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

jueves, 17 de noviembre de 2016

Match point

   The machine was launching balls every few minutes and Agatha attempted to hit them with her racket in the best way she could. She had never been very good at sports but, this time, she really needed to learn how to play something. One of her clients, a man who was very rich and famous, was very much into the world of tennis and had proposed her to have a match just before they sat down to negotiate a deal that would mean millions of dollars for everyone. At first, she didn’t want to accept but she ultimately did.

 She decided to join a huge gym near the office in order to practice every single day until the date of their meeting. Thanks to her boss, the man agreed on having the game a month later, giving her a good amount of time to learn the basics. Her boss insisted that, if she did well during the game, they would benefit greatly from the client’s good sense of humor, It was not uncommon in that company to try and make every client feel like they all understood their hobbies and passions. Rich people could get very weird and even dangerous.

 There was Mrs. Stevenson, for example, who had a large collection of snakes in her house. As a potential client, they had to make her feel accepted and nice so one of Agatha’s co workers had to go to her house several times and feed the snakes. Sometimes, it could be very easy but other times it would be awfully dangerous. He was bitten a couple of times but, Thank god, the snakes had no poison in them to do anything, so he never required going to the doctor or anything like that. The point was, they won that account and locked millions of dollars.

 Agatha herself had gone out with at least five different potential clients. As any decent woman, she had her limits. So it wasn’t a surprise that some of the people they assigned to her, never really got to be proper clients. Men always wanted more than they should get and it wasn’t once but many times when she felt really weird and uncomfortable, whether it was because of a weird attitude or an inappropriate way to touch her. In most cases, she preferred women clients but they normally got assigned one of her male coworkers.

 Anyway, she went to the gym every single day for the next month. The first days were extremely difficult because the automated machine that helped her practice had beat her up with several balls at high speed. The person at the gym said the machine had personality, which wasn’t really the best excuse or argument to be made for it. But she kept trying and by the end of the first week, she was able to properly hit the ball, even if the angles were all a little bit strange. In any case, that was the first hurdle she had gone over, so she was very happy.

The bad side of all of it was the sore elbows and shoulders every day after practice. She walked like a zombie at work and had a new tendency to fall asleep really early. It wasn’t that strange as the gym hours she could use were very late so Agatha got home around one in the morning. And then, she had to wake up at six o’clock in order to be in the office just in time. She couldn’t wait to end all of it with this new client and go back to boring launches or just keeping her desk job, which she really didn’t mind about, especially when she was so sore.

 In the office, she actually tried to learn a little bit more about her client before meeting him. All the information she had was based out of the report that her boss had given to her. But, of course, she needed much more than just knowing what the man liked. She really needed to know him better if the idea was to lure him into their company. She began her research in the office but, weirdly enough, there were a pretty low amount of articles about him and there was no picture to be found in any website. Not from a social event or a personal thing. Nothing.

 Agatha soon got tired of looking for the guy. She went to her boss’s office and asked him if they could talk about their client. But she has apparently chosen a bad moment as he was holding the phone and a hysterical woman was yelling at him from the other side. The voice was extremely loud and Agatha knew she wouldn’t get anything right then. So she then moved to her friend Cynthia’s office, in order to talk a little bit about how uncomfortable this all was. The fact that she was preparing so much for a meeting with a person she had never seen.

 Cynthia assured her that the client was very new and maybe that’s why there were no pictures or thorough information on the person. That night, during practice, she decided to play a little bit more violent. Not only because she didn’t know the gay but because she was really pissed off at herself for the job she had and the things she had to do to keep. As she hit every ball as hard as she could, she remembered the days she had wanted to become a baker. She had always loved that profession and would have loved to pursue it but things rarely go exactly as we want them.

 She stayed so late that night, than the next morning she decided to call in sick and just not go. It was a Friday and it was very well known that they were never really productive on Fridays. So Agatha could have a long weekend and try to reorder her thoughts and priorities as well as she could. She had a hearty breakfast and then spent fifteen minutes in the shower, with hot water forming some kind of sauna all around her. It felt really good,

 By lunch, she already knew what she was going to do. There was only one week to go to her date with the client and then everything will be over for her. She was determined to quit her job and use her savings to live around, until another opportunity showed itself. Of course, looking for a job that matched her skills was not the easiest thing to do, she had found out that she was fed up with all the clients and the extra work and everything she had no idea about. It didn’t matter how much money she won there. That money could help her survive a few months, if necessary.

 She was tired of pleasing everyone else but herself. She hadn’t taken a proper vacation in a long time and it was really due because every single day she felt tired and bored. Cynthia, for example, didn’t have to deal with clients directly like her so she didn’t really care about it all. It was difficult for anyone to understand why Agatha wanted to leave a job that paid so well but she was so frustrated with it all. That client, the tennis client, would be her last one and that tennis match would be the last thing she did for that company.

 When the day finally came, she prepared herself by buying the best outfit for the occasion. She wanted to look good but also very professional. It was very difficult to do in the tennis skirt she had bought, because of the length, but the idea was that she would distract him into thinking about something else and then he would sign anything and everything. The game started with a slight advantage on Agatha’s hand but it soon became a really even game, where they played as if their lives depended on it. The guy happened to be excellent at the game.

 When she finally so his face, she was able to put a proper image on the large amount of thoughts she had imagined about him and the game and everything that had to do with that moment. After two sets, one won by each, they decided to rest and talk a little bit. Agatha decided that was the perfect time to talk about business. However, he didn’t even have to: the man grabbed all the papers and signed every single one of them in silence and with a beautiful pen that he kept on his tennis bag. She never expected thing to go that way.


 The man told her he had decided on working with them the moment she showed her fierceness, her need to overcome an obstacle that she obviously had. To him, it was clear she had never properly played tennis. But he admired her obvious dedication to it. Just before the match began again, he asked her how happy she was working in that place. It was just as if he knew what she was thinking. So she just blinked her eye and told him they needed to keep playing.

miércoles, 23 de septiembre de 2015

Sages & Temples

   Tea was poured into four small glasses and the men drank it fast but in silence. After they had finished, they separated, each taking a different direction on the crossroads that passed just by the small hotel they had met. No one would ever know that those four men had been talking about very ancient things, about legends and about men that no longer existed. They were all sages, taking care of temples in different regions of the world. Each one of those temples was dedicated to a different element existing in the world. They used to be more temples but they had been destroyed in the past and only the four most important ones remained. People had forgotten all about that, but not the sages. They had taken care of their buildings in such a way that any person that passed by was impressed and had to come in.

 Even if they didn’t now the whole meaning of everything, they always knew that those places were very special. No one ever tried to move them or demolish the temples to build something else. Actually, no one even thought of building anything close to any of the temples. That aura that the woods and every other natural element gave to the place was part of the reason why people adored spending time there, even if they were not especially fond of praying. Families just spent the day there checking out the hidden features of the building, which had secret drawings and things all over the place. This pleased the sages because the legend said that the temples should always be filled with people or the gods would descend to make things right in the world.

 The four of them had met because they had all received a mysterious letter. There wasn’t a name on it, not a thing telling them who had written the mysterious words that revealed there was a lot more to their order that they even knew. There was some secrecy that had always surrounded their group but nothing like those letters, which spoke of a very old enemy preparing to come out into the world to bring chaos, which they had to confront whether they were ready or not. The letters seemed menacing at parts but they weren’t threats or warnings. They seemed to have been written by a especially mysterious friend, something they didn’t really appreciate as people in the dark tend to like it there.

 They read the letters various times, trying to look for differences between the four that they had received but that was not possible as they were exact copies, word by word. The paper seemed to have been made by the person that had written the letters, as it was very hard and rugged in several areas. The writing did weird curves and funny loops but it was obvious it didn’t have anything to do with the writing skills of the letter’s sender. The ink was pretty regular, so that did not say anything either. But the signature, however, had something they hadn’t seen in quite a while.

 The thing was, the letters didn’t have a traditional signature. Instead, there was a red seal at the bottom of each letter. According to those markings, the seals had been put on different times. Some were very well defined and others seemed to have been put in a rush. The seal was a symbol that monks had used over one thousand years in the past, when dark forces reigned all over the country and the lands of nature. The presence of that seal, made the sages think the person that had written the letters knew the past very well. No one really had access to those seals, unless they had kept them for generations. Some were in museums but none of them had been stolen. There was the possibility of all of this been a hoax but, somehow, it didn't seem like it at all.

 The group of four men stayed in that small hotel for an entire week. Not surprisingly, they were the only guests of the place. The owner, a big-breasted older woman, didn’t even talked to them, as she already knew what they needed and when they needed. Breakfast, lunch, diner and teas times were always exactly at the same hour and were always served at exactly the same time. She prepared their bed exactly at nine o’clock at night and left the windows opened because they all liked to hear nature as they slept. These details had all been given to her by letter sent from an assistant of one of the sages in order for her not to interrupt any of their meetings. She liked having them around anyway.

 Every meeting, they met in a small room by the veranda where the sun entered gently as well as the autumn breeze. It was often a very quiet room, even when they were all there. During long moments, the sages liked to keep silent and not say a word unless they thought it served to enhance their conversation and their deliberation about the letters. That’s, in part, why they stayed there for a whole weak. They had to go through every detail and each one of them had to give his opinion about every single matter that they proposed, every solution to the mystery. In spite of the modern world, these men had decided to live a life that wasn’t rushed and fast. They thought every single step they took in the world.

 All of them had gotten to be sages exactly because of that. They were patient men that loved to be close to the gods and nature. They knew how to communicate with themselves and the people surrounding them and had always this aura of peace around them that made people like them instantly. No one could be aggressive to any of them as they calmed fast and just heard their words and opinions about any old subject that the times put on the table. They were also very smart although they were no geniuses. They actually refused to be thought of as more than men or more special that most men. They always insisted they weren’t and that they were just men on a very special mission.

 Before they separated, they agreed that the letters were a pressing matter. The sages had always thought they were the only ones with any knowledge about the ancient world and now someone was presenting itself to them and telling them that he it was there. Every single one of them returned to their regions with the promise to keep investigating in order to clarify the matter as soon as possible. They even worked during their trip back, which was by road or train, and as they did some of them discovered interesting things. Two on the letters had traces of some type of dust, which happened to be rice dust, which was normally used in cosmetics. Another one of the letter had a stain of water in the back and, when properly checked, they discovered it was salt water.

They kept discovering things like that, small indications in a very big map, and they decided to reunite again some six months after their initial meeting. This time, however, they chose a small town by the sea. They stayed in another hotel with another owner that knew how to treat them, and there they reunited every single piece of the puzzle. They worked on it for days and days until one night they agreed they had found the person. They decided there was no time to waste so they would travel that same night. The trip was not very long as their destination was a bigger town by the sea, very well known for the fisheries.

 There, they did a little big of investigation until they decided to act. They arrived at a grand house in the middle of the night. They didn’t knock or anything like that, instead using their special abilities to walk over the rooftops and enter the mansion that way. The place seemed deserted but suddenly the lights were turned on and a woman, young and beautiful, stepped into the garden to greet them. The men stay there, very still, as if waiting to see their host’s next move. It was a wise things to do because a battle ensued, where she used knifes and a love sword to battle against them. The neighbors didn’t hear nay of the racket because of the trees and the structure of the building but the fight was though.


 Then, the woman simple stopped and revealed herself to be one of the other sages, of the temples that had been destroyed long ago. She had been hiding because her grandfather had been the former sage and he had no one else to leave the temple than to his granddaughter. She promised to do well and rebuilt the ruins he had left her and she had done so. She asked the sages to follow her and soon they found themselves to be in one of the biggest and most awe-inspiring temples they have ever stepped in. The dedication she had show, in fight and restoring the temple, won the respect of the sages who accepted her as the only sage in generations to be a woman and to live by the ocean.

martes, 28 de abril de 2015

Rotten Nation

   It was raining. The small plane taxied for several minutes through the airport until it parked in front of a large hangar, owned by the police. This was very uncommon, as the president had a special building were he always arrived at after national or international tours. It was well know but the media and the public, that he had personally being overlooking the destruction of several drug labs in remote areas. So maybe that was the reason why, stepping out of the plane, he only looked forward, towards the small group waiting for him.

 They walked in silence inside the hangar and then went through a door that led into the building behind it. The president’s assistant was in front, going up some stairs, several corridors and finally arriving at a conference room. The president sat down in the chair in one end of the table as the others sat in the remaining seats. Only one seat was empty. Some mumbled trying to find out why its occupant was missing, others said nothing. The president drank some water and waited until his assistant told him something to the ear and then sat down in a chair in the corner, right after closing the door.

 The president stood up and looked at the eyes of every single one of those men: the chief of police and other men of that entity, generals of all of the military branches and also the head of the secret police. On every single one of them rested the defense of the country, the physical power that it had in order to maintain things as they were. The president inhaled and then looked to the empty seat and sat down again.

-       Do you guys know who occupies that seat?

 One of the generals, visibly eager to participate in order to seem important or smart, shoot his hand up. The president looked at him.

-       That’s where General Arroyo normally seats, the head of the aviation.

 The president nodded, without saying a word. He looked at the seat a little more then announced that General Arroyo had been arrested during the raid against the drug cartels. Every single one of the people present, except for the president’s assistant (the only woman in the room), were baffled at the news. They started asking and demanding and saying it was an outrage and how surprised they were and also hurt. The president asked them, with a gesture of the hand, to end the noise.

 Once the room was calm again, he stared directly at the director of the police. The man was a tall, white and pink skinned man. He looked scared as the president looked at him, with his piercing eyes and soft breathing. None of the military men, all experience in combat and enemies, had ever seen that look on a president or any other person. He looked vicious and hateful.

-       General García.
-       Yes, sir? – Answered the director of the police.
-       How many years have you been head of the police?

The man thought that was a weird question to ask but also felt more fear than before. The president had stopped looking at him and that made him feel even uneasier.

-       I have been in the post for almost ten years.
-       Ten years. – Said the president, in a surprisingly grave voice.
-       Yes…
-       Too many?
-       Sorry?

 Everyone present was surprised at this question. Some of the men tried to reply something but weren’t able to find the words.  No one would ever say that unless they wanted to sack someone. But, then again, what reason did the president have? And, would he only be interested in sacking one man?

 This meeting had been ordered by the president on his flight back and most men had narrowly missed his arrival, as it was imminent. Since he had been elected, almost a year ago, he had proven to be quite and unpredictable man. He had won narrowly in a country that normally hated the likes of men like him but somehow, it had happened. Of course, there had been recounts and lawsuits but nothing had moved him from remaining in power. He had powerful enemies, namely the men that had been in power before, as he was not the typical president.

 Not only he was on the left side of the spectrum, a “soft” left in his words, but also he was interested in preserving culture and encourage the inner growth of the people. Some even said that was precisely why he won: the ones always outside had chosen him in the bigger cities and that had been enough. The military and all public forces had been scared of him but he had went on with the recurrent struggle against the cartels just as the others did so they had all relaxed, to this day.

-       I said, have they been too many?
-       I… I don’t know sir.
-       I think it’s time to clean up, wouldn’t you say misters?

 He said that looking at everyone in the table, and with an annoying smirk on his face. He then turned to his assistant who instantly produced a folder with several sheets of papers. They went through them and took out only six papers. The woman put away the folder and went back to her chair. The president held the sheets on his hand, looking at the men again.

-       Any idea of what that is?

 The same man that had raised his hand before, raised it again:

-       Our resignation letters?

 The president then laughed. It was an obviously fake laugh but it went for so long than people didn’t know how to respond. Some of them smiled and others just trembled in their spots.

-       Not exactly. In here, I have several names, including General Arroyo’s one. All the people listed here have been tracked down by the secret police and we have enough proof to put them in jail. There are some as high profile as the general and others not so much. I need you… Well, I demand of you to clean up your mess.

 He put the papers in front of him, in a way that anyone could have taken them but no one did. They were visibly bothered by what was happening but did not dare to say a word.

-       Any comments, gentlemen?

 The oldest one of the bunch, a general of the navy, looked straight at the president and pointed at him, his hand shaking like mad.

-       You have no right to do that.
-       Excuse me?
-       You cannot tell us what to do, not like this! We’re not children!

 The old men had stood up and raised his voice. The assistant instantly looked to the door, worried people might hear on the other side.

-       We are older than you, more experienced and you should take our advice instead of telling us how to run our entities.

 The president then stood up and smiled weirdly again. It was very unpleasant.

-       First, I have to ask not to raise your voice. Second, what do you mean with “your entities”?
-       I mean we have maintained…
-       Exactly – Said the president, interrupting him. – You have kept them going but those entities belong to the State, to the people. You all took an oath to protect them and you work for me and I for them. Do you understand that?

 The old man sat back down. Everyone was looking at the president as if he had gone insane but he kept his smirk on his face and didn’t sit back down.

-       Gentlemen, I repeat, I demand of you to clean up your entities. They are rotten and you should be grateful you’re not the ones to be sacked first. Your entities are supposed to be the ones protecting us and making the example and that is not the case right now. You know what we found out? Do you?

 Again, no one said anything, only scared faces looked at him.

-       Several policemen involved in bribes and corruption, navy officers helping the cartels, aviation officers bringing whores to the compounds. Even my own personal guard has been known to film pornographic films in State property. Do you understand how bad this is?

 Some nodded, some didn’t. They looked to the ground now, exactly like children after having been grounded.

-       The president’s before me let it all happen, let this country rot from the inside out. I’m not going to tolerate that anymore. If you don’t put this entire people under trial, I will. I have proofs. And if you fail to do it fast, I have many candidates for every single one of your posts.
-       But…
-       But what general Márquez? But what?

 But general Márquez, of the air force, had no idea what to say next. He was as intimidated as the other ones. As men of force, they were already thinking of a way to keep their posts and form an opposition but then the president drew attention back to him by coughing.

-       I have a dinner to attend to with the ambassadors residing in the country. But before that I want to warn you: I’m decreasing the amount of money invested in the military and the police and allocating it to education and health. Tell it to your men, the announcement will be done tonight.


 And then the assistant opened the door and the president left, leaving the country changed and the forces of the past in a state of induced coma.