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

martes, 1 de septiembre de 2015

Journey of exploration

   It was an irony that he could not board a boat without having to “return” all of his breakfast. Most people thought he was practically a sailor because of his work in the aquarium but the truth was he could barely stand the salty water and the constant movement of the waves. Nate’s job was to classify the fishes, modify their diets and select replacements if one of the individuals died. It was a very simple job really, that required only patience and time to know what to do and when to do it. He had always loved marine life, even if he didn’t particularly like the place where they lived. It was a very strange relationship the one he had with the creatures he worked with, and maybe it was that he liked them better when living in an aquarium.

 But the people for whom he worked had decided to send him to an exploration journey in order to bring new specimens to the aquarium. They wanted new species too, which meant travelling a lot and being always on the move, ready to make the next big catch. But Nate wasn’t the type to catch anything, if only the flu. He wasn’t an adventurous guy and he certainly didn’t like to travel for long periods of time. He was so odd he actually only took his vacations to be in his house. He never even visited an all-inclusive hotel or anything like that. So when he was chosen to go on a boat to capture new species, he was not very keen on the idea. Nate even went to his boss’s office and asked him to pull him out from the trip but the boss refused.

 He told Nate that it was necessary for all of his employees to be really involved in the world they were working with. He needed people that had experience with the creatures in the wild as well as in captivity. Besides, he insisted to Nate that the trip would be an eye opener for him and that it would gave him access to new knowledge about his craft and it would also be a new way to open himself as a person. Nate didn’t like people meddling in his life and maybe that was why his boss stopped talking and just told him to go and enjoy himself. Nate knew that wasn’t to be so easy so he tried talking to anyone with any power in the aquarium but everyone thought he should go.

 Defeated, he was asked to only bring a small bag with him, with only a few clothes and whatever else he needed, especially for his job. He was visited at home by the captain of the vessel who told him their trip would take almost three months around the Caribbean, where they would try to visit as many ecosystems as possible. He also told Nate he needed to learn how to dive so he made him go to some classes in the local swimming pool. Nate felt too much pressure from everyone to be as good as the trip, to be someone else basically, and that made him a bit unstable. He stopped eating regularly and lost several kilos prior to the trip. Besides, he acquired some weird repetitive movements in his hands and eyes.

 The day of the departure finally arrived. Captain Jones came to pick him up and he spoke the whole way to the boat. He was visibly very enthusiastic about the journey because, as he said, he loved to work with scientists that really appreciated everything that the ocean had to offer. Nate didn’t say a word. The boat was bigger than he had imagined it but the crew was rather small: two men helped the captain and there were only two other scientists with Nate. One was Angelina Öhm, an Austrian expert in invertebrates and professor Smith, an older man that loved whales and sharks. Both of them were actually pretty famous and worked in more prestigious aquariums than Nate.

 The boat set sailed that same afternoon, departing first towards the northern Bahamas where they expected to find a good amount of tropical fish for their respective aquariums. They actually explained to him that the boat was larger than normal because they needed space for all the containers they were going to fill with live specimens. The following day they were already near the island of Great Abaco, where Nate would have to dive. He was really dizzy, having had no sleep the night before. The first day was a total disaster: he hit his head various times against the steel of the boat, he vomited on the feet of one of the captain’s helpers, he wasn’t able to put his diving suit correctly and finally didn’t even swim at all, deciding to remain in his chambers for the day.

 That night, the Jones came to see him in his room and talked to him. He asked Nate to tell him what was going on and Nate explained that he didn’t wanted to be there because the ocean made him sick and scared. The truth was that he only wanted to go home and be safe. When he said this, the captain laughed and put an arm around his back. He told Nate he was safer on the boat than anywhere else on Earth, as he was simply one of the best sailors in the world. He told him how many medals he had from the navy and the army and joked about his prowess aboard larger and smaller vessels. After a while, Nate was able to smile and even laugh a little.

 The next day, when arriving to Cat Island, Nate decided to be more careful and patient, as he was when making the preparations for every animal’s dinner. He was always very careful and had his head in those matters and not anywhere else. So he did exactly that and he noticed he bumped his head less this time. He apologized to the seaman for the accident the day before and even shared a very small breakfast with the others. After all, his stomach was still very sensitive. He was able to put the suit on but then they only had a few good hours to dive. Rain came and ruined their exploration for the day. They captures some specimens and he remained classifying them the rest of the day.

 Days passed and Nate developed a certain new attitude. He realized that he had to be different in the boat than anywhere else. So he decided to approach his colleagues and just talk to them about his interests and his experience, no matter how little it was compared to theirs. It was refreshing to realize that both Öhm and Smith where very nice people that were very willing to share all of their knowledge with younger explorers like himself. Because it was them who told Nate that he now was an explorer, a proper adventure seeker and a potential discoverer of new life on this planet and what could be more exciting than that?

 The following two weeks were better for them as they captured many specimens a day. One special day near Haiti’s northern coast, Nate dove without the suit and caught a beautiful colorful slug with only some gloves and a bucket. He even discovered another one but with different colors and caught him too. The water was shallow and beautiful and he finally succumbed to the ocean. Now he saw what they all saw when entering the darkness of the ocean. So much life and so much activity, it was hard not to fall in love with every single species and with everyone that loved this environment back. Angelina and Smith congratulated him for his slugs and he secretly named them Nate 1 and Nate 2. Of course, that would never be on an aquarium but it was his little silly secret.

 The nights were great because they rarely dove in those times. They’d rather be in the dining room and just play cards or talk. After the first month, Nate managed to eat a bit more than he had eaten before and now he wasn’t afraid of just eating. There was so much confidence among the crew, which they now joked as if they had all being studying together in college for some time. The truth was that Nate had never felt this level of camaraderie before. He had never being part of a team and wasn’t very good at making friends or anything of the sort, he had always thought of himself as a bit of a clumsy guy, with almost no sense of what to say and when.

 But with the captain, his sailors, Angelina and Smith, he felt almost at home. They laughed, had jokes that they would repeat often and besides they would work together better than he would have ever work alone. And the best thing of all was that the boat was getting filled with awesome species that everyone was going to love in the aquarium. They had even caught some jellyfish that did not appear in their records, so it might signify the capture of a new species. Day by day he got better at diving with the suit and they would team up to capture every single creature they were interested in. Some animal they left alone, as turtle that had been hit by a boat’s propeller. He took several pictures and got tan every day more and more.

 Nate didn’t know it but the trip would jus change his life. He would return home realizing how much time he had wasted in general and how he could make some changes in life without really changing who he was but rather how he did some things.  The trip was an eye opener and Nate, even weeks before it was finished, thanked his boss, fate and everyone involved for putting him on that boat.

miércoles, 8 de abril de 2015

Afternoon in the museum

  The place was deserted, except for the small team of scientists that roamed the debris and walked tightly together, as if they were a single entity. They approached a square, where two members of the team that had guns stepped forward and escorted the others inside a big hole on the floor. There was glass everywhere and the stairs to go down where missing some of the steps. Everyone was very careful not to fall. When they reached the bottom, they reunited again. One of them, a woman, lit up a screen where she had a map of the place.

-       There.

 She pointed at a hallway and they all began to walk a little bit more relaxed, although some of their breathing equipment started making wheezing sounds. Yes, they had masks and tanks on their backs because the air had been deemed unbreathable. This was the consequence of the bombardment the city had gone through many years ago, during the Dark Wars. These battles and skirmishes had attempted to destroy every single trace of civilization in the world but it had been stopped just in time for that not to happen. Unfortunately, not every place in the world had been spared and cities such as this one lay empty and in ruin.

 The team followed Calista, the woman with the map, through the hallway. They did steadily but not in a run, but fast anyway. They saw rooms in darkness but didn’t enter any of them. After many other dark hallways and a few stairs, they reached a long corridor, lit by the sunlit coming from the outside.

-       This is it. The rooms by this corridor.

 They entered a door to the left and they all did the same expression of amazement. The room seemed to be stuck in time as all the pieces where still exactly where they had always been. Their state, besides some dust, was just perfect so Calista and her time started unpacking everything they had brought with them. There were bags and plastic and some boxes. There was also a rod that could be extended and had wheels, to help with the transportation of the objects. In a little while, they had all the small objects wrapped in plastic and into small boxes. They did the same thing with two other rooms until the two armed men told them they should here if they wanted to leave the city before dark.

 The team was too amazed with everything to worry about time. Shiny little objects, aged thousands of years, where now in their hands. They had been ordered only to grab the smaller things, the ones that came from far away countries now to far to reach. The Hive needed every single thing to be rescued in order to preserve it forever in the fortress in the mountains. Cities like this one were toxic and people would not be able to live there for many decades or more if they weather kept being as unpredictable as always. They had actually decided to go for the objects during summer, as the other seasons were very unpredictable. In summer the only danger was the heat but the city was now covered in clouds so that wasn’t much a thing to worry.

 The rooms they were going through had objects brought fro m the Middle East, some parts of Africa and Asia. They had been taken away from tribes and other cultures so many years ago. Violence had made many museums great at some point in their history. And now, many of the cultures that had done those pieces of art had been dead for some time. One of the helpers was not only amazed by the small sculptures but by the paintings. Some were European and others where from across the Atlantic. Walking away from the others, he stared at an especially vivid portrait of a young woman, who seemed to be looking straight at him. Then, the eye moved and a whistle was heard.

 Calista’s assistant fell dead to the floor, bleeding heavily on the marble floor. The armed men told everyone to stay down but there was no use as they now so what the dead man had seen before dying: the eyes of the young woman where not there anymore and there was a hole in her mouth. Someone behind the wall had shot the assistant. But who was it? Then, more whistles were heard. The person that was shooting was using silencer. The armed men made everyone crawl out of the room and stay down as they stayed by the door and shot down some of the paintings with their guns. The whistles stopped but then, they heard steps moving away. Whoever it was, he or she was escaping.

 They all ran towards the sound and Calista took out her map and checked the corridors. There were no secrete passageways on the map but there was a service door by the next couple of stairs. She yelled this to the armed men and they ran for the door. They did so just in time, as a shadow stepped out of it and they shot it down. Calista screamed. She realized it was a bad idea to kill someone who had probably survived the nuclear holocaust. Although, the person might not be right of the head. A medic they had brought with them came fast and checked to body. The person was dead. The men pulled the body towards the corridor and then, not only Calista but everyone screamed in horror.

 The creature had been a human. That was obvious because of his body but his face… He was gravely disfigured. Everyone’s breathing machines were working at full, as terror had required much more oxygen for them to breath. Calista and the doctor grew closer to the creature to check on the details of their attacker. He had a gun with a silencer on his belt and some other gadgets that they didn’t know what they were for. He also had a handful of keys in a chain. He was wearing normal clothes, although he was visible bleeding from open wounds on his legs and arms.

 His face was striking because there were no eyes there anymore. He had a mouth but the body seemed to have grown over it, making it small and disgusting, oozing some foul odor now he was dead. Then, they all pulled back. His hand had moved. In a second, one of the armed men show the creature several times on the chest. When he was finished, everyone looked at him, as if he was mad but he said he had seen some of the movies in the archive and dead always return before they really die. Calista smiled and stood up. She asked the doctor to do every analysis he could in a short time as they were leaving soon.

 An hour later, they had put several small boxes in three large boxes that they carried on the wheeled rod. When they reached the pint where they had entered the museum, the armed guys grabbed one end of the rod and three of the assistants grabbed the other end. They were careful not to fall down with it but that plan failed when several creatures appeared on top of them, looking down through the hole on the ground. The doctor and Calista replaced the armed men on the rod as these started shooting at every single creature they saw. They were all like the one they had gunned down inside: no eyes, some extra limbs, no mouth, … All mutated from the nuclear blast. These people had survived only to be transformed into something less than the most despised animal.

 The team finally reached the top and was able to create a circle. The men gave everyone a gun so they had even more chances to get out alive. The hovercraft that had left them there could not land so near the museum so they had to make a run for the nearest bridge. After passing it, they could as the pilot to bomb the bridge to prevent the mutants from crossing. One of the armed men called the craft as they ran with difficulty, both carrying the boxes and running and shooting at every disfigured face they saw. Then, they saw the hovercraft above them but this distraction cost the arm of one man, as one of the creatures grabbed him and broke it with ease. The wheeled rod fell on the ground and they had to put it up fast, kicking and shooting like crazy.

 No one knew how they really did it, but they ran across the bridge followed closely by the mutants, that moved incredibly fast. Of the armed men asked the pilots to shoot a missile at the bridge to blow it up. He did exactly that  rocks flew all over, making everyone fall to the ground. The hovercraft landed in front of them and opened the ramp. Shooting some mutants that had been on their side when the bridge exploded, they almost dragged the boxes into the craft and left fast. The machine went fast into the clouds and far from the city. Inside, they realized the assistant whose arm had been broken, was bleeding too much. The doctor tried to stabilize him went they realized his breathing apparatus had been broken in the run. They were both put in quarantine in a small room as they flew back to the Hive.

 Calista fell onto a seat and took off her mask. She was able to breath in calm, at last. She saw the clouds through the windows and asked herself if the mission had been worth it, if they the dead assistant had died for nothing and if both quarantined men were going to be ok. And then she fell asleep, never answering these questions.