David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

Jornalismo Cultural

Archive for the ‘Contos/Short Stories’ Category

O leite de clemência

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” Tem o gosto do céu! Que maravilha, Filó! Hoje meu coração está em paz”

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Pintura “Milk”, da artista vegana Dana Ellyn

Como fazia todos os dias, Eugênio acordou bem cedo no sábado para ordenhar Filomena, uma vaca baixinha que aprendeu, por força do tempo, a aceitar o seu próprio destino – servir como fonte de renda para um produtor rural.

Eugênio já não amarrava mais a corda no pescoço de Filomena, porque há mais de um ano ela sabia o que precisava ser feito. Sempre que o galo cantava sobre uma guarita que antes serviu como morada para um João-de-Barro, ela se levantava e caminhava em direção à porteira do pequeno curral.

Ficava imóvel, com olhos baixos e orelhas deitadas, às vezes esfregando suavemente os cascos na terra, esperando a chegada do patrão. Eugênio sabia que era hora da ordenha, não apenas por causa da balbúrdia do galo, mas também porque o sino no pescoço de Filomena revelava que ela estava pronta para o serviço.

“Bora tirar esse leite das tetas, Filó!”, dizia Eugênio diariamente e sorridente, sem titubear. A vaca não reagia. Só vez ou outra que emitia gemido prolongado e langoroso que ninguém entendia, nem Marcolino, o único médico veterinário do povoado. “Deve ser falta de algum nutriente. Vamos incrementar a alimentação dela”, sugeriu numa manhã árida de chão tão tracejado que quem via de longe pensava que estava diante de um mapa.

Um dia, Filomena parou de produzir leite e ninguém entendeu o motivo. Ela era considerada um dos animais mais saudáveis e invejados da colônia, ajudando a garantir não apenas o sustento da família de Eugênio, como também a alimentação de seus dois filhos.

— Que diabos eu vou fazer agora?

— Chame Seu Marcolino de novo, pai…

— Ah! Mas já faz mais de uma semana que a danada não dá nem uma caneca de leite, e o mais estranho de tudo é que ela tá com as tetas cheias.

— Chame o homem, pai! Ele vai saber o que fazer.

— Não sei se compensa, o tratamento deve ser caro.

— Não custa ver se vale a pena.

Seguindo a recomendação do filho, Eugênio chamou Marcolino. Ao contrário do que ele imaginava, o homem disse que não havia nada que pudesse ser feito, a não ser esperar. “Essa vaca é saudável. Não tem problema nenhum. Deve ser só teimosia, só que uma teimosia que nunca vi igual. Geniosa essa vaca, mais do que o senhor”, ironizou o veterinário às gargalhadas.

Na segunda semana, Filomena não permitiu que nenhuma gota fosse extraída de seus úberes. Simplesmente não saía nada durante a tentativa de ordenha. Quando Eugênio massageava o volume, ele berrava enraivecido ao sentir o leite no interior do animal. Estava fora do alcance do seu balde de lata.

— Eu que te criei, sua lazarenta. Como você faz isso comigo?

— Só não te bato aqui agora por consideração – ameaçou com a mão direita levantada em posição de golpe.

A vaca inclinou a cabeça em direção ao solo arenoso e ignorou a ameaça, como se entendesse, embora não se importasse. Ela parou de produzir leite quando seu último filho desapareceu, vendido para um matadouro onde foi reduzido à carne de vitela. Eugênio não queria o bezerro disputando o leite que “deveria ser somente dele e de seus filhos”.

— Eu que alimento a infeliz, então tudo que ela oferece me pertence.

Na terceira semana, o galo não cantou e Filomena não se levantou. Encolerizado, Eugênio correu até o galo e o derrubou de cima da guarita com um tapa certeiro nas ventas. O bicho se apressou em direção aos pinheirais e, miúdo, desapareceu sob o matagal.

Depois foi a vez de Filomena ser punida. Ele amarrou uma corda no pescoço da vaca e tentou arrastá-la para o centro do curral. Ela resistiu. Não queria sair de jeito nenhum. Com a ajuda dos dois filhos, Eugênio a deitou sobre a areia branca e pediu que Matias, o mais velho, buscasse um machado pendurado no fundo do celeiro.

O rapaz correu e voltou empunhando a ferramenta. Quando Eugênio ameaçou dar o primeiro golpe, a vaca gemeu e se contorceu na terra, levantando, com os cascos, uma cortina tão densa de poeira que ele e os filhos engasgaram. Logo a vaca cansou, e a poeira se dissipou. Havia sangue no chão, colorindo os riscos no solo, que ganhavam formas de vasos sanguíneos. Tão opaco quanto vívido, o líquido vermelho jorrava das tetas de Filomena.

Com o corpo exalando odor acre de terra e sangue, ela observou assustada os três. Mesmo com olhos fumegantes e muita vontade de extravasar a fúria que o dominava, Eugênio desistiu de matá-la naquele dia. Entrou em casa acompanhado dos dois filhos que não ousaram dizer palavra. “Se ela não der leite nos próximos dias, a gente mata”, avisou com voz oca e pertinaz. Matias e Mateus balançaram a cabeça em concordância, sem arriscar comentário.

Ao anoitecer, João dos Cascos, um dos primeiros sitiantes do Noroeste do Paraná, visitou a família e perguntou se Eugênio não queria vender Filomena. Ofereceu inclusive a sua propriedade, sua única fonte de renda, em troca da vaca. Achando aquilo um absurdo, Eugênio declinou a proposta.

— Não sei qual é a sua intenção com essa oferta descabida, mas saiba que Filomena não está à venda. É herança de família.

— O senhor me perdoe a intromissão. É que preciso de uma vaca como a sua.

— Essa tá doente e não vai ter serventia nenhuma pro senhor.

— Não tem problema. Me viro do meu jeito.

— Não adianta, não quero e não vou vender. Retire-se! Vá daqui!

Na quarta semana, assim que Eugênio acordou, ele viu através da janela o galo cantando. Filomena mantinha a cabeça escorada em uma das tábuas da porteira, e o sininho vibrava preso ao pescoço. Diante de suas patas, havia três baldes de leite, um leite diferente, singular, como ninguém daquela casa jamais experimentou.

— Tem o gosto do céu! Que maravilha, Filó! Hoje meu coração está em paz. Me perdoe por tudo que fiz. Por favor, aceite minhas desculpas.

A vaca não reagiu. Somente o observou, recuou e deitou em um canto onde o sol matutino aquecia uma porção de sua pele branca como o leite que Eugênio consumiu. Por três anos, todos os dias no mesmo horário, Eugênio, Matias ou Mateus recolheram os três baldes de leite. Até que noutra manhã, Filomena não levantou e o galo não cantou. Não havia leite nem balde. Só um animal que parecia preparado para encarar o destino. “Sem leite sem vida”.

Antes do pôr do sol, Eugênio retornou com o machado. Absorto em ódio, cuspiu um naco de fumo em um pedaço de pasto e ignorou tudo à sua volta, mirando uma vaca teimosa “que já não merecia viver, não merecia sua compaixão”. Rodeou o animal e fez um círculo no chão com a lâmina, demarcando a área do abate. Antecipando o primeiro golpe, Filomena fechou os olhos e deitou a cabeça na grama, alongando o pescoço, talvez prevendo a própria decapitação. Eugênio estava tão furioso que, com mãos trêmulas, errou o primeiro golpe.

No mesmo instante, um rapaz bateu palmas na entrada do sítio, alegando que tinha uma entrega. Eugênio se aproximou com olhar suspeitoso e cumprimentou o jovem que se apresentou como Bernardo.

— Vim trazer uma carta ditada pelo meu pai João dos Cascos e uma garrafa de leite. Ele faleceu ontem, mas antes me fez prometer que eu viria visitá-lo.

Bernardo abriu a garrafa, tirou um copinho da mochila e insistiu que o homem experimentasse.

— É coisa boa, o senhor não se preocupe.

Eugênio tomou tudo em um gole. Assustado e boquiaberto, deixou o copinho cair de sua mão, se chocando contra o chão.

— Onde você conseguiu isso?

— Meu pai que inventou. É leite de clemência. Uma receita familiar. Não vem de bicho nenhum, vem da santidade da natureza que da gente exige muito pouco. O senhor gostou?

— Sim…é muito bom.

Quando abriu a carta, Eugênio viu que havia uma receita com todos os detalhes do preparo do leite de clemência, além de algumas observações e um pedido:

— Durante três anos, o senhor achou que seus filhos estavam ordenhando a Filomena, e eles pensavam o mesmo do senhor. E nenhum de vocês percebeu que aquele leite não era de vaca. O senhor sabe por que? Porque vocês precisavam do leite de clemência mais do que daquilo que julgavam mais importante. O que parecia essencial era somente distração. E aquele, meu senhor, era o único leite que todo ser humano deveria beber. Não, ele não é igual ao leite de vaca. É bem diferente. E quando pensamos que sim, é porque já não somos quem éramos. Sei também que o senhor se desfez de quase todos os animais de seu sítio, mantendo somente o galo e a vaca Filomena, que um dia ganhou de sua esposa, e em quem o senhor projetou a sua desilusão quando foi abandonado por sua mulher. Saiba que aquela a quem chama ‘carinhosamente’ de Filó, assim como todos os animais, tem sua própria vida e dor. Ou o senhor pensou na vaca quando mandou os filhos dela para o matadouro? Como exigir que um animal não reaja diante do sofrimento dos seus? Eles não falam, mas seus corpos sim. Diante disso, faço-lhe duas sugestões. Que o senhor aceite minha receita e liberte Filomena ou devolva a carta ao meu filho e entregue-se aos enganosos prazeres da soberba.

Eugênio levantou os olhos, deu uma olhadela em Filomena e mirou seriamente Bernardo. Sem dizer nada, caminhou até o curral com olhos marejados e balbuciou:

— Que um dia você me perdoe, ou não, porque aquele que vive para si mesmo pode ser que não viva para mais ninguém.

Amuada em um canto, Filó se levantou e seguiu em direção a Bernardo, acompanhada pelo galo. Quando a porteira se abriu, o último desejo se cumpriu.

Written by David Arioch

fevereiro 25, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Pedrinho e as sardinhas

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Sardines, de David Simons

Pedrinho chegou em casa e, enquanto mexia nas sacolas de compras que sua mãe trouxe do mercado, viu que havia algumas latas de sardinha. Ele as retirou e escondeu dentro de uma gaveta. Quando seus pais saíram, pegou a maior bacia que encontrou na lavanderia e a encheu de água. Depois abriu as três latas e despejou as seis sardinhas na bacia.

Como elas não reagiam, simplesmente afundando na água, ele criou pequenas ondas com as mãos. A água começou a enturvecer, se misturando ao óleo que se soltava dos peixes sem cabeça. Pedrinho chorou e movimentou a água com mais força. Enquanto as lágrimas escorriam pelo queixo, uma das sardinhas se desfez na água, como se esfarelasse, se dividindo em centenas de pequenos fragmentos.

Com as mãos engorduradas de óleo e já cansado, o menino deitou do lado da bacia e adormeceu, sonhando com peixes que saltavam das latinhas nos expositores do mercado e atravessavam a cidade em direção ao ribeirão. Quando seus pais chegaram em casa, ficaram chocados com a cena e perguntaram o que Pedrinho estava fazendo: “Achei que se colocasse na água, suas cabeças cresceriam e elas voltariam a viver.”

Written by David Arioch

fevereiro 21, 2017 at 12:00 am

The fisherman and the golden fish

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It was a glinting golden as the first light as the sun was thrown on the Paraná River

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One hour later, Orlando was startled to hear something crashing against the hull’s boat (Photo: Copy)

As he did every day, Orlando washed his face, brushed his teeth, prepared his stuff, said goodbye to his wife and granddaughter, and left the house in the silent darkness of the night. During the walk to the shore’s river, he listened to cicadas and crickets singing with such eagerness that seemed like they looked forward to the dawn.

When he touched a bamboo wall a few meters from the riverbank, Orlando lit the straw cigarette and watched the idle sun on the horizon appearing behind the water curtains – casting a glow that gilded the river as far as the eye could see. “What a beautiful thing! This view makes it worth waking up so early every day”, said Orlando downing and blowing a grizzly smoke coming out hot and then cold, leaving a wheezing and a bitter taste on his tongue. He remembered the exhaustive pleas of his wife asking him to stop smoking. Stubbornly, he still was smoking two or three cigarettes every morning.

Before the last smoke, Orlando’s Stern face gave way to a candid laugh, making his stomach hurt while he noticed eight frogs croaking and playing at the heart of a swamp. “It seems like a contest to see who sings louder. And there are those who say that the animals aren’t smart”, he commented when the smallest frog dodged a blow by the biggest toad.

Without distractions, Orlando walked to the river, knelt, revered sky, earth and water; rose on the boat, untied it, straightened his stuff and started the engine. He created wavelets and cut the water that became less turbid and more clear as it distanced from the shore.

When the fisherman was massaging his few gray hairs, the temperate and humid wind brought youthful memories about departed friends and deceased parents. Since he was 60 years old, he was tired, but not from the actions of the time on your body. The striated face did not bother him. Orlando simply didn’t know what was wrong with his life, so he continued doing what he always did. He was a fisherman since childhood and lived in five islands within the Paraná River. He fished a lot in 45 years, so he no longer took pleasure in plundering the treasure’s nature.

– Since they created the dam, many species of fish are gone. That’s what everyone says, including me. But do we also have no fault in it? All those years of fishing must have traumatized nature – reflected Orlando, scratching slightly his wrinkled chin – burned by frequent sun exposure.

For decades, he smiled in photographs, holding fish up to 180 pounds. He supplied many fishmongers in a distance of over 63 miles. But in the last five years, Orlando stopped seeing the animals taken from the water as if they were trophies.

In late afternoon, he chafed when his friend Larry, one of his clients, talked about disruptive business, claiming he was delivering few fish.

“Looks like you forgot how to fish. I know some kids out there who already are leaving you behind, my friend. You will say you’ve forgotten that you called Hook Eye? Let’s get smart here!”, complained Larry. During the crossing of the Alligator’s Lagoon, Orlando recalled the episode in the fish shop. He said nothing to Larry that day. He felt under pressure, but did not even understand the true reason.

Around 5 p.m., after visiting the Bahia River, he returned to shore. Discouraged, he saw the house itself highlighting on the hillside. He turned off the boat’s engine and kept silent, watching the water and the sky. The fisherman didn’t want to be there and delayed the inevitable, embittering the volatility of an existential crisis.

Saddened, he dozed, keeping his head propped up on the lifejacket. The night wanted to be born and he had not caught any fish. “What will they think of me?”, he asked. The sun was pious and covered his body with a warm light. One hour later, Orlando was startled to hear something crashing against the hull’s boat.

Faltering, he prepared the fishing rod and cast it into the water with dexterity, as if whipping the riverbed. In less than a minute, the fisherman felt the bending rod and something biting the hook. As he struggled to pull it, a fish moved violently under water. It was a glinting golden as the first light as the sun was thrown on the Paraná River.

Laying unwillingly in the boat, the 13 pound fish fought with vigor, struggling on a piece of canvas. Orlando scowled, clenched his teeth and avoided looking directly at the animal. His eyes ached. Still, he took the fish and wrapped it in canvas to not have to watch him and walked to the fish shop. There, he put the golden on a table with traces of viscera and dried blood and shouted:

– Hey, is anybody here? Where are you, Larry? I came to bring a golden fish. You always complain about the shortage of this one.

– I’m here, Orlando. In the back! Come and give me a hand. I need to change the freezer’s place.

Even reluctantly, Orlando helped Larry. Back at the reception, the golden was no longer there, only the piece of canvas that was rapped around him. The fisherman brought his hands to his head and his heart raced.

– I don’t believe this! It is not possible that someone took the fish here! What am I going to do now?

One hundred meters downhill, Orlando was shocked when he saw the golden fish jumping, trying to get close to the shore. Then he ran to him and before anyone else did, took him in his arms and went down without worrying about the slipper straps that undid on the way.

With dark eyes and a mouth that opened and closed all the time, the fish stopped struggling, and for the first time the fisherman saw his own reflection on the animal’s scales. More than anything, the golden longed for water. And the smell emanating from his body was not of flesh, but of life. In the light of the setting sun, as soon as the fish was thrown into the river, Orlando was reborn and the golden fish disappeared.

The Beard

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I never imagined that I would go through such an unpredictable and uncomfortable situation

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He came home. Beside the bed was a comb and a series of products

I woke up and I kept lying in bed with a strange feeling. Even though I did not see him reflecting on the ceiling, I noticed my face had diminished. When I pressed my thumb and index finger of the right hand on my chin, I shuddered. It was plain. There was no thread of my full black beard. I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom without feeling the beard touching my bare chest.

 In the mirror, my face looked so small. “No! That’s not me! It’s not right! What happened?” Even my head had shrunk. ”Dove head, pinhead!, I judged myself. And to make matters worse, I had rejuvenated at least ten years, which bothered me most of all.

Hairless, my face was so fulgid that I had to partially close my eyes and protect myself with my palms facing the mirror. I never imagined that I would go through such an unpredictable and uncomfortable situation. I left the room and slammed the door. I felt the breeze touching my skin unaccustomed to the absence of hairs.

My face was vulnerable, extremely sensitive and unprotected. Entangled, I went to the bathroom and poured some water over my face. “How strange to see the water touching my skin so easily.” I brushed my teeth and went back to the bedroom. I sat up in bed and I thought, without veiling melancholy.

 I definitely did not shave myself the night before. I did not even approach any kind of blade or razor. Where did the flat face come from? I was irritated, believing that some covetous man had stolen my beard in the dead of night.

I remembered the envious unbearded men, who were not few. There it was always one or another at each corner, looking at my beard at the level of my chest, fluttering with the breeze strokes. They showed their teeth pretending cordiality. Scoundrels! They must have banded together last night.

I leaned to the floor and began to look at it closely, trying to find at least one strand of my beard. There was nothing. Nothing! Nothing! The conspiracy was so well planned that there was no trace left. “How? How? How? What a terrible nightmare!”, I monologued, disconcerting my eyebrows.

I wore jeans, a t-shirt, a pair of sneakers, and I walked to the streets in an attempt to ease the agitation that consumed me. The sky remained clear, and the sun spread its light unreservedly. It was a beautiful day. To my surprise, friends and acquaintances did not recognize me. I got close to a comrade, and he frowned, spat on the ground and shouted that he had never seen me.

“Stand back, sir, stay away or I’ll call the police,” another man warned.

It’s all right. I crossed the Rondon Street and entered the Bank of Brazil. I went through the door and, as I always did, I approached the security guard to greet him. The man dodged and threatened to hit me.

“Do not come any closer to me like that!” Never again, sir! I could hurt you”, he declared.

Without saying a word, I stepped back, picked up a password for the bank tellers, and I sat in a blue armchair, watching the electronic panel. Worried about the time, I opened my wallet, but I could not find the bank card. “What am I going to do? More time wasted, frankly …” Anxious and cranky, I took a deep breath, and stared at a fixed point in a small transparent space in the partition separating the clientele from the cashiers.

I did not believe what I saw. I condemned myself to insanity. Something furry and slender in his smallness walked across the partition carrying an orange card. He had no human hands, but improvised fingers with his own hair. When he noticed, I was watching him. After, he stepped forward in a rush through the legs of the security guard. He was like a little king of the maneuvers.

Bastard! Ungrateful! Disgraceful! You little son of a bitch! How could you do this to me? I screamed into my own consciousness, itching in my mouth.

It was my beard! On the way out of the bank, he swung my card and ran off with his pelous feet, which kept hygienic distance from the floor, as if floating. For fear of drawing attention, or fearful of the embarrassment of being ignored, I walked in disguise. Outside, my beard ran lightly, almost disappearing around the corner.

In desperation, I put my hands to my head and shouted:

“Stop! Stop that beard around the corner! Look! Looks like a fluey little man! But it is not! He is faking it! It is a sneaky being! It’s a beard! Do not let that hairy crook run away! He stole my card! You damn bastard!”

Almost nobody heard me. The few who attended my cry, laughed and shouted: “Another drunk in this city! Get out of here, you crazy one! I’m sick of all this bullshit!” One of them called a police car as I ran down the sidewalk. Close to touching my hands on the fledgling beard, I felt someone pull me by my arm.

The scent of the beard faded like the most ephemeral of illusions. Rascal, he stopped running and began to walk slowly, shaking my card and making fun of my situation. Before entering the Hairdresser’s House, he stretched the ends of his long mustache, straightened his hairy ass, and rocked it before crossing the threshold.

I wanted to squeeze him and sharpen him with punches and kicks, but I could not do that with my beard. I needed it whole. Him? I do not know! How to define a beard? Male or female? Whatever! I was taken to the police station. They made the report, qualifying me as an offender, disturbing the peace. There, I met three co-workers and, once again, I was not recognized by anyone.

“No, I’ve never seen him. I know a person by that name, but it’s not him. It must be mere coincidence”, told one of the comrades.

I paid bail and I was released. With nothing to lose, I told the investigator everything that happened that morning. He recommended an appointment with his brother-in-law, a psychiatrist. Enraged, I returned to my home recognizing the defeat, and decided to write a story about the disappearance of my beard. The newspaper did not want to publish it, describing it as implausible. It’s all right. I was happy to publish a note on the online classifieds.

“Wanted – black bulky closed beard. It has independent profile, male shape, athletic posture, spacious walk, elongated mustache, handlebar type, and hides between the hair an orange bank card. Good reward will be paid for any information about his whereabouts.”

Only the most cunning opportunists responded to the announcement, bringing me other people’s beards, and with their varied colors and shapes. Most of them, probably collected from the barbers shop’s floor.

At the end of the afternoon, I gave up looking for him. The next morning, when I got up and scratched my chin, I ran to the bathroom mirror. I just smiled. He came home. Beside the bed was a comb and a series of products. Yeah. I should have taken better care of my beard.

Written by David Arioch

dezembro 16, 2016 at 12:09 am

A body that suffers

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I stopped walking for a few months, as soon as my body took control of my life

I still do not move and I can only think about the last time I stood up (Art: Mindcage, by Rodrigo Aviles)

I still do not move and I can only think about the last time I stood up (Art: Mindcage, by Rodrigo Aviles)

I woke up one day and realized that my body was no longer mine. I tried to move myself on the bed, but it did not work. I belonged to him, but he did not belong to me. So, I kept lying there, watching the ceiling amid plaintive darkness. There were misshapen and oscillating traits. No! More than that! A dense and clear filth that reminded me of those awful bacteria that I saw in biology classes in my teen years.

I had never noticed how the liner could be so dirty. I think that concentrates the core of our rotting. Or, was it my imagination? Maybe, I was the bacterium itself, graced with a panoramic view of myself. Who knows! The truth is that my breath was still stinking and noisy. It was horrible! My nose simulated a landfill, spreading slurry every exhale. And what dripped from my nose, I didn’t feel or see. After all, I was relegated to a mere spectator of the repulsive spectacle that used my body as a stage.

How I struggled to silence my mind. Of course I could not! I closed my eyes for a few minutes, and the ambient temperature dropped to five or six degrees Celsius. I shivered more by hate than cold. I was covered with a white comforter, old and dingy, with some yellowish spots – circles of piss that damn neighbor’s cat gave me as a present when he invaded my wardrobe. What a bastard!

It’s alright! Soon I forgot the cat and wanted to get up to give a lesson in mother nature. How I wish to drag her by the hair. Maybe with each wad of hair pulled out, she would rise a degree of temperature. With 15 wads, I would leave her partially bald and we would have 20 or 21 degrees. And what a victory! And I could still use those hairs to make a duster or a little curtain for a puppet show.

Rhinitis, bronchitis and sinusitis, sinusitis, bronchitis and rhinitis, it was difficult to find out who wanted to screw me up. Dammit! Who am I trying to fool? I really smoked! And I smoked a lot! I’ve consumed four packs a day! I was a chimney more effective than any iron horse ever seen. I am the greatest collector of lung diseases that this world does not know. I should be in the Guinness Book! Holding my biggest trophy, the only lung I have left, so black it looks like a post-barbecue coal.

So what? My teeth were so blond, and my breath so grody that I could make cosplay of Beetlejuice. I loved to blow smoke on the people’s face, especially those who despised smokers. I came close, like someone who did not want anything. I concentrated on the smoke and I released it just when someone would open their mouth to say something. Then, I faked embarrassment – a pair of wide eyes, a deep breath and a nod of the head, I apologized and walk away. I had so much fun when there was a no smoke free environment. Oh! Never mind… I do not want to talk about this anymore!

Look! I had never noticed how the lining gets filled with dashed lines at dawn. They are like roundworms that dominate the backstage of the house. I think I am one because I no longer feel my vertebrae. I summarize myself to a dormant emaciated matter. It may be that all that I see and contempt is, in some proportion, a representation of myself.

I wondered how many creepy, hideous creatures inhabit this place night after night. I bet if I knocked it down, I’d find hundreds of nameless animals, never cataloged. They are beings that only exist for a few hours of the dawn, when we confuse reality, dream and nightmare. It may be that they feed of hopes, daydreams, and prolonged reflections.

Right! I still do not move and I can only think about the last time I stood up. It seemed so irrelevant, useless. “Watch your spine, correct your posture, one step after another,” How silly! I just wanted to sit and lie down, lie down and sit down. Maybe, I was born to be an armadillo. But rolling also takes so much effort that I feel shivers just imagining. And the abdominal pressure at the time of turning? Sad and painful! Being a slug is equally despicable because I’m impatient and want it all at the same time. Well, I do not feel represented by any animal, rational or not.

Dude, I love food! I fed my life so badly and it gave me the most unusual of pleasures. Where someone was feeding properly, I would approach and sit beside them. I wanted the person to be disturbed by my presence. I was a wake-up caller. I did everything I could to shock them, to see them astonished by my bad habits.

“That’s right! This is me! And I am against everything you believe in. I am here as the full proof that the world does not belong to you. The dictatorship of health will not prevail. We are still the majority and we will not be defeated. I will not allow it! Never! Never! Look! Look at his size, how much fat! I asked the clerk to put another 200 grams of bacon and 200 grams of cheddar cheese. The more industrialized the better! I demanded triple trans fat! Watch! Watch the oil trickling through the burrs of my snack. There is so much oil that we can fry a potato inside my mouth after I eat it. Do you accept it? “I suggested. Displaying my teeth caramelized by the churros that I ate before as an appetizer. Shocked, the girl next to me in the food court got up and left without a word.

Physical activities? I despised it from the first day I saw it! Wherever I passed, if someone invited me to exercise, I did not think twice before telling them to back off. What a shame! Fuck the damn thing! I will live and die as I wish! Why stand, walk or run? I hate all this with all my might! I do not even believe we were meant to walk! Whose idea was that? I hope the moron has died brutally!

Speaking of bipeds and quadrupeds, how I loved meat! I ate more than 15 pounds a week until I got atherosclerosis. Marvelous! What’s done is done. But there is no denying that it was one of the best phases of my life. When I walked through the downtown, people thought they were close to a butcher or slaughterhouse. No! There was nothing like that around us. It was the natural fragrance exhaled by my body. “What smells of raw meat, where does that come from?” “Wow! What a dead cow stink!”,”I think there’s a new butcher shop nearby”, I listened copiously.

My constant drinking also marked my life. Of course! I said it was just a social gathering. Funny! Fool of whoever believed. What I drank three times a week was what many did not consume in a month. I needed to be good at it. So I discovered an effective method to increase my tolerance for alcohol. Of course, I will not say what it is! Yes! I went so far, so far that my liver could not stay with me. Today we live in separate places.

Now, the memories of my transformation have come to my mind. I stopped walking for a few months, as soon as my body took control of my life. It was about where he wanted to go and when. So capricious, what a strong personality! If he did not like the idea, he turned off like a toy with a worn-out pile. Is he vindictive? Yeah! How can be so hateful? Last week, he allowed me to move my right leg and left arm for the last time.

I keep looking at the lining, aware of two lizards that feed on a beetle. Leaning on the open window, the neighbor’s demented cat, with its ears staring at the full moon, licks his own paws and watches them. I remember the Devil Scarab, so valuable and so useless, just as life is for so many people. I feel tired, oblivious to my body. My eyes close and I recognize that I am no longer human, only prey to who I was predator. “May your body not be the first grave of your skeleton”, wrote Jean Giraudoux in Notes et Maximes, Le Sport, 1928.

Written by David Arioch

dezembro 12, 2016 at 5:11 pm

The piglet from the showcase

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The truth is that no one cared about his presence until the glass began to vibrate

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“Oh my God! What is that? A live pig! Disgusting! How awful! What a joke! Lord, have mercy!” (Photo: Copy)

One day, the butcher shop queue seemed endless, extending to the far white wall, where the exhibitors showed up with hundreds of cereal boxes. And more and more people were buying huge amounts of meat.

“Give me twenty kilos of lamb!”, “I want ten kilos of pork ribs!” “Oh! And seven kilos of tuscan sausage!” “No! I asked fifteen kilos of termites!” “Yes! That’s it! Eighteen kilos of palette!”

Ground beef, chicken wings and drumsticks, topside, rump steak, skirt steak and bacon. The demand was so big that one of the butchers had to see if there was enough meat to satisfy all those people. Some customers became despaired with the possibility of missing one or another cut. “For the love of God! If I don’t get a good piece of steak, I don’t know what to do. This will be the end of the holiday for my family”, complained a man pushing a cart full of frozen and chilled meat trays.

While some people gnashed their teeth and others gnawed on their nails, the most discreet individuals subtly kicked the wheels of the cart and waited for the butcher’s response, who was given the most important task of the day. “I want steak, mother! I want bacon, mother!”, shouted a crying kid under eight years old. The little meatlover opened his big mouth to complain, and it was not hard to see meat lint between his teeth.

The tension increased as the butcher did not return. I noticed shaking hands, people scratching their bodies, as if taken by itching. With uneasy glances, expressions of dismay, anger and disapproval, swelled the bulwark of unrest. When the butcher returned, he nodded and smiled, and the crowd of customers applauded.

Quickly the voices and applause were drowned out by the sound of butcher saws slicing colossal rib pieces. No one cared about the mist of bone sharps falling over their heads. Thus the algid and assorted smell of flesh, a piglet was kept in the showcase.

With an apple in his mouth, he was ignored. The truth is that no one cared about his presence until the glass began to vibrate. The customers looked at each other and saw no hand or human leg touching the showcase. And inside, the piglet was trying to break the glass with an apple in his mouth. He made an extraordinary effort to get rid of the fruit. Then he grunted more than ever. Frightened, adults screamed and children cried. But no one was more thrilled than the pig who slipped on his tears.

“Oh my God! What is that? A live pig! Disgusting! How awful! What a joke! Lord, have mercy! This is so evil! What is this world coming to?”, they said. The image of the live piglet made customers leave the butcher’s queue, and if not for horror, at least for embarrassment. The exception was the man who was in line to buy fillet steak:

– What do you want, sir?

– I want the pig.

– But, sir, he’s still alive!

– This is how I want it.

– I will see what I can do.

– Well?

– It’s all right! You can take the piglet. You can pay for it over there, with the cashier.

– Alright! Thank you, my friend.

On that day, the last store customer abandoned the cart which carried many chilled and frozen meat trays. With the piglet in his arms, he crossed the market and ignored dozens of looks. At the register, he paid for something that he didn’t consider as one more product and walked to the exit as if carrying a baby. Outside, the night did not seem dark and cold. Then, the piglet from the showcase put his nose on the man’s shoulder and did not cry, just dozed.

Tony the cowboy

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The man will wake up when the sky falls down on the ground. And we’ll all graze by pleasure of smelling the grass around

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Outside, Tony whistled and Atalante appeared, a 15 year old robust black horse (Art: Amanda Kate)

Tony opened his eyes, sat on the bed and watched the billowy and reddish sky through the window on the Sunday morning. He was surprised by the silence of the rooster, but did not care. He got up and walked toward the sink in the corner of the room. He washed his face, moistened his hair, fixed his beard with his fingertips, and kept his hair down while the water was flowing. “I think that this day doesn’t want to show up. The sun seems to be a stubborn. Who is to blame? I have no clue!”, he said scratching his muscular chest.

Tony wore jeans and a blue shirt. He polished the sparkling bucket bringing the T letter highlighted and put on a pair of high boots. Before leaving for work, Tony straightened the hat on his head, prepared the coffee, looked for a mug, and wiped his beard with the back of his hand. “Now I’m ready”, he said smiling, slapping soles on the parquet floor and seeing his reflection in the mirror hanging on a nail.

Outside, Tony whistled and Atalante appeared, a 15 year old robust black horse. He prepared the saddle, climbed onto the animal’s back, and rode toward the meadow. In the early hours of the morning, without blowing his horn and getting assistance, the young mestizo of caucasian and kaiowá origin brought together more than a thousand oxen. He started to sing “Cabirúchichi”, a song that talks about the renewal of human love for animals after 30 days of tempests and thunderstorms.

– The man will wake up when the sky falls down on the ground. And we’ll all graze by pleasure of smelling the grass around. Today is the day, my friends!

The cattle understood Tony’s words.  Whenever he finished his song and his speech, they watched with attention and complacency. And the silence of seconds was overshadowed by a skyward bellowing chorus. The oxen’s reaction vibrated the meadow and shook the grass. That was the cowboy’s life for over 10 years, and lately his way to treat animals began to cause estrangement with his workmates. During the traditional crossing of the Saint Lucy Stream, he comforted the cattle as a psychologist or psychiatrist attending to a patient.

– Don’t be sad, Ruffian. You can! Look at you, man! Handsome and so strong. See how many of your friends are waiting for you to cross the stream. They respect you and follow you. Come on! Trust me. Please!

Hesitantly, and keeping the hooves on the bank of the creek, Ruffian attended to the Tony’s request. The crossing of Saint Lucy always frightened the cattle because it was part of the final route before confinement, followed by slaughter. They felt that the worst was to come. Across the creek, the cattle grazed plaintively, as if following a funeral procession. Tony tried to cheer them in vain. No ox wanted to see nothing, but the burnt grass and footsteps of his brothers who never returned.

Across the creek, cattle grazed plaintive, like following a funeral procession. Tony tried to cheer them in vain. None of the oxen wanted to see anyting beyond the burnt grass and footsteps of his brothers who never returned. Some of the animals supported their heads on their closest companions, believing that this would protect them and keep them away from death. Tired, they mooed softly until it disappeared into the sunny horizon and never were seen in that prairie.

One week later, Tony jumped into the Guararema Creek to save a baby calf, Ruffian’s son, dragged by the current. When he came out of the water with the trembling and moaning baby calf in his arms, he noticed three men waiting for him, sittting on the grass and smoking haystack. One of them, Cambuci, the eldest, stopped drilling the ground with a dark knife’s blade and said:

– We see that you’re different now, Tony. You stopped eating meat and eggs, and drinking milk. And began to treat animals like people. So far so good! I have nothing to do with your foolishness. Now what you did was too much. The boss heard everything and said this isn’t right. You betrayed his trust and need to pay.

Tony put the baby calf on the grass, patted his back and the animal ran away.

– Do what you have to do, but you should know that tomorrow’s world will not be the same as today, regardless of your will or the boss’s will. The land bleeds with the animals. You will say you never noticed? Look what it turned into here. This burned field, punished for more than 100 days of drought.

As he spoke, he received five bullets in the chest and lay on the creek’s bank. Without replicating, the three gunmen disguised as cowboys turned and left. Tony did not cry, scream or moan. He noted the sky more clearly than ever and felt a small amount of water caressing his ears and massaging his hair. Also, he saw the Ruffian’s son struggling to push his body out of the water with his head.

The baby calf groaned and made an extraordinary effort. Suddenly, a long stream of blood flowed from Tony’s mouth and mixed with water, following the stream as if it had life. “Follow the blood, follow the blood, follow the blood …” he repeated before he passed away. The baby calf was carried away by the Guararema and went with the flow, being dragged for miles.

Dazed and weakened, he was held by a sandbar. There, he lay crying. Within minutes, the baby calf heard a bellowing beyond the hose. It was his father, Ruffian, restless, trying to cross the fence. Surprised and thrilled, Mirela, Tony’s girlfriend, approached and asked two young men to carry the calf. Baptized as Obajara, that was the first day of the young survivor in the underground Sanctuary, Parassú, where Tony sent hundreds of animals in recent months.

Written by David Arioch

dezembro 7, 2016 at 11:36 pm