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

lunes, 27 de marzo de 2017


   Bleeding, he ran towards the forest, hoping that his attackers wouldn’t follow him there. He didn’t stop moving his legs until he found a place between trees that were too close, a place where he could hide. He sat there and waited. Sure enough, they came rather fast. He even tried not to breathe while they were close. They checked their surroundings but not with enough care. Eventually they stopped looking around and returned to the place they had come from, in town.

 He could breathe again but not the most comfortable way. His clothes were drenched in blood and, when he tried to begin walking again, he almost fell on his face. His legs were not responding properly and his head was spinning, hurting a lot. He tried to gather himself and at least make a plan of what to do next, because he couldn’t stay there in the woods. He came to the conclusion that those people didn’t know much about him and that his home was probably the best hiding place.

 That posed two problems: the first was that his home was in a city two hours away. The other problem was that his attackers had vandalized his car and now he didn’t have anything, including his wallet and house keys. The latter wasn’t an issue as he always left a spare in the pot next to his apartment door but he did need money to get to the city or at least to convince someone of taking him there. Besides, he was bleeding and he didn’t know how bad his injuries actually were.

 He decided to fin the closest road and just risk it. Hopefully someone would take him somewhere, no matter if it were the hospital or his home. The sun was rising far and he soon had enough light on the road to know where he was walking. Finally, he made it to a road and was lucky enough to be picked up by a lovely elderly couple. The good thing was that they were travelling very early to his hometown. The not so good thing was that they didn’t realize that he was injured.

 The wounded man tried to act as if nothing was happening. Maybe it was for the best if they didn’t notice his blood all over his shirt. He just kept talking about all the good things to visit in his town. That, at least, made the journey home less painful in every way possible. When he finally got home, he was about to faint but the voice of the old lady woke him up in the right moment. They left him in front of his building. He thanked them once and twice and then the car left and he walked into his building, took the elevator and went straight home.

 He plunged his hand into the big pot by his door and, in seconds, he found the keys he was looking for. He tried to leave everything as it was, in order for people not to know those keys were there, but his hand was trembling too much, as well as his legs. He opened the door as fast as he could. The first thing he did inside his house was looking for the phone and dialing a number he had recorded a long time ago but had never dialed because the need for that person had never arisen.

 About thirty minutes later, the man arrived. He was called Fred and didn’t look to be very bright in particular. The man had met him once, a long time ago in a job he had to do in a very bad neighborhood. Fred was an unfortunate kid back then, who had been able to educate himself but had never had the fortune to actually go to college and achieve his dream of being a doctor. Instead, he worked as a veterinarian assistant, in the same bad neighborhood they had first met about two years ago,

 Nevertheless, he came running and didn’t ask any questions. After all, they had discussed it a bit back then and he still remembered how any types of questions were not rally welcomed by someone like that man. Young Fred brought something like a purse, filled with many things a veterinarian and a doctor would both use. The man didn’t ask if he was needed at work. Silence was their common language. Fred cleaned the wounds, close what had to be closed and gave the man a paper with things he had to buy to stand the pain.

 When he was about to leave, the man spoke. He said “Fred”. The young man turned around, to see the man pointing at the kitchen counter. There were some bills there, which Fred took before heading to the door and leaving. The truth was that the man would have wanted the young man to stay because he didn’t only feel pain but he also started to feel lonely. After all, there was no one in his life to take care of him or at least to visit him in this, his hour of need. He was alone.

 The man decided to take himself to bed. He walked to the bedroom slowly, trying not to mess up the work Fred had done. In his room, he took off all of his clothes and then entered his bed, covering himself with the various layers of fabric. He felt really cold and his limbs were trembling even more. Through the closed curtain he could see the sun that day was bright and beautiful but he didn’t really care about it. He only cared about resting and just closing his eyes and go somewhere else, somewhere where he could get a life for himself that he liked.

He fell asleep fast and he dreamt for various hours.

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”.

miércoles, 8 de marzo de 2017

Waste of space

   Every day was almost exactly the same. He would wake up, have something to eat, then shower, look for a job and then lunch. After that, it would be hours and hours of basically nothing until dinner. At night and in the morning he would exercise a bit and before going to bed he would watch something, like a movie or whatever was available. That was life like for him, even after he had decided it would be different. His decisions in life had amounted to nothing and he didn’t know what to do.

 He had been living there for almost a year and nothing had happened, nothing at all. Not a single change since his arrival. He tried to keep it different by distracting himself with movie or by going out to walk around the city, but that didn’t change anything either. It was a perpetual movement he was trapped in, a series of actions he repeated every single day, every week and every single month, no matter the little differences like weather or things like that. Things didn’t change.

 He had tried to change them. He had really tried but he soon realized that one person couldn’t really change the world. Whoever had said that in the past was wrong. A single lonely human couldn’t change a thing in this world. Every major shift had to involve lots of people with a common goal and a certain organization. And he didn’t have that at all. He was alone and he depended on his parents for survival. They weren’t happy for him or anything, but they felt they couldn’t refuse him help.

 The money he received as an allowance was used very carefully to pay for the apartment, the bills and the food. Those were the normal expenses. He sometimes used the money for distractions, going out and that sort of thing. In those instances he would have to remember that he was taking money away for his food. He never minded. Besides, it wasn’t something he did often; on the contrary, he managed his money in the most careful way because it was just enough to survive.

 But that was the thing: he had been thinking for a long time if it was worth it to keep on living as he was. He was draining money from his parents every month, he was sitting on his ass doing nothing, except getting older and older people have a harder time getting a job. But no one was giving him a job, not now or before. Not when he was recently graduated or after his various years of studies all over the place. They had never acknowledged him as a nothing more than a man that could pick up a phone or move boxes from one place to the other.

 The money he earned for such jobs disappeared very fast. Most of it was taken away by the health service they provided, which he never used. And the rest was used to pay debts or bills. Nothing remained. Those times, whoever, he could grab a little more from his parents money in order to have fun, even for a short period of time. He would get drunk, go out and party and just forget about everything in his life and who he was. He lost himself every time or at least he tried.

 He loved going out to dark places with loud music, wherever they could have alcohol. He even tried drugs a couple of times but it wasn’t his thing. The point of it all was forgetting his life, which was pathetic and sad. He was a leech and a waste of space. He remembered that expression once and it had gotten stuck on his head since then because it described so well what he thought of his place in life. He did feel as if he was a waste of space and would have loved it to be different.

 But it wasn’t things are as they are and one’s blind optimism cannot change that. People want every single person in the world to think blindly that everything is going to be ok but the reality of life is that probably nothing will be ok. The world itself is more and more violent, not a hospitable place for actual life to develop. So why should people be blind to that? Why should be people avoid the truth, instead of embracing it and maybe then find a solution for whatever the problem is?

 Many times, he looked around his house and carefully planned his last day on Earth. It was kind of like a game he played with himself when things where a its lowest. He would imagine cutting his wrists on the tub and having one of those almost artistic deaths, with the blood tainting the water slowly and also spilling gently to the floor. It looked almost like a romantic thing inside his head. But it would take too long and that wasn’t something he was very eager about.

 He imagined many other outcomes for his life. Some more admittedly violent and graphic but others were even more subtle that the one in the tub. He had a great imagination, which he used laying on his bed, waiting for someone to respond to his calls looking for one of the many menial jobs the world had to offer. He had realized a while ago that no one was going to give him a good job where he could feel like a real person. He was apparently built to be a slave and he had decided he didn’t mind at all, it was his destiny all along and that was settled.

 Sure enough, he had two jobs latter on: one as part of the cleaning crew in a hospital and another one in a supermarket, doing basically the same thing. He would break his back for a pay that was laughable but there was nothing else to do. However, he decided one day to ask his parents not to send him any more money. They did ask him “why” but he never answered, so they just did as they were told and the subject never came up again, in telephone conversations or when he visited, which was rare.

He had decided he would survive with whatever he had. His meals were greatly reduced and he had to move to another apartment, one even smaller in a much uglier part of the city. He sold some of his belongings too, in order to pay for the first couple of months. He tried to set aside something every month for pleasure, such as alcohol or whatever he would be in the mood for. Those small moments were not of joy but of quiet and a certain peace, which he still enjoyed.

 After some months living his new life, he got very sick with the flu. He stopped earning money for almost three weeks. When the disease didn’t kill him, the lack of food almost did. He actually had to be rushed into the hospital but he escaped it as soon as he could because he didn’t have the money to pay for a hospital bed. He just bought bread and medicine and hoped for the best. He was fired from the hospital he worked in but kept the supermarket job, where they raised his salary a bit in order to make him do more stuff.

 As always, he didn’t really mind. He got better, or just about, and start working harder every day. The hours were longer than before and this time he had to work every single day of the week but at least he was distracted by something. He didn’t have time to ponder or think about what could have been or what the future may hold for him. Those were empty questions now and no one care about the answers. He had lost the will to rebel in any way. He just lived, if that’s what it’s called.

 He was eventually fired from that job too. Not long after that, he decided to jump off a bridge that passed over a highway. His parents had nothing to keep from him anymore, as he had sold almost everything except and old notebook he had kept from when he was young, Inside, he had written a number of stories and he had also drawn lots of characters and abstract figures. They took one look at it and then stored it away somewhere. The man became a memory and, after his parents died, it was as if he had never existed on this Earth.

lunes, 27 de febrero de 2017

Best actress

   After a very long night, she left her award on the table beside her bed once she had gotten to her home. It wasn’t really home but it was the place she was staying for the moment and that was good enough. Her brother had said goodbye some moments ago and now she was alone, late at night, removing everything from her earrings to the very expensive dress she had been offered. The shoes stayed besides a chair all night, the first thing she had removed, not a surprise.

 For a long time, she contemplated the award and she was glad that no one else but her was there too watch because she would have been too embarrassed. But alone, she had the time and opportunity to really look at her prize, the crowning achievement of her career after only having been working for ten years. She knew she was a very lucky girl, so contemplating the prize made it all so much more real, something even more thrilling. She smiled and then she heard someone at the door.

 It was one of her assistants who announced that the people of the jewelry company had come to collect their things. She didn’t quite get why they would come to her so late, but it was better that way because she had been very worried all night, trying to protect her ears and neck from every possible accident, which was very difficult with all the people around and all of the moving and talking and waving. She removed it all, handed it to her assistant and told her to give it to them.

 She would have given them their things in person, but she was very tired to do so. Hoping that the people that gave her the dress wouldn’t appear out of nowhere, she walked barefoot to the bathroom and took the dress off there. She hung it on the closet and then brushed her teeth and washed her face. She had the feeling of having been running through a coal mine or something like that, maybe because the make-up was now running down her face after so many pictures and poses.

 The pajama she had brought was made of two pieces: blouse and pants. They were both filled with teddy bears, which made her laugh. She put it on and quickly after she was already in bed, looking again at the little man that was standing on the table beside her. She couldn’t stop watching him and she knew it would be difficult to look at anything else for the days to come. But she had to make an effort because life was still going and not everything stopped because she had received a prestigious award. It was difficult as it was so beautiful.

 The actress stared at the statue and slowly fell into a deep slumber. In her dream, she was not in a fancy dress or even in her pajama, but dressed as a waiter in a restaurant she felt she knew but didn’t quite know where to put it. It felt strange but then someone asked for her and she ran to offer her services. The man that was ordering looked exactly like the actor who had won that night, just before her. But the expression on his face was the one of someone who didn’t know her.

 He wanted some apple pie and coffee. She wrote on her notepad and then left for what she thought was the kitchen. But once she pushed the door, she was the character in the movie that had made her a winner that night. She had the same dress she had put on for so many days, several months to be exact. It was bright yellow and had no real features besides its color. The fabric and even the smell felt just like she remembered them. It felt it had all happened a long time ago.

 She then realized she was inside the movie and it was her moment to perform. As she had done several times for the last few months, she did her dance number, the big one everyone in the world had been talking about. Almost at the end, a man would lift her up and then put her down again. But this time her partner during the dance number was no other than her actual father. It wouldn’t have been very shocking if it weren’t for the fact he had died a couple of years back.

 She was glad to see him again. He didn’t smile or talk to her at all; he just danced in the most beautiful and gracious way possible. When the time came for him to lift her, he did the most amazing job at it. She cried and hugged him but it seemed she was the only one doing the hug. Maybe it was because she was imagining him but he wasn’t putting any type of pressure on the hugging, he seemed to be there only for the sake of having someone standing in for the real dancer of the movie.

 It didn’t matter to the young actress. She hugged very tight and wanted that moment that wasn’t real to last an eternity. But as dreams often do, they end in the most sudden way. She soon found herself awake, still sitting on her bed, with her neck hurting because she had fallen asleep in the most uncomfortable position ever. She gave her a soft massage but didn’t leave bed, instead she looked at her award again and, only for a moment, she imagined it to be a smaller version of her father. That made her smile just before adopting a better position to sleep.

 Someone came for the dress when she was sleeping. She thought it was a very good idea not to wake her up, maybe everyone thought she deserve everything that day because se had achieved something not many people had been able to. And she was rather young and that even more uncommon. When she finally woke up, it was already late but no one had come to bother her. Again, she sat down at the edge of the bed and stared at the prize, which seemed to be waiting for her to wake up.

 It had lost some of its brightness, maybe because so many people had touched it. She could actually see fingerprints all over the statue. The woman stood up and looked around for her purse, where she thought she had the special cream they had given her to clean the award. But then again, she realized it was not something that had to be done on that very moment. Actually, there was something even better she could do right there, before anyone knew that she had woken up.

 She grabbed the award and felt it: its weight, its shape and height. It was not cold or warm. Then, she acted as she had just received and acted surprised and bewildered for a moment, not in front of a mirror but in the middle of her room. She was suddenly interrupted by her assistant who talked through the door: she had a long day of interviews for magazines and TV shows, so it was time for her to head to the shower and then running around the city to get all of her commitments done.

 As she entered the bathroom, she left the award on the counter, by the sink. She removed her pajamas and underwear and then stepped into the shower. There, she used hot water to relieve herself of everything that felt like a layer on her skin, things that were not really there but only on her mind. She had finally made it; she had finally become the person she had always wanted to be. And now, the path to be walked was new and amazing, painted with the most beautiful colors.

 In the shower, she smiled. She stared at it again, just to know it was there, and then smiled once more. She felt so damn lucky.