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

lunes, 16 de enero de 2017


   After all the hustle of the day, the sidewalk was finally left alone, although not untouched. Lots of glass fragments were scattered all over the place, as well as paper and some pens. Journalists weren’t really careful with their stuff. Like their cameramen, they just dropped things wherever it was convenient for them. And the sidewalk in front of the Oak Tree Hospital was not a place they would respect in any way. They didn’t care if the patients needed silence to sleep, they’d rather had their story.

 And they did that day. After coming day after day, waiting for him to finally kick the bucket, the seventy-four year old man had finally passed away due to complications with the procedure he had gone through. It had been a very challenging adventure to fight where he knew he was already a loser. His mother and then sister before him had died exactly the same way, around the same age. So it wasn’t very surprising at all. That night, his body was sent to the cremator.

 The next day, he was incinerated and his ashes kept on a small jar to be given to the only person that had been with him through the last few hours, his partner Eddy. They had been together in the industry for years and had formed a bond no one could match, especially not in the modern times when friendships and all sorts of relationships seem to be built on something very fragile, that could break at any moment. It wasn’t their case at all, because even then they felt the same towards each other.

 They had never dared to be more than friends. They did agree on having to work together to fight the competition that plagued acting and all other forms of performance. Sydney, the one you had been cremated, had only been sixteen years old the day he arrived in the big city, looking for a chance to shine. Back then, the industry was only beginning. No major studios existed and the craft of cinema was thought to be a thing that would have only a couple of years in this Earth.

 Sydney, however, had always seen the magic in the movies and was sure it was going to become the largest groups of performers and other artists to be known in the world. He began cleaning around and helping people getting coffee or whatever they needed at the moment. The directors took pity of him and let him attend some rehearsals and even some casting sessions. By the time he was an adult in the eyes of the law, he was a very knowledgeable man, with a great deal of respect for acting. That was what got him inside an acting school soon enough.

 He met Eddy in one of his first productions. Eddy was an assistant of the director and Sydney had land a role as the son of the protagonists. It was a big deal to him because he had never acted before. He was so determined to be good, that he did his best with the little lines he had. It worked in its favor, as many others started hiring him for their pictures. It was mostly for the young brother or son parts, but he knew that was a way to climb to where he really wanted to be.

 With Eddy, they shared their love for industry and their yearning for a time where they could be next to the biggest stars in the business. When there wasn’t any work, they would go out together and watch a movie and then walk around or have something to eat while they discussed said movie. They had fun like that and it was during those long and elaborate conversations when they probably noticed, for the first time, what was happening between them. They didn’t acknowledge it, though.

 Sydney’s first big picture came in when he was twenty-five years old. He was offered the role of a young sailor who falls in love with a mermaid. It was one of those beautiful fantasy setting, with the grand costumes and the elaborate production design. The day filming started was the happiest day ever for him, as he had finally reached he point that he wanted in his career. And although the film was not the serious kind of thing he would like to dedicate himself to, it was a great way to begin.

 It was so well received in the theaters by the general audience that he was signed on to reprise the role for two more movies. The studio proposed to him to raise his salary as well as given him many more accommodations and luxuries in exchange for him staying with them for the saga of movies they had planned. He accepted but with fear of never going back to the more serious movies that he had always longed of doing. Maybe, he thought, he could work something out.

 There was the sequel of the mermaid movie, and then the other movie and then the next one. Suddenly, he had already signed on for five more, for a whole series with the character, and nothing had changed, not even the costumes and monsters he fought. It was Eddy who gave him the push he needed to demand more of the studio and of anyone working near or around him. He needed much more creativity if they wanted them to stay. That was how he put his foot down, in the hopes that could actually grow as an actor, instead of getting stuck forever in the same place.

 After all the money he had won for them, the studio was not that reluctant to let him get closer to the creative process. It was a revolution: he was responsible for the firing of the screenwriting and the hiring of a new team of younger, more vivacious men like him. He worked for long weeks with them in order to create a new great story for his audience to love. Meanwhile, he was also eyeing some roles in other movies, more dramatic ones with potent stories and strong characters.

 He signed on to a couple of those but then he realized he didn’t do as well with the dramatic stuff than with fantasy. Critics said that he was a bit too dry during his performances in the big movies he got to make. They didn’t say he was bad or anything, but what they always said only meant that his skills as an actor didn’t really show much during those grand romantic scenes he had tried so hard to do. It was something difficult to hear but he had to accept it, as it was a fact.

 Sydney kept trying, though. With the help of his best friend Eddy, he would often get the kind of role he had dreamt of doing. But he did, he came short of having the reception that Captain Granger had in the theater. The Granger series were a huge hit among young people and their parents love the movies too because of its depiction of a true hero. The new team of writers had done a marvelous job making the character more realistic and daring. He was who kids wanted to be.

 So he kept on doing those movies. He never stopped. During his career, he filmed maybe more than thirty movies as the character of Captain Granger. He made money and fame; people loved him and appreciated him. But they also questioned his life, as Sydney never married. He argued that the lack of time and the commitment to his craft were the ones to blame for him not having a big family. He did make some relations public, to appease the audiences and their thirst for gossip. But they were all lies.

 All along the road, Eddy was there, helping and cheering him on. He was Sydney biggest fan and his best friend in the world. In their older days, they would still sit down and discuss the movies. When Sydney retired, they did it always, almost as a rite they had to go through everyday. And that was their relationship, one were one depended in the other and vice versa, to push him along the long line of life and resist the blows life launched against either of them. They never discussed their relationship further, and it wasn’t necessary because it had obviously been a great success.

jueves, 15 de diciembre de 2016

The president

   In the kitchen, everyone was working at full capacity. There was not a single person standing by, doing nothing. Every single worker was doing something, even if they were just apprentices or the chef himself. All hands were needed for the banquet to go exactly as planned and one of the most important parts of the whole experience was, of course, the food. It wasn’t possible to do a proper banquet without a great menu and the one for that event had been checked at least a hundred times and by a diverse group of people, all with different tastes.

 Of course, the most important person in the whole gala was the president, as he had been the one to organize the event. It wasn’t one of those planned things that took place every single year but an impromptu kind of thing that had arisen from the fact that the president wanted to do a benefit for a cause he thought had not been helped enough in recent years. Public opinion was really divided on the subject but most people admired what he had done and how he had done it. After all, it was very uncommon for a president to stop his work to do something else.

 Some papers were criticizing every single aspect of the event, from the price of the food and the flower arrangements, to the list of guests. Some said it was too big and others too small. Some said he had invited people from the wrong countries and organizations and others praised him exactly for that. It wasn’t new that the press was not in agreement completely; they had always been very divided on the presidency from day one, which had taken place a little more than a year ago, after a very uncommon period of transition.

 Awkward was the better word because the new president had asked the old one to give him an office in the presidential headquarters, as he wanted to check on everything as it happened. Such a thing had never been attempted and a certain distance was thought to be the wisest thing when dealing with such a moment. But from the first moment of him been the president elect of the country, it was very clear he wasn’t going to be like any other president, in the country’s past or in other countries. He was, for lack of a better word, uncommon.

 Very uncommon indeed as he had won in the most unexpected way, when many people had decided it was the best to make a change at the very last minute. Polls had never granted him the presidency and he thought, the morning of the election itself, that he was going to lose for sure but he wanted to go away gracefully so he did something unexpected: he shared the day with people around his city, visiting tourist spots and taking random pictures. Apparently people loved that because in the afternoon, polling stations were filled with voters.

 By the end of the night, he had been declared the winner with over five percent of the vote over the other candidate; a woman everyone had predicted would be the next president. She was the very opposite of him, someone who seemed to have fire in her eyes, always talking with an amount of passion that seemed to much for such a small woman. Millions adored her and, of course, by the big conglomerates that actually controlled the country. She loved to speak about economics and foreign affairs and all such things.

 However, the new president had never really been passionate for anything. To be perfectly honest, he had been chosen out of nowhere by the third most important party in the country. It was predicted that the two most voted parties in the last election would hold the same spots in the new election but that didn’t happen. People were tired of the game between those two parties that, at the end of the day, were exactly the same party if you were to compare their policies on several key elements of people’s lives. They just had slight differences.

 Studies on those elections would last for years, as never had predicted that surge of a third option. And now that third option was organizing an impromptu dinner in honor of a cause many thought wasn’t “attractive” enough. In this day and age, people still thought some subjects were best not spoken out loud, in the open, much less in a fancy dinner table with expensive Champaign and a band playing music from eighty years ago. The president was known by now for his odd choices and that was also reflected on his choice of food.

 The people in the kitchen had elaborated a menu that mixed very high cuisine with foods that everyone loved. The dishes were particularly successful among the special guests of the evening. In other words, the people that were directly affected by the charity they were raising money form. After all, they were all normal people that did not really have experience in fancy dinners and strange food, so the combination of high cuisine experiments with almost fast food, was a success among them and many presidential supporters.

 Of course, the richest people in the event weren’t very thrilled to be eating what were basically hamburgers, hot dogs and fried chicken, in a very old hall that had a long history of elegant banquets to celebrate the riches of the rich, instead of charitable efforts. However, the rich were never shy when it came to donating, as it was the perfect way to pay fewer taxes and to be seen as some kind of savior by the people that were benefitted by that money they didn’t need.

 It was incredible to see how the people, the same that had voted for the president, supported him again on that decision and thought the choices overall were just excellent. Some thought they were funny enough but everyone agreed that it was the necessary shake up that needed to happen in such a stiff political environment. Everyone took things too seriously sometimes and it was nice to see that the president had a sense of humor or at least the capacity to be different. People admired him for that, long before he was a president.

 It was never really clear if he did those things on purpose or if everything was kind of a “happy accident”. Whatever it was, it always seemed to work. It was the same thing when he worked for a large software conglomerate where most of the workers were younger than him and he wasn’t even that old. At first they mistrusted him because they didn’t thought it was possible he would even know about what they did in the company, but after a while he showed everyone how interested and invested he was on the company, surprising them in many ways.

 Of course, he was always nervous. He had even joked that he would love to have a first lady by his side to have someone to hold hands with in the most tense and difficult moments. He even joked he would settle for a first gentleman and some of the journalists laughed out loud that day. He was something very unexpected and was attacked because he wasn’t the same kind of politician everyone had seen once and again for the last hundred years. But that’s exactly why so many people supported him; he was very different from them all.

 Some of his supporters had even organized meetings to help him with some subjects and to get him to talk about things that people felt were important in that moment. And he was gracious enough to hear them, after the meetings he had to attend about the economy or foreign trade or who knows what. He always had time for everyone and he seemed to be happier when talking and sharing with actual people. That’s why some said he was the best president in the world and others said he was a disaster waiting to happen.

 After the gala, he sent the millions won for the charity to the proper people and many were able to find some kind of solace in the fact that he had remembered them as victims. Rumors of a second term were already in the air. But when asked about it, he always laughed loudly and said he would rather end the one he was in first to see if he was successful enough to deserve more time. Of course, three years later, he won by a landslide, another unexpected win.

sábado, 20 de agosto de 2016

Big versus small

   Amanda hated that big departments store, the one that had being opened just a few months ago by the highway. It was mainly because every time she drove past it, it was packed with people and everyone from every corner of town had at least been there looking around. Besides the crow factor, she really disliked all those big brands that didn’t really specialize in anything, instead selling every single thing under the sun. It seemed greedy to her, from a business point of view.

 Everyone else loved it, even her own family. The day they had the idea to go to buy some of the Christmas supplies to decorate the tree; she was adamant in buying them in the Christmas store she had always gone to in the neighborhood. It was owned by a very nice woman who brought all of the objects from her town, where many of her family members helped in the process of making the ornaments. But now the number of people going there was diminishing a lot due to the new big store opening so close by.

 She decided to due that shopping herself in the small store from the neighborhood and found everything she needed right there. It was appalling it see that there was not one other person buying anything in the store and it was the precise season to do it. The owner of the store was so grateful, so gave Amanda one extra box of silver handmade balls for the tree. She didn’t wanted to accept them but looking straight in the eye of the woman, she decided it was best not to argue.

 When she returned home, she discovered her family was not there. Amanda was very angry because it was clear they had gone against what she had said. Of course, she hadn’t forbidden them to go to the big store but she was very disappointed that her own family was not supportive of the people they had known their entire lives. When they arrived with bags full of stuff, she ignored them and had an early night.

 Her husband even attempted to have sex with her but she refused, turning all the lights off and giving her back to him. There was no way she was going to have sex with someone that didn’t respect her convictions and everything she stood for. So she just closed her eyes and tried very hard to go asleep fast. She took several hours to do so, whereas he fell asleep in a second.

 The following morning, she discovered the fridge and the cupboard had been filled with products from that big store. Every single thing from there was twice as big as a normal product: the cans of beans left no room in their space, the soda had to be displaced next to the fruit to fit into the fridge. And the ice cream occupied almost the whole freezer compartment. To Amanda, it was obscene.

 Every time in the following days and weeks leading to Christmas, it was really hard to pass by the small store and seeing how no one was entering. One day, she decided to do something about it. She stopped by and looked for the owner. She spoke to her briefly about wanting to help her make the store the preferred Christmas store once again. The old woman was not convinced as she thought the big store was too attractive for people to stop going there.

 She confessed Amanda to have been there and told her hat the boxes of decorated balls and other ornaments for trees had many more product inside and the cost was ridiculously cheap. It was practically impossible to sell something cheaper; it would be like giving it away for free. She seemed very sad about her discovery; maybe even to the point she wanted to cry. But Amanda told her they could make something about it.

 The first step of her plan was doing what Fanny, the owner of the small Christmas store, had done before her: Amanda had to go to the big store and see for herself what it was that people bought there and why they all went there instead of shopping for nicer things in the small family store. It was difficult for her to confess that she had to go there and that’s why she waited for everyone to be busy to do it. Her husband and kids were in their final weeks of work and school, respectively, so it was perfect timing.

 The day she went to the big store, she was able to find a parking space in no time, even with most of them being already occupied. For a moment she felt please but then remembered what her mission was there. Inside, she decided not to ask anyone where to go because she thought it would look kind of strange if she ask for Christmas decorations and days later the other store got new things.

 So she wandered around, looking at the frozen foods section, which consisted of five very long aisles, the pet area that was like a small city and the automobile department, which had a very strong smell of new car, an aroma she had always loved. It was something very difficult to ignore but she was able to do it once she finally got to the Christmas ornaments area, which was packed with people looking for stuff.

First, she took pictures with her cellphone of what they had on display. Then, he paid close attention to the items that people seemed to be buying more. She pretended to be curious about some teddy bears to hang on the tree every time a worker went by her. She knew they wouldn’t appreciate her corporate spying at all. After an hour or so, she decided to go back home and analyze the situation.

 The very next day, she visited Fanny to have a talk about the ideas she had for the store and its products. The first thing was to give it a new look, inside and out. So she did a whole presentation, kind of a proposal to Fanny, of what to do and how to it. Fanny was so moved by the passion Amanda had put into it that she decided to go along and let her try to make her store an important part of the Christmas tradition again.

 Amanda’s family began to wonder where she went every single morning and afternoon. Her and her car disappeared so often that her children began to miss her mother’s presence, even if it was only to complain about something or if they needed her to take them somewhere in the car. Those duties were passed on to the father, which was definitely not very pleased to be the new chauffeur of the house.

 Back in the store, Amanda and Fanny had bought supplies in order to start the remodeling. They weren’t going to do something very deep because there was no time to hire professional to do any profound work. Besides, Christmas was not very far away and they had to take advantage of every single day they had. The idea was to have the store ready by December the 1st, in order for Fanny to get at least three weeks of good sales. Amanda felt they could do it easily.

 The first thing was to ask Fanny’s family in her hometown to change the design on the balls. They had to make new designs, more modern but still hand made. They decided to go with new colors and themes for each of the boxes. The idea was to make every single box of ornaments a very unique one. Fanny’s family was very happy with the idea and they got to work immediately.

 The second part of the remodeling was decoration. They spent a whole afternoon looking for the right paper with the perfect colors to do the decorating inside and outside. They also bought a 3D projector, which illuminated a wall in the outside and gave nice images of Santa Claus and other Christmas characters. That was the most expensive thing but she assured Fanny that it was going to be a great investment.

 They worked together intensely for the remainder of November and when December the 1st came, they held a big inauguration party where they invited every single person in the neighborhood. The new ornaments arrived just in time and they flew off the shelves, having to order a second bigger batch the next day. The store was a success and it was Amanda who had made it possible. She felt really proud of her work. She had proven everyone, including herself, that she had a very good head above her shoulders.

sábado, 17 de octubre de 2015

The man of Pearl Island

   The island called Pearl had only one small settlement that covered one third of the island. The rest was jungle and the beautiful beaches that many tourists visited often in the summer. The rest of the year, Pearl Island was only attractive to the seekers of new marine species or people looking to score big by finding a sunken treasure. Many years had passed since anyone had discovered any of those, but people kept trying, as legends were abundant in the island. All children knew stories with mermaids, colossal creatures that lived in the sea, the god of the ocean and so on. That’s why the souvenirs in the summer were such an important source of income for the people of Pearl Island. Everyone wanted to be part of their heritage and the residents liked that.

 One of the many stories involved the old town of Saint Mary. The new Saint Mary was the only settlement in the island and was located in a small bay in the west end of the island. The old Saint Mary was on the west, on the side the first people to arrive to the island had landed. There, in the middle of the jungle, they had built a very modest town, which they abandoned years later due to the dangers of being so close to the wild and also because this side of the island flooded when hurricanes passed over it. So people eventually moved and they had remained in the same spot for many years. The ruins of old Saint Mary could still be visited on trips to the jungles and it even featured one home that was almost untouched since the days of the first settlers.

 There was a story too involving the migration of people from one town to the next and it was the one that would haunt the island and the tourists for a while. It was said that of all the families and people that lived in old Saint Mary, only one man refused to leave his house. Coincidently, he lived in the house which was untouched today. He had decided he would not leave because he had built his home himself, with his hands, working every single day since he had arrived to the island. The houses were made of stone and a kind of glue they had discovered in the jungle. It was very resistant and, at least at first, the hurricanes were unable to knock any house down.

But with time, the floods came and some people went missing, which of course worried many. Then the hurricanes became stronger and one by one, the houses ended up being just a pile of rocks. That’s how the migration to the bay began but without one of the residents, who blatantly refused to leave his home. He had also being affected by everything, even one of his sons had died in a storm once, but he didn’t think running away was the answer. His wife thought he had gone mad, so he left him there in the jungle without ever looking back. He never knew, but she remarried and had a very good life. They never knew this either, but they died the same year, her first. He had always been more resilient.

 Or maybe he was stubborn. He attempted to rebuild the hole old town but it appeared that nature only wants his house to be there, not anyone else’s. So after a while, he stopped trying to revive the past and decided to just give up to the forces that controlled the place. The rainy months were harsh, and he would often have to make small works on his house, but the whole time he remained inside, writing on a diary and smoking on his pipe. That was the way he spent his days on the house in the jungle. He also did some walks around the trees and discovered many animals that people had not seen by that time, or so he thought. He drew all of them and described them properly on his diary.

 Eventually, he died because a very dangerous spider that lived there, and that he had never seen, bit him. As no one was there to help, he died in the place where the spider had bitten him: his bedroom. So it was quite a shock for many, several years later, when they rediscovered the house, checked his room and saw a perfect human skeleton laying there, as casually as it could be. The first tourists to go to the house had the chance to see the skeleton and that’s how the stories began to develop. Some said he had died because of a course, some thought that sorcery had been involved and others that he had been killed by a mythical creature called a basilisk. There were all great stories to make people come to the island and they all worked perfectly as the tourist numbers rose every year.

 But eventually people that descended from the old settlers, specially those that were related to the man, asked for more respect to the body and asked the council of the island to remove the skeleton from the house and bury it nearby, where he would have love to be for the rest of his life. The relocation of the body was a huge media circus, filled with sensationalists reporters and tourists that had come only to see how they took the skeleton from the bedroom and put him in a hole by the house. Many took pictures and, without proper context people started inventing their own stories even before the skeleton had been fully covered by dirt.

 In some circles, the man was thought to be a vampire, one that had left the old continent in order to survive the extinction of his race. Somehow, he had arrived to Pearl Island and had lived there in the shadows for a long time until he died because he had forgotten to close the windows at night and the sunlight toasted him. Others said the man was a sorcerer that cursed the people that had left him behind. That’s why many of them, according to the story, had developed bites all over the body and why the women weren’t able to bear child for many years. That story ignored that the settlers were not very clean and they had ticks all over their clothes and that women were infertile due to a fruit they stopped eating eventually.

 Although the ruins were not the mot visited place of the island, the beaches were much more attractive, many still visited in order to learn about the history of the place. Eventually, historians discovered that the house of the man that was buried right there was the only one still on foot because of one simple reason: he had been the only one to built it correctly. It was a much less interesting reason than expected, as many still thought of him as a sorcerer, but that was the truth. The first settlers were very lazy people and had not worked hard to build their homes. It was their children who eventually went serious when they decided to build a town for others to visit and for them to be proud about. Only that man had understood that many years ago.

 Even if children still told stories about how his skeleton wondered around the island on Halloween, some scholars wanted to rescue his name and his effort to preserve a lifestyle he deemed the best. He learned many things about the island and its ecosystem, which they discovered when reading his diaries. So many decided to know more about him but they stumbled against a wall as there was no manifest of how many people had first arrived on the island and what their names were. Of course, so many were known because of their descendants but there were a large minority. So it was impossible to know who that man was. At least, judging by his diaries, they learned he was a very intelligent person.

He didn’t seem to be a scientist of any kind but he did the right things when listing animals and plants. His writing was correct but he had made lots of orthographic mistakes, not uncommon for people of his time. Maybe he wasn’t very educated but he had wanted to become more cultured while in the island. The diaries told a very different story than the ones people had created around him. He seemed to be lonely and, at times, a very hurt man. But he was also brave and honest and eager to share his thoughts. It was obvious he had been hurt when people left but he kept working for the future inhabitants of the island and for anyone that would fall in love with Pearl Island, as he did.

 Eventually, a large party was organized were the mayor of the island unveiled a monument in honor of the unknown man from the jungle. The monument was just an eternal flame, that wanted to symbolize the debt the islanders had with this man but also to all others islanders who wanted their tiny piece of land to be a paradise for everyone in the world. People cheered and the square were the monument was built became a hub for tourists coming in and out of the island, as it was located in front of the marina. Some thought of taking the bones of the man from the jungle to the town, but then realized he would never want to leave his home.