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

lunes, 13 de marzo de 2017

The space around

   Space has always been the same: cold, unwelcoming and largely boring to watch. That is because, despite how big it is and how many natural phenomenon happen all around, some parts, most parts, are just empty space surrounded by that black veil tinted with stars. People who decide to work there are either adventurers or simply the ones that never got what they wanted and now have decided its time to sacrifice body and mind for the greater good of humanity.

 Every “day” it’s the same thing: waking up to realize you are in space, alone and bored. Then you have some breakfast, normally one of those dehydrated foods that need some water drops to transform into something a little bit tastier. Then, it’s time for hygiene and cleaning of the facility. Most of the time, it’s all about mopping and sweeping all around, nothing interesting like discovering asteroids or observing one of the many wonders of the universe. That’s for others to do.

 Stevenson had been assigned to that quadrant and to that station almost one year ago. He was really looking forward the year to be completed because he would be eligible to be replaced and send to some other planet or station, hopefully one where boredom is not a cause of death. Inexperienced people, as he was at the start, normally get to monitor the boring areas of the universe. The ones that people know about and admire, those are normally assigned to more popular areas of the territories.

 As he sweeps and mops, Stevenson likes to put on some music and dance to it while he does his chores. Many days, not caring much about the security cameras and the visual diary he must keep, he takes off all his clothes and walks around naked, doing everything he normally does only that with not one fabric over his body. Is not really a statement or something funny to do, but just the fact that people get bored really fast and easy when nothing happens around them.

 One of those naked days, Stevenson was preparing dinner. It had been another uneventful day for him and he was looking forward to his weird sleep. For dinner, he made a sandwich, which he had to create in the microwave. When he was eating, one of the emergency sirens started. It was a very loud noise and he had never heard it. Actually there were many things he didn’t really know about the station and he normally learned on the way. He went to the command center but it wasn’t clear what had happened. The siren was turned off and no reason was found for its activation.

 However, the onboard computer declared that the siren had been activated through movement in a forbidden area but it couldn’t really tell what actually moved. Stevenson thought it was a moving cable that wasn't working anymore or maybe it was something worse. He had heard of parasites bigger than fists infesting stations all over the place. Of course, they weren’t creatures that lived in space, but they attached themselves when stations were built or launched into their positions.

 He decided to check everything before going to sleep. He spent several hours on the computer, checking everything on the corresponding monitor and holding the station’s manual on one hand to verify he was doing all he standard procedures correctly.  It took hours but at the end of it all he didn’t find any actual proof something had moved anywhere around the ship. He also found out there were no parasites. The ship was in perfect shape, working like a well-tuned clock.

 As he walked to his room, he thought about the possibility of something actually exciting happening there. He had been alone for long, so bored too, that he had been excited because of the siren. It was scary at first, but it made him feel alive and useful, instead of useless, which was what he felt every single day of his life. As he covered himself with the bed sheets, he looked one last time to his window and wondered if he would ever feel like more than just some lost guy.

 Stevenson had a nightmare: it was about him running all around the station. He was running away from something but he never saw in the dream what it was. But it had to be something really scary because he could feel on his body when it came too close. It was a very tense situation. He would scream sometimes and run. He would also get into areas of the stations that didn’t actually existed. Then, whatever was after him finally caught up with him and jumped and it was then when he woke up.

 Not only the scare woke him up, but also the fact he had fallen from his bed, covered in sweat. He took all his clothes, what he used as a pajama, and threw it on the bin that was actually a washing machine. He had never experienced that kind of nightmare. It had really been scary. He even realized his face was covered in tears when he removed his t-shirt. He decided to get into the shower, as even cold water would help getting his ideas in order and all of the bad thoughts out of his mind, at least for while. He needed to feel calm once again. But that didn’t last very long.

 As he walked out of the shower, the alarm was activated again. This time the computer was able to tell him way with one word: asteroid. He ran still naked and wet to the command center, holding a towel on one hand. Stevenson put the towel on the chair and sat on it and then pushed some buttons and wrote some words in a keyboard. He was chatting with the computer. On a screen, he got an image of whatever it was that had activated the alarm. He had to enhance the quality because it was very small.

 Indeed, it was an asteroid. It had a very classical shape and was travelling slower than most asteroids did. But that wasn’t the reason the alarm had been activated. In the last few months, he had encountered other rocks like that one. The difference this time was that all the instruments onboard the ship had detected life on the rock. Some form of life was around or inside that asteroid and he had to be able to get it for himself as that would be his ticket to a much better life.

 The station couldn’t really move but he did have a vehicle for outside exploration. He ran to the hangar, put on some piloting clothes and hopped into the small vehicle, which was shaped as a tennis ball. The idea was to grab the rock and carry it back to the station with the mechanical arms the vehicle had. It shouldn’t be hard as the rock was not that big and he only needed some pieces. So he went out inside the ball and navigated bravely towards the floating rock.

 An incredible velocity pushed it though space but it was too slow for asteroid standards. So breaking it a little bit shouldn’t be hard at all. He started doing so when a powerful sound almost made him deaf. It was coming from the station, another alarm. He had to complete his work fast with the asteroid first, so he decided to use a laser to extract a good chunk of it. His operation on the rock was successful and he was able to take a very good part back to the station, where the sound seemed to get stronger.


 Apparently, it was an urgent message and that piercing noise was the way to get it through. He was surprised to see it was not only a short written message that said, “Stand by”. He didn’t really understand. Besides, his mind was with the rock he had just brought back. But then, the alarm ended and a screen that had never worked had been turned on. There was a face there, it was his boss. He was pale and looked very skinny and tired. He declared they had encountered something and that, whatever it was, it had attacked them. He failed to explain it further. But his next phrase was the one who made Stevenson feel heavier: “The Earth has been destroyed. Don’t come back”.

martes, 26 de julio de 2016

The Jones'

   The day the Jones family drove into the quiet neighborhood of Riverview, people of the street decided to greet them personally, as they had done before for every new family arriving to their community. It was a small town and they all believed a good relationship between neighbors was essential to improve the lives of everyone and even in order to prevent major catastrophes like someone disappearing from the face of the Earth or the kids being a little withdrawn.

 However, the Jones’ didn’t receive anyone on their first date. Every single person who went to their door was received by a little girl who told them they were really busy with moving and that they should get back once they had been done unpacking and setting their lives back together. Our of respect, people decided to come back later, although many housewives were insulted to be refused entry, especially if they had cooked something delicious.

 A whole week passed until the Jones’ themselves invited everyone o their home. They sent very nice invitations and tried to make every single family on the street feel they were sorry to make all children look around. Too many people thought that was something only strange folk did and they certainly didn’t wanted to live nearby anyone like that. But the invitations changed their minds, as they were never courted in such a nice way.

 It was a Friday night when everyone attended a dinner party organized by the Jones’. Children were admitted but had to leave the party at 10 in the evening. The Jones family was composed of several people: Lucy and Bert Jones were the mother and father of the family. And it had to be said they were very particular: they only wore black clothes and appeared to be as in love as a couple of teenagers, kissing around and barely showing people more than they needed to see.

 The kids were only too; there was Regina, the young girl that had opened the door for people when they had been moving and Jonathan, a teenager with baggy eyes that seemed to have never slept a day of his life. There was also a very skinny woman that spoke in another language, probably one of the adults mother. And finally, there was Brock. He was a very tall man, with a bit of a silly expression on his face. He seemed to be their employee or something.

 He spent the whole party in a cornet, as if he was verifying that everything was going smoothly. He made the glasses bang chilled again by the staff the Jones’ had brought for the event and he seemed to vanish every so often. A rumor saying they had one more member of their family started to grow after that and because of that strange employee.

 In any case, the party had been a real success. Now every single person knew who they were and, although they were called eccentric and other similar words, the Jones’ became an integral part of the community of Riverview. Yet, children would never go alone to that house, for example if they had lost a baseball or something like that. Children had invented that the woman was a witch that failed to be a proper one. They were scared of her because she was nothing like they were used to.

 In school, the Jones’ children were almost always alones, especially the teenager. He was obviously dressed much more conservatively than the rest of the children and seemed to be sensitive enough to make beautiful drawings and art in general. His teacher was impressed from day 1 because of the small masterpieces Jonathan had created for him in such a small amount of time.

 As for Regina, she did have a lot of friends but sometimes she said she felt alone and strange. She thought sometimes that her family was too uncommon and that because of that she failed to connect with anyone else. And when she did connect, she felt bad because she assumed that wasn’t what a Jones family member would do. They would talk about it and discuss it and see the options. They were very uncommon parents and it was often that the kids had to solve their problems by themselves.

 With the passing of time, the Jones’ house turned into the street every single kid avoid and also every adult ran in from of. It was like if their happiness was sucked away by the sole presence f the house. And then there was that monster, that enormous man that appeared no to be ale to talk. But he did talk but had decided years ago to limit the amount of things he said because he thought it was not necessary.

 Brock was not really a Jones but they had brought him to town and every single person wondered what did he do in that house. It wasn’t as if they had a mansion were help would be needed. Some people saw him in sometimes around the commercial area of town, buying groceries or running errands while the Jones’ were out. Everyone just stared at him because of his height.

 Every neighbor thought he was maybe the weirdest but the parents were not really the most normal people. No one actually knew what it was that Bert Jones did for work. The only true thing was that he left every single morning at the same time and he was the first husband to arrive to his home at night, something that most housewives around there thought was very curious, as they were used to their husbands arriving always late, with food already cold.

 But Bert was always there for dinner and kissing Lucy’s face every time he arrived into his home. It was something the neighbors also grew very curious about, the fact that they didn’t really hide the love they had for each other. No other couples in town were like that, maybe because it was such a conservative place. They were the only ones to actually show that they were in love and that their relationship seemed to work.

 Lucy also left in the mornings, after her husband, but returned very early in the afternoon, possibly to make dinner. Those were the assumptions the many eyes looking at them could make. Maybe she had some type of part-time job or she had something to do with family. Either way, she would always have her black hair in the same style and her clothes were always similar, very dark and kind of revealing for the taste of the community.

 Yet, as odd as they were, the Jones’ always attended the social gatherings. Whenever there was a meeting of the neighborhood patrol or some kind of reunion at the mayor’s office, they would always be there, husband and wife. They liked to help and were always very keen on making others feel happy. It was strange from them but that’s what they did and most of the time their attempts actually work. They were very beloved in that regard and many envied them for it.

 Of course, some people were actually scared and never really bothered to talk to them too much. There had been a small group of people who had refused to go to their welcoming party and had done it because they thought that they had been rude from the start, not receiving people into their home just because they were moving. They also thought they were strange because of their behavior and their looks.

 Jonathan was teased in school by the kids of those people. One day he was sent to the nurse’s office because one of the boys that thought he was weird had pushed him in the yard and he had fallen and hurt his chin. Both Lucy and Bert picked their son up from school that day and they seemed to be very surprised that such a thing had happened there with their son. It didn’t seem like something they understood.


 They lived there for a couple of more years until they felt they had enough of their reputation as “the weirdos” on Riverview. So one good day, a single moving truck took everything away and the neighbors only knew about them leaving when Brock was seeing driving the truck out of the city. The next day, the house was on sale and there was not a single Jones to see. They had tried and failed again. It wasn’t the first town they settled in and many more would come, as they had done for so many years now.

martes, 26 de abril de 2016

Swimming

   The water felt really nice, wrapping his body in a very warm and soft cocoon as he went from one side to the other of the pool. Jim had always put aside a couple of hours of his schedule to swim because he enjoyed it a it relaxed him. He didn’t like to have massages or go to the sauna or things like that. Only the water was good enough for him. If he was visiting a place by the sea, the first thing he did was checking out the beach and swimming a bit. He preferred swimming pools, because of the lack of sand; he didn’t mind seawater from time to time. He found it to be a little more challenging but fun too.

 Jim had learned to swim from a very young age and had developed a very healthy relationship with water. Whereas many kids his age were scared of water, he had always loved it. He never forgot to ask if a party in some friend’s house involved a swimming pool and he made sure his mom always double-checked. Only once he went to a party with a pool and had to sit b the side and se everyone have fun and not him. So from then on he was always prepared.

 As a man who worked in the stock exchange, many people thought he would always go to the gym or do more intense exercising. But he only loved swimming and that’s how he maintained a nice body and a healthy lifestyle. He ate well. No diets or anything but just very balanced and swam every single day without fail.

 One day, his daily routine was stopped by a car crash. He always drove the same route to get to the gym to swim and it made him insane that the traffic was so heavy that he didn’t move art all for thirty minutes. Eventually, he arrived late to the gym but used the two hours anyway, without really thinking about how that changed his whole schedule. As he did his exercise at night, right after work, it meant that he would have dinner two hours later and that he would check his emails later too and sleep less than normal.

 But he didn’t care or maybe he didn’t noticed. He got to the gym and used the pool and when he was out, he was surprised to see the place was deserted. Only a couple of cars were left with his in the parking lot and when he got home it was almost midnight. He had some salad that he always bought premade, with lots of vegetables and stuff. It was a bad call because the aching muscles because of he swimming got combined with an aching stomach that found hard to digest some veggies at that time of day, with no energy left.

 He checked his emails like at two in the morning and there were many. He only got to reading about ten and answering even less than that. He was tired and he fell asleep in his couch.

 The next day, he was very late for work. He showered for only a couple of minutes; instead of the ten minutes he normally took for that. He also put on clothes that didn’t really look that good, which was strange because he had always been the kind of guy to pay attention to detail. But he was so tired he could barely see what he was putting on his body. The worst part was when he remembered, once at work, that it was a day filled with meetings with many people from different companies. The good thing was that the meeting took place at work but he wasn’t prepared at all for them.

 His coworker Julia had to step in quite often to correct number he was saying or to clarify things that were confusing because of the yawning. Every single group of every company could see that Jim was not in his best shape and moment. He hadn’t really shaved and he had quite a shadow, which made him look careless. His clothing, including two socks of different color and a pair of shoes that didn’t match anything, did not help his case either.

 Yet, he attended to the meetings all morning until lunchtime. Normally, he used to go to a very nice vegetarian restaurant that was close by. They had a really great variety of food for people that didn’t ate red meat or any kind of meat. But Jim was so tired that, when he went to his office to grab his jacket, he fell asleep on the desk and was only woken up by Julia, two hours later, telling him she had to attend to the first meeting of the afternoon.

 The rest of the day was even worse for him. He couldn’t really get the numbers and the names rights, he confused one company with the other and yawned almost with everything he said. He eyes looked terrible and so id his hair and everyone could see it. The thing was, most of the people in the meetings knew him, because they did exactly that once a month and had always being so prepared and charming and on point. Now, he was just a very horrible train wreck.

 When time came to go, Julia advised him he shouldn’t take the car back home, advising him to better grab a taxi or something like that. But he just nodded and ignored that comment because he had to go a swim, like he always did. So he went to his car, put on some loud music to really wake him up and drove all the way to the gym closing his eyes in every red traffic light and singing quite loudly when he felt he was about to go to sleep.

 Because of that reckless idea, he hit another car in the back and had to give all his insurance information and was late for the gym, again. He had lost time and money again and he was just exhausted. But he kept pushing himself for some reason.

 In the pool, he was able to swim nicely for the first ten minutes or so. But then something happened and the lifesaver in there had to get him out of the pull and give him mouth to mouth. When he woke up, they had called an ambulance and the paramedics were in the locker room checking him for water in the lungs and such things. He assured him he was fine but they insisted on taking him to the hospital to run further tests. He said no once, twice, three times and then grabbed his things and went to his car

 Jim felt frustrated because he hadn’t been able to swim at all. He felt weak now and something had changed in his life and he didn’t like it at all. It was like giving up on the one thing that made him stable. So he just hopped in the car and drove as carefully as he could and thanked the day for being a Friday. He would sleep until late and would still have time to do all the things that he could normally do on a Saturday. Besides, he was arriving home early.

He made himself a cheese sandwich and just watched some TV before going to bed. He fell asleep very quickly and, the next day, was able to wake up really early and really catch up with his schedule. He did everything by the book and was happy that the day was a very good one for him. The weekends had always felt like the worst time wasters ever but now it seemed he had discovered a way to make them have a meaning.

 That was until he collapsed in a large sports store where he was checking out bathing suits and earplugs. Then everything got like darker and he just fainted. Paramedics came soon and, this time, he didn’t woke up until they were in the hospital. They explained him that he did have water in his lungs but that part wasn’t really the worst one. They also told him he suffered from a rare condition caused by stress where people eventually collapsed because of all the stress they put on their bodies.

 He argued with them, saying he didn’t really do that much exercise and that he loved his work and so on. But the head doctor told him all of that wasn’t important at all. The point was that if he kept living the way he did, he was going to kill himself from exhaustion. He had to make some radical changes to his life and he had to make those changes soon because his body was just done with his lifestyle.


 Jim spent an entire week in the hospital, as they ran some tests. He felt useless in that bed and wanted to run out of there and swim some more and then do his work. He wanted his life back. But then the words of his doctor sunk in: his body was done with who he was and now he had to change every single piece of that.

miércoles, 11 de noviembre de 2015

Fish market

   When Brody woke up, the light entering his room was practically nonexistent. The only object illuminating his room was the alarm clock he had always had beside the bed. He sat on his bed for a few minutes and just stayed there, fighting the urge to fall asleep. But finally he put his two feet out of bed and walked towards the bathroom. There, he woke up even more due to the light, which was very bright. He had thought of buying another light bulb for the bathroom but he always forgot. He removed his boxers and let the water run in the shower. When it was warm, he entered half asleep, almost leaning too much against one of the shower’s walls. He didn’t really want to go to work. He just wanted to fall asleep for several hours and only wake up when he was fully rested.

 But that wasn’t happening. He got in front of the water, in order to wake up properly and spend the following five minutes trying to wake up the rest of his body. When he got back to his room, towel around his body, there was still no light outside. The world was submerged in the darkness and he was one of those unfortunate souls that had to wander through the lack of light in order to earn a living. Or something like that, anyway. He let the towel fall to the ground and then spent some minutes looking for clothes. The proof that he was still asleep was that he dressed up in the weirdest way: he put on a t-shirt first, and then the socks followed by a jacket. Then he got to his boxers and finally some pants. He almost forgot to put on underwear but he realized it in time.

 When he was finally ready, he came out of his room and into a small room outside where the kitchen was. The apartment was not very big but it was just the size he needed it to be. He could bring friends and have some beers but it wasn’t the best place for a party, even if he had already tried (often), to have some of those in there. He drank orange juice straight from the bottle and then grabbed the milk and poured some into a cup. He had it with cereal, eating standing up and closing his eyes from time to time. He so wanted to sleep. And it wasn’t only because he was tired but because he remembered bits and pieces of a great dream he had been having and he knew it was one of the good ones.

 When he finished eating, he went back to his bathroom and brushed his teeth. As he did, he looked at his face and did funny faces in order to make himself laugh or at least attempting to make his eyes look a little bit more open. But it was to no avail. He finally took a backpack from the floor of his bedroom and then just went out the door. He went down the stairs rather fast and at the bottom he received a powerful gust of wind right in his face. It was very cold and already blue outside, not yet full of light but in an annoying twilight that could last a couple of hours. He closed his jacket and walked on.

 The bus was always on time and that day it wasn’t the exception. People were already making a line to get into it so he almost got to stay because of how filled with people the bus was. He had to take a little space at the back, between the window and an elderly woman that smelled a lot like onions. He was thankful the trip was not that long, or he would have collapsed due to the odor. Maybe she was from a region where they grew a lot of onions because she wasn’t carrying a bag with them or anything. He looked at other people in the bus and there were any like him: head going from side to side, eyes closing for a few seconds, then opening as if nothing had happened. There was a young student already fast asleep. He felt sorry for him, as it was likely he would overshoot his stop.

 Finally, the bus arrived at his destination: the market. The place was very active already, even for the hour. Most people were owners of the stands. With the help of their employees, they were filling their areas with fruits and vegetables and many other delicious things to eat like mushrooms and dried fruit. He had to walk past all of that area to get to the next building, where he had to work. It was the place where the meat and fish were sold. The stand he worked at was in an intersection of paths, which was perfect for business, as every single shopper would see their products, no matter the way they were coming from. The owner complained a lot but he was pretty successful.

 When Brody arrived, he told him he should have arrived sooner as it was the day they got fresh octopus. And when he said fresh, he meant alive. It was Brody’s job to get those creatures into a tank in order to have them in display like lobsters. He actually didn’t like to do that because it reminded him a lot of those movies that show how everything once when there was slavery. Of course an octopus is not a person but he felt back for the poor fellow anyway. He put on his boots, apron and “mouth cover” and started helping his boss putting everything into display. Fortunately, the boss decided to fight the octopus himself, so he didn’t have to experience that sad episode again.

 All fish were in boxes and he just had to put them on the ice over the refrigerator where every single costumer could see how fresh and clean and beautiful everything was. It was a nice thing to do and he was already used to the smell. He sometimes did some changes in the display, forming words with the fish and he always did it without the permission of his boss. For a person that claimed to be in control of everything, he never realized what was going on in his own stand. The truth was he always negotiating and going around asking if other had made more money than him and what new products were being sold.

 The morning rush started just as the only octopus of the day was finally inside his enclosure and all the rest of his marine friends were well displayed in the stand. Just then arrive Marcus, a huge man that spoke once every year, which happened to be the one to cut, chop and gut every single fish that was going to be sold. He never helped organize things and he always left before the boss could ask him to help them clean. That was Brody’s job and also cashier and actual salesman. He convinced people to shop there and he gave them the best deals, trying to make them good for the boss too but sometimes just looking to sell something as he knew his salary depended a lot on how many fish got to leave in some old lady’s bags.

 It started a bit slow but as natural light grew larger in the outside, the more people came in to buy their rations of seafood for the day. In the stand, they did not only sell fish and octopus but also clams, squid, mussels and many other creatures. As more and more people started to come in, Brody had a nicer time. It was fun to explain to people the differences between some types of fish and others and how they could cook them and make a delicious seafood soup. Many were actually surprised he knew so much about cooking. The thing was he had decided to learn all he could about what he was selling and the natural thing was also to learn how to cook what he was selling. At home, he had already tried every recipe he recommended and it was always a success.

 In the afternoon, things began coming to an end. People had already had lunch and very few buyers bought fish for dinner so late. They came for it in the morning. So at four or five in the afternoon, depending of the day, they closed shop, put into boxes everything that had not being sold and began cleaning their stands with hoses as fish guts had to be pushed into a main drain. It was Brody who did all of that because Marcus left and his boss was too busy trying to calculate how much money he had made in one day. The octopus was the last one to be put away. Thankfully for him, no one had wanted to cook him for a meal.

 Thirty minutes after closing, Brody cleaned his boots and apron, put them in the backpack and bid farewell to the boss. He hoped for Friday to come soon as he got his paycheck then. He had worked hard all month and, as he walked towards the bus stop ( again in the twilight), he repeated his plans in his head: he wanted to be a chef and had to get the right amount of money to study to be one of the best cooks in the country. Inside the bus, people moved because he still smelled like fish. He didn’t mind, it was an acquired taste. When he got home he enjoyed a warm shower and got into bed early, without eating. He had to save money and he couldn’t afford dining every day.


 His dream was the most important thing to him and he was willing to sacrifice a bit of himself in order to get access to it. Before falling asleep, however, his only thought was a clam chowder, nice and warm, with all the proper ingredients.