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

miércoles, 6 de junio de 2018

To vanquish fear


   Trying clothes was one of those things that Rebecca had never really liked about going out to a mall, whether it was with her friends or her family. She would always see something cute that she would love to wear herself, but wouldn’t be able to bring herself to try it on and least of all buy it. Something just prevented her from actually trying to change, even when she really wanted to make something for her that would maker her at least a little bit more interesting, not only for men but also for everyone in general.

 She had never been the kind to talk to strangers or just initiate a conversation in the line of the grocery store. It was very difficult to find the right moment and the right words and apparently the right person to that with. And when she finally decided to do it, people would have moved on and she would already be out, walking home or something. Rebecca would always blame it on her being slow and not as smart as other people, but the reality of it was, and she knew it very well, that she was just too shy and insecure.

 Her parents had tried for years to get her out of her shell, almost pushing her to do different extracurricular activities in order to discover things she could be good at or that could help her relate better with people. She tried cooking and playing various sports, as well as knitting and dancing and also horseback riding and even volunteering to help those in need. She did all of them for some time and then quit when she realize she wasn’t really getting anything out of any of those activities, only frustration.

 After every single failure, she would go back home and stay in her room for hours and days, sometimes crying for being such a weird kid but then realizing she didn’t really care about other people and then taking on hobbies that could work with her being alone like drawing and writing. The only things she would ask her parents to buy for her would be pencils in every single color in existence, as well as notebooks and, once, a better laptop to keep a copy of everything she did just in case she needed it.

 For a while, she was able to just to that and come to school almost running in order to keep drawing and writing. Her parents were busy most of the time so, even if they had been worried at first because of her lack of skills with others, they soon realized that they had to be grateful their daughter was having such safe and creative hobbies, rather than causing problems for others or for herself. So they were happy buying her whatever she said she needed for her arts and they never doubted her skills again. However, it would soon be all for nothing because of the big changes that happened afterwards.

 As everyone knows, the Plague started its expansion about a year ago and in a matter of days, several millions had died suddenly and others had been severely deformed and turned into creatures without a proper mind. They had no thoughts of their own, nothing that could relate them to the people that had been before. They just lived, if that could be called living, to wander the world and attack those that the Plague had not killed in the first wave. The survivors moved around often, avoiding their former families and friends.

 Rebecca had been one of the few survivors of that cataclysm. It was very strange but, for a long while, she had been completely oblivious about the whole thing. Not only because she spent her days in her room, drawing and writing about all the things that came into her mind, but also because the Plague had expanded at the beginning of summer, meaning she had less reasons to be outside or wander around town. Rebecca enjoyed the sun more when she could be as away from it as she possibly could.

 She was already seventeen when everything happened. The day she heard shots outside and people screaming was the first one when she realized something was going on. She had been in her room for at least a week. Rebecca had learned to cook for herself a long time ago, as her parents would often be at work, so she had not missed them or needed them for anything. But the day the shots were fired, was the same day she ran out of pages on her favorite notebook, which had a beautiful Japanese design on the cover.

 Normally, the girl would ask her mother or father to go to the shopping mall and buy a new one but she wasn’t able to find them at all that they. She waited at home all day but they never came in. So she looked for their offices phone numbers and then things got even stranger because the phone wasn’t working. It was obvious that something very bad had happened because when night came, the lights suddenly went out and they never came back again. She was very scared and decided to stay in her room.

 She did so for a whole day until she heard shots again and then more screams and then silence. Rebecca was terrified and in need of her parents. It was true that she had never been really that good with people but she realized that her parents had been essential in her becoming at least a functional human being. She didn’t love being with them and she felt bad for that because she knew children were supposed to love their parents and she had never felt that. Until, she was alone. Until she had been forced to realize how dire her situation was without them. She cried herself to sleep that second night.

 By the third day, she came down to the kitchen and decided to pack every single piece of food she could find on a bag. She would carry that bag to her room and then survive whatever was happening in there. As she put everything on a suitcase that her father would often use for business trips, she realized she had never thought on turning on the television or the radio in order to know what was happening. She was about to do so but then she felt stupid because the electricity had stopped working two days ago and she knew that.

 Rebecca felt very stupid and realized filling a suitcase with crappy food was not going to save anyone from anything. If she wanted to know what was happening, and it was probably best that she did, it was imperative for her to step out of the house and confront the world, once again. She climbed the stairs fast and looked out the window, something she rarely did. There was no one on the street and no sounds could be heard. If there was a perfect time to come out of her house, that was it.

 She emptied the backpack she used to go to school and packed in some clothes and things she would need outside like a flashlight and batteries, some of the crappy food from the kitchen, a Swiss army knife her father kept in a drawer and a tiny bottle of pepper spray that her mother had indicated her on how to use, in the eventuality that a man would try to do something inappropriate to her or someone mugged her on the street. Of course, she had never found use for any of those things, until now.

 When ready, she slowly walked towards the front door of the house and opened the door with doubt. She was not as scared of what might have happened in the world, as she was from the exterior in general. She took a deep breath and slowly but surely walked beyond the front side of her house. Rebecca stopped for a moment and looked behind, wondering if she would ever go back there but she knew it was better not to ask too many questions, at least when she was so insecure about everything in the world.

 Rebecca started walking again and, in minutes, she was deep inside her neighborhood. Contrary to a normal day of summer, the streets were very empty and the sun was only heating up the cars that had been left outside. There were no corpses to see, so she was optimistic.

 She stopped being that when she got to the supermarket her family visited. A group of people was gathered in front of the door. She doubted for a minute but then, knowing she had to be brave, she yelled at them. She had vanquished part of her fears, just as a bunch of zombies looked at her, licking their dry lips.

lunes, 2 de abril de 2018

Movie lights


   Alex walked by Roman, who was helping with the lights. They had to grab the wires and put them neatly into a circular position, in order for the metal parts not to get damages. But the lights were too hot still to put away. So he asked his boss what he should do next and he was sent to the changing room of the actors, which happened to be one of the big bathrooms in the house. Apparently, the director had found the property online and just new it was the perfect setting for many of his movies.

 As Roman entered the bathroom, Alex was there. He was still naked and talking to his co-star Yuri. The young assistant asked where the boxes with their costumes were and it was Yuri who pointed at three boxes stacked up in a corner. For a moment though, Roman was able to notice that Yuri had been crying as his eyes were very red and he was trying to hide them as much as possible from anyone else. As Roman fixed the boxes to be able to lift them all at the same time, he heard part of the actors’ conversation.

Apparently. Yuri’s family was in desperate need of money. However, the month was not over yet so he had no money he could send to them. He sent almost everything he earned to them back in Belarus, only keeping enough to pay for a room in a shared apartment in a very crappy neighborhood of Los Angeles. The director intended him to be the next big star in the business, but that was in its early stages and Yuri’s family couldn’t wait that long. He feared they would be evicted if the money wasn’t paid.

 The assistant did not hear much more after that. He decided to get out of there as soon as he could, as he didn’t want the actors to notice he was overhearing on purpose. He was just very interested on the different kinds of people that worked on such a business. It had been his mother who had asked her brother to get her son a job. Her brother happened to be part of a production company that worked with various people, including those who provided entertainment for the adult video industry.

 She didn’t mind. Her mother was very liberal in that sense. For her, the most important thing was for her son to understand the value of money, of effort and perseverance. He was still young, actually underage. But she wanted him to get a job in the summer in order not to have the same problems he had every single summer in the past. He had even been in the police station once, after he had decided making graffiti in the neighborhood’s park was a great idea. She wanted him to stay away from trouble and a job, any job, would probably make all that messy stuff go away.

 Of course, her brother explained to her the kinds of places her son would work in and she didn’t mind. She told him that her son knew very well what sex was and that people that worked in that business were just that, workers. Whether they were actors or the lighting crew, they were all doing a job and they were all getting paid for it. Her son would get paid to, but not as much as an official worker. Her brother had to pass him for a “personal helper” of sorts, because of his sixteen years of age.

 The good thing was that, as most kids in the United States; Roman had developed early in his life and by age sixteen he was already sporting facial hair and very tall and lean figure. According to his mother, he was the spitting image of his father, a man that had been known to be very handsome in his early years. Sadly, he had been killed in a bank robbery a couple of years before. That was also the reason why the family could actually make good use of another salary, no matter how miserable it could be.

 So Roman understood Yuri’s dilemma. As he crossed the hallways of the big house with the boxes, he thought about part of his salary going to his mother and how he thought that was unfair at first, but then realized that it was necessary to pay the bills that kept his house going. He came to appreciate his work because of that and his mother too, for having the good sense to send him out into the world and make him work to feel how things work in life. He left the boxes in the truck, still thinking.

 When he came back into the house for the lights, both Alex and Yuri were already dressed and coming out of the bathroom. They looked both like the type of guys someone would see on the beach, parading around with clothes that made their bodies look even better. They were very beautiful and Roman often had a lot to think after seeing them perform. He wasn’t sure if he was gay or straight or what. But he knew that they were very attractive and he had a certain respect for them because of it.

 As he put one of the lights on the respective crate, he saw Yuri walk out of the house with a tissue on his hand and his eyes still red, but Alex stayed in and actually walked towards him. He sat down on a sofa nearby and just looked at the kid as he did his work. Once the light was on its crate, Roman started the same process with another one. Alex then spoke, asking Roman how old he was. The question made Roman very nervous because both his mother and uncle had told him several times not to reveal the information to anyone. It could mean the end of his job and his uncle’s too.

 So he just said he was old enough to be there. Alex smiled, still watching Roman do his job. Then, he started telling him how the whole industry can be quite the monster. Of course, he said, being beautiful and appreciated feels great, but the best thing of it all is when someone tells you that what you did can only be accomplished by you and no one else. That sense of power and being special really makes the difference in any job. Or at least that was what Alex thought after working in many different things.

 He told Roman he was twenty-six years old and he had started doing movies seven years ago, when money for college was low and his family had threatened to stop funding his studies. He wanted to become a veterinarian. He told Roman he had two dogs now and a small rat named Stevie. That made Roman smile and Alex did so too, because he knew he was listening. He told the kid how he was able to finish school because of his work doing movies and how he even got to pay for a place of his own.

 Then, there was silence. As Roman put the last light crate away, Alex told him that Yuri was in a similar but worse position. Roman stayed to hear the story. According to Alex, Yuri had arrived to the United States only two years ago. He was an illegal immigrant who had come to the country with a legal tourist visa but had just overstayed his welcome. Apparently, Belarus was not the best country for gay people. And it seemed it wasn’t a great place to fin work either, so he decided to basically flee.

 He had a mother and two sisters there; their father had left them for another woman years ago. None of them had any idea what he was doing in Los Angeles. But he sent them almost all of their money and now they needed more or they would loose their house. Alex stopped talking and then looked at Roman straight in the eye. He asked the young man if he had a good family, if he knew how difficult life could be. He told him that even if it all looks nice and easy from the outside, people always have shit under the rug.

 Roman told Alex he had a mother that was crazy but that loved him endlessly. He also said his uncle was a very good person. Finally, he told Alex he knew not everything is what it seems but that it was precisely that which fascinated him from the world of adult entertainment.

 He lifted two of the crates and carried them to the truck. When he came back for the other one, Alex was gone. Roman told his uncle about Yuri’s problems and the man promised he would talk to the director. People don’t imagine it, but in such a small community, people tend to help one another, no strings attached.

lunes, 19 de marzo de 2018

Out for a date


   The moment the food arrived to the table, Anne started eating. She was please that Ryan had finally called her and asked her out for dinner but the truth was that she had been at home wondering about how she would survive the next couple of days, without any food on the cupboards or on the refrigerator. Then, she felt as if God himself had called her when Ryan timid voice came out of her cellphone, asking if she would be willing to go out with him for dinner and some drinks afterwards.

 Right after accepting, she realized she had probably made a mistake. After all, it wasn’t the first time that Ryan had come up to her and asked for a date. He was always looking at her in the office and would be kind of creepy about it, always nearby, pretending he wasn’t really looking but obviously doing it. For a moment, Anne had thought of even calling the police in order to ask for advice on how to handle a stalker. But she had other things to do and she eventually learned to live with it.

 He had actually stopped being so creepy until that night in which she had accepted his invitation. While dressing up, she tried to come up with ideas of what to say when he asked why she had finally accepted. Maybe Anne could tell him that she had always been very appreciative of his intentions and his presents, such as candy that he had always left on her desk. He never said it was him but it was obvious. She had a full jar, filled to the top with candy the candy that he had left her over the last year.

 As she put on her high heels, she realized it might be the best idea to tell him the truth. Maybe, as a person of the same age, Ryan would be able to understand how difficult of a time Anne was having with money. She was barely able to pay the rent and all of her taxes, so food money was always scarce and this was the first month she found herself trying to save every single piece of food for a later date. But now she had nothing at all. Maybe he would understand that.

 She grabbed her purse, her coat and walked to the main door. She looked back and realized she did feel guilty to take advantage of the poor man. It wasn’t fair for her to just take on his proposal when she could use it and then drop him like a bag of potatoes. It wasn’t fair. As she entered the elevator, she decided to tell him the truth and just try to enjoy the night. Maybe he would understand and they could become friends. After all, they worked together and sometimes people find out they have more in common that what makes them different, so they could really be friends, for real.

 Anne arrived at the restaurant just in time. She asked for Ryan and one of the waiters took her to their table. It wasn’t the fanciest restaurant in the world but it was much more than Anne would ever be able to afford with her salary. The people there looked entertained, some of them were clearly faking it but others did seem really happy. Other people were there for business meetings, some even with their families and, a couple or more, were there cheating on their wives or husbands. It was obvious.

 They finally reached the table, were Ryan had been waiting for under ten minutes. He helped Anne sitting down and they discussed what everyone discusses for the first five to ten minutes: the weather and what had happened that day. It was trivial talk and clearly none of neither of their interests, but it was always kind of expected to talk about how cold or hot the days are and criticize the taxi services in town or maybe blame some politician or group of people for traffic jams that have always been there.

 Passed that time, they ordered the food and then a very heavy silence fell between the two. It was difficult to really start a conversation with someone you already know but do not really know anything about. So Anne opened her mouth to talk first, ready to tell him the truth about why she was there but Ryan was the one to talk first. He looked really nice that night and it was the first time Anne really looked at him, paid attention to his face and his words and not the character she had made up in her mind of him.

 He said he was very glad she had accepted the invitation and talked a little bit about the restaurant and how him and his parents loved to go there together, whenever they were in town. He told Anne about how he had grown up very far from the big city, in a farm were everything was simpler and, somehow, better. He always had trouble communicating with people but he was happy that he was making some advances on that field. Again, Anne tried to talk but Ryan, with a hand, asked not to be stopped.

 He continued his monologue, saying he had met the most amazing woman ever. He was in love, deeply in love and he wanted to ask her hand in marriage. However, he didn’t feel he knew everything he needed to know about her and that’s why he had asked Anne for dinner. For a moment, Anne had no words. She had no idea of what was happening. What was Ryan thinking, just coming out of the blue with such a statement? Who did he think she was, an easy girl that would marry any man just because she’s single? She was about to stand up and leave when he spoke again.

 Ryan was in love with Erica, from accounting. They had hit it off right away once he had been transferred there and he knew very well how good friends Erica was with Anne. So that’s why he had thought about her in order to discuss his next move. He wanted someone who knew her to tell him more about what she liked and didn’t like and to know if they thought it was a good idea to propose so soon. They had gone our countless times but maybe that wasn’t enough.

 Anne was speechless. She had really thought it was all about her. She was really prepared to yell at him and make a huge scene in order for everyone in the restaurant to know what a pig and crazy he was. But that wasn’t going to happen anymore because the man she had profiled a while ago as a creep, was not even interested in her. He was interested in Anne best mate at work. She wouldn’t even call her a friend, just a person that she liked to hang out with during lunches and such.

 So after the food came, which she practically devoured, Anne explained all of that to Ryan. She had to be very clear about her not really being friends with Erica. She didn’t even know much about her past or who her parents were or even what she liked to do as a person. But Ryan didn’t really mind about that. He needed a woman to tell him if what he was thinking of doing made sense, if it was the right move. He clarified he didn’t care about their relationship, he only needed urgent advice.

 Ryan suddenly got very grim and seemed to be on the verge of crying. Anne felt very sorry for him and started to talk about what most women like and don’t like and some clues he should be attentive for if he really wanted to pop the question. They talked for several hours, having drinks after the food and even laughing at some of the points they were trying to make. Anne realized it was good that she had come, not only because she was helping Ryan but also because she was making a friend.

 She eventually explained her reason for coming and Ryan just smiled, telling her it was not a surprise that a young person would have struggles with money. No one seems to have enough to survive anymore, or so he said. He was understanding and even charming about it.

 When the moment came for them to day goodbye, Anne decided to ask Ryan about the candy on her desk. She asked him bluntly if it had been him. But Ryan was confused by the question and then they went their separate ways. So Anne had a new friend but she also had a mystery to solve.

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.