t be able to hire her again. However, she could do something else for her, as a personal way to thank her for her work. The following week, an specialized magazine called Maddie, in order to arrange an interview.

miércoles, 25 de octubre de 2017

Boxing wounds

   Curing the knuckles had become something of a tradition after each fight. His gloves had to be removed carefully, or the pain would drive him furious if he had lost or would have ruined his moment if he had won. The Hammer was the nickname chosen by the fans to refer to him and he certainly had some thing reminiscent of that object. Not only was he overwhelmingly strong, he was also taller than most boxers and would always use that in his advantage, in very clever ways.

 Carefully, some pure alcohol would be applied to his hands and to the rest of his body, wherever he could have scars. This was done after he showered himself thoroughly. It had been known to happen that he was so weak after a fight that someone went into the showers with him in order to help him stand and use the soap. That normally happened when he had lost and it wasn’t a nice thing to witness. He would always be furious those times and it wasn’t great to be near him.

 The Hammer had started fighting very early in his life. He had been a bully back in school but, thankfully, his religious upbringing had helped him seek an exit from his ways through a sport and boxing had always been very popular in that neighborhood, one of those parts of town where every single person has their family working in some store or factory. Boxing saved The Hammer from becoming a butcher, a machine operator or even a cashier. His future was slightly brighter.

 He started in fights celebrated behind closed doors. He was still underage so it wasn’t legal to make him fight but it was the only way to properly use his skills. He had such rage; such need to be fighting other men. It was fantastic to see him use his fists, one, two and then both almost at the same time. His legs were fast too, so he had it all to be the very best boxer ever, in the world. And he knew this, so his ego started to grow each day, like a weed. It just got into his head.

When he reached adulthood, everyone in the boxing circuit knew exactly who The Hammer was. His techniques and legendary way of finishing his fights was very well known and he had received acclaim from every single part of society: the poor, the rich, the workers, the owners, the old and the young, as well as from men and women. That was in part his undoing, or the moment he started going downhill. When he lost for the first time, the felt everything that had happened before was just forgotten by everyone else. He thought he was going to be ostracized.

 However, that’s when he met Howard. He was a guy his age but not physically fit like him. He wasn’t fat or lanky but just not someone as big and powerful as The Hammer. He was shorter and had shown the way of words and books. Recently returning from his stay abroad, he had gone to the university and learned quite a few things around there. He was well known once he got back to the neighborhood because he had chosen to become a nurse instead of a proper doctor.

 His parents were not pleased by his decision and it was clear everyone in that part of town had their opinion about Howard. But he simply did not care. He had lived there before and he knew people would respect that, even if they spoke behind his back. And they sure did: in the supermarket and on the street, pointing and giggling and laughing out loud. It was especially the youngest ones around, repeating their parents behavior, who shouted word to the man, with no response heard back.

 Two days after he had returned to the city, his sister decided to take him to a boxing match. She wanted others to see how Howard was a real man, and such a sporting event would be the perfect way to make them realize all that was said about him was a lie. When they reached the venue, they sat very far from the ring but were able to see perfectly when The Hammer lost, again, against a huge blond man who seemed more like a refrigerator than like a real human male.

 Each punch, each swift move, hurt Howard deep inside. He was certain that was not the kind of sport he liked to see and he didn’t want to see that ever again. And then more punches came and some stitches blew open. Blood was all over the place and The Hammer was soon announced as the loser. Howard was so affected by what he had seen, that he just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. However, his sister had to go to the bathroom and took especially long that day.

 As he waited, he saw the refrigerator man passing by. He seemed more like a robot than anything else. And then came two guys, holding The Hammer and trying to take him to his dressing room. He was badly beaten and it was obvious that place didn’t have a proper infirmary. His need to help kicked in and Howard helped the men carry The Hammer and take him to a sofa in his room. There, they waited for the nurse they had brought but she seemed overwhelmed by the blood and she lacked most of what was necessary. Howard jumped in, not thinking.

 The woman and the men helped him get what he needed to patch The Hammer up. His face was severely swollen, he couldn’t speak at all. Alcohol was rubbed all over, carefully not to burn the fighter. Howard himself took off the gloves and the shorts and the shoes. Everything had to come off in order to help properly. It took several hours, effort and supplies, bought from a nearby pharmacy by the boxer’s friends, but he was eventually saved from further damage.

 Howard’s sister had left, so he decided to join The Hammer and his friends to his house. He still lived with his mother, near the melting plant. He was carried by the men and left in a mattress on the ground, which was apparently his bed. He slept on a room downstairs, by the kitchen. The men, thanking Howard, asked him if he wanted to have something to eat. His stomach ached, so he accepted. So they all left to buy some fried chicken and he was left alone with his patient.

 He changed some of the patched done and tried to clean the man’s face with a moist cloth. He carefully washed every single centimeter, trying not to make him feel any pain. However, The Hammer woke up as Howard was cleaning his neck. He wasn’t anxious at all, or nervous. He moved his swollen lips and Howard realized he was thanking him for his help. Howard smiled and the boxer tried to do the same. If anyone had been there, they would have told the male nurse that Hammer never smiled.

 They stared at each other and no sound was made. The Hammer wanted to say something else, to try and pretend he was feeling fine. But every single bone in his body felt like it was bruised. He could stand it but he didn’t really know what else to say. Out of nowhere, Howard resumed his task of cleaning the sportsman, finishing his neck and then moving on to his hand and forearms. He finally cleaned his feet, which made the boxer laugh and then yell some curse words because of the pain.

 Howard tried not to but he couldn’t hold the laughter. He tried to apologize but he couldn’t. When The Hammers laughed to, apparently ignoring his own state, he realized there was nothing to fear about his reaction. Laughter was definitely needed.


 When the laughter subsided and just moments before they could smell fried chicken, the boxer grabbed one of Howard’s hands and told him his name was Kevin. They both smiled. Afterwards, they all ate and new relationships began to blossom, slowly.

viernes, 6 de octubre de 2017

The golden carp

   Fishing had always been the way to live for Lin and his friends. Fro ma very young age, their parents had taught them the best parts on the river and the ocean where they could easily catch a vast array of fish and other living being from the ocean’s floor. They even had a friend named Chen, who lived his life by diving on the ocean and fishing things that many net couldn’t pull away from the sea. When he was lucky enough to find pearls, he would sell them and stop working for a month or so.

 However, the rest of them could never take a day off or anything like that. They had to work every single day for many hours, from dusk till dawn, no matter how tired and bored they sometimes got. The youngest one of them was Sun, who had only started the year before. He had being made to leave school but, after a very vivid argument, his mother had managed to convince the father to let him stay in school. So Sun had to wake up really early to fish for a while with his father and then he would go back at it in the afternoon.

 It was a hard life for such a young person but it wasn’t a unique thing for anyone on that region. They all had to do things that they didn’t really want for themselves. Most young people, for example, had the ambition to travel to big city, any of them, and being able to live the lives they sometimes saw on advertisements or on the television set, when people had one. It was a matter of doing what was needed to be able to reach that moment when they could choose their own path.

 When in his family’s boat, Sun would often try to do his homework but the fishing rods that he put on the edge would always move in the precise moment he was concentrating, on the verge of getting to a point where he would advance in his studies. He was doing poorly on some of his assignments and he really needed to get better soon if he wanted to get ahead in life. He knew the only way to get out of his town would be to learn more than others, to be smarter than any of the people he knew.

 Suddenly, one of the rods moved violently and then it was pulled into the water. It didn’t float for a moment or anything; it just disappeared in the blink of an eye. Sun leaned over the boat and tried to fish for the rod but the only thing he got out of it was a powerful bit from a huge carp that suddenly came out of the water. Normally, a fish bite wouldn’t really hurt but this one left a red mark on Sun’s hand. However, the weirdest thing was to see the carp looking back at him, almost as if it was staring. Then, out of nowhere, the carp spoke with a deep voice.

 He moved his mouth very differently than a human would but it was obvious that it was the one who was speaking. There were no other boats in the vicinity and Sun was too stunned to produce any words. The fish wanted to know where he was, as he had been following a current for some days and now it seemed he had found himself on the opposite side of the current. He apologized to Sun for biting him, but he explained he had been very scared when looking up and watching a hand reach for something.

 A little bit calmer, Sun rubbed his eyes and moved his hair around: he was obviously surprised but also very skeptical that it was actually happening. It seemed much more probable that he had fallen asleep in the boat and the sun on his head had created some kind of illusions or nightmares. It was very uncomfortable for that to happen, because of the response his parents would have if they looked at him sleeping on the boat. Yet again, he wasn’t very close to the beach.

 So Sun decided to play with the moment and just decided to ask the carp more questions, in order to really understand what was happening. Sun asked the fish where he wanted to go. The animal named a bay that he had never heard about. It had to be somewhere very far, so he just told the carp the name of the river that was nearby and the one of the bay they were talking on. The carp then did something even more unexpected than asking: it yelled, very loud, a very harsh curse word.

 The carp told Sun he really needed to go where he wanted because his whole family was reuniting for a very special event. He explained that he was part of a very special kind of carps that turned golden after a certain amount of time. When that happened, they were allowed to join a special school of fishes that could travel the ocean at fast speeds and could also grant wishes to anyone, human or animal, that came across them. It was a special thing that only they could do.

 Sun then interjected. He was very interested by that story because his mother had told him about how his maternal grandmother had come across a golden carp when she was young. Apparently, the fish had healed her from a very powerful disease that was creeping its way through her young body. The wish had made her well, and even better, it had made her a very vivacious woman until her last day. He remembered her from his toddler years and asked the carp if it was possible to know which carp had granted that wish, in order to give his thanks.

 The carp moved his head from side to side. He explained that golden carps never returned to the same place twice, so it was rather difficult to know which carp had granted which wish. Then, it started swimming back and forth. It was obvious he was really upset by the fact he was going to miss the best and most unique event in his life. Sun realized that, illusion or not, he should help the fish just because he had been the cause of him existing. No grandmother would have meant no Sun.

 He proposed the fish to jump on the boat in order to help him get somewhere, anywhere he wanted. Maybe there were other carps nearby that could help him get to the place he wanted to go. The carp was a bit skeptical of the plan but it really wanted to get to the event so he asked Sun to take him to a place where he could talk to many other fish. Maybe in such a hub he would be able to get some information on how to get where he needed to be. Time was of the essence.

 So Sun pulled the rods into the boat, a net filled with only water and then turned on the engine. The carp told him it would follow from underwater. Sun tried to remember the place where his father would fish every single day but then he realized the place would be crowded and all other fishermen would see the talking carp. Sun still believed he was asleep or maybe delusional, but it wasn’t enough to make him do such a stupid thing. They would capture the carp and kill it or maybe sell it because of its abilities.

 He stopped the boat at least three times; changing courses frequently because he remembered people would be there. Maybe even his friends who would taunt him. When the carp swam to the front and asked why he appeared to be so indecisive, Sun realized he wasn’t dreaming at all. He started taking it more seriously, less like a weird dream and more like something that was really important to do. He turned to the carp and was about to say he was sorry about not being able to help but then he remembered Chen.

 He was a good friend and had told him once where he fished for oysters and other animals. Sun turned on the engine again and in a matter of only minutes they were in the spot used by Chen to have his leisurely life. Then, Sun jumped out of the boat and indicated the carp to follow him.


 The carp followed and they found a colony of mollusks on the ocean floor. The carp started communicating with them and Sun went back to his boat. The carp surfaced later on, thanking him for his help. When the carp left, smaller fish appeared out of nowhere and jumped into the boat. Sun’s family was very surprised by his success.