Every month we used to read a book together, out of the 50 I have written so far, free of charge, in three languages: English, Esperanto and Spanish, disregarding the original language I used when I wrote every one of them.
Up to now we have read:
Together with the English version of my works, there is also a Spanish one, which will be deployed in another part of this web, chapter by chapter, and an Esperanto version, which will always contain the whole of the book in its proper place. If you can read Esperanto, you will be able to read the whole of my books, as I translate and upload them. If you want to learn Esperanto, you can ask the American or British Esperanto Asociations for guidance on how to, as they will supply you with a lot of information about easy and cheap courses on the subject.
After a few days you will be able to read, chapter by chapter, The Book, of the Angel Chronicles and the Demon anecdotes, which I hope you like.
To those who believe
that there is eternity.
A couple of years ago I considered the idea of writing a book of tales with a spiritual slant in which angels and demons were important. My plan was setting the tales so that angels and demons acted in alternating parts or even together; but after my initial enthusiasm other projects of mine came in the way and delayed the completion of the book. However, a few months ago I decided to come back and finish it, and so that I could really take my task to its end, I decided to upload the tales one by one so that you, the reader, can have them all as soon as I produce them, taking advantage of the possibility Amazon gives us to add parts to what is already published by uploading new versions, and all within the same edition, so that the buyers of my book get the new stories automatically. Since translating is lying a bit because the two languages involved are so different that the same things are said in a different way in either of them, and also there are things you say in Spanish which you don't say in English, and vice versa, this is not a translation, but a full reworking of my set of tales. This is because when you translate your own book, you are really rewriting it. I first published this book on February 25th in Spanish, and now I present you my first rewriting of it into English, which I will continue till you have all the 20 stories. I hope you like my work.
So, with this book I accomplished two new things: 1 I registered my book at SafeCreative instead of the Local Registration Office for Intellectual Property, as I usually do; and 2 My book will grow with time as I add new tales. I hope the readers' comments and suggestions help me do a better book.
The twenty tales you are about to read amount to a peculiar collection which is varied in topic and length which range from one page, as in Bright Angel to the twenty pages of A Mexican Story, in four parts, though it is really a simple story told from four different points of view. Its title could also have been The Magic of Mexico, as magics and metaphysics join together in their concepts, since they both are not explained in the real life with the tools we have at our disposal. Even if it took me some time and effort writing the book, it is true that doing so let me be aware of magic in things and goodness in people, and also the lack of them in some other people. Also it made me think of the blessings we enjoy every day without noticing till we miss them. This is what happens to Rose, the main character in this tale, which nearly turned into a novel, as her life is complex and varied, as a novel is. But I think it is better in this way, as a simple story as seen from four different points of view.
Angels of a Feather is written in six parts and it is a cross border tale, as it belongs to several literary genres at the same time: there is romance, mystery, war, and it is a portrait of the most unfathomable adventure which you can find, the adventure of writing, in two different slants.
Chet's Chats was going to be a book on itself, but its topic is so similar to the rest in this volume that I decided to add here the five parts it had at the moment, though I may complete the missing parts to make it a novel in future. It deals with the relationship of the sixty-three year old narrator with his dead father, who passed away at that age, clarifying many things which were unsolved between them when we parted away, and celebrating their reunion in a simple, charming way.
The other tales in this book are much simpler, as mere anecdotes of magics or divinity (as you want to see them) in the presented events. It is to be noticed the collaboration by Jack Crane and Gema Gimeno Giménez, who told me their wish to contribute to this book, and so the former sent me his Elvis' Ballad and the latter, The Bet, which she finished on March 8th, to celebrate the International Working Women's Day, though she changed its end so that it matched the rest of the tales in the book. I included both tales in the hope other writers send me their angelic or diabolic tales as contributions to The Great Book of Angel Chronicles and Demon Anecdotes. Last but not least, Anne Lake sent me her Starway to Heaven, which I have included right before the tale Nineteen, even if that makes this one brecome the twentieth tale in the book.
Perhaps the reader feels himself or herself identified with any of the characters or events we tell in this book. I would like to add that every character or events told here are totally fictitious..., but honestly I have to confess that I am not very sure of that. But I can say that any coincidence with reality is alien to the will and intention of the authors.
Murcia, February 25th 2014
(rewritten on March 14th)
It is said angels are ethereal beings who fly and bring us messages from Heaven. They watch us, it is said, and know everything we all do and say. But nobody saw them so far. What colour are their wings? And their hair? Do they really have wings? Do they have hair? But you will know they are there when they are with you, experts say. Perhaps. Or perhaps they are an invention of our sick brains.
Anyway we have lived a whole life thinking that angels are beings of reference. When someone is very good, when he or she inspires us confidence and good will, we say that he or she is an angel. When someone is very attractive or has something special which we like, we say he or she has angel or charism.
But they keep being ethereal beings made of air or something even less dense, in the same way as fairies. Angels, fairies..., are they the same? In the West's cultural collective there is no clear cut difference, no matter what scholars say. Except for the fact that fairies are supposed to be favour makers, godmothers, and angels are escorts and messengers, people who are there or who go and tell someone what they have seen. But, essentially they are the same: beings who are here but nobody can see them. They are messengers, but they tell nothing to us. They have a great beauty, but nobody can appreciate it. They are unbelievable beings we can see only with our imagination's eyes. Or not?
Do demons really exist? A few days ago I discussed this topic with a shoeshine, and, as he wiped my shoes, the man spoke passionately about Satan who tempts us so much, and wants to take us along the path of sin, and the poor man would not listen to the reasons we were all taught as children in church, that it could happen only if we wanted. Because demons, if they exist, are but spiritual creatures that have no influence on what we do, unless we decide to follow their advice. Some say the Devil is an invention of us humans to blame them for all the things we do and we later regret. We do not like other harm us, even if we usually matter far less when it is us who harm other people. So those of us who have a minimum sensitivity for justice and equity tend to be in the shoes of others and understand that it was not so well what they did because they understand other people's actions are wrong they are punished by what they do because of their interest or mistake, perhaps because they just did not pay enough attention. Atheists are more reasonable in this: no matter what you did, it is wrong if someone else did it to you: common sense is clearer than a set of rules nobody really understands or bend to his or her own interest. However this simple rule, do not do to others what you would not like others do to you, is what some religious people consider The Third Law of Creation.
But whether there are demons or not, it is true that is a notion that has invaded all cultures through the corresponding religion, at least the cultures that control the three monotheistic religions. And therefore devils and demons belong to Christian, Jewish and Muslim imagery. Since Luzbel himself, Lucifer or Satan to a crowd of devils whose sole mission is to make our life bitter and, if possible, draw us to the path of evil. However the path of evil and the existence blurs somewhat the idea of a just and good God who created us to be happy, even if it means we have to continually praise Him in this life and the next one.
In these tales I present a number of devils who do not always stand out well, although in one of the multiple stories, A Mexican Story, my fantasy has led me to show the same story told four times in a way that it looks four different stories which leave it unexplained whether the main character is an angel, a demon, or none of those things. If we consider these stories from the good-bad optics it is clear that demons have not the best part, but if we measure in terms of effectiveness, no one is mor effective than the demons in the stories that are not mine, that luckily I added to this collection to make up for my clear slant to what we call good.
Demons are considered spiritual beings whose only aim is to bring bad and evil things to human beings, from slight uncomfort to his or her total damnation, as we see in Bad Deal or Second Opinion. Angels, on the other hand, are there to help us when we need them, even if sometimes one of them goes beyond her limits, like the one in the first tale.
I hope the reader has a good time reading these stories and let me know their pleasure or displeasure, his or her criticism, friendly or not, on what I present for your reading, which is possible it gets fatter in the future with other writings with other writings by other fellow workers that have already expressed his or her will to collaborate; and even my one new, fresher ones.
He was walking nervously while he waited for the bus. He had just murdered his wife. She had gone beyond limits. He did not know what he was doing. And she was still making fun on him even while he was strangling her. Who was crazier, he or his wife? And now there was only one solution for him: waiting for bus, the bus he took every morning, and jump into its way when the driver no longer could avoid killing him.
And then he saw her. A young girl, around fifteen, blonde and freckled all over, with two large teeth in the center of her mouth. Those teeth were only too large, but they gave her face a touch of personality. Very remarkable, to say the least.«Do you know when the bus is due?», she asked with unexpected self confidence.
The man was not listening, but he nodded now and then dumbly, while he was wating for the bus. He was no longer nervous.
«Who cares what teachers say?", he asked suddenly.
«Well..., » she was silent for a moment. Then she went on after a brief pause: «actually when you like someone, you care for what they say. Not even for what they think. That's why I don't use my belly piercing any more, do you know? I hate those angry looks from my drawing teacher. She usually talks to me with affection, very patiently. It looks as if she knows always what I am thinking. And then there is no need to use my top leaving my belly on sight. What's the use of piercings if they are not seen?»
The man looked at her even more carefully. It was unbelievable that so young a girl could talk so wisely.«Tell me, girl, do you learn all the things you are saying at school, or it is your parents' talk?»
In that moment the bus stopped behind them. He was so deep in their conversation that he did not realise the bus was arriving, or why he was waiting for it . The girl got on it, and so did he, and they sat together. They went on with their conversation, till the bus halted at her stop.
As she was saying good-bye, she added:
«Sir, look at me when I am outside, as I have to tell you two very important words for you. See you in a minute».
Curious, he followed her with his eyes all along the bus alley, he saw her get off and come back on the pavement to the place where he was looking out of the window. Over the noise of the bus starting again, he could understand the words coming out of her lips:
The man opened his eyes, and looked to his right. There was her wife peacefully sleeping at the other end of there bed, the woman he was certain to have strangled a short time ago. So everything had been a dream. The man felt like he had just been born again. Wake up!, he was told by that angel. But..., was it a dream? Or was that girl a real angel with powers to undo what he had ruined, his wife's life? And he wept. He wept in thankfulness for this second oportunity that indescribable-faced angel had presented him with?
Humans are stupid. More and more. They want things for free. They say they love each other, but they do not want to cede to be able to live together. But they do not want to live alone. They get bored. But if they are not alone, they feel oppressed.
That happened to Ernest. He had lived with his wife for forty years, and all along them, day after day, he had dreamed of murdering here for many different reasons. And so did she. They loved each other, but they hated each other, too.
We demons are more serious. We hate people. We hate angels. We hate other demons. We love not even ourselves. It is funny to make people hit one another, murder one another. The lesser the brighter. Life cannot be a lot of insipidness and people who start weeping for nearly everything so that they are assured nothing is the matter. Because it is. Life is a bad joke. Thus, we all have to behave in the way we are. Like real bastards.
That’s why I suggested Ernest it was high time to do always the same things. He should leave home. Or get rid of his wife. Afterwards, with a little bit of luch, he’d be taken to an asylum for free and for the rest of his life. I suggested the same for his wife. The wrong thing is that there are always bungler angels fussing around. I hate them. But from time to time it looks as if they are on holiday, or fall asleep, or leave their protegés alone because of the free will thing, demon’s best invention.
Rose did not understand how she could marry to such a boring guy, too. When she met him, she was amused by his way to interpret common things in life. But after a few years beaing together, she already knew all his jokes, his sayins, his unwelcome mockery. And under that surface apparently bright there was only a limited repertoire of weird concepts of the world he had inherited from his dad, who must have been a remarkable man. But this guy, Ernest was a bore. And that is the worst somebody can be: a painful bore. And being a bore should be a crime punishable with death penalty. She could not stand him.
He could not stand her, either, with her airs of superiority, a super woman, an undervalued genie. She never lost a chance to state that he was a second rate chap who did not deserve her. One of these days he’d strangle her. He simpley was not brave enough to do so. He was a coward.
And she was not determined enough. It should be easy to add some cyanid in his soup, and then give him his favorite desert, a whiskey cake, when cianide was already in him. He’d die without any traces in his blood. But she did not have the guts. She, the super woman, could not make up her mind. He, the quiet man, had not what a man has to.
Both could use a demon’s help. A demon like me. I am evil, treacherous and cynical. So I approached the strange couple.
«Can you help me, madam? Is the bus station near here?»She observed me in distrust, but also kindly: when I want I can be charming.
Rosa E. R.
It was evident that document would prove nothing to a jury: only that she wished that he died. But to her conscience there was a big difference. It was as if she herself had killed him. A mortal sin. One of those God punishes.«But I will have to pay some money for this, won’t I?»
When she got home, she found her husband sitting on his favorite armchair, reading the paper. Before getting home has was lucky enough to meet her friend Henriette, who had seen her park and they had been chatting for a while. Then she stopped at the kiosk to buy some cigarettes, and finally she came into the house.
«Are you all right, dear?—, she asked as she failed to hera his usual Good night, dear. Where have you been?
She came closer to him and saw the paper open on his knees. His look was on it, but it was empty. She touched him softly, and his head rolled against one of the sides of the armchair: he was dead.
«Waw!», she said to herself. «The gentleman turned out to be right. Now I have only to call the police so that they send a doctor to certify the time of his death, when I was with that nice gentleman».Automatically she took a cigarette to her mouth, and lit her ligher. The explosion woke every nighbour in the street. Her husband had not died from a heart attack, but from accidental gas leaking. When the fire was put out, there was on the floor a half-burned paper with a small text:
I, Ernest Brie Chaumont, wish my wife dead as soon as possible.
«Do you know? I am going to the Conservatory to learn music. I'm doing preparatory. I've always loved music.
However, she could not finish her music studies, little poor Helen. One year later I found her on the street. She was leaning on crutches as she walked with her sister.
«I suffer from multiple sclerosis», she said. «It is a sickness which can change only for the worse. I do not know how much it will take.
It will take... She lasted only for one year. I met her sister one year later, and she said Helen had just died. Blessed Helen.
Recently I visited a witch. In fact she is only a medium, but I call her my witch, and she laughs at the idea. I had a session wth her: she rubbed my whole body with almond cream, and I fell sound asleep. Out of the two hours I was there, I slept for one and a half. When I woke up, my witch told me that she had seen a very old man who told her to let me know that I could be relieved, as he was very happy. My dada and I were not in very good terms when he died. Was that man my dad? Probably.
But she told me something else: she said she had seen a bright woman, around twenty to fifty years old, who was projecting light on me.
«Why are you sending light onto him», the witch asked.
«Everybody has some light», she said, «but he has non. That's why I shed light on him. So that he also has».
My good Helen, blessed Helen. I am sure you are my bright lady. Thanks for your grace, Helen. Will you be the one who will come for me?
Puerto de Mazarrón,
July, 25th 2013.
This is the story of a ship wreck. Ships were for a long time the only means men could use to go across the sea to other places to trade, to find a better life, to rob, or even just to enjoy himself. As time went by, many of those activities, above all the latter, stopped being done by sea, as aeroplanes have taken the lead because they are so much faster and cheaper. But there are still some people who have the money, the time and the mood, in addition to some taste for for adventure, and so they still find pleasure in going off to sea in long cruises, thirsty for knowing new lands, or just to experience the smooth movements of sheer and camber, which make the decks curve up and down, as the ship rides the waves one after the other. They cause a particular movement which some people, like Eustace, enjoyed lying on his bunk, reading under the day light which came to him through the porthole, a round little window, in his cabin. There he used to keep away from the ship’s noises by not paying any attention to them as he was deeply inside his readings.
But on the third day of his cruise to New York, he suddenly looked away from his book, a minor writing by Emilio Salgari, The Damned Ship, which tells us Papa Catrame’s adventures. He was so deeply in his reading that when he finished the book, he kept thinking about what he had just read… Till suddenly he was conscious he could not listen any noise, not even the ship’s engines. Nor people’s. He could hear nothing at all. He jumped on his feet, leaving his book on the bunk. He got dressed and came out of his cabin. He met nobody on board. The ship was leaning a bit to portboard, that is to say, leftwise, if you look towards the prow, the fore part. He came to the board, that is to say, the ship’s handrail, and saw a gorup of lifeboats with people inside. He turned to the place, where he had seen them hanging the previous days, but they were not there. How was it possible the ship had been abandoned without he realising it? Ha people not screamed, shouted, cried? Yes, but he was with Emilio Salgari at the time. More exactly with Papa Catreme, who was telling him stories about memaids and missing people at sea. Probably they had shouted, but he had not heard them, in his cabin, away from the world’s problems, deeplin inside his reading. Now he recalled hearing the ship’s siren, but he thought it was just his imagination. The ship was now leaning more, about fifteen degrees to portside. He looked, shattered, and saw nothing: no lifeboat, not even a life vest.
I’m finished”, he said to himself. He felt horrible because he did not realized two thousand people had abandoned ship. Nobody missed him. He had lived alone for all his life. Alone with his fiction characters. They are least painful, he thought. He saw the sea come nearer. Suddenly the ship leant on her back side, raising its prow to the sky little by little, but suddenly she stopped. He was grabbing the handrail and was almost hanging inside. Chairs and other things unfixed to deck had fallen into the sea or inside the sihp. But she had stopped her fall into the deep, and now, as there was more and more water inside, was getting horizontal again. Then he saw it: a shark some hundred yards away, around seven hundred. It appeared to have an appointment with him.
“At least my death will not be slow”, he said to himself. Now he could stand again.“What would you give not to die?”, he heard a clear, loud voice say.
He turned. There, a few feet from where he was, he saw a small man, bald, in a bow hat.“Everything I have”.
Indeed, there it was. But it was too heavy for him to launch into the sea.“Don’t worry”, said the little man, as if he had read his toughts. “Release it from the fixing ropes. Use the ax on that screen (that is to say, wall), but you are running out of time. Get inside the boat”.
So Eustace did, and he saw the sea fall into that deck and “go up” little by little as far as where he was and then his boat was sea borne. When it was over the level where he was, the boat started floating.“Now yo row towards the Sun, as you have little time”.
And he knew nothing more about that little man. He was busy at the oars, till he found himslef beyond the spot where he'd seen the shark. He was getting farther and farther from the ship, always keeping her on sight. He had heard when a ship sinks, there is a swirl on the spot she sinks, which could capture any floating objects near it, as his little boat ws, and drag them along. But the ship did not sink completely. When she stopped sinking, the bridge, that is, where the helmsman and the captain usually are on duty, was over the sea level. There was no swirl, then. Many hours later he saw a subtle shape in front of him, under the place where the Sun appeared to be. With a lot of hard work he arrived at the island. It was a few miles large. He went to the highest place and from there he saw some of the boats which had left the ship before he, but they were adrift, lost. He gathered some plants and wood and with a lighter he lit a fire, which was seen by the survivors and then they started rowing to the smoke. Unfortunately, they were caught in a storm and he saw them go up and down among the waves, till they capsized one after the other and he stopped seeing them. There was nobody left to be seen. He was the only survivor, then. Not any single soul was saved. Because his was also lost.
But demons don't exist, he said to himself. Then, who could be that little poor man I found in the ship?
He found the answer a few days later, when he was starving to death, since there was no food in that island. He heard his steps and raised his eyes: there was the little man there.“I've come for your soul”.
And looking at that peculiar guy, he uttered his last sigh.
A minute later they both were in hell.
There is something even worse than being a poor little thing: being poor. Yes, man, not having a cent. Because you can be a poor little thing because your girlfriend no longer loves you, or because you can't find a girl who wants to be your fiancé, or because you had her, married her and then she left you for another guy. Or you can be unfortunate at work, do everything wrong, or in a way your boss does not like. Or else you can do everything perfect and then not get along with your colleagues, those bunglers. Or you can have everything in life: fame, money, love, and still be an unhappy poor little thing. Or you can be a victim of a thousand and one mishaps in fortune and love but however many bad things happen to you, there would always be something even worse: not having money.
Yes, man, I know what you are about to tell me: you don't have money, either. But if you bought this book, you have money. If you bought the computer you are reading me with, even if from a pirate pdf, you have money, even if you spend it on my books1. In your case you do not suffer the biggest misery: not having money.
The one who has no money does not know what he or she's going to eat the next day, even not the very same day. There is a glorious hundred years old institution the solution it provides Damned Shipnot being, however definitive or to be proud of: it is called Forsaken Jesus. But it is a shame for those who knew better times before.
Poor people are so because they have no money, and they reached that condition for a series of reasons. One of them is not having a job. Another one, perhaps worse, is earning less than one spends. But if you earn and spend, even if you are on deficit, at least you use the money you have. But it is much worse not having any money to manage, as your digestive tube needs material continuously, and when you don't feed it on a regular basis, you can reach a state we call death.
As you get deeper into that we call poverty, the worst of which is not having money, you go down the moral ladder, accepting jobs, if you find them, which nobody else would want or could do. That is the opportunity demons exploit most, and there we angels have to be smartest, as we have to use all the abilities God gave us to get the poor out of the pit where they fell because of life hardships.
Such was Pancras’s case. He was a real poor one, one of those people who are aware of their lives’ truth, and therefore they do not dare put the blame on bad luck for their poverty: he did not want to study when he could, and he started working in what there was then. He was an excellent mason. But then bad times came, and he lost his job. Politicians blamed one another. But they all got huge salaries for doing nothing, whilst he had lost his and now had nothing to eat. His wife had left him, and was now with another man who loved her less than him, but fed her and the kids every day. For the kids were with their mom, and he had seen none of them since then. He had not felt responsible for it at first. It was later, when he understood that his vote was one within millions other votes which gave power to those mean people who had taken the country to bankruptcy, and got fabulous wages for that.
But he did not hate them. He did not have even hate. He searched in garbage containers every day in other neighborhoods, as he was ashamed of being recognized doing so. Sometimes he found some food, and then he could sleep with something in his belly. He had lost his home, that cottage he had bought in installments when he was earning €3,000 a month. Those were other times, evidently. Then he lost his jobs and could not meet the remaining payments. The bank got the cottage away from him and warned him that they’d confiscate his wages when he got a job, to get the rest of the loan back. He smiled at that thought. That would mean he’d be back to work. But no, there was no more work in building. He was already too old to change to another job. An old dog can learn no new tricks.
And then he found it. A bag full with money, which someone had thrown away to the garbage container. A mistake? Were they fake notes? He’d check. He took it home. He counted the money: sixty kilograms of paper money in €50 notes. Three million euros. They must be fake. He took one in his hand and went into a bank.“I’d like to change this note I found outside”.
The cashier looked at him, put the note into her checking machine, and realised the note was good. She gave him ten €5 notes.
Pancras could not believe it: he had €3,000,000 at home! Had he got a fairy godmother? Does Providence exist? Who would throw €3,000,000 away?
He went to a newsagents’ in his neighborhood to buy several cartons. He did not smoke, but he knew many people who did. He made many inside pockets into his coat, and filled them with cigarette packets. He went back to the poor quarter the garbage containers of which he knew so well.“Cigarettes?”, he asked a passer by.
The man looked at him in puzzlement. He agreed, even if the price was a big swollen. He smiled and paid.
Pancras repeated this business many times that day. And he saw that every two hours his fifty euros became seventy. When he already had regular customers, he spoke to other beggars whom he had met at the garbage containers, and reached an agreement with them: they were to give him half their earnings, and in return he would give them the merchandise. He bought it directly form the factory, so he got a special price because he bought the packets by the thousands. He kept no books on his business, but he had everything in his head. He soon had twenty beggars working for him. He told them it was important to keep their beggar looks, only that they no longer begged, but sold cigarettes.
A year later Pancras' business was spread over ten cities, and there were two hundred beggars working for him. He had earned over three million euros.
What should he do with his earnings? He had them at home. Now he had €5 million inside a mattress. He had invested a million in cigarettes, and had earned three. But he remembered he had a debt. He owed Providence something. That's why he caught the old sack and after he added the million he had invested, he took it on his shoulder and looked for the garbage container where he found it. He'd never forget it.
Very carefully, as if he was caressing it, in the middle of night, he took it away from his shoulder and let it drop onto the bottom of the container. Then he got some plastic bags someone had not bothered to get into the container, and put them on it.
Happy, he smiled and walked away from there. He no longer had anything not earned by himself. So his debt was cleared. And at the other end of the street me, The Angel of Hope, smiled back and waited for another Pancras to come and solve his earthly and celestial life.
Mazarrón, July 26th 2013
Amelie had never attended mass. Her parents had not introduced her into the Christian faith, or taken her to catechism. Thus it appealed to her, since she had started working in that office, three years ago, that people went out of mass at seven in the morning. They were mainly women, who went to get at peace with God right before they went to work.
One day Amelia decided to get up earlier and get into the chuch some time before seven in the morning. There were only two older women who were mumbling a prayer. She could not hear them, but she saw them move her lips. Little by little more women and a few men were coming till there were around one hundred people, according to her own count. It was not bad for a working day so early in the morning.
The priest was young and told them a short preach with which he thanked them for giving God one hour every day. In fact it was not one hour, but just over half. She thought it not right that such an important thing for those attending church was given away with by the priest so fast. When mass ended she even had some time to get into the sacristy to talk to the priest.
As soon as she got into the room, silently, she saw the priest take his chasuble off, and also the other officiating garment priests use. When he had already taken everything off, she saw the man go on taking his jumper off, and then his shirt. After he did, he turned round and said:
“Young lady, what can I do for you?”
She found it improper to be there, talking to a half-naked priest. He realised her distress and smiled as he got a new shirt and started to take it on and said at the same time:
“Fear nothing, young woman. I am a man, but God’s”.
“Father”, she said, “it is the first time I come into a temple”.
“Aren’t you a Christian?”
“No, father. Not to my knowledge”.
“What’s your name?”
“Amelie. Your parents did not teach you into the Christian faith. Why did you come to my church, then?”
“Curiosity. You may have felt God’s call”.
That priest was remarkable to her. He might be a man of God, but he was attractive. She understood she should not be there: the priest had taken his shirt on, but had not done his buttons yet. He captured her hand and led her to a window with two seats. From there they could see the street, but nobody could see them from outside, or from inside, even if they came suddently into the sacristy.
“Look, daughter”, he said, “from here we can see the street and the sacristy at the same time, unseen”.
“What have we to hide?”
“You are attracted to me, as I am to you”.
Her breathing halted.
“But it doesn’t matter. Flesh is weak, but spirit is strong. Tell me, daughter, since then don’t you confess?”
“I never did, father”.
“Poor girl. The holy sacrament of confession is very good, because through it you can get free from your guilt here”.
“Father, I am guilty of nothing”.
The priest came closer to her and put his hand between her legs, opening them a bit.
“What do you feel now?”
“That you are not a priest”.
“True”, he laughed, setting his hand as far as a place which made her feel something else than attraction for this handsome priest.
Then the room seemed to turn round once and again, and when she came to her senses again, several hours later, she was very confused, though satisfied. She felt a peace she had not had for several years. She looked at her watch, but she still had twenty minutes to get to her office. But then…, everything had happened in…
“Five minutes”, said the priest. “Your pleaser lasted five minutes”.
“I thought it was hours”.
“So it was, but we tricked time”, he said.
Then she realised his skin was more reddish than earlier. She pressed his hair on the front part of his head and then she felt…
“Yes, horns, girl. You made love to a demon”.
Amelie got up and flew from the church while the demon laughed aloud. She did not stop till she came to her working place. She greeted Servando, the caretaker, and then right to her desk. She sat and felt her buttocks cold: she had left her knickers in the sacristy.
The next day she went back to church at the same time, but it was closed. Half an hour later the door was opened. An old man looked at her questioningly.
“Are you in for mass?”
“Get in, daughter”.
The old man said mass at half past seven, and at eight it was over.
“Where is the other father? When is he saying mass?”, she asked the old man.
“Who other father? There is no other priest than me, daughter”.
The old man told her it was he who had said holy mass every day for the last five years at half past seven every morning. No, that church had been trodden by no other minister since he was there. She must be mistaken. And she had seen that there were not a hundred, but less than ten people in church, never more. A hundred people attendance was unknown in that church since it came into existence.
That night Amelie dreamt of her young priest. But his horns were more visible. He made love to her in her bed, and when she caressed his back she found a bulge which grew from the end of his spine and which he moved at will, caressing all over her body as if it were a their hand ending in a soft mane of red hair. Finally Amelie had a demon of her own.
All her life she had borne a name totally unfit. Angel’s life had never been easy: an orphan since early childhood, she had lived with her uncle and aunt in the countryside, till she was kidnapped by bandits. Her relatives did not suffer too much, as they only reported her missing at East Dulwich police station and then forgot about her, apparently. Even if she was only ten, the last four years she had spent at her uncle’s without attracting much attention from him or his wife, she was very well burgeoned for her age and then the bandits wanted her to work for them as a whore, but she managed to escape from them. And yet, she did have to work in that trade, because she no longer wanted to go back to his uncle’s and hunger made her sell her body.
When she was eighteen she had already lived decades, and she had become a coarse, vicious girl, she had lost some teeth and life had been hard on her, and so she had learnt to be gentle to no one. And then she saw some bandits kidnapping a little girl, nearly as little as she was when that happened to her. So she jumped at them shouting as a mad woman. She pushed the gang leader and everybody in the street turned at her and her howling, including the child’s parents, who thought the child was still with them. A police whistle was heard while a gangster’s sharp knife cut Angel's aorta. And then the world turned off.
When Angel opened her eyes again, everybody had gone away. Instead there was only a young man with a sweet look who was smiling at her.
“Very well, Angel, you did fine”.
“Did they take her?”
“No, they had to run away”.
“Good. She will not go through what I went”.
“Well, I’m going. I have to look for something to eat”.
“Are you hungry?”
“No”, she said, sitting on the floor. “It is strange, because I ate nothing today”.
“Get up, Angel. You will never feel hungry again”.
“Never? Why not?”
“Here nobody is hungry”.
“Here?”, she repeated as she remembered that sharp pain by her heart. “Am I dead?”
“We could say so, or something similar”.
“Where am I?”
“Nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Your body is at the hospital, and they are struggling to save it”.
“Will I make it?”
“What is happening to me?”
“Nothing to worry about now, as you are with me”.
“And who are you?”
“My name is Raphael”.
“And what is this, after life? Is this...”, she doubted before going on, “… heaven?”
“Heaven is wherever you have always been, Angel, even if you never saw it”-
“The Hell is where I was, Raphael. I came to this world to suffer”.
“No. You went to the world to learn. To enjoy. Tell me, did you ever try to work honestly?”
“Yes. But they deceived me”.
“Uh huh. So you resigned”.
“You know I did”.
“I know only what you tell me”.
“How do you know I am not lying at you?”
“I know you are not. If you are, you will harm only yourself. I like you already, so you needn’t lie at me. And nothing you tell me will make me dislike you”.
“You gave your life for somebody unknown to you. That makes you deserve your name”.
“Am I an angel because of that?”
“No. You are an angel because you have always been so”.
“And what I am going to do now? Is this the end? Am I going to dissolve into space?”
“Is that what you want?”
“No. I want to live on”.
“Why? Was everything so fine to you?”
“No. I want to start living. Being happy”.
“Look inside you, Angel. In the deepest of you life. And tell me you were not happy”.
Angel looked inside herself. She closed her eyes and thought. Yes, she felt great. But she realised it was not the first time in her life she felt like that: there had been many lost moments in her life when she had felt well, in peace with herself. Even while she was working, while she was lying with her legs spread open whilst one of those who paid her discharged inside her. Even while she was suffering one of those abortions she had to have done not to bring another unhappy one into this world. Four abortions before 18… But her life had not been so unhappy as she had thought. She had had peaceful moments like this one now. It used to happen to her when she was about to fall asleep, at any time in the day. And when she was waking up. It was as if she was in another world. It was not her, she felt she was somebody else.
“You were a fucking whore”, she heard a nasty voice beside her. She turned sideways and no longer saw the nice young man, but another individual with an unpleasant look, a lecherous, evil look, who was looking at her in dislike.
“Who are you?”
“That doesn’t matter. I am here to take you to Hell”.
“Why the Hell?”
“Because you were a fucking whore all of your life. You never did anything good”.
“So why don’t you drag me in brute force to hell, demon?”, said she very angry.
“I’m in the process”.
“Ok, take me”, she said mockingly, joining her wrists in the way criminals do when the police arrest them to be handcuffed.
But the guy stood still, very serious, as if he did not know what to say.
“I pity you, demon”, said she smiling. “You are not taking me because you cannot. You lied in everything. You may not even be a demon. You came to escort me, didn’t you?”
“If you say so...”, he started. This had never happened to him. People usually fall into their own self-destruction, their little self-esteem, and with low eyes they always let him lead them. But this young girl defied him.
“Look, demon, go. I want to keep talking to Raphael. Raphael! Where are you? I want to you come back”.
“Here I am”, said he from the other side. “I did not leave you. You only ceased to see me, but I have always been with you”.
“Were you with me my whole life?”
“And your whole death, too”.
“Death…, have I died already?”
“Yes. At the minute Yuliel came”.
“Yes, the one you took for a demon”.
“Is he not?”
“No. He is another angel, like you”.
“Why does he look like a demon?”
“He doesn’t. You saw him like that. He did not smile at you, and that’s why you inferred he’s bad. And you were mean to him”.
“Where is he?”
“To your left. That you can’t see him does not mean he is not by you”.
“Was he with me my whole life?”
“Yes, and more people, too. Many of us have accompanied you always”.
“And why did you never tell me? I was alone for a long time, often. I cried a lot”.
“I know: we saw that. We told you nothing because you never invited us to bre with you”.
“Am I going to Hell?”
“No. You were already there”.
“Won’t I be in hell any more?”
“It depends on you. Your life will be Hell or Heaven, or something different: it will be what you wish”.
“But I have a life no more. I am dead”.
“No. Your body died. But you are something more than a body”.
“What must I do now? Shall I stay here?”
“What do I do?”
“What do you want to do?”
“Whatever you wish”, said the young man vanishing.
Angel looked around her, and saw no one. Just a light gray, cobblestoned street, where noboby walked. There was a lamp behind her, on the pavement.“Yuliel...”, she called shyly.
And Yuliel disappeared, too. He was not so ugly or nasty, that boy. Or was it a girl? She was not sure.
At the end of the street she saw a square. She came near, and on one end she saw a terraced bar. In the open she saw a man sitting at a table. He was absorbed, writing on a little notebook. She came and stopped by him.
“Good morning”, she greeted.
“Oh, hello. Good morning. What can you bring me?”, he asked, absentminded. She was amused, that he should take her for a waitresses.
“What do you need, sir?”
“Phew! That’s a question…, a new life. Can you bring that to me?”
For five minutes they were talking in a casual way, till more customers came to that bar, and they took her for the waitress, too. That was wrong, so she excused herself to go and bring him his black beer and went into the bar, vanishing into the shade of the entrance door.
“Weapons are loaded by the Devil”, goes a saying. “The Pen is mightier than the sword”, says another. Would it be true, then, that pens are loaded by the Devil?
Today I’ll tell you about the Demon of Ideas. Because ideas is what loads sentences by means of a pen, and a sentence and an idea are the same, as we all know.
Henry was a plain shoemaker, but every night he was writing for a couple of hours. He used to say that his brain needed to spend, at least, two hours every day in the noble task to dress his thoughts with letters to the editor so that someone would ever know that he had lived. He wrote long letters to the newspapers in Boston, where he was living, but he seldom found out if they were published or not, because he did not buy the papers every day. In fact he bought some now and then. He also wrote a diary, A Shoemaker’s Diary, where he recorded the thoughts which came to his mind when he was silently working or when he was arguing or talking with one of those customers who are never happy with the job done.
But one day he got a very special visit. He claimed to be named Luzbel, a name somehow familiar to Henry, even if he did not know why. Mr. Luzbel was bringing a fire-red colored pair of shoes unlike any other he had ever seen. He said they had lost their glow and he needed a competent shoemaker to make them bright again, and also he wanted them to be refurbished.
Good old Henry did his best, but that fabric was new to him, and so hard that he could not nail the horseshoes on it. He could not brighten them either, as when using the usual brighteners, the shoes lost some of the brightness they still had, and even the colour changed into the Bordeaux wine one. «He’ll be mad at me», he thought. But the owner of those shoes did not come on the agreed date. Henry had no address or telephone number of him, so a month after the time due, he put them aside in a forgotten place in his shoe shop and went on repairing the shoes of the customers who would come to fetch them.
Five years laters, looking for the boots another client was late to fetch, he found the fire red shoes. They no longer needed refurbishing, as they appeared to be in perfect condition in spite of the powder which covered them. He cleaned them with a cloth, and he was really surprised when he saw they were brighter than the Sun. Right then, when he was looking at them, his eye went beyond and saw the huge notice on the wall warning that the jobs not recovered in three months became the property of the firm, as compensation for the work done and not paid. So those strange, brilliant shoes were now his. He put them on and found that they seemed to have been made for him.
As soon as he put them on, he felt a strange, sudden thirst for walking. He remembered Andersen’s tale The Red Shoes, and he put the shoes off at once. He tried to put them on and off several times, and found no problems: he would wear them as long as he wished. I am really stupid, he said. A tale is just a tale, really. When he took the shoes off he no longer wished to walk, but he felt like writing. He sat and wrote a long essay on the works they had planned to do in the city center to build a huge underground parking lot. He sent it to the Readers’ letters section of the Morning Chronicle, and the next day he saw that it was not among the letters to the Editor. He shrugged his shoulders and then started reading the paper from the cover. He was impressed to see his letter as an opinion article on page 3. That day he got a letter from the head of the opinion section in the paper together with $15 check, and asking for more articles like that one, which would be paid with $15 each, leaving the topic to his choosing. He could not believe it. He raised his eyes and saw the fire-colored shoes, and understood the relationship. He had felt so well when he was wearing them, and he wrote that article with passion, and that’s why they liked it. He decided to go the bank to get the money from the check, so he put those red shoes on again, as they were the most beautiful ones he had. He called them his Luzbel shoes. As soon as he wore them he felt more comfortably than in any other time in his life. His feet seemed to be totally relieved. It looked as if they had been hand made for his own feet with such expensive fabric as he’d never known. On his way he noticed he heard everything around him much better, even very far away conversations. And also his sight power was better than ever.
As he came out of the bank he saw an open air restaurant where he felt like having a coffee. But on his way he tripped on a stationer's, where he bought a cheap pen and a note book for one dollar and a half, ten percent of what he had just been paid. He sat at a table on a secluded place and while the waiter was bringing his coffee he started writing. He had never written on Boston, the city were he lived, but this time he produced a long article on the Market Place, the history of the city and its influence on its citizens’ idiosyncrasy nowadays. He concluded that it was a real privilege to live in Boston in the 21st century. When he finished his article he realised he had written it in his better handwriting and he had used all the 32 pages of his notebook. On his way home he came across the Post Office, put the note book inside an envelope and sent it to Mr. Thomson, the man who had sent him the $15 check. It was an impulse, he never thought what he was about to do when he sent it.
The next day he saw, not without surprise, his whole article in the four center pages in the paper. They had included several photos by some Amanda Soul, one of the regular photographers in the paper. But this time there was no check.
«Are you Mr. Henry Smith?», a blond girl asked suddenly. She had entered his shop unnoticed.
«That’s right. Can I help you?»
«Not really. But my boss asked me to give you this», she said giving an envelope to him. He opened it and saw a $100 note.
«There must be a mistake...»
«Mistake? No. I am Amanda Soul, the one who shot the photos in your article. This morning I was woken by six o’clock in the morning to go and shoot them. I was a little angry at first, but a photo on the paper cover and four in the center pages is not something I get every day...»
«Wow. Why were you ordered that?»
«I don’t know. Maybe there was nobody else at hand, or it might be that I was born in Boston and they know I am acquainted with the places you mention in your article. By the way, it is very good. I enjoyed it. You write really well».
«Er…., well, thank you».
From that day on Henry put the shoes very early in the morning and walked around the city center. Some other times he preferred the harbour, to see the ships, but he always came back through the city center. And once at home he always wrote an article and sent it to the paper, which always answered with a $100 check. He no longer cared about the shoe shop, which was closed to the public and he used it only to write: he sat on a tall chair and leant on the counter to write comfortably. He did not sell his business because he did not want to get rid of his father and grandfather’s business, for he felt sad even to think of that. But he enjoyed writing much more, and so he gave his whole day to it, besides his walks, eating out and talking to people. Because he was writing a book, in addition to his articles, Boston’s Great Book, in which he presented all the most picturesque places in the city not only to strangers, but to life long Bostonians, too. He finished the book in two years, and then he called Amanda to ask her for photos of the hidden corners he had captured in his text. She took him to all those places and shot a photo of him in every one of them. The book was a great success and was published by the City Council, who saw the opportunity to make the place much better known worldwide. Five million copies were sold all over the States.
And then one day, when he could not even remember him, Luzbel came back.
«I think you have something which belongs to me, Sir», he said.
«No, sir. As you can see in this poster», said Henry pointing at it, «jobs not claimed in three months are the firm’s property».
«Yes. That’s written there. Now the point is if that is legal. Above all when you did not tell me in a provable way. Anyway, to avoid sues and struggles, I will pay the amount you want to ask me. I could not come earlier because of an important sickness which I cam document».
Henry knew that the shoes belonged to that gentleman really. He also knew he needed them because somehow they made him see many details and then write about them.
«Tell me how much you want for them», counter bade Henry.
«Oh, no. Look: I do not want to sell them».
Henry looked at that person’s feet and understood that they would not fit him.
«They are too big for you. Look», he pointed at his own feet, which were much larger than Mr. Luzbel. «But they are not. Look», he said taking his shoes off. Henry helped him and then to put the red ones on, thinking that they were going to be loose. But they fit his feet perfectly.
«Can you see?», he said in triumph. «They fit perfectly».
«It can’t be!», Henry cried. «Mi size is 11 and yours is not more than 8!»
«They are magical shoes, Sir», said that man. «Don’t tell me you had not noticed. They fit any feet all the same. If we put them on a baby, it would fit to it, too».
Henry nodded, as evidence was undeniable.
«Is there any way you sell them to me?»
«Or course there is, my friend. But I wonder if you are able to pay for them».
«A thousand dollars!»
The man laughed for a while.
«You are really funny. No, I am afraid they are not that cheap… If you want these shoes, you must give me your soul».
«Yes, Sir. I am the Demon of the Ideas, Luzbel. These shoes will be yours forever if you subscribe this contract».
Henry over read the contract: if he signed that thing he would enjoy the creation of many literary works and would go on getting over $3000 a month for his articles…. And in exchange his soul, that thing nobody had ever seen, would go with Luzbel into Hell when he died. Henry remembered that when he set his soul on something, he could do it much better. When he was only a poor shoemaker and set his soul on his job, he was happy, even if he had not so much money like now. And when was writing, he set his soul on what he was doing…
«There’s no deal, Mr. Luzbel. If you are a demon I won’t be able to take the shoes off you, as I guess you can prevent me from that. Keep them on and don’t you come back and bother me again”.
Luzbel looked at that man who was giving up his literary immortality. He looked at him in awe and respect, and looking down he walked to the floor. But before going away, he said:
«On this chair I leave my visiting card, with my telephone number, just in case you change your mind», and then he went away.
Ten minutes later Henry still could not think clearly. But he became back himself again little by little. He sighed deeply and tidied up his shop. Then opened the Venetians and set the window warning on Open. He sat on his stool and started polishing some old boots he had stored over there.
The door opened, and a woman entered. She had a scarf, a large hat and sunglasses on.
«Good morning, Sir. Do you make shoes, or you only repair them?»
«I make them, too, madam».
«I’d like a pair of boots up to my knee, in black leather, please».
He pointed at a chair for her to sit and measure her feet and legs. He knew those legs. He raised his eyes and the lady smiled at him. She put her scarf off, and then the hat and the sunglasses.
«Hello, Henry. Yes, I am Amanda Soul. You guardian angel. Thanks for not selling yourself to the devil. That would have ended my contract with you. I am allowed to be seen by you for a last time to tell you that you don’t really need those stupid shoes to write your wonderful things. Writing is God’s, not the Devil’s gift. I brought you a farewell present. Dress it with your text, please».
And after she put a little book on the counter, she turned transparent little by little while she said:
«Remember, you need no shoes to write, Henry. Only a pen and your soul. Set your soul on whatever you do. Remember. And though you will no longer see me, I remain here, at your side. I am going nowhere else».
When Luzbel went away, before he started tidying his business up, he had put on an old pair of shoes he found somewhere. These ones would be his writing shoes from then on.
Since that day Henry acquired the habit to talk alone. But he was not alone. By him there was a blond angel who was always listening, even if she answered him back only at night, while he was sleeping. Henry sat at his writing stool and set on paper a long story, his life’s story which consisted on a long wish list, and his determination and pleasure to tell his dreams. He wrote the tale of his own life, which he summarized in five pages.
The next day it was published as a tale in the paper, and he got another $100 check for it. He never stopped writing.
Five years later he met Amanda Peters. She was not blonde, she was not a photographer, but she believed in him. They got married and they had twins. One of them became a writer, like his dad. The other twin followed the family’s tradition: he became a shoe maker.
My dear Vehuiah,
Let me address you by that name because they told me you're the one assigned to me but the first thing I have to do in strict justice, is to ask whether, in fact, it's you or really you are another angel who have been in my custody for the last sixty-two years.
When I was a kid I thought of you as that blonde woman we saw in a picture that my mother used to have hanging from a wall at home, back in the Canary Islands. As the years went by I thought of you now and then, and while I was a believer I learned to have you by my side, to feel you, but it never came to my mind talking to you, asking for your advice, or expecting you to tell me about your stuff. For you, angels, must certainly also have your problems, mustn't you? Maybe we, who are stuck here on Earth by our weight are your main problem. Maybe we do not get ourselves within your reach so that you deliver your messages to us, and in our stupidity we are not able to interpret the signs that maybe you give us. Or it may be that you've given up giving us any signs for some time, for we do not care about you, we the supposed kings of our creation.
I firmly believe that you're reading this over my shoulder, and that despite my bad handwriting you understand everything. As I know you are not any evil genius, I know you will not scare me but you will try, on the contrary, to say something to me by some means I cannot quite imagine right now. Feel free to use the one you think it is best. I'm waiting.
I have to ask nothing, angel, not even information. I know you'll give me what I need when I can process it. But not after.
Do you know what? I think I've always felt your presence. I have not stopped feeling safe in my life, except for some specific infamous occasions, when I was little and got punished, or when I was in a hostile environment. But they were punctual and rare moments, happily buried in the mountains of oblivion. What will never be erased from memory is that night is the Plaza Weyler in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, when I felt indoors despite being outdoors. The evening itself, I felt like their blackness overhead guard and give me a sense of security that has not forsaken me in my life. I think it was you. I felt protected by you. But I did not think of talking to you. For sixty-three years we were dumb trip fellows. Has that to go on like that? Do you not think that is enough?
Well, I know if you say nothing is just because you are not allowed. I said I was not going to ask you for anything, and I ask for nothing from you. You will tell me something when you can, I am sure. Now, in the last part of my life, after a childhood and teen age I am not so proud of, after a youth when I got independent from my family, from my fears and many likes and dislikes I suffered, after I did what people in my generation were supposed to do (get married, have children, bear many things I didn't like and enjoy many I did like), after I created a family and had a professional life I have time for you at long last.
My dear guardian angel, I want to tell you that you were always important to me, even when I ignored you out of carelessness or ignorance or folly, and you still are important to me. I do not know if I ever was a guardian angel for someone or if I'll ever be so again, but I want you to know that if ever we parted, when I return to being just an ethereal spirit that no longer is anchored to a body, I feel it was good hanging out with you all these years.
When I was a child I could not imagine the world outside that family in which I happened to be born. My reality was slowly changing and there is not much left of that family: that wonderful angel that my mom was died almost a year ago, my brother and my father had also died, out of the six of us now there are only three: two women and a man, as there are no longer the other two men and one woman. I do not know what will happen in future, in ten, twenty or thirty years from now, while I have no interest to know: what will happen will be largely decided by me, and also by each of those next to me or near me, and the set of decisions will accumulate and produce the series of circumstances that each of us will change or not. But I'll still count on your help.
This letter may serve as a presentation, my dear Vehuiah, to tell you I know you're there, you have always been and always will be, at least until death us do part.
God bless you,
The Devil knows more because he's old than because he's a devil, they say. But when the Devil actually knows something is when he stops being a devil. Also, when man knows something he becomes a devil, and a downright one... Because bad ideas are learned, not inborn, and long before that man comes to wonder whether something is worth doing or having, he or she has already become accustomed to abuse, harassment and causing evil, which leads to the conviction that he can no longer change, and he or she would rather die than undertake the changes that would make him or her a good person.
This story happened long before the devil who starred it became aware that evil is the absence of good, because he thought it was the other way round, that people were good because they had not the courage to be bad. This devil, call him Elvis because he was so sly and modern, was a disco beast. He was very attractive, so much as only devils can be. So he was very keen on sexy, beautiful and attractive women, because it looks as if they have a weakness for rascals, scoundrels and rogues, and the more unscrupulous, the better. Elvis spent every night in the club Auditorium, his private hunting place since opening until closing times every day. In fact, a devil who pays his drinks with fake money always spends his evenings for free. And if he was ever caught, the gorillas kicked him out into the street, and then, in the secrecy of the alley, with no one watching them, he gave them a good beating and then came back into the disco in another human shape without paying, of course. Then the gorillas came back when they regained consciousness without knowing which bus ran them over. After one of those gorilla intercourses he met Marta. She was one of those teenagers who wore makeup to look older and escaped from her house to mingle with older boys. And she met an older boy: Elvis. But let him tell us about it all:
I saw her dancing with her friends. I got in the middle of them and started to dance along. Marta looked at me with greedy eyes, but when she saw my stare she was afraid. I smiled and took her hands and made her turn around herself, still dancing. Girls like that, to be taken by the hand. When they music was slow I took her by the waist and we danced very close together. I could hear her breath, typical of a girl in doubt. And I whispered in her ear things she could not hear because of the loud music, but that reassured her. It is a gift for me to reassure women, I always succeed in this. Besides, she was playing to be older, and I followed her game. She was tall enough to pretend she was three years older. Her dress was part of the deception plan to fool the thick bouncers at the door, those who were wearing the bruises I had done them..., as we devils have such bad temper, and are proud to be so.
“Would you like to have a drink, love?”, I said. She nodded, and I invited her for a whiskey. I knew she was underage, but that was part of the fun. These humans are so stupid that are continuously producing laws which are very easy to break and difficult to enforce, even for just humans. That's why I enjoy playing to be one, a plain one, except for the bouncers at the door. Then I have to use my devilish resources to give them a good one. In those moments I am proud to be a devil.
A while later we were sitting in one of those low chairs in the shadows. My hand was between her legs, and she squeezed them together, perhaps to keep her femininity out of my reach, perhaps to make it difficult for me to withdraw it from there.
“Let's go”, I said.
"You follow me”.
I led her to the ladies'. We both popped in a toilet box, I lowered the cover and I made her stand on it.
With my know how I managed to remove everything from her, except her shoes and socks. When she was totally naked she smiled.
“You look like a devil”, I said smiling back.
“Have you seen any?”
“Now I have. Tempt me, please”.
She opened her legs a little, defying me. I stroked her hip and gently bit her knee. I walked up the leg through the outer thigh, and nibbled her belly. When the girl came to know what was happening, she had just lost her virginity.
“Do not feel guilty”, I said. “Your mother and grandmother went through this. Otherwise, you would not be here”.
“But I do not want to have a son”, she said, alarmed. “Not now”.
“And you will not. I was going to use a condom, but I only used one finger. Come on, let's get dressed and dance”.
“You've deflowered me with a finger?!”
“Yes. What is the problem?”
“No, no... I guess. Just thought it would be more romantic”.
“You wrecked the romance yourself. Come on, let's dance. I'll wait for you in the dancing floor”.
And I left.
She took five minutes to get out. When she reached the door she did not see me, although I saw her very well. Only that in the dance floor there was a new dancer who had a very short outfit, a top that was just a few inches from being topless. She was very attractive and the eyes of all the males were on her. It was a diabolical doll: it was me. When I become a woman I like to be an outrageous brunette. In this way I tempt males and torment their females.
“Your boy is gone”, I said.
“A while ago. He was taken by a blondie”.
The poor little thing let out a sob of despair:
“The bastard ...”
“Do not worry. None of them is worth while, girl. Can you see those two? Sure they want to meddle with us. Come on, let's get closer and see if they decide to be playful. Or at least to invite us”.
But she did not want to play. It had been a very big disappointment. She told her friends she was leaving.
Her friends wanted to stay longer, but when they saw she was really upset, they went to the bar to pay for their drinks and go, and then they were surprised when the bartender informed them that everything was paid by the young lady's friend, he said pointing at Marta, who had to go.
When they were outside they met a guy leaning against the wall, who greeted her:
She turned and snapped at me:
“You! You were seen going out with a blondie”
“Well, you were lied at”.
“Why would they do such a thing?”
I cracked up in a sudden burst of laugh that gave the creeps to them all. A diabolical laughter of the kind which I have rehearsed so well that makes your hairs stand on their ends. It is really my best argument:
“Because there are people with a lot of ill feelings. I went out to smoke a cigarette. It is possible that I went out at the same time as your blondie, or a brunette. So what? I was going to get in again to keep dancing with you. Have you been faithful to me since I left you inside, my little gal?”
The poor girl was now mashed. I felt her discomfort for believing that slut in the miniskirt and her boobs almost on the open air.
“Hey, girls”, I turned to her friends, “have you come to smoke, or you are going home?”
“Well, I...”, she muttered.
“Come, Marta”, one of her friends said, “Don't you have to go now?”
“Well, Marta, Berta. I am Elvis. Enchanté. And you call yourself..?”
“Elvis! You must be kidding”.
“Oh, no. My mom was very fond of the hero of East Tupelo. I grew up with Elvis Presley's songs”. I faked then the first two verses of his song I saw you crying in the chapel (.. where everybody goes to pray).
“Marisol, Elvis. Pleased to meet you”, the other one said. “Marta, we gotta go”.
“I will be here tomorrow, love, if you want something. In fact I'm here every day. All the time”.
She turned and went to her friends, who were angry with her, and with good reason: she had to leave before the time when they were having fun, and then had gone to talk with that lousy Elvis.
They could not imagine that lousy Elvis was not missing a word of what they were saying. I had taken the shape of a black cat and was within eavesdropping distance from them. So I could know now which bus they had to get to go home. While they were waiting at the bus stop, I turned my shape into the disco slut, now with a maxi coat, and pretended to meet them by chance.
“Hey, girls!”, I waved. “I saw in the Auditorium earlier. Was it you who were there, right?”
Marta gave me the shoveling, but the others answered me.
“Yes, we come from there”.
“That was a bore today. I'm going home”.
“And us. Our friend here got cross and we had to come”.
“It must be because of a guy. They are all crap”.
“You are a bitch”, jumped in Marta. “Why did you tell me he had gone with a blondie?”
“Ha? Because I saw him go out with a blondie from there”.
“Well, he did not. He was smoking a cigarette when we left”.
“Sure. The blondie gave him a smack and left him there, and he stayed on to see if he could pick up something”.
She looked at me very angry. I, conciliatory, said:
“Come on, do not be angry... If I knew, I would not have said anything”.
“It would have been better”.
“Ok. Well, here comes my bus. See you some time, girls. Take care of her, she gets very angry easily...” But the bus was theirs too. Her friends got off earlier, as I told them I would accompany her home, so it was OK to them.
We chatted a lot along the way, we had a girls' talk and finally she stopped frowning on me, and I tore up some laughter from her. We became friends, especially when I told her about my experiences with guys like those in the club.
Instead of her friends, who no longer wanted to date her, I fetched her the following week end. Besides, it was better for her to go out with a nineteen year old girl than with those fifteen year old girls like her, though I did not tell her that, of course.
Once we got to the club I said goodbye to her and started to flirt with one of those unfortunates who swarm over there inviting girls to see if they can get something. After taking a sip of the Bourbon someone invited me I said I had to go to the toilet, but I entered the gents' and I left it in my Elvis costume, the sexy boy beside who none of the others had anything to do. I went to the bar and ordered two whiskeys, and when I was going to search her I felt a pat on the back: it was Marta, who was smiling from ear to ear.
“Hi, Marta! I was going to find you. Here, this is for you”, I said giving her one of the glasses.
“Today I came with a new friend. She's over there.
“She'll be flirting out there. Is she so beautiful as you are?”
“Silly! How should I know?”
“Ok. Would you like to continue where we left off?”
“I want to do it with you, but not here. On this place there is no style”.
I giggled in my evil mood again.
“Waw!, some little princess! If you want we can go to the Calpurnia Hotel, which has five stars”.
She thought I was bluffing.
“You dare not”.
“No? Of course I do. Come on, come on, let's go!”
It was weird for her to check into the hotel, as she could be asked for her identification and be discovered as an under age. So I checked myself, and then I sent an sms to her with the number of the room.
She went up the elevator directly to my floor, where I was waiting with the keys in my hand. She took them and opened the door and stopped inside, with the mouth open, totally seduced by the luxury. She had never been in a five starred hotel room.
But I had not taken so much trouble just to have sex with a teenager. My business was much more sophisticated and far reaching:
“Are not you afraid that your parents know you're with a man in a hotel?”
“My parents do not care about me. They think I'm sleeping”.
“No, maybe they discovered you are not”.
'Well, I could not care less”.
At that five-star hotel we were chatting the whole night long, but we had no other activity, even when she stripped completely. We devils are alluring, but nobody can seduce us, and least of all a brat like that, with her chest still half-formed and with as little grace as she had. I did not tell her, but she understood so.
“If you're not going to fuck me, why did you bring me here?”
“To have a chat”.
“And did you spend so much money just to have a chat?”
“What do you mean no? Were you given this room for free, by any chance?”
'We could say so...”
“What?”, she said blankly.
“Yes. The two hundred dollars that I gave the bloke downstairs are false”.
“Damn it, you bastard! What happens if you get caught?”
“Girl, watch that mouth! I'll have to wash it with soap. But I won't get caught. They are good”.
“Are your notes good, or are they fake?”
“Both. Their counterfeiting is good. Look!”, I showed her two 500 bucks notes. “Have them as a gift from me”.
“I do not want false money”.
“Well, that's all I can offer: a false love, false money, false values..., everything you like in me is false. Or do you go to the club looking for real, good values like the ones people have today no more?”
She got angry again, and made the move to take her clothes to get dressed and leave. But this time I was faster. No one knew he was there with me. I grabbed both her wrists and twisted her arms, putting them to the back of her waist. I threw her onto the bed, and I covered her head with the pillow. I made sure that she could breathe, as she was upside down. She screamed and kicked, but I held the pillow with one hand, while with the other I spanked her ten times very hard, what made her stunned and unable to react. Surely she had never been spanked, and apparently she liked this, because when I removed the pillow, her head was turned to the left, and she looked at me defiantly.
“Is that all?”
“Do you want more?”
“Yes. Punish me, because I have been very bad”.
I spanked her ten times again, while she was smiling. Now her buttocks were pink, like a baby's. I turned her around and as her breast pointed at the ceiling I could see she was excited. I got a short string made of silk from my pocket and tied it to her right wrist and I fixed the other end to the bed. Then I tied her other wrist to the other side of the bed. I did the same with his ankles. She was now fully exposed.
I took out a cigarette and smoked it in silence, sitting on the edge of the bed. She watched me. Perhaps she thought I was going to put it off on her skin, and that excited her. When I finished smoking, I looked at her for long time, very seriously, and said:
“Yes, you've been bad, very bad. You said bad words and I do not like that. A lady should not talk like that, because that's vulgar and a symptom of lack of culture. Instead you could have said bastard, scammer, or unconscionable, scoundrel, thief, criminal, or any one of many other words instead of the easy four letter words you said. And I will not fuck you, but instead we might make love, or sex, or fluid exchanges, or unleash our passion, or unleash our basic instincts, or even erupt our lava together. But, girl, I do not fuck, you're not going to fuck me. So that you remember this I'll have to wash your mouth, Marta. With soap. You understand, right?”
Sighing in almost Christian resignation, I gave her a hard slap on her face that caught her off guard. I took out my scented fabric handkerchief out of my pocket and unfolded it. I showed it, and then I did a ball with it, by crumpling it. I put it to her nose and said, “It smells good, doesn't it?”
But before she had time to answer, I had gotten it into her mouth so deeply that she could not spit it out. I gave her three even stronger slaps before asking:
“Do you understand now why I should wash your mouth, Marta?”
She shook her head and I gave her other four slaps, stronger than before. Then I asked again, and I repeated the process twice more. When her face was completely red and eyes full with tears she finally nodded.
“Then it will be an accepted punishment. Right?” She nodded quickly and smiled, because she had already learned the lesson. It was strange that she smiled.
I went to the bathroom and returned with two glasses, one filled with water and a bar of soap. I proceeded to take the handkerchief from her mouth, and showed her the soap. She closed her mouth, but I rubbed it on the outside of her teeth above and below, and gums. Then I pinched her nose with two fingers, and she had to open her mouth to breathe, thus giving me the opportunity to put the soap halfway inside her mouth.
“I advise you not to bite, because this soap is no good for your stomach and will give you a diarrhea”.
She already stopped fighting, and I rubbed the soap along the edge of her teeth, tongue, the inside of her gums, palate, and the bottom of the tongue, where the salivary glands are.
I took a short sip of water, and opening his mouth with one hand, I approached her and placed my lips on hers, making a duct to let the water go from my mouth to hers.
“Do not swallow, wait”, I said. “Move the water on every corner of your mouth to take away the soap, but do not swallow anything”.
She obediently did as I told her. Then again I applied my mouth on hers and I extracted all the water, and then I cast it out off my mouth into the empty glass. I performed the operation four or five times, until all the water had gone from one to the other glass. Then I wiped her mouth with the towel inside, then outside. It was a little unpleasant for her when I dried her teeth, but that did not stop me. When she moaned, I gave her a slap while I said Shut up, you whiner!
“I'll be right back”, I informed her. I went to the bathroom to get rid of the cleaning tools. Then I sat back on the edge of the bed. I went back to her and gave her a kiss with tongue.
“It is the cleanest kiss I got in my entire life”, I said with much cynicism.
I pulled out another cigarette and smoked it in silence, watching her. She looked at me, smiling, and wondering what would come next. You could tell she was enjoying the experience
“You're a devil”, she said, smiling. She looked excited.
“You are telling me!”, I said. “You don't know how accurate this definition is, nor the things that I have in store for you”.
I gave her an affectionate slap on the face and pinched her belly.
“We will play with cigarettes, but later”.
I paused, finished my cigarette, but this time I did not put it off on her skin, either. I stood up and said:
“Wait for me here, do not go anywhere else”.
I got up, grabbed her clothes, hung them on a hanger in the closet, opened the door, closed it out after hanging the "Do not disturb" notice from the lever, and then and left.
Two hours later the door opened, and her friends Berta and Marisol came in. I had left the room keys and mobile Marta’s phone in the former’s mailbox, right after I’d sent them an sms telling her friend was in room 713 of the Calpurnia Hotel and needed them urgently, and also where Marta’s cell phone and the keys were. They went there immediately. When they entered the room they did not expect her friend's problem was to be tied to her bed with no clothes on. She had fallen asleep while they were coming. She tried to explain what had happened, but she could not do it consistently, nor they could understand such a weird thing. These things simply do not happen. They said they had to go to the police station to report that pervert.
“And let my parents kick me out of my house? No, ladies. If I see him I'll tear his eyes out, but I cannot let anyone know this. At least he called you and I'll not be in the papers: Underage naked and tied to bed at Calpurnia's. No, thank you”.
But I knew she did not hate me. Not exactly.
The following Friday at noon in the middle of the park I was waiting for her to cross it as she went home from school. It was nice to see her in her gray skirt suit and bib, and white long-sleeved shirt.
When she saw me she stopped, amazed, and said nothing:
“On your knees”, I ordered.
It took a split second for her to obey. I took her bag and shirt and put them beside her. I gave her two sound slaps. Then, without saying a word, I disappeared from sight. Since then three years have gone by. In that time I met her in the most weird places, and she has been gradually tamed. Now she's enjoying her masochism and her soul is mine. Now she is thinking how to deliver me her friends Berta and Marisol, whom she has already managed to make speak without swearing. But that's another story.
I've always been interested in Franz Schubert's Unfinished Sympony, number 8. If we listen to it carefully, we find nothing missing in it, even if a normal symphony has four movements or parts, we find that the only two this one has seem to form a full work, as it lacks nothing.
In the same way, there is nothing missing in this tale, even if the classic story structure (presentation, conflict and solution) we find in any story are here so well tied together that they look like a single thing...
Well, let me tell you without any further delay:
In the same way as Schubert did, Joe Apple enjoyed music, but he could not play piano, but the recorder. He spent his life in the countryside with his flock of sheep, because he was a shepherd. His routine was going to the sheepfold before the sun rose to take his sheep graze on the grass, three miles away, and then come back in the evening. He spent the whole day with his sheep and had usually no great things to do.
When he was hungry, he ate some fruit from the trees he found here and there, and drank milk directly from the sheep udders.To kill time, he used to make recorders from canes he cut, and put a piece inside them so that the thing could whistle when he blew. He succeeded to play dance suite concerts, that is, one after the other, for hours.
But one day he found a most beautiful being in the middle of the open field:
And from then on Joe gave pleasure to Galadriel and the rest of angels in Heaven with the magic tunes of his recorder.
This is another story. Perhaps about a poor devil. Because … are there devils? Does the Devil exist? What are demons? Are they unhappy beings? Are we devils? Are they unhappy? Are they just beings who have not yet managed to evolve? That brings us to a more important question:
Does evil exist? Maybe when we start existing we are beings with no evolution at all who have to learn everything from scratch, and among the things that we've got to overcome there is our envy, and our anger, or our excessive love for things that we have not worked long enough to be able to have and we hate to see others to have them, but that just means we do not have enough good in us yet. That's why we are devils and we will be so until we learn that there are better things than being poor devils.
That's what happened to poor Aruel. He was not, and suddenly he started to be. All around he saw that there were more people, all taller, prettier and smarter than he was. And then he felt sad not to be like everyone else. That feeling was anger. A lot. And it would not let him see that there were no two identical spirits among them all.
“Do not envy us, copy us”, a voice said.
“Who are you?”
“A poor devil like you. But I've learned not to be angry”.
So, little by little, he started to hold back the anger that was upon him, but he felt down because he found he was still the last of his peers.
Until he met Afel, of course. He was much less brilliant a spirit than him, but Afel did not care for that at all. He was just there, doing nothing. Enjoying his own being.
“Don't you mind being the last one, Afel?
“No. Why should I? Someone has to be the last one. I do not care if it is me”.
“That annoyed me, being the last one”.
“Would you like to be the first one?”
'Well, I wouldn't. It is easier to follow you wherever you to decide to take me. Where will you take me?” “I'll take you... I do not know, where the one before me is taking me”.
And suddenly Aruel realized that he was no longer over Afel but below him. Now "the one before" was Afel, and he was the last one again.
“Waw!, now I'm the one that takes you somewhere”, Afel said with some disappointment. “Come on, you get ahead of me, for you know better than I”.
But he must know worse, because as he was saying this, Afel went further from Aruel, who was left alone there again, watching as his new friend disappeared forward, until all that was left of him was a vague memory.
Well, but Afel was not doing anything!, he complained puzzled and thoughtful.
And then he fell into a kind of lentil circling on itself.
Brrr!, now I feel really sad!, Aruel said discovering what that feeling meant. This is an inhospitable world.
And then he saw two people who were fighting. He did not know why, nor he cared about it. One of them took a gun from the ground, but was afraid to use it. He doubted.
“Kill him”, him Aruel said.
And that being fired. Aruel marveled that the creature could hear him. But I twas good feeling the power he had over him.
“I'm a murderer”, that being said.
“No”, Aruel replied. “Better you than him. Is he dead?”
The creature, named Alfonso, bent down and pressed his neck veins with a finger: nothing, his heart was not beating. That guy was dead, as dead as the stones that surrounded them.
Aruel saw a being full with light with scissors, and as soon as the inner being of the deceased came out of the body, he cut a clear, bright gray thread that united him to the body that was on the floor. Then they both looked at Aruel with pity on their faces, and the one holding the scissors said:
“Aruel, even if you're still at the bottom of the pit, remember that God loves you. When you have learned to love yourself, too, you'll understand”.
“Damn you and the God who gave me life!”
The other being looked at him and said:
“I am Manuel. We'll see you later, Aruel. I was also bad”. And both beings disappeared.
Aruel looked inside the murderer. The deceased was his friend Manuel. They had argued because the dead one had discovered that his friend had something to do with his wife, but did not know to what extent. They had insulted each other and come to blows, until Manuel dropped the gun and the other one got it from the ground first.
When Manuel's body was buried, his friend Alfonso saddled the earth, and his feet stomped slightly so that no part of the ground was too even in comparison with the rest.
Aruel enjoyed the power he felt about those beings, humans, and walked among them advising them to follow their evil tendencies to steal, kill, mistreat... And when someone died, he saw that being so bright come with his scissors and cut the loop union of the human with the part that no longer served him or her.
“Who are you?”, he asked him once.
“I am the Angel of Mercy”.
“Why you do not you have mercy on me?”
“Because you do not let me. I can only pity you”.
“Why you do not prevent me from doing evil?”
“Because that is up to you. Only you can do stop yourself from that”.
“Don't you feel sorry for these beings who die because of me?”
“Of course I feel sorry for them. So I come and take them to where you can harm them no more”.
“But they die...”
“Yes. When you make them die, you favor them”.
And Muriel, the Angel of Mercy, disappeared. The only thing that was stuck in the memory was his smile. Why did Muriel smile? From humans he had learned that death was something to be afraid of, because death is the end of everything. But that that made Muriel smile. In fact it amused him.
So death was not bad. It was not that walking skeleton covered with an ugly hood and carrying a scythe with which he cut the link between soul and body, but a nice bright view of a beautiful asexual being with a pair of magical scissors to cut the silver cord that connects the soul and body ...
And Aruel felt ill. He felt he was manipulated. And feeling much more anger, he cursed God and all beings of light once again. Because he had no light. He was a dark being. A demon. A poor devil. The king of clumsy humans. But only while they were leading that animal life. For as soon as they died, Muriel appeared and took them with him. Or her.
I'll have to do something to fuck God, he said. I'll harm him, as much as he is harming me. I'll fuck him and all his heavenly court.
And he walked along all the paths and places of the Earth as the banshee that was meditating her plans for revenge. Thus he caused volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, even he blew up a nuclear power plant in Japan. And then he went to the center of the Earth, where the magma is hottest, and realized that none of it warmed him, as he was a spiritual being.
“Just like us”, he heard a voice in his mind.
“Who the hell are you?”
“Zaak. I am a devil, the same as you, and this is Hell, also called the Underworld, mate”.
“Are you many?”
“About a dozen”.
“And what do you do?”
“Nothing. We are here thinking what to do to with the folks up there, in the open. From time to time we set up a war. It is fun”.
Aruel looked at that being and realized that he was no longer the last one in the ranking of values of ethereal beings. No, that one was much more stupid than he was.
“And what is the use of war?”
“They kill one another. That is fun”.
“So your only achievement is that Muriel can take them away”.
“Who is she?”
“He is someone with silver scissors with which he cut humans from the part which makes them be animals. And takes them away, to a place where we can no longer see them”.
“And is that good for them?”
“Of course it is: they suffer no more”.
As they were talking they had been surrounded by the other devils from the Underworld, the Center of the Earth, the hottest place, several thousand degrees hot, but they did not care because they were spirits and did not feel the heat.
“Then this game is useless. There is not fun in it”.
“Can't you think of anything better?”
“Well...”, Zaak doubted, “really I cannot think of anything better than killing or making them suffer... We thought death was the worst thing on earth. All humans cling to life in desperation, and they would even get hold of a burning nail not to die”.
“That's because they are ignorant. If they knew what we know, they would not avoid it so eagerly”.
“Well, being a devil is no longer fun. You are a killjoy, Aruel”.
“Well, there is something we can do”.
“Is it going to be fun?”
“Yes, a lot: let's organize peace. Let there not be war any more in the world. So man will have a long life full with illness, worries, a hard fight for life, robbery, harassment, dirty tricks...”
“I like the sound of it”.
So devils trooped to the surface. Aruel was beset by questions and requests for instructions from his now subordinates. All those devils lent pledge of allegiance and obedience with little but effective protocol. The first time they asked for advice and what was there to be done, and that allegiance oath was renewed every time they kept asking him, as if he were their teacher, or at least the smartest kid in the class. Aruel felt he was the King of the World.
He found that those human beings left to their own devices, especially when they had power over others, were much more wicked than the devils themselves. That's why devils created democracy and the United Nations, in order to prevent wars and try to stop all the wars in progress, though sometimes the provisions of the UN were good only to make wars longer and do more damage. The Devils were exultant in joy, but Aruel knew that making Muriel work was, in the long run, bringing happiness to humans, and that did not make him happy at all. Those miserable insects, those clumsy beasts, humans, were going to a place where he could never go.
And he went through all the earth, desperate again. Everywhere he found Muriel at work, and the Angel of Mercy no longer said anything, but he smiled at him with sympathy instead of pity. And that bothered him even more. Can spirits mourn? So Aruel felt: very sad. What could he do? He was the spirit of envy.
And suddenly he had an idea: if he could not go where those things were because he was not human..., well, he would be a human!
No sooner said than done: he tried to enter into a human as a matter of course: to join his spiritual self with the body of one of those beasts. The trouble was that the body was already engaged:
“Out!”, he heard while he felt a severe push which hurt him really. He had never felt physical pain. But Aruel was persistent, and tried again a thousand times, but all those times he was expelled violently, and he did not know why, but he could not stay in the body, or share it, or even talk to the irascible tenant. He was always just beaten. Some humans! All his anger, all his strength were of no avail against the union already existent between bodies and their spirits. He even tried to enter a body whose inhabitants had just left with Muriel, but it was evident at once that it did not work: he could not activate the union with it: the silver cord could not be glued to him, once separated from its spirit it was of no use.
But he suddenly knew the solution to all his problems:
On a field lay a she human, and a he human was entering her. Well, actually only a small part of him, a very small one, if we consider his total size. The man was fertilizing her. When they had dressed again and he took her home in his car, Aruel followed and knew that she had conceived a child. Before any other spirit came, he went into the life that was forming at the time, and saw that, indeed, there was nobody there yet. He took the tiny silver thread which was swaying, indolent, and stabbed it in the center of his own being. He felt pain, much pain: but he was alive!
“At long last!”, he squealed with joy. “I am human!”
Just in time, as he saw another dark being come onto the scene. But he took the silver cord and gave him a blow, and the other being was quick to go, with its heavenly body sore and the knowledge he had never to come back, as he, Aruel, had learnt a thousand times before.
The woman stopped, leaned against a wall, and threw up.
February, the 23rd 2014
The child had come to the world in a stormy December night. His mother, Tina, was nearly a child herself: she was fifteen. When her parents knew she was pregnant, they kicked her out of their home. A fortnight later they thought it better and sought for her, but it took them a long time to find her. Two years, exactly.
“No, Dad, I cannot go with you. When you threw me away I suffered a lot. I slept in the the Home for the Homeless People for a few nights. The nuns there were very good to me. Then there came their chaplain, Father Amalio, which helped me a lot. He found me a job as a maid in the house of some friends of his, and then when her own maid retired, a year later, I suggested that I could look after him. My child had already been born, and since then he has given us two a nice home, food and a salary. In return I have to take care of him, and I do. But I cannot leave him now. I'm fine here. He helped me when nobody else did. Now I cannot leave him. He's been like a father to me. He is a man of God. I take care of him and my child, Fulgencio, and Don Amalio takes care of us both. I'll come to visit you, but at my seventeen years of age now I have settled down for good, Dad.
So the girl's parents lost their chance to be grandparents for little Fulgencio, who would always see them as visiting relatives. His real grandpa and father was Don Amalio, the priest.
The child was raised in a healthy environment, perhaps too sanctimonious, including rosaries, masses, homilies and prayers. When he was old enough, he was an altar boy, and he had no other father but Don Amalio, which everybody else also called father. One day his mother took him out of his mistake: no, not all were his brothers. Don Amalio was not really his father, but priests around the world are called father because they are spiritual fathers. They speak of God the Father, and give them advice about their problems and hopes of a better life in Heaven when they die after a long life. Fulgencio's real father was called Bartholomew, and he was a postman. Or at least he was so the last time his mother had seen him, the day she told him he was going to be a father. Bartholomew was not up to it and, and had never been seen in town again.
Thus, little Chencho, as he was called at home, grew up and learned to live with no father or grandfather but the old priest who always gave so much love to him and his mother. So when he turned ten he told old Amalio that he wanted to be a good man like him, he wanted to heal souls, become a priest. Don Amalio was overjoyed and the next day went to the bishop, who sought a grant so that son of the church was taken into its holy protection and educated in accordance with the provisions thereof. Because the bishop did not believe the child was not the son of the prelate. Had this story happened in the 21st century they could have done a DNA test, but in those years, the mid-nineteenth century, those things were not available, and the bishop had felt responsible for that child, perhaps the son of the last moment of passion of good Don Amalio, whom all his parishioners spoke so well of because he had such a golden heart full with compassion and love. Perhaps he was sincere when he denied to be the child's father. If that was true, the bishop concluded, he was a saint.
And ten years later, when he was twenty, Chencho became Father Fulgencio. His first assignment was in the same church where his father was pastor, of course, so that he could have the honor and the glory to instruct him on all the tricks of the trade as a priest, since like other professions in which you need a special vocation, such as teacher or doctor, it is also required to have a trade know-how to succeed in your job.
And so, two years later the Bishop remembered him and appointed him pastor, for he wanted the teachings of good Don Amalio also to serve in a remote village of about five hundred inhabitants as an appointed pastor to learn to be responsible for the spiritual guidance of an entire population and well after his experience and learning there, he could replace Don Amalio when he died or retired.
On reaching the village, Fulgencio found a population in which parishioners were mostly women, since most men did not seem very willing to step on the church, and the few who did was to accompany their wives and daughters. But gradually they were won by the goodness of his heart. He was always ready, day and night, when one of his parishioners needed him. For example, when Marina's parents threw her from their home when they learnt that she was pregnant and she would not say who was responsible for it. She went to the priest, who gave her dinner and then told her to sleep in the guest room, and he would talk to her the next day, as he had to go out in that moment. He put on his coat and hat and went to see the parents of Marina. He told them how his grandparents had been expelled his mother because she had not wanted to get rid of the illegitimate child she was going to have. His mother had changed his life for that of her son, and there he was, a man of God, bringing comfort to people and telling them not to make that mistake if they did not want to lose their daughter and grandson.
And the miracle happened: the next day Marina could go home, and months later she gave birth to a boy, whom she named Fulgencio Manuel: Manuel by his father, and Fulgencio by the priest who had saved their entire family from disaster.
The priest, the teacher, the judge and the doctor, along with the mayor, were the intellectual elite of that Mexican people of the late 19th century. It was a time of great social upheaval, and so the parents of Marina had to hide poor father Fulgencio sometime in the basement of their home, when the militia was looking for him to execute him for serving a foreign power, the Pope of Rome. But later the situation calmed down.
One of his most regular parishioners was Rosa, the wife of the Mayor. They had a very pretty 15 year old daughter. She herself, the mother, was so too, and if he had not been a man of God he might have had a problem with the mayor. She was a very intelligent woman, and she always raised interesting questions at general meetings with the leading citizens:
“Father, if God is so good, why does he allow that so many people get killed?”
“My daughter, God has reasons we do not understand”.
“Yes, Father, but he could explain them to us, if we are his children”.
“Yes, child, but you must trust him. God is your father and protects you in this world and the other one”.
The truth is that between both of them there was an atypical stream of sympathy which was not very convenient in those times. Doña Rosa began to confess relatively frequently, and took the opportunity to tell Don Fulgencio everything she had in her soul and in her little head of bored bourgeois. She told him that her marriage was not going as well as they had planned because her husband was a little older and had outdated ideas. She liked younger and more dynamic men. And she wanted, she said, to try new things that aroused her sexual interest and morbid feelings.
Despite being a man of God, Fulgencio felt the sexual drive in each of the things she told him. Under the seal of confession she told him all activities she did within the sacred bond of marriage with her husband, and the poor priest did not dare interrupt her, because she asked him if he thought she sinned, having lust in her relationship with her husband. When he gave her his hand to kiss, he received a discharge of libido that ran throughout his body, and a more skilled person in love would have seen that she was willing to get to wherever it was needed to show her love to him, but the poor priest doubted. He wanted to believe that she was in good faith.
Until everything got out of hand. One day he was alone in the sacristy reading his breviary, and saw her looking up there in front of him. Had not heard her coming, but surely that was because he was absorbed in his reading.
“Father, I love you”, she said bluntly.
He did not know what to do or say. The seminar did not prepare you for these situations: the sixth is Thou shalt not commit adultery, and neither that woman nor he were free to fornicate or commit impure acts; no is no. But his teachers had never had a pink, sexy woman offering herself to them in their sacristy.
He did not say anything, but she did something: facing no opposition from the priest, she sat on him with one leg at either side of his.
“Take me, father”, she pleaded.
He brought a hand between her legs to refuse her, but then he noticed that under her wide flight skirt she was wearing nothing. She acted on the buttons of his cassock and his trousers and soon had the body of the priest in contact with hers. It was she who kissed him and got impaled by him. After a few minutes he was still stunned, without leaving his amazement, when she finally came to a voluptuous, animal, intense orgasm, And he finally covered her with kisses, reacting at long last.
When it was over, she stood up and adjusted her dress as he noted that she was red, very red.
The reader may wonder at how this virtuous man of God could do such a thing. It had never entered his brain that this pious woman regarded him as a sexual partner, but when she was having sexual intercourse with him he denied reality: he wanted to understand that this thing was not happening, not to him, not from her. But then as soon as she reached her orgasm he was conscious that she was aware of the sin she had committed and he felt really sorry for her, not for him. After all he had been but the poor object she had used. And his great sense of charity and love for God and his creatures won and tried to give her some consolation. He was aware how unhappy this woman was, and tried to comfort her. So the battle inside the priest's heart was brief and it was love, the Love for God, who won, and he told himself that this girl had just been put under his protection by God himself, and so he, his humble servant, had no other way but obeying him within the limited lights which his holy father had provided him with.
“Do you feel ashamed?”, finally the prelate reacted.
“Yes, father, very much. I should have never done so. I feel like going away and never see you again..., but I feel I have to confess and ask for God's and your pardons”.
“Rose”, he said omitting the formal treatment between pastor and parishioner, “it was magical. I am not ashamed of what we have done. It's called love”.
“But..., Father ... I am married, and you are married to the church”.
“God is love, child. God cannot condemn this”.
“I feel guilty”.
“If you repent, we can get you to believe that this has never happened, and not let it happen again anymore”.
She stared at him, covering her mouth with one hand, not to speak. Then he put her other hand on his to prevent him from speaking. And so she was for a while, until she removed the hand from her mouth to put it on his neck, and caressed it as she said slowly:
“Oh, no, do not say that, please”, she said sadly, “I want to do it again. Many times. The hell with you is paradise in comparison to the holy relationship I have with my husband”.
“Why do you despise him so much?”
“It was a marriage of convenience”.
“Were you pregnant?”
“From your husband?”
“No. From a secret boyfriend I had”.
“Did your parents know?
“Yes. I told them myself”.
“But your husband is not to blame for anything. He believes that Amparo is his daughter, right?”
“Yes. My parents had arranged a marriage previously, and managed to speed the ceremony a few months”.
“You never thought of telling him the truth?”
“No, Fulgencio... When is it okay for us to meet again?”, she said, making it clear she did not want to continue talking about it.
“Today is Tuesday..., well, come for confession on Thursday”, replied the prelate. “Then there is never anyone here. I'll confess you in the sacristy”.
From that day Rosa went to church every Tuesday and Thursday to confess, and every day at seven o'clock she attended mass to take holy communion. Her husband and daughter were with her. The girl could not take her eyes off the priest since she also had a crush on him. It was understandable, because she was a teenager and he was the only young man in town.
Fulgencio and Rosa were very discreet and no one in town ever suspected ever anything.
But one day they made a mistake they could not foresee. The mayor had to go regularly to the state capital to attend a formal meeting with the Governor, and took a day or two to come back. But that day he had felt ill shortly after starting the journey, and a cart driver had brought him back home from a neighboring village, Magdalena Apasco. When he came, lazily, to his bedroom to lie down and rest, what he saw took away the physical discomfort he had all of a sudden, as other far worse discomfort, that of the soul, replaced it at once: on his wife he could see the body of another man. In his own bed. She did not realize that her husband was at home until he felt the blow on her lover's head as two fists fell at the same time on it, breaking his neck, so the poor man died on the spot. Rose looked at him in panic, not knowing what to do or what to say. He grabbed her hair and pulled her out of bed and making her stand up, he threw her clothes up on her, and said: “Get dressed!” Then he turned to the closet, and pulled out a suitcase and threw it at her, at her feet:
“Rose, get the hell out of here. Get out of my life and your daughter's. If I see you again, I'll kill you”.
And he left the room. He went downstairs, and served himself a big glass of brandy to the brim. He wanted to gather his thoughts, as he did not know what to do, in fact he did not know what he had done. His wife had died for him. While he was having his brandy, he looked out the window thinking about nothing, feeling nothing, hearing the birds singing and the wind howling. In the distance he could hear people walking down the street, buying, arguing...
Half an hour later Rose came and stopped behind him for a while, and then she went to the door of his house, opened it and closed it filled with sorrow, thinking it was the last time she saw her home. He heard the door close, and then went back to his bedroom. Upon entering, he turned that body to know who had desecrated the holy sacrament of marriage, who had taken his life away from him. When he saw his face, amazement took color away from his body: it was good Don Fulgencio! He had killed the Man of God! Long gone was his spotted honor and its washing away by the death of the offender. He knew he was damned forever.
“Do not suffer, my son. You have fallen prey to anger, but God loves you. And I forgive you. I beg your pardon”.
“No one can hear you”, said a familiar voice.
Fulgencio turned and said:
“Yes”, replied the Angel of Mercy cutting off the silver thread that bound him to that broken body that no longer worked. “Come, come, Aruel, I'm taking where I have to carry humans. Finally, yes. In this short life of your twenty-three years you progressed as a human much more that in ten thousand years as an angel. Today you will see God”.
Murcia, February 23rd 2014
This story happened to Father Andrew. He was a young priest who had just arrived at the Church of the Candelaria, in Huitzo, also called San Pablo. As it was his first destination, the bishop did not appoint him pastor, but sent him there as a curate, a helper to the pastor. But he could not help any pastor, because there was no other priest there, only him, a mere assistant. It was a very small village, just under a thousand inhabitants, and his was the only church in the whole town.
As soon as he came he went to see the mayor, because he wanted a report on the place where he was expected to do a good job. But the mayor was a godless atheist and told him that the best he could do for the people and himself was to go back on the way where he had come from, because a priest was not needed or welcomed there.
“So who is going to beat you at chess?”, the priest asked.
“Can you play?”
“I can see you cheat yourself, but whites will win in two moves”, he said, pointing to the board.
The mayor was intrigued and invited the priest to continue the game. Ten minutes later, eight of which the Mayor invested in thinking what his next move would be, the priest checkmated in a way his opponent had not anticipated.
“Father, you'll give me a rematch, I hope”.
“That will be tomorrow, Mayor. Now I have to get help to fix the church”.
“I will send you the sweeper tomorrow morning”.
The next day a very big man, who looked a little retarded heavily knocked on the door of the priest's house at five in the morning. Andrew used to do his physical and spiritual exercises very early, so he had just got up. In fact he was coming out of the bathroom when he heard the blows, and he opened the door immediately .
“You must be John”, he said.
“Well, come in, John. Have you had breakfast?”, the prelate asked.
As Andrew had his glass of milk and three cookies, John took the time to observe the priest's house: a living room with a crucifix in the center of the widest wall, two chairs and a table. There was also a dresser with ten books on it.
“Father ... can I?”, he said pointing at the books.
“Sure, son. Go ahead. Reading is good”.
John scanned the limited library of the priest curiously: there were a missal; a Bible; Life is a Dream, a theatre play by Pedro Calderon de la Barca; Five Weeks in a Balloon, a novel by Jules Verne; The Divine Narcissus, by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz; a book of poems by José Martí; a dictionary of Spanish language and another one of Latin; a book written in that language by some Catullus; and the rarest of all books: a treatise on rhetoric written by a man named Aristotle, which he did not understand even the title, despite being written in Castilian.
“Father, you are a very learned man”.
“No, John, of course not”, he replied humbly. “Everything is relative, but the more I read, the more ignorant you feel”.
“Father, that is not logical. Although you know that true wisdom is not in the books. It is in life”, the sweeper said as if it were truth itself.
Andrew smiled at the naivety of man.
“So John, if that sentence, which is wise, is put in a book and it appears published, it will no longer be wise”.
The man looked at the priest with surprise and then smiled saying:
“Father, you are smart, but even if you know more than me, I will not be convinced of that”. Then, as if hw were talking to himself, he added: “Of course, you spent all those years in the seminary...”
“Come on, John”, Andrew said, standing up, “let's go to church, we have work to do”.
Upon entering the church they found it full with rubble and rats that had nested there. They managed to put them away by banging two sticks noisily and shouting. They put the ruined benches together, and then they cut them into pieces for firewood for the approaching winter. They redistributed those in good condition, and somewhat separated they occupied the same space which all the benches had used previously. I hope there are more people than available room, the priest thought, worried.
That afternoon, at seven, when everyone had left work, the church bells rang out for the first time in a long time. The priest had a sense of rhythm, as the two bells sounded a little setback: clan, clan, clanclanclan, clan, clan... After the ten minutes carillon percussion concert half the town had gathered in the church square.
“The Mass is about to start now”, said Father Andrew, properly dressed for the religious service, from the door of the temple. Then he turned and went inside. Amparo, the mayor's daughter, followed him. Then her friends followed her, and her friends’ mothers. And these were followed by their husbands. And the others that were there looked at one another, and then they went into the church.
From the altar Andrew saw that the benches were indeed not enough for so many people. The mass was well felt and nice. People thanked for it. During the homily Andrew asked everyone to help improve the church, and although not a lot of money was raised, the next day there were fifty men in the church door asking the priest what was to be done, and they all together repaired the church and built all the missing benches.
Mass was celebrated every day at seven o'clock. There was only one person who never was: the Mayor. Father Andrew always focused on all the people, without ever mentioning that one was missing. He saw that one every day at three in the afternoon, when they had a chess game. After lunch he visited him, and his daughter Amparo served coffee served for them both. When he arrived, often the Mayor was not still ready, so she told him some things till her dad came. She was a sad girl, though she never mentioned the cause of her sorrow.
During the chess games they talked about their lives, although most of the time they were silent, concentrated, because they were both very good players, even if amateurs. So, united by the common interest of the strategy and the game, they got acquainted into good friends. Until one day the mayor told something strange, very strange:
“Check!”, the Mayor said triumphal for the third time since they had met. The other two times the priest had reversed the situation and become checkmate in three and two moves, respectively. Now it will not be so easy to get his checkmate in one move, the mayor thought wryly.
“Today you are inspired, Mayor”, the priest said sarcastically.
“I am not going to lose out with priests...”
“Lose? Have you made a bad deal with any of my colleagues?”
“Too bad”, the Mayor said, getting very serious.
“It seems you have a lot of pain in the body, Adrian”, said the priest leaning over the back of his seat. It was the first time that the priest used the mayor’s personal.
“Pain, you said! I still cannot sleep at night”.
“How do you know it is about my wife?”
“It's logical. Your child looks after you, but she looks at you in reproach, and you would not look back on her. Maybe she blames you for the death of her mother...”
“Death? Hopefully. But no, father. With a murder already I exceeded my quota on crime. I threw her away from the village”.
“Did you kill her lover?”
“Yes, Andrew. He was a pig. He took away the best of my life...”
“How did you kill him?”
“I surprised him in my bed having sex with my wife. I hit him in the head with both fists and broke his neck”.
“What about your wife, my son?”
“She was lying beneath him. She looked at me with panic in her face. I saw her as a stranger. I grabbed her by the hair and dragged her out of the bed, I made her stand and threw over her clothes, I put a suitcase in front of her and said: Leave the town now! If I ever see you , I'll kill you”.
“And she went away”.
“Yes. I couldn't stand seeing her again”.
“And who was the lover of your wife, Adrian?”, said the priest in the mellowest voice he could.
“Your predecessor, Father”.
“You said it. Poor man. I went crazy, father. Now you know why I do not you go to church. I killed a man of God, and therefore God does not want me at his side. If I'm going to hell, why bother going to church?”
“My son, God will not condemn you. God loves you”.
“No, father, I killed His man, so this town has been forgotten by God for five years”.
“But I was told to come here. Tell me, how is it that your crime was not known, my son?”
“I waited till night and I took the body to the herd of Christopher, two miles from town. Christopher goes there only two or three times a week, and always at day time. I had time to cut the body with an ax and give pigs little by little so that they ate the whole of him. Then I burned his clothes and threw the ashes into the dump itself, where they mixed with the rest of the crap”.
“Nobody looked for the priest?”
“Nobody could explain where he was. When asked, I said I knew the same as the others. Nobody associated that with the absence of my wife, as I said she had gone away to look after her mother, who was very sick”.
“Was she sick really?”
“No. His parents had died, but nobody knew that. Now you know, father, and I guess your conscience will force you to tell the authorities”.
“No, my son, you know I cannot tell this to anyone. I understood that you were confessing to me, and this is sealed under confession. I can advise you to surrender to justice, but not report you. If I did I would go to hell. But I think you've already paid for your sin too dearly”.
“How is that? You have not said all those weird things priests say before confession”.
“I did not want to scare you away, so I mentally said Ave Maria, my son, what do you accuse yourself of? And you confessed what you did”.
The mayor stared fixedly at the priest. Eventually, he said: “Well, it does not matter! Finally I could tell someone. I feel better now”.
“Ego te absolvo pecatus tuis in nomine Patrem, et Filiius et Spiritu Sancto. Amen1”, said Andres making the sign of the cross with his hand.
“What?”, the Mayor said in awe.
“God has forgiven you, son. I have this power, to forgive on God's behalf. Your repentance is sincere and you've paid your penance”.
“Will you not decree anything else as penance?”
“Yes, one thing: you come to Mass this evening at seven and receive communion. It will do you well, my son”.
“Poor Father Fulgencio...”
“He was a man of God, even if he sinned. But he also has forgiven you”.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I am very sure. Now you just need forgiveness from one person”.
“Who else has to forgive me?”
“You, yourself, my son. You will have to forgive yourself. Yes, you seriously sinned, but it is not the end of the world. You are not the center of the universe”.
“Father...., that..., I had never thought of that”.
“You've punished yourself, too, and you needn't have done so”.
“But father, I took a life...”
“Three. Fulgencio's, yours, and your wife's, because you do not know if she lives. But it doesn't matter: God has already forgiven you, son. And I don't judge you. Go and sin no more”, Andrew said, rising. He looked at his watch and said: “Or I'd better go, it's late. See you in church”.
That evening at seven everybody was surprised to see the Mayor appearing at the gate of the church. Usually he half-took off his hat when passing by the front door of the church at any hour of the day as a gesture of respect. But this time he took it off completely and entered the temple with hat on his hand, went to the first row of benches, and sat down on the seat by the aisle, in silence. In his homily the priest made no reference to the Mayor or said we're all at long last or anything, but he spoke of the Parable of the Sower. He also said that he had received a communication from his superiors summoning him to Oaxaca City, and did not know when he would return, although it was possible that a substitute would be sent until he came back.
When everybody had had holy communion and was in his or her seat praying, Father Andrew thought aloud about the bottomless roads leading to God. When the Mass finished and he went into the sacristy, they all went away. Except one. When Andrew was going to put off the candles, he saw the mayor there, sitting in the front row, apparently meditating.
“Are you all right, Adrian?”, he said as he touched his shoulder. But he quickly realized that his gaze was fixed facing forward, lifeless. The poor man had died a few minutes earlier.
Father Andrew went to the sacristy and tolled the bell in a mourning tune.
The whole town came and prepared the Mayor for his last journey, two days later, and accompanied him to the village cemetery, near where Poor Don Fulgencio's body was gone, near Christopher's herd. Among the people accompanying him there was his wife and late son. The family reunited just as her dad passed away.
The next day Father Andrew said his last Mass, for the soul of deceased Mayor, and reminded the congregation of his leaving the village that same day, and hoped that they would be so nice to his replacement as they had been to him.
But they sent no replacement: Two days after Andrew was missing, Father Anselm came as head pastor, apologizing for being a month late.
“It's a pity, father. Now we understand why Father Andrew said he was no a pastor, but a curate. He was your assistant”, said the temporary Mayor Christopher, the owner of the herd.
“My assistant? No one informed me that I would have an assistant...”
Everyone spoke wonders of the great Father Andrew, a being who did not seem of this world ... He had managed even to convert the godless man in town, and just in time, the very day he died from a sudden heart attack. And then he was gone only a few days, but he was missed so much that it seemed he had gone away years ago.
Father Anselmo finally received a statement from the bishopric of Oaxaca over his predecessor, as he wanted to ask him a few questions about his parish. But the brief message stunned the prelate:
“But I cannot see God!”
“Can you see me now in the dazzling light of the first day, Aruel?”
“No, I am no longer dazzled”.
“Do you know why?”
“No. But that's not the point”.
“Of course it is. Look: you do not see me with the dazzling light of the first day because you're not a dark one any more. You have suffered now, Aruel, you suffered for many years because you did not know who your father was. Then you split with your mother for God's sake. And you were a good priest, of those who speak truth to God every day. Do you think God will not listen? He has not taken His eyes off you throughout your life. And today you'll see him”.
“But I am not worthy...”
“A lot of things have changed in you since you were King of the World, do you remember?”
“I know: it was two lifetimes ago. A second for us”.
When God saw Aruel, he was speechless. God did not speak, either. But he noticed him. He felt much love. He loved much. When the interview finished, he met Muriel, who introduced him to Uriel and said goodbye to him.
“Be good, Aruel. Think that everything happens for you to progress properly”.
“Yes, Muriel. See you later, I hope”.
“We angels can always see each other, Aruel. You'll just think of me and I will come to you. And God with us two. Because you've seen him already, haven't you?
“Yes, I did”.
“And it did not harm you”.
“It was wonderful. And do you know what? I had seen him before”.
“Of course you had. Because he is with us always. Everywhere. Where there is love, there is God. And love permeates the whole universe”.
When Muriel and was not with them, Uriel explained that now he had a mission:
“Can you see that woman?”
“The one who is walking with difficulty?”
“Poor thing. She is very pregnant!”
“Your mission is to take care of the child within her. She will be born in a few hours”.
“What shall I do?”
“You will know at all times. When in doubt, pray. God will suggest what you want to do about her. You are the Guardian Angel of the girl to be born”.
But Uriel was no longer with him. He had brought him back to that world, the one which was on the periphery of that lentil-shaped galaxy.
Next to the woman, whose name was Ana, there was a being like him.
“How long have you been a guardian angel?”
“I would not know what to say. We angels do not have an age. You must be new”.
“Is it so obvious?”
“May name is Yunel, and I was assigned to this being when she was born, twenty-three years ago”.
“Twenty-three”, Aruel thought, “that was my age when I got killed...”
“You were incarnated...”
“Yes. My name is Aruel. I was a curate”.
“Not everyone is so fortunate. I have seen this woman do so many stupid things that I would never do if I were in her situation...”
“You would do them. I broke all my good intentions. But you are right: if we become humans, we progress very fast, because they are so awkward that not doing what they do is great merit.
“Well, if you were human you can guide your child better than I do, as I've never been one of them”.
Ten hours later Ana started giving birth. Her husband called the doctor, and soon there were several people around the bed. With much effort the woman gave birth to her baby, a crying, pink, little creature.
That family had no more children. The girl grew up as an only child, being spoiled by everybody, and fulfilling every little whim she happened to have. His father was a business man and was always out, but the time he spent at home was to play with her girl. Till she was sixteen years old she sat on his knees, but at that age she felt the attraction to men had nothing to do with the love of a daughter to her father, and she began to sit on the lap of other men for other purposes.
When she met Robustiano things reached a further point, and the coquetry she used to dominate and control her male friends placed her in a situation that caused her lose her virginity. The event upset her for a few days, until she said to herself that life was like that and she went on with her amorous dalliances with Robustiano, the family chauffeur, who was so handsome and sexy.
By that time there was a suitor to her hand, which her parents liked because he had a lot of money, and a ranch forty miles away, near San Pablo Huitzo, where he had a fine house, too. Her parents doubted, however, as he was twice her age, who was only just under eighteen.
But when they saw her flirting with the driver, the parents' patience reached its limit: they fired the employee, and then, when they learnt her menstruation had withdrawn, they decided to marry her to her rich suitor. At the end of a month they transferred him the girl and the package which was within her. Adrian Balsalobre was happy to receive the news. He did not wonder at their changing attitude because he was never really aware of the change: they said they had been thinking it over, and had finally realized that it was better for her daughter to be at the home of such a good natured man who already had a consolidated position. He was also willing to get married, since nearly forty years living alone was more than enough. That’s why when he saw this girl at a party, he had her introduced to him and then asked permission from his parents to dance with her and then he liked the way she moved and spoke. And the touch of her hand, too. When he formally asked for her hand, her father did not tell him any clear answer, perhaps hoping to get a better candidate. But he had finally sent a letter to Adrian informing him that as he had got some reports on him as a kind, hardworking man with a good heart, both his wife and he blessed their union with her daughter and invited him to visit them to make the arrangements for the marriage, since their daughter was now ready to become a good and dutiful, loving housewife.
Adrian was well experienced about women: prostitutes and a few widows and two or three girlfriends, long ago, with no relationship ever coming to good ends. But he wanted to settle down with this beautiful girl, who had such black, bright hair and yet so white a skin.
From the beginning she was very loving and obedient, as a good Catholic and traditional, well-educated wife should be. She had really had only Robustiano's experience, as all her other relations had been only mere flirts of no importance. Adrian treated her with love and delicacy, and when he did it, it was gentle and slow, not like the infamous driver, who had caused her pain on their the first time, the pain she recalled each and every one of the other times, as he pursued only his personal satisfaction without worrying about hers. But Adrian invested a lot of time in the previous maneuvers, and always looked at her, kissed her and spoke fondly to her before and while he was in her. She received him in such a way that the act was not painful at all, because when he came out it was when it was really obvious to her that he had been inside her and had given her pleasure. A month after the wedding she informed him that she had not had her menstruation and she suspected she was pregnant, which was confirmed when the following month she had it not again. And so, seven months after the wedding little Amparo came into this world, getting her paternal grandmother's name.
Since Rose was little, Aruel had been watching her day and night. For some strange reason his pupil reminded him of someone. He accompanied her throughout her school years without losing sight of her even for a minute. And he did a lot of talking to her, actually nearly all the time, even if she retained only a vague memory of the things he said to her, and she of course thought those ideas were her own ones. He tried to influence her dreams, but she had a thirst for the new and liked to try everything she did not know yet. So that scoundrel Robustiano could cheat her into making love and left his seed inside her, perhaps with the intention to make her a child so that her parents forced her to marry him. But Rose and her lover did not know that there was a rich landowner from a nearby village, Adrian Balsalobre, who had entered the scene and wanted to marry her and take her to San Pablo de Huitzo, an old town in the nearby mountains.
That small town had a lot of history, for it dated from several centuries previous to the arrival of Europeans on the continent, but however there was very little to do for a young girl there. Rose liked riding, reading and writing, the latter two activities occupying more and more of her time because of her pregnancy. She was also a great conversationalist, of the kind that do not say anything and yet is understood by everyone.
So it happened that she was thirty-four and her daughter Amparo was fifteen, a young priest, Father Fulgencio came to town. He was still waking up to life in his twenty-three years of age. Amparo fell in love with him at first sight, which is understandable because she was just a teenager, and he was the youngest man in town. Rose, in turn, became interested in the priest, seeing him as a man rather than the man that God sent them to cure their boring and perhaps perverted souls.
In the village there was a small cultural center where lectures were given, sometimes by an from outside guest, who could be a politician, a writer or any other personality, but some other times someone from the town itself was offered the chance to say a speech. So when Don Fulgencio came to town, it was natural to invite him to talk about the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin, which was gaining attention in those years among the educated classes of the country, as the novelty coming from Europe.
The talk of this young and apparently inexperienced priest caused awe, because instead of giving a long rant conviction based on the first book of the Bible, Genesis, he gave a brief summary of what the theory of the British scientist said, emphasizing that it was a theory worth arguing from reason and from faith, which must not necessarily disagree with each one because, deep down, they were the same thing. His talk lasted twenty minutes, at the end of which he said it was not a lecture but an introduction to the theory and it would be interesting to debate it as well as the problems it solves and arises inviting the audience to ask questions for the remainder of the time allotted for the speech. The doctor, who had recently given a neat and detailed talk on the same subject a month before, and therefore had been almost ununderstandable for the audience, was the first to ask. The teacher also asked about some didactic aspects of this theory, but especially the Mayor was the most interested in the subject as, he said, a practicing atheist. The reaction of the young priest was at least shocking when Adrian Balsalobre challenged him directly:
“Tell me, Father: How do you talk about God as if you had seen him? Have you seen him? Remember, father, that one of your commandments forbids lying...”
“No, Don Adrian. I'll answer in reverse, the last I'll say first: No, my religion does not command me not to lie”.
The audience began a flurry of whispers, as if what the poor priest had just said were a genuine heresy even for local atheists, to the delight of Adrian. How could this curate be so stupid?
“Er..., if you pardon me, I'll explain myself: as I said, the Catholic religion does not prohibit lying, killing, stealing, or even using God's name in vain, nor it forbids to desire somebody else's wife. It would be absurd to ban a wish, because the heart cannot be commanded. In these sentences negative future has not to be seen as a ban, but what it is: future. Thou shalt not kill, for example, because even if one of you takes a gun and kills me right now he will not kill me, but only this body. It would mean only that God called me to his side, and decided that this town is no longer worth having a priest to worry about you and comfort your souls. If one of you takes what is not his or hers, really he or she cannot have it or enjoy it, although he or she may misuse it. Because true wealth is not money or material things, but what is in the heart of every one of us. And that, good or bad, we can just stop having or increase inside each of us only if we wish. We may be deprived from everything, but only material things. The things we really take with us to the afterlife when we go are our virtues, our guilt, our satisfaction, our remorse, our joy, our pain, all that is really what is ours and nobody else's, not even God's, and so they cannot be removed. That's why God asks them from us, but he does not remove them or compel us to leave them. The material possessions are something we find when we take the trouble to go and look. We really use them, but do not possess them even if it says so in a piece of paper”.
Father Fulgencio paused to drink water. Everybody was listening intensely and you could have heard a pin drop had it fallen, because in that crowded room no one dared move or even cough.
“And we come to the main question, Don Adrian. I'm glad you asked that, because I did not intend to talk about God today in my first speech outside church. But apparently He decided that I should talk about Him here today. You ask me if I've seen him, because I speak about him with such familiarity. Yes, sir, I saw him. I have not only seen him, but I can see him in every one of you now. Do not forget that he made you in his image and likeness. Although not equal. God has not the fear of death you have. God has no desire for material values (two words that do not go well together). God is not cruel. But each and every one of you can reach God. He is not going to strip you of anything, but he does ask you to dispose of your fears, your craving for power and wealth, to shed for real wealth, the power of truth, is something that only He can give to you. Take it now or take it later. The sooner you learn to trust God, getting rid of everything that separates you from Him, the better you will enjoy him.
“Oh, and you questioned about lying: Thou shalt not lie. Well, you can lie, but if you lie we others end up knowing the truth, and you will not be believed any more, so that the saying that God told Moses will be true: you will not lie because it will not be possible for you to deceive anyone. It is as if he had said: Thou shalt not fly or Thou shalt not swim from Mexico to Spain. These are things that are simply and purely impossible. But there is one thing that all you can do: see God. Learn to see him in everyone of your peers”.
“Then, Father”, intervened Rosa, “If you can see God, what does he look like? Can you describe him to us?
The priest remarked for the first time the beautiful Rosa, but looked at her with pity.
“Mrs. Balsalobre, what color is the note D? What kind of noise does red color do? Are you able to tell me how the taste of a beautiful sculpture differs from that of a piece of raw stone? Each sense has different information, and so God has no physical shape I can describe to you. God is in the air that fills your body or those of the rest of us. Not all of us can all feel him, like a deaf man cannot hear music, or a blind man can't interpret a painting. I do not see him always, but now I see your aura light, Dona Rosa, it is yellow, the color of the sun. Your aura, that light which surrounds your figure and comes out from within you has the color of our star, and that tells me that your intentions are beautiful. Other auras show me other feelings, other colors, other intentions...
Don Fulgencio paused and continued:
“That's why I know God is here. God is everywhere, but he is here today in a special way. And he tells me that soon something important will happen in this population. Something that perhaps may be seen only by two or three of you, though it will be important in the history of this town. No, I cannot show you a picture of God, but every good thing you do, or make others do gives us a picture of God. A picture anyone will see if he or she knows where to look. Look how beautiful a pencil I have here”, he said showing them a little pencil he always carried, “and you see it by using the same sense as I do. Thus you can feel God in the same way as me: you can feel God with your hearts, as I invite you to feel him”.
The priest finished his talk and the questions that followed were the typical ones: If God is so good, why does He allow hunger and injustice in the world? And similar ones which proved that those people asking them had not been very attentive to the previous questions, or even to the initial talk by the priest, which had been about the appearing of man in the world and the struggle for life, which had left alive only the fittest for this world, and left behind those who were weaker or slower, and most appalling was that the priest did not make any reference to God in his brief introduction, until Adrian Balsalobre had done that first perilous question.
And then, two hours and a half after the talk started, the meeting finished, though before saying good-bye Rose invited him to visit them in their home, as she wanted to do a general confession. The priest said he would be delighted to visit them the next day.
He first heard in holy confession little Amparo, who really had no other sin but unrestrained imagination, which was typical for a fifteen year old girl. Adrian was not there, and also he would have never confessed, as he had the deep conviction that God was a lie priests invented to make a profit. And Rose had a long General Confession in which she told the curate very important things which he heard soon and forgot soon, as he was convinced that it was not he who was there, but God.
What Doña Rosa was telling him was a distorted picture of a nice story: a boring girl who does not accept that she is the happy wife of a good man who loves her, who is the owner of the best and largest land in the state, and they have a wonderful daughter who will soon make her worry about whom she will marry, whether she will be happy, if she is going to be with the husband her parents find for her, or if they are letting her take the first Robustiano who wants her. Rose was scared of two things: whether his daughter was going to be as unhappy as she herself, or poor and miserable, but happy.
Don Fulgencio listened to her attentively, but the rich, bored woman did not like what he said: Why don't you leave it all in God's hands? What will be, will be, and your daughter will be as happy as she can be according to the decisions she makes.
She did not like it because she felt her life had become so boring because of the decisions they had made for her: Robustiano had deflowered her and her parents had married her to someone she did not want to.
“My daughter, a new child might put things in place”.
“Perhaps, Father, but God does not give it to me. And we try every night”.
“Do both of you try, or just him?”
“Him, Father. I do not want to give birth again”.
But Rose really did not confess any sin: she protested a lot, but then she was obedient, dutiful, responsible. Father Fulgencio gave her absolution for all her sins, both confessed and forgotten, because he knew she was willing to repair them as soon as she remembered them, if she had any to remember at all.
Father Fulgencio visited the family regularly, confessed the women and from the man he collected alms which could help the needy of the parish. Every week they received some food and comforting words from their curate, who also occasionally got them jobs to do and get paid for them.
The duties of his apostolate absorbed him more and more, to the point that he could no longer go to his parishioners', and so they had to go to him in church.
The priest received them in the sacristy, where anyone could enter unannounced, but the people of that town were so respectfully and prudent that when they heard voices inside, they did not come in until the causer of them came out.
In one of those visits Rosa discovered her game:
“Father: I love you!”
This caused a shock on poor Father Fulgencio, so much that he was stunned, unable to react. She took that unmoving silence as acceptance and she sat on him. But he was thinking that such a beautiful woman was twelve years older than him, and if she could not really be his mother, at least she could be taken for his aunt, a young aunt, and it was not right for him to be there, underneath her. In addition, she had a husband, and a daughter more fitting to be his lover than she was. And as he put his hand under her skirt to reject her, she groaned when she noticed that he touched her thigh. She unbuttoned her cassock and pants and grabbed his manhood, which aroused a torrent of life as she absorbed his sex, greedily. Before he knew what was happening, his seed had been spread into the womb of the woman. Would it be sacrilegious to do this in the sacristy, a holy place, for him, a servant of God inside a married woman that perhaps could be his mother?
When he reached his climax and could not take it anymore, she hugged him and said, “Oh, Fulgencio, you led me to Heaven! I love you, I love you, I love you!”
He found himself saying:
“Rose: I love you, too”.
She looked at him with gratitude and ecstasy, as no one had ever looked at him, and he found nothing wrong with it. She seemed happy, as if she had never been happy before.
In the days which followed she visited him twice a week, and every time he first made love to her and then confessed her. He had no problem because he knew what they were doing was in the name of love, and God is love. So their love was not sin.
When her husband, who would never understand the dimension of the love that eluded his wife till then, went on a trip, Father Fulgencio visited his parishioner while her daughter was in high school. And so it was for three months, until one day Don Adrian unexpectedly returned home from a trip aborted by a sudden illness that befell on him. Finding his wife naked in bed under a man who was not him made him suffer a fit of madness and he hit that unscrupulous man with both fists at the back of his head, with such bad luck that he broke the man's neck. Under the spell of anger, he drove Rose off the bed, off his house, off the town and off their lives, his and their daughter's, forever, with the threat that if he saw her again, he would kill her.
Aruel had the impression that this was a déjà vu. All the time he was with Rose, who entered the dining room with tears in her eyes, holding her suitcase, saying nothing to her husband, who kept his back on her. She did not have courage to say a word, and closing the door softly she left home, bitterly thinking it was the last time she did so in her life.
Up there, while Rose was leaving the town without anyone seeing her, Adrian turned the corpse and discovered the identity of the person whom he had killed minutes earlier in a fit of anger, and suddenly he saw himself forgotten by God, as soon as he recognized the face of his man. In that moment Aruel jumped back to the room to try and comfort that son of God. But he found Yuniel, the guardian of Adrian, who said:
“Brother, your place is no longer here. You've already gone with Muriel and now Rose is now your mission, not Adrian. I'm here with him. Do not let her alone, for Goodness sake!”
He jumped back to the place where he had left the woman. She was on the edge of a twelve feet high field gradient, with her heavy wooden suitcase pending from her hand, considering whether or not jumping. She had not jumped already because in the back of her mind there was the little thought that the little life which was beginning inside her was guilty for nothing at all...
“Do not even think of it!”, he sighed at her ear as she left her mind blank. “The father of your child will live while your child lives and you remember him. Do not kill them both. And you can still be happy. Your husband can forgive you. Or you can find happiness with another man. Or just be the happy and devoted mother of Fulgencio's son. Come on, do not be stupid, turn around now and return to Oaxaca, to your parents'. Look, a stagecoach is coming along the road. It will take you to the capital city without questions, as it is empty”.
Rose sighed, laughed bitterly, in tears. She put the suitcase down, took out a handkerchief from her bag, wiped her eyes and blew his nose loudly. Then she put it away, grabbed her bag and walked with resolute step towards the road. There she sat on her wooden suitcase, and waited, thinking of nothing, absolutely still, like just another rock in the landscape. Ten minutes later Antonio, the stagecoach driver, stopped as soon as he saw her.
“Are you going to Oaxaca, madam?”
“Yes, please, can you bring me?”
“Sure, madam. I'm empty. And I will not charge you anything, ma'am. Get in”.
She opened the stagecoach door and went in. She came to the house she had inherited from her parents a few years ago. It was mid-afternoon and she had not eaten, but was not hungry.
The next day she went to her father's bank to find our if they could help her, or get her a job as her father was always talking about “my bank”, which had all his savings. Surely the manager would give her a hand or help her sell the house so she could live a few years at least, or to get organized for the rest of her life. But she was surprised to find that when her father mentioned his bank, he was just stating a simple fact: the bank was his, his own property, and yes, most of his money was there, inside his own bank. And almost all the people of Oaxaca's and surrounding areas', too. Finding herself the owner of her house and a bank, she let everything flow down its course and proceeded to carry on her pregnancy well, with the help of Andrea María, a maid recommended to her by the nearest parish priests. She decided to break with tradition: her son would bear her surname, not her husband's. If it was a girl she would be named Jasmine, and if a boy, Jacinto, so that his house would be a garden of goodness and good atmosphere.
When the time came, Andrea brought Dr. Martin and his nurse, and little Jacinto came to earth in the privacy of his home. Without economic problems, the life of Rose flowed with no major event, except for the sudden death of her still husband, Adrian Balsalobre, five years later.
Warned urgently, she arrived in town just in time to bury him and drop a sincere tear and a prayer for his soul. Arriving at the church she met a beautiful woman in her twenties crying for her dad. She was her daughter Amparo, who received her with love, without reproach, and they both cried together in a tender hug over so many things which they did not need to mention...
“Mom, who is this lady? Why are you crying?”
“Son, this is your sister Amparo. Daughter, this is your brother Jacinto”.
Amparo looked at his mother, then took the child in her arms, kissed him and took him outside, where the two, sister and brother began to talk about their parents and family. Rose leaned into the still open casket and wept. She cried for not being more courageous, for not coming to see her husband, her daughter, her family, despite the threat of death. This man would no longer hurt a fly, despite the things he said.
Ten minutes later her two children returned, holding hands, as Mass was about to begin.
“At long last I can see you, husband. You did not kill me, and you died alone, my poor little one”, Rose thought so strongly that the immaterial beings around heard her clearly.
“Rose, forgive me”, Aruel heard a familiar voice saying.
“She cannot hear you”, Aruel said. “We dead people are no longer heard by living beings”.
“That voice... I know you”.
“You killed me five years ago”.
“You are Father Fulgencio! And now you've come to take revenge on me”.
“The last thing I did in that life”, said the angel, “was to forgive you, Adrian. And apologize to you. Now you have to go”.
“Where Muriel wanted to take you”.
“Because I'm afraid”.
“Look at her Adrian, how pretty she is. She believes that her boy is Father Fulgencio's, poor thing”.
“And is he not so?”
“Adrian, that child is yours. He's called Jacinto, and he's your living portrait of yourself, when you were five years old”.
Adrian went closer to the boy and agreed:
“It's true! My poor thing, Rose. See how much she is suffering”.
“She loves you, Adrian. That's why she feels very guilty now, and she is now praying for God to enlighten you. Do as she wishes”.
“By going away with Muriel”.
“Where is she?”
“If you promise that you're going with him, I'll call him”.
“Sure, Father Fulgencio. I owe it to both of you”.
“I am no priest, Adrian. Now I'm Aruel”.
“Okay, take me where Muriel is, please”.
“Give me a minute”.
Aruel concentrated for few seconds, and in that church, while Father Andrew gave communion to Rose, two angels appeared.
“Hello”, one of them said. “I'm Yuniel . Come, Zeniel”, he said coming closer to Adrian. “your time in this world is over”.
They shook hands, and the two of them disappeared.
“So we meet again, Aruel”, Muriel said. “Have you learnt anything?”
“Yes, Muriel. The most important thing is that I cannot leave her alone even for a second.
“Yes, you are right. She almost died”.
“I'll never forgive myself for that”.
“Relax, boy, here it is God who forgives. We only look by. Do not get bogged down. But yes, you're right: do not let your guard down. If God wanted to punish you, you would have been replaced on your watch by a better angel to take care of Rose. But I think there is not any better than you for the job, so you're still on duty by her”.
Muriel paused and looked at Father Andrew, who then was saying “Ite, missa est!” Muriel smiled at him, and the priest smiled back!
“But...”, Aruel said, astonished, “... he can..?”
“Yes”, Muriel said. “Andrew is one of us. And one whom we all have much to learn from. May I introduce you to Raphael, the Archangel of Healing”.
The most beautiful stories are those leaving us a good taste in our mouths. They are not necessarily the happiest, but they are quietest. This story is about a very quiet man who is heavily involved in a problem, doing nothing to deserve it.
Our hero was a modest shoeshine who made his living with his modest job in the streets of a provincial town. He lived the little money he could get every day and as many other Spaniards he had an everyday illusion as he drew a pool each week, and occasionally bought lottery, back in the 40s of last century.
But Goddess Misfortune decided that our friend Ephraim, as he was called, was the unique winner for a pool, and so he won two hundred thousand pesetas. You can say that 1,200 euros are now just a crap of a prize which just lets you reach the end of the month, but at that time wages were much lower than now. So Don Ephraim (when you have money they call you a Don everywhere) stopped working and decided to travel, meet interesting people, to read books he did not understand just to say that he'd read them, to go concerts where he fell asleep, and also to the theater to applaud when seeing others do so.
Yes, life had been hard for Ephraim, who had just learned to read and write, and the four rules, literally: add, subtract, multiply and divide. What else is needed in life?, he said to himself. However, he would never be able to know why a bridge doesn’t fall down or what a sonnet is. Certainly those things are not needed to clean boots and earn a decent living for yourself.
When Ephraim came back from his world tour, he had seen things he did not understand (Why people do not talk to be understood?, he said to himself), but no doubt he had learned a lot. And he had realized that people are similar everywhere: there are good people who help you if they can, and others will take advantage of you.
Money is over when you get it out of the bag but don't put any into it. And when Ephraim understood that he had only the fourth part of his prize, he decided that it was time to finish his holiday. He got back his shoeshine box from the forgotten corner where he had left it and returned to his usual route. It was not the same: he had already enjoyed the luxury of being able to ignore what he was going to do the next day. But there was something lacking in that rich life: to know that what he did mattered to other people who appreciated him.
He decided to keep the remaining forty-five thousand pesetas to pay for a decent funeral for him when the time came. With some of that money he bought a grave in the town cemetery, and then he committed Andrés Segurado, one of its most valued customers, to be the executor of his last wishes, and he left a copy of his will to a notary of the city, and other ones to several friends, besides his own executor.
“But you do not need that, Ephraim. What do you care what happens to the material envelope of your person after you die?”, he was surprised to hear a voice once, when he was about to fall asleep one day. Well, I'll think about it when I wake up, poor Ephraim said to himself as he was falling into his sleep after the hard day's work of the day. He was no longer so young as he used to be, as years claimed their toll...
“Come, Ephraim”, that being of light told him some days later. “You will not polish shoes any more. Come with me and I will tell you what you will do for good”.
For Ephraim had just woken up from that nightmare he had always called life.
From birth we see that we live more moments to suffer than to enjoy. But no one says that life is shit and we have to get out of here as soon as possible. Everybody seems to celebrate life, but nobody does anything to live it a little better, or in full mode. Everyone spends a lot of time and energy in being mean to others in word and deed, as if they hated to live a worse life than them, and yet do nothing to improve their own lives.
But that did not happen to my friend Felix. True to his name, my friend was really happy. He always found good reasons to speak well of others, and tried to be tolerant and kind, and laugh with him was the rule, not the exception, as it is with us, the rest of the mortal. He did not seem a native of this country of envious liars.
Since he was a little child he noticed what other people did, and copied what he liked out of what they did. He liked to talk about his invisible friends, until one day one of his visible ones in his school told him that that talk of invisible friends was a lie of the adults, and they were not real, but just fantasies like the Three Wise Men, or Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, who were created just to entertain children. And then he stopped talking about his invisible friend, though he still saw him and talked to him when no one else was around. His name is Michael, like him.
“Why do you have so many friends that rhyme with our names”, he asked him one day. He meant Raphael, Nathaniel, Daniel, Galadriel, Ezekiel, Uriel, Azrael, Zaniel, Afel, Abel and the like.
But one day he discovered why. It was when Peter asked him why he spoke so much when alone. The other children did not want to talk to him because they said he was crazy, because only all fools talk alone. Well, except those fools who don’t talk.
“No one sees you, Michael”, he told him one day, “and I wonder why”. But before he could answer, he added: “By the way, your names come from El, right?”
“And would not you tell me?”
“No. That's something you had to find out for yourself”.
“Are you an angel?”
“Of course I am”.
“Like all your friends whose names sound like El”.
“Yes. But other angels' do not rhyme with ours..., like Vehuiah, Malik, Metatron...”
“And I, am I an angel, too?”
“You were, and you will be again”.
“When you've done what you came here to do”.
“And what is that?”
“I cannot tell you. When you return to us you will know if you've discovered that and if you could do it or not”.
“And you, Michael, did you accomplish that last time?”
“No, I did not manage to find out why I had been born before I died”.
“So what happened to you? Were you punished?”
“No, of course not. Nothing happened. I have only been located next to one who has always known why he was born and what he had to do”.
“So you know what I came here for”.
“And yet you cannot tell me”.
“Yes, that’s right”.
Michael would be sixteen the next day. He did not see his friend Michael Angel till he was already forty, when he had already invented the water motor again and exploited it fully, and spread it, this time.
“I'm afraid”, Michael said, aware that his friend was listening, “I have not come to this world to invent anything”.
“I actually came into the world not to discover the mechanics of the water engine, but to make other men benefit from what I have found once again”.
“That's right!”, the angel repeated. “That's harder to accomplish”.
“Yes. You've hit the jackpot. But you will find a way. You always did. But tell me: how did you know I was here?”
“You've always been with me. As a good guardian angel you are quiet until I tell you something. Because it is my life, not yours”.
“You astonish me”.
“And also because you did not want to tell me anything that you and I lived together in the past”.
“Yes, that's right. More than once”.
“Yes, I know. But you do not like talking about it”.
“Yes, I don't”.
“Sometimes I think, Michael, that there is only one of us here”.
“That's what everybody says”.
“But I'm not sure which one of us two is the real one”.
Felix did not answer. The conversation had come to a standstill, as if suddenly wilted. Neither said anything for a long time. He stared at his reflected image on the pond. He turned and saw Michael, who had no reflection on the water surface.
“You know what? This time I did not get married. I had no children, and my social life was very scarce. But I had a lot of friends, though many more enemies than usual. I founded a corporation, and made cars and airplanes with the new motors. They used very little kerosene or gas. By the time they found out they really used none, but it was only burned to pretend my vehicles did, it was too late: everybody already had a water car, and all air companies had only my kind of planes. I knew that would be ruin for the other makers, but they deserved no less. I think now I did what I had come here for. Now the rest depends on them”.
He turned back to see the water. Slowly, Michael came up behind him, hugged him and they both melted into one person.
“There was more fun when we were two”, Michel sighed, fully recovering consciousness. He spread its wings and rose into Heavens.
Elizabeth was a very practical kind of woman. In her life there was no room for God. Actually there was room only for one value: money. She thought everything could be bought and sold."We all have a price", she said once to her friend James.
She smiled. She looked at him for a while, and then added:
“Ok. You are going to lose, so who cares? If I lose, if we don't find here now anyone who agrees to every one of your desires for twenty-four hours, it will be me who will do so. Are you happy now? Also, the tiny possibility that you win the bet makes me so excited as what the winner of your auction tells me later”.
“Well, then tell me: how do we do it?”
“Tell me whom, out of the people here, in this moment, you want to buy, James”.
“Well, there is a little problem: I don't have much money. Has it to be with the money I have? I think it would be unfair to you...”
“My, my, James: your meanness is going to give you a bad time some day, my friend. I can lend you up to two thousand dollars. But look: I am so sure I am going to win that I will provide the money to buy that person. So, if I lose, I shall have paid for it, and if I win, I shall get my money back at the auction. Does this excite you more?”
“Of course, Liz. This cannot be happening... But, ok, as long as the dream lasts I am going to enjoy it. Wait, I shall decide calmly”.
James looked around carefully. There were several groups of friends, some individuals alone, maybe waiting for someone, a beautiful green-eyed girl who might be waiting for her husband or boy friend... The possibility of taking her away from him was really attractive, but at the other side of the cafeteria, near the entrance door, he spotted a group of three beautiful women, one of which was specially attractive to him. She was red-haired, five feet seven inches tall1 more or less, not fat, not skinny, but just in between, well-built and attractive, apparently a bit flirty, since her dress was well suited to her body and her bra was not noticed at all. Her hair fell around her shoulders and was very curly, and her skin was very white, so much that she looked like a doll. He wondered if she was wearing makeup. Well, yes, she looked very sexy at this distance. If he had to choose between her and the blonde to her right or chestnut who was opposite, whom he also liked, he'd rather have this one. Elizabeth noticed that he took notice of her longer than any other person in the crowded cafeteria.
“The red-haired, then?”
“Yes, Elizabeth. I would like that red-haired. I don't think I could get her without money, and more so if she is with two friends”.
“Well, this is when I come in”.
She got up and walked to the table where the three women were. James saw she started a talk with the redhead in which she took great interest and her companions also followed her talk closely. After a few minutes, Elizabeth returned to his table, followed by the red-haired woman.
“James: this is Kath. Kath, I introduce you to my friend James”.
“Please, have a sit”, said James, politely.
“Pleased to meet you, James. Elizabeth says you have a business proposal for me”.
This girl is going to the point, James said.
“Yes, of course, Kath...? Katherine?”
“Kathleen. But my friends call me Kath”.
“Well, Kath. My friend and I were discussing if we all have a price”.
“We chose a random person, and we remarked you. So I have a question for you: do you have a price?”
“It depends what for. If you give me a job, now that I'm going to lose mine, if your conditions are interesting, I'll sell you my work force”.
“Well, let's say the job is spending twenty-four hours with me and doing everything I ask from you”.
The girl laughed heartily. Then she answered:
“I was afraid you were going to say something like that, I don't know why. Does that include sex?”
“Yes, of course”.
“Do you think I'm a bitch?”, she said starting to stand up.
“I give you three hundred dollars”.
“Fuck you”, she said, rising angrily.
She shifted toward him, still angry, but less than before, what the other two did not fail to notice.
“Six Hundred”, James insisted pitilessly.
“No”, she said in a mellower voice, but not leaving. She just stood there.
“Does it include sado?”
“Yes. Everything is everything”.
“Can I choose the day?”
“No. But we can discuss it. Besides, no one has to know about it”.
“Of course. This is not the kind of thing I'd tell anyone, least of all my husband”.
The two friends looked at each other. Now they understood Kath's reluctance and indignation.
“I'll think it over”, said Kath as she moved away from the table.
Elizabeth kicked James under the table while she slid five Franklins in his hand whispering: “I'll give you five more tomorrow, but do not let her go now, now she's in for it”.
“A thousand”, hammered on James. “But you decide it right now. Take it or leave it”.
She sat down again, and looking astonished, said:
“You guys are mad. And I really need the money so much... Well, I add a condition”.
“You tell us. But it is a thousand dollars”.
“My friends. They have to be aware, to know all the details, to know where I am, and they must be able to call me on the phone at any time”.
“Granted”, said Elizabeth, to the amazement of James. “I will be aware, because I don't want him to trick me with the bet, so your friends can be with me if you want. James, this is only fair, isn't it?”
Trapped in his own web, James had to agree:
“Sure, why not? After all, you do not know me at all. I know I will not strangle you, but you do not know that”.
“Another thing: I want half now. The other half when we finish”.
“No, Kath. You do not set the conditions. I do. Take it or leave it”.
She gave him a pained look.
“Okay, boss. You start early with your commands”.
That amused James, who, touched in his heart, conceded:
“Here, I'll give you two hundred dollars now for you to see my good will”.
As he shook hands with the woman, he left two franklins surreptitiously from his palm into hers. It was the first time he touched the woman, and he liked the feel of her hand. He had also found along the interview that she had no makeup. She must be very young.
“I'll introduce you to my friends”.
She walked to their table, and immediately came back to that of the odd couple. Her two friends had followed the conversation from afar, and although they could not hear them, they had been surprised by Kath's reactions when she had moved so swiftly, got up and sat down again, and how she had been angry and then quiet and sad, and when that handsome man had shaken hands with her joy had come back to her face.
After an interesting conversation that put them up to the business, it was agreed that the following Saturday James would lead Kath to a place that the other three women would know, and from 00:00 till 24:00 hours she would comply with all the wishes of James. Before leaving, one of the friends of Kath, the blonde one, let him know that she was available for other similar activity, even for less money, what made Elizabeth have a conceited smile to him by which she meant Can you see? I told you. We all have a price.
“You have not won yet”, he said when they were alone again.
“Then you'll have me, boy. And I'll only have lost two hundred dollars. But why do you say that? Do you think she will not come?”
“She'll come because she needs the money. But she may not stand twenty-four hours with me, and that is part of the deal. I'm not going to make it easy for her. There will be no normal sex”.
“Yes”, she conceded, “you can do whatever you want with her, and if she does not bear the ordeal you will not pay her, and I will have lost the bet, because you will have proven that there is at least one person who is not able to do anything for money. Maybe we should have put another test, consisting in her killing someone..., but I don't go back in my bet. If I lose I will be your slave for a day, and you will see that I am a good loser”.
“If you are my slave for one day you will not want to stop being so, beautiful one”.
Now it was Elizabeth who laughed very loud:
“You don't know what you are saying. Or where you would be getting into. Under this sweet facade lives a female devil who could turn you crazy”.
“Actually we are running the same risk. I don't know if I will be captured by one of your friends, the one who will be most interested in buying me for one day”.
Suddenly he felt bad. If he lost, he'd be at the mercy of a woman for the first time in his life. If he won, he would have got what he had wanted for so long, but thanks to a very complicated scheme, although in fact he had not devised it. He felt manipulated by this blonde, blue-eyed native of Ireland. Was she a witch?
But the next Friday, at the appointed hour, Kath was at the hotel where James had summoned her to. Elizabeth had also a room at the same hotel from where she could control the bet more comfortably. Her friends called Kath several times throughout the day, and made sure everything was fine At 24:00 hours on Saturday James appeared with Kath at the cafeteria. She was radiant, but he was less so.
“Has Kath not behaved well, James?, Elizabeth wanted to know. “Can I give her the money?”
“Sure, Elizabeth, you can give her the money. She did everything I said well”.
Kath received an envelope with money inside.
“Count it, Kath. Just to check if I made a mistake”, Elizabeth said. The girl counted eight franklins without removing them from the envelope.
“No, it's okay”, she said, smiling.
Then she added, with her best smile:
“I have to say that James has been a true gentleman and I will return whenever you want to repeat this, even if you don't pay me, James. Everything was fine and rewarding. Thanks. And thanks for the money, too”.
“My, my, my,”, said Prudence, the blonde who had insinuated to James, “Do we have romance in sight?” But both players looked at each other, smiled and said nothing.
The next day Elizabeth was very concise on the telephone:
“Hi, James. The auction will be held on Friday at nineteen hours in Room 527 of the hotel where you were with Kath. Do not be late. Neither you arrive before the exact time”.
“We've got to meet before that, Liz”.
“Okay”, and she hung up.
Two days later, still three before the auction, they met to lunch together.
“No, I won't admit you to draw back. A lost bet is a debt of honor, James”.
“No, it's not that. It's about money. I do not have the thousand dollars you gave Kath”.
“Silly. That's not money for me. In addition”, she said softening her tone of voice, “you will get me much more money than that. You'll see at the auction”.
And she explained how the auction would be. He had to get ready for her friends to inspect him before deciding to bid. Thus he should shave his entire body except the head and eyebrows. He had not thought of that, but he had lost the bet, so he thought that he had to comply with her wishes. In addition, as a faithful admirer of hers as he was, he would do as she said. So he said:
“You may count on it, Elizabeth. I'll be freshly showered and perfumed. Is there a perfume that you prefer? After all I'm your trophy, so you can decide”.
“That gets you morbid, huh?”
“Yes, I must confess that is so”.
“Your usual perfume is fine. But hey, I'll give one for you to use. Yes, I want you to bathe thoroughly just before going to us on Friday at seven, and use abundantly my favorite perfume for men. Pour it throughout all over your body. So both of us know you're mine and that's why I sell you, though the sale is only for 24 hours”.
“What is your favorite perfume, the one that you're going to give me?”
“It's a surprise”.
But the surprise came the next day. He received a package by messenger with a perfume bottle labelled Million, by Paco Rabanne. Not very expensive, but it smelled of rose and cinnamon, and perhaps other things he could not manage to identify.
On Friday he entered the bath at five in the afternoon, and almost an hour later he came out of it fully scented. That morning he had gone to a specialist hairdresser and had his hair removed from all his body, except for the head and face. He put on his best suit, an elegant light gray Windsor suit, a light blue shirt and dark blue tie, with shoes of the same color, and an elegant gold clip on his tie.
At seven o'clock he was tapping gently the door of the room 527. He had not seen Elizabeth since the day of the meal, three days earlier. He was a little nervous because he had never been in a situation like this, or know anyone who had, man or woman.
The door was opened by a blonde beauty with blue eyes and a little fat body, quite short, barely five feet tall.
“Hello”, she greeted him. “You must be James, right?”
“Yes, good afternoon...”
“Lena. Lena Wright. Nice to meet you, James. Come in”.
She clung to his arm and led him to the hall that had that elegant and expensive room in the best hotel in town, and then introduced him to the women:
“Girls, our man has arrived. As you can see he is punctual. James, may I introduce you to Olga, Karen and Betsy. One of us four will be your owner tonight, probably me”, she said as she gave him a spank of complicity.
They nodded as Lena said their names, and he made a small bow to each one. Three of them were sitting on a couch, and Lena sat on an armchair. Elizabeth was sitting on the other one, which was closer to James. He was at the middle of the room, in front of those five women of different ages. He watched them not knowing what to do or where to put his hands for the first time in his life. There was no chair for him, so it was clear that he had to stand in front of them, and so he was there with his hands in his pockets, watching them one by one while they said something about themselves, one after the other. Lena was a blonde girl, crammed into a tight satin dress and looked no more than twenty five years old. On the couch there was Olga, the oldest of them all, perhaps sixty years old, a dyed platinum blonde with a few wrinkles on the face, but with the beauty that experience gives to certain women who would never be old, smart looking and slightly thick and strong. If she said that she earned her living by loading and unloading trucks, he could believe it. Her bare arms revealed strong muscles, and despite her smiling face, he saw that she was of a strong temper. He would not like her to win the auction. Karen was a civil servant, frankly fat but not obese, and she seemed a happy woman. She had winked at him. She had an elegant, white dress on, and wore very small gold earrings, and a bigger one with a seal, perhaps family ring, on her finger. Betsy had red hair, the same shade of hair as that girl whose favors he had bought and enjoyed, Kath. But this one was much thinner and taller, perhaps six feet tall3. She was a lawyer and seemed to have a very difficult character, because she looked shy, but at the same time very difficult to talk to. Of the four who were to bid the preferred her even less than Olga, the oldest one. Maybe being older she would be more understanding, or more sensitive. But it would be much better to be won by Lena, the young school teacher. He felt like going away from there suddenly, but he was stopped from that by the smile on Elizabeth's lips, as she was enjoying the moment. She seemed to master the situation, and he would never ruin the evening to his secret love.
Betsy was the first one to speak:
“I want to see the stuff I'm buying before I decide if I bid or not. With the right to touch”.
Elizabeth looked at her with raised eyebrows. And then, looking at James with amusement, said:
Reluctantly he began to remove his jacket.
“Oh, James”, said Lena, “Be more enthusiastic, man, do not discourage us. If I feel you are reluctant, I'll not bid for you”.
That encouraged him, and he smiled as he continued removing his tie, shirt, pants, with a better pace and parsimony. When he removed his shirt and had only his string on those women looked at him greedily. He went on and took off the thong with slow, rhythmic movements, as he had seen so many strippers do, at the premises he frequented.
When he was completely naked, with even no shoes or socks on, he had mixed feelings. On the one hand the situation of being naked before five correctly dressed women gave him a very morbid feeling, but on the other he felt very ashamed. So he went red. The women were amused that the man blushed not only on his face, but also on his neck and chest, his shaved his chest, so wide and muscular. Karen came over and stepped several times around him. She gave him a gentle spank two or three times, and stroked his torso. She opened his lips and pushed her thumb in, and he licked it. Then she kissed his lips and sat down, satisfied.
Betsy also approached him and took his manhood between two fingers, and the man reacted immediately. “Not too well endowed”, she said, “but it will do”. Then she lifted his chin a little, because she was taller than him, and gave him a deeper kiss than Karen. She went to the back of James and gave him a little push, which did not move him from his place. “He 's strong”, she added. And she sat down.
“Does anyone want to inspect the goods more closely?”, said Elizabeth, about to burst out laughing at the helplessness of arrogant James.
“Yes, me”, said Lena. She approached the man, stroked his cheek, put his fingers through the lush hair of the man and said almost in his ear: “Do not worry, James. I'll buy you. And you'll love me, you'll see”. She gave him a kiss on the tip of the nose and sat at her place.
“Olga?”, said Elizabeth.
“Oh, no”, Olga said quietly. “That will not be necessary... Well, yes. James: Turn around”.
The man obeyed. He turned slowly, rotating 360 degrees while he thought he did not know if he liked being a piece of flesh for these ladies or not. One of them was going to enjoy him for a day as he had enjoyed the sweet Kath. He did not know any of them, as Kath had not known him before knowing his proposal. It seemed fair. The question was whether Elizabeth would participate in the auction or not, but then he remembered that she wanted her thousand dollars back, so that left her out.
“I want to clarify one thing, to go away now or not, Elizabeth”, said Olga. “This includes sado, right?”
James looked at Elizabeth, shocked by these words. They had not talked about it. But there was sado with Kath... That's why Elizabeth said almost automatically:
“Sure, Olga. Fair enough, as when he bought Kath. But you you cannot leave permanent marks or damage on him”.
He looked at her in surprise. I had not thought about that, but it was just right. He trembled at the thought that the luscious woman won the auction. Elizabeth's voice brought him out of his thoughts.
'Well, girls, the terms of the auction are as follows: The starting price is a thousand dollars. If there is no bid, I will go down the offer until I decide to cancel the auction. In such a case James will have fulfilled his part, and you will have lost your opportunity of your life to possess a male servant to comply all your whims because you were mean with your money. But if you bid it will be enough for you to make a sign or tell a word to be considered the last bid with the previous increment, unless otherwise specified by the bidder. Have you understood?
“Yes”, said the four women consecutively, beginning Betsy and ending Lena. The four looked at James as if each considered him already hers. Apparently they were willing to bid seriously.
“Well, ladies, tonight we have an outstanding macho man on auction. What will each of you is having is the opportunity to bid for him on an equal opportunity and with it the sense of being her owner until another bid exceeds yours. The winner will have him completely for twenty-four hours, from zero hours of Saturday morning to the following midnight. Now”, she said after a short pause for a glass of water, “let the best win. But before you start, do you have any questions to ask?”
“I do”, said Lena. “James: are you sure you want to do this?”
The afore mentioned looked at Elizabeth, who nodded with a mischievous face.
“Yes, of course, Lena. I wouldn’t be here, naked in front of you all, if I weren’t sure”.
“I do not know the others”, insisted Lena, “but if I win I will be very mean to you”.
“Fair enough. It's your money”.
“How does it feel to be the object of desire, boy?”, Olga questioned. “I 'm not going to be sweet to you either, and maybe you will be enjoyed by my daughter and me”, she said pointing to Lena. “Surely no one has done you even half of the things we both will do with you tonight”.
James noticed his flush was coming again. For some strange reason this sexagenarian woman excited him more than the others. Perhaps it was a matter of experience or he was discovering something about his sexuality that he had ignored so far.
“To your question, madam”, he replied very formally and respectfully, as if she already had won him, “I'll tell you that it is a feeling I never had before. I feel fear and pleasure at the same time”.
“Well answered, James”, said Elizabeth. “I was going to tell you before. One of these ladies will buy you for a day, and as you do not know who, you have to talk to them with respect”.
“Yes, madam”, he replied to his friend Elizabeth.
During the meal she intended to explain that, but she considered it for granted. However, she understood now that she should have clarified this. And now he found he had come here not only for the sake of sleeping with her, since he saw himself now a prisoner of his own mixed feelings.
“Well, ladies”, Elizabeth continued, “let's go on. The starting bid is one thousand dollars. Who gives more?”
They four looked at one another, and James wondered at the figure he had heard before, but had not realized that a thousand dollars was a lot. The starting price was really high. Apparently Elizabeth wanted to recover her investment at all costs. But none outbid. Neither made any gesture or said anything.
“Does nobody bid? Well, the price is reduced to nine hundred dollars. Bid, ladies”.
They still said nothing:
Now Lena smiled at James. Surely she would bid now, but she was waiting to see if Elizabeth lowered the starting bid.
Now Karen smiled. Two of those women would give seven hundred dollars for one of his days with his night, and that flattered him a lot.
“Six hundred. It seems that the ladies are not interested. I can tell you that this male recently captivated a friend of mine for 24 hours, and will surely captivate any of you”.
But they were still holding breath.
“Five hundred”. Granted Elizabeth reluctantly, beginning to think about canceling the auction. She would not undersell his friend.
“I meet the bid”, said Karen, the fattest and youngest woman there would get James' favors if the others did not exceed her bid.
“And fifty”, said Lena.
“Six hundred”, Betsy outbid.
“And fifty”, Lena repeated.
“Seventy-five”, said Karen.
“Seven hundred”, Betsy bid.
“And fifty”, Lena repeated.
“A thousand”, Betsy thundered. That red-haired witch did not seem ready to let Lena dispute her prey. “Two thousand”, a new voice was heard: Olga had spoken at last.
The others stared at Olga, not believing that the old woman was willing to pay that much. Had she really said two thousand U.S. dollars?“And fifty”, said Karen.
Olga and Lena looked at each other: even between the two of them could not meet that amount. And if they did they would not invest it in buying a day of that man. Nor for anyone else's. It was nonsense.
That Betsy was crazy.
“Is there any higher bid?”, Elizabeth asked just to be formal, but it was already clear from the faces of helplessness and anger of Karen Lena and Olga that there was a clear winner.
So she said after several minutes:
“Twenty-five thousand U.S. dollars at one, twenty-five thousand U.S. dollars at two, twenty-five thousand U.S. dollars at three. Betsy gets the male for twenty-five thousand dollars!”
“Congratulations, Betsy”, Lena said with sadness in her voice.
The other women also congratulated her, but Elizabeth simply reached her hand out to her.
Betsy smiled and opened her purse. She pulled out a wad of notes, counted twenty-one, and handed it to Elizabeth. She was surprised to see thousand dollar bank notes for the first time in her life, not to mention the $5,000 note! They were not only worth what it was printed on them, but if she took them to numismatists she could get three times their value, as they had not been made for a lot of years and thus they did not circulate because they all were in the hands of collectors.
The magic of the moment was broken by James when he said:
“It's not twelve o'clock yet. It's still Friday, so I am still mine”.
And he got dressed again.
“Sure, James. I should have told you to dress again”, Elizabeth said.
Betsy looked at the clock. Indeed, it was only eight o'clock. She smiled at the man whose favors she had just bought for a day.
“To celebrate my win”, she said with her sweetest voice, “I want to invite you all for to dinner, if you accept my invitation. We needn't stop being friends, need we?”
James thought that this woman should be very rich, and so the auction was unfair. But that was none of his business, however, so he did not mind, really. The woman had given Elizabeth twenty-five times what she had invested in his day with Kath. And all that for just a night of pleasure. Maybe he should use more his head and suggest Elizabeth to organize more of these auctions and go fifty-fifty with her. He did not know Betsy, and could not guess what she would ask from him... But the woman seemed inexperienced and full with complexes and faults, as her aggressiveness implied. And her physical aspect, without being disagreeable, was not so attractive as the other women's, including Karen, the chubbiest one. He thought it would be easy to find her interesting point, as he had found Kath's, and make her fall in love with him. Maybe she would fall in love with him like Kath, and then he could marry her and become a rich man. But there was something that worried him, if that were the case: Losing his freedom and forget about Elizabeth..., would it be worth? Well, now he must concentrate on Betsy. During the dinner he would know what to expect from her. Inviting them for dinner had been a nice deed.
During dinner, the winner was witty and funny. You could see she was happy to have beaten the others, and she looked not to care about the thousands of dollars she had to pay. She had many more in her bag. Maybe this woman was willing to pay much more for him. During the dinner, he asked her:
“Betsy, what was the limit you were willing to pay for me?”
“Well, if Elizabeth admitted a check, there was no limit”.
“And if she would not admit a check?”
“Well, I had a hundred Clevelands and two Groves. I could not have paid more without going to the bank”. “Were you carrying one hundred and ten thousand U.S. dollars in your bag?”
“Yes. But now I carry less, Just 85,000: eighty Clevelands and one Grove”.
“I did not know you were such a good lawyer, Betsy”, Elizabeth said.
“Well, I'm not bad. But my Uncle Oscar died last month and left me his oil well in Nevada. I still do not know what to do with my money. But tonight I have begun to allow myself whims I could not pay before”.
Now he understood everything. James started liking Betsy.
After dinner drinks were taken in the cafeteria. There was very soft background music, so James made a strange proposal to her friend Elizabeth:
“She-Devil, since you have been my downfall, will you dance with me one last time before I belong to another woman?”
She was amused by the request, and agreed delighted.
“Do I really look like a devil? What made you say that?”, asked when they were dancing.
“I am in this for you. I would not fail you, so you've auctioned me. If I had made the bet with another person, I would have broken our friendship before doing this.
“You are a cajoler”.
“Yes, but with you I cannot, honey”.
“I know you're secretly in love with me”.
“Yes, it's obvious. But you neither avoid me, nor take it off my head, nor give me hopes”.
“This story made me think. When you finish with Betsy, find me. I'll give you the opportunity to conquer me, you tricky liar”, she said, kissing him briefly on his lips and running away from him because the music ended, and she sat.
“I would now like to dance with you, James”, Lena said. “So I have some idea of what I'm going to lose”.
“With pleasure, Lena”.
As they danced, James told her that the next week he would phone her if she wanted him to, and they could go for a drink. That thing with Betsy meant nothing more than a game for a rich girl who two days later would have forgotten him. In fact he was thinking to visit the other three, too, because it fascinated him the idea that those women wanted to pay so much money just to have a night with him. Certainly that was worth giving a night to everyone of them, if they still wanted it, for free.
For the next hour he danced with them all, except with Betsy, as she told him they would dance together later, when the others were not present, and that he could choose whom to dance with while he was free. But two hours later she stood up and said:
“Girls, it seems the White Float approaches and my Blue Prince and I do not want to miss it. We are going up to our room. You can remain around here, but do not dare pay anything, for both dinner and drinks are to be charged to our room. Elizabeth, thanks for calling me for the auction. I hope you to keep doing so in future similar events.
And after kissing the four women, she took him by the hand and they went up to room 527. When they arrived at the room it was exactly twelve o'clock, midnight.
“It's Saturday, dog. I liked you better naked”.
Without a word, he stripped again. His owner for a day asked:
“The first thing I'll ask you is easy. Get me a Gin Tonic”.
When he brought it, she took it from his hands, and said:
“It's the first time you're at the mercy of a woman, isn't it?
“Yes, madam, it is”.
He bent down and put his knees on the floor, standing on them. The situation was new to him. He did not know exactly what he felt.
“Here, take this”, she said, putting one foot on each shoulder of his. She was wearing a white miniskirt, and from his perspective, he saw her white panties.
“This is something I've always wanted to do. Tonight I want everything, Jimmy. Will you be a good boy for your mistress?”
Betsy let out a loud laugh.
“Love? That does not exist, boy. They are old wives' tales. In its name they have abused, raped, robbed..., they have done everything. I want your soul, James”, she said in a tone that made him shiver. She no longer seemed the corny girl who had just inherited an oil well in Nevada.
“Do not be afraid, my boy. You'll see how much you're going to want to be with me after tonight”.
“I want your heart, your mind, your will, your soul... Because we are going away”.
“Are we? Will you let me get dressed for that trip?”
“No. I have other plans for you. Are you ashamed to be seen naked with a chain collar with your mistress name on it?”
She stood up and pulled his hair up till he was also standing in front of her. Then she gave him a long, lewd kiss. The man was very excited, and she held him by his manhood until she drew him near orgasm. At this point she just let his member stand alone in the air. Then she pushed him onto the couch, face down, and made him spread his legs and gave him a fisting. James felt a pain deep within himself as he felt the woman's hand inside him, especially her steel fingernails. That mixture of pain and pleasure made him shoot his long and thick ejaculation on the couch.
“Keep going, pet. We can clean that later”, she said patting his back and buttocks with her free hand.
When he could no longer stand the pleasure and pain, as they had united in a unique, intense sensation which caused his howling, she took him to the bathroom. There he made him undress her and they had a common shower. After soaping each other the two kissed passionately, with so intensely a passion that he could not remark that the water was wearing off the outer skin layer of the woman till she was totally red, as red as the native inhabitants of America. He caressed her softly, and then remarked the feel of something strange at the end of her spine. He looked at her from a few inches apart and saw them: in both sides of her forehead there were two bulbs which were not before, but her hair was still thick and red, and her eyes were raunchier than ever. She held him in her arms, one on each side of the body, and also the hairy soft end of her other limb was inside his anus. The far end of her spine was touching the man's and massaging his urethra at the same time.
“You belong to me”.
“You know that, don't you? You really belong to me. Forever”.
“Yes, mistress. You own me. Forever”, he said heartily.
“Forever is beyond death”.
“Yes, mistress. You are the owner of my heart, my soul and my spirit. I will always serve you. I shall do whatever you command me”.
“Even if it is killing Elizabeth?”
“Elizabeth? Who is that Elizabeth, owner of mine?”
Betsy smiled. It had not been so difficult as she had thought. With humans everything is always about money, or lust. Or both.
The she-devil made a strange gesture in the air and said a strange word which reminded him of something like qapí, qapí, qaí, and suddenly there was a burning threshold in front of them. She came out of the shower and went towards it. Before she went in, se turned to the man, and said:
“Come, James. Come with me. Will you?"
"Of course, madam, I will".
He came out of the shower and took the hand she was offering him. And the devil, without letting it go, took him right to Hell. On the way, he asked her:
“Mistress..., Elizabeth is..?”
“No, James. She's not one of ours yet, but she is working on it. She is not a she-devil like me yet, but she will be so when you bring her to me. First I have to train you, and when you are a good devil, she will be your first mission”.
Angel had been writing since he learnt how to at school. He found it magical to be able to fix the things in his mind on a piece of paper, and the best was when, days or weeks later, he could read those words and he lived again what had made him write them, again. Many people enjoy playing football or watching television. Angel enjoyed writing. All the time he was off duty he spent writing. When they made him read books at school he spotted the mistakes in the texts he read and then he told the teacher.
“What do you mean Shakespeare was wrong?”, told him once his Literature teacher.
“We all can be wrong, Mr. Athanasius. So could Shakespeare”.
But he could not lower his marks in his subject because Angel was the only boy in his class, not to say in the school, who never misspelt a word when he wrote. In spite of his horrible custom of presenting his teacher with a never requested essay on every book he read, stating the poor style and coherence in the text, the misspellings, and a list of suggestions he would make the author, were he still living. After reading one of those essays, and convinced they were excellent from a formal point of view and even if he did not agree at all, his teacher asked him:
“Tell me, Angel: where did you learn to write so well?”
“Well, here, Mr. Athanasius, with you. I've written everything I did not dare tell you, and as I was writing it, I saw what I had to improve. I am more critical to myself than to anybody else, and so I solve things not to be wrong again. Do you really like what I write, Sir?”
“No, Angel: I do not like what you say at all, but I do like the way you write it”.
When the school year ended, his teacher retired, and in his last class he said good-bye to his pupils, and by so doing he bid farewell to all his pupils in his professional life: those pupils he had had and those whom he still could teach if he could stay on teaching. The last time he saw Angel was at the school cafeteria. Their farewell was tender and emotive, and when he was going away, Mr. Athanasius did something ver strange:
“Here, Angel: I no longer need this. But I would like you to keep it all your life and write a lot with it”, and he gave him a little parcel. “Do not open this till you are alone, at home”.
When the young man came home and was aware there was nobody else there, he opened the mysterious parcel his old literature teacher had given him. Inside there were two things: a white feather and a fountain pen. On its cap there was a word: Inoxcrom. On the side of the barrel there were two names with a number in between: the number was the current year, and the first name was his, and the second was his teacher's. The whole of the fountain pen was made in solid gold. Inside de pen case there were these words: Wall Street Elegance. That might be the model of the pen. He put the feather on his ear, in the way carpenters usually leave their pencil while they are working. Then he took the pen with awe and realized it was not very heavy. He uncapped it and started writing on a piece of paper: the pen wrote almost on its own, not like his ball pen, which stabbed the paper creating a groove and stressing his wrist and making it hurt in the long run. But this pen just slipped on the paper as he was getting his idea, which were spilt from his soul onto the paper through his brain, hand and fountain pen. What was going to be a writing test became all of a sudden into a tale on an old teacher who retired and went on a journey around the world, till in a remote land he met his guardian angel, who took him to his original country and there they two were happy, very happy. When he finished writing his tale, he knew it was a beautiful way to thank his teacher: to present him with the first piece of writing which he had produced with his present.
He tried to give it to him personally, but at school they did not want to give him his address or telephone, though the headmaster found the pupil's gesture to his old teacher very tender and promised to give it to him personally. Angel enclosed the fifteen pieces of paper in an envelope, sealed it and gave it to the headmaster.
Two days later Mr. Earnest, the headmaster, telephoned him to say that Mr. Athanasius had been very happy when he read the tale and telephoned him to say he had decided to go around the world with his wife, and he greeted him warmly.
Then Angel went to his bedroom, put his feather on his ear, and getting his pen, he wrote his second tale.
When Angel finished school he doubted what to do next: would he study English Literature or Journalism? Because he knew he had to write. He compared the curricula and finally he decided he knew the theory and he needed more practice of language, so he decided to choose the second one. However, when he finished, he completed his MA on English Literature and History of the World while he worked as a journalist.
At first it was difficult for him to get a position as a reporter, and the only one he found was as an intern in one of the best newspapers in the country, The Sun. But two months later he found that he had the same responsibilities and hard work as the regulars, but no salary, so he left his position. Because he could not be without writing, he founded a digital newspaper, The Paper, which let him write every day long and in a detailed way about all topics of general interest and current affairs.
He started all on his own, just commenting on the present day topics he read on the other papers, he watched on TV or listened to on the radio, which was ever present. On the first week his paper had a hundred visits; on the second, five hundred; but a month later there were already four thousand regulars who read him every day. When he had so many Letters to the Editor that he could no longer select or answer them, he called in his help his university colleague, Adele, who had come with him as an intern in The Sun and there she was still getting more experience. That's why he called her:
“Hello, Adele. How would you like to be the editor in chief in a newspaper? Of course, for a salary.
“Editor in chief. You will be the second in command, right after the publisher. At first your salary will not be very big, but you will get money to live.
“In which newspaper? Whom must I kill?”
“No. I created it a few months ago. You can see it at http://www.thepaper.com”.
“Wait. I'll go to your house and we'll talk it over. Don't move from there”.
“OK. I'll be here”.
But they met in a nearby cafeteria. Finally they agreed the editor in chief would be in charge of commercial ads, and she would earn 30% of the benefits of the paper, the publisher would have 45%, and the remainder would be for the rest of the personnel or reinvested in the papers expenditures. They signed a contract and started to do the hard work.
Adele was overjoyed, as his first paid job had earned her over a thousand euros the first month, and she foresaw that money would grow if they were ready for the hard work. As the paper grew they could employ more people and they two could specialize in nicer tasks. They bought the news from agencies, and they had several own correspondents abroad, whom they paid per article.
But one day Angel surprised Adele with strange news:
“Adele, I am going to war”.
“I'd like to know what it is like being a war correspondent”.
“You must be crazy! You will get killed”.
“Yes, I have thought so”.
“Don't you care?”
“Of course I do. But do not worry: we all have to die some time. And I think a reporter is not a real one till he has involved himself in real conflict. Copying news from agencies is office work. I did not become a reporter to do that”.
“What about The Paper?”
“You manage it, with the publisher's salary, and also I will help you from over there, if I can. You will pay me the same as any other war correspondent till I come back. And if you need another journalist, you can hire him or her. From now on it is your decisions which count. If you get an intern, though, you must pay him or her a fair salary, and after six months you give them a full contract or give them the sack”.
“Ok, ok, but on one condition”.
“When you come back, it will be my turn. I want to be a war correspondent, too. I want to be a real journalist, too”.
“But..., it is different”.
“Because I am a woman?”
“Well, God, of course that's why”.
“Stop the nonsense, Angel. If they shoot you down, it is the same if they rape you first, and much worse than if they only rape you”.
“Well..., ok, Adele. We agree, then”.
And Angel went to the Bosnian War.
In Bosnia Angel had a very tough time. There he made friends with Frank Fuentes and Silvana Gassman, from Ecuador and Italy, but they were killed almost in front of him. He got a bullet in the middle of his forehead when talking to Angel near the firing front, in Sarajevo. She was kidnapped. He saw her go from their hotel with a French colleague, René Dubois, and the next day one of the parties demanded the other one a prisoners exchange, and when they did not accept, they left the dead bodies at the entrance door of the hotel, a few hours later. They both had been tortured.
After that the UN garrison head offered the journalists a little gun so that if they got caught they could kill themselves before they were tortured. Under those circumstances many journalists went back to their countries, but Angel liked being there in spite of his terrible working conditions. Angel found important what he was doing and felt it necessary that someone told that to the rest of the world, at no matter what cost. He refused the gun because he said he was no fighter, so it would be easy to get it from his hand and then kill him with it. If he was to be killed, he said, let the enemy pay for his bullet.
The hardest face of war, he would confess later, were the personal experiences, the particular cases which happened around him and which he could not report about because they interested nobody. The Spanish taxpayer did not want to feel guilty for saying nothing, for not protesting or insulting his or her government every time an eight thousand euro bomb fell from the Old Yugoslavia sky with the compliments of the Spanish government. Politicians would keep silent and citizens would not want to know, in the same way as people in the city of Auschwitz did not want to know why those factory chimneys set up by the nazis expelled night and day a smoke so black as those nazi soldier’s souls and uniforms.
When the war finished, Angel stayed on in the land, helping people during the day and taking down everything he had heard in so doing, at night, and he sent it all to The Paper so that all Spanish John Does would learn that there are still unhappier people than him on the world, people he or she could help, since their government did not. As soon as the internet connections were on again he assumed several of his competences as publisher, at least those not requiring his personal presence, and once he learnt the language he changed the trenches for the bar desk, accepting the job his friend Mirsad suggested, and so he stayed in the land for five years more, helping rebuilding the country and acting as a witness when they tried those war criminals.
When he finally came back, his friends found him very different: he was much older, with a wrinkled face and white hair, though his sense of humour was still present, even if much wrier and more cynical.
But something was broken in Angel's heart: death demands always a dear toll, above all when it is not your own one.
“It is not what it looks”, he heard a voice say.
“I'm OK, Angel. Stop crying for me”.
He woke suddenly. Yes, he had seen Silvana. It was only a dream. But he knew she was all right. As if she had come from the Other World to tell him. Probably she had.
Two years after he came back he started going out with Alexandra. She was a primary school teacher, and one day he went to her school to meet her, but he suddenly was nailed to the ground as he could not help watching one of the children who were coming out of the building on their way home. The boy sent him a stare laden with pure hate for a few seconds. Then, he ran away calling for his mother, crying and pointing at him. But his mom took him away, very scared.
The next day Alexandra asked him what he had told the child, as his mother had complained about him, believing he worked at the school. It was lucky that there were witnesses who said he never said a word to the kid. The boy had only said that he was very afraid of that bad man. But Angel could say nothing to his friend. Only that it was children's stuff. How could he explain that he had recognized in that creature the hatred of one of the butchers in the Bosnian War against whom he testified and who had been sentenced to death and executed because of the evidence he gave? Yes, he was one of the people who had threatened him with death, as he or one of his friends would stab him to death. The child, obviously, knew nothing about that. He only felt a deep hatred for that man as soon as he saw him. And Angel felt a deep pity for that being who was, once more, learning to live. He only hoped this time he had better travel companions and grew much more as a person.
In the course of his life he met many more people about whom he had more flashes like that, more déjà vus, but they were not important. They were only things which happen.
The years he spent in the Bosnian War had changed Angel's temper, as we have seen. He thought of many things in his life, and even he considered the idea becoming a priest. But he didn’t because he discovered that God's men did not lead an exemplary life. And it was not because of pederasts or corrupt people, as they exist in any human institution, but for the plain priests’ deeds: he spotted lack of detachment for earthly things, lack of charity when talking to other people. He saw no humility in them, and he thought that was very wrong. When you preach, your teachings are nothing if you cannot show them with your own example. If you can't, you'd better not preach at all. That's why he preferred to preach with his own example rather than become a professional preacher.
Their digital newspaper solved his life and that of his wife and children, and also that of his editor in chief, Adele (who finally resigned her dreams of war greatness) and twenty other employees. It was not the first paper in the country, but it was read by over a million people every day all over the world. And Angel wrote his editorial opinion always with Mr. Athanasius' Wall Street Elegance pen, the one his teacher gave him as gift when he was a kid. He used it to correct a lot before he typed it into his computer, and then he tore his handwritten papers into pieces and put them away into the trash. He said that writing with a fountain pen was good because he could think his editorial as he was writing it. Then, when his article was in the cloud, the ephemeral paper copy was good for nothing. He often thought about Good Old Mr. Athanasius. He had gone with his wife on that journey around the world, like Verne's Phileas Fogg, and they both had got killed in an accident: their bus had fallen off a cliff, apparently because of an exploding wheel. It was like he had foretold in his first tale: in a remote land a portal had opened and they both had gone into a new dimension.
“This I can believe because it is you who are telling me, Mr. Athanasius”, Angel said from the middle of his dream.
“Do you still write, my son?”
“Of course, Sir. Always”.
“It is good to leave written on paper what you live”, his old teacher answered, “So others will remember us after we died”.
“I will always remember you, Sir. Every time I use your pen, my Athanasia, as it bears your name. I have other pens, but they are only my spare pens, since I always write with yours, the one you gave me, and I have personalized it with your name”.
“That is not good, Angel. It is just a lifeless object, just a thing, even if it reminds you of me”.
In that moment Angel woke up, and after he told his wife his dream, she said:
“It is possible that your teacher, from the Other World, wants to teach you his last lesson”.
“That you should not be attached to anything. Nor even to your pen, or your memories. That your fountain pen has no merit, except that other people made it with gold. And you can make your life golden, but the merit would never be your life's, but yours”.
“My god: it is you who is wise, Ivona. What can I do now?”
“Have you ever ignored where your Athanasia was?”
“No: I always knew that”.
“The day you don't know where it is and you could not care less, you will be totally detached from her”. “You have it”, Angel said giving the golden pen to her. “You keep it for me till I ask you for it”.
“Will you never write again?”
“I have a cheap ball pen in my pocket. And a couple of other fountain pens somewhere”.
“Is that enough for you?”
“I hope so”.
And for three years she kept his golden fountain pen. At the end of that time, Angel asked his wife for it, but she said she did not remember where she had left it. He was not angry, but only said:
“It is very expensive, but it is all right: I do not need it to live. I keep everything here”, he said pointing at his head. And then, taking a ball pen from his pocket, he added: “And this can do the same thing as that pen called..., what was its name?”
“Yes! Athanasia. Like my old teacher”.
When Angel was seventy years old, and he was already retired, his daughter Rachel came home to stay for the day with her parents. At lunch time they celebrated his birthday, and after dessert their daughter gave him a little parcel from the two of them, mother and daughter:
“Daddy, this is a present for you. I think you are going to like it”.
It was his golden fountain pen, his Wall Street Elegance Inoxcrom gold fountain pen. On its barrel you could read: Athanasius — 1990 — Angel.
It was as if an old friend came to life again. With that pen he used to write. Since he did not see it he had written so many books as he had with it: around fifty. Once he was accused of writing too much, that you could not write so many books, industrially, aseptically, recopying yourself continuously... But actually his writings had everything but asepsis or repetition. For he was industrious, but he always wrote with passion.
Using Athanasia he wrote only one book more, and then he asked his wife to keep it again in a safe place. The book he wrote with his adored Athanasia was called like it: The Book of Athanasia, and he ordered only ten copies, which he gave to his relatives, as it was the book of his life, his autobiography. Once he gave them away, Angel forgot about the book and the pen. He wrote again with any of the ten or twelve pens he had, and if he ever lost one of them, he bought another one, or a cheap ball pen. Because what matters is the story, he said, not how you write it.
Once he was walking on the park near his home when he felt very tired, suddenly. He saw a bench free, and he sat there to get some rest.
“Beautiful day”, he heard a familiar voice say.
“What? Hi, Adele, I didn't see you coming. Are you feeling well again? I heard you were ill. How is The paper?
“I have never felt better than now, Angel. And I do not work for our newspaper, Angel. Can't you remember? I retired, the same as you”.
“Oh, yes, that's right. I forget things...”
“How do you feel, Angel?”
“Tired. And you?”
“Perfectly, I told you. In fact I never felt so well before. Are you ready to start a journey?”
“A journey? Well..., the truth is that I had no intention to travel anywhere”.
“We all are always going from one place to another one, Angel”.
“Yes, of course. I was going to Andrew's for a coffee, but I felt tired and suddenly...”
“Of course. But you know, nobody knows the day or the time”.
“Yes, very true. But the journey is always worth the effort”.
“The journey. Life is a journey to nowhere which at the end takes you to the sea of unconscienceless”.
“That's poetic, metaphysical. It is a pity it is not exact”.
In that moment they saw a ball bounce in front of them and get lost among the bushes behind them. Some seconds later a little boy came running after the ball, and followed it among the trees. But a second later he came out without the ball crying for his mom. The good lady came and entered the place with the bushes, she crouched and talked softly on her cell phone. Some minutes later a siren was heard over the place and three men in white appeared holding a stretcher, in which they took away a young woman who was bleeding a lot.
“Poor girl”, Angel said. “Will she die?” “Let's have a look. We used to be reporters...”
They stood up and went to the nearest hospital, St. Andrew's. They never noticed that the third man was going to their bench...
Nobody objected at their going into the Emergency Room. There they saw three masked people doing things on the body of that young woman. One of them was saying: “We're losing her!”
“Hey, Adele...”, started Angel, “I think we should not be here, without a mask or permission”.
“Shhh!”, ordered she. “Wait!”
In that moment they saw an old friend: Muriel had just come into the room, with his silver scissors in hand. When he saw them, he smiled:
“Hello, Urtiel”, he greeted. When he saw Adele, he added: “Ariel, it is always a pleasure to see you. What are you doing here?” “Nothing, really. I came for Angel, but now we want to see Zaliel's transit...”
Muriel looked at both of them in surprise. Then he faced Angel.
“She was raped, and now she is pregnant... It will be a girl, Urtiel. Would you like to try?”
Angel smiled: finally he understood why Adele, who had died ten days earlier, had taken the trouble to visit him.
“Yes, Muriel, I would be delighted to”. “It is an unwanted baby”.
“Yes, I know”.
“Well, then welcome back to the world again, Angela. To be more exact, in nine months and a day. Take this”, he said giving to him two white feathers: the one he had added to Mr. Athanasius pen and another one. Urtiel took them and put them on either ear.
Then Muriel put his silver scissors away and got nearer that youngster's face and said:
“You will die, Izzy, but not today. I came for you, but you have just been granted twenty year's extra time. Make the most of it”.
And after blowing her face, he smiled and then disappeared, while Isadora started moaning and one of the doctors cried, triumphantly:
“We did it! She's breathing!”
Adele looked at the place where Angel had been, but he was no longer there. To her right she saw a new door, golden like the sun, at the other side of which there was Muriel, who spread his hand to her:
“Come”, he said. “You have already all the feathers for your four wings”.
Adele went through the threshold and, taking Muriel's arm, she entered Eternal Life again.
Angels have always been imagined as a beautiful, graceful feminine figures, and demons as something masculine, ugly, strong and cruel, as well as nasty. Actually neither angels nor demons have a physical shape, and so when they appear in front of us, human beings, they do so by means of the prejudiced images we have about them. However, succubi are demons who show themselves as feminine forms to tempt virtue and chaste men, and thus they do not appear like Snow White's witch, but more like Sleeping Beauty or the Beauty of the Beast.
Bertha was one of those succubi and she liked tempting virtuous males. Every time she tried to gain Abelardo to her cause, however, she was unsuccessful. He was a very practical man and he knew his limitations, so he was sure such a fine, pretty woman like Bertha would not propose those things to him, who was as poor as a rat and ugliness itself, if she had not a hidden purpose.
Notwithstanding that, from his potato stand at Sunday's market place, she missed not a single movements of Thomasine, the fruit man's daughter whose stand was right opposite to his. She was not a very beautiful woman, but he fancied her. Bertha had told him something about a soul, something he did not know he had. She had offered him her body in exchange for it.
“Well, madam, will you buy potatoes or not? I have not all the day...”
Bertha did not know what to say for the first time in over the ten thousand years she had been at soul dealing. This brute was the first one who resisted to her charms.
“Did you ever enjoy such a fine body as mine, poor man?”
“Nope. And I am not interested, ma'am”.
“Why, blame me! Do you mean you don't find me desirable?”
“Look, ma'am: what I desire is that you buy my potatoes. For anything else, do me a favour: get aside, as I have a lot of cargo to sell”.
And after this deaf people's dialogue finally Bertha retreated vanquished for the first time in her devilish life.
The following Sunday she understood what mistake she had made with this man, though it was already too late: the fruit girl was very thick, fat and frankly vulgar. But Abelardo liked her. That is why the excellent, fine female demon had failed in spite of her ten thousand years experience: she had offered that poor man the Moon, but everything he needed was a round piece of cheese. For a while she watched those two beasts, real pieces of meat with eyes, to gambol inside the potato van before she went back to Hell with nothing between her horns.
My father has been missing for thirty years, but we had a pending appointment. That's why he visits me often, when I could expect least, and he tells me about his things, and I tell him about mine.
Actually I am interested, as any curious person, in the things of Hereafter, and what happens after you die, or at least if you've got to be good and nice so that Daddy God will be good with me when I have passed away. But my old man plays the fool and asks me about how are things in my world, as he says he can see nothing but what I tell him.
In these pages you will find the strange chats between a father and Chet, his father, who is already near the age he had then father went away.
«Hello, my beloved son», I heard a familiar voice as I walked downtown. I had not heard that voice for several decades, and it brought me back there all of a sudden to a lot of sweet and sour, sad and happy memories. I looked around, but I saw its owner nowhere.
«I am crazy», I said to myself almost aloud. «My father no longer exists».
But the thought had made me melancholic. The last time we met we had a row, and for years I felt bad about that, after my dad's death. But now, thirty years after that, it is irrelevant. That had been on a sunny morning in Seville.
With these thoughts in mind, I came across my favorite beer house in a narrow street near Cardinal Belluga's Square, so I sat outside, ready to taste the blonde fluid while I recovered my soul's peace. “Don't worry, son”, I heard that voice again, “I am OK”.
I looked upwards and there he was: dark-haired, handsome, with just a few silver specks on his thick hair, just like I remembered him in his 65th year.
“How come you are here?”, I said, startled.
“I don't know, son. I remember I was in hospital, at the emergency ward, I could see your mom through a window glass, and after I signaled her that I was passing away, I fell asleep. And when I woke I found myself walking on the street where I met you”.
“I heard you, but I could not hear you”.
“Ha, you were always absent-minded”.
“Honestly, I heard your voice, I looked around, but you were nowhere”.
“As I followed you, you went round the corner. I went there, but I saw your sister, instead, but when I came to her, she also had disappeared. So I came back that corner and then I saw you and your beer, here”.
“Would you like one?”, I asked him with a giggle.
“No, thanks, son. I am not thirsty. I am OK, I told you”.
“Dad, you cannot be here!”
“Why not, James?”
“Because you died, dad. Thirty years ago”.
“So much? To me it was just yesterday”.
“And mom is no longer here, either. Since last year”. It was strange: I could talk about my dad's death, even with him as a matter of course, but not about my mother's, and so I used a lot of euphemisms for that: my mother had not died: she was no longer here. But my father was dead, all right, so what? “Good Lord!”, he answered.
“And if you had not died, you'd be 96 right now”.
“But I am as strong as a bull”.
“Yes, you look so. I look older than you”.
“How old are you now, son?”
“Well...., yes, time does not forgive. But I have nowhere to go, James, and I don't know what to do”.
“Are you on holiday?”, I asked laughing wryly. That was really cruel: my father had been working all his life, and when he retired, he died, so he was now on holiday from life.
And then I stared at him and noticed that I could look through him. I looked around us, and saw no one. Maybe that was because of the crisis: people no longer have money for beer. The waitress seemed asleep by the bar, but she woke at my gesture.
“Bring me another one, Liz”. I always ask the waitresses' names, as this takes them out of the cold shadow which the word “waitress” secludes them into. I realized she did not look at my right side, where my father was, to ask him if he wanted anything.
I saw what was left of my father was getting lighter, that I was losing him again. My knowledge on scepters is very limited, but I suddenly remembered something: “Dad, don't go! Stay with me. But if you do have to go, I want you to know you may come back whenever you wish. I will tell you things about my world and I will listen to the ones you are allowed tell about your new one. Because I love you, dad!”
“Thanks, my beloved son”, I heard him say with thankful looks as he disappeared into the air fast, till I no longer saw him.
She smiled and told me she would like to attend the premiere. But I think she did not believe me.
“Do you like the curly-haired one?”, he said suddenly near my ear at the concert café where I came to enjoy Amarela's art.
“Waw, father!”, I nearly shouted, happy to see him again. “Yes, she plays and sings well, very well in fact”.
“A bit shivering her voice, isn't it?”
“Of course not! She's a beauty with a beautiful voice”.
“Well, in my time she would have been put in jail three times tonight...”
“Maybe in your first epoch. Now that girl dresses very decently. And her lyrics are provoking, but they are very sensible”.
“That's why, son, because she's right in every thing she says. Power does not forgive those who are right”.
“Well, she only talks about unmet loves...”
“She also mentions freedom”.
“Now you are not taken to jail for that, dad. Maybe if you practice it, or demand it to be guaranteed, but not just for talking about it”.
“There are changes in this country, really...”
Amarela sang ten or twelve songs more, and after a few encores I came to her to greet her and even have a photo taken with her. We chatted for a while and then we parted.
“Waw, all that talk about her voice, but I could see the way you grabbed her for the photo...”
“Father, you can't see things, can you?”
“Well, I can't really, son. Nor hear. Only through you”.
“What can you see now?”
“A dark place we are walking along”.
“Can't you see the street? Well, yes..., I know there is not much light, but we can see something”.
“No, son: I am but a scepter. For some reason I don't understand I can see only you. And only for a while”.
I thought of that for a few minutes, not knowing what to say. Five minutes later I raised my eyes to him: he wasn't there any longer. Strange visit, the ones my dad called on me: he was there, and then he was not. Some day I will understand the scepter world, where time does not exist.
And, frankly, I do have a million questions to ask him.
It is still burning in my head the idea my dad no longer exists. I know it is him, it is the same person I knew, but he is no longer that old republican, the lieutenant who was shooting against Franco's hordes in defense of a republic he believed to be legitimate and everybody's at the same degree.
But no: the soul once glued to that tormented body is already liberated from that suffering, he no longer needs to pick on anybody to enjoy himself, he no longer needs to be plugged for the whole day long to his books to escape from a reality which was not nicer just because he deserved it.
I do not understand why I do not miss mother. Yes, I notice there is a hole in my heart, but it is not the same. Regarding my brother, he has not been with us for a long time, and may be it is because he was always present in my heart that I never missed him. But my father was absent from my thoughts for the longer part of my life, and maybe it is now, after my mother died, when I really realized I am a full orphan, as I was since he left us because of a sudden heart attack. The day my dad died, my world changed, but it took the time till my mom's death for me to realize that it was so.
During these thirty years I came from the most unconditional faith in the God of Creation, according to the Catholic Religion, to the most convinced atheism, that is to say, from defending my mother's faith to living with my dad's atheism. But it was after she died when I made friends with dad again (really with his soul), and after my mom's death I fell in a healthy skepticism which, by not asserting or denying anything, has allowed me to observe objectively everything and resound with the Universe's music, discovering that what others explain with fear and parables has always been there, within our reach so that we appreciate and apprehend it by using our intuition and wisdom. And we mix with those beings who do not fail to exist only because we cannot see them. Like my father and the rest of the beings which there have been on the world.
“You look peaceful”.
“Yes, I am, father. And you, are you at peace wherever you are?”
“Yes, of course. There is war no longer in my mind”.
“That marked you, didn't it?”
“All over my life. You'll never know how much fear I experienced in the war. It was with me for the rest of my life: it was not only that I saw death for three years as bullets came and went by, but after the war was finished I was sentenced to death, and even if that was commuted to 12 years, the stress was too much. It was with me the whole of my life”.
“It is a good job it no longer does”.
“No. I died before”.
“And don't you regret that?”
“I regret many things, son. But here, where I am now, pain is not felt”.
“What can you feel?”
“I thought you were a soul in pain”.
“Souls don't feel pain, son”.
“Is that a legend?”
“Old women's tales to frighten kids. Do not pay any attention to them. Here you feel fine because you simply exist”.
“Don't you feel or suffer?”
“We are sorry for things at mind level. We feel no pain. Here we only realize that things could have been done in a better way”.
“Did you see mom?”, I asked to change the subject.
“Mom..., no, we haven't met yet. There are billions of us, and it is very difficult to see someone in particular”.
“Well, you are seeing me”.
“I found you, but I didn't search for you”.
“Does hazard exist?”
“I doubt it, though I don't know”.
“Then there may be a cause for you to have found me”, I asserted. “When we met last time...”
“We had a row, yes. We never made friends again. I can see you never got your peace back about this”.
“And what is peace, dad?”
“Peace is where I am now. Peace is being now here talking to you. Peace is ignoring family stress and also human stress”.
“Family. Such a great invention to defend us from the others..., and yet who will defend us from family?”
“Nobody should. We should not feel threatened by family”.
“No. But we have a thousand experiences which prove otherwise”.
“Yes. Jokes were not understood sometimes”.
“Nor taken. When did you accept one from me?”
“Yes, it is true. But the best thing you can do now is not to imitate me, my son”.
“You know, James: I am not like that. My ego was destroyed in war. The little which was left lived on the rest of the family”.
“Ego is shit”.
“Even worse: ego does not exist. It is an invention from our mind to try to rule our identity. Our mind is a tool to understand the world, not to reinvent it to our convenience”.
“Yes. Thousands of prophets and dogmatic people have caused a lot of pain when they managed to enslave many people to their personal egos”.
“Yes. Yet, some have come to history as great benefactors”.
“Have you met any of them?”
“I could not tell you. Here we are not what we were. Don't forget that mind and ego die with your body. Our essence is what lives forever”.
“Forever is a lot of time, dad”.
“Yes, very true. In fact the very concept of guilt has no sense here. Nothing hurts us. Nothing we dress, and our attachments were left in our ashes or the dust our bodies became with time”.
“So what can you tell me about the Hereafter, dad?”
“That is a hoax. Space does not exist here. Nor time. That's why we are here, there and everywhere, always, now and later. To see you I have to do a lot of juggling, as if on a tight rope, because to us everything is now”.
“You have learnt a lot since the last time we met, Chet”.
“Knowledge is different here, son. I did not tell you more in my other visits because you would not have understood”.
“You were forbidden nothing”.
“Dad, you are a liar”.
“That is mortal sin”.
“What do you mean no? It is one of Moses' Ten Commandments”.
“No. That was an addition on by the Catholic Church. The eighth commandment originally says: Thou shalt not bear false witness. That means you must not lie to hurt other people. For two thousand years nobody thought that priests lie when they demand people not to lie”.
“That is a peculiar thought, but it makes sense: the liar needs that nobody else lies”.
“Well, the important thing is that you can talk about the Hereafter. What is it like?”
“My Lord, James, you miss the point: There is no Hereafter!”
“No, there isn't, James”.
“So where are you now?”
“In Heaven, on Earth, everywhere. As the Beatles used to say: Here, there and everywhere, but always at the same time”.
“So where is Heaven?”
“Here. Worlds overlap. And if you learn how to do it, you will also be able to come with me without dying first”.
“What happens if I cannot learn it?”
“Then you will come as everybody else, son: when you die you will appear here even if you do not want to come, my son”.
“When you were alive you did not call me so often my son. I am starting to think you are not my father...”
“No, I am not”.
“Who are you, then?”
“I am your father's soul. I am not the being who gave you your body. That body died already. My animal part is no more”.
“However, I can see you with that look”.
“Of course. So that you recognize me. But I am the soul who moved the body which you knew as your father for 65 years. With his problems, his virtues and above all his faults”.
“That you used to say, that we should love you for your virtues, but above all for your faults”.
“Yes, because I am your father's essence. And a thousand other people who have also been on the world”.
“Have been... Will you be more people in future?”
“Yours? Of course, James, it is possible that I shall be more people in your future”.
I kept looking at him while he disappeared. This time I saw how his deep gaze was slowly getting mixed with the office of the Navarre Bank which there was just behind the place where he had been sitting in front of me.
Several months later he found me again when I was coming back from a football match at the New Condominium Football Pitch. I had got off the tram, walked the whole Tontodrome Avenue into the Clothery street, at the beginning of which there is the terrace of Willliams' Bar, where I was sitting when he appeared again, just in the same place as he had been with me several months before.“If you were told you can come to my dimension as a visitor, would you come?”
It was true. It is incredible the amount of unreal data our brain creates because they are understood: in front of me there was just a whitish being with no definite shape. And I had been seeing my father all the time. But he was right: he had fathered only my crudest form, my material form. The one, the important one, was there, in front of me. It might even be older than him...“Yes, of course I am much older than your father, James. Though not so much as you”.
And he, my father's spirit, disappeared for the last time. He had already got his goal, to wake me up. Because I remember that I came here to do something more than telling you all these things, which you may not believe... I do not remember exactly what, but I have a whole life to remember it. I hope I come not to my end to remember, like last time... Well, just a minute! Blame me, how stupid of me..., of course it is that!
Here, in this beer house everything started. Here I felt dad for the first time in more than thirty years after he left. I thought he was going to visit me for the rest of my life, but he actually came to finish a left over he forgot when he left. He always lived very fast, always afraid of leaving a task half finished, but he entered too many tasks he was not ready for. That's why he left some of them unfinished. He thought you could do everything, but it is better to do some things fully than leaving everything half done.
He did a lot of things, right, but the main ones, like educating his children, he left half-done. Now there are three out of five of us on the world, but we do not see one another a lot. They say it is because he left us a heavy inheritance they have not been able to get rid of. But I think this is just a excuse, since your karma is only yours and if you cannot get rid of it it is irresponsible to blame others. Therefore I release my parents completely from any unwanted inheritance they may have left me, and can stand over me in the present moment, for I understand that if I have not been able to free myself from what I do not want on me in 60 years it is because I'm too stupid or too masochist to do so; and as I am neither of them, I owe them nothing or blame them for nothing at all. Every post hold its candle. If someone wants someone else to do it for him or her, it is likely that the candle ends on the ground, setting the its bearer's life on fire.
I think that's why my father no longer visits me. Have I become like him? Hopefully. There was a lot of good in my father. Have I become like my mother? Each passing day I think so, I look like her. The way she was: kind, gullible, patient, and sometimes stubborn. That last bit is what I'm working on more. Also I try to be kind, as she was. My father was enterprising and fond of reading. I think I inherited the best of both. And the worst... well, the worst is gone. Their memory is beautiful, it's in my heart where I carry it, and I think both of them did me a lot of good. It's nice to do so to others. Especially to those who are no longer able to understand me because they call a life to follow the stimuli they see no further than their noses.
Change is close, I think. And we must be prepared to help others. Meanwhile, this encourages me, and I will not need anyone to help me now. That's why he no longer visits me.
Since we were small we were taught that we all had a winged, heavenly being who takes care of us. Every one of them is given that mission by God Himself to help us save our integrity and faith, and they are the special guardian angels whose task is to listen the fervent wishes we have, and we can be certain that they are always there, listening to our hearts' desire.
So I started questioning myself a lot of things in a part of my life when I wished to solve my doubts and learn as much as possible. My curiosity took me beyond the deepest religious spot I never had thought I would consider, and in so doing my doubts grew in size and depth as I was growing up. Had any angel ever fallen in love with his appointed soul?
Would it be true, that an angel ever loved his owner? Have they ever fulfilled the love they felt for each other? And if so, did that love go on at death in its new level of heavenly perfection? All these doubts were eating my insides, so I started questioning further into these issues from my adolescence.
For thirteen years I studied how to invoke my guardian angel, their names, celestial hierarchies and more such issues. That's why I got so deeply involved that I finally left that path because my essence and my soul were so far apart when I was twenty-eight that I was afraid of such a distance.
I had never had a boyfriend, and consequently I was still a virgin. I was afraid to be a lone spinster unless I did something about it. My friends were getting married and having children, and they all were the people they’d always wanted, whereas I only had my studies on English Literature, which I would complete in a couple of years, and not even one candidate to my hand.
Could it be that my interest and dedication to these beautiful beings and their life style made me forget how to live my own life? I forgot the few friends I had and they deserted me little by little and soon my only company were my books and my dog, a Golden Retriever called Fluke.
Many times I tried to invoke my blessed Angel, who was called Azael, according to my previous research. He was supposed to be the protector of innocence and integrity. I proceeded to perform the ritual invocation of one o'clock: I sat on my bed in Buddha position, legs crossed and hands leaning on knees, palms up; I put on background music, which began to flood each of the walls of my room, which slowly started to look as if they enveloped me. I wanted to ignore that fact, not only because of my growing claustrophobia, but my fear.
Fear for the invocation not to work. Fear that everything was in vain. Fear that all the time I had invested in this were for nothing.
I was in that position with that methodical music for over three hours, and do you know what happened? Nothing at all. What was wrong? Didn't I deserve to meet my heavenly being? It was so frustrating!
Full with regret and disappointment, I withdrew from the room, and went towards my room, tears threatening to gush my brown eyes, those who I had inherited from the father that I never knew. Another proof that my guardian was not doing his duty..., and deserted me.
Thinking these things, I fell asleep when I least expected, getting deeply into a lucid dream that I thought was real.
Behind my wooden door, through the hinges and lose frame slipped a beautiful and intense golden light, which, for some reason, did not blind my eyes, but, on the contrary, they wanted to see the glowing edge that grew more and more.
My soul became warm, like the sun which is appreciated after so much cold; the golden light came through the door, and I could envision a male figure in it. He was huge and had four wings, which do not fit in the small size of my room.
It was the only way to describe what I saw: it was like being close to the sun without fear of getting burnt. I got up from the comfort of my bed and walked over to the light.
That manly and warm voice was present, not in my room, but inside me, I stepped back a little, afraid of what might happen or what that heavenly creature could say.
“What?, I whispered in a moment of nervousness.
"Do not worry, I will not hurt you..."
The mysterious he-angel approached me, and I must say that despite being someone that did not belong to this world, my body trembled and later melted with desire, as he exuded a delicious and overwhelming aura of masculinity.
What kind of person is excited with the sheer presence of a guardian ?! Of course, only those sick people, just as I was getting in that moment. I boasted of being religious and the slightest provocation turned my body hot as if on a summer afternoon, as a hot teenager, would that because of my years of loneliness had caused that reaction?
Honestly, never in my life I'd have wished to greet my guardian angel like that. It was disgusting to be like that.
"It's part of your essence..."
“Ha?”, I said a monosyllable without thinking.
What was happening? Was it all really a dream? Because it was too real. The light, the smell, my my palpitations... What was all this really about? Questions crowded fast in my head, which began to throb in protest.
"I am Azael, I have come because you have wanted so”.
Waw!, the ritual worked fine. A spark of joy lit in the temple of happiness inside me, after all: my long research had not been in vain, and now he was there, getting closed to me in all his sensuality.
“My angel”…, I said as I understood it all at long last.
“Valeria..., do not be afraid, not of me”.
His hand caressed my cheek and then went down slowly, stopping right where my breasts begin. They started aching from desire, they longed to be touched by those hands.
“Won’t you have me …, stopped?”
Oh…, his voice cut deeply, I felt anything I answered would ruin the moment totally, that painfully erotic moment.
“No, you won’t”.
He came to my mouth while he massaged my left breast. It ached in a delicious way…, his lips were like touching Heaven itself. As he knew, he pushed his tongue inside my mouth. It was soft and sweet, but very sensual and delicate.
He got deeply into me, as it was the most beautiful deed anyone ever showed to me. His hands went up and down my arms, he warmed up, he made me feel too comfortably.
What was on? What did he want from me? What kind of an angel would do this?
“An angel who is in love with you, Valeria”, he asserted.
Ah…, now I can see. So he was in love with me, but the thing is whether I was in love with him. I never knew what being in love is, as most of my life focused in religious matters. Love life went by as I saw my pals and friends falling in love, yes, I saw what love is, but I never learnt to feel it.
“Even if I am not from this world, I don’t know what loving is, either. I only know that I love you, and that’s...”
“I…, I want you to teach me”.
“Teach you what, Valeria of mine?”
“Teach me to love...”
Azael, the angel I thought I could never see, was there, ready to teach me what neither of was knew what it was. Love.
That angel was nineteen when that of Mercy came for her. She had been born in a middle class family and she had grown with her parents and brother in the little tragedies of common life which lead nowhere: bad marks in Mathematics, a fight with her brother, or he with her, and from joy to tears and vice versa, as any child who ever was on the world from the beginning of times. And then Muriel suddenly appeared while she was sleeping.
“You have finished your time, Elizabeth”, he said while cutting her silver thread. “It is time for you to come back with us”.
“But I do not want to leave my parents!”, she moaned, “nor my brother Facundo. What will become of him?
“Your brother will learn to live without fighting you”.
Isabel looked at the Angel of Mercy with grief, but as her silver thread was falling to the ground, she remembered why she had gone to these people, and she smiled. She also remembered who her parents and siblings were really. And she knew that those children’s fights with her brother were meaningless now. And her discussions with their parents. Those beings whom she was now leaving in the world in fact had nothing to do with her. Not any more. Many of them she had found in other lives. With the one who had been her father in this life she had been married in another century and had six children. Only that she had been the man that time, and her recent father, his wife. This kind of things can happen when you reincarnate, disregarding your sex or previous relationship in other lives. So what was the purpose of this transfer of lives? But no sooner she had asked the question than she had the answer.
“Come on, Elizabeth”, said her already colleague Muriel. “Your judgment awaits”.
“Yes, my judgement”, she said smiling. Just a few days before she was worried that God should ask her in front of everyone about her solitary masturbation, her little grudges, her school attacks, her lies, hatred and her little tiny transgressions of God's law. She recalled that none of them was important. But the charisma that she had spilled on her friends and all the people she had met had more than made up for the little damage that could have been done by her mistakes and omissions:
“The Trial”, she went on, 'Yes, I did not remember. Judgement Day”.
“How many times you have made the Final Judgment, Elizabeth?”
“Six, Muriel. And this time will be my seventh”.
She would find God again, yes; and Peter, Paul and several archangels. What was she going to tell them? They knew everything about her. During her nineteen years they had seen her day to day. All her mistakes, one after the other. And all her successes. No, she could not say anything, neither for nor against. She could not explain anything because it was all clear. Neither she could plead guilty or innocent. Or feel sorry for the sentence she deserved.
Well”, Yuliel said, “it seems that you have not done so bad. Would you like to go back?”
“Yes, of course. I would, Sir”.
They looked at each other. The five judges exchanged glances, and finally Paul summarized the sentence:
Ten years had gone by. Her brother Facundo, who was already an experienced technical engineer, had married Agnes, one of Elizabeth's best friends, when they were both crying for her friend and his sister at her funeral. Ten months after they married the fruit of their love came to the world.
“If is a girl we'll call her Elizabeth, Facundo, like your sister, who was the one who brought us together. It was the last thing that she did, the poor little thing”.
But they could not because it was not a girl, but a boy. His name was Isidro.
For the eighth time her spirit became flesh. And though for a couple of years she still saw the heavenly spirits, that power was getting lost with time. When he was able to talk and tell what was happening, after three years, Isidro no longer remembered that once he had seen them or that he used to be Elizabeth, his dead aunt. Neither he remembered his mission was to help his grandparents and his brother, now his father, to have a good death.
Murcia, April 4th, 2014.
He met her in a trip. He had made the arrangements with a BlablaCar driver, and when they five met, they two did not pay attention to each other at first. But while the other two were looking for the fifth traveler outside the car, they two started talking. She was an unmarried mother who was going to Madrid to fetch her children. He found it strange such an atypical situation, that children should live with their father instead of with their mother, and then he suspected there was something else: in fact she was a very spiritual kind of girl.
They two monopolized the conversation during all of the trip, with scarce intervention from the driver, Jesus. They talked about angels, the Fourth Dimension, the beings of light and God, in a friendly atmosphere which captured everyone, except Kath, who was sleeping. And so, little by little and with a little pain on his neck because his head was turned to her most of the time, they got to the end of the trip, only a few hours after they started. It was a magical experience for everybody, and he would remember it for a long time.
They had interchanged their visiting cards. He had visited what she did in her work, at her web page. Finally she had called him and they had had a very intersting chat around a tea cup.
“This is a déjà vu”, she said with a mischievous smile.
“Yes, we did already talk about this in the car”.
“Do you still think you have to take karma off you?”
“Of course. And you, do you still think this is nonsense?”
“No. I never told you it is. What I said is that there is no need to clean anything: our destiny is already written...”
“What about Free Will?”
“There is none”.
“I prefer the Free Will theory. It makes me more responsible”.
“So, if I take your hand”, he said holding it, “and kiss you, in my opinion, it is only my decision, but for you it was written and we can do nothing against it”.
“Yes. Well, we don’t know if it is written that I wallop you, or that I permit that”.
“I’ll take the risk”.
And he took it, and that was the beginning of a beautiful love story between Free Will and Destiny. They saw each other for years, and grew a lot together.
Till one day, when they were already acquainted with each other from any possible point of view, he felt tired. They used to meet in hotels, and already knew any hotel in the city, but for one, the one with five stars.
“Hey, I’d like to see you for the last time”, he told her on the phone.
“Are you leaving me?”
“No. Well, not in the way you imagine. I’ll never leave you. But I’d like us to meet at the Five Star Hotel”.
“I understand. When?”
“Tomorrow. At five in the afternoon”.
At five in the afternoon, she answered as for herself. Like in García Lorca’s poem Wailing for the death of Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, one of the finest elegies in the whole history of literature: ...it was five in the afternoon in any clocks, it was five o’shade in the afternoon!
“I’ll be there, heaven”.
Heaven, he said to himself. It sounds nice from her lips, even if her heaven is different from mine. I have to work for he latter every day. Hers is there waiting for her, as her final destination, no matter what we do, however hard we try. That’s why I enjoy fighting for what she already has.
When she came, he was already inside. He opened the door for her, smiling. The bed was open, and he undressed her little by little, slowly and caring for what he was doing, decorating every move with a kiss and a caress. That’s why she found herself naked without noticing, and not caring at all. He undressed in three movements and within a long and deep kiss he entered her so slowly and lovingly as the prelude had been.
They were for hours in that unforgettable experience, so full with love that it seemed impossible. Because it was so beautiful that God was there. Hers, his. The passive and the active one. The receiver and the author of love. They turned joined together, little by little, till she was up. When caresses subsided, she sat up slowly till she was riding him, his manhood still in her. She stared at him in a sweet sour look, full with love and pain: his look was away, his eyes, those honey-colored eyes that so much had told her, were open. She put her hand on his chest, and felt no movement or beat. She put her other hand on her own belly, and knew him inside.
“Yes, I understand”, she said. “The last time, and however you will never leave me, my son”.
She got up slowly. She dressed without looking at that empty shell, and left the hotel with her love inside.
This is what you are, reader who reached this point. Nothing you read in this book is true, authentic, or at least it is not known to us that they ever happened, as these things are not possible..., or are they? Could it be true that every one of us is an angel and a demon at the same time? Are they following our deeds, or are they a part of our genetic code?
You just go on with your life, reader, and tell me about it some day. We will publish the second volume.
If you liked this book you might get it in digital or paper
formats, together with the rest of my production.
You'll get further reference at http://www.obracompleta.com/english.
This is a book on beings idealized and thought by man since he was aware of his own existence. Angels and demons have existed in all cultures, and even atheistic people have an stylized idea of them as Good and Evil, as a personification of what must and must not be done. Inside this book you will find nineteen tales in sugke part, except four of them:
The other tales in this book are much simpler, like simple anecdotes on magics or divinity (according to what wants to be seen) in the facts told. There us a tale by Jack Crane, «Elvis' Ballad», another one by Gema Gimeno Giménez, «The Bet», and a third one written by Anne Lake, «Stairway to "Heaven». They three answered the invitation to share this book, invitation which was open to others till this book was published on paper in 2014.