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

lunes, 13 de noviembre de 2017

In fashion

   Every single night, Maddie Compton would fix every single piece of clothing she had been able to find in the second hand stores she visited that week. Sometimes they weren’t even fashion stores but places where she could buy the fabric she liked the most and modify it enough to create something no one had ever wore before. She had the advantage of having a great eye for design and a great taste in clothing. After all, she read all the magazines she could get her hands on, for free of course.

 Maddie was not a wealthy woman but she pretended to be, going to the most prestigious parties with the elite of the city. Many loved her designs and praised her for it. She even got some friends during those parties but the truth was that she had accepted the fact she couldn’t’ really get too close to anyone. Realizing that she was not who she said she was wouldn’t have been too hard for someone close to her, so she tried hard not to overstay her welcome in such events.

 She had made some mistakes in the past, as going out after with a guy she had met at the party. It would normally be a one-night stand, as she would escape the room as silently as she could and then leave to her life far away from the skyscrapers and lovely apartments those people had. Sometimes it was really hard for her, because she really wanted to be like them. She wanted that life which was certainly much easier than her own. She wanted to feel people cared about who she was.

 Of course, Maddie knew many of the people she met in those parties were not fully honest with her but it wasn’t possible that among so many people there wasn’t at least one person that actually liked what she did. One of her ideas at first had been to find someone willing to give her money to design dresses for some brand, at least as a test. They were certainly the type to do that but it came to be much more difficult than what she had anticipated. Rich people were too in love with themselves.

 To be fair, she was too. Maddie was the kind of woman that always looks at her own reflection on the mirror in the morning and then several more times during the day. She couldn’t avoid taking pictures of herself and it wasn’t even to share with friends or family, it was just to take a look at herself and try to reinforce some weird acceptance of her own being in her brain. She knew she needed people’s approval to feel she had made it and that’s why she had gone after the opinions of people who mattered, the ones that had money and could take decisions.

 The young woman had made several dresses and then she would sell them in the same stores she bought the ones that she modified and turned into sensations. Many store owners were very grateful for what she did because many of her designs sold very well with younger women that wanted something different to wear at an affordable price. It was the only way for her to make some money, besides working some days in a call center, helping with pizza deliveries from around the world.

 Maddies wanted to live of her designs. That or get one of those rich men to make her a rich woman through marriage but that was a lot trickier because she would began their life together by lying at that was never the best way to initiate a new relationship. Luckily, none of the guys she had dated had ever asked too much about her. Most men her age were too focused on themselves and their own achievements to even ask about what she really wanted out of life.

 It wasn’t the life she would have wanted for herself but it was the one she had and the one that made sense. She needed to insist on her only talent and if making clothes were the way to go, she would try it as long as she could. She made a very small amount of money out of it but it was the only activity that clamed her down and made her feel the world is not as awful as one would think it is, at least sometimes. The sound of her machine was the perfect way to distract her brain.

 It was the exact opposite of the parties she attended where most people were vicious and just loved to tear others apart, especially the women. Maybe it was because they had always been under appreciated, even when they were such wealthy people, but the ladies could be savage with newcomers and when the tastes of others didn’t match what was generally accepted. Maddie had to check all that out before going out to one of those events, in order to be praised but never mocked.

 She was very successful that way. She even decided to learn a bit more about make up and how to achieve a complete look that would fool anyone. She would imitate looks from magazines or inspire herself from those, with her cheap fabrics and dresses and accessories she practically remade herself. She always laughed alone in her apartment, thinking that if a policeman found her there he would think she was managing the least successful pirating ring ever. She did it all perfectly but always in a very small scale, in order not to attract the wrong attention.

 After a very long time trying to make it, Maddie finally attracted the right person for what she wanted to do. Her name was Emilia Gobstone and she was one of the wealthiest women in the city. She had an amazing apartment where many parties were held, having appeared in numerous occasions in many magazines. She fell in love with Maddie and one of her dresses and asked the young woman to make her and her daughters the same dress for a special party in a country club.

 Maddie did as asked and Mrs. Gobstone could not have been happier. The fabric Maddie had used was one of the best she had ever worked with, spending a very large sum to get it. But she knew she needed the best to be successful with that particular request. She was right. The wealthy woman was so happy, that she paid double what they had agreed on in the first place and asked Maddie to make her clothes for every event in the fall season that was getting nearer by the minute.

 With such a success, she decided to retire from going to parties and such and focus more on her dresses and their quality. From the point of view of her craft, she had made the best choice. However, many people wondered where she had left to and it was then when they found out who she really was. Everyone made fun of her in social media, posting pictures they had with her and telling the most awful stories about her. Some were based on things she had said, but they all twisted her words and some were only lies.

 She finished her work on Mrs. Gobstone’s dresses and wrote her a letter apologizing for everything. She sent her creations and the letter one afternoon and then decided to leave the city for a while, needing some fresh air, something she wouldn’t be able to get in such a city, which felt a little bit too crowded sometimes. She grabbed a suitcase, put some of her clothes and just left, trying not to think too much about everything that had happened in the last few years. 

 To her surprise, Mrs. Gobstone’s personal butler found her in her parent’s home, many kilometers away from the city. He told her his mistress needed her urgently and that it couldn’t wait. Maddie accepted the ride and, a few hours later, she was in the woman’s apartment.


 There, the socialite gave her a check to pay for her dresses and told her she wouldn’t be able to hire her again. However, she could do something else for her, as a personal way to thank her for her work. The following week, an specialized magazine called Maddie, in order to arrange an interview.

miércoles, 8 de noviembre de 2017

You reap what you sow

  Its name was Cotton and he had been a member of the Northam family for at least ten years. He had been given to a young teenager named Martha, the oldest of the Northam marriage. They were a very wealthy family from the coastline region, controlling most of the fishing industry in the part of the country. They named the cat Cotton because of the color of its fur but also because the family also owned several cotton plantations on near the ocean, which they exported with ease.

 Martha had never really wanted a cat. She was not the kind of kid to like animals or anything that was alive. To be fair, she had problems at school that had resulted in her removal from the education system. She was then educated at home by private teachers who would come for at least five hours a day and try to educate her a bit. But the girl wasn’t interested, only being moved by the love of her father and his tendency to give her what she wanted whenever she wanted.

 Her mother Nancy had never agreed to that behavior but Mr. Northam, as head of the family, made all the big choices around there and she couldn’t really protest any of the decisions he made. If he wanted something done at home or not, if he wanted the children to go to school or not and even what kind of food would be served at home, it was him who decided it all, even if it didn’t really affected him. Because, you see, Mr. Northam was never around in the house, too busy with his business.

 Many, for a long while, had guessed he could be one of those men that has several mistresses all around and even other families but that was proven to be false when Nancy, on a very rare glimpse of attitude, had decided to follow her husband one day in order to se what he did with his time. It had been the most boring experience for him and had just sealed in her mind that nothing would ever change in that house because there was nothing unpredictable about the things happening all around.

 Cotton was officially Martha’s, but the cat spend much more time in the kitchen, sitting on an old wooden stool, while the cook did her chores of the day. She was a big woman, much bigger than any in the family, and she would often give the cat bits and pieces of everything she made. Everyone always seemed to be astonished at how fat he became over the years. No one knew about where he went every day and only the old cook knew and never told a soul. After all, Cotton was a bit like a companion, even a partner in crime if you will. She never felt alone when he was there.

 For Alysia, the cook, Cotton was more human than the people she made the food for. She liked the cat because he seemed to listen to what she said, even if it was ridiculous to converse with a cat. However, that all changed when Martha discovered the cat coming out of the kitchen one day, when she was about to leave the house after finally ending her high school years. Her father had agreed to pay a very expensive university far away in order for her to become a clothes designer.

 Even so, she complained to her father about the cat not being with her, as he should even if she didn’t want him around, and being with the cook instead. The children had never seen the cook’s face but they had been raised to believe that was far a reason, something to do with them being better than others although with a different wording, in order not to seem heartless and insensitive. But the truth could never be masked by pretty and false phrases that meant nothing.

 Mr. Northam’s response was pretty straightforward: Alysia was fired and replaced with another older woman, as big as she was. The cat stopped going to the kitchen because the new cook would always try to scare it off with a broom or something. So Cotton, once again, became an object for everyone in the house, as useless and uninteresting as a lamp or the rugs that were all over the place. No one cared about him afterward, being the gardener the one in charge of filling the cat’s bowel with food and water.

 Alysia leaved in a small shed was forced to leave it once she had been fired, as all of the housing in the area was exclusive for people that worked for the Northam family. She was evicted along with her few belongings and at age seventy-six she was forced to leave the region and go to a big city in order to try to find a new job, because she didn’t have enough money saved to pay for anything. Suffice to say that working for years had not made her a candidate for a pension or even health insurance.

 Cotton escaped one night and went looking for Alysia but he never found her. Not only because he arrived at the shed she used to leave with and no one was there, but because he was an already very old cat and couldn’t properly use his natural talents to find anyone. He was confused and tired, so he decided to go back to the only place where he could rest for the rest of his days. At least the small boys were now bigger and didn’t bother him and the rest of the family was too submerged in their own businesses in order to care for what a cat would do or not do.

 In the city, Alysia eventually found a job knitting for a store that made baby clothes. They required her skills to be almost out of this world and she was just too tired to do it as fast as they wanted her to be. So they also fired her from that place. She would never find a job ever again and, in a very sad turn, she died in line while trying to get into the office that was supposed to help her sue the Northams for everything that they owed her for all the years of service. It wasn’t peaceful.

 No one attended her funeral and she was cremated because there was no determined place to put her body. Some nice person dissipated her ashes in a park in the city, but that was it for her. She had raised a family, had endured after losing her husband and had made everything possible for her children to have better lives than hers. She failed and succeeded but all of that never mattered in her golden years, that time you are supposed to be at peace and with no worries.

 As for the Northam family, they didn’t have the best of lucks either. Because of very poor business decisions, a competing company was able to outgrow them and eventually they were forced to sell to them. Everything went, even the palatial house that had been their refuge for so many years. Every employee defected fast and many other were only fired with no compensation. Some of the old sheds were demolished and everything that had been a reality for so long had been turned into dust.

 As for Martha, she never returned from abroad. However, it was known by everyone that she had never paid a single semester in that fancy university, instead blowing the money in alcohol and drugs. A couple of years after her family’s bankruptcy, she was found dead because of an overdose. It was the final nail in the coffin for her family, a very big coffin with a very large amount of nails. Her parents divorced and her brothers never spoke to any of them again, separating forever.

 Cotton was a witness in all of this. However, the cat was very old and tired when it all happened. However, the gardener decided to keep him when things were being sold. After all that time, he had also developed a fondness for the furry creature.


 The cat died only a year after that, not being able to fully enjoyed proper love in a much better, although smaller, house. Some called the whole thing a curse but there are no such things. It’s more the phrase that grandmothers say: “You reap what you sow”.

miércoles, 19 de julio de 2017

Detective Klein

  The room was one chaotic scene. Not only there was paint all over the walls, but also two bodies were lying on the floor, faces down and covered with white blankets, that seemed really out of place for some reason. They weren’t a strange sight as that room had been the scene of a violent crime. The people from the police had been working there for a whole day now. As they ate something or had a smoke, two detectives had decided to enter the premises and begin the investigation formally.

 Of course, the stench of the massacre had not cleared the room yet. All the doors had been opened but not the windows, as a gust of wind could disturb the scene or bring in foreign components. They wanted everything to be as it had been for the week or so since the murders had occurred. It was a shame for the police to only now realize what had happened in that poor neighborhood, which so often appeared in the news being portrayed as some kind of doorway to the flames of hell.

 However, every comparison to the reign of Satan was very accurate at the moment. The scene was hellish and there was no surprise when Detective Keaton couldn’t hold his breakfast after looking at the room once. Klein, on the other side, was made of a stronger material. He had seen so many gruesome scenes like this one; it just didn’t do anything for him. He could even eat in front of an open body, a fact that had always shocked all of his peers, even the coroners.

 As Keaton was tended by some of the men that had been eating outside, Klein decided to put on some plastic slippers and just have a tour of the room. It was actually a one-bedroom apartment. On one end, there was the door he had entered through. On the opposite side, another door was open, revealing a very dirty shower. The bathroom appeared no to have been the most taken care of place in that building. In the main room, there was a bed on the corner and the bodies were lying next to it.

 The blood, as said before, was all over the place: on the bed, the walls, the bathroom floor, the alarm clock on the only table in the premises and also on the sole electric heater, which would have been used to cook food with the help of the only wall socket in the room. It was really a dreary scene. Klein bent his knees next to the bodies and lifted one of the white blankets. Beneath it, he saw what he had always hated to see in the job: the body of a young human being. It made him mad and hopeless. Next to it was a woman, possibly the mother. Both covered in blood.

 Keaton was on the door, covering his nose with a handkerchief. It was very like him to have such an item that only older people use at the time. He was younger than Klein but somehow he felt like a grandfather of sorts. He had apparently recuperated from watching the scene and was now trying to focus his attention on Klein. He told him that the coroner had sent for the bodies and that the ambulances would be there in a short time. Klein nodded but said nothing, still looking at the scene.

 They had been partners for quite a long time, so Keaton knew exactly which face meant what. Right then, it was clear to him that Klein was thinking hard about the facts of the incident and it was best not to interrupt him as he hated people to do that. It was him who stopped the silence and asked his companion if he had asked the people from the police department about all the details of the scene, every object they had found and anything related to the corpses, as well as the apartment.

 Keaton handed his partner a folder where it said, quite clearly, that the woman and the child were not the owners of the apartment. Furthermore, none of them had any type of contract with the owner to live there. At least, no official contract had been recorded. So the first visit they had to make was to the owner. They could have gone to some family member of the victims but heir names had not been found yet. No identity cards, no data at all. It was as if they had been forgotten by the world.

 Minutes later, they were hopping in the car, rushing through the streets towards a more quiet, peaceful suburb. It had a lot of similar houses, like in the movies. Getting to the house that they were looking for was very tricky as most of the streets ended on a roundabout, with four or five houses sitting around. They saw children laughing, people playing with their dogs and couples holding hands. It was always awkward to see that after witnessing the scene of a murder.

 Life suddenly seemed meaningless for some reason. If someone could eliminate people in that fashion, it was clear that humans have the awful capacity to exterminate themselves. And what policemen do is to defend some humans against the rest. People always say good always wins but it was sometimes difficult to believe such a claim when, several times a week, you see proof that mankind is just made out of slightly evolved animals. But animals anyway. Keaton and Klein finally found the house, walked to the door and rang.

 A little girl opened the door. Her face was covered in chocolate and she just laughed. The two men were petrified right on the spot by this action. They had been taken by surprise by the sheer happiness of a child who is innocent and has not had a way of knowing how the world really works. The mother came in running, also laughing for some reason. She asked for their business and they asked for her husband. She offered them entrance but they refused, preferring to stay by the door.

 The man was called several times until he descended the stairs. It was clearly a day off for him as he was wearing boxers and a t-shirt tainted with grease and few mustard stains. They asked if he was named Victor Gould and he said yes. They asked if he owned an apartment building in the city and he said yes. Apparently, it had belonged to his father for years but he had received the place as a gift when the man had died some years ago. He confesses soon he rarely visited the place.

 The detectives promptly explained the reason for their visit. The man was appalled by what he heard and his wife, who had been listening close by, ran to her children and tried to keep them busy, away from the awful conversation. The man told them he had no idea a family had been living in that apartment. He had a man to go and collect rent but he kept papers on the building, which he showed to the police. He had no way of knowing a mother and her child had been living there illegally.

 That’s when Keaton realized what was going on. They rushed to the morgue, on the basement of the police department. There, the coroner explained to them that there was indeed no way of telling who the victims were but he could tell them that they had suffered for days before actually dying. They had been starving for a while, maybe even up to a month. They had little inside of them when he checked the stomachs. He concluded the kid was dead when it had been stabbed. But not the mother.

 Someone knew they were there. Someone had let them in and was possibly blackmailing them, threatening to call the deportation office and get them sent back to wherever they had come from. That same someone possibly stabbed them for some crazy reason.


 When he entered his own tiny apartment that night, Klein went straight for the bottle of scotch he kept in the kitchen. Booze was the only thing that could help him sleep when the realization of how much a dump the world was came to his mind. It happened very often, judging by the number of empty bottles crammed in a box.

lunes, 10 de julio de 2017

Inside the storm

   The weather outside the terminal was terrible. The storm had been brewing for quite a while and it had finally unleashed itself unto the city in the ground. It had been going on for about three hours and, according to experts, rain could continue to fall for a very long time. It was not possible to know how many hours or even days that would be as the system had become the storm of nightmares and something like that was not going to go away in a couple of seconds.

 The airport had been packed earlier but, as night came, people were sent back to their homes or hotels, in the hope they could resume their journey the following day. That was not going to be possible but the hope for something better is always present in most people. They do incredible things because of that hope and that means they can be capable of some beautiful things but also of horrendous acts. It’s just the way humanity works and it will keep working like that forever.

 A perfect example of that would be Patricia King. She found herself in the bathroom the moment her airline announced, via speakers, that all their flights had been grounded and cancelled as the storm was impossible to get through. You probably don’t know this, but Mrs. King was a very determined individual. Not only she had become the top executive in her law firm in record time, she was well known among her colleagues for nailing every single case that landed in her office.

 Patricia King was hated and loved and both feelings were felt especially strong inside of the law firm she worked so hard in. She was applauded when applause was required but that did not mean everyone liked her, least of all Robert Frost. Frost had been her nemesis from the first moment she had entered the office tower in downtown where the firm was located. He had been the star of that place for many years, had built the image of the firm himself and saw King as a threat to everything he had done for himself and others.

 This was fast overheard by the woman, as she had learned from a young age to be alert for any kind of dissidence in the group she was in. She had been like that in college and in high school. Her classmates respected her but always knew when and what to talk about when she was around. That explained why, despite being so well regarded, she didn’t really have any friends. She lived alone and had never been in a romantic relationship with any man or woman. She wasn’t interested in “wasting her time”, as she had once phrased it to her own mother.

 However, Mrs. King cannot and should not be portrayed as a monster, a “power hungry bitch”, if you will. As a woman working in a man’s world, Patricia knew that she had to work twice as hard to get somewhere in life. And that’s exactly what she did: she started working at a very young age, earning money and saving it for the future. Her parents were very surprised when, at the age of sixteen, she was able to pay for her own new car, not requiring their help for any of it.

 She paid her way through college exactly the same way, grabbing most of the money saved from many summer jobs in her youth in order to get herself the best private education money could buy. As she was so focused on her goals, she achieved them all very easily; at least that’s what it seemed from an observer’s point of view. After all, Patricia always had a winning smile on her face and there was never a moment when she didn’t seem to know her next move.

 However, this was all a deception. She was a human being, flawed and imperfect. She had not been born special in any way and had to build herself to be who she wanted to become in the future. That’s why, realizing this in her early years of adolescence, she decided to stay focused and never drive off the road she had perfectly designed for her life. She knew she wanted to be well known but for helping people and being a lawyer was the perfect way to do so. She was decided.

 As she washed her face in the airport bathroom, after hearing the announcement of the cancellation of the flights, Patricia realized that, for the first time ever, she had no idea what to do next. Her plan had been to get back to her city, where she would give two lecture in different locations on the same day and then, she would sign the papers to buy herself a brand new office, finally a real space only to herself where she could give life to her very own law firm.

 She had been thinking about it for a very long time and finally the moment was perfect: she was beloved by the people that needed to love her and there were the exact amount of favors owed to her that she needed to make her dreams come true, at least the most urgent dreams. It was all-perfect but for every single thing to work, she needed to be in the city the next day. The storm had formed out of nowhere because she was always checking weather conditions and many other factors that may cause disruptions in her business. She planned it all.

 But, as life goes, not everything can be predicted. The world is ever changing, always throwing curve balls at existence, to see if something would change, from time to time. Patricia went back to the check-in counters and complained but the staff was leaving because the airport had been closed. Every single flight had been grounded. In a second, she realized she could pay for a private pilot to take her to the required destination. So, in the middle of the storm and with her only small suitcase, she left the terminal.

 Luckily, the last shuttle bus was right where it should be and it took her in only five minutes to the general aviation terminal. She was hoping to fin everything operating as normal but, of course, the terminal there was closed too. Drenched, she walked around, trying to think of something. Patricia then spotted a security guard and tried to bribe him in order for him to let her walk into the tarmac, where she would hopefully find an available pilot. But the man had no use for money. Big mistake.

 This is where everything went bad. Or maybe it should be said that it went worse, because this was not the first time Patricia had done something like that. As said before, people do bad and good things depending on the moment and Mrs. King was the type of person that was always two plays into the game. She had bribed before, she had used her looks to get evidence for cases and had even had sexual relations with men and women in order to get what she wanted, whatever it was.

 Patricia King was not the jewel everyone thought she was. There was something, however, that people could feel when they were around her. And it was that rotten piece of her soul, corrupted by greed, that made everyone think twice about being a little bit too close to her. Instinct had made great things for her but it had also being something very good for the people around her, as it warned them that Patricia was to be respected because of the danger she represented to herself and others.

 So she grabbed the guard’s gun and shot him, point blank. Her hands were covered in water and so was the gun. The thunders covered the noise. She managed to get to the tarmac and, what do you know, there was a pilot available, originally waiting for a wealthy client.


 One hour later, Patricia landed in her city. She was a bit dizzy and nauseated but ready for the big day that was awaiting her. This may serve as a remainder that we are all capable of horrible things. The thing is, we do not all cave to our deepest, darkest passions.