No need for binoculars

It was very toasty in there. It wasn’t necessarily good or bad. But it was definitely something worth mentioning. And there was a really annoying noise in the background. I don’t know how to describe it. It was hard to focus on the job. Every 10 minutes or so, a light breeze would come in and someone would stare at us. Just between you and me, the situation was quite violent. I don’t remember signing any papers agreeing to this kind of treatment. Did you? And there was no place to hide, which made things even worse! We were clearly not ready. Why couldn’t he just leave us alone? I swear I tried to make it clear, but the fellow wouldn’t get it, and simply kept staring with this annoying hesitant look on his face. I mean, yeah. One could possibly blame Hitchcock for “Rear Window” and the peeping theme. But. Here, there were no cameras or binoculars involved. And the fellow was anything but discreet. Oh, and that filthy thing underneath us. First things first, it was so shiny I could barely open my eyes. And last but not least, it made me want to scratch my skin like a psycho. But for reasons only God knows, I couldn’t, and I guess I’ll never be able to. I guess being a chicken nugget is not an easy job, my friends. Stay strong!

Guess what, I’m an alien! (Chapter 4)

10th of December, 2019

I have 2 friends and a half. Yipee! And no, I didn’t cut anyone in half. Yet. It’s just that we’re almost friends, but we’re not quite there yet. I think there’s potential though. About 74.3%.

15th of December, 2019

I met up with Dave last night. We had a blast. Please don’t judge me, but I tried one of the “funny” drinks: gin and tonic. I felt nothing apart from bubbles in my tummy and a tickly sensation in my nose that made me sneeze. 5 times in a row. No clumsiness, redness or talking nonsense. To be honest, in a way I’m relieved, but also a bit disappointed.

18th of December, 2019

Dave is a 3D printing specialist. He does really cool stuff. He has printed me some kickass 3-eyed-glasses and I can’t thank him enough. Sometimes, when I’m bored, I go back to the opticians and take a goosey gander around the shop, just for fun. You’d be amazed at the number of chin drops! I bet they’d all sell their kidneys to get glasses as cool as mine!

Apparently, Christmas is coming (to town). Everyone is pumped and I feel utterly confused. The dazzling lights give me an ocular migraine. Dave’s been trying to explain it to me but I’m not sure I got it. Everyone shops like crazy. And here’s the important bit: no matter what they buy, they need to wrap it with fancy shiny paper! Is it a protective measure? Just for fun? Are they embarrassed by what they bought? Worried that the police might find out? Think about it: why would you hide something you’ve just bought? It looks suspicious. I’ll need to ask Dave. There are all sorts of information on Google but I’m not sure if the sources are reliable. I’d rather check with a local. Oh, and then there’s this chubby grandpa with a big white beard constantly ringing a bell… Life is so weird here.

Guess what, I’m an alien! (Chapter 3)

16th of November, 2019

I miss my friends. I miss our evenings playing hide and seek with the stars. Our meteor cakes. And swimming in sweet water. My closest connections tend to describe me as a cheerful individual because I’m usually smiling and I have a good sense of humour. Truth is I struggle sometimes. I know there is no longer space for me up there. It’s just so hard to accept that I’ll never be able to go back home.

19th of November, 2019

I called my mum yesterday night. I sent her a picture of the 5x4cm purple stain on my arm and she said she’d ask our doctor for advice. My degree of homesickness is dangerously reaching 89%, so I’ve decided I need to stop moaning and try to make myself at home here. I’d like to make some new connections. I need a plan.

24th of November, 2019

I went to my first Couchsurfing meetup today. I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. Surfing on the sofa sounded fun. I brought my diving suit and towel with me to feel prepared. We met in a pub, and I quickly realised there would be no sofas and certainly no surfing. Just drinking. Some drinks here have very weird side effects: unstoppable giggling, clumsiness, talking nonsense and getting red cheeks. I’ve been observing it for the last couple of weeks. It’s actually quite fun. I usually stick to water, just to be on the safe side. I’m too scared of any abnormal skin reactions. But maybe one day, who knows. Just one tiny sip…

What happens next?

Guess what, I’m an alien! (Chapter 2)

8th of November, 2019

I’ve been thinking of going to the beach for a while now. Sandcastles, water and jellyfish seem like an interesting combination. I’m a bit nervous because it’ll be my first time. I did some research to ease my mind and found out that I need a swimsuit, a towel, flip-flops and sunscreen. I still haven’t figured out what sunscreen factor would be more suitable for my skin. I’ve been looking everywhere, but there’s no information on slimy emerald green #046307 skin. I’ve never had to use sunscreen before: actually I didn’t even know that such a thing existed. I think I miss our moonlight. Anyway, the pharmacist almost had a heart attack when I asked him for advice, so I ended up choosing one randomly, leaving the coins on the counter and rushing outside. Back home, I applied a bit of sunscreen on my left arm, just to try it out. My beautiful skin turned PUR-PLE! Purple and green… It’s like the beginning of a horror story! I tried to wash it out but the colour kept changing: orange, black, yellow, purple again… What a disgrace! I really wanted to enjoy the sunshine but my whole body turning purple wasn’t an option. Luckily, I ended up finding a bargain on eBay: a diving suit. Of course, it didn’t fit me properly so I had to make some alterations here and there. Getting a towel? Easy-peasy. I just couldn’t find any flip-flops size 76.4 so I decided to go barefoot like I always do. Apparently, walking barefoot on the sand is good for you anyway.

12th of November, 2019

Oh, what a day. Much to my surprise, the beach was completely empty. But it was so hot outside! I wonder where everyone went. I mean, 8ºC? Unbearable. Anyway, I drove to the beach with all my equipment and set up camp. I sunbathed for 39 seconds. Then I went for a swim. Swimming has relaxed me since I was a child. We used to go to the lake with my parents every second Sunday. I should give them a call sometime. Let’s set a reminder at 4:58:03. So, back to the water. I was about to bump into some strange orange balloons when my hands started to itch like hell. I made an enormous effort not to scratch, I swear. I focused on my breath. On my toenails. On my belly button. But nothing worked. I swam back to the beach and sat down in despair, feeling every inch of my skin getting stuck on the diving suit. Yuck. I googled like there was no tomorrow using voice recognition (my hands were too sore to type) until I found out the issue: the sea has salty water! Heaven’s sake! Whose idea was it?!  

Hungry for more? 🙂

Guess What, I’m an Alien! (Chapter 1)

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28th of May, 2019

Today, at 9.07 am the doctor told me I was an alien. An alien? What was that supposed to mean? “You might have noticed you have 3 eyes”. Well, of course. There have always been there. What was the problem with that? “Well, you see… normal people usually have only 2”. Normal people? Usually? Too much for today. I’ll go to sleep and pretend all this never happened.

1st of June, 2019

I can’t read the numbers on the whiteboard but apparently no one cares. This morning, the optometrist told me that unfortunately, they don’t provide glasses for 3 eyes. “There has never been a need to manufacture 3-eyed glasses in the current market” – he remarked. My migraine is killing me so I wasn’t ready to give up yet: “Is there any alternative? Contact lenses maybe?” He had to check with his manager. After 2 minutes and 66 seconds, he came over and awkwardly stared at me. He obviously didn’t know where to look, but he was trying to act professionally. He smiled nervously. I jumped to the rescue: “Just choose one eye. It doesn’t really matter which one. But please. Could you provide me with contact lenses? I really struggle to read the signs when I drive”. Oh boy, you should have seen that. His chin dramatically dropped. He started mumbling, trying to find the right words. I interrupted: “What about laser surgery?” Apparently they’ve never performed this procedure to people like me. But hey, how different would that be? They’re just eyes. Why was everyone so scared of them?

Ready for the next chapter? 😉

Every Day is Christmas (According to Cats)

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Good morning and thank you kindly for not throwing this beautifully folded leaflet in the recycling bin,

If you are a cat owner looking for some insightful information on how to understand your cat better, let me tell you a secret: you never will! I mean, you’ve come to the right place.

If you are a cat -Congratulations!-, you already know that… Every day is Christmas!

(If you are new to this whole thing of being a cat, don’t worry: we’re here to help).

Let’s break it down, shall we?

1. Every day is a good day to give your owner a present. You can be old-fashioned or spice things up: there are no rules here. It could be a dead lizard, some white fur on the black suit he was planning to wear the first day of his new job or even some vomit on the carpet -preferably if it had just been professionally cleaned-.

2. Every day is a good day to wear show off your lovely Christmas jumper. No matter the weather. It will always look cool on you, sexy beast! You’ll be all over Instagram, Telegram and Felinegram. Sure, you’ll probably sweat a bit on warm days but it’ll still be worth it. Pro tip: if the wool gets too itchy and you are tempted to use those magnificent claws that Mama gave you to tear it off, have your personal scratcher handy.

3. Every day is a good day to have a feast. And we’re talking big: fresh tuna, Greek yogurt, Scottish salmon and why not, some exquisite dry-cured Spanish ham. If giving puppy eyes to your owner is not your thing, you’ll have to resort to riskier but immensely rewarding methods. Learning how to open -and close!- the fridge, how to safely use a can opener and even becoming an expert in online shopping. YouTube tutorials were a lifesaver for me! However, if you are not the smartest don’t worry, just do some deep digging in the trash and bon appétit.

4. Every day is a good day to ask your owner for cuddles. You want me to wait until the 25th of December? Not going to happen! Love and affection will be on display every single day. Curled up on your owner’s bed, sofa or even when he’s in the toilet! There is never a bad time to request -or give, if you are into that too, but never feel obliged as it’s not specifically stated in your contract- cuddles, even when your owner claims to be in a hurry!

5. Every day is a good day to invite all your family over. Just because. Yes, the squirrels from the back garden, the parrot from next door, that annoying lovely mosquito and even the mouse you’ve been chasing behind the walls. Get your fancy cutlery out and spread the butter love! It’s up to you if you want to invite your owner or keep your reunion exclusive. Fair warning: if you struggle to keep things too friendly with the mouse don’t worry, just go for it and see number 1 for further advice. You got this.

6. Every day is a good day to embrace your talent and perform some fabulous Christmas carols to your owner. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Seagull, Jingle Bells, Santa Claws is Coming to Town… The more, the merrier! Give that lung capacity a big boost and be as loud as you can. You’ll release lots of adrenaline and it’ll make you feel amazing. And your owner -and even the neighbours- will love it. Especially at 4am!

Thank you so much for reading us and Merry Christmas!

Yours faithfully,

Cats for Christmas committee

Filthy Creature

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Just look at you: no sign of acne, perfectly groomed hair, disgustingly shinny teeth. It’s true, you seem a decent human being after all, but believe me, people are going to tell. When you get on the bus, when you go buy some milk, they will know. They will stare at you, they will whisper, they will conspire against you. Even if you go to a public toilet in a village that’s 500 miles away, they will still know. You’re a monster: it’s written on your face. Go get yourself a whip! A rope! Electric chair? Those sweet eyes… Same tone of brown, but yet, so different. Oh, sweet little Sophie. When she’s back from school, she will ask you to play. Puzzles, trains, teddy bears. She will ask for love. Love! What can that filthy thing possibly know about love? Nothing. It was born in hell. Lives surrounded by dirt. You clean, you scrub, you sterilise. That’s your job. Your one and only duty. Five times a day. Latex gloves are your best friends. Spotless could be your surname. But that thing was born to destroy. And you are the only one who manned up and dared to squeeze your hands around its little neck… Just the right amount of pressure. Slightly tighter towards the end. 20 seconds was all it took. You still don’t get it? A hero, Nietzsche’s superman, God! A Nobel prize? Come on, don’t make me laugh. It won’t be enough. Nothing would ever be enough. People are so tiny, these days. They just tiptoe through life doing small and insignificant stuff. But remember, you’re not like them. You were born to do magnificent things, to stand out, to shine! Like its tiny brown eyes. They were shiny after all. Same colour as its filthy fur. Probably it had a family. Everyone has one, right? They must wonder why it didn’t come back home yesterday for dinner. And its meal got cold like its relatives’ heart, waiting and trying not to expect the worst. Probably they all have brown eyes. Like me. Like my daughter. Jesus Christ, how can you be so weak? You’re disgustingly disappointing. Pathetic. Come on, go cry on your mother’s lap… Your daughter deserves someone better. You ARE someone better. That disgusting creature… Wait, I think I can hear that scratching noise again. Shut up. Listen care-ful-ly. Do not move, hold your breath. The rats are back. Missing your sweet little son already? Do not worry, you’ll be with him very soon.

Me, my dishes and I

Dear Sir or Madam,

Sometimes I do the dishes in my dreams. But not only my dishes. I also sneak into all my neighbours’ kitchens. I don’t even wonder why. I just do it. But as a matter of a fact, I hate doing the dishes. I either burn or freeze my hands because the water never seems to be at the right temperature. The sink is too low for my back. And the citrus smell of the washing up liquid makes me sick.

Much to my surprise, I really enjoy washing dishes in my dreams. They say they’ve even heard me hum cheerful melodies sometimes. Nothing seems to worry me. I’m suddenly immersed in a permanent carpe diem: just me, my dishes and I. Enjoying the warmth of the water, the lovely smell of the washing up liquid and effortlessly removing dirt and grease. But then my alarm abruptly wakes me up and I rush to the kitchen to check… And yes, ladies and gentleman, my dishes are still dirty. A bit dirtier than the day before.

To be honest, sometimes I think of doing the dishes. But as I approach the sink I feel a tight knot in my stomach and I need to run away. Once I accumulated so many dirty plates that I had to use my dog’s bowl. I can’t remember the last time I used cutlery: eating with your hands definitely helps enhance your brain performance.

I would love to be able to wash my dishes in the washing machine. People who can’t fit a dishwasher in their matchbox kitchen deserve a solution. We’re in the 21st century after all, right? Our printers can print, scan and photocopy, but washing machines can’t wash both clothes and dishes. What a shame. I know, I know. You must be thinking now that I’m hopelessly lazy. I get your point, but you know I work hard in my dreams. If that counts. I think it does. But for some reason I’m not able to wash dishes in real life. Call it laziness but I start to suspect I suffer from a serious phobia. That’s why I ask you, please, if you would consider manufacturing a washing-machine-dishwasher. I have some ideas in mind, so please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours faithfully,

Me, my dishes and I

Keeping the magic alive

I know it’s not Christmas yet, but I promise you there is an elf running around the streets of Edinburgh. But surprisingly, he is not helping Santa deliver any presents. He is doing something even better.

As you might already know, he works at night so that’s why you have never seen him and you never will. He hides behind a tree, explores the area with an avid glance and when he is 120% sure that there is no one in sight, the fun begins. He quickly tiptoes to the nearest traffic light and BOOM! In less than 8 seconds the job is done and he can go back to his warm and cosy flat.

Smooth and efficient: that’s why they chose him amongst the 299 other elves who had applied for the position. One traffic light per night, as the contract says. Princes Street, Howe Street… Who knows: maybe your street is next. If I were you I’d go to bed early and refrain yourself from going out at night. Otherwise, he will have no choice but to miss your lovely street. What a shame, I know. But I don’t make the rules: the contract makes it very clear: “If some human catches you in the act, the magic is lost and therefore, you are fired”. So yes, being an elf comes with endless moments of cheerfulness but also requires bags of discipline, responsibility and agility. I swear that the application process was harder than that slice of bread you left on the back of the shelf for more than two weeks.

So please, do him -and yourself- a favour, and the next time you press the button and        -impatiently- wait for the traffic light to turn green, take a look around and you might be surprised. Remember: every time you smile, he is smiling back to you. Let’s keep the magic alive. Are you in?

 

 

Dins la funda vellutada

El clarinet reposava dins la funda vellutada, trontollant lleugerament a causa del moviment del tren. El sol, mandrós, amagava el cap sota els llençols i posposava el despertador 5 minuts més. Els pocs passatgers que ocupaven els seients intentaven distreure’s amb els mòbils: potser un tuit graciós o una foto curiosa seria capaç de treure’ls d’aquell endormiscament matinal.

A la quarta parada, va pujar un nen d’un gran salt. Semblava com si hagués absorbit tota l’energia que mancava a la resta de passatgers, que semblaven estar sota els efectes de l’anestèsia. Es dedicava a recórrer el vagó amunt i avall mentre observava tot allò que tenia al voltant, comprovant que tot estigués en ordre: cap peu sobre el seient, ningú escoltant música massa alta… Sigil·losament però amb determinació, es passejava pel tren, immune als petits sotracs i canvis de velocitat, que en cap cas li feien perdre l’equilibri.

Al seient 15B del vagó 712, va detectar un cas mereixedor d’un estudi escrupolós: una dona immòbil amb la boca oberta i els ulls oberts, sense parpellejar en cap moment. S’hi va acostar, i amb una meticulositat digne d’un Sherlock Holmes, va col·locar un trosset de paper -el rebut del croissant que s’havia cruspit al matí- a pocs centímetres de la seva boca. En veure que es movia, va tocar suaument l’espatlla de la dona amb l’objectiu de despertar-la d’aquell estat tan peculiar en què es trobava. Visiblement trasbalsada i desubicada, la dona va començar a mirar en totes direccions fins que va recordar que estava dins el tren i va tornar al seu estat inicial, sense dir ni piu. El nen va romandre al seu costat una bona estona, cronometrant l’estona que tardava en parpellejar. En veure que el tema s’allargava més del compte, va decidir deixar-ho córrer i anar a la recerca d’alguna cosa més estimulant. Però abans va apuntar a la seva llibreta mental que havia d’investigar casos paranormals de no-parpelleig.

Uns metres més endavant, es va aturar al costat d’un home que segons els seus càlculs rondava els quaranta-set, nascut a l’octubre, un dia parell. Tenia la mirada fixada en la pantalla del seu smartphone, així que va aprofitar per donar-hi un cop d’ull dissimuladament. El contingut era bastant decebedor i gens interessant, però l’home semblava totalment abduït pels alienígenes de la pantalla. Amb l’objectiu de valorar la gravetat de la situació, li va estirar suaument els cabells, li va fer una llengota i li va pessigar l’avantbraç, però l’home no es va immutar. Això sí, trenta segons més tard, quan el mòbil va perdre cobertura perquè el tren passava per un túnel, l’home es va despertar de cop, ofuscat i nerviós, actualitzant la pàgina una vegada rere l’altra.

A mesura que s’allunyava d’aquell ésser de comportament estrany, va detectar un objecte rectangular al seient 14F. Assegut al seient del costat, va començar a analitzar-lo. Era negre, de plàstic dur. Un maletí. Massa petit per un portàtil. Tenia com a mínim 10 anys o havia superat més d’una guerra perquè estava fet caldo, ple de rascades. No devia tancar del tot bé o el seu propietari volia assegurar-se que el contingut estigués sa i estalvi, ja que hi havia col·locat una cinta.

El cervell del nen treballava gairebé a la velocitat de la llum, intentant esbrinar què podia contenir aquell recipient tan misteriós. Els camins fàcils mai no l’havien interessat, així que obrir el maletí no era una opció. El tren cada cop anava més ple, però ningú no s’havia adonat de la presència d’aquell objecte que descansava en soledat al seient 14F fins que el nen havia decidit fer-li companyia. Potser hi havien diners, va pensar. Però ràpidament s’ho va treure del cap perquè això només passava a les pel·lícules. Avui en dia, qui tragina bitllets en un maletí? Potser hi havia un portàtil d’aquells petitons, un netbook. O potser…

Un home es va asseure just davant de l’objecte, i va començar a llançar mirades nervioses al nen i a l’objecte, respectivament.

“És teu aquest maletí?” – El nen va negar amb el cap. “Truqueu a la policia, han deixat un paquet bomba!”

El caos va créixer com l’espuma i la gent abans anestesiada va començar a cridar esverada. El cor del nen bategava tant fort que no li deixava escoltar els seus propis pensaments. No és una bomba, no ho és! No és una bomba. El seu cervell treballava a mil revolucions. La cridòria dels passatgers tampoc el deixava pensar: es va tapar amb força les orelles però no va servir de res. No sabia què s’amagava darrere d’aquell objecte, però sabia que no era una bomba. La seva intuïció no el fallava mai. O almenys fins aquell dia. Què era, aleshores? Havia vist un objecte similar en algun lloc. A l’escola. A sota del pupitre del… Del nen aquell amb tres pigues a la galta esquerra creant un triangle equilàter. Sí, era ell… Martí, Josep, Oriol… Per què no recordava el seu nom? Era un dimarts. Classe de llengua catalana. Diftongs creixents i decreixents. I hiats. El tren va aturar-se de sobte, i van entrar els cossos de seguretat, que van començar el desallotjament dels vagons. Però el nen es negava a moure’s del seient. “No és una bomba!” – cridava. Tothom el donava per boig. La impotència li sortia en forma de llàgrimes i suor freda. Dos agents el van agafar pels braços i el van portar fora del tren. Just després de travessar la porta del vagó, va cridar amb totes les seves forces: “ÉS UN CLARINET!”.