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

miércoles, 7 de febrero de 2018

Fired

   Everything that could go wrong with that meeting had gone very wrong. The copies that Thomas had to give every single member of the board had been misprinted and he had not bothered to look before because time was of the essence and he had to arrange for the menu at lunch, the position of every single person in the room and even taking into account if they like the sun or not or if they have fallen out of grace with the big boss, something that was kind of important.

 After the copies, it was precisely the lunch menu that went to shit: the people from the catering service had mistakenly delivered a huge amount of vegan lunches instead of the pork or fish ones Thomas had ordered. It was only hours later, when none of that mattered anymore, that the lady from the service called to ask if she would be able to get the vegan lunches back because the clients that had ordered them were refusing to eat anything else. Thomas didn’t even bothered to tell her about his day.

 Besides that, the projector with every single slide from the big boss’s presentation had suddenly stopped working midway through the meeting and it had refused to turn itself back on. They called on every single technician in the building, but none of them were able to bring the machine back to life. Even worse than that, the cause of the whole mess had been some sort of power problem with the building’s wiring that had also fried the big boss’s portable computer.

 They tried to revive that too but it was obvious it wouldn’t work ever again. To call people down, he assured them he had a copy somewhere but that was bullshit. The person that managed the storage of the documents and the slides in the presentation, from that laptop, was Thomas. And he had created a copy of the document but had done so on an old removable drive that had been corrupted a long time ago with a very potent virus. Luckily, he had lost the drive at some time during the day.

 Of course, the meeting had to continue with a verbal presentation, with no images and no support documents on paper for the members of the board. Thomas had to stay put right there, next to the technicians that were still trying to save both machines. It was obvious they were doing so because the big boss was there. If it had been someone else’s computer, they would have just thrown the thing on a garbage bin and get on with it. But they couldn’t and Thomas couldn’t move because his boss had asked him, without really looking at him, to stay there.

 The outcome of that awful day was obvious: Thomas was fired at the end of that day and he was asked to grab everything of his right then. The boss told him he had been on of the worst, if not the worst, assistant he had ever had. He refused to give a recommendation of any kind and only wished Thomas luck, but not to find a new job. He told him he hoped he could get a brain or something that would work to make the world less of a pain in the ass while he was in existence.

 The words resonated with him for days, from the moment he put his belongings on a box and carried them all the way home, to the following days when he had to make a plan in order to survive with the small amount of money he had saved from that job. It was going to be very hard, especially because he was well aware that finding work was not going to be easy. As a matter of fact, finding the one, which he had been fired from, had been almost impossible and had only happened because of a friend.

 He actually felt the responsibility to tell that friend and he was very comprehensible. He told Thomas that, by what he was saying, he had simply been fired because the day had gone very wrong. Some of the things that had happened had been his fault, no doubt there, but others had been stuff that he wouldn’t have been able to control, even if he had wanted to. But his friend Fred had been most interested by the words the big boss had told Thomas when leaving.

 So interested in fact, that he asked Thomas to tell him the story, word for word, at least five times. Then, he grabbed a napkin from the place they were having a drink in and asked the waiter for something to write with. When he had to pen on his hand, he asked Thomas to say the words again. And Thomas had no problem with that because he was already a bit drunk and also because those words had resonated in his head, exactly as the man had said them, from the day he had been fired.

 His friend, when dropping him home, told him he was certain he could do something with those words. Thomas had no idea what Fred was talking about. The truth was that he only wanted to sleep and maybe just stay beneath the covers for some weeks. He wanted to have a moment to think about the next step to take in his live. It was nice of Fred to worry so much about him and about how he had been fired, but it was obvious he knew that Thomas had to move on and just see what else life had in store for him. That was his last thought before falling asleep.

 A week later, Fred called Thomas and then visited him shortly after. Thomas had been in several interviews for the last few days, but the truth was he had not been getting lucky at all. Most jobs involved things that were beneath him, and he knew that to be true. After all, he had gone places, studied a lot and spent a lot of money in education. And now he was going to ask for position in a call center and managing a register in some retail store. It was a bit degrading, to be honest.

 Fred only told him to keep trying. He seemed worried but also kind of happy. He has this expression on his face, which is very tricky to explain. Thomas didn’t ask what he was up to because he really didn’t want problems thrown at him. He couldn’t talk more drama or more denial or anything else that would make him feel like shit. He only wanted stability and it was clear that stability did not want anything to do with him. They spent the afternoon talking, Fred grinning every once in a while.

 It was kind of late when Fred finally revealed his intentions to Thomas: he had been talking with a good friend of his, a lawyer. Apparently, she was an expert on cases when people had been fired without any real reasons or in a manner that wasn’t the right one. Thomas was fearful of what Fred had planned but his friend assured him they could easily win a case against the company he had worked with. The only thing they needed was proof of the words that the big boss had told Thomas.

 They spent weeks looking for that. It seemed unlikely that the big boss would have a camera or a microphone in his office and Thomas was certain that he hadn’t been recording that dreadful evening with his cellphone or something. They tried security cameras and even other workers but at the end, they found that the answer had been literally seating there the whole time. Unbeknownst to Thomas, the big boss’s laptop had not really been destroyed by the power surge. It had been kind of working the whole time.

 The surge had opened and closed several programs, erasing some content also. But one of the programs opened was the microphone function that let people record audio with their laptop. And as the technicians had left the computer inside the big boss’s office after the meeting…


 Thomas got a good amount of money for the way he was fired, for the words that a powerful man had thrown at him. Those words had made him realized that he wasn’t worthless. But also, he realized what he wanted to do next. And he was going to need his friend Fred and that lawyer to accomplish it.

miércoles, 24 de enero de 2018

Her

   The explosion was strong enough to blow away every single glass of the magnificent apartment. It occupied the whole 35th floor of one of the tallest residential buildings in the city and it had been featured in several magazines as one of those grand and amazing apartment that people should be looking at if they wanted to have one ever in their life. Not that that goal was any realistic, as Wilbur Wright, owner of the apartment, had inherited the millions of dollars that had paid the apartment and everything on it.

 The destruction of the apartment was shrouded in mystery as, two days later when the fire had finally been put out by firemen, there was no real clue as to what or whom could have cause the explosion. It was clear that nothing ordinary had been the culprit: there were no gas leaks of any kind, not a faulty wire in the whole premises and not even a problem with any of the many gadgets and electronics that made the apartment an automated environment that worked on its own, with no help from any human.

 Wilbur Wright had been on a plane on his way home when the incident happened and he was taken in a rush to a gran hotel room in order to protect his life, as many thought he was still in danger. But he had no idea about what they were all talking about, as most people loved him. Yes, he had inherited all of his money and didn’t really work at all, but he was the charitable face of his family’s organization and had been a patron of the arts for quite a while. Who would attack such a person?

 From his hotel room, he was able to watch the flames consuming his apartment, as the buildings were not very far apart. He had bought so many collectible items for his private quarters, many objects and art pieces that were one of a kind. Many museums had tried to buy them from him but he had always refused stating that there was no better person than him to take care of a precious item and that there was no safer place in the world than his apartment for such things. Clearly, that had not been the case.

 The morning the fire was extinguished, he got permission to enter the premises and check for himself what remained of his beloved apartment. Every single piece of furniture had been consumed, even the expensive food he kept on the kitchen. Every piece of granite, marble and titanium was now tainted forever with a black stain, with yellowish tones that indicated the temperature of the flames. He went to what used to be his room. He opened the closet and typed a few numbers on a keyboard the firemen had missed. It was a large vault, embedded into the wall.

 The vault’s door opened and it revealed a small room that had resisted the fire and the smoke. However, Mr. Wright collapsed once he entered the small space and started yelling and pulling his hair. For a moment, the men and women around thought of giving him some space to process whatever he was dealing with. But then they realized he was pulling his hair a little bit too much, actually pulling some of it from his skull, getting it on his hands and then on the floor. He had to be taken away to a hospital.

 The news of his breakdown went viral in hours. It was assumed that one of the firemen, or maybe one of the police officers, had recorded everything on a cellphone, as everyone watched Mr. Wright pulling out his hairs. The video had been uploaded to the Internet and now thousands of pulling were looking at him going crazy. Some of them laughed and some others even shed a tear. The common part of the response was that everyone wondered what had cause him to have the breakdown then and not before.

 Wilbur was released after a whole week in the hospital. His family came to take him home, which was a very rare sight on the part of their family, as they had never seemed to be close at all. The parents had decided to live a life of leisure since they had given their children control of all the businesses, and no pictures of the kids’ younger days had ever been released to the public, something that seemed odd at the beginning but they told every news outlet it was because they respected they children.

 The truth was the family was as cold as some of people thought it was. Wilbur rarely ever spoke to his father or mother, not even when he had been for a brief moment in charge of the shipping company his father had created when he was younger. Wilbur had done such an awful job running it, that the family had decided to fire everyone and dissolve the company altogether. Of course, it had been awful for the workers but the family thought it had been a disaster because they realized that Wilbur didn’t really now anything.

 They took him to their summerhouse, far from the city, in order to ask him about his mental state. They wanted to know if they had to be worried about it since it would be something more to add to the shame they felt for having him as a child. That’s what they told him, word by word. They didn’t care if he felt bad because of their words; they just wanted answers and the faster the better. Wilbur only said they didn’t have to worry about anything as his problems were his alone. The way he said it stopped them in their tracks and they decided not to speak again of the matter.

 The truth was that Wilbur didn’t want anyone to know about what had happened with his house. He wanted to ask the fire department for another tour of the ruins, but it had been decided that the building should be evacuated completely in order to check for any issues that the fire could have caused to the structure of the tower. No one was allowed in, except for law enforcement and the investigators that the city had working to know if everything was ok after the destruction.

 Wilbur was so desperate about his secrets that he decided to use his money to bribe a policeman in order to let him into the tower one night, after everyone had gone home. He was able to do it quietly and without any cameras or people looking at him. He went straight for his vault again and when he opened the door, his fists tightened, as well as his jaw. He even repressed the need to punch a wall or destroy the few things that had been left inside that place. Not that there was a lot there.

 Only a few papers and a little safe with some cash. It was all just for security but his biggest secret, his biggest creation if you will, and the only proof he was much more than what his family thought he was, was not there anymore. Every part of his creation had been destroyed by the fire and the only way to bring it back had been clearly stolen, probably minutes before the explosion. That was the proof that someone had gotten in and knew exactly what to look for, someone had known something he had told no one.

 He wasn’t really scared about that person using his creation against him or even playing the people into thinking he or she had created such a thing. Nothing like that bothered him. It was the relationship he had created, the fact that now he felt as if his only child had been yanked away from his hands. He felt hollow, alone and very sad. That was the reason he had collapsed when opening the vault, the reason his brain had not been able to cope with what had happened.

 He had named it Pamela, after one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. He had created Pamela when younger, after reading a lot about computers and programming. He learned all that by himself and no one in his family or work had a clue about his hobby.


 Pamela was the product of his efforts. He worked a bit on her, every day, and he was proud to think that he had created a perfect example of artificial intelligence. She was nice, smart and very intuitive. She was a friend, a daughter and a companion. And now, he had no idea where she could be.

lunes, 15 de enero de 2018

Mantis

   Marina had been trained by the best martial artists in the planet and she had been practicing other techniques to make her moves even more fluent than ever. She had always been interested in sports and being fit, especially since in high school she had always been such a chubby little girl. Many of her classmates would make fun of her because of that. She would cry and tell her dad or her mom but by the end of her school years, she didn’t care anymore. She would answer with silence.

 When in college, she decided to become more active and enrolled in karate classes and then she went to a special school were she could learn how to handle a vast assortment of guns. Of course, she would only learn how to use the least complex ones because of her status as a civilian, but that was enough to make adrenaline pump all over her body. When she pushed her body to the limit, whether it was on the shooting range or in the gym, she felt liberated, someone else even.

 It was a surprise to her when, two years into her studies, she was approached in the campus by a man in a black raincoat. It happened at night, which wasn’t the best setting for a woman in campus. Marina had noticed the man walking behind her for a while and when he was closer, she used her elbow to strike his nose and then her fist to punch him hard in the stomach. She started running away from him but she was stopped when he caught up with her, pulling Marina from her sweater’s hoodie.

 She felt to the ground but didn’t loose any time: she used a very powerful kick in the shins to topple the man down and she was about to pull out her pepper spray when the man showed her his CIA badge. She pulled back just in time, watching as his nose bled profusely. She was confused and thought trouble was just a small word for what could happen to her. She feared that she had probably punched some undercover guy in the face. But why was he chasing after her?

  The man asked for help to get up and she did held her arm forward to pull him up. The man tried to clean his coat, covered in dirt and dead leaves, without taking a long look at what was happening in his face. He was still bleeding a lot. He only pulled out a handkerchief from one of his pockets kind of wiped some of the dried up blood off his face, not that it helped much. Marina stood there, afraid to run away but also to stay by the man. She grabbed her backpack, which she had removed when she landed on the campus’ floor.  Everything was fine inside it.

 The man finally started talking. He said he worked with the CIA and that he frequently probed the grounds looking for new recruits. He had been interested in Marina for a long time and had decided to talk to her that night. He admitted to the idea being a little bit stupid, with everything that happened to young women in that context, but he was also glad she had responded in such a manner when he came after her. It really showed that what they were looking in her was definitely there.

 Before Marina could ask any more questions, he gave her his card, with a few droplets of blood. He told Marina to arrive to that address the next day at five o’clock in the afternoon. He would be there to talk to her about the possibilities she could have with the agency and about her past, present and future in college. Before she could even say a word, the man turned around and walked away rather fast. Maybe he was afraid of getting hit again or he had realized how serious the nose thing was.

 Marina arrived at her dorm in minutes but she couldn’t sleep at all after what had happened that night. She was already beneath a lot of pressure from college, with all the work she had to do. She also had her training and her gym schedule. She was even considering helping in a fundraiser which was about helping young woman in campus but everyday seemed to disappear after that man had told her she could have “possibilities” with him and the agency he represented.

 She arrived right on time the next day. There, she met the man again, who had apparently been at the doctor’s because his nose had been properly taken care of. The bandages made him look a little bit different than the night before, or maybe it was the lighting. The point was that he was not alone. A woman, around his age, sat on the desk when Marina came in. None of them smiled or did anything to greet Marina in their space. They just went right to the questions and they did have a lot of those.

 After a long sessions, maybe two hours, of questions about her childhood, upbringing, education and interests, the woman asked her coworker to tell her again about what had happened the night before. Marina was a bit ashamed to hear about it, especially when she wasn’t asked herself about it, so she remained in silence, nodding when the woman seemed to need confirmation of what the man said. The story was short, so she didn’t have to endure that awkward moment for too long. The woman then asked Marina to meet them again the next day, in a new address, inscribed in another card.

 The next day, Marina entered her gym very late at night. The moment she had seen the address on the card, she had realized she knew the place by heart. Her trainer was there and she was glad to have a familiar face there. But he seemed very concerned and could only give her a nod when she entered the place. The woman and the man from the CIA were there and also two other men, closer to her age or at least so it seemed. They were dressed in gym clothes and looked at her as angry bulls.

 They all walked towards a corner of the space, one covered in mats. The woman from the CIA told Marina that she needed to see for herself that what her partner said that she was able to do was actually true. It was the only time the woman asked Marina if she wanted to go through with it all. Marina thought about how weird the whole thing was, how strange it was to be in one of her favorite places in the world but feeling as uncomfortable as she had never really felt.

 She had arrived in gym attire, so the first match began right away. One of the big guys she saw at the entrance was her first match. She guessed the second one was going to be against the other one, if she survived. The man behave more like a bull than like a man but she was able to counter every single one of her blows, no matter if they were kicks or punches, with relative ease. He was close many times, but Marina had trained hard in order to be not only effective but also incredibly fast.

 When she finally did her gut punch move, the other guy entered the fray and toppled her to the ground, making her feel like she had lost every bit of air that was inside her body. She tried to stand up but the second brawler kicked her hard on one side and the other was preparing to ram her again. What she did next was something based more on her instincts than on her actual skills. She jumped on top of the biggest guy, sat on his shoulders and tried to asphyxiate him with her thighs.

 Then, after a few seconds, she jumped down, taking advantage of the movement to kick the other guy straight in the face. He fell down like a deck of cards. The remaining guy was about to punch her when the woman yelled: “Stop!” And he did.


 Her trainer and the CIA guy were looking at her with eyes wide open. But the woman was actually smiling, something that didn’t really fit her appearance. She then walked closer and grabbed Marina by the hands “I have work for you”, she said, without dropping the creepy smile from her face.

miércoles, 10 de enero de 2018

Sitting there

   Sitting there, with so many people worrying about their own business, was kind of soothing to me. It’s an awful thing to say, but I’d rather have that than a place where everyone is clearly waiting to hear what’s up with you. In other contexts, where nothing is really happening, every single ear in the vicinity would hear a bomb like that. There too but no one would really care because they are waiting themselves for some words they hope they might be hearing and other they don’t want to hear at all.

 I woke up very early that day and I have to say it was very strange to just stare at my own feet for several minutes, sitting on the edge of the bed, before I realized I wasn’t really doing anything and I needed to get going. I slowly dragged myself to the bathroom and had a shower, longer than those that I had daily. I wanted to make time feel longer, but when I put on my clothes and grabbed a glass of orange juice in the kitchen, I realized I hadn’t really spent much time and I would be getting early to work.

 It has to be said: I hate my job and the people I talk to in it. I hate my boss and the girl who’s supposed to greet people in the reception. I really hate them all. It’s not just that I don’t like them but I actually hate them, because they always seem to want more information about me than what they tell me about them. They clearly just want to gossip and my boss only wants me as a mule, as a beast to use for work and nothing else. I don’t thank him for this job at all, none of them.

  However, I need the money and no one else would hire me. So I go every single day to work, by bus, standing up and very rarely finding a seat before I reach my stop. That day I walked especially slowly in order to take my time to work. I managed to get there a little later than expected but still at least one hour before I was supposed to begin my work. I didn’t care. I turned on my computer as soon as I got in and started working right then, as I needed to make my lunchtime valuable.

 I was happy when my stomach started growling, towards the middle of the day. It meant I was hungry, of course, but also that I hadn’t been interrupted by anyone all morning. Not a single stupid question or a greeting that had no real intention of being kind. Nothing at all for almost five hours and that was simply the best time I had ever had in that place. I was able to reach some clients, fixing some documents I had to correct and even do a couple of things ahead of time to free my schedule even more. Other would not appreciate that but I didn’t really care.

 The moment people around me started talking louder and stood up to walk towards the elevators, I realized it was my time to run. I went down by foot, through the relative darkness of the stairs and I reached the main gate in a very short time. Luckily, the place I had to go to was nearby, only a couple of blocks away, so my time would be spent in the best way possible. My stomach growled the whole walk towards the clinic, but I ignored it by smiling at the beautiful weather.

 The sun was very high up in the sky and there were a couple of fluffy white clouds there but nothing to prevent the sun from reaching all the people below that wanted that beautiful day to last forever. I was a bit sad to get to the clinic, a place that should’ve been a lot less dark than it was, but I decided to just grab my number and sit down as I waited. The place was not a real hospital or something like that. It was more like a center to get help, something much more informal.

 That was a good thing because I had always hated the smell and the sounds of hospitals. They make my skin crawl. Maybe it’s because every time you’re in a hospital it’s because something wrong is happening with you or someone else. Not even the food is decent in a place like that. So I really don’t like those places. Burt that one was a lot warmer, both physically and in the décor. It wasn’t blue and white but orange and red and green and all sorts of other colors.

 Maybe that’s because people with children tend to go there. I saw at least three very young mothers with their babies, waiting for their turn to speak with a counselor. It has to be said there were not that many doctors there. People were not waiting to have a checkup or something like that. It was more of a social thing in general. I looked at those girls for a long time, and I realized many of them seemed ashamed to be there but they didn’t go anywhere until their names were called.

 I, on the other hand, was there for something between a medical procedure and a psychosocial thing. It’s hard to talk about it but at least I went there. The point of it all is I waited for about twenty minutes until a nurse, a very tall one, called my name and asked me to follow her. She asked me to wait in a very small room. She came back shortly with what she needed. A syringe and a small plastic bag. She asked for my arm and in seconds she extracted a whole syringe of blood from me. The nurse asked me to wait there, as someone would be with me shortly.

 Another woman came in and talked to me about all those things I knew about but I had ignored. She was very nice and kind and even tried to make me asked her questions. Just to be kind, I did ask a couple of things, of which I already knew the answer to. When I stepped out of the clinic, I still had a half an hour to have something to eat. Luckily, there was a fried chicken place in the way to work. I sat there and ate several pieces, with fries and a large soda. I was going to be late but I didn’t care at all.

 I sat on the restaurant’s terrace, where my face could feel the scorching rays of the sun. I didn’t mind at all. I was just so happy eating my chicken, getting all greasy and having such a blast eating and enjoying the sun. It was one of those short moments in life when you actually feel happy, truly happy. I did not feel my happiness then was artificial or the cause of something someone else had done. It was all about me and how good I felt for making a good decision and pairing it up with fried chicken.

 When I got to the office, the boss called me to his office to basically yell at me for being fifteen minutes late. Other people were still talking about the gossip they had heard at lunch, no one was really working, but I was the one being called to the boss’ office in order to be yelled at. I let him do that for a couple of minutes, not really paying attention, just nodding and saying, “yes” every so often. But then, he said something I cannot remember but that phrase somehow struck a chord deep inside me.

 I told him to "fuck off" and then went back to my desk. I did expect to be fired but nothing happened.  Actually, nothing has happened since then, almost two months ago. And now I’m in that waiting room again, waiting for them to tell me if there’s something wrong with me or not. I’m very nervous, of course, but somehow I feel as free as that day eating fried chicken. Because I defended myself once and I did something for me on the same day. I’m kind of proud of those things.

 The nurse calls my name. She’s the same very tall woman. She has such a kind and beautiful smile on her face. It’s so soothing to see someone greeting you like that. She asks me to follow her and we end up in a different room than the one the time before. She asks me to wait for the counselor.


 As I wait, I notice the pictures around the room. They are personal photos and items, collected through the counselor’s lifetime. She really does feel that place, that tiny office, to be her place. I hope I feel that way about a place too, someday. Or something else.