Tag Archives: love

The Match

12 Jan

blood-test

The difference between one brother and another can be as vast as if the two have never lived under the same roof. That was the case for Brad and Erick. Brad was a giver and a pleaser. Erick was a taker and a seeker of pleasure.

The contrast was stark as far back as when they were babies.  Erick was always ripping the toys out of the Brad´s hands which was completely unnecessary because Brad would have simply given the toy if Erick had shown in the most miniscule level of interest in it. Erick preferred violently taking the toy because he would not want to see Brad feel any of the pleasure in giving. Decades of adulthood passed without the two having any contact. This ate at Brad and the latter fact delighted Erick.

One night both brothers received a call. The call came from the same person and had the same information. Their father was dying and both were being requested to take a donor compatibility test.  Brad relished in the opportunity to be a hero. Erick loathed the idea of being so inconvenienced and shuttered at the thought of a needle tearing a hole in his skin and penetrating his vein.  Besides, the thought of his mother being widowed and alone slightly tickled him.

As Brad sat in a thumbing a magazine, waiting his turn to have blood drawn, a disheveled bearded face plodded though the waiting room. “It couldn´t be” Brad thought to himself.

The man plopped down beside him. “Hey shithead” he said.

Brad fought a tear that was burning his eye with will to run down his face.

“Erick! Hey brother! You look, um good!” Brad said.

“No I don´t. But neither do you so we are even” he snapped, fighting the urge to smile. He didn´t want Brad to even dream that he was happy to see him, though he was a little.

“So, how´d they convince you to come?” Brad asked.

“The girl I´m banging said she wouldn´t put out for a while if I didn´t at least take the goddamn test. Even if it comes back positive, she ain´t gonna know” he answered.  The woman he was referring to is his live in girlfriend of five years.

“In that case, I hope I´m a match” Brad chuckled.

“Me too!” Erick roared with inappropriate and slightly forced laughter, sprinkled with a smoker´s hack.

Both men left the clinic with a band aid covered cotton ball on their forearm.  For the next few days Brad waited by the phone with waves of anticipation washing over him. Erick stayed drunk and even forgot why there was a dirty band aid clinging to his arm.

Neither had received a call but Erick´s arm had grown purple and painful to the touch. Brad´s impatience grew to epic proportions. Brad even tried calling Erick even though he knew it was of no use. Even if the number was correct, Erick would probably not answer it anyway.

After a heated, yet typical drunken fight, Erick’s girlfriend walked out promising never to come back.  Went it got this far it meant she´d be gone for at least a week. Usually, Erick relished in these recesses and basked in his freedom, usually getting drunker or higher than usual. This time he wouldn´t. Not even vodka and vicodin could mask the pain in his now swollen, multi color arm.

After seeking for more than three days, Brad finally acquired Erick’s address.  He would not rest until he knew that either he or his brother could be a possible donor. When he arrived to the house he was taken aback. Brad´s living conditions were even worse than he expected. “How could someone live like this?” he thought to himself.

He knocked on the door. No answer. He thought he heard moans coming from inside and they sounded like Erick. He slightly pushed on the door. It was enough to open it. The door did not close properly, let alone have a lock. Erick was on the floor. His face was white and covered with sweat. One arm was raw and swollen, it looked as if it has been burned. It was the arm the blood sample had been taken from. The smell was overwhelming.

Brad said in horror “Let´s get you to the hospital. That arm don´t look so good.”

“It don´t feel no good either” Erick replied, “Ever since that goddamn test. Knew I shouldnt´ve  done it. That bitch tricked me” he was drunk and Brad could smell it over the stench.  “That asshole, son of a bitch of a father of ours is finally gonna get his way after all these years” he stammered.

“What do you mean?” Brad asked.

“Bury one of us! Especially me, the fuck up” Erick said, eyes rolling into the back of his head.

Brad convinced his brother to go to the hospital.  “You have an HAI Mr….”  the doctor trailed off. He couldn´t make out Erick´s last name.

“English, doc” Erick moaned.

“Hospital acquired infection, sir” the doctor replied. He continued ” It´s spread all through your body. Given your lifestyle it has already ravished your weakened system. Let me talk to your brother outside” he said with a forced smile and led Brad to the hall.

There he gave Brad the news that his brother would probably only live for another week. Brad took the news hard and asked if he could be the one to break it to his brother.  The doctor obliged. Erick took the news almost as a relief. There would finally be relief from the pain of his ailment and from the pain that was his life.

Erick was sent home with a smorgasbord of drugs to act as a bridge over pain from the current moment to his eminent death.  One day, high as a vulture with a good draft under its wing, he answered the phone.

“Is this residence of Erick….” the voice trailed off trying to make out the last name.

“Yeah, yeah, sure is” Erick answered.

“I have some good news and some bad news” the voice said.

“Hit me” Erick said.

“The good news is, you´re a match for your father” the voice informed.

“Go on, you said you had some bad news” Erick said with a smile.

“Yes, well, due to the infection I´m afraid we can´t use you and your brother is not a match” the voice said.

Erick sat there in silence with a smile from ear to ear.

“Sir….sir….” the voice on the phone called until there was an audible click.

“This is a great day to be alive” Erick said as he slipped a morphine strip on his tongue,  popped a rainbow of pills and washed them down with cheap vodka.

The Show Must Go On

1 May

show

Pamela worked for the reality television show Gotchya! The premise was simple. The producers would field requests from doubtful girlfriends to test the fidelity of their boyfriends. Pamela´s job was to be the bait. Pamela was a gorgeous woman. Even in real life she looked as though she was being photo shopped at any given moment. The show was a smash hit. Part of its success was the phenomenon that was Pamela. The other part was propensity for people to shut off their intellect and have their most base emotions tickled.

Pamela got her latest assignment. She was to seduce a young man named Ari. Ari was engaged and set to be married in a few months. His girlfriend was having unfounded suspicions, probably brought on by her own obsession with the program. Pamela´s intel told her that Ari liked to have a drink with his coworkers for around an hour every Wednesday after work. The sting was to go down in one month.

Pamela had a peculiar interest in this case. For one, Ari was an extremely handsome man. He had a fascinating background as well. He was a fighter in the Israeli special forces before coming to America and earning his business degree then MBA from a top school. Pamela poured over his files religiously after her mandatory two large glasses a wine every day. She could not get Ari out of her mind. She found herself mouthing his name randomly throughout the day.

The month passed and the set up was to go down the next day. Pamela was extraordinarily nervous. She could not sleep. She was confused by these feelings she was having. To make her job easier, she assumed the marks she was to set up were all cheating scum bags, guilty before proven innocent. She could not get into that mind set this time.

The day of the encounter, she took extra care in dolling herself up. Even the van driver took notice and told her that she was exceptionally beautiful that day. She shrugged off the compliments with a nervous smile. The bar had been previously wired for video and audio. The owner could not dream of turning down this free exposure on a hit TV show. She herself got wired up in the van. The producers noticed she was out of sorts. She convinced them it was nothing and was on her way.

As she sat down at the bar she immediately noticed Ari a few seats down. He was impeccably dressed as were the four gentlemen with him. “This looks like a goddamned Gucci perfume commercial” she thought to herself. As she normally did, she sent over a round of drinks. When the group of men asked who was the generous soul, the bar tender gave a nod in Pamela´s direction.

“My God!” said Mike, a handsome, single accounts manager. “I got this” he added with a smirk as he approached the beautiful woman.

“Thank you for the drinks, from all of us” Mike said.

“No problem” Pamela answered.

“You have a boyfriend?” he asked.

“No” she answered.

“Want one?” Mike asked, playfully.

“Sure, doesn´t every woman?” she flirted back. “I could see myself with the guy in the grey jacket and glasses” she smiled, referring to Ari.

“Oh, Ari? He´s taken. Gonna tie the knot soon”

“What a pity” she said adding “Well, maybe he and I could just have a little fun then. I won´t even be in town that long anyway”

“Good luck. Ari is so in love with his fiancé, I don´t even think he…..if you know what I mean” Mike said chuckling and he made a fist and moved his hand in an up and down fashion.

“We´ll see, could you call him over here, please?” she asked.

“Sure” Mike said as he whistled and motioned for Ari to come over.

“This young lady would like to say hi, Ari” Mike said before going back to the group.

“Hello, I´m Ari” he said.

“I know, Mike told me all about you. I´m Samantha” she said. She always used an alias for the show.

“Nice to meet you, thanks for the drink. I think I´m gonna get back to the group. Would you like to join us? A lot of shop talk but I am sure we can come up with another topic on your behalf” he said.

“No, I am only interested in one man at a time” she said, running her index finger down his chest.

“Oh, I´m very sorry. I am engaged. Did Mike tell you he´s single? He is a really good guy, too” Ari said.

“I am very good at keeping secrets. Besides, Mike is not my type, you are” she said, trying her best. This is the point where ninety percent of the marks melt. Ari was not budging. She could sense it.

“I´m sorry, I´m just, I mean, I´m not that guy. I love my fiancé” he said. He was so stoic, yet so empathetic for Pamela that it was making her crazy. Crazy for him.

“Are you sure? I won´t even be in town for long. I will be long and so will our little secret” she insisted.

A big smile flashed on Ari´s face “I am. I am very sure. But again, you can join us. Have a laugh with us. You don´t have to sit here alone.

“That´s ok. I was just leaving” she said. Pamela was crushed. Not because the mark didn´t take the bait. That has happened before and those shows were just as popular as the ones where the mark took the bait. She was personally crushed. She went out to the production van and told them it was a no go. The producers were thrilled. They told her they had enough footage and that this episode would be a smash hit. The hot, young successful businessman, faithful!

The production team wanted to shoot the reveal and get the parties involved to sign waivers so their likeliness could be shown on the program. Pamela refused to be part of the reveal. After some heated debate, the producers agreed to film the reveal without her.

That night Pamela could not sleep. She tossed and turned and Ari´s big smile kept flashing before her eyes. She could not get him off her mind. Around two in the morning and a bottle and a half of Merlot later she found herself calling Ari´s cell phone. When he answered, she hung up. She did this for half a dozen times. She forgot to block her number.

A half hour she received a call from Ari´s phone. She hesitated to answer. She had no idea what she was going to say. Finally she swiped right.

“Hello?” she said.

“Who is this? Why are you calling my boyfriend?” a woman´s voice asked.

A stroke of what Pamela thought was genius crossed her mind. “I´m Sarah. I served with Ari in the Israeli army. We used to hook up back then. I´ve been in town for the past four months and we have been hooking up almost every day since. For old times sake”

There was only a gasp from the other line. The phone hung up. “What did I just do?” Pamela asked herself.

Months went by and Pamela´s obsession subsided. So did the national scandal her actions caused. The scandal only made the show more popular, though. Pamela was made a host of the show. She became so famous that there was no way she could pull off a sting again. Pamela hired a private investigator to catch up on Ari. He was happily married.

One night, as she was halfway done with her second glass of wine there was a knock on her door. She thought it strange, the protocol for visitors in her building had the doorman call before sending a guest up. The knocking was insistent.

She opened the door. Two olive skinned men pushed their way in. “What is this” she gasped.

“Be quiet” one of them said with a thick accent as the other put a gloved hand over her mouth.

“This is for a friend” he said as he produced a silenced IMI 9mm Uzi.

Pamela didn´t hear or feel a thing.

 

 

Home Is For The Birds

28 Jul

birds

Pilot and Skye had a beautiful home, high up in the trunk of a dead tree. A wood pecker hollowed out an already rotting part in search of a meal. He found what he was looking for and abandoned the site when the food ran out. It was  a perfect home for a young couple of swallows.

One day Pilot went out to look for some food. He gave Skye a kiss on the beak and went his way. He flew almost a full mile until he found a promising location. He looked around for a perch to assess the area. He saw a branch with a wide angle view of the ground below.

Already on the branch was a beautiful female swallow.  Pilot thought he should maybe find another branch but she waved him over with a wink.

“Hello” she said.

“Hello” Pilot said.

“Name´s Libi” she said.

“I´m Pilot” he said, blushing.

“That´s a strong name. Are you a strong bird?” Libi asked.

“Well, not really, I guess I can be” he answered. Libi stayed quite. She knew that silence can drive a male mad.

Pilot´s mind raced, searching for something to say, to break the deafening silence. All he could come up was, “Do you live close?”

“Close to what?” Libi giggled. Pilot blushed again. Libi leaned over and kissed him on the beak. An explosion of emotions rushed over Pilot. The thought that rose to the top was “What am I doing?”

Swallows are hard wired for monogamy. They take a mate for life. This went against thousands of years of evolution.

Pilot pulled away. “I cannot do this! I already have a female”

Libi said with a devilish look, “You do and you don´t now”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the moment you return home, your “ex” will smell my pheromones on you, so you don´t. But, you have me now” she said.

Pilot wanted to protest but he couldn´t. She was right. Dejected, Pilot asked “Where do you live?”

“I don´t have a home, dear” she answered. “You have to make one for us”

“Oh great…” Pilot thought.

Over the course of a week Pilot made a home just as good as the one he left.  Two days after, Libi kicked him out.

“I thought we were going to be together forever” Pilot said.

“That´s so old fashioned. That instinct must have passed over me” Libi said.

“What am I going to do?” Pilot cried.

“I don´t know. Do the same as the others. Go crawling back to your old home” Libi said.

“Others?” Pilot asked.

“Yeah, the others that I tricked into building me a house. I´m just going to flip it for some quick cash” Libi said.

Pilot wanted revenge but realized this would just get more of her pheromones on him. In fact, he was so busy working, he hadn´t had contact with Libi for days. He flew off to see if he could get his life back.

The Connection

18 Jun

Remote-desktop-connection

Beverly´s only real skill in life was being attractive to the opposite sex. She honed this skill the way a fighter hones various angles of his game, only with less hard work, dedication and honor involved in the process. She was constantly changing looks. Beverly didn´t really like men. She was not a lesbian, but she was in not sexually attracted to men. In fact, she really didn´t like much of anything about them. There was one thing she like in a man, money.

Beverly´s lack of attraction didn´t matter because she could fake it like an academy award winning actress. She could make a man feel like he was the only man she had ever truly loved. Many men to this day think of her as the women who fell the hardest for them.

In her younger days, Beverly would just drift from city to city spending a few months here, a few years there. She always found her way into the most posh apartments, finest restaurants and rubbing elbows in the highest social circles wherever she was. But now her years were catching up to her.

It was not that her looks were diminishing. She seemed to become more beautiful with age. It was that moving so often was getting tiresome and lonely. She wanted to stop. She wanted to live in familiarity for once. New was becoming boring.

She created a profile on a website specifically for women looking for men with money. She went to the trouble to buy a few expensive outfits and had professional pictures taken. She threw the bait out. Now she waited to land her whale.

Among the many messages she received over the first week. One caught her eye in particular. His name was Henry. His profile stated he was an entrepreneur, a very wealthy one at that. Beverly was not destitute by any means. She was smart over the years creating various accounts, depositing gifts from her suitors.

Beverly exchanged many messages with Henry and became very interested. He might be able to provide the soft landing she was looking for. And strangely, she felt that she might like him.

After a few weeks of back and forth they decided to meet. They decided to do it in a big way. They were to rendezvous in Cancun for an extended weekend. Henry had given Beverly a long story of how he had some funds frozen due to litigation in Europe and he asked her to spot him. He would pay her back as soon as the matter cleared. Beverly obliged. It was a mere investment in her eyes.

They spent the most fabulous weekend imaginable. Beverly was more sure than ever that she was on the right path. Henry, besides demonstrating great wealth, was handsome and fun to be around. His legal woes in Europe had increased and now a Chinese court was looking into a business of his. Beverly did not think twice about helping him out. Help him out now, help me out in the future, she thought.

After a few more sob stories and a few more wire transfers, Beverly´s funds started to get alarmingly low. When Henry asked for help again, Beverly had to deny. She hadn´t the funds he required. Soon after, Henry disappeared. He no longer answered e-mails. His cell phone was disconnected. Beverly was devastated.

She took what little funds she had and hired a private investigator to track Henry down. After a few weeks, the investigator found all he needed and closed the case. He brought his findings to Beverly. Henry, or Roberto, his birth name, had a criminal record thicker than Beverly´s passport from all the extra pages she needed. All of his crimes were of the white collar ilk. He had never done time. He was good. Apparently, better than Beverly.

Questions Answered

26 May

daddy

Reed stood in his large office with his glare fixed on Central Park through the plate glass window as he was apt to do right after lunch. The same thought, like clockwork, echoed through his mind as it always did at this time. “How did I get here?” was the resounding question.

Reed came from two parents that stayed together for his sake although it was probably more damaging for them to have done so. He had no guidance growing up. He had no positive role model to follow. The role models he did have to follow, if he had followed them, would not have led him to this current location in time and space. He was deathly aware of this.

Reed had the fortune of having a professor at his local community college take an interest in him. This professor recognized that Reed had potential. He took him under his wing and when he felt it was time, unleashed him unto to the world. Reed has since been directly responsible for creating at least 1000 jobs in the metro New York area, indirectly 1000´s more and generating countless millions of dollars in wealth.

None of these accomplishments satiated Reed. He still felt like the kid in class with the cheapest sneakers despite wearing thousand dollar shoes. He still felt like the kid cut from the high school football team despite funding three local high school´s football programs for over a decade. He still felt like the kid who was rejected by the only girl he had a crush on in all his short pubescent years despite being pursued by some of the most beautiful women New York high society has to offer.

He felt empty. He felt he had to do something with his life.

One morning on his way into the office he was listening to an interview with a musician he had liked since he was a kid. The interviewee went on about an experience he had in the jungles of Peru. He had taken a substance called Ayahuasca, a hallucinogen made from jungle plants, and he had a profound life changing, spiritual experience.

Reed felt this was just what he needed to find what it was that he was looking for. He briefed his secretary, Meredith, on his wish and gave her the order to book a trip. He also asked her to book herself on the trip because she was going along with him. She was taken aback at first but she soon warmed to the idea.

Due to the popularity of the interview Reed had heard, trips of this nature were booked for months in advance. He only wanted the best retreat so he obliged to wait ten months. Knowing this was to be a life changing experience he wanted to get closer to his travel companion. He and Meredith decided to have dinner at least once a week, twice if schedule permitted, to get to know each other a little better. Clear ground rules were laid down as to the platonic nature of the encounters.

Due to Reed´s charm and aided by Meredith’s stunning good looks, those rules went right out the window. On the third dinner they could not keep their hands off each other as they went to say goodbye. From that encounter on, they followed each dinner with a trip to a five star hotel where they would take out their lust on one another.

Two months into this situation, Meredith stopped getting her period. She was pregnant. There was no doubt in her mind as to who was the father. Reed´s mind was not so free of doubt. He fathomed, if he could have her so easily and her being as attractive as she was, surely there was a line of suitors.

This doubt did not stop Reed from financially supporting Meredith’s pregnancy, but it held him back emotionally. He kept her at a distance. The months went by and Meredith’s belly grew.

Meredith came into Reed´s office with some news from the doctor. She explained that the doctor was afraid there were some complications and that a cesarean section was to be performed instead of a natural birth. There was even a chance the baby, Meredith or both would not make it. Reed felt a shameful wave of relief and it made him sick.

The day came for the baby to arrive. Reed had everything arranged but was not planning on being present for the delivery. At the last minute he got in a cab and made it to the hospital on time. Meredith was in the operating room. Reed was prepped and allowed in. The doctor kept asking Reed if he wanted to see the work in progress. He said no thank you and stayed by Meredith’s head. She did not look so well. Tears were streaming down her eyes though she was not visibly sad or in pain.

Reed picked Meredith’s limp hand off the bed and held it. He looked at her and felt pity. How did he get here, he asked himself. A sharp cry pierced the air. It was the baby. He, as the doctor informed them, was born.

Reed´s first thought was that it looked nothing like him. Of course, like most new borns, it barely looked like a human. Some of the monitors that Meredith was hooked up to started to make awful sounds. Even though Reed did not understand the beeps and the flashes, his instincts told him they were not good. The doctor asked Reed to go to the father´s lounge and that everything would be okay and he would see the baby in just a little while.

Reed paced nervously in the lounge. The other fathers noticed how he was exceptionally agitated and tried to calm him down. How did he get here, that infernal question raced through his head. After around a half an hour the doctor came in with bad news. Meredith did not make it. She passed not long after he had left the operating room. All Reed could think of was the moment took her hand out of his and put it back on the bed. That was the last contact he had with her while she was still on this planet alive. The scene of the hands flashed in his mind on replay. He felt like punishing himself with the pain the scene made him feel. Finally, the doctor interrupted him.

He asked if he wanted to hold the baby and Reed said yes. He said down in one of the oversized chairs and the nurse came in with the baby. She place it in his arms. He trembled. For the first time in a long time, the question of how he got there did not bounce off the walls of his inner mind. He saw this being and his mission became clear. He cried like he had never cried in his life.

Reed never took that trip into the jungle. In about a month´s time all doubt was lifted as to who was the biological father. The baby looked just like him. It didn´t matter to Reed though, he already was the baby´s father. Everyday upon waking, Reed spoke with Meredith for five to ten minutes. At first he thought it was a little insane. Now it is as necessary a part of his life as breathing. He has stopped asking for forgiveness and now just tells her how the baby is and tells her of his progress.

Reed no longer asks how he got here. He just knows that he is here and that is all that matters.

 

The Ride

23 May

Scenic Curve

Nate, despite a great fear of speed, always wanted a motorcycle. It was not that he thought it would make him cool, it was that they aesthetically pleased him. He loved the curves of sports bikes, the forward leaning aggressiveness and the color schemes. When a bike would pass on the road, it would captivate his attention and imagination long after it had left his sight.

What kept Nate from fulfilling this desire was fear. He had dreams where he would be on a motorcycle and it would accelerate against his will and ultimately he would lose control and crash. He would always wake up before impact. Nate didn´t even like to ride his bicycle fast.

Nate was in line at a coffee shop when a beautiful woman caught his eye. She was sitting at a table with a helmet in front of her and she was wearing a European racing style motorcycle jacket. Nate was afraid of speed but he was not shy.

He got his cup of coffee and went straight for the table where the woman sat. He walked up with his eyes fixed on the helmet.

“Full face?” he asked.

“Always” she responded.

“Yeah, me too” Nate said.

“You ride?” she asked.

“I´m very new to bikes, but yeah” he lied.

“What kind of bike do you have?” she asked, clearly interested in Nate.

“Yamaha R1” Nate answered. This behavior was very out of character for Nate. He was not a liar In fact, one of his strongest traits was his honesty. He didn´t know why he was doing this. He only knew, he couldn´t stop now.

“Very nice. I love Yamahas. Do you want to sit down?” she asked.

The talked for a while about motorcycles. Although Nate had never even been on one in motion, save for his dreams, he was very knowledgeable due to his intense interest. At least an hour and a half passed when the woman said “Oh, gosh, I didn´t even notice what time it was! I have to go. You want to go riding some day?”

Nate swallowed hard, “Uh, sure”

They exchanged numbers and both were on their way. For the rest of the day, Nate thought about that woman. Ashley was her name. He caught himself mouthing the name to himself a few times that day. Every time he did, his stomach fluttered. What am I going to do?, he thought.

He knew the only thing he could do. Buy a motorcycle, learn how to ride it and ask her out. The next day, Nate went on Craig´s list and as luck would have it, there were a few Yamaha R1’s for sale.

He picked the newest looking one. He arranged a meeting in a Wal-Mart parking lot to see the bike. The owner was willing to teach him how to ride it under the condition the money was exchanged before the makeshift lesson.

When he arrived the seller was already there. The bike was impeccable. Nate handed over the money, in cash and the seller handed over the documents. The deal was done. After an hour or two of coaching, Nate actually felt comfortable on the bike. The seller was extremely patient and only left when he felt sure that Nate could handle the bike. The owner stressed to Nate to take it very easy because this was a powerful machine he was dealing with.

Nate felt so comfortable that he decided to leave his car in the parking lot and ride the bike home. The first thing Nate did when he arrived was call Ashley. He felt relieved when he noticed she was excited to hear him call. They arranged a date to ride the Turnpike down to the beach for lunch. It was only a forty minute ride. Not so daunting for a new rider.

The big day came and Nate was so nervous he woke up way before the alarm. He decided he would make use of this time. He decided to wax his bike. It also calmed his nerves to spend some of his nervous energy. He had be practicing on his bike one hour a day since the plan was set. He felt ready.

He swung by Ashley´s house and they were off. Ashley is not a fast rider and that was good for Nate. As he saw the Turnpike entrance his stomach shuttered. He was still a little uneasy on the highway at high speeds.

About fifteen minutes on the Turnpike, Nate was settling in. He was feeling at ease and finally started to enjoy the ride. He decided to speed up a little and Ashley followed suit. She passed him. Then he passed her. This was fun. All of a sudden, Nate´s bike started accelerating. He took his hand off the throttle. The bike did not respond in kind. The throttle was stuck. It accelerated even more. Ashley was now far behind. She was flashing her high beams. Nate panicked. He was coming up on a big curve. He had never taken such a curve even at low speed, let alone on a bike that was going this fast.

He lost control. The bike slammed into the median. Nate went flying. He bounced upon the asphalt for what seemed like an eternity. Ashley quickly came up upon the scene. She was in horror. The bike was unrecognizable and Nate laid on the ground not moving.

Nate woke up in the hospital. Ashley was there by his side along with his family. He was alive. Thanks to his protective gear he was relatively in good shape. He had a few broken bones. He looked over at Ashley and she looked back at him in a way nobody had ever looked at him before. He was in love, with her and motorcycles. Both would go on to play a big part in his life from that point on.

 

 

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”