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

martes, 20 de diciembre de 2016

Christmas dinner

   As always for that time of the year, Adele had to out on her best clothes when working. It wasn’t really well seen if the hostess of a very prestigious restaurant dressed in any kind of clothing. She had to have some nice dresses for every single type of occasion, as she was the face of the hotel on the evening people had chosen to come. She represented everything for them and was the go to person if anything were to happen during one of the many dinners the hotel hosted all along the year. It was always vey busy, a successful business.

 Christmas time was especially hard on the hotel workers. For example, Adele had to wake up very early in the morning every single day leading to Christmas. For a week or so, she would have to put on her best coat to resist the fierceness of the weather and also because she really needed to get warm as soon as she arrived at the hotel as many things had to be checked. And in Christmas this was done in the most exact way, as everything had to be in line with perfection that night, as they always promised their guests the most lavish dinner ever.

 The kitchen staff consisted of several men and only a few women. There weren’t many women trying to breakout in the business and she was only closely related to everything they did on the actual restaurant. Adele was only a hostess and she would never be able to grow much more than that in her line of work. It all depended on very well paid jobs in certain events and parties, which he had hosted occasionally but not as prolifically as the events held on the hotel. There, she knew she was prepared to resist anything and everything.

 In the days leading to the Christmas dinner, the menu was checked several times and many testing lines were done. It was Adele’s job to taste everything and determine if she needed to change something in order to have some more time or make it a more successful menu. Two days before, she even thought it was going to be necessary to change the dessert because it wasn’t very well achieved but the person in charge of confectionery convinced her that he could make it more attractive with some superficial design.

 The day before Christmas he presented his corrections and he was lucky enough to be congratulated by Adele. The rest of the dishes were done and they only needed to cook them early on Christmas Eve in order for everything to be on point for the dinner. Many cases of wine were ordered from around the world, as well as many other alcoholic beverages. They also bought lots of cheese for after dinner and had to go to the market to buy the best and most fresh products in order to cook everything they needed for the menu.

 The night before the party, Adele was not able to sleep properly. She had gone to bed intentionally early but it didn’t work out at all. Not only was she worried about the dinner and the results the hotel was going to get with it but she also doubted her personal capacity to resist everything she was going to be held against. After all, the dinner was practically her show and if anything went wrong, it was her skill which had to come to work in order to fix whatever that needed to be fixed. All those thoughts did not let her sleep for a minute.

 When she arrived in the hotel, she checked every produce than had arrived and gathered the staff around her in order to tell them a few things before beginning. Not only the kitchen staff was present during the speech but also the rest of the hotel employees, as most guest were going to stay the night after dinner. Adele asked for everyone to do their best, to make it an experience that none of them could be able to replicate anywhere else. They needed to make that night one of the most special nights ever for every single guest.

 Rooms began to be cleaned and final details were being put on all over the hotel as flowers in every floor to make it smell divine. The kitchen went into full gear from very early in the morning, as they also had to cook for the rest of the guests in the hotel that were not going to participate in the dinner. It seemed to be chaos in the kitchens but the chef, and to a lesser extent Adele, knew how to make it all seem so peaceful, to always have a certain order that may not be obvious but with which every single person can work with to achieve the goals.

 Adele also had to check every single bedroom in order to personally see that the other workers had done a good job. She had to check first the ones where people had the intention to arrive earlier and then she moved on to the rest, checking for the bed to be perfectly done and for the furniture not to have a spec of dust. She also checked the bathroom, as that had always been very popular after dinner. People loved to have a bubble bath at some point so it was better to be prepared. Anything people wanted while staying had to become a reality.

 As she was checking the top floor, Adele received word that something had gone wrong with the dessert. Apparently the ingredients had been on a refrigerator that wasn’t working very well and they had become useless. Many melted and others were simply not the quality needed for the dessert. Adele ordered for all of that to be stored away and demanded the pastry chef and the confectionery guy to come up with something very fast as her customers couldn’t go without desert.

 Dinner was scheduled for nine o’clock at night. At seven, some of the guests begun to arrive and the desserts were not really done yet. Adele was very pleased to escort the first couple upstairs and tell them everything about the dinner, the usage of the bathroom and of the rest of the hotels features such as the swimming pool, the steam room and the spa, among others. She was lucky enough to check that room beforehand because she had discover dirty towels in the bathroom, so she changed that before anyone noticed.

 She didn’t join everyone to their room as, at eight o’clock, many more people started to arrive and she certainly didn’t have any time to waste. She used that moment to go back to the kitchen and see what they had come up with for dessert. As expected, they weren’t having many ideas. The people in charge were not as imaginative as they needed to be and they were really relaying on clichés to make a proper dessert. But the same old pastries and ice cream were not nearly goo enough for Christmas dinner. It would be an insult to the guests!

 Adele decided to come up herself with a new dessert. She knew they didn’t have much time, so she decided to reuse some of the ingredients they had from past parties. She decided to reuse the chocolate balls that melted when hot chocolate was poured on top of them. She decided to change the liquid chocolate for caramel and told the staff to come up with some sort of truffle at the center of the ball, in order for people to have a nice surprise when having their last dish. She put everyone to work and told them they had minutes to come up with a tasting plate.

 She decided to visit the lobby as they prepared, in order to let in the first guests. It was decided they should wait at the lounge bar, as she preferred to know first if the dessert was a go or no. She returned to the kitchen briefly to taste her idea and approved it when she realized it was good enough. Half of the kitchen staff had to help do all the desert plates needed for the evening. Adele left them again in order to open the restaurant and let everyone inside. The music had been carefully chosen as well as the design of the menus.


 The dinner started with applause when the guests saw their first plate, which was absolutely gorgeous. Then came the other dishes and finally the dessert. People didn’t say much about it but, when coming out of the restaurant, they praised the idea for being “simple but effective”. As some guests headed towards their beds and other towards the bar, Adele went to the kitchens and declared the night a complete success. She wasn’t going to sleep much that night either but at least she wasn’t going to be worried.

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.

miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2016

Ghosts of war

   Paul pulled the potato plant and some dirt feel into the ground, with a beautiful soft noise. The potatoes had grown decently big and so had the rest of the food he had grown in the back garden. From there, he could not see anyone else, only the shadow formed by the house and the hills that created several ups and downs that got to the sea itself. But the sea was very far and in this inland territory only the cold wind that remained from the past winter swept the land, as if washing away any impurities in this world.

 He pulled a basket, put the potatoes inside with other fresh products, and took it inside the house. There he washed them carefully, cut off the parts that didn’t have any use and then started cooking. Adam got there just in time with meat from the market on the other side of the valley. He seemed tired so Paul told him to sit down and relax as he finished preparing dinner. Outside, the sun had already left the sky and the night was dark and silent except for the snoring of Adam who had fallen asleep in the couch.

 Paul wasn’t in a hurry with dinner, especially because he had to prepare everything enough time to kill all the bacteria and because the meat was thick and took some time to cook. When he was finally done, Paul went to Adam and softly kissed his forehead. As if it had happened in a fairy tale, Adam opened his eyes and smiled because of the kiss and because of the fabulous smell invading the small house.

 They sat down to eat some delicious steamed vegetables with thick slices of fried meat and a side of mash potatoes that tasted different from the one they had known in their childhood but it was still good. As he always did, Adam grabbed one of Paul’s hands, his left one, and kept on eating like that all night. It was something he had started doing when they first moved there and it was just a way to ensure they would never be separated. Adam was extremely serious about it and once they had a fight over that, because Paul had told him that he couldn’t eat properly like that. That night, they didn’t sleep together.

 But this time it was different. When dinner was done, Adam helped Paul wash the dishes and went to bed at the same time. They took off their clothes; each one tired of their day, and just hugged to sleep. But differently than all other nights, a horrible sound woke them up in the middle of the night. It was a sound coming from a machine and there were not many machines in this region. They felt the ground shake, which was what woke them up, and the horrible sound of a plane going over the valley. They had heard planes before but this one different, much worse, as if the plane was a horrible beast of some kind. They held each other after the sound had finished, thinking of what it could mean.

 The next day in town, Adam talked to many villagers and even to some fisherman that travelled daily to the coast and the port to sell their products. Apparently most people had heard the same thing and everyone had been awaken by it.  The first thing they said was that the country was neutral, at least officially, and that they didn’t allow one of the factions to use their territory to do nothing. So either the plane came all the way from one of the continents or their government had just betrayed the neutrality that had been their main characteristic for so long.

 The truth was that no one really saw where the plane came from or where did it go but it was flying really low. The following days some more things happened: many witnesses saw red lights, balls of fire, over the ocean but very far at the same time. It was like a weird light show and there was a sound with it but because of he distance it was hard to say what it was. Then some farmers found tank tracks in their fields but they had never heard any of them passing around. Actually, the army didn’t even have tanks or planes or anything.

 Adam decided they should keep living their normal lives, not minding a lot about these events. Or at least that’s what he told Paul. But at nights he would often wake up sweating from nightmares involving tortures and lights like the ones over the ocean and Paul would ask what was wrong and Adam wouldn’t say. They fought over it a couple of times but mostly they just held each other and tried to be supportive and close, because anything could happen.

 The explanation to everything was written in pieces of paper that had been distributed all over the country. Their nation had accepted the use of several bases by one of the factions and they would use the country to fight a battle against the other faction, to finally crush them for good. Their land would not be caught under fire, only been use as a previous layover for every plane, boat and other war vehicle, even tanks that did target practice in a wasteland north of the valley. That explained the explosions many people had heard.

  So the war had never ended and it was apparently on an important stage, on a decisive point that made even change the face of the world. This secretly excited Adam because even after so many years away from the fight, he was still eager to fight for what he believed and for what he had done so much so many years ago. But Paul just didn’t address the subject. The only thing he said was that if they all wanted to keep on killing themselves, it was fine by him but he didn’t wanted nothing to do with any of that. He didn’t want the war to come to the village and that was it.

 Adam didn’t told Paul but he started to have meetings with many people from the region and they were already discussing if they should also join the fight and how would they do it and why. They had the tremendous chance that the authorities were so busy these days that a meeting in a farm wasn’t important enough for them to attend and tear apart. They would have done it but now the government was using all the resources it had to make their “guests” feel at home. Everyone knew the situation was a disguised invasion and that their country had kneeled without even the chance of fighting.

 Paul kept to himself. He started concentrating only in his garden and in fishing in the lake nearby and doing all these things to make his home the best part of the world. He would share with some villagers his discoveries about how diets could be better so to keep everyone strong during the winter and during the summer too. And what he started to do was to take long walks, always when Adam was about to come back from his meeting in town. He knew he would want to tell someone about it and he just didn’t want to hear about it. He’d rather have their neighbors or their dog help Adam with that.

 Their relationship became very tense and that was very strange for both of them as they had never been in such tension. They had been living together for over three years now, year in which they had build a home together and had found the other to be that person they wanted in their lives forever. They had been through hell and back to get to that valley and have everything that they enjoyed in their daily lives. They had fought together and suffered together and now it was supposed to be a time of peace for them, even if the world was falling apart.

 But the sense of responsibility in Adam was too strong. So one day he followed Paul to the lake, where he went to take a walk and get away from everything, and tried to talk to him. He told Paul, almost yelling, that he needed to go back to the fight because he felt he had to finish what he started, he had to make the west faction pay for what they had done back home, for what they had allowed to happen to them and to the world. They were destroying everything everyone held dear and the world would never be the same if someone didn’t stop them.

 Paul answered that he didn’t wanted the world to go back to what it was. He didn’t want the past because he hated it. He reminded Adam than in that glorious past they would have been hanged if they dared to live together, in that past people were also deprived of everything and lacked so much. Fighting for revenge wouldn’t change anything, no matter who won or how they won. Everything was always going to be the same, war or not.


 For a whole week they didn’t talk to each other and Adam even chose to sleep in the couch. But they loved each other. They couldn’t do that for long because it tore them apart slowly. The war raged on and they were trapped in the middle of the fire, not knowing what to do or where to go.