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

jueves, 27 de octubre de 2016

In a second

   When she opened her eyes, she saw directly into the fire. The flames were in front of her, making her face feel warmer than she wanted to. As much as she wanted to move or get away, she just couldn’t move. Her body felt extremely heavy and her head felt really big, turning like crazy as she closed her eyes again and tried to convince herself she was not awake but sleeping, deep into one of her very crazy dreams. But she couldn’t do that either. It was all true. The flames danced in front of her and she could only look at them, feeling almost burned.

 Suddenly, she felt her body being pulled away from the car, which had being turned upside down. It hurt as the asphalt of the road caressed her skin and clothes. But she couldn’t complain. She couldn’t say a word even if she wanted to because of how weak she felt. Also, she was very dizzy and couldn’t quite understand what was happening. However, she kept her eyes opened because she just couldn’t close them anymore. The heat of the flames seemed far now and all she felt was the smell of it all, which was awful.

 Suddenly, the car exploded and several parts rained all over the place. One of them fell a bit too close to her face but she didn’t really mind at all. It was as if she was looking at a movie, at something she wasn’t really involved in. Her eyes were open the whole time and her brain worked so slowly she never really asked herself who had pulled her away from wreckage. She was just too shocked to think of anything. After a while, she felt very tired and decided to close her eyes for a moment. She fell asleep and only woke up many hours later in an ambulance.

 It was for long though. The only thing she saw was a very big needle and some blurry guy holding it. Or maybe it was a woman… She had no idea but she did now that a sudden pain invaded her body and then she was immersed again in the world of slumber. She dreamt about an ice cream shop she had loved as a child. Her father used to take her there in secret, as her mother was not very keen on sweets. They would ask for the ice cream and eat it in under thirty minutes, almost as a challenge to themselves before they had to head home.

 She woke up again many hours later, in a hospital bed. This time, the moment she opened her eyes, she felt the strongest headache she had ever felt. It seemed as if it was going to break her head into two parts. The pain was so awful that she screamed and in seconds two nurses came rushing in and injected what was probably a sedative on her IV. She calmed down but the headache was still there. She tried to tell them, tried to explain to them how much it hurt. But no words came out of her mouth. She couldn’t speak a word.

 When she woke up again, it was a very bright day outside. The light rushed into her room and she felt kind of happy to see the light after so much time spent in her dreams. However, her mind was still working slow, as well as her body. She was thankful because the headache had disappeared and she could at least look at the window without feeling a huge pain in her head. She looked on for a long time, so long in fact that the rays of sunlight changed angles as she stared at the world outside of which she couldn’t see very much.

 Outside, the sky was very blue and just a couple of thin clouds floated high above everything. Aside from that, she could only see some building, all made of bricks. She had no idea where she was or how but she was sure it was a safe place. Although, she did wanted to go back home as soon as possible. So much so, that she tried to get out of bed to have a better view of the window in order to know where in the city she was and if she could maybe walk home. She knew there was a hospital near her house, so maybe that was it.

 But when she attempted to move her legs, they didn’t respond. She attributed it to how slow her mind was running, so she decided to take a deep breath and then try again. But again, nothing happened. She looked at her legs and slowly touched them as much as she could. Her arms were not very long and they felt extremely weak, but she reached down as she could in order to verify what was going on. In that precise moment, a nurse entered the room and saw her. She then rushed back out, yelling someone’s name.

 The woman stopped trying to touch her legs and rested her body against the pillows. She felt exhausted and tried to think about what just happened: she couldn’t feel her legs. She couldn’t move them at all. Why wasn’t she reacting more violently to this revelation? Why didn’t she felt compelled to yell or cry or whatever? Her head felt like a balloon, filled with air that didn’t let her think of anything. She pulled her head back and closed her eyes, trying to get back to her last memory before the hospital. But that seemed to be almost impossible.

 The door opened again and this time it was a man dressed in those mint green uniforms that people often used in hospitals. She looked at him quietly, as he checked the machines around him. A nurse was behind him, taking notes. He then checked his patient by looking at her eyes and then checking her ears and skin. He asked for her to pull out her tongue but she didn’t seem to hear or understand what he had said. He tried again but she didn’t do anything.

 Then, he pulled out a very small bottle from his pocket, along with a syringe. He filled it with the liquid in the bottle and injected it directly into her arm. At first, she didn’t feel a thing. But then, it seemed as if whatever that liquid was, it worked as a way to shake people up in the most violent way possible. She suddenly felt pain and many thought rushed into her head. Everything seemed to be happening so fast. Sounds were loud, maybe too loud and the sunlight felt too bright. She covered her face and cried, trying to control what she was feeling.

 After a while, the pain and awkward feelings went away and she knew exactly where she was and what had happened. She was finally aware of everything and not in some sort of trance. Whatever the doctor had put in her bloodstream, it eliminated all the effects from the other shot she had received. She was no longer a peaceful lamb that couldn’t even think for herself. She was her again, with every single memory and pain possible. But she couldn’t remember why she was there. As much as she tried to remember, it seemed hidden somehow.

 The doctor asked her if she knew her name. The woman said it out loud, hearing her own voice for the first time in a while. Then, he asked if she could remember the reason why she was there. She indicated that she couldn’t and asked him to tell her because she was going mad trying to remember, trying to go back to at least a sound or an image or whatever that could help her remember. The doctor said she had been in a car crash, having been expelled out of the car by the force of the impact. That’s why she had some cuts all over.

 When he said it, she looked at her arms and realized that was true: she had small cuts on her skin. And suddenly she remembered the flames and someone pulling her away from them. She told this to the doctor and he asked her if she knew who had done that. She replied that she couldn’t remember a face but that it had probably been her husband. But then the doctor looked at the ground and got closer. He explained his patient that it was not possible that her husband had done it because he had died instantly in the crash.


 The news hit her hard. She started crying and was held by the doctor for a moment. When they separated, she looked at her legs and realized what had happened. She looked at the doctor and he nodded, words being useless at that point. She cried in silence and the doctor left with the nurse. It was a lot to take for her and she was going to need all the time in the world to adjust to the fact that, in a single second, her whole life had been turned upside down, almost destroying her in the process.

sábado, 12 de marzo de 2016

Tragic triangle

   It all happened so fast. People crossing the pedestrian bridge above were able to see it all. But who couldn’t want to see all of that, you would like to see how lives end and how tragedies happened?

 The SUV was driving extremely fast. Eileen, the driver, was worried about so many things. She had just received vey bad news and just wanted to head back home or anywhere she could feel safer, loved and appreciated. She had been crying and was in no state to drive. But there had been no one to tell her that, no one that could stop her from making that mistake.

 On the other side were the Martins. Joanna and her husband Matt were in a small car coming back from the hospital. They had received troubling news: Joanna was pregnant with their fourth child. Normally, a couple would be happy and celebrating. But in the Martin’s car, there were only long faces and sighs. Raising such a big family was very hard on them. They had stopped doing all those nice things life has to offer to invest them in education and diapers and food and so on. Their children were too young to understand but they really needed that time off.

 But they had been silly and that’s why they were pregnant again. If they didn’t want more children, the solution would have been really easy. Well, apparently not easy enough for Joanna and Matt who kept having unprotected sex just because they had been together for over fifteen years. Actually, that was the other thing. They weren’t really that attracted to each other anymore. They didn’t feel anything when the other got naked near them in the mornings or even when they showered together. That’s what Matt was thinking when he got distracted, let the car go a bit to far to the left and then it was chaos.

 Eileen was so furious, so sad and so broken that, at first she just let gravity do its job. Her body was propelled out of the window just after the two cars had crashed against each other, done several circular turns and then hit the side of the road. When she was conscious of what had happened, Eileen realized she was on the ground, probably bleeding and not really able to move. She could feel the wind caused by the passing cars and felt suddenly even lonelier than ever before. How could people be so mean, so awful, that they wouldn’t even stop for an accident?

 Joanna and Matt had been wearing their security belts and that was good because their car had been flipped over. The baby chair they had in the back was one against the roof of the car and they were both bleeding but still breathing normally. Matt was the first to wake up and he was so scared the first thing he did was liberate himself from the belt and they try to get out. In his attempt, breaking the window with a kick, he realized his wife was there. Of course he had known this all the time, but it was as if his survival skills had made him forgot about her, at least for a minute.

 He then screamed and Eileen heard him, far away, but clearly. She then knew there were more people involved but, somehow, she couldn’t care less if they felt as miserable and broken as she was. Because even with so much physical pain, Eileen’s heart was the one that hurt the most. She even began to cry right there in the pavement, not even trying to lift a leg or an arm. She just lay there and cried her eyes out, thinking about how she had run into her long time girlfriend with another woman. And they weren’t kissing or touching. She even felt disgusted, truly sick about it and she vomited.

 Joanna was bleeding. She had hit her head during the accident and Matt was worried he couldn’t be able to move her like that. He decided that it was best to get out of the car and ask for help or see if there was any police coming or ambulance or whatever was available. He cut his hands with the glass but tried to ignore the pain and just stumbled out and suddenly passed out. He only did for a few minutes but during that time he dreamt about the time it was only him and Joanna. He remembered their first date, how they had planned to eat in this fancy Italian restaurant but then had problems with the reservation and they ended up having some tacos in fancy outfits. They really loved each other that day.

 After crying so much, Eileen opened her eyes and realized she really needed to start thinking about what was happening and decided to try and stand up but the thought of Erika and that woman together were like a film in her head that she wasn’t able to shut down. It hurt her badly because they had been together for a long time and they were doing all these things together like looking for an apartment and even planning to get a baby through adoption. It had been Eileen who had met Erik when she was a girl afraid of the world and with no knowledge about anything. She had been the more mature woman that taught her everything that she may need to know and apparently she had learned it all too well.

 Like trying to scare some flies away, she moved her arm a bit and finally tried to stand up but realized she couldn’t. She could only see forwards because of her position but had a feeling there was something wrong with her legs. Having been so worried about Erika, she had not realized that her legs didn’t feel as before. They did not feel at all.

 Matt woke up from his dream and realized there was a man running towards him and asking him so many questions. It seemed to be a policeman but he really had no idea. He answered what he could, not even knowing if it made any sense and then heard an ambulance and a fire truck.

 He stood up by himself, trembling and with pain all over his body, and saw that there was another car that had been involved but he couldn’t see anyone in the driver’s seat. Maybe that person was also trapped or maybe that person had fled the scene. His mind was everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Thinking hurt him but he couldn’t stop doing it. He walked to his car and a fireman asked him to remain away for the moment. He nodded and decided to wander off in the opposite direction. He didn’t care about the voices that spoke to him, policeman and people on the bridge above. He couldn’t hear them and felt everything was slowing down so every single sound made no sense to him.

 The paramedics picked up Eileen first and she remained awake during the whole trip to the hospital. However, she wasn’t able to speak. She really wanted to answer the questions, she really wanted someone to know that it was all her fault and that she had been cheated on but nothing came out of her throat. Her heart was still hurting to much and, with morphine, she felt a little bit better and then fell into an uneven sleep in which she would imagine entering several room and in some of them Erika was with the other woman and in other she could see her parents or herself when she was just a little girl. She recalled her past times back then and how much she loved horses.

 The second person to get into an ambulance was Joanna. Her husband nowhere to be found, she had to board the ambulance alone after several men were necessary to pull her out of the car and then up into the ambulance. She was bleeding internally, as determined by the instruments used by the paramedics. The driver was ordered to rush to the hospital but only two minutes after that they told him there was no real emergency anymore. Joanna was stable but she had lost her child, so they didn’t have to be fast to save anyone.

 Matt kept walking until a distracted old man run over him. The car lifted him and pushed him to the side of the road. The old man didn’t stop to see what he had done. Matt lay there and then came back to his body for a while. And realized how miserable he was, he realized how sad he had been for so long and it was all because his life had failed to be what he wanted. He loved Joanna and the kids but he wanted so much more from life, so much more than responsibility.

 In the hospital, Eileen was put in the room next to Joanna, who got better quickly but got almost insane when she was notified about the baby. Then she learned, through a nurse, that Eileen was in the other side of the wall, so she tried to choke her with a pillow, because the nurse had told her it was Eileen who was to blame for the crash. It was the only way Eileen came back to the real world and the only way Joanna could realize how ready she was to be a mother again, when she couldn’t be one anymore.


 Meanwhile, Matt lay there in the pavement. And cried too.

jueves, 11 de febrero de 2016

Not there

   A small crab ran across the beach, fighting the powerful gust of wind that was sweeping the area. It moved fast and then burrowed himself into the sand, disappearing in a matter of seconds. There was another creature in the beach. A young woman, dressed in plastic boots and a coat that resembled the capes that superheroes used in comic books and movies. It was red and the boots two. Not like the crab, she just stood in one place and looked at the ocean and how the waves were becoming bigger and bigger, how they appeared to be alive. The water and foam came closer and closer to her feet but she did not move. She seemed out of herself, in a way.

 Finally a wave crashed violently against the beach and reached her knees. She seemed to have woken up from a dream, only cleaning her legs with her hands and turning around, walking up the natural hill that had formed because of erosion and went back home, not far from the sound of the ocean. The sky was becoming darker, both because of the time of day but also because of the storm that was brewing in the ocean. The woman walked slowly towards her house, soon joined by a beautiful Labrador dog that was of her property. The dog’s name was Chance. Hers was Amelia.

 She entered the house through the back door that led to the kitchen. She took off her coat and boots and left them in a small cabinet she used for such purposes. Walking in socks, she grabbed a beer from the fridge and petted Chance who followed her everywhere. She crossed the house towards the living room, where she lay down in a sofa, drinking her beer and letting the dog sleep by her feet. But the women wasn’t calm, she was apparently trying the drink the content of the bottle in one gulp and even some of the beer slid down her chin and neck. She cleaned it with her sleeve.

 The main door, a room away, opened to reveal her husband coming in. They had been married for about a year and had come to this house, owned by Amelia’s father, to get away from everyone else. Their anniversary was the next day and they didn’t want to have to share that day with anyone else. Or at least that was the original reason they had for coming to that windy beach. He went straight to the kitchen, left some bags there and organized its contents, and only after finishing he sat down on an armchair across Amelia.

- Isn’t it a bit early?

  Her only answer was to burp with no shame or limit. She had finished her beer so she left the bottle by the sofa and looked at her husband, her eyes sad as they could be. He looked at her too and they wrestled with their eyesight for almost a whole minute, until Amelia asked her husband Matt to come to her in the sofa and he refused. She heard her footsteps going up, to the bedroom. She decided to follow, seeing night had already fallen.

 When she entered the room, he was taking off his shoes and putting some slippers. He always complained about some of the shoes he had brought recently, because they all made his feet hurt a lot. He had just being out in the supermarket for a couple of hours and he felt blood pumping through his feet. Amelia sat down by him on the bed and took his hand. She squeezed and he squeezed back but they didn’t look at each other. They just sat there in silence, only illuminated by the very week light of a nightstand lamp.

 The moment was broken by a thunder in the distance. They had not seen the lighting so maybe the storm was out in the ocean but they knew the night was going to be long. Matt looked at Amelia and proposed to her to go down to the kitchen and make some dinner. She tried to smiled but couldn’t; only nodding and releasing his hand from her grip. She walked down first, arriving at the kitchen where Chance was smelling his plate. She had forgotten to feed him and proceed to pour some of his food into it before Matt saw her. But Chance had to eat earlier.

- You always forget. Is like you don’t care about him
- I do.
- Really?

 Matt had that quality that some people have to make you feel, with simple words, like a bug squashed against a wall. Of course she loved the dog but she had been thinking all the day long, going away to the beach   and the dog didn’t like the beach, possibly because it was very humid or because of the crabs. Maybe if the dog had come with her to the beach, she wouldn’t have forgotten to feed him. But it was too late for that now and the dog was eating already.

 Her husband gave her some vegetables to cut into dices as he marinated some shrimps and cut some slices of eggplant. He had always loved to cook and invent new recipes. It drove him away from everything in the world; he became the only person alive with all the ingredients, focusing only on how good it had to look and how nice it had to taste to any palate. The recipe they were doing had been created by him, several years ago.

 Amelia cooked the vegetables with a bit of oil and butter. They had to be nice and crunchy. The shrimps were cooked in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper and also some paprika. Amelia looked at him, almost smiling to the prawns, so much happier than ever before. She loves to see him smile but it wasn’t often that she saw that these days. Then again, she didn’t smile herself too often either. He proceeded to fry the eggplants after submerging them in water. The smell was all around the house.

 In each plate, Matt served two big slices of eggplant topped with shrimp and vegetables. He poured some olive oil to give it a nice look and asked Amelia to take it to the table. He took out a bottle of wine from a special fridge he had bought and joined his wife at the dining table. It was a small space, the table only for four. They sat one across he other and sat in silence. Matt poured wine into two cups that had been set up by her and they just started eating in silence. It was really good and Chance had followed them to see if they would give him at least a bite of what they had cooked.

 But each one of them was too distracted to notice him, panting included. Amelia wanted to tell her husband how nice it all was but something in her throat didn’t let her. It was as if she had a knot there that wouldn’t let her talk her mind. It wasn’t that she feared her husband or anything like that. She loved him deeply but she knew she was know miles away from him and had been like that since her mother had advised them to come out here and get away from all the eyes and the ears.

 He was distracted too, cutting his eggplant and then sipping some wine and then looking out the window to the storm. From that room, during the day, you could see the horizon and part of the ocean. If there had been light, he would have seen the darkness of the tempest and the violence of the waves in the sea. But now he could only guess all of that by the lights of the thunder and the resounding sound of storm, that seemed like a monster rising from the water and howling, trying to caution every other living creature from getting near him.

- It’s good.

 Amelia had finally said it and as she did, she knew she had committed a mistake. Her voice broke off and couldn’t speak anymore and he looked at her for a moment and just stood up, walking towards the living room. She followed him, thinking for a second he was leaving. She grabbed him by the arm and he pulled her apart, almost in disgust. Her eyes were filled with tears. It was then he said, he finally said what she had dreaded for some time: “You killed her”.


 The only thing Amelia could do, out of rage and despair, was to grab the bottle of beer she had left there earlier and throw it towards him. He dodged it just in time so the bottle crossed the room and smashed against the window, which broke into thousands of big and small pieces. She was breathing heavily and he seemed scared. She finally shed a single tear and said: “Never. I could have never”. The wind entering from outside froze them, leaving them like statues in the middle of the house, thinking of the unborn.

lunes, 2 de noviembre de 2015

The wind on L

   The wind roared and roared. It seemed like it carried the voices of thousands of people long deceased, as if it all of them had decided that life on planet L should be eradicated. For thousands of years, the elders had gathered every single piece of mysticism and mythology, every tale and story told by a grandmother or a priest. And in many of those tales the wind played a very important role. It was always a destructive force, a very awful power of nature that menaced everything on its path, specially the sensible civilization that had grown on L. Despite their advancements in many fields, they still hadn’t been able to put an end to the never-ending problem of the wind. Besides, they knew that doing anything against it would cause consequences and who knew what those might be.

 Planet L was mostly water, so the wind didn’t really have obstacles that would stop it, like mountain ranges. On L, the only obstacles were caves dug underground by centuries of people trying to find a solution for their awful problem. They had also tried to build walls but that had failed fast. The only way to properly survive was underground, below the few continental masses of the planet. The cities below were small and very damp, but the people had adapted fast and did not care anymore. They had also developed a great sense of hearing and of sight, meaning they could navigate the caves without fear of getting lost or hurt by falling or something like that.

 Their way of living was the main reason no one in that area of the galaxy knew of their existence. Funny enough, many creatures of the universe knew planet L. Pirates, bounty hunters and warriors met there sometimes to exchange prisoners, goods or just to kill each other off in very bloody battles. Almost all alien creatures could withstand the wind easily, at least in some regions. And they liked that it made a cover for them, in case authorities followed them from other systems. But the inhabitants of L had no idea this had been going on for a long time. Their personal belief was that no one on the galaxy would be interested in landing in such a nightmare of a planet.

 One day, however, something rather different happened. Two ships entered L at very high speed, breaking the sound barrier several times. One was after the other and, from time to time, it fired on it. They had cannons mounted everywhere so one could only think they were bounty hunters or assassins. The ship being attacked caught fire but kept fleeing into some more shots mad it crash into one of the largest islands of the windy world. The ship that went down exploded and the other one just left, its crew thinking that all life inside of the downed ship would soon be dead, if it already wasn’t. It was a matter of time.

 Below, the people of a city had felt the tremor of the ship crashing into the ground. They had been scared for a moment, but then remembered that the weather report had clarified that a very strong storm was going to take place outside, so it was better to stay at home and close all doors, just in case the wind breached the main entrance. That was almost impossible as the main entrance was made from an incredibly strong type of metal they had found when building the caves, but these people preferred to play it safe, specially when from their houses they could hear the moaning of the wind and the voices of all creatures that had died out there in it. For the young ones, the wind was a monster to avoid. For the older ones, it was the difference between life and death and the thing that kept them there, at home.

 As they all ran to their houses and took shelter from the sound of the wind, in the downed ship its pilot was struggling to get out of there fast. The other members of its crew had been killed and he was the only one capable to transport their precious cargo back to their home planet. The treasure was on a small chest he grabbed with bloodied hands. He put it on a bag, which in turn he put on his back. He checked conditions outside but couldn’t wait for the computer to calculate anything. Partly because it had been damaged in the crash but also because there was gasoline leaking all over the place. He didn’t have time to wait so he just put on a suit and went outside. The wind knocked him off at first but then he managed to sink his feet into the ground and at least walk slowly.

 The storm was too strong but he managed to walk away from the ship a few meters just before it exploded. He was pushed away, landing on a puddle of mud and dirty water. The strength of the explosion caused him to lose his balance and stability for a while. He even bled from one if his ears but he could still hear fine, or so its seemed at least in the middle of the storm. He had nowhere to go now so we just stood up and slowly walked away from the wreckage. He turned around to see his ship one last time and a small tear slid down his face. He had lived in that ship for years, but now he had to move on and try to get someone to pick him up there. His suit had a communications device but the wind wouldn’t let it work.

 In the city below, as he tried to use the device, a red light appeared in one of the consoles that checked security all over the city. The computer had detected the device that the stranded alien was using out there. But there was no one there to see it. Everyone had been ordered to their homes due to the storm, to their fear of a wind that just couldn’t get inside their city. However, there was a lonely native of L who happened to be a priest. Secretly, he left his door opened when a storm happened, as he loved the sound of the voices. He thought he could hear in the wind what his ancestors wanted for all of them.

 That priest was the only creature that heard the destruction of the ship outside and he knew, right away, that that sound had nothing to do with the storm. He ran to the metallic door that separated the city from the outside world but just stood there, as if it was going to open magically. Of course, it didn’t and he didn’t dare to open it by himself. Doing so would mean the death penalty, by precisely stepping outside and never coming back. The rules of their civilization were pretty clear and even it moment, when his desire to see what was outside was so big in his heart, even then he just couldn’t do anything. He just stood there by the door, waiting for one more sound to make him do something crazy or at least let him know they weren’t alone.

 Outside, the stranded one was walking clumsily, falling over very often, and almost going insane due to the voices that he could now hear very clearly around him. He didn’t have a clue of what they said, but he had a feeling it wasn’t anything good. Finally his device began beeping and he thought that some ship was en route to save him. But that wasn’t it. It had detected an energy source ahead, which might lead to life or at least to a shelter. Going more and more crazy by the minute, he walked in that suit as fast as he could, careful not to drop his bag with the small chest inside. He had a massive headache and he knew he was bleeding but he just kept on going.

 Then, the priest heard a sound on the door. It had been a subtle, soft sound but he knew he had heard it… Again! It was as if someone was trying to know but didn’t have the strength to do it. As one of the few that dared to listen to his planet, the priest knew this time the death penalty was worth it. Even if there was nothing there when the door opened, he knew something else had happened and that was good enough for him. He then ran to the control panel and entered a password that had never been used. The door moaned, as everything turned to lift it over the priest’s head. The wind entered from the outside like a plague but he felt something else enter so he closed the door instantly.

 When the metallic door had fallen into its place, the priest turned around and saw the stranded alien lying on the cave’s floor. He was bleeding or at least that was what it looked like. Their blood was yellow and his was green. His breath was slowing down. The priest dragged the body to his house and there checked the alien. It was risky, but he took off the helmet. He waited but nothing happened so he got to work and cured him as well as he could. He removed him from the suit and put the bag with the chest on a chair nearby. For days, no one knew there was an alien in that house and they wouldn’t think twice about the bag on the chair.


 As it happened, that bag carried the most important object in the universe. And it was a coincidence, a very happy one to be precise, that it had landed in that forgotten part of the universe as many hands wanted that thing but only one person could manage to handle it. And that person was not very far now.