Tag Archives: life

Sniffing Out A Friend

17 Jan

dog-print

With his nose inches from the ground, Reilly followed the tracks of his best friend Shadow in the semi-soft mud. Even though he knew his nose wasn´t what it used to, he was sure he would find his friend. This isn´t the first time Shadow disappeared, plus it had rained two days ago making easier work of the tracking.

First, Reilly checked all of Shadow´s normal hiding places. He wasn´t in any of them. Shadow had a proclivity for going on mulberry benders. He innocently called it “gone berrying” but in reality it involved him going into the woods and eating fermented mulberries until he had no idea whose tail he was chasing. He would then return a few days later dirty, hungry and a little ashamed.

Next, Reilly checked a few places Shadowed has wandered off to after having had lost one of the normal paths. Shadows nose didn´t work very well. It had almost been bitten off cleanly by a badger and his internal compass was, at best, crooked. Reilly was at a loss. Where could his friend be?

Reilly figured his friend was not in the woods. Although he was truly concerned, he reckoned “Shadow does vanish often, but always manages to find his way home.” Besides, it was the time of year the bitches were in heat. Reilly couldn´t just let that pass by. He decided to call off the search and take a cruise through town.

After wandering around his favorite back alleys, abandoned lots and unfrequented parks and becoming increasingly frustrated that they were all crawling with more brutes than bitches, he decided to give this search up as well and go home. Along the way he heard the familiars yelps of new born pups. They were coming from under a half rotted porch of a house that years ago hosted a family of much more means than today. He decided to scratch his curiosity and give his blessing to the new parents.

When he popped his nose inside he was flabbergasted by the smell. “You dog you!” he cried as his tail went wild.

“I was gonna tell you but it all went down so quick” Shadow said with a bent smile.  The badger hadn´t only gotten his nose that fateful day. He paused as if he said something important to say and wanted the words to come out just right, “I want you to be the god-doggy” he blurted, his eyes visibly glassy from tears being fought back.

Reilly was taken aback. “I´m just glad you´re alive” he paused “and sure I will! It´ll be the biggest honor of this dog´s decade and change on this here planet” he said, not able to keep the tears lodged in his eyes anymore.

That was the last time anybody ever had to search for Shadow. They always knew where to find him, dutifully taking care of his pups and recounting his adventures in the woods.

Sheep to the Slaughter

4 Jan

sheep-to-slaughter

Filipe got into boxing as a way to get back into shape when he turned thirty. As a high school athlete and college wrestler he stayed in good shape without trying too much until around twenty eight years of age. He had been completely inactive for a few years. When he saw himself shirtless in a photo, he shuttered. “Time to get active again” he thought. He tried going back to his old lifting routine from his high school and college days. It bored him. He found himself dreading his gym days. When he was younger it was so much more fun. Then again, the results came fast and he was always surrounded by friends.

One day as he shuffled into the gym he saw a sign for private boxing classes. He went right to the receptionist and asked about them. A week later, with a brand new pair of gloves and boxing shoes he showed up for a freebie class. An hour later, in much more pain than when he started, he was in love. Boxing turned into Muay Thai, that turned into Jiu Jitsu and a love for martial arts was born.

Felipe got a job offer in another city. Upon arrival, there was a lot to take care of and no time to train. He would get in twenty minute workouts in his garage. He would skip some rope and hit the heavy bag for a few rounds followed by some calisthenics. He was by no means a real fighter, but he was trained by good instructors so he moved with good form.

*   *   *   *

“How we gonna get another fighter on such short notice coach?” Angel asked. He had just received the news that his next opponent dropped out due to an injury.

“Don´t worry, one drops out another steps up” Samuel said knowing full well that was not true in this case. Angel was a dangerous fighter, sure to go pro one day. It was hard to find someone willing to step in the ring with him in the amateur ranks full of hobbyists. “Don´t worry he repeated”

*   *   *   *

One day Samuel was out walking his dog when he heard the familiar thump of a shin on a heavy bag. Thump. Thump. Thump. He noticed a fairly in shape guy kicking a heavy bag in his garage.

“Turn your hip over more. You´ll get more power” Samuel said as he approached the man.

Filipe took his advice. THUMP. “My last coach always had to remind me” Felipe said smiling at the stranger. “Do you train?” he asked.

“I´m actually a trainer, my name is Samuel, nice to meet you” he said.

“Felipe, nice to meet you. That´s really cool. I´m new here. Can you recommend a good gym?” he said.

“Yeah sure, the city´s full of them. How about you come over to where I work?” he asked.

“Great! I´d like that” he answered.

“How much do you weigh by the way?” Samuel asked pretty much already knowing the answer.

“I go up and down a little but I hover around 175” Felipe answered as he took a card from Samuel´s hand.

“Address is right there. Come any time after 6. I´ll be there” Samuel said already working out a plan in his head.

“I´ll be there” Felipe answered.

*   *   *   *

“You just be quiet and let me do the talking, alright?” Samuel said.

“Sure, but I don´t think some guy off the street will just take a fight with a week´s notice” Angel said with a worried look on his face.

“Hey Samuel!” Felipe said as he walked through the door with a big smile on his face. He was truly excited to have found a new place to train.

“Hey buddy, why don´t you get changed, wrap your hands and warm up. I´ll hold some mitts for you” he answered.

Filipe did just that and about twenty minutes later he was in the center of the ring doing as Samuel asked.

“Jab, jab, hook” Samuel ordered. Felipe obeyed.

Angel looked on. His heart sank. Sure this guy could move but he was so clearly amateur. For sure he would not take a fight let alone with such little time. Furthermore, it made him feel bad, the idea of beating up a civilian. There was no honor in that.

Felipe wrapped up his work out, said goodbye to everyone whom he had endeared himself to greatly. Everyone at the gym truly liked his contagiously positive attitude.

“What do you think?” Samuel asked Angel.

“You´re not even still thinking about me fighting him after that! I´ll kill him. Won´t even be fair. I don´t like this” Angel answered.

“It´s an easy W. All fighters do it to pad their record. This fell from heaven” he answered.

“God ain´t delivering no sheep to the slaughter anymore, Sam” Angel said, worried that all his fight prep will have been for naught simple because his real opponent hurt himself training. There was not another event for over six months for him to compete in.

“Then take it easy on him. Just move around with him, touch him up enough to get a W” he said.

“I ain´t never gonna go pro like that. You know that” Angel said. He was right. In this town, the promoters want knock outs. To get noticed, you must be ferocious.

“It´ll keep you active kid” Samuel said. Samuel was very convincing. So much so that he convinced Angel to go through with it. He also convinced Felipe to as well. It was a constant goal of Felipe to compete and besides, Samuel told him it was a charity MMA event and everyone was going to go light. It was more of an exhibition than an actual fight. Samuel told him he might get tagged a few times but he could take it to the ground and no one would get really hurt.

*   *   *   *

On the day of the fight, Felipe was a little nervous but very excited. He posted about it on the internet and gave the link where the fight would be broadcast online. He was truly going to realize a dream.

Angel on the other hand felt sick. On one hand, he could just move around with Felipe, showcase his technique, take him to the ground and try to submit him without really hurting him. But that would not advance his career in the slightest.

It was time, no turning back at this point. The two men walked to the cage. As it clanged shut, Angel had a bad feeling. Felipe had butterflies in his stomach but was enjoying the moment.

The two men were given instructions by the ref and they were sent to their respective corners. Samuel told Angel to go with his gut and do what he thought was right. Felipe´s corner, and friend and employee of Samuel told him to move around and take it to the ground if it got hairy.

The two men met in the center of the cage. They touched gloves. Immediately Felipe felt the sting of a solid jab but it had only been thrown half speed. It didn´t hurt that much. His confidence grew. He was loving this. He tried to throw a jab of his own and was quickly countered. That one stung a little more. He tried to throw a combo he worked on with his coach a few days ago. The first two punched missed completely but Angel wasn´t expecting a third from this amateur and it caught him well. It even rocked him a little.

Angel threw a kick to the body but caught the point of Felipe´s elbow. He didn´t feel the pain in the moment but his frustration grew as did his rage. “Fuck this” he thought. He closed the distance. He put Felipe in a clinch. With both hands behind Felipe´s neck he launched a knee to his solar plexus. Felipe blocked it. Instinctively, with Felipe´s hands lowered he quickly launched another knee up higher. This time it connected.

Angel had never felt anything like this before. It was as if his knee made contact with a bag of rotten oranges, just smush. His knee had gone right into the eye socket of Felipe easily crushing all the fragile bones in the orbital socket. Felipe fell as if a sniper had got him right behind the head.

Angel could barely make out the shapes around him. The world was a blur. All he saw at his feet was an abstract outline of a man with a halo of red growing around his head. As the ref got between him and the thing on the floor waving both hands in the air the only thought that he clearly could make out was “God forgive me”

 

 

The Trash Collector

16 Dec

catador de lixo

 

Bernie struggled as he pushed his home made trash cart up a slight incline to get to a particularly enticing pile of rubble he saw while scouting the neighborhood the day before. He looked up and saw three vultures circling over an abandoned soccer field. He loved birds and felt a special kinship with vultures.

Bernie arrived at the recently demolished house. He wasted no time looking for the most valuable materials. He was lucky if there was any of the metal rebar left behind but the demolition crews usually kept that for themselves. If they were in a real hurry, though, they sometimes left behind even copper piping and wiring. This was a jackpot for Bernie. No chance this time. Bernie noticed that the pile had already been rummaged. Crack heads probably.

Though a lot of the best stuff had already been taken, Bernie still saw a lot of good stuff. As he mined the pile he found a little, locked metal box. He didn´t think anything of it and threw it into his cart.

Later that night after a hardy dinner of rice, beans and today a little chicken he told his wife, Sandra, of the day´s haul and they went outside to pick over it and see just what he had scored that day.

“What´s this?” his wife asked.

“Oh, that little box? I found it at that demo a few blocks up. I don´t think there is much weight there. Ain´t gonna be worth much” he said.

“Aren´t you curious about what´s inside?” she asked.

“No” he answered with a grunt as he threw some pieces over into another pile.

“You think you can get it open?” she asked.

“Yeah, probably” he answered.

“Then open it” she said.

“Not now. Ain´t gonna make us any money opening boxes. Let´s separate this stuff. Trucks coming tomorrow for a pick up. You know if we ain´t ready, he ain´t stopping” he said, now getting a little annoyed.

She set it aside. She went back to separating. When they were finally satisfied with the night´s separating they made their way to the house. Later that night, Bernie´s wife woke up. She had a strong feeling that she had to do something but couldn´t figure out what. She went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Then she remembered the box. She went out in her pajamas to retrieve it.

She realized that it would be more difficult to open than she thought, so she slipped it under the bed and forgot about it.

A few months past and financial difficulties starting to tear the small family apart. Even though they owned the tiny piece of land and the shack they lived in, they hadn´t been able to pay property taxes for a long time. The government was threatening to take their property away. To make matters worse, their land was on the projected path of a new highway so the government had extra interest in seizing the property.

Things got to the point where Bernie was ready to bolt. He had family in the North East and there was a government program that was giving free money away. This was very enticing. He would practically be given what he currently earned for his backbreaking toil and he would be close to old friends and relatives. Besides, his wife was really starting to get on him about their financial woes. He had nothing to lose. The government was going to take his house anyway. Might as well let them pay him to do nothing, he thought.

One night when Bernie was sure his wife was asleep he gathered a few meager belongings and went to the local bus terminal. He bought one, one way trip to Bahia, his home state.

Sandra woke up that morning and did not need to think too hard to figure out what had happened. Bernie was gone and so were his things. They really did not have much so it was all the more apparent. A single tear ran down her face when she said out loud, “Stop it! It´s over”

She now would have to work even harder without Bernie around. She bent down to get her shoes from under the bed. As she felt for her shoes her hand brushed upon the metal box that she had put there months ago. She decided that she would take it to the locksmith on her rounds looking for recyclables.

Sandra arrived at the locksmith “Pedro, can you open this for me?”

“How much you gonna pay me?” Pedro said with a playful smile. He always had a thing for Sandra.

“I´ll split with you whatever is in the box” she answered.

“How about you just have dinner, my treat” he played.

“Well, Pedro, as of today, I am a single woman. I just might take you up on that” she played back.

“Deal” Pedro said with a smile.

Pedro pulled out some rusty tools and went to work on the tiny lock. In no time it was open. “Ain´t nothing in here, Sandra. Just some papers”

Sandra looked in the box. He was right. Just some papers. But something gave Sandra a feeling that they weren´t just any papers. They looked official.

“Thanks Pedro” she said as she carefully put the box on the trash cart.

“How about our dinner?” Pedro said this time more shy than playful.

“I´ll come back and we can work out the details” she said.

Sandra thought of all the people she could show the papers to. Who did she know who would know what they were? Then she thought of Marcos. He was an attorney who always separated his recyclables from his trash just for her and Bernie. He was a nice person. He would help. His office was in his house so she knew he´d be there.

She rang the buzzer. “How can I help you?” a voice asked through the intercom.

“Is Marcos in?” Sandra asked.

“One moment” the voice said.

The door popped open. It was Marcos´s secretary. “Come in please. Marcos said he has a few moments to spare”

“Thank you” Sandra said.

With the box tucked under her arm, Sandra entered Marcos´s office.

“Hello, Sandra! How are you? Would you care for a coffee?” he asked.

“No thank you. How are you?” she asked back.

“I am spectacular as always, my dear. How can I help you today?” Marcos asked.

Sandra told her short story about the box and asked if he could give an opinion as to what the contents were. She handed over the box.

Marcos´s eyes opened very wide and for a moment Sandra thought they would fall out of his head.

“What is it Marcos?” she asked.

“These are gold certificates, Sandra. And many of them” he told her. Sandra had a confused look on her face so Marcos added “this is a lot of money here!”

Sandra went blank. She could only muster the question, “How much?”

“This first one is for 10,000 DOLLARS! United States dollars. And there are a stack of them!”

A small smile flashed across Sandra´s face. She pinched off a few of the certificates and handed them to Marcos. “You have always been kind to me. Take these” she said.

“No, you don´t….” Marcos started.

“I insist and if you don´t take them I will rip them up and throw them in your waste bin” she said with a smile.

“Well, if you insist” Marcos said, Sandra´s smile was so contagious he could not help but do so himself.

Sandra carefully put the box back onto the trash cart and started to make her way back home. She could not help but to think how her life was going to change. She thought of the freedom this money would afford her. Her mind flashed to Bernie but she quelled that in an instant. Good riddance. He showed his true character when he walked out that door.

She made one stop on her way home.

“Pedro” she called.

From the back of the cramped shack she heard “Yes dear? Come to accept my proposal?” he said jokingly.

“Yes. I have. And I´m paying”

 

Life is Short

10 Dec

Flys

“So how old are you now, Fuli?” Femi asked.
“Fifteen” Fuli answered.
“Fifteen?!?! By your size I thought you were at least 20 days old!” Femi said.
“I get that a lot. Since the family got that new puppy, I´ve been eating a lot” Fuli said proudly.
“Yeah, that little pup leaves meals all over the house! It´s great” Femi said.
Fuli got serious for a moment. “Are you scared?”
“Why would I be?” Femi asked.
“Well, you´ve been around for what, like 28 days? You´re not going to be around much longer. Does that scare you?” Fuli asked.
“You´re too young to be thinking that way. Besides, why be scared of what you cannot control? I look at it this way, I have two glorious days to live. Two days that I get to enjoy the bounty the little dog leaves all over the floor. Two days to see you get even bigger and stronger!” Femi said as a tear rolled down his eye.
“You´re right” said Fuli. “Hmm, what´s that smell? It´s a little sweet…” Fuli began to cough. He felt dizzy. He didn´t notice that his uncle had already fallen to the floor stiff. His world too went black.
As Mandy stood there with the insecticide in her hand she pondered aloud “Why the hell does god put these creatures on Earth anyway?”

How much difference does it make?

2 Sep

How much difference does it make?

You can work out your body for years building muscles that protrude from other muscles only to have them atrophy to nothing in a few quick months of a little sloth.

You can spend years creating a fortune only to see it lost in moments due to a lapse in judgment or worse, something outside your realm of control.

You can spend years of your life and soul creating a family only to have them wiped out in the blink of an eye at the hand of a wild eyed killer or even an inebriated driver.

You build relationships, they go away. You have ideas, you  forget them. You cook food, it gets eaten.

Even the tallest grandest mountains erode at the hand of wind, water and time.

Nothing is permanent not even the stain on your favorite shirt.

You’re born, you die.

I ask again, how much difference does it make?

Fly Birdie

31 Jul

As I sit up on a perch on the ledge of the 50th floor, I look down on the ants.

Not the kind of ants that carry their dead on their backs,

but the kind of ants that display their dead in their best suits over home cooked food and alcoholic beverages.

I sat there looking towards the end (where the ants are walking) and towards where the beginning was set (where the real birds fly and beyond) and I thought “Was this trip worth it?”

Questions like “Can I cash my ticket in now, get a refund and start all over again?” cross my mind.

Then I realized, to fly, one just has to let the updrafts push underneath their wings bringing them to dizzying highs and dangerous lows.

So I convinced myself that if I flapped my wings and tried to fly it would be like thirty plus years taking place in a matter of seconds.

Ground = death. Death = ground.

What is the difference if I wait for these 30 plus years to transpire or if I MAKE THEM HAPPEN IN SECONDS?!

(That day, my seed went unplanted.)