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

miércoles, 23 de mayo de 2018

Synthetics


   The small teddy bear looked out through the railing, trying to catch a glimpse of what the other were looking at: indeed, some kind of ship was descending rapidly through the thick clouds that engulfed the tower and soon disappeared beneath them. It was well known by every synthetic life form, that the Spire had been built tall enough to observe anything happening in the vicinity, for thousands of kilometers. The air was very thin up there but that wasn’t a problem for their kind. It had never been.

 Teddy pulled back from the railing and descended with other synthetics to level Ninety, where they had their quarters. Some others were still in the elevator when it closed, as they were heading for the tracking center in the lower levels. Most of those synthetics were what one would call scientists and anything that seemed odd or out of place was extremely interesting to them. For Teddy though, something falling from the sky was not that much of a new thing, as he had seen it happen so many times.

 Secretly, most synthetics were hoping one of those things falling from the sky would be a ship piloted by their former masters, the former rulers of that world. They had left thousands of years ago, leaving behind many of their creations. The synthetics had been something like their offspring and they had been abandoned from one day to the other. It hadn’t happened for no reason: the planet had become toxic for their masters and if they wanted to survive they had to leave as soon as it was possible for them.

 The consequence was leaving their planet to the synthetics, which over the years, decided to take charge of things and try to make the planet more hospitable. It took a very long time, but the air in the surface eventually became breathable and they were even able to recreate water and vegetation, as it had been in the past. Of course, synthetics had no need for all of that as they couldn’t breathe or feel like their former masters, but it was the sense of achievement and purpose that drove them to do all of that.

 Teddy had belonged, so long ago, to a series of children, all from the same family. He had no recollection of when and how he had been made but he knew that he was one of very few toys that could actually interact with their owners in a more realistic way. However, he was left behind as if he had been another working droid, with no mind or soul of his own. He always wondered why he had been left behind and many answers would often come up in his head. The one he liked the most was the one where his owner had just being forced to leave him there, so no one was to blame.

 When the darkness of the night came, the synthetics took their time to recharge and fix themselves if they had to. Teddy had been repaired fairly recently, so he was working just fine. He was about to power down in order to rest for a while, not that synthetics needed it, when an alarm was heard all over the Spire. Through a series of speakers, every single inhabitant of the tallest structure on Earth was able to hear one of their top scientists say that, the ship that had fallen from the sky seemed to have brought back a human.

  Everyone went insane. Some more than others. It has to be said that most of them still missed, in one way or the other, their old masters. They didn’t think much of the fact that they had been left there alone, on a decaying planet. Most synthetics felt that humans had been obliged to do what they did, so there was no such thing as a choice. Many dreamt of the day they could encounter humans again, in order to show them how well they had evolved and how they had recuperated their planet from certain doom.

 Everyone descended to the lowest level of the Spire and did something they very rarely, if ever, did: they gathered outside, at night, by the tower, and waited until everyone was there. When realized they were complete, the scientists exposed their findings while talking from a boulder that was higher than the rest of the synthetics. That way they could speak loud and their voice would reach even the smallest synthetics like Teddy, who decided to sit down as he heard what his companions had to say.

 They showed images of the ship, taken earlier by a drone. The metallic transportation was interesting in shape, but synthetics had never really been that interested in moving beyond the planet. So travelling from somewhere very far to there, was not something that impressed them or interested them. However, the last few pictures revealed what they had all descended to see. Just before the drone had left the area, the ship had opened some kind of door and a silhouette could be seen walking out of the ship.

 Maybe it was the dirt being moved by the wind or the fact that the drone was not fully charged when it started its adventure, but the pictures were not top quality at all. The shape everyone could see in the pictures was indeed something that looked like a human, as most of them did by the way, but who says that no other creatures in the universe has been created the same way? Everyone was in doubts, discussing their points of view, their overall reaction. Then, the scientists announced an expedition to leave for the landing site in order to encounter the creature, whatever it was.

 As they were all connected via a special network, the chosen ones to go to the ship were chosen in a few seconds. Teddy had insisted to go but he was afraid he would be denied the opportunity. However, he was accepted on the grounds that his general aspect might prove to be an advantage if the visitor was indeed a human. After all, he was smaller than most synthetics and his appearance was soft and adorable. No one would dare harm such a cute little bear, or at least not it if they knew what he was and what he was created to do.

 The team left that very night, in order to get there before sundown. The landing site was not that near but they could reach it easily with transportations they had rebuilt after the humans had left. They had their versions of trains and cars, and also planes and even helicopters. They chose to hop on to something very similar to a jeep and go on their way. No one talked during the trip, as they were all very nervous of what they would encounter. What if it was something else, something dangerous?

 The moment they reached the site, they were amazed at how clean the ship looked. It sparkled in the sun, as it was setting. It had only a couple of windows and the rocket busters to help it come down were easily visible. They didn’t have much time to take a look: when one of them approached the ship, the door opened as it had happened on the images the drone had taken. And, as in the pictures too, a creature came out through the door and greeted them. None of them could really believe what they were watching.

 It wasn’t a human. It was a synthetic, just like them. It was just more refined and clean; its parts were made from things no one on Earth had ever seen. He actually looked like a human, walked like one and even talked like one. But they knew he wasn’t real, he wasn’t one of the former masters. It was another one of their creations, just like they themselves had been all those years ago. For a while, they just looked at each other, confirming that all of what they were thinking was correct.

 When it spoke though, the synthetics realized something very important about it: it had been sent by the humans to their former planet, in order to check on it and see what had become of the place they had once called home. The android even played a video for them, recorded a long time ago.

 A human male and a human woman explained their curiosity to see their former planet but also their sadness that the ship would take many years to reach it. However, they thought it was worth their time and effort. And the synthetics agreed, even if they didn’t really know what to do next.

lunes, 14 de mayo de 2018

My partner


   When I saw him, I could only laugh. He looked at me exactly in the opposing way, making his eyes turn around as if he had just witnessed the most annoying thing happening right in front of him. That was the kind of relationship we had the moment we started working together. For some reason, our boss had decided our skills complimented each other’s, so he appointed us to missions together very often. I have forgotten how many times I pretended to be his brother, his friends and even his boyfriend or even husband.

 It all depended on the places we had to go and the things we had to do. Sometimes, the mission would be a very relaxing cruise through the Caribbean on an enormous boat that would float peacefully for over a week, carrying carefree tourists around. People that just wanted to get a tan and swim and maybe walk the massive ship, enjoying everything the place had to offer. Yes, I have to confess I loved those kinds of missions but we got assigned to them because they were specifically for rookies in this business.

 I remember one time; only about a year after we got to know each other properly, when we were sent to the Bahamas pretending to be a married gay couple going on an exclusively gay cruise. We had to steal some very important papers out of the office of a very important businessman who happened to be frolicking in the boat with his lover, unknown to his wife. It was a hilarious place and situation to be in, and of course stealing the plans was the easiest part of the whole thing. We did it the first night.

 For the other eight days, we had to hold hands pretending to love each other to death, when in reality we had almost hate for one another. Well, it wasn’t really hated but we certainly didn’t see eye to eye. He was the kind of guy that loves to focus on the job and is obsessed by doing everything by the book, like a little boy scout trapped in an adult man’s body. That to me annoyed me so much that I would often just go rogue for a couple of hours and that would, of course, made him go insane, a result I always loved.

 In the bedrooms, we agreed on sleeping on the same bed but avoiding anything weird during the night. No touching each other’s private space, especially not each other’s bodies. The first one to wake up would be the first one into the shower and so on. After a few months, we had a great system that avoided, almost always, any unpleasant moments during our missions. And as they would often take long periods of time to get over with, we just had to find a way to live with one another. It was almost a sacrifice for both of them and we did it because it was our job.

 However, those were our first missions, years one and two. By the third one, they sent us to shorter missions that required a greater deal of commitment from our part. In not so many words, that means that we had to risk our lives during those assignments. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even see each other but once, in critical moments. Besides those, we would often fly solo and assume unrelated identities. I have to confess it was kind of fun at first, playing to be so many different types of men, so many times.

 But after a while, it got annoying and the stakes started looking at me in the face. On my first mission, I got fired several times and they had to pull me out of a dumpster with a bullet on my thigh and several cuts all over my body. It was a weird experience, which was better than what my former partner was going through. I say former, because sometime after we started that decisive year, the bosses decided we wouldn’t be working together as often as we had done in the past. They said it was the right thing to do.

 However, I heard a drug lord almost killed him, after his disguise as a dealer was blown by some snitch. The snitch got killed right in front of him and the drug lord ordered his people to tie my former partner to a pipe and beat him up in every way they wanted. I have no idea of the details, but some people say he could have been killed if it hadn’t been for his security bracelet, which was a secret piece of equipment we all wear that activates itself if we fail to report to it at least once a day.

 You see, the drug lord took all of his clothes away and let him in a cold basement for at least four days. So the bracelet activated itself, called for back up to that specific location and the agent was saved. I was in a mission during that time, so I just heard it all from others. I was tempted to visit him in the hospital, the moment I was able to go back home, but I decided against it. Actually, I realized I was caring for someone I had never cared before, and that confused me enough to do nothing and go back to my life.

 It was almost a year later when they assigned us to a mission together. This time, it was a classic spy stunt: we had no covers, nothing sleek or sexy or nice. We just had to get our hands on a witness, extract him from a certain country, and go back home with that person alive. It was a nightmarish place to be, a horrible experience to be having. But, between all of it, I have to admit I was comforted when I saw his face in the airport the day we left for our mission. I wanted to tell him something but had no idea what to say. So, again, I decided to stay quiet and focus on the mission at hand.

 As predicted, the situation was dire. We had guns and a contact, but that was all blown to hell the second day of our stay in that dreadful hellhole. A group of guys attempted to blow us up in a crappy hotel. It was just luck that the cleaning lady had gone in before us. I know, that sounds insensitive but you kind of lose that part of yourself in such a job. We just started running and killing them all to get the fuck out of there. And in that moment, we were the best team anyone could have ever hoped for.

 It was as if our minds were connected, as well as our bodies. We didn’t even have to look at each other to work in unison; it was almost like a dance that has all the perfect moves to be the best anyone has ever seen. At the same time, I realized we weren’t the same people that had enjoyed those cruises and nice hotels at the start of this whole thing. We were two entirely different men and it showed. I saw it in his eyes the moment we started running away and I had felt it in myself for a long time before that. It just had been confirmed.

 He surprised me with his knowledge of the underworld of that city. Maybe he had been there before or maybe he had just changed that much. I had heard that after his traumatic experience, he had stayed on his post, taking many other risky assignments. He had a nice fiancé at the start but eventually she left him and no one could point at the exact thing that had caused that rift. However, the job was not one where you could see a lot of happy endings. So I understood if that had been the reason why he had decided to be left alone.

 In time, we got our witness and got her out of that place. It was by the skin of our teeth, as I was shot in the shoulder moments before our party rescued us on the border. The thing was, he had stepped in front of me and blocked most bullets by using a metal door as a shield. Only that one bullet had been able to reach me. Making me lose a lot of blood. I fainted in the helicopter that was carrying us and woke up many days later, back home, in a hospital bed. I was very dizzy, so what I saw seemed very unreal.

 It was him. He was fast asleep in the only furniture in the room other than my hospital bed, a very old sofa that seemed to have seen better days. When the nurse came in, she told me he had been there for over two days, never leaving for his home, never going anywhere. He just stayed there.

 After she left, I watched him sleep for a while. And as I did that, I tried to understand the whole situation. It was confusing for me and I know it must be the same for him. So I just decided to think it through another day. What was important was that I felt safe now, and I could finally rest properly for a few days.

viernes, 20 de abril de 2018

Lessons in the ice


   I would always spend my winters in my friend Robert’s cabin, in the woods just north of the Northern Lake. His family never used it on such windy and cold months but I needed that time to be alone and be able to think for once, about my life, decisions and so on. My family lived far away and I didn’t have any money to go and visit them, so I would pack my laptop and portable Wi-Fi and just cold them from the cabin on Christmas day to wish them all a happy day and talk to them for a while.

 The reason I liked the cabin, or at least the main one, was that the lake was just a few minutes away by walking. Part of it would freeze but the other half would stay liquid because of a strong current coming from a river that traverse the body of water. The part of the lake nearest to the cabin was the one that was always frozen, and I would practice my jumps and twists right there. I would do it for hours, never fearing that the ice would break beneath my feet or that I could be attacked by a feral animal.

 I had grown to know the lake deeply, so I knew very well that the ice was at its thickest when I visited, almost a meter thick at times. That was more than enough for me to spend hours and hours practicing. My skating was getting sloppy and I couldn’t do the things that I was famous for several years before, when I first entered the ice skating circuit. I had been labeled a “star” and “the next best thing to come out of ice skating”. There were gifts and praise and flowers and all kinds of beautiful moments.

 But that had happened then and this was now. Me gliding on the ice, jumping and trying to make a good figure, just to be stopped in the middle of the air by my weight or my stupid feet. I seemed to have lost my form in a matter of a few years and coming back now was going to be the most difficult thing ever. I had made the decision to try my best to make a comeback, a last attempt at glory before I entered well into my thirties. That’s the magical number that you cannot go over, not in this world.

 I had checked out every single competitor I was going to have and they were all much younger than me. The prodigy of the group was a kid that was more than ten years younger, with a small stature and slender body, he was sure to make a big impression in any contest. I needed to work a lot to get to that level, to even get near what the others were doing. No one cared that I had won so many awards years ago. They didn’t care if they had been gold, silver or bronze. I wasn’t in their landscape at all. I was just a memory of a past that wasn’t that old.

 I worked out every single day in the cabin, just after having a small breakfast. I would jog around the woods and do sit-ups and pull-ups and every single kind of exercise to make my body what it had used to be. It hurt a lot and it there were many moments in which I wanted to drop it all and just go back to what I had been doing for the past year and a half. Working at the supermarket and as a cashier in the local skating rink was not bad at all. It helped pay the bills at least. But I needed more.

 Telling anyone about my plans was out of the question. Even after sending my papers to inscribe my name for the upcoming events, no one had notice that I was there, trying to make a comeback. They would only notice me once I stepped in the ice once again to reclaim my throne or at least make a decent attempt at it. I hadn’t told my family or anyone else. No one needed to know about what I wanted to do with the next few years of my life. They wouldn’t understand why I just need to do it.

 Maybe if I had a friend, I would tell them what was going on in my head the moment I decided to go back to such a difficult sports life. But I don’t have any because everyone left me after I stopped being famous and a success. And those who didn’t leave me were alienated by the person I became after I hung up my skates to pursue a more “normal” life. They were disappointed in me and got fed up of my negative attitude towards life. I have always said that I would never hold that against them.

 Sometimes, at night, I wonder about what those people think now that I’m planning to come back to the competitions. Are they going to be still mad at me for leaving everything in the first place or are they going to silently cheer me on? Well, I’m never going to know that but it’s not important. I need to do this whatever the results may be and no matter how difficult it can get. And it’s already pretty hard so I guess things are going to be pretty messy. But that’s the challenge I accepted.

 When winter is over, I will go back to the city and start practicing on a proper ice rink and then the trials and competitions will begin. Everyone will know I’m trying to get back to the top and then everything will become even harder. But I trust I can push through and just get to a point were I get to enjoy skating again. I want to feel what I felt all those years ago, because it was the best feeling ever. It was like walking on clouds and being able to fly over everyone else, doing something most people would only dream about. It felt so special and magical, a one of a kind sensation.

 But before that, I need to get back in shape, I need to be able to be that person I once was or at least someone very similar. I have to learn from the mistakes I made back then and also make new ones, because no one is perfect and there’s no way I’m going to step on those competitions thinking I’m better than others just because I have been there before. No, I need to know that I’m starting over, from the bottom. I need to make the trip to the top with all the dangers and difficulties, because that’s the only way I can do this right.

 Sometimes, I can already feel the rush through my body, going up from the skates to my hair, rushing with my blood which is warmed by the simple power that you feel when you’re doing something that makes you feel unique and present in this world. That one of a kind feeling.

 But then I fell, flat on my ass, hitting myself once and again and again, against the hard and cold ice. I see my body covered in cuts and bruises and I realize I’m just beginning. There’s still a long way to go for me but I do not mind at all. I want to get to the finish line. I need to get there.

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.