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

viernes, 17 de marzo de 2017

Joanna's zoo

   Joanna was the person in charge while the zoo was closed. She wasn’t the girl who fed fish to the dolphins while they were doing their show, or the one that joined the visitors in each stop in order to tell them everything about the animal they were watching. She was just the girl that fed the animal after hours, when everything was quiet and most creatures were sleeping or, on the contrary, just waking up from their slumber. She preferred like that as she had never been a person of the spotlight.

 What she loved more than anything was joining the scientists, the men and women that worked hard in laboratories trying to discover a cure for the many animal diseases that most humans knew nothing about. Just like them, she felt that by learning about those diseases and destroying them, they could all be able to make the human race more resistant and the whole world would see a surge in numbers for many species that had been threatened for years without a reason.

 However, Joanna had only been in school for two years. She hadn’t even completed the first half of her education. She couldn’t be allowed yet to a laboratory or anything like that. If she had a job there being so young, it was because she had almost begged for it. She needed that job to help out at home, where her mother was too fragile to work in anything and her sister Julie was still in school, so she couldn’t be able to help. It was her obligation to bring money to home.

 Of course, taking care of the animals didn’t pay as much as one would think, but it didn’t pay as badly as other jobs such as waitress ones and so on. The thing was she was in charge of feeding them and cleaning their habitats, which could be really disgusting sometimes. The animals didn’t mind doing their business anywhere they wanted, so her work was sometimes a little bit of a challenge because of many factors. And she also had to do some security work, for a couple of hours.

 Joanna actually liked her job. It wasn’t prestigious or different every day, but she did learn a lot of stuff about the animals by just watching them. Besides, the zoo was normally very quiet at night, so she could wander around just thinking about her stuff, her life. It wasn’t that she loved to do that, but everyone needs a place where they can stop for a while and just think about how life is going for them and if they want something more out of it. Of course, the conclusion was, every time, that she would like to have an easier life than the one she had.

 Her shift began when the doors of the zoo closed, at five in the afternoon. She had to stay there for five hours, until the security team hired by the zoo’s administration would come in to do their rounds. They stayed until opening time, at nine o’clock the following morning. So she didn’t have to stay that long but it was a lot of work packed in just a few hours. She had to clean everything and make it look as if it was new in that time, which was hard but she always made it.

 The only times she was afraid of anything was when she had to clean and then feed the creatures in the Komodo dragon habitat. There were five dragons, all adults with a very bad mood. She had to put the food in a special space for them to run towards it and then she could trap them in that place for a while, as she cleaned the habitat as fast as she could. This could only last for a while, as Komodo dragons eat extremely fast and they don’t care about small spaces at all.

 It was scary but entertaining to see all those majestic creatures during the night. Joanna felt she had a private glimpse into the lives of the animals that people rarely saw. She felt annoyed when she thought about all the people that visited the zoo and never learned anything about any of the animals. It was supposed to be a place for education but most people just used it as a park that you pay to go in. Some couldn’t care less about the animals, they just wanted a place to chill with their kids.

 She would often think about how the world could be changed by just ending the whole zoo system. Of course, she was one of its employees but the truth was that, as a student on the subject, she thought that zoos were not really the best way to get to know an animal’s ay of doing things, his way of life. That’s what science needed to know but by standing in front of a cage watching a bird, you don’t really learn a lot about it except that it needs a bigger space to fly and be comfortable.

 One of her ideas for the future was to create some sort of tour agency that would be specialized in getting people in and around ecosystems that have a lot to teach to humans. She would only take adults in those trips and only the ones that proof that they want to be there to learn and not only to take a nice little stroll around the jungle. They don’t have to be scientists or anything related, just interested in animals, like she was. She even had a three at home and her parents had never being against it because she actually did a great job taking care of them.

 Her cat was called Tigress, as she looked like a small tiger. Her dog’s name was Sherlock, as he was very good at finding stuff, although he had been much better when younger. He was now a little bit slow when looking for anything, yet he still was able to find things all around the house. The last member of her animal group was Ranger, a big hamster she had received as a gift from her ex-boyfriend. She had wanted to get rid of it after they had broken up, but the creature was so adorable she decided to keep it.

 When she wasn’t taking care of the animals in the zoo, she took care of the animals at home. And she also had to help her mother and sister, so her work was never really done, only on Sundays when she was given the chance of sleeping late and just enjoy herself by doing things that most girls her age enjoyed like going out to the mall or watching movies and television shows. She rarely did any of that though, as she preferred resting at home with all of her pets.

 Joanna’s story is not one that’s fun and interesting, as many others. She’s just an average person, struggling to come out alive of a situation in her life that seems to go on forever. But she knows, she trusts, that one change it will all change. She will finish college and her mother will get better. Her sister will grow older and will be able to help her around the house more and she may realize all of her dream, the ones she thinks about when she walks around the zoo at night.

 She’s not dreaming too much, she doesn’t think so. Joanna is just an average person, a normal person hoping for something to progress in her life. And she knows it happened because of the animal, because even them are not always the same every single day. They might not be people but they do have temperaments and attitudes. They do change their minds and customs. So, if they change, why not her? Besides, she had way to many plans not to make them a reality.


 Meanwhile, she cleans their shit and gives them meat or corn or whatever it is that she has to give them as food. And she has learned to enjoy it because she’s at peace with them, more than when she shares the room with another person,  fellow human.

jueves, 10 de noviembre de 2016

Dolly

   Everyone looked through the window. They almost seemed unable to breath. The specialists on the other side were carefully helping the female elephant to get on the floor and lay down on her side. The animal was strangely restless and wouldn’t listen to any human. She gave a couple steps backwards and some forward. Her eyes went from the people around her, to the window, to the door. For a moment, some thought she was trying to figure out how the get out of there, by force if necessary. But the truth was that she was really restless.

 One of the people around her injected her with a serum to make her a bit more manageable, as they needed her on the floor and not pacing around in desperation. Of course, in the wild, the animal had her young whenever she felt was a safe and good place to have hit. It wasn’t a thing of being comfortable but more to do with the fact of being safe. In that room, however, she didn’t feel safe at all and that’s why she kept moving and refused to do what was natural. She felt danger all around and she was all that wrong.

 After all, every woman and man around her were there to take way her young as soon as she had it. Or at least that was the initial idea, until they discusses it and arrived to the conclusion that taken the cub away from the mother could have really important consequences for his survival. The baby probably needed his mother’s milk but also her protection and love. If they showed her they only wanted to help, maybe she wouldn’t feel so hostile towards them and may even be able to let them do their research on him, if that was their goal.

 After a second injection, the elephant finally lay down on the floor on her side. She begin to make a really weird sound that one expert called a “sign of melancholia”. It was very strange to attribute human traits to animals but it wasn’t uncommon to see creatures behaving exactly like actual people, especially when they have been living or have been very close to a large amount of people or even just one person in particular. It happens with dogs and even with cats and birds. It’s a strange form of attachment, still pretty uncommon though.

 They soon started making tests on her and helping her breathe properly. The people behind the glass were glued to it, as it was the first time that they would be in the presence of the miracle of life. The women there had never had children and no one had been in the room for the delivery of a human baby, much less and elephant baby. They were looking forward to it but the process also made them really nervous because they knew elephants could be very temperamental and even a real danger if you were in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

 But the one there was to drugged up to do anything against anyone. A couple of scientists started massaging the animal’s belly, trying to stimulate the birth. It was a very long process until some of the effect of the drugs wore off and it was the creature herself that pushed the baby out because she obviously felt obliged to do it. She was desperate to have her baby and once she had it, she turned around her head to see how he was and if he was alive. Elephants would even eat the placenta too, as nutritious as it is but that didn’t happen.

 The mother touched her cub with the trunk and then let out a very loud sound that seemed to be product of fear or something worse. Again, they gave her a shot and she was sleepy for a while and then fell asleep for real. The baby was then helped to her milk and while he was getting fed, they measured everything and started taking pictures. The people behind the glass couldn’t do that because their cellphones had been taken away form them but they understood why: the new creature they were looking at was something else.

 The process had been a success and the insemination of an elephant with DNA from an extinct species had been successful. The young mammoth seemed to be just perfect. He was drinking milk like crazy but he also seemed to be very curious, looking around the room and at the people. His fur was still a little bit wet but the thick brown fur could easily be appreciated. One scientist dared to take off his gloves and attempt t touch him but the supervisor caught him just in the right second. They couldn’t allow that.

 After eating, the creature seemed to be very interested in his surroundings. He even walked slowly towards the glass and lightly touched it with his trunk. The people on the other side were ecstatic, they couldn’t even begin to understand how amazing what they were watching was. No human had seen one of those for the last four thousand years and now, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, there was a mammoth walking around, touching almost everything with his trunk, being caressed softly by the scientist that were proud of their work.

The cub went back to his mother and he seemed to notice that she wasn’t really responding. The reason was simple: she was asleep after all the effort and didn’t have the opportunity to properly meet her child. However, most people had noticed that the mother had not been very eager to see him as much as the scientists were. It was pretty understandable: after all, she was an elephant and she had just delivered a baby into the world that didn’t look like her, at all.

 As the cub moved around and did small sounds with his trunk, the people behind the glass were simply over the moon. They had been told that they were going to see something very special and amazing but they would have never guessed an extinct creature was the secret of the facility. They thought a cure for some awful disease had been found or that something to do with communications had been discovered. The world did not receive news like this one every day so it wasn’t a surprise that every electronic device had been taken from them

 They were given five more minutes for observation and then a very kind young woman came and told them to exit the room and follow her. They did exactly that and joined her to a conference room, where she left them alone for a couple of minutes. In that time, every single one of them bursted into talk, saying how simply incredible what they had seen was. Their general opinion was that what they had just seen could be one of those world-changing things people love to talk about. It could be very big and important.

 The group was made of entrepreneurs, journalists and other scientists whose specialty was not biology. The woman came back and asked them to fill a survey and they she told them they could begin elaborate their plans but that they would need final approval by the laboratory in order to publish a paper, release a statement about any ideas or projects or anything related to the mammoth. They all nodded and the woman left again, with the promise to return their electronic devices to them when she returned. And so she did.

 As the men and women were being escorted to the entrance, they realized that the secret was really important for the people that had done this. And they also realized that the laboratories had challenged some ethical procedures. Besides that, they hadn’t been presented with an explanation of why they had done what they had done. And why a mammoth? Other animals had been dead for millions of years and DNA had also been found from them. Why not a dinosaur or an ancient wolf or an extinct tropical bird?


 The moment they stepped the parking lot, most of them started calling their boards or their most trusted advisors. Ideas had come up in the way to the front gate and they were already envisioning many things to do with the creature. It was a small and furry gold mine that could translate in many more extinct gold mines in the future. But their enthusiasm was broken when a scientist ran towards the lady that had attended to them and announced something sad: “The mammoth and his mother just died”.

jueves, 3 de noviembre de 2016

He was a friend

   The problem with having people over was that Tom’s place was always a mess. He tried to keep it clean; to make it look like someone responsible lived there, but it was impossible for him to keep that façade up. He had to confront the fact that he was not the most organized person in the world and that he shouldn’t have said “Yes” when asked if he could have his friends over for their weekly gathering. They had that tradition since they started having their own places. It was an excuse for seeing each other more often because if it weren’t for that dinner, they wouldn’t know anything.

 Marina had almost always hosted the dinner. She had the most beautiful apartment of the group and her husband was very relaxed about them meeting up so often. Sometimes they only met every two weeks because she had something else to do or her husband needed his space so they just didn’t get together. If it wasn’t her house, they sometimes used Greg’s place but the problem with his house was the fact that it was too far away from anyone else’s and that he had a baby so they had to keep it silent and very short.

 So Tom had a lot to do before his friends came over. By his request, the dinner was changed fro mthe usual Friday to Saturday. He knew that if he needed time to plan the whole thing and it was going to be an important meeting because the New Year holidays had just ended and it hadn’t seen each other in weeks. They would normally call for a pizza or something like that but he really wanted to impress them as he had always been the loser of the group, the one that never did anything too impressive, the one that was still single and working a menial job.

 Yes, Tom wanted them to see another side of him, a side that he would hopefully actually have. As he started planning, he realized he was really as dull and simple as anyone would think. His job was really not interesting so they never spoke about that but he always got so tired from it that he had almost no time to actually read or hear about other things in the world. He didn’t have any real knowledge about the interesting things of life. He only knew about the boring corner he occupied in the world and that was it. So he really had to make an effort.

 The first thing was actually planning the dinner. Even in the New Year’s Eve dinner with his family, he had his old timey notepad and a pencil with which he would write ideas for things to eat. His brother insisted he should just order a pizza and garlic bread but they always did that and he wanted to impress them with something they couldn’t see coming. The garlic bread was a nice idea, so he wrote it down and his mother told him a good salad is always welcome so he wrote that down too. The idea was to have many simple things around.

 The days before the meeting, he decided to buy most of the things he needed for his dinner in order to do them first and see if he could do it all by himself or if it really was a better idea to just ask for a pizza. He used the oven and borrowed a bunch of kitchen equipment from his mother, as he didn’t have anything to do proper things at his place. He didn’t even have a blender, just a couple of pans, a cooking pot and the microwave. Tom had to borrow his father’s car too to be able to take all of that back to his place. They thought he was going crazy.

 The first thing he decided to do was the salad, which he thought was the simplest of the dishes he had wrote down. He decided to do one mixing vegetables and fruits. It was supposed to be something refreshing and filled with flavors. He did everything the recipe called for but at the end, he doubted the result was the same as in the recipe. Apparently, the fruits and veggies he had chosen weren’t in their best moment. Some of them were too “green” and others were too ripe. It wasn’t to be surprised, as he had never picked up so many things from the supermarket.

 He put the salad on the side and decided it would be nice if he kept it on the refrigerator. Then, Tom decided to make the garlic bread. It was a rather simple thing to do. His trial test was going to be with cheap bread he had found in the supermarket. Again, he had made the wrong choice, as the bread was much too hard, like a rock. It was almost impossible to cut it. But once he did, he smeared some garlic paste on it and put it in the oven. The thing was he forgot about it when doing another recipe, so the bread got burned and his second attempt another disaster.

 What he was doing in the meantime was mixing the ingredients to make nice thick waffles. He had found a website that advised against the mix they sold in a box and encouraged people to do the mix themselves. The whole kitchen got covered in flour and a couple of eggshells ended up in the mix. He let it harden a bit when he got the garlic bread out of the oven so when he mixed it again, it had a very rough texture, not very similar to the one in the pictures of the website. When he tried it in the pan, it just got stuck there and burned like the bread.

 And all of that happened in a single day, the Monday previous to his gathering with friends. He wasn’t ready at all and he was even more of a disaster than he had thought. Tom had never cooked anything for himself and had no idea about entertaining people. He was a shy person, the kind that would always be asked last about a subject, if asked at all. He knew they had put that burden on him because no one else could do it and that thought made him realized he didn’t want to be that person.

 So early Tuesday, he grabbed the phone and called every single was one of his so-called friends and told them that he had decided against organizing their little event. He didn’t explain why or anything like that. He thought it was best not to say anything that they could use against him, although he knew they were going to talk anyway. After making all the appropriate calls, he decided to go to bed and rest because he hadn’t been able to sleep properly just because of that stupid meeting being in his brain for weeks and weeks.

 A surprise came in Wednesday, after having been able to sleep for ten straight hours. A girl from college called Alicia had come to his door to visit, out of the blue. When he buzzed her in, he didn’t really realize what he had done. But then he did and he started picking up the trash from the floor but then stopped and realized that didn’t make any sense. If Alicia was there, it was because the others had told her about the cancelled reunion. She wanted to know more and he shouldn’t just fake that everything was perfect when it wasn’t.

At the end of the day, that mess in his house was what made him Tom. He was that mess and it was the most original version of his own self. Nothing more could be as perfect to describe him as that pile of things all around, ranging from papers and notebooks to all the ingredients that he hadn’t used and wasn’t going to use for anything, never again. He even had some clothes on the floor, mainly the ones he would pick up and put in bag to take to washing machines in the basement of the building. It was one of those places.

 When Alicia arrived, he greeted her on the door and didn’t ask her to come in. He just wanted to know what she was doing there. She said that a bunch of people, including her, were worried about him because he had cancelled out of the blue. She reminded him that he was always so worried about arriving on time to their other meetings and often gave money for more pizza, so it was weird that he would just cancel the gathering that he was in charge of. So Alicia was just there to receive an explanation and she really got one.


 Tom said he was tired of being the last person they always thought of, except when they needed money or some idiot to do shit for them. He told Alicia to told every other person in their so-called “friend group” that he wasn’t going to be the same idiot that he had been since college. Maybe he wasn’t brilliant or successful or anything, but he still deserved some respect. He closed the door on her face and decided it was a nice time to order a pizza, all for himself.

sábado, 3 de septiembre de 2016

Phalanx mystery

   Everyone that crossed William’s path was always amused by what he did for a living: he was the marketing manager in a company that sold condoms called Phalanx. He was very popular at parties, telling one and ten stories about the funny things that happened both in his department and in the factory where the condoms where actually made. He even knew some other stories about people that had called the Phalanx hotline in order to ask silly questions that no one ever knew if they were real or false.

 The point was that he had a lot of fun at work and out of it. However, for a person that saw condoms so often at work, he didn’t really get to use a lot. In one of those ironies of life, William had not had a real sexual encounter in a long time. He was a very busy person and he always failed to have time to party or socialize except for the events hosted by Phalanx. The few times he met people was in those parties but they were always funny for a while but not for the long haul.

 Every single Monday at the office, they held pitching sessions in which any of the employees of the company could present new ideas to make the product more attractive. Normally, they would laugh a lot more than do actual work but sometimes, once every six months almost, they got a very clever idea that could easily become a big thing in the world of condoms. Anyhow, it was a very fun thing to be in and most people were very serious about their ideas.

 There was the typical things like making condoms into different sizes or different flavors and colors, but then they were the crazy people telling them to sell condom certain foods in supermarkets, or not only having flavors but also smells, which everyone thought was absolutely awful. They laughed a lot the time that someone proposed to print images on the condoms and even the possibility of personalizing them with your signature. It seemed like a good idea but it wasn’t.

 There were some good ones like having a guy dressed like a penis or condom in some popular area and make him do funny dances and stuff and then handing out pamphlets about how important it was to use condoms. Others had made proposals about the packaging and image that they were really considering. As in any industry, they needed to keep innovating and doing different stuff or they would get obsolete.

 But there was one presenter William remembered for weeks after they moved on. William had always identified as a straight man but somehow that man had captivated him and he had no idea why. It was something more than looks and his idea. It was something he could really pinpoint.

 The man’s idea was very simple: in each one of the condom packaging’s, putting a drawing of a different position in order to kind of make it like a challenge towards the couple that was going to use the prophylactic. Everyone received the proposal to mild enthusiasm and only William seemed to be distracted by the guy that was in front of him. For weeks, he had him inside his head moving around, appearing in the weirdest moments and it was a long time after that, when they were executing some of the ideas people had pitched, when he realized why he thought of him so much: he knew him.

 That day, after all work was done, he went to the archive room and asked fro the file on that man. Apparently, he had been working in the office for as long as William had been there. He was his same age and had gone to the same college too. The difference was that that guy hadn’t been able to ascend in the company whereas William had climbed that ladder a lot faster than anyone else ever before. He was very talented at what he did.

 When he got home that day, he was relieved to realized he didn’t like the guy for his looks or something like that but because he unconsciously knew something weird about him. He couldn’t really remember him from any of the classes in college but apparently something inside his brain did remember him and had been curious to reveal that.

 As tired as he was, William relaxed that day with a bubble bath. He was so tired that he fell asleep inside and only woke up because he was slowly sinking into the water. When he got out of there, he just dried himself up and fell asleep naked as he was on the bed, above the sheets. He must have woken up at four in the morning only to crawl under the covers because of the cold.

 After the weekend, he stumbled into his old college partner in the elevator on the way to his office. It was kind of an awkward moment: there was some tension between them but William had no idea why. He knew now that he wasn’t interested in that guy physically and that was the only thing that had been weird before. But now everything was tension and looking down to their shoes and it was very strange.

 For the rest of that day he didn’t really pay attention to anything else because his mind was still trying to understand what had happened in that elevator. He tried to remember anything about that man but he just couldn’t remember him in college. Maybe crossing him one or twice in the hallways but that was it. He was so distracted during the pitching session that day, that he missed every single one of the funny presentations. His fellow managers would laugh and he would just smile.

 The following day, he was lucky enough to have dinner with a friend from college he had not seen in a while. She had always been one of his best friends back in college and now she worked out of the country in a job that paid very well. So they got together and talked and laughed and drank and ate. It was a very fun evening. When the dessert was brought to them, William remembered the man from his office and instantly asked his friend about him. He described him as well as he could and she was surprised by the degree of detail he was able to give her.

 His friend had no idea of whom he was talking about. Then, William looked for a picture on his cellphone and showed it to her. Crazy as it seemed, William had taken a picture of the file on the guy in order to remember his face the next time he saw him and now he got to show to his friend so he didn’t see how awkward it was.

 Then, she immediately recognized him. Trying not to laugh at her friend for having some random guy’s picture on his cellphone, she reminded him that that guy had been a good friend of the people they used to hang out with during college. He would even go to some parties with them although she didn’t even remember his name. He wasn’t a particularly social person but she knew she had seen him a number of times around there with them.

 William thought about that for a long time. He looked at the guy’s picture that night before going to bed and then spent a good half hour trying to sleep but really thinking about why he had no idea of who that person was. The next day at the office, he got the rumor that many people were being laid off because the company had decided to wipe out a whole section in order to make room for new people that were going to be in charge of social media and such.

 As he went to get coffee, he saw the guy from college with a single box, eyes very red, standing in front of the elevator. He had no idea why, but he walked towards him and asked what was wrong. The guy was obviously surprised to see William but he just answered the question: he had been fired. William offered to help him with the box and in the time from there to the first floor, he was able to remember who that guy was.


 They had kissed once in a party. William had been very drunk. He was sure to have vomited at least a couple of times that night. And somehow, in between all that, they had kissed. He gave the box to the guy and told him to call him if he needed any help. The guy seemed confused by that and honestly William was too. He didn’t know why he had said it but he thought it was the right thing to do.