viernes, 27 de marzo de 2015

The best

   He had always being that person. You know, the kind of man that’s always on top of everything and whom everyone thinks about. Many want to be like him and others want to be with him. But few have ever get close enough to really know him as he has being intelligent enough to keep it all separated, in order to keep up the illusion.

 Yes, an illusion. Because Martin, the perfect man, had always had to act and had always had to do things to stay where he was. Martin wasn’t only an employee, he owned the company and ran it for the last five years, after his father had decide, rather surprisingly, to leave control of his beloved company to his son. This had been a matter of discussion amongst the high class of the city and the commerce guilds but eventually all doubts disappeared when they realized he was much more than what he looked like.

 He had gone to school in Europe and had a keen sense of fashion. He knew every single member of the richest families on both sides of the Atlantic and he had more than one affair with many of them, men or women. Many would have looked over him because of him being a bisexual man but another surprise; people found this a very interesting trait, complemented by his great skills handling money and people. Because his most alluring trait was the fact he could make anyone do anything he wanted. Sometimes, he didn’t even have to ask.

 Some people thought it was all about his physical appearance.  He was tall, tanned but not too much, well dressed, manly but soft features and ideal in every sense. Many magazines had asked him to do photo-shoots and he had accepted gladly to all the offerings. He would even do them for free if it helped the company promote some new article that they wanted to push on people or simply to get everyone to know who he was.

 People love to buy things to get to be like someone. Because people are obsessed to be closer to their idea of perfection, which is actually the idea of the media. And Martin was exactly that. Once he was in every magazine, more than one man was getting their hair cut in the way he had it and stores selling the clothes he liked had their sales rise for a whole month. Of course, his company owned many of those stores so it was all a very round business.

 His father eventually died and his mother went away to leave in France. This left him with free rein, more than ever, over his company and his image. From time to time, he would let paparazzi’s come close enough to get a few shots of him, maybe alone or maybe with a young beautiful model or someone people would hate him to be with. Because his goal was to make people want to be that model, be that person who had the unspeakable honor of going around town with him.

 So what people didn’t know very well about him was that he was very manipulative of everything he did. Most people would never calculate every single movement in their lives as he did but it was not as if he had an option. From a very young age, he had realized it was best to be the one with power and not the one being ruled. And if his family’s fortune was of any help, he wanted to be that guy everyone admires for every reason possible.

 It was him who started, not only doing benefits and helping those in need, but he actually went to the orphanages, hospitals and retirement homes to help in any way he could. Martin knew that he needed people to admire him because it benefited both him and them: if they were in love with him, the earning of his companies will rise but also the amount of money he was able to invest in any charity he would like. So it was great for everyone.

 Once his family left, he was more and more controlling of the company but no one ever said anything because it became one of the best companies in the world in less than three years. Before, it had been an old and respectable company but now it was on top of everything. Besides, working there was seeing as the best that could happen to anyone. The pay was great and employees enjoyed many benefits, all which had been established by Martin. He thought that if they were happy, they would work harder and the company would do even better.

 In time, he started absorbing minor business and it became one of the top companies in the country. It was so powerful, that their endorsement in any way was almost a warranty of success. Martin, however, had never cared for politics thinking those men and women always had underlying intentions. He thought of himself of a more honest person than them and decided to be clear, stating that his company would never serve anyone’s political efforts. He would rather shut it all down before bow to a politician.

This was rather hypocrite from him because Martin had never really being honest about him. He had created a character, a sort of persona, who acted his life. But the real Martin, the one that had existed back when he was only a kid, had been trapped inside his brain and was never allowed to be outside, to be in control. He sometimes had minor breakdowns, suffering from flashes of depression. Martin’s acting had earned him a severe headache problem but people knew and were not surprised: with everything he had on his plate, he was allowed to have a headache from time to time.

 When he reached the age of thirty five, people thought he was finally going to get a wife but that didn’t happen. He was still being photographed with many beautiful men and women but he knew them all too well to have anything more compromising with any of them. The models were always dull and the pretty faces always hid stupid minds. And Martin, handsome as he was, was not as stupid fool at all. He would have wanted to meet someone like him, someone that had fought his way to the top and wasn’t afraid to do or say anything. Because that was another thing he loved about his position: he could have any thought about any subject in current life and people would always support him or, at very least, not even care.

 And, to explain it further, he was a self made man. In spite of his money, he had decided to become much more than he was supposed to be. All his life he had heard it from the media, from his parents, from the society he had been born into. He had heard of perfection and of the rulers and the ones that are ruled. So he decided, at a very young age, to be the one on top. To beat every single other guy or girl in that race and be the one to beat them all. That's who he had always wanted to be. He started learning about everything and finally, he came back from Europe as a new man that would change the world.

 Of course, there were people that did not trust him be he never worried about any of them. As far as he was concerned, they were only jealous of the amount of power he had because, after all, that is what people really look for. When improving ourselves physically, we are only seeking to have power over other, to be better than the rest. Because being better than other means that there is a sense of superiority and that always entails powers. And Martin thought that those that were too mediocre to improve were the ones expending their days criticizing his life and way of doing business.

  Martin acquired a big condominium in the middle of the city, on top of one of the tallest residential buildings of town. From there, he could see his office tower and the lives of many people below. He felt even more powerful than ever but it was then, only then, when he realized there was no one beside him to share everything with. No family, no real friends, no lover. There was no one with whom he could share his visions of the future or his passions. It was only a huge space, filled with riches but with no soul at all.

 When feeling like that, he would disguise himself and walk around the people on the street and he realized what he lacked was love. Not only romantic love but also every single kind there is in the world. Some people that were far from being like him laughed in the street and appeared to have the best time possible. They loved themselves far more than he would ever love himself, because he had no idea who he was anymore. He had renounced to his true self long ago and now that boy was lost forever.

 After a few outings, he decided to cut off all thought of that forever, focusing on the future of his company and how to enjoy life with all the power and money he had. Because, after all, he had made a decision all those years ago: he had decided to be perfect in every sense, to go to the gym and get a perfect body, to handle money correctly to have the most refined luxury items and clothes and teaching himself to be the business man his father had never been.

 He was going to be the best. And, according to him, he already was.

jueves, 26 de marzo de 2015


  Me dejé caer en mi cama, exhausto del día que había tenido. Mi cuerpo, por alguna razón, sentía mucho dolor aunque no había hecho ningún esfuerzo físico notable. Solo me sentía abatido y no quería moverme mucho. Sin ponerle mucha atención al asunto, me quité los zapatos y subí mejor a la cama, abrazando la almohada y quedándome dormido. Por suerte, no tuve ningún tipo de sueño, nada que me molestara. Fue hasta bien entrada la noche que desperté y me di cuenta que afuera estaba muy oscuro y que casi no había ruido. Cuando miré mi reloj, era pasada la medianoche.

 Sentado en la cama, no quería moverme pero mi estomago rugía y no tuve más remedio que ponerme de pie e ir a la cocina, donde calenté una de esas comidas para microondas. Era una lasaña de carne. Cuando estuvo lista, la puse sobre un plato, cogí un tenedor y un jugo de cajita de la nevera y me fui con todo a la cama de nuevo. Dejé la comida sobre la cobertor, me quité los pantalones y las medias y me senté en la cama. Cogí el portátil del suelo, donde lo había dejado al llegar, y puse un episodio de una serie que no había podido ver antes.

 Mi cena fue interrumpida entonces por el sonido de mi celular, que también estaba en algún lugar del suelo. Decidí no contestar y mejor dejarlo para después. Además, quien llama después de la medianoche? Podía ser una emergencia pero no había nadie que me llamara por esa razón, al menos no aquí. Entonces podía esperar. No quería saber de nada de ni nadie y mucho menos si resultaba ser algo relacionado con el trabajo. “Que se jodan”, pensé. Había estado todo el día haciendo de todo y no iba a cambiar mis horas de sueño por más de lo mismo.

 Terminé de ver el capitulo de la serie al mismo tiempo que terminaba la lasaña. Después dejé el plato de lado y, mientras tomaba el jugo, miré por la ventana. De verdad que era una muy bonita vista la que tenía de la ciudad. Por estar en un barrio construido sobre una ladera, el apartamento tenía una vista privilegiada. Se podían ver miles de apartamentos, casas e incluso algunos barcos allá lejos, en el mar. Cuando terminé el jugo, cogí el plato y el tenedor y los llevé a la cocina. Tiré a la basura la cajita del jugo y lavé todo. Entonces, de nuevo escuché el sonido del celular.

 Cuando volví al cuarto ya no se escuchaba más pero de todas maneras lo saqué de mi mochila que yacía en el suelo y miré quien me había llamado. El sonido de fastidio fue tan obvio cuando vi la pantalla, que a nadie le habría sorprendido verme tirar el celular justo ahí. Lo mejor era volver a dormir y terminar con un día tan malo. Me demoré un poco conciliando el sueño y tuve que recurrir a la lectura en el portátil para por fin tener algo de sueño. Por culpa de mi siesta anterior, esta vez el sueño fue pesado y no sentí haber descansado nada cuando me desperté al día siguiente.

 Lastimosamente, tenía que levantarme temprano para ir a clase y luego a trabajar, entonces no hubo manera de seguir tratando de dormir. De nuevo, cuando ya estaba por salir, el celular empezó a vibrar en mi bolsillo. Había tenido la buena idea de quitarle el sonido pero de todas maneras era estresante sentir que vibraba como loco. No, no iba a contestar. Para que me llamaba? Que tenía que decirme ahora? No, no más. Ya tenía demasiado con todo lo que se me venía encima como para echarle encima este problema, o mejor, molesto inconveniente.

 Cuando llegué a clase, por fortuna, pude distraerme con algunos conceptos interesantes que empezábamos a ver. Teorías e historias interesantes, que daban rienda suelta a la imaginación, que era lo que más me gustaba. De hecho todavía lo es pero ahora trato de que la imaginación no tome control del todo. Ya lo hice una vez y no resultó nada bien. La clase era larga pero pasó rápidamente. Apenas tuve tiempo de intercambiar algo de charla con mis compañeros y comer algo ligero antes de salir corriendo adonde estaba mi pequeño puesto de trabajo.

 La verdad era que no tenía un trabajo muy interesante. Básicamente estaba encargado de ordenar el constante lío de papeles y archivos y objetos que tenían un poco por todas partes. Había un archivista oficial en el lugar y ese era mi jefe, que parecía tener cosas mucho más interesantes que hacer, que ayudarme a clasificar miles y miles de documentos, cuyos montones parecían nunca cambiar de tamaño. Lo malo de todo es que nadie parecía apreciar mi trabajo y todos siempre sugerían que se debería organizar el archivo, como si eso no fuera lo que yo había estado haciendo.

 Es frustrante, siempre, hacer cosas y darse uno cuenta que nadie lo aprecia. No es que yo haga cosas para que los demás me noten pero sí estaría bien que la gente al menos reconociera mi esfuerzo. Pero en fin, son idiotas en todo caso. Así pasaba horas, desde el almuerzo hasta la hora de la cena, organizando documentos que la verdad era que a nadie le importaban. Los que más consultaban siempre habían estado bien organizados. Los demás, el mar de papel que faltaba por archivar, ese nadie venía a verlo. De pronto era precisamente por el desorden pero la verdad era que no importaba.

 Cuando pude salir de allí, por fin, caminé con rapidez al bar más cercano. Después de todo era viernes y mi cuerpo necesitaba relajarse bastante. Tomaría un par de copas más y luego me iría a casa, a dormir más de la cuenta, para despertarme tarde al otro día y hacer algo que me alegrara la vida. Pero no pude hacer nada de eso porque el teléfono empezó a vibrar de nuevo. Harto de todo contesté y lo primero que hice fue gritar.

-          - No me jodas más!

 Y colgué. Estaba harto de él, no quería saber nada ni de él ni del pasado ni de nada. Ya estaba harto del tema y este no era el mejor momento para hablar de nada de eso. Tomé dos vasos más de vodka con jugo de naranja y, cuando hube terminado el tercero, alguien me tocó la espalda y era él. Quería golpearlo en la cara pero me di cuenta que eso solo le serviría a él. Preferí darme la vuelta y pedir uno más antes de irme. Se sentó a mi lado y no dijo nada. No pidió un trago ni me miró, solo se quedó ahí mirando al vacío. Yo me tomé mi último trago a sorbos y cuando terminé me puse de pie pero entonces él me tomó del brazo y no tuve más remedio, pensé, que lanzarle mi puño a la cara.

 Su nariz pareció explotar, sangre por todos lados. Todos nos miraban. Contrario a lo que uno pensaría, él no respondió mi golpe sino que se quedó allí, mirándome mientras uno de los empleados del sitio le pasaba un trapo para limpiarse y detener la hemorragia. Me quisieron sacar pero les dije que no me tocaran y que ya me iba. Salí del lugar sin prisa, caminando lentamente e inhalando el frío aire de la noche. Tenía los ojos llorosos pero no me iba a dejar vencer por un recuerdo, por algo que ya había ocurrido y no había manera de arreglar o de olvidar. Él no tenía derecho de venir y cambiar mi vida.

 Cuando me di cuenta, había caminado tanto que tuve que detenerme. Traté de recordar para donde debía dirigirme para ir a casa pero entonces él apareció de nuevo. Tenía en la mano el pañuelo blanco ensangrentado con el que había tratado de sanar su nariz, que estaba visiblemente torcido. Ya no parecía tan tranquilo como antes de que lo golpeara. Me tenía rabia y yo a él. Por fin podía sentir que tenía una competencia a mi nivel, una rabia y un dolor igual que el mío.

-           - Deja de seguirme. – le dije.
-           - Porque no me dejas acercarme?
-           - No me interesa lo que quieras decirme.

 Me di la vuelta ya caminé hacia una estación de metro. Él me siguió, de nuevo en silencio. Ya en el andén del lugar, donde habían algunos otros pasajeros noctámbulos, se me acercó y me abrazó. Fue algo tan imprevisto, tan extraño, que al comienzo no lo rechacé. Sentía su calor y su gesto me lo hizo recordar todo. Entonces, ese dolor del pasado, me hizo empujarlo y mirarlo con mis ojos llenos de lágrimas. No podía aguantar más, tenía que dejarlo salir o podría morir.

 Se me acercó de nuevo y me abrazó como antes, como si él no hubiese sido el hermano de la persona que más había yo amado en el mundo sino como si fuera parte de mi familia. Lo apreté con fuerza porque no quería sentir que se alejaba, no quería dejar de sentir esa conexión que, mágicamente, parecía volver a mi. Esa persona ya no estaba pero su hermano sí y me amaba y yo a él porque compartíamos nuestro cariño con alguien más. Entendí entonces que por eso me acosaba, por eso me seguía e insistía.

 Él sabía, mucho antes que yo, que iba a necesitar de alguien para pasar este trago amargo de la vida. Y que mejor que la familia para ayudarme en este oscuro pero necesario viaje.

miércoles, 25 de marzo de 2015

The Graves

  A crossbow had been left behind and there were four arrows on the victim’s body, which had being killed by a chilly stream that had defrosted overnight. The body had been found far from any settlement and, although chief Jones and her officers scouted the area for several days, they didn’t find anything else referring to the murderer. Somehow, he had dropped the murder weapon but nothing else. The people in the lab found nothing on the handle of the crossbow either, which was a recent design, almost custom made. That would maybe be useful to find the manufacturer and, from there, the buyer.

 Jennifer jones had been the chief of police for only two years and this was her first big job. Working on an almost desolate county, most of her days she spent her time dealing with disputes over land and maybe a drunk driver. She had been in the force for fifty years and she had always thought the future might hold something brighter for her but that wasn’t the case. She lived only with her teenage son as her husband had been killed in the war a few years ago. Jennifer thought she had been promoted because of whom her husband had been but that didn’t matter anymore. The people of the county liked her and she knew them all.

 She supervised the work of Doctor Pike, the medical examiner who had to be very careful not to damage the victim’s body when extracting the arrows from his body. The dead man was kind of young, but something felt off about him. Maybe he was older… The doctor removed the arrows successfully and put them on a small tray on one side to check them later. Then, he asked Jennifer to help him. She often did as he had no assistants and it was a work that had to be done as a team. So the chief of police help him undress the body. It was then that she realized what was wrong with the body. On her shirt, some stains let her know that the body was wearing makeup.

 Then, Doctor Pike removed the clothes, both the shirt and the pants, and confirmed that the body appeared to be the one of a female. But Jennifer, seeing how he washed the body, thought the girl’s breasts were really small and then she had an idea. She left Doctor Pike for a moment, leaving for her office to call the medical center. It wasn’t a big hospital but it was the biggest one of the county. Then, she called every single hospital near town, even if outside her jurisdiction and went back to Pike’s morgue by night.

 The doctor confirmed what she already knew: the body was from a transgender person. She had been a female but had undergone treatment to change into a male. The breasts and muscular development were proof of that. Jennifer had called every single hospital to ask if someone had gone hormone treatment recently or if they had any sex change surgery scheduled for the coming months. And they did, all of that, but it was a list of at least twenty names, which had surprised her.

 This was a very remote part of the country and people were not very welcome of differences. Maybe that had been the reason for the assassination of this young girl. Or boy… She was con fused because this had never happened before and she had never known anyone like this victim. She left the doctor to finish his job and decided to go back home. On her way there, she stared from the patrol, looking at everyone’s face, just wondering if she had ever known someone else like the girl in the morgue. She couldn’t stop thinking of how hard it must have been for her and what hardships she must have undergone to end up where she now was.

 When Jennifer entered her house, her son Thomas was cooking dinner. For a sixteen-year-old boy, he was very resourceful and always started making dinner, especially when he noticed Jennifer was going to be late. Tonight, he had made pasta with meatballs and a very rich sauce. Jennifer kissed her son on his forehead and hugged him. They were very close and always tried to spent time together but that was hard because of her job. He had learned to cope with it and never condemned her for it but always supported her, even making small lunches for her to take to work.

 She had already discussed with him that she would do the impossible for him. The woman knew her son loved to cook so she had already started saving to put him in the best cooking school she could afford. Jennifer had gone online often to gather a lot of information about schools, costs, what he would learn and so on and would then email it to him to see what he thought of it. He was very eager to do all of it but he been very clear he would be miserable leaving her alone.

As she waited for dinner at the table, she remembered the young woman at the morgue and wondered if she also had a family to worry about her. Was she alone when she had been killed or was someone with her and then escaped the assailant? Nothing pointed to another person ever being there but it was comforting to think someone would have been there. Thinking of death was now common for Jennifer but she found the concept of dying alone much more frightening than anything else.

 Thomas came with two plates and she served some orange juice they had left. She realized she had to go to the supermarket, probably the next weekend before there was nothing left to eat. She forgot all about her case and asked her son for his day in school. He answered there had been nothing special as everyone was to busy talking about the person they had found by the stream, in the forest.

-       How do you know about that?
-       It’s true, then?

  Jennifer hated speaking about work on the house but, for the sake of trust, she decided to tell her son everything, including the fact that the victim was a transgender person. Thomas, surprisingly, knew a lot about the subject and corrected his mother when referring to the victim as a girl. He told her transgender people prefer to be called the gender that they feel they are and not the one that they have been born into. So he said she should start talking about him and not her. But Jennifer was confused and responded that in order to know who he was, she had to ask for a girl. Thomas conceded in that aspect and told her that he had read a lot about it online.

 The chief of police was very curious about why her son was reading about the subject but decided not to ask further questions and preferred to praise him on dinner, which always made him very proud. After dinner, they went to bed and realized she was still thinking about the girl, who she now had to think of as a boy, which lay dead in the morgue. What did he do to deserve two arrows to the heart and one of each leg? Was he escaping from someone or did he do something wrong to the wrong person?

 The next day, surprisingly, it all became quite clearer. Doctor Pike had confirmed the crossbow had been custom made as the arrows and the structure of it were made to properly kill wild animals, so whoever used it to kill the boy had also used it for hunting. They checked the places that would make that kind of weaponry and there was only one for the next two hundred miles. She visited the store and the clerk, an old silent man, showed her the books and the name of his client: Robert Graves.

 Somehow, Jennifer Jones knew that name or at least felt she did. It wasn’t the name of anyone in her county, she was sure of that. That man didn’t leave nearby but somehow she was sure she had seen or read the name recently and they she realized where that had been. She went back to her office and checked the list she had made with all the hospitals, of all the hormone treatment patients they had. Right enough, there was a Graves in the list, under the name Pamela.

 Chief Jones went to the hospital personally and asked for the file on Pamela Graves. Apparently she was seventeen years old and had come to the hospital accompanied by her mother. She had begun treatment six months ago and had been scheduled for another appointment the day she had been killed. And it all pointed to her father being the killer. The next stop for Jennifer was the police of the county where the Graves family lived. She joined them to raid the house and found the man dead, with a bullet in his head. He was there, sitting on the sofa as if he was still alive but he wasn’t.

Then, checking the house, Jennifer realized there was heavy breathing coming from the bathroom of the main room. She opened it by force and discovered who must have been Pamela’s mother and Robert’s wife. She was covered in blood and her eyes were almost out of their sockets. She kept mumbling “my daughter” and staring at her blood-covered hands.

 That night, Jennifer returned to Thomas and told him how much she loved him and how she wanted nothing more but happiness for him. He thought it was a bit strange but accepted her words and hugs.