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

domingo, 10 de mayo de 2015

The bracelet

   It was a fisherman in the Svalbard archipelago that found it, after at least fifty years of being lost. He was coming back from one of his journeys into the ocean and crossed by one of the many rocks that formed the archipelago. This was close to the main island. As he sailed back to his home, he saw one of this rocks filled with seagulls that had made their nests on the highest parts of the rocks. The fisherman never really looked at the rocks, he was very used to them, but this time something caught his attention. It was something that sparkled with the last rays of the sun. It was almost night but you could easily see how bright the thing sparkled.

 He sailed right for it, curious to see what was it. Seagulls, and birds in general, were known to love shiny things and he thought that maybe it was a piece of glass or something equally ordinary but as he closed in he looked up and used a pair of binoculars that his son had gave him as a present to spot birds flying over large banks of fish. He pointed them at the nest and almost fell to the water when realizing that what sparkled wasn’t a piece of glass or tin can. It was a bracelet. It consisted of a thin central ring, made probably of silver, and many charms went through the ring. Some were made of gold; some others had jewels of many colors.

 Desperate to see it closer, the fisherman tried to reach the nest but it was too high. He couldn’t just take it with his hand and the rock was slippery do to the water and the waste made by the birds. He realized he needed to climb the wall or get the nest down somehow. He then tried to climb the wall, but slipped easily, almost falling in the wrong way. He did fell to the water and had to return to the boat all wet. He then realized a storm was forming so he had do make fast decisions. He decided to leave and return early the next day, weather permitting, as the birds wouldn’t let the piece be lost. Many of them were already at the rock and circling the boat, as keeping an eye on him. So he turned on the engine and decided to come back another time, thinking the treasure would be there the next day.

 Little did he know that the bracelet was not only a small piece of wealth, it was actually a piece of history that time itself had forgotten long ago. The piece, or at least the central ring and one of the charms, had being created by a tribe now nonexistent of South America.  They had made it especially for their lord, a local chieftain that many in the world would know through the legend of Eldorado. Yes, that man was the original owner of the piece, which was specially created for him thinking that he needed the bracelet to be kind of his gift to the gods one he had entered communion with them. The shape of the bracelet, which locked with the small head of a snake, was made to be an offer to the gods and sign of power.

 But that small piece of jewelry only survived some years before being taken away in one of the many trips done by the Spaniards, which had arrived recently to the region. They took many of their riches and simply put them in crates and other types of containers and took them to the coast. There, some guy just checked every object and determined if it was worth something and if they should give it to the royal family or if they should keep it for themselves.

 A man called Carlos Díaz saw the bracelet, which had already been put on the boat sailing to Spain. He had been just a petty thief in the past but now he worked with the army and for the queen. But once he saw the small piece of jewelry, he decided he had to have it. He took it without telling anyone and put it on his wrist to make sure he didn’t loose it. Carlos was so enthralled with it; he decided to add something so he put a hollow piece of gold in it. But that wasn’t good enough as, days after departing the coast, a fleet of English pirates assaulted the ship and stole the cargo before blowing the boat to the sky with their canons. The pirate that killed Carlos saw the bracelet in his wrist and decided to steal it.

 When trading it back in Britain, he found a buyer. It was a merchant, a man that loved trinkets and silly things to make himself a nice collection. The man was an Italian called Domenico Girondelli and he was about to take a couple of his cousins to a trip to the far east, to get spices and other things there. Domenico also added a charm to the bracelet: a small coin with a hole through it. They had to go through all of Europe and then cross the Bosphorus disguised as Turks. But the Turks saw through their ruse and attempted to kill them. Just one of the men survived, and this was because he was a better runner and because he was saved by a group of women. He disguised himself as one and grabbed the bracelet from Domenico’s belongings.

 Seeing he had nothing back in Italy or in the Ottoman Empire, he decided to leave the place and keep the charade of being a woman until he got to China. In the route, many men fell in love with him. To be fair, he had girly features and didn’t even grow a beard or a mustache. He was a skinny man and could pass for a woman very easily. Hard to reach and very shy, men loved that about him and also that only piece of jewelry that made her so special. Men in Samarkand and all over the desert gave him charms for his bracelets, adorned with many beautiful jewels and stones.

 When he finally arrived into China, he realized he wasn’t a man anymore. He felt so sorry for himself, realizing he felt like a woman know, that he drowned himself on a lake by the imperial palace of Beijing. The police of the realm picked up his body after several days and took the bracelet to the Emperor who gave it to his wife. She was so caught up by it that she added two more charms: a jade ring and a small gold chain that rattled when she walked with the bracelet on. The piece found a home in the palace for many years, being passed on by the Empress to other women through generations until the Japanese invaded China. By then, the imperials had already disappeared but the bracelet was still kept in one of the many palaces, part of a collection worth millions. The Japanese didn’t take many things but one man that accompanied them in their task had an eye for all things of some worth.

 His name was Carl Unger. He had been send to Japan by the new government in Germany and had wanted to be in China as they invaded the place. After all, his country knew how important Japan was for a future strategy in the region and he had accepted the post of consultant with the Japanese government. He would travel with the army, wherever they would go, and see what use he could make of cities, people and the objects he saw on his way. It was him who found the small chest where the bracelet was being kept and took it as a prize. No one said anything but everyone saw him taking the bounty to his chambers, a whole room he had taken for himself in one of the palaces.

 There, Carl would look at the piece for hours. He found it fascinating because he realized it wasn’t a local piece. The snake and the charms… Everything was so different and unique. But precisely that was the beautiful thing about the piece, that it was a sum of many parts and that it seemed to reflect a beauty he would never see again. Some days later, he was summoned back to Tokyo, so he took everything with him. There, he lived alone and spent his days between work and his treasure. He was becoming obsessed, almost to a clearly sick level with the pieces.

 That lasted for years until the people at the embassy revealed to him that war had started. Central command in Berlin was giving him the option of staying in Japan or going back to Germany to help with the war effort. He decided to go back, in order to visit his mother and to give her the bracelet. He realized it was the best thing to do. So he packed what he had and headed for Berlin. The city was glorious, as he had never seen it before, and the army was making progress all over. He visited his mother and gave the bracelet.

 He would never see the piece again. Carl died after being sent to fight in northern France. His mother, a good soul, had given the bracelet to his housekeeper in order for her to sell it and escape the country. The woman was a Jew and, as she escaped, she added a new charm: a ring. But she wasn’t successful in her attempt to leave Germany and was captured by Nazis. The woman was sent to a concentration camp where the bracelet was lost in the sewers for many years.

 It was found by an American soldier who took it as a token to give to his girlfriend, who was waiting for him to go back home. He travelled to France with the army and there he boarded a boat to the United States. He added a small rock he had found in the camp, piercing through it with a torch a fellow soldier had lent him. But the war was not over and a German submarine fired on the boat, killing everyone on board. The bodies floated on the water as well as their belonging and it was a seagull who found the bracelet floating softly just below the water. The bird grabbed it and fled the site with it. And that’s how the bracelet got to Svalbard.


 The storm poured many gallons of rain on the rock but the nest stood still and the next morning the fisherman came for the bracelet. He had a large rod that he used to grab the nest and the bracelet for his wife, who had always wanted a nice piece of jewelry. She added her wedding ring as a charm and held it close until her death. But as we all know, that wouldn’t be the end of story.

sábado, 2 de mayo de 2015

Life's a bitch? No, you are.

   Charlie was still breathing heavily. Mike went out of bed, almost running to the bathroom. From there, came the sound of running water. Charlie wasn’t really listening, still trying to catch his breath. He had this stupid smile on his face and he knew it but had no idea of how to get rid of it. Anyway, who cared? He was happy and wanted to feel that way for as long as he could. It wasn’t that often he felt fulfilled in life.

 His boss had recently promised him a promotion, then Mike had moved in with him and they were planning a trip around Europe to celebrate their first year together. It was all going great and he had no reason to stop smiling. When Mike came back to bed, he told Charlie he was very thirsty and had to drink water from the tap. Charlie kept smiling at him and kissed him without saying a word. Just as they were, they fell asleep until the day was new.

 They had breakfast and a nice conversation before separating to get to their jobs. Then, Charlie’s happiness ended. He had been notified that someone else had landed the promotion instead of him. All morning, he was too embarrassed by this new development to ask anything but, after lunch, he decided to talk to his boss about it. After all, he liked him and new that he would be honest and would properly explain what had happened.

 As it happens, the guy who had landed the promotion was not even a long time employee but a new staff member and the boss told Charlie he had been obligated to give him that post as he was the company’s owner son. Charlie tried to understand how a person that had been working there for four years, working hard to be precise, was not going to get the job and a kid who had no idea of the business just landed the gig because he was related to someone.

 Unknown to him, Charlie had asked this enraged, screaming a bit and visibly annoyed. The boss asked him to calm down but he didn’t. He had no idea what came over him but he just started grabbing things and throwing them all around the room. He was about to go for his boss when two security guards subdued him. He was in such a state; it was hard for them to pull him out of there. He was not a tall guy but he was apparently really strong and would go without further fighting. But the two guys were stronger and they threw him out the front door. They left but returned shortly, telling him he needed to ask someone to empty his desk. He called his only friend in the office and she put everything worth something in a box and gave it to him in the parking lot. They parted, saying nothing.

 He walked to a coffee shop with his box and tried calling Mike from his cellphone several times but he wasn’t picking up. The last time he tried, the call went straight to voice mail. Then something came over him. It wasn’t the rage he had felt before but rather a sense of worry, that something wasn’t completely fine. He decided to go back to his house and call Mike from there. Maybe his cellphone had just died or maybe something else was going on. It was certainly not the best day to be Charlie and, as he walked to the train station with his box, he hoped for everything to be ok and for this to be just a normal day or a dream.

 When he stepped off the train, he received a call from the bank, telling him why he had his bank account blocked. He hung up immediately. It made no sense that his account was blocked and he knew those calls were just pranks or ways to get his data in order to rob him. He wasn’t going to fall for that. He walked fast from the station to his building. He was helped by a lady to open the front door and took the stairs as the elevator took too long to arrive at the ground floor. When he finally made it to the sixth floor, he looked for the keys in the box and open the door.

 The place was empty and he had hoped to see Mike there. But he was obviously at work. He just wanted to know right away that he was ok but apparently that was a lot to ask for. He decided to take the phone and call him again but the cellphone number he was calling was dead. Voice mail time and again. Then he sat in his sofa and started thinking where he might be. He could go to Mike’s work, but he said they didn’t know he was gay so maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe…

 And then he heard it. It was a sound coming from somewhere, like the one of someone complaining but soft. It was just as if someone tried to be silent but couldn’t really mask their own voice. It was then when Charlie realized the sound was not coming from outside or from another apartment. It was coming from one of the rooms, from the bedroom to be precise. He forgot all about his search for Mike, about his dismissal and his little box filled with shitty things. He just walked down the hall and opened the door, without even thinking much about it.

 The bedroom door was never closed but it had been this time and he now knew why. Mike was there all right. But he wasn’t wearing any clothes and wasn’t hurt at all except a few nail marks in his back. Trying to cover himself up, Mike fell from the bed and Charlie saw the person who had been moaning. Different than he might think, the person was a woman. Charlie had never seen her before and that really didn’t matter.

-       Get out of my house…

 The woman looked at Mike and then at Charlie and then at Mike again, who was putting up his underwear and walking slowly to Charlie.

-       Get the fuck out of my house! And you…

 He said nothing. The woman picked up her things and ran past Charlie, still naked. She took his bed sheet but he didn’t care. He just wanted her out of his home. Once she was out, he stood in front of the door, still shocked. There was no way of crying, of going through another episode of crazy rage. He was too overwhelmed and too hurt to cry, scream or yell. Mike came out of the bedroom and was about to touch him but Charlie slapped his arm to one side and told him to go fuck himself. He told him he had been the best person in the world to him for a whole year. How could he be like this to him?

 He shouldn’t have asked. Mike told him, caressing his arm, that he had liked at first and that he was a nice fuck but that was it. He got boring both in bed and in the rest but he didn’t let him go because of how well positioned he was. But now, Mike said, he had enough of that and wanted to leave him. Charlie followed him back to the room and told him that he wasn’t just leaving. He was throwing him out. He wasn’t going to be the victim, he told Mike, not when he was clearly the one that was losing more.

 Mike didn’t listen to anything he said. He just put some clothes, grabbed a small bag and started packing. He packed all the clothes that Mike had given him. He had to take out another bag, a bigger one, and by then Charlie decided he had to breath and count to ten, so he went to the living room and tried to calm himself down. He finally started crying profusely and didn’t heard when Mike left with two big bags full of everything Charlie had bought him

 He had been alone for at least an hour when the phone rang and he had to answer because the sound annoyed him. It was the bank again. They were sorry to tell him Internet pirates had targeted his account and that he had lost of the savings in there. He laughed like a crazy person right then, and the lady talking to him thought he had gone insane or something. She was careful to say it may take a while but that the bank would reinstate all his savings, as he had paid the insurance they sold.

 Charlie just said thanks and hung up. He cleaned up his tears and, as painful as it was, he tried to think what he had done wrong. Although he saw nothing at the time and decided it was best to take a nap, Charlie had been not that great at his job and had been promised a promotion he didn’t deserve. The owner’s boss was not the stupid kid he thought he was. The man was actually an expert in advertising and would make the company double its earning in a single year.

 As for Mike, he had met him in a bar and, been drunk, had taken him to his apartment and had sex with him. The first three months, it was all about sex, not minding anything else. It was Charlie who asked Mike to be his boyfriend and the one that insisted on Mike leaving with him. All of this happened in a matter of months, including the expensive gifts and the planning of the trip that, unknown to him, Mike was still going to have. Charlie had left him in control of one of his credit cards and Mike had recently bought the tickets for both his female friend and him. Charlie would realize about this in the future, a bit too late.

 And the pirates. That looks random but it isn’t. Mike had paid for porn and clothes in many websites and that’s where the pirates always take their information from.


 In conclusion, Charlie had all the answers in front of him but he wasn’t acknowledging any of them, anything that he had done. He blinded himself into thinking certain things and rushed into liking somebody because he thought he would never find someone. His sunken self-esteem had been the one to blame and it would take him still a lot of life to learn the necessary to stop blaming others for his mistakes.

martes, 25 de noviembre de 2014

Tropical nightmare

The beach was perfect, like the ones in movies or on brochures. Most times they are just less attractive, filled with smashed sea shells and lots of leaves laying around. Not this one though. It seemed it was cleaned every single day because it was impossible it was naturally perfect.

Truth be told, it wasn't very close to the road and tourists hadn't invaded yet. Only locals, like Pat, knew about these natural beauties no one else knew about. And that was the reason why I had come here with Kevin. We wanted an adventure but also clean bathrooms and a comfy bed. Well, we got it.

It was all Pat's doing. She was a native Hawaiian Kevin had met in work. He worked in a travel agency and many people were very interested in visiting Oahu and all other islands. Pat had been to Kevin's office offering the services of her family's company: they provided personalized tours for small groups or couples all over the state of Hawaii. They only asked for the visitors to fill an online survey to know their tastes and schedules and then the perfect tour would be assigned to them.

And up to know, it was perfect. We had visited pineapple crops and the most interesting sites of Honolulu and its surroundings.

Today, it was Maui's turn to amaze us and the beach had done just that. Pat told us she would leave for a couple of hours to visit a cousin not very far. That would give us privacy and time to enjoy the beach. We only saw couples there and not that many. We held hands and walked on the soft sand. After a while we took off our clothes and jumped in the water, leaving our things hidden behind a coconut tree.

The water was also perfect. We swam a lot, for a hole hour before we went back to the beach. We had something to eat and looked at the ocean, dreaming of one day leaving in or near a place like this.

Then I realized my phone and Kevin's were not in the backpack. I checked two, three times but could not find anything. We worried, as Pat had told us to call her at 4 PM, but how if we had no idea of the time of day. Actually, we had no idea of what her phone number was. I looked around for the cellphones as Kevin went to look for someone to lend us a phone to call but I found nothing and he found no one.

We put on our clothes and walked back to the road. It was a long trail through the trees, but Kevin said he remembered the way so I followed him, holding his hand but in silence. After 45 minutes of walking, we finally got to the road but it too was deserted. Something felt really wrong.

We waited and waited and the sun was going down and we worried more and more. We were supposed to be in a boat back to the hotel by then, but instead we were standing by a lonely road and darkness would settle in no time.

I told Kevin that we should walk, at least to be closer to a town or something and he agreed. Not much time passed when a car drove by. We made signs for it to stop and it did. We both jogged towards it but then I saw who was driving and who was sitting in the back.

I tried to pull back but someone grabbed by the arm and made me enter the car. Some other guy did the same with Kevin, forcing him into the back seat. The car drove off and we were not saying a word. We both knew what was happening but did not see it coming. One mistake, and we would be done for good.

I should mention I am a police officer. As such, I have captured and sent to jail hundreds of thieves, murderers, con artists and so on. The man that was driving was a drug lord who people thought had died in a helicopter crash. I saw the explosion myself and that was another reason for my silence.

Kevin also knew who he was because I almost died the day of the helicopter accident. One of the drug lord's men shot me but thankfully I received no serious damage. But Kevin was not fixed on that man. He was looking at Pat, who was sitting there, next to them. She just gazed at the window, as if she was on a car with friends.

Already dark, the car pulled off by a small house by the road. We were forced to enter, as well as Pat was. The drug lord then started talking about revenge and intelligence. Pat had led us to a trap, set by him to kill me. I had been a key member in the investigation against him and it was my testimony that had sent his wife and son to jail. Now, he wanted to get "even".

He thanked Pat for her help but stated that he couldn't leave any witnesses. She went mad when he said that and tried to attack him. One of his men grabbed her and the other shot her in the head, in front of us.

The man continued, telling us the house was soaked on gasoline and that we would die as he had supposedly died: on fire.

Before leaving, of the thugs, the one that had killed Pat, turned around and shot me in the right thigh and Kevin too. They weren't going to tie us but wanted to be sure we wouldn't escape.

The house rapidly caught fire and, before the smoke began to be unbearable, we heard them drove off.

The pain was too much and I had to drop to the floor before I fainted from it. Kevin had been shot in the waist and begged me to do something.

The fire was everywhere and we were already coughing and pulling back from the flames but it was futile. The place was made from would only and it wasn't a very big house. Options were scarce.

We were going to die.

martes, 11 de noviembre de 2014

Can you feel me?

He had done it before and knew what it felt like. But he kept doing it, not caring for the aftermath, how it hurt afterwards.

It was so easy now, not like it may have been for boys and young men decades earlier. These days, all you had to do was grab your phone, download an app, put up a picture and voila. That was it. Thousands of men available, just by touching a few commands, just by responding to a message or sending one.

Of course the images were laughable. Most tried too hard to get noticed so they uploaded pictures where their bodies were shown in full exposure. Many were taken at the gym or in a bathroom.

Our guy, he just took a selfie on the street and that was it.

For the last six months, he had intercourse with several men. Sometimes even two on the same day. Always in their homes, their workplaces or sometimes in cars or parks. He didn't really thought much of it, not before or during the moment. It was the aftermath that hunted him.

Curiously, it wasn't the unprotected sex that bothered him. Most guys used condoms so he didn't gave it much thought. What pierced through his head was that emptiness he felt during the process. He had sex to pass time, to forget, to feel liked for at least a second. He wasn't keen on finding love or looking for it. He just needed someone's touch sometimes, and to feel needed or wanted. That was his turn on.

But it all disappeared pretty fast after it had all ended. Most guys rushed him out of their homes and it was understandable: many had couples and were even married, to women. He had even known some of them had children.

The truth was that he felt numb, sometimes during sex but always after it. He didn't really care for anything. He was desperate to feel something but many times couldn't. Physical arousal was rapidly meaningless, empty and hollow.

One day, going to meet a guy, he realized he had lost his cellphone. He had no idea if he had lost it or if he had been the victim of theft. Anyhow, he didn't have the exact address of where he was going as it was noted on a message the guy had sent. He waited until he saw a familiar sight and waited for the bus to stop.

It wasn't a pretty neighborhood but he kind of knew all about it. He had been raised in a house not very far from there but hadn't visited in years. His family had sold the house more than twenty years ago and there were things he didn't remember.

He decided to walk around a bit, eat something and then go back to his house. All the houses looked as if they hadn't been cleaned for years and there was a lot of garbage on the side of the road. It was sad, to be honest, to see how a place could just freeze in time, in such a negative way. It had never been a nice place but it was sad anyway.

The boy saw an internet café and was tempted to go inside but something came over him. It was maybe better to spend the day without any electronic devices, specially not the kind that may make him go to a place he now had no intention of going.

He did enter a Chinese restaurant and asked for the menu of the day, which had lots of rice, soup, a drink and a dessert. All of it for a good price. He was glad to be the kind of person that never left the house without money. He didn't have much, but enough for the meal he craved.

As he ate, he detailed every corner of the restaurant: red and gold veils all over, dragon statues that looked like made of gold but obviously weren't, a Buddha figurine and a one of those white cats that greets people with a paw. It was nice and almost empty. Lunch time had passed so only two tables were occupied. The other one was taken by a young Chinese girl doing her homework or so it seemed.

As the boy finished the soup, a man came from the kitchen and started arguing with the girl, in Chinese. It had always fascinated him how, as different as languages may be, we all have the same facial expressions, body language and reactions.

The man went back inside and the girl continued with her work, typing on a calculator and writing in a small notebook.

 - Is the business good? - he said.

She raised her head an looked at him, a bit confused.

 - Sorry... The rice is really good.

She then smiled and said the recipe had been brought from China by her grandmother and it had been in her family for years. He asked if she was doing homework but, as it happens, she was doing the numbers for the restaurant. Her father had entrusted her with this responsibility a few months ago but now thought it may be too much for her to handle.

The boy said he was good with numbers so he could help if she needed to. She hesitated, so he took a bite of a spring roll. But then the girl stood up and took her things to his table. She explained what was troubling her and in a matter of minutes, the boy had cleared the issue easily.

As he finished lunch, he helped her get everything in order. The father came back and was surprised to see his daughter talking to a client. The boy thanked the man for his food and asked for the bill. The man did not say a thing to his daughter.

The boy then wrote his email in the girl's notebook and told her to remember him if she needed help again. She said she had actually been looking for a tutor, as she needed to improve her grades to one day be able to handle every single aspect of the restaurant.

The man brought the bill and he was introduced by his daughter. The boy thanked him again with a handshake and told him he was going to tutor his daughter, as he realized she was eager to have the best Chinese restaurant in town.

The man seemed very happy, shaking the boy's hand and smiling. After he left, the girl and the boy talked about the business and not much about each other. He then saw what time it was on a clock in the wall and decided to leave. They bid farewell and, some time after, he was on the bus en route to his home, to his family. And for days, he didn't even thought of getting a new cellphone. He finally did in order to be in contact with his friends and family, all the people he had banished of his life and was now getting to know again, feeling them closer.