Category Archives: Fiction

Thought #30. The killer who was never caught 1/2.

Friday, 21st of December, 2011. 7:00 a.m. in the morning. The news bulletin opens with the 10th death in a row. “London Metropolitan police are conducting an investigation after the body of a middle-aged woman was found fully clothed, lying prone on the ground of Walthamstow Central Station. At first, constable B.I., the first police officer arriving at the crime scene, speculated about the possibility of a natural death. She soon changed her mind after seeing the sheer terror in the woman’s motionless face.”

Paul looks at his kettle. It definitely needs descaling. The sound of boiling water muffles the radio receiver, making the news bulletin unintelligible. The toaster is on. He is about to breakfast on tea and toasts, as usual. Suddenly, his mobile phone rings. “What the hell?”, he murmurs. He is chief in command for the special operation launched on account of the series of killings that have been taking place recently. He warned the team not to bother him unless a new corpse was found. “It cannot be the case, not again”, he tells himself.

– “Inspector May speaking”, Paul answers reluctantly.
– “It’s me, Beth. Sir, following the protocol, the area has been cordoned off. The mayor is coming and has requested your presence. Walthamstow Central Station, right at the entrance.”, by her hurried voice’s tone and the location of the body, Paul knows full well that it is going to be a long day.
– “I’m on the way. Don’t talk to the media. Don’t talk to anyone!”
– “Yes, sir.”, they both hung up in unison.

7:30 a.m. Paul arrives at the surroundings of Walthamstow Central Station and a noisy flock of curious people are already trying to poke their nose into the investigation. From his position, Paul can see Beth accounting to the major. He jumps to his feet and approaches the scene, clawing his way amongst the crowd.

– “Good Morning, mayor Palmer”, Paul utters with a serious countenance.
– “Good Morning, inspector”, Mr. Palmer says while gesturing to Beth to recapitulate the facts.
– “Inspector, all the officers are completely baffled by this murder. We couldn’t have predicted this twist in the case. We managed to foresee the station but the assassination was expected on Sunday 23rd.”, Beth pointed out.
– “Well, it doesn’t make any difference, we’re going to arrest the killer at any cost. Mayor, as you may’ve been informed, the first body was found in Elephant & Castle Station while I was holding a dinner to celebrate my retirement. I had to put off that dinner for a while. I promised to stay in command until the case is solved and I’ll keep my promise. It’s all I can tell you at this moment.”
– “I understand. Keep me informed. Officer, inspector”, mayor Palmer says as he beckons his bodyguard. He leaves the scene jostling through the swarm of prying people.

9:30 a.m. The Metropolitan Police’s headquarters is a hive of activity. David, the computer technician remains silent whilst Beth relates the story. By his puzzled and thoughtful look, you can guess the news comes as a complete surprise to him.

The agenda for today’s briefing consists of a unique item: under no circumstances should anyone leak any information about the current inquiries. The inspector ends the meeting with a muted applause and his favourite phrase: “Do I make myself clear?”. The instructions are as clear as day.

The special operation command has been working hard since the first body was found 21 days ago. Nine deaths, all poisoned. Nine stations, each from a different line. But, things are seldom as they seem. David had requested an urgent meeting on Tuesday to announce an unexpected connection between the deaths. Unfortunately, the meeting, postponed until Wednesday, was broken up after the room’s door burst open and constable Beth announced the 9th death. David was talking ten to the dozen, trying to shed light on the recent deaths. He looked at Beth and came out with a name. “Heathrow Terminal 5 station”. Beth nodded at him in agreement. The news left the inspector speechless. A deathly silence fell on the room.

A few minutes later, David managed to resume the speech, giving detailed account of his findings. The connection between the string of deaths was purely and simply numerical. Looking at the calendar on the wall, David reeled off the first few numbers that were crossed out: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11. It was a well-known sequence, and as yet no officer had discovered the link. Prime numbers. The team looked on in awe as David rendered the second discovery: the stations had not been chosen at random. They also followed a clear pattern: the last station of a line, the line chosen in alphabetical order. A two-slide Powerpoint presentation showed a couple of Wikipedia articles supporting the explanation.

To be continued…

 

Thought #10. Foreplay.

– “Dearest Sucre, you know full well that neither will I stand in your way if you want to have intercourse with her, nor am I asking you to pose as an accomplished dog.” Sucre was watching the clock. “Shall I give you a piece of advice?”, I told him tactfully.

– “Sure, go ahead” was his quick response.

Deep down, I knew he was going to ignore it.

– “Please, don’t be so rough, a bit of foreplay would pave the way. Look for a beautiful hideout. ”

Later on, it just so happened that his fiancée was only in the mood for a play date. Sucre, unable to think clearly, had a knee-jerk reaction and started to shiver.

– “Darling, you look worried; what’s the matter?”, she asked him uneasily.

It seemed as though my appeal was going to fall on deaf ears.

Without further ado, his gloomy expression apparently did the trick. He was coaxing her beloved girlfriend into stopping the child’s play. He threw caution to the wind and had the cheek to mount her in public.

– “I’m so ashamed of you!”, I shouted angrily.

According to eyewitnesses I shouldn’t have taken exception to what Sucre did. They claimed that it would be highly unwise to consider Sucre’s behaviour as a punishable offence.

I don’t consider myself prudish but I do think that the display of sex scenes in public borders on indecency.

The escape

La huida

Sale corriendo para borrar la imagen que acaba de ver intentado que la velocidad de su cuerpo deje atrás lo que no tendría que haber pasado. No quiere pensar, no quiere sentir, sólo quiere huir, de aquella calle, de aquel camino, de aquella vida que no entiende porque ha tenido que ser así. Nacer de esta manera es nacer y hacerse adulta. ¿No tenía ella derecho a ser también pequeña, a no tener preocupaciones, a ser durante un tiempo un poco más largo la prolongación de su madre y su padre? ¿Qué clase de vida es aquella? ¿Qué clase de gente la que le roba la inocencia, la que le quita con una explosión todo aquello que quiere? Jura por Dios, pero jura que si consigue hacerse mayor luchará por la paz, aunque ahora mismo lo que querría es vengar la muerte con otra.

The escape

She runs away to escape from the image she has just seen, making her body rush and leave behind what shouldn’t have happened. She doesn’t want to think, she doesn’t want to feel, she just wants to flee far from that street, from that path, from that life impossible to figure out why it had to be like that. Being born that way is becoming an adult straightaway. Didn’t she have the right to be also a little girl, not to have any worries, to be for a longer period or time her parents’ beloved child? What kind of lífe is that? What kind of people take away your innocence and everything you love? She swears to God that if she grows old, she will fight for peace, although right now what she would like is avenge death with death itself.

© Photography by Alberto Pérez Pastor – © Text by Isabel Gracia – © English translation by Sara Besalduch

 

Together

52 años juntos. No han perdido las ganas de seguir adelante, pese a que sus hijos hagan sus vidas y ya no los necesiten. “Ley de vida”, dice siempre la señora Asunción, que sigue maquillándose cada día para salir a la calle y pintándose las uñas todos los jueves. El sexo ahora es prácticamente inexistente, pero su amor toma más fuerza si cabe. Miles y miles de anécdotas vividas siempre juntos. Recorren las calles de su ciudad con una enorme estima mutua. Su único deseo es morir a la vez, enrollados en el sofá con su manta favorita y viendo la novela de la sobremesa. Juntos los tragos de la vida se pasan mejor, siempre que haya entendimiento y de eso a ellos les sobra, se conocen mejor que si se hubiesen parido el uno al otro.

52 years together. They haven’t lost the spirit to move on, though their children have now separate lives and don’t need them anymore. “This is the way it goes”, says always Asunción, who still makes up every single day to go out and has her nails painted every Thursday. Sex is now practically inexistent, but their love is even stronger. Thousands of anecdotes lived always together. They wander the streets of the city with a huge mutual esteem. Their only wish is dying at the same time, entwined with their favourite blanket watching the afternoon serial in the sofa. Together the problems in life a less, as long as there is understanding and they abound with that; they know each other better than if they had given birth one another.

 © Photography by Alberto Pérez Pastor – © Text by Marta Gómez Ballester – © English translation by Sara Besalduch

 

Destiny

Marga es única, pasa de puntillas, casi sin hacer ruido, siempre preparada para ofrecer lo mejor; pero se le dibuja una pequeña sonrisa cuando piensa en todo el amor que ofreció en el pasado; ahora se ha convertido en su mejor regalo. Con eso se queda. La vida es un viaje constante. De norte a sur nuestra historia es una historia vivida, paso a paso, lentamente.

Piensa en sus hijos, ellos la adoran, lo sabe, pero también sabe que tiene que dejarlos marchar. Algún día tenía que ocurrir, y es exactamente ahora. Desde la enfermedad del pequeño sólo ha vivido por y para ellos. Dedicación absoluta, noches y noches sin dormir y despertares llenos de angustia, pero feliz. Así es Marga: dulce, entera, bondadosa, con sabiduría y llena de amor; es mágica. Ahora se quedará sola, pero con el corazón lleno de recuerdos y el cariño, a distancia, de sus amados hijos. El único apoyo que le queda es su fiel e inseparable bastón. No desespera, ella ya ha tomado la decisión, y el mando, de su nuevo rumbo: a partir de ahora estará rodeada de gente, no será su gente pero sabrá convivir. Su espacio se llenará de recuerdos vividos…y por vivir. La vida está llena de obstáculos, pero se es grande cuando se sabe caminar junto a ellos. El mejor destino de Marga aún está por llegar…

Marga is unique, she goes unnoticed, not making any noise, always willing to offer the best in her; but she grins when she recalls all the love she gave in the past; now it is the best of all presents. She sticks to that. Life is a constant trip. From north to south our history is a lived history, step by step, bit by bit.

She thinks about her children, they love her, which she knows, though they have to leave, and she knows that too. Someday it had to happen, and it is right now. From the illness of the youngest, she has fully devoted her life to them. Exclusive dedication, nights in nights out without sleeping and agonizing wake-ups, but happy.  So is Marga: sweet, calm, kind, full of wisdom and love; magic. Now she’ll stay alone, but with a heart full of memories and the affection, though in the distance, of her beloved children. He only support that remains is her faithful and inseparable walking stick. She doesn’t get desperate as she has taken the decision and the control of her new direction: from now on she will be surrounded by people, not her people but she will manage to survive. Her hole will be filled with lived experiences and those to-be lived. Life is full of obstacles, but one gets big when we learn to walk with them. Marga’s best destiny is yet to come…

 © Photography by Alberto Pérez Pastor – © Text by Mari Cruz Notari Civera – © English translation by Sara Besalduch

Endless happiness

Tarde de compras por la ciudad. Como no, el imperio Inditex triunfa en días como éstos. El Paul Newman español acompañando a su chica. No trabajan ninguno de los dos, pero se lo montan mejor que si tuviesen dinero para dar la vuelta al mundo ocho veces. Y es que los expertos apuntan que una vez se tienen las necesidades básicas cubiertas, el hecho de acumular más al mes no te hace más feliz. Además, tiene su gracia mirar precios antes de comprar. Al fin y al cabo, los fotografiados siguen siendo la pareja con más glamour de las callejuelas urbanas. Olé, olé y olé!

Shopping in the afternoon around the city. It goes without saying that the Inditex empire doesn’t have competitors in days like these. The Spanish Paul Newman with his girlfriend. Neither of them works, but they manage even better than if they had money to go around the world eight times. Experts have it that once basic needs are met, the fact of squirreling away more and more each month doesn’t make you happier. Besides, it is funny to browse the prices before actually buying an item. After all, the ones in the picture are still the most glamorous couple on the block. Hurray!

© Photography by Alberto Pérez Pastor – © Text by Marta Gómez Ballester – © English translation by Sara Besalduch

Tender

María está subida al único tren del que no le gustaría bajarse: el de la maternidad. No tiene ayuda del padre; de hecho, no sabe quién es ni lo sabrá nunca. Desde luego, su niño no es fruto de Pedro ni de Luis, sus dos últimos novietes. Ella prefirió no conocer el rostro ni el cuerpo del inseminador. Ahora es muy feliz, aunque tiene más faena que de costumbre; meses antes solamente tenía que preocuparse por cómo marchaba el despacho y hacerse las revisiones pertinentes en el ginecólogo. No le duele tener trabajo extra, le compensa como nunca antes le habían satisfecho sus quehaceres. Es cierto que hace tiempo que lo único que moja son las magdalenas en el desayuno. Sus admiradores y compañeros de juegos sexuales ya no llaman los jueves para “preparar” el fin de semana. A María eso le importa tres pepinos, no le sabe mal perder hombres cobardes; esos trenes van y vuelven, en distintos nombres, lugares y escenarios.

María is in the only train that she would never want to get off: maternity. She doesn’t have any help from the father; in fact, it’s unknown to her and probably she’ll never know about it. Without any doubt, her son is not Pedro’s or Luis’s, her latest boyfriends. She preferred not to know either the face or the body of the inseminator. Now she is very happy, though with more duties than she used to have; months ago she only had to worry about how to leave her job to go through the habitual gynaecological check-ups. She doesn’t mind having extra work, in fact, not any previous must-dos had ever been so satisfying. Truth has it that it’s been a while since the only things that get wet are the buns at breakfast. Her admirers and sexual partners don’t call her any more on Thursdays to “prepare” the weekend. Maria doesn’t care a fig, losing coward men doesn’t make her feel bad; those trains come and go, in different names, places and sceneries.

© Photography by Alberto Pérez Pastor – © Text by Marta Gómez Ballester – © English translation by Sara Besalduch

Life full of you absence

La vida colmada de tu ausencia.

Mi cuerpo te echa de menos como añoraría un miembro amputado, falso amante mío tantas veces imaginado.  Para sobrevivir a tu ausencia puedo recordar cada sueño, y recordar cada caricia que invento. Así cada día te espero, y te veo acercarte y siento como tus ojos recorren mis pechos. Tú, vas acariciándome lentamente desde dentro, alcanzando todos los rincones de mi cuerpo. Yo te noto en cada caricia no nacida, te siento en cada abrazo imaginado, te invento desesperada en cada momento de naufragio. Entonces vuelves como una ráfaga de viento que enreda mi pelo sin control, alborotando mis rancios sentimientos, descontrolando mi voluntad sometida a la frustración. Cuando te sueño dormida o despierta, amanezco  a la vida donde  tú y yo vivimos, cruel mentira, antídoto para el veneno de tu indiferencia, alivio y tortura eterna,  donde mi alma de nuevo se suicida henchida de tu ausencia.

Life full of you absence.

My body misses you as if it were an amputated limb, false lover of mine for so many times desired. To get over your absence I can recall every dream, every caress I make up. This way I long for you every day, and when I see you coming and I can feel you running your eyes over my breasts. You stroke me slowly from inside, reaching any single corner of my body. I experience any caress, any hug in my mind, I desperately invent you in any reckless moment. It is then when you come back as a blast that tangles up my hair without control, stirring my rotten feelings, losing control over my will subject to frustration. When I dream you either awake or asleep, I wake up in a life where you and I dwell, cruel lie, antidote for the poison of your indifference, relief and eternal torture, where my soul commits suicide again full of your absence.

© Photography by Alberto Pérez Pastor – © Text by Josefina Luis Carrillo – © English translation by Sara Besalduch

Sun & shadow

Bronceados, con arrugas, calzado cómodo, muchos años a sus espaldas y desde ya hace varios que acuden puntualmente a su cita de paseo vespertino. Poco menos de una hora de caminata y descanso obligado, porque lo pide el cuerpo. Observan su alrededor mientras les llega la brisa del mar que les evade de la preocupación por los achaques propios de su edad. Ese vientecillo de la libertad les hace sentir vivos, no como décadas atrás, pero sí como yo firmaría por llegar a la vejez. Pantalón corto, gafas de sol, tirantes, sombrero, un bastón de ayuda y compañía. A veces no hace falta hablar para entenderse.

Tanned, wrinkled, with comfortable footwear, many years behind them and for several they haven’t missed any evening stroll. After an hour’s walk, their body tells them to rest. They look around as the sea breeze evades them from the annoyances of that age. This breeze of freedom makes them feel alive, not like decades ago, but as I would like to reach old age. Shorts, sunglasses, suspenders, a hat, a cane and good company. Sometimes you do not need words to get yourself understood.

© Photography by Alberto Pérez Pastor – © Text by Marta Gómez Ballester – © English translation by Sara Besalduch

Semana

La Reina Doña Sofía: buen reclamo para iniciar la lectura. Se adentra en la revista y lo más interesante son las lorzas que le han salido a Penélope Cruz. “¿Estará embarazada?” No es que la monarca no llame su atención, pero le atraería más verla en biquini. El cafelito es lo de menos. Se ha tomado uno en casa y no necesitaba otro. Después de haber dado su paseo matutino, ha optado por hacer una parada en la cafetería del barrio. Es su momento del día, luego ya pensará qué prepara para comer. Ah, hoy no hace falta calentarse la cabeza; sobra comida de ayer, además siempre hay gazpacho de brick en la nevera. Se mete de lleno en la lectura, sin limitarse a los exiguos titulares, satisfecha por ese ratito de gloria a cambio de poco más de un euro. Mmmm…

The Queen Sofia: a good lure to start reading. As she goes into the magazine, the thing that strikes her the most is Penelope Cruz and her new spare tyres. “Is she be pregnant?”. It isn’t so that the Monarch draws her attention but it would be more catching seeing Her in bikini. The coffee isn’t the point. She has had one back home and doesn’t need another one. After her usual morning stroll, she has decided to stop at the coffee shop round the corner. This is his perfect moment, she will later think about lunch. Uh, today is not the day to think too much; there are leftovers from yesterday, besides, there is always some gazpacho in the fridge. She immerses herself into the reading, going even beyond the meagre headlines, satisfied by that little time of glory for a bit more than one euro. Mmmmm

© Photography by Alberto Pérez Pastor – © Text by Marta Gómez Ballester – © English translation by Sara Besalduch