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

lunes, 14 de mayo de 2018

My partner


   When I saw him, I could only laugh. He looked at me exactly in the opposing way, making his eyes turn around as if he had just witnessed the most annoying thing happening right in front of him. That was the kind of relationship we had the moment we started working together. For some reason, our boss had decided our skills complimented each other’s, so he appointed us to missions together very often. I have forgotten how many times I pretended to be his brother, his friends and even his boyfriend or even husband.

 It all depended on the places we had to go and the things we had to do. Sometimes, the mission would be a very relaxing cruise through the Caribbean on an enormous boat that would float peacefully for over a week, carrying carefree tourists around. People that just wanted to get a tan and swim and maybe walk the massive ship, enjoying everything the place had to offer. Yes, I have to confess I loved those kinds of missions but we got assigned to them because they were specifically for rookies in this business.

 I remember one time; only about a year after we got to know each other properly, when we were sent to the Bahamas pretending to be a married gay couple going on an exclusively gay cruise. We had to steal some very important papers out of the office of a very important businessman who happened to be frolicking in the boat with his lover, unknown to his wife. It was a hilarious place and situation to be in, and of course stealing the plans was the easiest part of the whole thing. We did it the first night.

 For the other eight days, we had to hold hands pretending to love each other to death, when in reality we had almost hate for one another. Well, it wasn’t really hated but we certainly didn’t see eye to eye. He was the kind of guy that loves to focus on the job and is obsessed by doing everything by the book, like a little boy scout trapped in an adult man’s body. That to me annoyed me so much that I would often just go rogue for a couple of hours and that would, of course, made him go insane, a result I always loved.

 In the bedrooms, we agreed on sleeping on the same bed but avoiding anything weird during the night. No touching each other’s private space, especially not each other’s bodies. The first one to wake up would be the first one into the shower and so on. After a few months, we had a great system that avoided, almost always, any unpleasant moments during our missions. And as they would often take long periods of time to get over with, we just had to find a way to live with one another. It was almost a sacrifice for both of them and we did it because it was our job.

 However, those were our first missions, years one and two. By the third one, they sent us to shorter missions that required a greater deal of commitment from our part. In not so many words, that means that we had to risk our lives during those assignments. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even see each other but once, in critical moments. Besides those, we would often fly solo and assume unrelated identities. I have to confess it was kind of fun at first, playing to be so many different types of men, so many times.

 But after a while, it got annoying and the stakes started looking at me in the face. On my first mission, I got fired several times and they had to pull me out of a dumpster with a bullet on my thigh and several cuts all over my body. It was a weird experience, which was better than what my former partner was going through. I say former, because sometime after we started that decisive year, the bosses decided we wouldn’t be working together as often as we had done in the past. They said it was the right thing to do.

 However, I heard a drug lord almost killed him, after his disguise as a dealer was blown by some snitch. The snitch got killed right in front of him and the drug lord ordered his people to tie my former partner to a pipe and beat him up in every way they wanted. I have no idea of the details, but some people say he could have been killed if it hadn’t been for his security bracelet, which was a secret piece of equipment we all wear that activates itself if we fail to report to it at least once a day.

 You see, the drug lord took all of his clothes away and let him in a cold basement for at least four days. So the bracelet activated itself, called for back up to that specific location and the agent was saved. I was in a mission during that time, so I just heard it all from others. I was tempted to visit him in the hospital, the moment I was able to go back home, but I decided against it. Actually, I realized I was caring for someone I had never cared before, and that confused me enough to do nothing and go back to my life.

 It was almost a year later when they assigned us to a mission together. This time, it was a classic spy stunt: we had no covers, nothing sleek or sexy or nice. We just had to get our hands on a witness, extract him from a certain country, and go back home with that person alive. It was a nightmarish place to be, a horrible experience to be having. But, between all of it, I have to admit I was comforted when I saw his face in the airport the day we left for our mission. I wanted to tell him something but had no idea what to say. So, again, I decided to stay quiet and focus on the mission at hand.

 As predicted, the situation was dire. We had guns and a contact, but that was all blown to hell the second day of our stay in that dreadful hellhole. A group of guys attempted to blow us up in a crappy hotel. It was just luck that the cleaning lady had gone in before us. I know, that sounds insensitive but you kind of lose that part of yourself in such a job. We just started running and killing them all to get the fuck out of there. And in that moment, we were the best team anyone could have ever hoped for.

 It was as if our minds were connected, as well as our bodies. We didn’t even have to look at each other to work in unison; it was almost like a dance that has all the perfect moves to be the best anyone has ever seen. At the same time, I realized we weren’t the same people that had enjoyed those cruises and nice hotels at the start of this whole thing. We were two entirely different men and it showed. I saw it in his eyes the moment we started running away and I had felt it in myself for a long time before that. It just had been confirmed.

 He surprised me with his knowledge of the underworld of that city. Maybe he had been there before or maybe he had just changed that much. I had heard that after his traumatic experience, he had stayed on his post, taking many other risky assignments. He had a nice fiancé at the start but eventually she left him and no one could point at the exact thing that had caused that rift. However, the job was not one where you could see a lot of happy endings. So I understood if that had been the reason why he had decided to be left alone.

 In time, we got our witness and got her out of that place. It was by the skin of our teeth, as I was shot in the shoulder moments before our party rescued us on the border. The thing was, he had stepped in front of me and blocked most bullets by using a metal door as a shield. Only that one bullet had been able to reach me. Making me lose a lot of blood. I fainted in the helicopter that was carrying us and woke up many days later, back home, in a hospital bed. I was very dizzy, so what I saw seemed very unreal.

 It was him. He was fast asleep in the only furniture in the room other than my hospital bed, a very old sofa that seemed to have seen better days. When the nurse came in, she told me he had been there for over two days, never leaving for his home, never going anywhere. He just stayed there.

 After she left, I watched him sleep for a while. And as I did that, I tried to understand the whole situation. It was confusing for me and I know it must be the same for him. So I just decided to think it through another day. What was important was that I felt safe now, and I could finally rest properly for a few days.

lunes, 2 de abril de 2018

Movie lights


   Alex walked by Roman, who was helping with the lights. They had to grab the wires and put them neatly into a circular position, in order for the metal parts not to get damages. But the lights were too hot still to put away. So he asked his boss what he should do next and he was sent to the changing room of the actors, which happened to be one of the big bathrooms in the house. Apparently, the director had found the property online and just new it was the perfect setting for many of his movies.

 As Roman entered the bathroom, Alex was there. He was still naked and talking to his co-star Yuri. The young assistant asked where the boxes with their costumes were and it was Yuri who pointed at three boxes stacked up in a corner. For a moment though, Roman was able to notice that Yuri had been crying as his eyes were very red and he was trying to hide them as much as possible from anyone else. As Roman fixed the boxes to be able to lift them all at the same time, he heard part of the actors’ conversation.

Apparently. Yuri’s family was in desperate need of money. However, the month was not over yet so he had no money he could send to them. He sent almost everything he earned to them back in Belarus, only keeping enough to pay for a room in a shared apartment in a very crappy neighborhood of Los Angeles. The director intended him to be the next big star in the business, but that was in its early stages and Yuri’s family couldn’t wait that long. He feared they would be evicted if the money wasn’t paid.

 The assistant did not hear much more after that. He decided to get out of there as soon as he could, as he didn’t want the actors to notice he was overhearing on purpose. He was just very interested on the different kinds of people that worked on such a business. It had been his mother who had asked her brother to get her son a job. Her brother happened to be part of a production company that worked with various people, including those who provided entertainment for the adult video industry.

 She didn’t mind. Her mother was very liberal in that sense. For her, the most important thing was for her son to understand the value of money, of effort and perseverance. He was still young, actually underage. But she wanted him to get a job in the summer in order not to have the same problems he had every single summer in the past. He had even been in the police station once, after he had decided making graffiti in the neighborhood’s park was a great idea. She wanted him to stay away from trouble and a job, any job, would probably make all that messy stuff go away.

 Of course, her brother explained to her the kinds of places her son would work in and she didn’t mind. She told him that her son knew very well what sex was and that people that worked in that business were just that, workers. Whether they were actors or the lighting crew, they were all doing a job and they were all getting paid for it. Her son would get paid to, but not as much as an official worker. Her brother had to pass him for a “personal helper” of sorts, because of his sixteen years of age.

 The good thing was that, as most kids in the United States; Roman had developed early in his life and by age sixteen he was already sporting facial hair and very tall and lean figure. According to his mother, he was the spitting image of his father, a man that had been known to be very handsome in his early years. Sadly, he had been killed in a bank robbery a couple of years before. That was also the reason why the family could actually make good use of another salary, no matter how miserable it could be.

 So Roman understood Yuri’s dilemma. As he crossed the hallways of the big house with the boxes, he thought about part of his salary going to his mother and how he thought that was unfair at first, but then realized that it was necessary to pay the bills that kept his house going. He came to appreciate his work because of that and his mother too, for having the good sense to send him out into the world and make him work to feel how things work in life. He left the boxes in the truck, still thinking.

 When he came back into the house for the lights, both Alex and Yuri were already dressed and coming out of the bathroom. They looked both like the type of guys someone would see on the beach, parading around with clothes that made their bodies look even better. They were very beautiful and Roman often had a lot to think after seeing them perform. He wasn’t sure if he was gay or straight or what. But he knew that they were very attractive and he had a certain respect for them because of it.

 As he put one of the lights on the respective crate, he saw Yuri walk out of the house with a tissue on his hand and his eyes still red, but Alex stayed in and actually walked towards him. He sat down on a sofa nearby and just looked at the kid as he did his work. Once the light was on its crate, Roman started the same process with another one. Alex then spoke, asking Roman how old he was. The question made Roman very nervous because both his mother and uncle had told him several times not to reveal the information to anyone. It could mean the end of his job and his uncle’s too.

 So he just said he was old enough to be there. Alex smiled, still watching Roman do his job. Then, he started telling him how the whole industry can be quite the monster. Of course, he said, being beautiful and appreciated feels great, but the best thing of it all is when someone tells you that what you did can only be accomplished by you and no one else. That sense of power and being special really makes the difference in any job. Or at least that was what Alex thought after working in many different things.

 He told Roman he was twenty-six years old and he had started doing movies seven years ago, when money for college was low and his family had threatened to stop funding his studies. He wanted to become a veterinarian. He told Roman he had two dogs now and a small rat named Stevie. That made Roman smile and Alex did so too, because he knew he was listening. He told the kid how he was able to finish school because of his work doing movies and how he even got to pay for a place of his own.

 Then, there was silence. As Roman put the last light crate away, Alex told him that Yuri was in a similar but worse position. Roman stayed to hear the story. According to Alex, Yuri had arrived to the United States only two years ago. He was an illegal immigrant who had come to the country with a legal tourist visa but had just overstayed his welcome. Apparently, Belarus was not the best country for gay people. And it seemed it wasn’t a great place to fin work either, so he decided to basically flee.

 He had a mother and two sisters there; their father had left them for another woman years ago. None of them had any idea what he was doing in Los Angeles. But he sent them almost all of their money and now they needed more or they would loose their house. Alex stopped talking and then looked at Roman straight in the eye. He asked the young man if he had a good family, if he knew how difficult life could be. He told him that even if it all looks nice and easy from the outside, people always have shit under the rug.

 Roman told Alex he had a mother that was crazy but that loved him endlessly. He also said his uncle was a very good person. Finally, he told Alex he knew not everything is what it seems but that it was precisely that which fascinated him from the world of adult entertainment.

 He lifted two of the crates and carried them to the truck. When he came back for the other one, Alex was gone. Roman told his uncle about Yuri’s problems and the man promised he would talk to the director. People don’t imagine it, but in such a small community, people tend to help one another, no strings attached.

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.