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Read "Segundero", a short story by Jorge Fierro

By hollisterclothingoutlet 28/11/2022 560 Views

They also asked me to be well dressed, without being formal. And I was filled with doubts. Well dressed, without being formal. Well dressed. Without being formal. I put on a suit and took it off. Then I tried on a vest. I regretted calling them, I shouldn't have called them. I should cancel, I thought, say I can't. I went to sleep with the solution: I have two clothing options, problem solved. I woke up and told myself no, it's ridiculous to have two options. I just have to go neat, dress pants and shirt. That is well dressed without being formal, it is neither a suit nor a vest. Or am I wrong?

They're late. I think they forgot about me, then it occurs to me that the event was cancelled, or that they had an accident. The sky is clear, the cyclone will be another day. The foot moves again. It's only still when I decide to stop it, when I think about it and concentrate on stopping it. For that I need to take a deep breath. How long has this been happening to me? I want them to text me and tell me it's cancelled. I don't get mad if they forgot about me. Before, my foot would move, the same as now, like a second hand, but it was because I started to listen to a song and then the song would repeat itself in my head or in my subconscious. Now the second hand of the foot has no origin. The foot is not dancing. I don't know what he's doing. Stop the car. I climb awkwardly because there are several boxes. They are well dressed without being formal, they are dressed up, and in suits and ties. Why am I so clumsy? They offer me a mate. I hate mate, I never liked it. Give me, yes, thank you, I say. I'd rather drink mate than explain that I don't like it. Took. A message arrives for one of them, it's Natalia, she already scolded us for being late. They talk about Natalia. They speak good and bad, although they speak more bad than good. They say that once this Natalia went out with a guy and that at one point they started sucking. Everyone knows that at first the kisses are disconnected, that as one gets to know each other, sucking with the other, everything flows better. But in this case, time passed and the pacifier was still a disaster. She turned her head to one side and the guy couldn't manage to turn it to the other. When she opened her mouth wide, he closed it and their tongues clashed or met with difficulty. So it seems that this Natalia got fed up and cut off the kiss. He gathered the things he was carrying, the butts and the cell phone, and told the guy that they were not going to understand each other, that everything was fine, but that it was better not to waste time. Everyone laughed. Me too. The head with the blue tie said that Natalia was beautiful, and the one with the red tie said that he could never date Natalia. I didn't say so, but I couldn't date someone like that either, although I would love to. The rest of the ride I didn't pay attention to the conversation. I looked out the window, where was the cyclone coming from?

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They ask me to help unload the boxes and take them to the warehouse. Be careful they are fragile. I could take two, but I play it safe and take one at a time. After four trips, I finish with the boxes and enter the room. Around a table are the others. Their suit backs cover the face of the speaker. Will it be Natalia? I see her legs, not very attractive, and the tip of the black dress. His head makes room to look at me and he stops.

“Finally,” he says. Her back opens and she looks at me. I want to tell him that I was unloading the boxes, and that's why I came in late, but he doesn't give me the time. "Come here," he tells me, and he approaches me looking from top to bottom. He grabs me by the shoulder. “This is well-dressed without being formal, you know? With that suit, you do not distinguish yourself from the guests, and it must be clear that the distinguished ones are the guests, and not those of us who work at the event. Please, it wasn't that hard. What's your name?—Pablo.—Okay, Pablo, come.

I walk her to a desk littered with papers and computers. He grabs the printer plug and shows it to me. It is a fat plug with three flat legs, the top two crooked.


—I need you to bring me a three-phase or an adapter for this, I don't want you to rush, but don't delay either. Write down your cell phone here in case we need anything else. As soon as Pablo returns we print the scripts and do a general review —he tells the rest.

Another girl tells me:

—So I can give you the rut number, bring the invoice. And she starts looking through her papers.

Natalia sits in front of the computer and, without looking at me, says from memory:—216216220016.

She finishes saying it and looks at me. It takes me a while to finish writing it, I doubt, barely, about the ending, but I don't ask him again. He gives me money. "Thank you, sweetheart," he tells me.

I'm out. The sky was completely cloudy. I walk around looking for a hardware store or an electrical house. Well dressed, without being formal. I know how this day ends. Don't rush, but don't delay. Me in bed holding the cell phone over and over again to see if Natalia texted me. Thanks, love. I know I'm going to grab everything that could have another meaning. His hand on my shoulder, his look while I write the rut, asking me to write down my cell phone. I conceive all of this as something else. He caressed my shoulder, looked at me, asked for my number. I walk calmly, without rushing. I find a place and go inside. I'm looking for the adapter. There are thousands. There are actually three types, but I'm not sure which one to take. I grab them and compare them. I see the holes where the plug would enter, I visualize the three fat, flat legs, the top two crooked. Fat and flat, I think. It looks like well dressed without being formal, don't rush but don't delay. I hear a tapping on the floor. It's my foot. I don't know how long it's been moving.

Jorge Fierro

I don't know which adapter to buy. I'm delaying, I need to hurry. I walk to the box with two adapters. It's not like he patted my shoulder, looked at me, and asked for my number. He's actually controlling me, he's being the boss and I'm the subordinate. I explain to the clerk what I need, describe the printer plug. He doesn't pay attention to me. How did you tell me?, he asks me. I explain again. He grabs the adapters I brought to the box and looks at them. I check the time on my cell phone, but I don't know what time I left. I don't know how long I'm taking. I have a message that says: Bring me a Lucky Strike petty box. The one you need is this, the employee tells me. I look at it, are you sure? Because they are crooked entrances and here they seem straight. Yes, he tells me. But come in, I assure you, come in. Well, I tell you. I need an invoice with rut. My printer doesn't work, he tells me. I bring my hands to the waist. I don't know what to do. The guy makes a face at me, excuse me, he tells me. Can I come get the bill in a bit?

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I put the adapter and cigars on the desk. I don't say anything about the bill. They don't ask me either. The girl removes the adapter from the nylon and prepares to plug in the printer. Look at the plug and look at the adapter. It pushes its fat, flat feet into the holes and can't get it to fit. He looks at me, he looks at Natalia. Try again. I manage to get close when he says it doesn't work. Natalia raises her head from the monitor. He looks at the girl and then at me. He stops and grabs the adapter. Look at the plug. Bring the legs to the holes and force. They do not enter. The girl looks at me and leaves no doubt, it's not a look with double meaning: it's a recrimination, an absolute hatred towards me. Natalia hunches over and brings her hands to her waist, exerts force and manages to embed the plug. Connect the printer. He sits down and has the scripts printed. He looks at the girl, serious, he looks at me, it looks like he's going to smile. It doesn't.

Team meeting and review. Natalia commands. There is half an hour left until the event starts, he says. If they pay attention, there is no need to repeat. Ask if you have doubts, ask now, this is the time for questions. The owner of the company is called Gonzalo Schildknecht. Please learn the last name. Schildknecht. We cannot call him Gonzalo, nor sir, nor che, nor bo. It's Mr. Schildknecht. Let's see, say it. We say it: Schilnet. Mr. Schildknecht, Natalia corrects us, the jack sounds twice. Then they review it, send us and continue with the protocol. Mr. Schildknecht will arrive at 12:05. You will be the one to receive the authorities, and you will be the first and last speaker in the presentation of the company's new venture, okay?

As Natalia speaks, she looks at all of us, each one of us. We all nod our heads at her instructions. When he gets to me I can't concentrate on what he's saying. He looks at me the way he looks at others, but I feel that he looks at me differently.

One important thing, he says, Mr. Schildknecht is an epileptic. It's not going to happen, but we have to be prepared for everything. Do you know what to do if you have an epileptic seizure? He ends the question by looking at me, who is nodding my head out of sheer inertia.

—What do we have to do, Pablo?—Grab his tongue, I say. You don't have to grab her tongue. That is a myth and it is dangerous. We lay him on his side, loosen his clothes and tie, Mr. Schildknecht is going to have a tie, as befits a formal dresser, and we wait two minutes for him to wear it off, okay? It's not going to happen, but let's be prepared in case it does.

After the review we all dispersed. I see that I am free and I decide to go for the invoice with rut. I go out and I come across Natalia, alone, smoking. The wind makes her dress dance and blows her hair. I would like to hide and watch her.

—Where are you going? he asks me.—I'm going to look for the bill for the adapter.—Did you forget the bill? here.—Well, I tell him.—The cyclone is going to catch us in the middle of the event, the fucking mother, he says.

He finishes his cigarette and bends over to put it out on the floor. Stick the cigarette butt into the nylon lining of the Lucky Strike box. Then he takes out a bottle of hand sanitizer, rubs his hands together, shakes them dry, and finally puts them up to his nose. Nothing he does is normal, but everything he does is absolutely natural. I think about the story this morning. In her getting fed up with a bad pacifier. I imagine her naked, I imagine her asleep. How long would it take to get fed up with me?

Look down at the floor. I follow his gaze and discover my foot with its second hand complex.

“Are you nervous?” “No,” I say. Actually yes, a little bit, but that's not why I move my foot.

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Mr. Schildknecht arrives. The guests arrive, the authorities. Everything goes perfectly until the middle of Mr. Schildknecht's speech. The man is speaking with good oratorical ability. He makes jokes, he has everyone trapped. Until the wind starts blowing hard, whistling through the door frames. The guests begin to become aware of the cyclone. It starts to rain torrentially. The noise covers the speech. Herr Schildknecht is getting nervous. First he smiles and tries to compose himself. But when he speaks again, he barely has a voice. We see him sweat, put his hand over his mouth to cough, and take the opportunity to loosen his tie. Is an epileptic seizure coming? I see Natalia raise a hand to her forehead and pass the folder she was carrying to another girl. Without giving it much thought, I approach the dais.

“Mr. Schildknecht,” I say, handing him a glass of water. Baby. -Thank you so much Mr.

And then he says to the guests:—Did you hear how well this man pronounced my last name? —And the guests laugh. —

Natalia asks the sound man to turn up the volume on the microphone and Mr. Schildknecht resumes his speech in a good way. Then she looks at me and makes a heart for me by joining her hands. I raise my thumb.

The cyclone made the toast spread even though we can go now. I enter the fund office to collect. Natalia is sitting with her feet up on another chair and her eyes closed. He has an unlit cigarette in his hand. The girl pays me.

—We are trying to organize the return. It's pretty rough outside. Where do you live?—In Ciudad Vieja.—I'll take it, says Natalia, without opening her eyes. I smoke this butt and let's go.

We run through the rain to the car. I put on the seatbelt. Natalia ties her hair. Then he lowers the parasol and looks at himself in the mirror. He lowers his cheeks with his hands and looks at his pupils. First one and then the other.

“I don't feel very well,” he tells me, “and starts the engine.

I don't know what to say. Then, several blocks later, I say:

—If I had a notebook, I would tell you how to drive.

She laughs.

—It's okay. How do you think I drive?—I have no idea, normal.—Talk me, baby, I don't feel well.—You drive fast, but fine. You dominate the distances, you do finite without danger, you park with a single maneuver.—So, so wrong, as well as a pimp. Horrible driving, I've crashed plenty of times,” he tells me. We laugh.

He puts his hand to his forehead, turns and parks the car.

"Sorry," he says, "I'm not feeling well." I need a minute.—Everything's fine, nothing's wrong, do you want me to go buy you something?— Shhhh.

Recline the seat and close your eyes. He starts to take a deep breath. He takes his right hand to my knee and says thank you softly. He immediately puts out his hand. He twists his head and blows his neck.

—If I have an epileptic fit, don't grab my tongue.

Then her breathing changes and I realize she fell asleep. The rain hitting the car seems to have a hypnotic, calming effect. I look at the treetops, arching from one side to the other. I try to calculate if they would reach the car, in case of falling. It seems not, but just barely.

I look at my foot and for the first time I find it motionless, asleep like Natalia. Only then do I take off my seatbelt. I recline my seat and curl up on my side, looking at Natalia. I have no intention of falling asleep.

*We thank the author and the publishing house Pez en el Hielo for the authorization to publish this story.

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