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

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.

martes, 13 de septiembre de 2016

Anne Cheevers and the mystery at Caltot

   The sound of the train passing over the tracks had been enough for her to fall asleep. But now that she was waking up, the sound seemed to be louder, much less calming. Anne had decided to visit her aunt Sylvia once in the spring, as her mother had asked her so many years ago, way before she had died in that horrible accident with her father. It was a tragedy the family didn’t discuss openly but that had carved deep scars between all of them. The deepest one had to do with the Cheever girls, Anne and her sister Marissa, having to run the business her father had owned. Her aunt and uncles had wanted that for themselves but her father had been very clear now in his will.

As Anne watched the trees pass by her the window beside her, she felt suddenly annoyed. Even with the shiny sun outside and the beautiful scenery of the region, she couldn’t forget the reason she was there: her sister Marissa, who was older and supposedly wiser, had realized running a store such as her fathers was a very difficult task that needed the hand of a strong man. After all, the times they lived in weren’t precisely easy for young women like them and not one or the other had chosen a bachelor yet. The fact that they were orphans made the deal even harder to achieve, as most parents would be quite disturbed to have to arrange everything with the bride instead that with her parents. Traditions were not something people threw away often in that corner of the world.

 Aunt Sylvia had married Octavius Potter, a businessman who owned a very well known chain of new restaurants called Norma’s. Those places were supposed to bring the charm of country cuisine into the big cities and towns of the country and, by whatever rumors Marissa had been listening to, apparently Potter was hitting the jackpot with such an invention. People hadn’t heard about anything like that in this side of the ocean and, naturally, they were all eager to try out something new and exciting that everyone just wanted to experience. Even Anne had been to a Norma’s restaurant with Marissa but their experience had left a lot to be desired.

 As she contemplated a small town of beautiful small red houses, Anne remembered the dreadful deserts and sour tea she had tasted with her sister in that restaurant. And the comments from their friends who had visited were not much better. Maybe it was that branch in particular that wasn’t really working up to Mr. Potter’s expectations but Marissa soon forgot all about that when she heard about the money. It was what they needed. The small convenience store managed by the Cheevers was going through a very rough season and, if they couldn’t find a solution, they would have to close down the store that their father had inherited from their grandpa, who had established it himself at a very young age. It would be the disgrace of their name and the final nail in the marriage coffins.

 As the train started to hit the brakes, Anne felt she was sweating. Of course, she was very nervous about seeing her aunt again. They hadn’t talked since her parent’s funeral and after that not even a letter had been exchanged. She knew everything was going to be tense and Marissa had had the stupid idea to make her stay there for a whole week. As she stood up to grab her suitcase from the upper compartment, Anne realized that she was there and there was no turning back. She owed it to her parents to try to make the best sales pitch ever to her aunt and her husband in order for their lives not to be ruined for good.

 However, as she stepped on the platform of the station, she couldn’t see her aunt Sylvia or Octavius Potter anywhere in the vicinity. Many people descended along with her, so the platform got very crowded and she decided it was better to stand outside and wait for them to arrive there. But nothing happened either. Everyone who had come for a passenger, or had been a passenger themselves, had already left. There was no one else there except an old man who appeared to manage schedules and helped people in need although it wasn’t very clear who would need any help in such a small station. It had to be said that Mr. Potter, although managing a successful business, had decided to leave rather away from the spotlight, in a small town called Caltot. So Anne was not very surprised to not see a single soul near her for the following hour.

 Yes, Anne had to wait for up to an hour in the shade, trying to keep her hair from curling further and her skin from being exposed to the damaging sunlight. She was about to lose it when a young man, about her age, appeared on a bicycle. He stopped in front of her and talked as if they had been acquainted for quite some time. The truth was that Anne was so shocked at this behavior that she didn’t even acknowledge what the man was saying. Out of nowhere, she turned around, grabbed her suitcase from the floor and entered the station again. She had decided to go back home.

 The young man rapidly crossed her path and talked to her again, slowly and looking straight into her eyes to make sure she was listening this time. He didn’t grab her, yelled or did anything inappropriate. He just said he had been sent by Mr. Potter to pick her up at the station, as they knew she would be arriving momentarily. They apologized for not being able to pick her up themselves, but apparently everyone was too busy in their house and couldn’t be bothered to just go to the station and pick their relative. Anne calmed down and the man waited until she seemed less furious. Then he suggested she jumped onto the bike and rode with him but that made Anne even more furious so the boy realized he should stop talking and just decided to walk back to the house.

 As they walked over the narrow streets of the town, he told Anne he was Mr. Potter’s assistant. He was in charge of getting everything his boss needed in order to be comfortable in any given day. Normally, he would only do things related to work but often Mr. Potter had other demands that had nothing to do with work. Out of nowhere, Anne said that was appalling. As she lived in the city, she knew how horrible it could be to work without a proper pay. Granted, she was a woman and there was no real way she could know anything for a fact, but she assured the young man she wouldn’t rest until she got a fair pay.

 Then she stopped and went all red. Not only because she talked so candidly to that man but also because she hadn’t been a proper lady. She did not know her name. He said his name with a big smile on his face, as he was proud of something he hadn’t chosen for himself. Frederick March. He was called March by Mr. Potter but everyone else in town called him Fred. They shook hands, as Anne presented herself to him in a manner that made him smile even further. She stopped short when she realized she was being mocked. As headstrong as she was, Anne decided not to talk anymore with Fred, instead leading him into the town and towards the Potter’s house but that ended shortly because, of course, she had no idea where to go. Fred was kind enough not to laugh anymore although Anne felt he smiled behind her back.

 Once they arrived at the house, Anne realized all the rumors were true: the house was enormous and occupied a large portion of the side of the main square of town. The church was directly across it and the city hall was just on the side. It was beautifully decorated. So magnificent were the paintings on the wood on the outside, that Anne had to step away from the building to appreciate it better. Fred told her that the house had been restored completely by Mr. Potter, just a couple of months after him moving here with Anne’s aunt. Fred also said the lady of the house could be very strong in character but she made her voice be heard and her opinion be respected.

 Anne wanted to know more about Fred’s perception of her aunt as he said this, because the hard truth was that she didn’t know anything about her own relative. They had been apart for so long that the girl even doubted she actually knew what her aunt looked like. Two seconds afterwards, the front door of the house burst open: her aunt was there, breathing heavily, her hands and face covered in blood. She was hysterical, crying and yelling and saying something. Both Fred and Anne ran to help but the scene they saw through the threshold of the house was enough to freeze them solid: Octavius Potter had his intestines out and about, leaning against a piece of furniture.


 As Anne tried not to keep watching the horrible scene, she heard her aunt say: “I didn’t do it!” She sobbed so hard everyone in town was attracted to the square and, in no time, Anne saw herself submerged in a mystery she could have never seen coming, or the people of Caltot, which she would be able to get to know very well in the upcoming days.

martes, 19 de julio de 2016

Early

   Gustav had been waking up early for year. Since he was a baby, he had a thing for waking up his parents very early in the y day and not been able to sleep until it was later in the day, so late that their whole morning routine was disturbed by his actions. They didn’t need a clockwork because his timing which was always perfect. Every single morning at nine o’clock he would start crying and would do it for about two hours until he stopped and resumed later that day, in the evenings.

 After that, in preschool, he was considered a very different little boy. He woke up before his mother and his father and was able to serve himself a glass of orange juice which he drank as he waited for them to wake up. The bus picked him up at seven and he woke up at six every single day, no exception. As he got older, he was able to dress himself and work the shower in order to have the water in the right temperature, the one he preferred.

 In his preteens, he was teased by all the other kids because of such things. As per usual, they didn’t like him because he was so different. He wasn’t a genius or anything like that. His parents thought he would demonstrate at an early age his remarkable brain and that they would have to homeschool him because of how special he was going to be. But the truth was much different: he was only different because his eyes started to bother him from an early stage and glasses were needed sooner than expected.

 Gustav knew he needed the glasses but he was sure to take them out whenever he was able. He liked to take them off in the bus back home or in class when he was sleepy. Most adults didn’t like when he did that but the truth was he had never grown accustomed to sing them. Sometimes, on weekends, he wouldn0t use them at all, instead playing around the house like a normal kid having no problem with his vision.

 As a teenager he was still harassed by his classmates, pushed around occasionally, especially after gym class. It was the favorite moment of the week for jocks who were eager to prove themselves more important than everyone else. Even then, he was the first to arrive to school and that granted him with a special knowledge of everyone’s ways to do things.

 He realized the people that annoyed him had a really bad problem with sleeping so what he did was just avoid them in places they would never go on and if that wasn’t working, he would always know which classrooms were available to tell them in order for him to be released and them to have a nice nap or even for kissing their girlfriend. Whatever it was, Gustav knew it was useful information.

 Even in college, living away from his parents, he woke up very early in the morning to read the notes he had taken the way before. It was his technique for remembering stuff. The other good thing was that he always had a great seat in the earlier classes of the day and sometimes they did put up the most interesting ones very early.

 Different from high school, Gustav became one of those people that everyone knew in college. At first, he didn’t really have any friends but every single person knew who he was. He soon made real friends and in no time he was going to parties and drinking and smoking and doing every single thing teenagers do if they want to defy the authority out up to control them. After all, Gustav was only special in so many ways and, sadly, not really in a significant one that can save anyone from anything.

 Even after weekend long parties, he found himself waking up drunk or with a huge hangover very early in the morning. No one ever did that so that made him very notable in his group of people. It wasn’t that they made fun of him but rather that that they seem to be really captivated by how strange he was. And he knew they were all looking at him so he decided to be more interesting and started changing his clothes and doing more interesting things with that extra time he seemed to have every single day.

 He started to smuggle drugs into the campus the second year he attended college. Some guy he had met at a party told him about the huge amount of money he could get just buy passing the product from one person to the other, he didn’t really had to sell anything, he just had to help the product get to the real buyer. He never really knew who that person was, but he was very excited about being involved in such a thing.

As he woke up so early, he could easily grab the packages from one site and put it in the next without anyone saying anything. The only people that were awake so early were the members of the cleaning crew and many of them were also involved in the network of drug handlers. He was proud of himself because he had proven himself to be useful in some way. He had never felt that, not in his career and not before at home or elsewhere.

The smuggling business lasted for two whole years until some idiot was busted with a large pack of ecstasy pills in a park, at night. Apparently, she had the stupid idea of trying to rob one pill from the package and when she opened it every single pill jumped out of the small bag and fell into the grass in the middle of campus. The police was notified fast by some older woman and the girl was arrested and possibly sent to prison fro drug trafficking. The thrills ended for everyone that day.

 He knew he was lucky that he never got caught but, even so, Gustav was kind of sad that part of his life was over. Soon, he would graduate and he would have to confront the real world on his own. The truth was he didn’t feel ready to take on anything by himself. He used his morning time to walk around, to get to the roof of his dorm and lay down looking art the sky and watching the last stars of the night disappear. He thought of his decisions and his possibilities in a world that asked everyone to be exceptional, special in some way but no one really was.

 When he received his diploma, he came back home for some time. It was nice to see his parents again and feeling they were as proud of him then as they had been years before, when he thought he was the most special little boy to live in the planet. They were really nice people, honest and full of good principles that they had tried to put into his son. But they had failed and that’s why he couldn’t be in their presence for long. It could get very exhausting.

 Soon, he got a job in the city so he moved to a small place and started making a life for himself. He was lucky enough to land a job that required him to be very early every day so he didn’t really mind. He was a cameraman in a morning show and that always happened very early. His coworkers were always very tired in the morning, having to drink two or even three cups of coffee to actually work. He didn’t need that.

 His superiors realized that and decided to assign him to a reporter that was in charge of all the “night stories”. He went all over the city in the darkest hours to report on what was happening like road accidents, cases of violence, curious occurrences and all types of things that happened really late or early in the day. Gustav felt he was in the perfect place, being able to do his work in the best way possible.

 After his first six months, his boss was so impressed with his work that he decided to assign him the job of reporter after the one they had decided to drop out because of the “difficult job schedule”. Gustav was very thankful because he had never thought of being in front of the camera instead of behind it. He got some classes on how to speak properly and he documented himself on the city. By the time he started, every person looking just fell in love with him.


 For that work, he received a lot of praise including several awards that made him kind of a famous personality in TV. He eventually got married and received many other proposals for similar jobs and he would consider them all because he had finally understood he did have something that made him special. It was just it wasn’t the most amazing thing ever.

martes, 7 de junio de 2016

Two of one

   Used. That’s how she felt the moment she arrived home. The idea behind all of it had been to prove herself stronger than she thought she was. But maybe she wasn’t. Maybe she was just the frightened girl she didn’t wanted to be. The idea of being fearless had been a nice one to imagine but it had been highly unrealistic. This was, mainly, because she was always terrified. Every step she took into the world made her feel as is she had stepped into the mouths of hell. And though she forced herself through the most difficult things, she knew she was much more affected by everything than what she recognized.

 She sat on the bed for a while. Blinds and a curtain covered the window, which was good. She didn’t want to know a single thing about the sun out there, about light or life in the world. She wanted to stay there in her room for a while, a long while. After fifteen minutes of staring at a point on the floor, she remembered her clothes and took them off as fast as she can. Once she was only in her underwear, she got into bed and tried to sleep.

 It felt like the hardest thing she had ever done. Once again, her eyes would face the wall and wouldn’t close for nothing. She was too distracted, trying not to think about anything. That thought made her think about every single thing that had happened that night and she found herself repeating the scenes she had been through over and over again, like a movie in her head. She moved around in bed a lot, not being able to sleep or to shake off the thoughts.

 Maybe it was her, or maybe it was the weather, but the room started to feel like a sauna. Everything felt hotter, as if she was trying to sleep in an oven. It made sleeping even harder. She got out of bed and head to the door but stopped there. She wanted to have some water but, to do that, she had to go to the kitchen and that room was surrounded by windows and light. It was everything she wanted to avoid. Yet, she had begun to feel a sore throat and had no idea way.

 It was seven in the morning when she opened the door and practically ran to the kitchen. She grabbed a bottle of water and ran back to her room, as fast as she could. Other four people lived there and none of them were friends or anything like it. She barely spoke to any of them and couldn’t trust them with how she felt on that moment.

 Once back in her room, she drank half the water in the bottle in one sitting. She cleaned her mouth with her arm and decided it was time to try again. Only covered by a thin sheet, she finally fell asleep after finally deciding not to think about anything. She just put her mind blank and it worked. She fell asleep but it was an uneasy sleep.

 The poor woman moved around, her arms from one side to the other of the bed. She talked in her sleep too but it was hard to properly hear what she was saying, it was almost as if she was whispering to someone. That way, thrashing and whispering, she got to sleep for five hours. Around lunchtime, she woke up and decided that small rest had been enough. Her body wasn’t tired enough to keep on sleeping, although her mind certainly needed more time to get used to every single thing she was thinking about.

  Once up, she moved the curtain and raised the blinds. Her window led to an inner yard but some light came through it.  She had no intention of turning on her artificial light. The idea was to have natural light come into the room and feel a little bit less aggressive. After that, she decided it was time to have another expedition outside, this time to the bathroom. She ran quickly to it and did what she had to do as fast as she could. She didn’t want to stay there long enough to be greeted by anyone outside. Avoiding them was the idea for the day.

 When back in her room, she looked around in her closet and found something she had thought about in the bathroom: cookies. They were the ones she used to eat as a little girl. They were really thick and covered with chocolate chunks. She took the box to the bed and grabbed her laptop. The idea was to eat and distract her mind from the night before. She still felt dirty, she still felt she had transformed into someone she wasn’t and now she had to live with that other person.

 The best thing she could find was a cooking show, so she watched it in silence while eating about seven cookies. Once she was done, she put the box on the ground and covered herself entirely with the bed sheet. The food had helped her to feel tired again, maybe even sleepy. But then she realized there was something she needed to do before that, before anything. She put the laptop on the floor too and just stayed there, looking around the room.

 But she wasn’t only looking. She was recreating her night in her head, from the moment she had decided to step out of her house to the moment, just five hours ago, when she had come back feeling as she was feeling. The idea had been to have a drink or two and then head back home but she knew it had been then when the other woman had taken control of her.

 It was funny to talk about herself like that. She even smiled thinking that, after all, no matter what she told herself, she was that woman too. It was really another person, a dark figure in the night or something like that. That other woman with no scruples was also her but somehow she didn’t want to recognize her. She was scared to look at the mirror and realize who she was.

 Her sore throat was still there. She blamed the smoke in the place she had ended in but also the people there, the men especially. She had gone to that dark world to loose herself and, she realized, she wasn’t ready for it. The place was very dark and filled with all kinds of people, at least all physical kinds. Because, in their minds, they were all exactly the same. They all seek pleasure beyond anything they had ever imagined; they wanted to experience the extremes.

 She had used her cellphone to get to that place and she used it once again to get out of there. She stayed for about two hours and then ran out, leaving someone inside waiting for her. The nice girl that showed her face most of time, had appeared suddenly and had taken control of a body that had been through a lot during those two hours. She had done things she had never done before and that she probably would never do again.

 That’s what she wanted to ignore, to forget, to stop thinking about. But, after eating her cookies, having food in her belly, she realized the best way is always to confront ones fears, to look at them in the eye and see if they are really scary, if it’s worth it to be afraid of them. Because some fears are useful but others are just there to be in the way, they have to be defeated or at least jumped over to go on with life.

 She thought of all the kisses every touch, and also tried to put faces to all of that. It was good that she was able to do that. It made her feel less stressed, less like some kind of failure. She remembered everything, even with the alcohol and the drugs. Because it had been her who had done all of that. It had been her who had been inside the belly of the beast and had gotten out. It wasn’t some other imaginary woman.

 She turned around on her bed and decided the subject was closed. The past has to be left aside, always in our minds but not in our way. She closed her eyes for a while but did not fall asleep. She just wanted to be quiet and in peace with herself. She wanted to feel less like a something and more like someone. With her eyes closed, she heard the world and decided to think about how she perceived it all, how she could imagine a whole universe only by the sounds.


 It was a silly thing to do but it was the best game she could come up with. She was tired again and, as she played her game, she fell asleep. This time, it really felt like she was resting, not having to battle anyone or anything inside her mind. It was only her. She had been the one making every decision and she had to realize that was the way it was. She was the one calling the shots and she had to realize that wasn’t going to change.