Friday, 15 July 2011

Castaways - Juan Pablo Noroña

PlutoniumSex raised his left hand from the neuropad, in wrapt attention as a drop of sweat stretched downward from his index finger. The exaggerated focus from the taxotropin allowed him to watch the process at a leisurely pace, magnified until it took up his entire field of vision and decelerated, by orders of magnitude a slomo zoom on a slow processor and superimposed like a bad fade on top of the icons and links which connected the web with his brain. Good lysergic material, but a nuisance in the middle of The Space. PlutoniumSex was bothered by his id, which forced him to be conscious of Flesh; another pathetic rebellion of protein against silicon. 
Suddenly, PlutoniumSex understood: environmental heat. Sweat means heat: that was the message which his id had slipped in like a subliminal image over his synaptic interface. He would not have guessed that it was warm. 
PlutoniumSex pulled out of The Space and ordered a dose of sympathetic complex from his Metabolix, as well as a cocktail of neurophysiological stabilizers. While he waited for these to kick in, he ordered a complete rundown of hardware, with emphasis on any problems which might cause thermal dissipation up to the third synergetic level. PlutoniumSex did not have the foggiest idea what was happening. 
Once he found himself active, PlutoniumSex also found himself heated up, slick, sticky with pure sweat, a disgusting mess of sweat, smells and more Flesh. Apparently the problem was very serious and had been developing for some time, and the worst of it was that the system alarm had not sounded. PlutoniumSex lifted himself up on his arm and remained on his side, enabling him to see his flatmate, BlueFly, lying, just like him, on a bed capsule, his entire body gleaming with perspiration. PlutoniumSex looked at his white abdomen and hip. It too oozed humidity. 
Because the surface of the bed was composed of tensor gel, it was slippery with sweat, and this made it difficult for PlutoniumSex to maneuver, first to remove his catheters and then to exit. That was further complicated by his own lack of muscle tone and coordination. He ended up slipping onto the floor with more or less controlled stumbles and painful twists of his limbs. Finally he crossed the two meters that separated him from Bluefly and began to press the pads on his console. He had no appetite for tackling this problem alone. 
While Bluefly went through the same process of disengagement, PlutoniumSex ran through the results of the evaluation in his head. The system recognized an increase in temperature but did not register any functional problems: everything was working perfectly. PlutoniumSex sighed. He would have to identify the problem himself and, even worse, fix it. It was then that he felt it, or, more precisely, didn't feel it. 
Whenever he had stood, the few times that that he had stood in this room, PlutoniumSex had felt the smooth freshness of refrigerated air falling down from the ceiling over his head and shoulders like a smooth benediction, but now he was not feeling it. The refrigeration was not functioning. Was it... broken? PlutoniumSex shuddered just thinking about it. He understood that things broke down, whether from inherent defects, bad use or fatigue, but all his experience in this regard was limited to the computational, and the solution was always easy: deactivate the function temporarily and buy another unit. But as far as refrigeration was concerned, PlutoniumSex knew nothing about anything. He did not know how it broke, let alone how to fix it. He needed to find someone who would know, and that someone didn't seem to be Bluefly. 
PlutoniumSex opened the door and walked into the hallway. 
He stopped dead in his tracks in shock. 
A hasty and asthmatic line was coursing through the hallway, like bubbles in the physiological serum inside a clear plastic hose. Othernights with their days numbered and themselves well aware of it, baby10s who had not reached 7 and who could be bought for the price of a 4, intensoids with feverish eyes, posttribals nonviolent for the moment, toughskins with invincible, reptilian features, neomen, their implants unstitched, plug-ins that were the spitting image of PlutoniumSex, totals with zombimorphic plastic faces, junkies in the worst moment of withdrawal, traffickers in both real and counterfeit weapons, shredlings having just escaped a nightmare of mutilations, mutes that would give them a fair fight, marked1s more fearful even than usual, pansexuals with every port duplicated into redundancy, anodized leadies in a bright variety of colors; and many more species and subspecies, including unique individuals, humans even. 
"What's happening?" PlutoniumSex grabbed a total by its rubbery shoulders and stopped it. "Where are you going?" 
"Outside," replied the total, a creature which specialized in the manipulation of bony structure. "Refrigeration and the ventilation are down, and nobody in the building can stand it any more." 
"Why doesn't somebody fix it?" 
The total shook its head. "Can't. The same plug-in who let himself into the building Net some time ago and raised all of our levels says that the system is up to who knows what." 
"Maybe the central machinery is broken. Someone should go fix it." 
"Well, I don't even know where that is. Do you?" 
"So then call the repair company. Let them come." 
The total looked at PlutoniumSex as if he had slipped a cog. "Who would come?" He added sarcastically, "Not even the Army comes here!" 
PlutoniumSex stood watching the wide back of the total as it marched through the hallway. No, he didn't know how to fix the refrigeration machinery. PlutoniumSex could evaluate and assemble all kind of electronic pieces and use them to build complete computing systems, but he sputtered like an overloaded outlet when faced with the slightest mechanical problem. Probably everyone in the building was at the same level of incompetence or worse. In this slagheap of technocriminal subcultures, everyone knew how to rob, traffic and sell any object, including his own body or others', but nobody knew how to work, how to do anything useful, boring, laborious and certainly nothing as poorly paying as fixing plumbing and compressors, or whatever it was that made up a refrigeration system. PlutoniumSex returned to his room, put on a robe of transgenic silk and joined up with the procession of bubbles. Bluefly could follow him if he wished, as soon as he got up. 
After an exhausting descent through the stairs —the elevators were both the location and the motive for turf wars— PlutoniumSex arrived at the crowd milling around in the courtyard that opened out onto the front of the building. People were sitting on the ground, taking up an enormous area, occupying all the walking space, including the entrance itself. Everybody was in the way. PlutoniumSex waded through the mass between protests and punches until he reached the outermost zone, and he sat down right there. Little by little others joined him, walking past him in ever more lines of beings seated like him, with their legs picked up and hugging their knees, or in other squeezed positions. Since the night was cold and a breeze was blowing, the people tended to huddle in search of a little warmth; but huddling alone in distrust and precaution. 
PlutoniumSex raised his eyes to the gray sky, closed off between walls of steel and glass. It looked as desperate as he was in this world of nonsensical consumption, unreal economics, useless professions, unsustainable disorder, wickedly unnatural images and ridiculous marginality of so much institutionality. "God," PlutoniumSex said, burying his head between his knees. "How I hate cyberpunk!" 

Original title: Náufragos
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Waiting List - Betina Goransky & Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

He was a very reputed analyst. So much that hundreds of obsessives and manic-depressives would die for starting treatment with him. But that was not enough reason for him to discharge any patients. The same twenty ones had been taking the same time slots for several years. This is why it should not surprise you, oh, naive reader, that the legions of beyond hope mentally disturbed prospects prowling at all times of the day around the doctor's office, eager to get their admission, ended up weaving crazy plans to eliminate their couch competitors in such a way that it would look like an accident.

Original title: Lista de espera
Translation: Alex Jamieson

Versión en castellano

Betina Goransky

Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

Crossfire - Vladimir Hernández

I’d gotten myself into trouble again. 
It seems that I attract trouble, and my father already knew that when I was just a kid. Luckily for me, he was a veteran of the famous War of the Seven Stars and had trained me in the use of energy weapons since I was little. He used to say there was nothing like a good blaster -- and, to be sure, there is some truth in that --, but I do think there is something better than a blaster: two blasters. That’s why I always keep two of them handy on every mission, on every errand that PapaSpider sends me on. 
But today I wasn’t on some errand, I was just out carousing. And the carousing – actually, the psychotropic chemical I had been consuming throughout the evening -- had brought me down to one of the most dangerous slums in one on the city-tunnels of Nueva América, 3000 meters underground. 
I never do that. As a rule I usually keep my distance from the tunnel slums, since I find enough kicks in the peaks of Santa Ana City. But apparently, this time the pyschotropic made me lose my head in a terrible way. I had hooked up with a fiery red head with blue skin dye, with a highly attractive angelic face who knew this bar in the West End, and the tramp had arranged to drag me along to said underground neighborhood. 
In one of the twisted and ill-lit alleys of that beehive, the girl disappeared from my sight, leaving me abandoned, and suddenly I realized that the whole idea had been a setup. 
I had fallen in one of the oldest tricks in the book. My stupidity had just proven that the age-old line of “Hey big boy, wanna party? Come with me, I live right nearby, I’ll show you all the pleasures of the universe” still worked on the idiots, the druggies and the drunks; three categories for which I had just passed the entrance exam. 
They had tossed me a juicy bait this time. Hopefully PapaSpider was still connected to my sensor. 
In the midst of the silence of the alley, with ominous shadows swirling around me, I remembered that I hadn’t brought my blasters. Second mistake of the night and even more hazardous to my health. 
Suddenly, the hunters appeared: two in the back reaches of the alley and two in front. All were pure plastex muscle, two of them NuevaAmericano mestizo types, just like me; Hispanos with vague Euro features. None of them were wearing armor, but they had implants and the Hispanos came armed with triloxes. One of the ones who blocked my retreat was the leader; he had black skin, a high Afro phenotype, and wore a pair of metallic hoops with artificial emerald beads in his earlobes. In his belt he had an energy gun. The last one was a huge Anglo acromegalic who appeared to be unarmed. And I could only count on my cobra to get me out of this alley. 
Okay, I had just turned into a lovely biomass sandwich between these subterranean beasts; recycled meat for the food synthesizers. 
I had never thought my life would end this way. 
I was scared shitless. 
As a result, my crystalographic analog injected a generous dose of antitropes into my bloodstream, and my sunny disposition vanished in a flash. 
Fear fell like a gigantic glass hammer over my head, adrenaline kicked in like the roaring expansive front of a shockwave, burning my arteries. I experienced a momentary tremor and remained tense, waiting as my assailants drew near. 
Out of the corners of my eyes, I assessed the field of battle. The walls of the narrow alleyway gave me only four meters of wiggle room; there were no windows in the tenement walls. The squeaking oxygen-intake system was too high to reach and behind my enemies was the plastic guardrail surrounding the mesh maintenance well which led to the lower levels. The bottom of the well could be some 400 meters below. What a jam. 
The thugs didn’t give me enough time to think about it. The Hispanos came at me with grim smiles and their triloxes aimed. It was going to be a jolly little butchering. My nostrils caught the smell of exhilaration wafting off these creeps. 
I activated the cobra interface under my right arm and waited till they got close enough, putting on the most convincing terrified expression I could muster. I guess that wasn’t too hard for me. The closest Hispano brandished his trilox over his head, and the weapon emitted a sharp whistle that made me grind my teeth. Behind him was the gigantic unarmed acromegalic. His eyes were enormous exotic implants; their pupils two long vertical slits surrounded by amber. 
I decided to try my luck with these two. 
The guy with the loaded trilox closed in confidently, expecting to trap me like an animal paralyzed by fear. I focused on my target and the cobra flew from my arm like an arrow, destroying his weapon. I didn’t pause to study the creep’s look of surprise and I kicked him in the balls before he could react. He collapsed and I rushed at the giant, praying to the Virgin that the leader didn’t drill a hole in my back with his energy weapon. I trusted that he didn’t want to endanger the Anglo. 
His body was too large, of the DNA type Rhino, a mutant discarded by the genomodifying troops the Shan’Malor settlers had used against the Phoenix shock troops in the last interstellar war, so there was no way I could knock him over. I pulled the cobra back in and the Anglo moved with a speed I would never have expected from such a large body. Of course, I wasn’t going to wait for him either. If I got tangled up with him, the other two were going to shoot me full of holes. As he approached, I noticed three blades emerging from the back of each of his hands, almost as long as his forearm. 
I did what none of them expected. I reached the edge of the railing and jumped into the void of 400 meters of well. As I jumped, the mitts of the Rhino managed to rip open three nice grooves in my shoulder, but the pain wasn´t my primary concern just then. 
I opened my arms and began to fall in the graviational field of 0.7 of Nueva América. The world swirled around for a couple seconds while the air of the well howled in my ears as though I were falling in a supersonic reactor tunnel. A couple of levels lower, before the tug of gravity would prevent me, I shot the cobra line again, and it came to rest in the lines of the mesh. The implant mechanism was designed to resist the tension, and my arm could handle it as well, and so I swung elegantly until I was dashed against the black ceramic walls of the well, just centimeters from the railing to that level. I handled the crash as well as I could, but the impact sent some kind of electrical pain down my spine which fortunately did not disturb my cobra’s protocols. 
With luck the hunters would not yet have braved the well; hopefully the leader’s pistol was still in its owner’s belt. I made a supreme effort as the cerebral analog administered me a dose of delta endorphins, and I reached the rail of this level. The retractable cobra returned to its compartment in my arm while I rested for ten precious seconds. My head buzzed and I had blurred vision, but I couldn’t afford to lose any more time; I had to hurry before they could locate me, which they would surely be able to do, being on their home turf. 
I pulled myself together and ran through one of the staircases, which descended further still into the labyrinth of gloomy alleyways. There wasn’t a soul visible in the tiny plazas. The leaks from the rickety heaters filled the alleyways with an annoying bluish haze, as if it were all part of a dream. I searched desperately for some sort of hatchway which would lead me upward, but the only ones in sight were a horizontal one and a sky-blue recess full of insulating polymers, rusted metals and columns of heavy alloys. Thanks to the sturdy gel lining of my jacket the injury to my shoulder hardly bled at all. 
I lowered my speed and hid myself in a tunnel which interconnected with various pathways, my steps provoking loud echoes in the pavement of dirty tiles. I heard steps through a corridor and decided to hide myself behind a recess in the passageway. The walls seemed to breathe humidity and industrial soot, and the heat bursting out of the halogens of the well made me sweat bullets. The steps approached me, and I nearly transformed into a part of the grubby wall. My head was buzzing. I pleaded with the Virgin to grant me another chance and I prepared myself. 
The hunter who was approaching stopped at the recess, invisible behind the wall. If it were the giant acromegalic and its optical implant included a thermal scanner, I was about to burst onto his system like a nova. 
Ten meters from my precarious hideout, an elevator compartment door began to open. My assailants’ reinforcements might be about to arrive. I didn’t want to wait for them to increase their numerical superiority over me. I flew out and shot my fist against the hunter who was behind the wall. I found the solid mandible of the other hombre carrying the trilox, and although I didn’t knock him over I did knock the gun loose; I punched him with all the force of my right arm in the solar plexus and launched him against the railing. From the other side of the well I recognized the armor of the Rhino. 
I turned around in time to duck the assailant attack that came from the elevator. It was the damn tramp who had led me into this trap. She came at me with bare hands, and I foresaw a quick lesson in the martial arts. I stopped the edge of her hand at the height of my face, but she managed to sweep me aside with a powerful blow from her legs. I landed on the ground, but since I’m not a good loser I shot the cobra at her throat. The voltage shook her senseless and she fell backwards, her igneous hair briefly transformed into quills. The bulk of Rhino followed from the other side; bad luck, hunters, this prey is getting out. I pulled myself together and ran toward the open elevator, but something told me that one variable was missing. Something didn’t fit. 
The dagger of energy that slit my leg reminded me that the variable was the leader. The beam of his blaster hit me on the side of my thigh and knocked me down onto the gray tiles. The gripping heat that rose upward from the leg was infernal. The pain gnawed at my nerve endings as though I had a side full of burning needles. 
I sunk to the ground and saw the leader approach. It did not look like a good day for me. Maybe, with luck, he would shoot me in the head. Phosphorescent emerald beads glittered next to his imposing jaw. His eyes were silver edged with green; hard and cold. 
I locked my gaze on him while he smiled fiercely at me. He raised the blaster to my head. 
And disappeared from the waist up under the energetic impact of a beam of plasma. Suddenly the passageways filled with the noise of shots, and I managed to hear other shouts. All around me there appeared dozens of bodies sheathed in armored shells, with no visible logo. 
But I knew where these troops came from. The Virgin had heard my prayers, and PapaSpider had been connected to my sensor. Thanks little Virgin. 
Just then I had the splendid idea of fainting. 

Original title: Fuego cruzado
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Versión en castellano

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Knights do swear often – Héctor Ranea

To Alejandra Jamieson Barreiro

“You´ve got to be kidding!” said the Very Big Sister Caramel to the Blue Knight Thirds. “There´s no such thing as you told us, c´mon! You, lousy rat, are trying to make a fool out of me with this bullshit. I wish I were the Queen of Hearts and could chop your head off!” “Milady, I swear on my horse´s back that what I´ve told you is true! Absolutely and completely true”, said the blamed Knight. “I´m sorry if I didn´t convinced you, but the world out there is as I told you. This is nothing but the truth, believe me, please.”
“You are a fool! How come Knights now swear on their horses and not on their mothers´ hands? You´re a fake Knight, I can tell you that!” said the Very Big Sister Caramel turning her mouth and pointing with her Royal Toe to the Gentlemen at the back of the Princess Seat at her left. A very loud scream filled the Audience Hall immediately after her Royal Imprecation.
“See what I mean?” asked the Knight, utterly frightened, with all his armored body holding back, squeezing the chest as a dental tube, quaking just like a chicken facing a fox.
“I wonder how you got your knighthood?” the Floating Head of the Lord and Master of the Auditory asked: “You seem like a feather shaken by a storm to me. As the wind blows, the twig twists. Or something like that” he (or his head, if truth be told) finished his saying, confused and gasping.
“Have you heard that awful growl?” asked the Knight, terrorized, pointing his only left finger upwards. “This is The End, as I´ve warn you, but you wouldn´t listen! This is one of the... things the horrible world I´ve described to you is bringing upon us”.
Meanwhile, the unholy screams made the whole building tremble repeatedly, but the very last one put all the people on alert, evidently stiffed with terror. “See, Milady? What I´ve told you is true, indeed! There is another world, and is very different from ours!”
Now the Very Big Sister shook and wept. “And what are they supposed to do with us? Tell me or I´ll kill you with my own hands! I´d rather do that than wait for this strange persona to kill all of us!”
“I wish I knew, Milady! I wish I knew, indeed. My knowledge of that wicked world comes down from glances and glimpses of here and of there.
I swear I did not see their world but only foresee it as in a crystal ball. Forgive me if I have no answers, please!” Those were the Knight´s lasts words, a giant beak grabbed him and thus he disappeared from the Very Big Sister Caramel´s side. In a split second, the only thing that remained in the air was the screaming of the Knight and his swearing. Then, these words were thunders in the ears of the Gentlemen and Milady the Very Big Sister, who were now sweating like a blue giraffe in summer: “Is this short fellow good enough for you, Mom?” said the Big Bug Samsa. “Oh, c´mon, this is not enough, you bet! For heaven´s sake! Not enough for me, not for anybody! Please!” Mom Bug said.
The Bib Bug Samsa looked for more food and there they were! A multitude of little people were in the bushes that reminded Samsa Bug of himself a few weeks ago, before the Metamorphosis. They were more than his beak could ever take, so he said: “Mom, I´ve just spotted your dinner! Please call Father Bug to eat also” and begun picking King´s Gentlemen and King´s horses (actually, Princess´s belongings to be fair).
These were the very consequences of Metamorphosis, and of course, Bugs´ appetite.

Original title: Los caballeros juran a menudo
Translation: Héctor Ranea

Versión en castellano

Héctor Ranea

Mirror’s magic - Maria del Pilar Jorge

In the tale of Cinderella nothing is said about mirrors. Nevertheless, one of them played a very important paper in this history: it erased the sadness from the girl’s face, helped her to disguise her tears and allowed her to show a smiling look. Without his help, the party dress and crystal shoes would have been useless.

Original title: La magia de los espejos
Translated: María del Pilar Jorge

Versión en castellano

María del Pilar Jorge

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Hell - Antonio Jesús Cruz

I feel nauseated and my body floats into emptiness. A disgusting smell hurts my pituitary. I open my eyes and the light hurts my pipils. I try to recover the rhythm of my breath still agitated. There are muted murmurs. Where am I? I feel vulnerable and at the mercy of anything. Am I in hell? I hear footsteps. I focus my pipils. I discover a pungent face and a sardonic smile. The individual, dressed in green, shakes a glass before my eyes. At that precise instant it becomes clear to me. The surgeon has just kept my appendix.

Guillamo Fracasitodo
(Treated about Medicine and surgery - 1943)

Original title: Infierno
Translation: Antonio Jesús Cruz

Antonio Jesús Cruz

Monday, 11 July 2011

The solitary boss - Martín Gardella

At the office where I work, we used to have a boss who was too reserved. He was a quiet man who liked to keep aloof inside his small office at the corner, with the door forever closed. He was the first one to get to work and the last one to leave. I never heard him utter a single word, either a reproach or a praise, and he had ordered his assistant to filter all incoming calls. He gradually secluded himself within his small universe crowded with disorderly folders and thick books so imperceptibly that we even forgot he was there. Finally, on an afternoon when we had to abandon the building due to a fire alarm, we had our single chance to see the old loner. The firemen had just found him, taciturn and stinky, among dense spider webs.

Original title: El jefe ermitaño
Translation: Gustavo Sevilla

Martín Gardella

Abyss - Patricia Nasello

A light shiver and she stops being.
Still beautiful, but useless. Dry.
The tree doesn’t recognize her any more, nothing attaches her to the branch. She’s free.
She’s dead.
Falling. Because of her own weight, as every dead body falls.
When about to touch the floor a gust of wind lifts her.
Even so, she seems to fly.

Patricia Nasello

Original title: Abismo
Translated from Spanish by Alex Jamieson.

Versión en castellano

Friday, 8 July 2011

G - Miguel Angel Dorelo, Giselle Aronson and Saurio

In the beginning you seemed unreachable. You were standing as in a pedestal, an authentic Greek goddess. I used to look at you from below and always saw you: hieratic, undaunted, and brilliant.
One day I dared to come close to you stretching my hands out, willing to touch you. I saw you coming towards me, trembling, as if you were getting out of balance. And all I thought I knew about you fell apart in that brief instant.
"Head trauma" the doctor said. "You were lucky that bronze statuette didn’t kill you".

Original title: G
Translation: Alexandra Jamieson Barreiro

Miguel Angel Dorelo
Giselle Aronson

Versión en castellano

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Insomnia - Virgilio Piñera

The man goes to bed early. He cannot sleep. Naturally he tosses and turns in bed. He gets tangled up in the sheets. He lights a cigarette. He reads a little. He turns out the light again. But he cannot sleep. At three in the morning he gets up. He wakes his friend by his side and confides in him that he cannot sleep. He asks for advice. The friend suggests he take a short walk to tire himself out a little. That he then drink a cup of linden tea and turn out the light. He does all these things but he still cannot manage to fall asleep. He gets up once more. This time he goes to the doctor. As usual, the doctor has a lot to say, but the man does not fall asleep. At six in the morning he loads his revolver and lifts it to his forehead. The man is dead but he still has not been able to doze off. Insomnia is a very persistent condition.

Original title: En el insomnio
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Virgilio Piñera

Versión en castellano

Dream 48 - Pablo Martinez Burkett

In the dream, he drifted by streets with low buildings, as small churches, filled with plates and metal crucifixes. The tiny sidewalks were very narrow and it seemed it had rained. It was night time and he was accompanied by his father. A crack of candles reminded him of Easter, but rather than wax and incense, the air smelled of ripe fruit. Black images were praying in fearful silence. When he recognized his already dead relatives, he realized he was not dreaming.

Original title: Sueño 48
Translation: Alejandra Funes

Pablo Martínez Burkett

Versión en castellano

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Corina The Hunter - Alex Jamieson

She closed the door leaving the almost tangible smog outside.
-Found four today.- she took the mask off.
-Finally! But… ¿Only four? The ones that didn’t make it, what were they like?
-I could not make them out clearly but seemed to have some sprouts already.
-I miss the naps under the lime trees. Hearing the wind through the branches. Did you ever try lime tree tea? It’s soothing. –she took the glasses off, rubbed her face slowly.
-Mmm… nope. I think I saw some dried leafs when I was very young. Never got to see them alive. I was born after the cataclysm, grandma.
Mirna put her glasses back on and remembered the natural disaster day. Was it really natural? She also remembered the day Corina was born and the day her parents died. That night, she dreamt the planet had woods again. Corina didn’t have to sow or search for trees any more.

Alex Jamieson

Original title: Corina cazadora
Translated from Spanish by the author.

Versión en castellano

Friday, 1 July 2011

My Mother and the Magic Beans – Silvia Alejandra García

A white pill for the thyroid and a yellow big one for the high blood pressure; a long white one looking like a little rectangular piece of soap for the gout; a maroon one, vitamins; a white oval pill, tranquilizer; a little green pill, antidepressant; half a pink pill, for her nerves; a light blue one, magnesium; an oval capsule for cholesterol; one dark green pill, energizing; a white round one to tame the appetite and the last one, calcium. She starts sowing them in her organism when she gets up and keeps doing so till she goes back to bed.
One by one, they indicate how the day passes. They drive her through safe lanes to a finish line that she wouldn’t reach with no pills. The magic clears when she goes to sleep. The next day she wakes up just like the day before and she needs to start all over again.

Original title: Mi madre y las habichuelas mágicas

Translation: Alex Jamieson

The Alarm Clock Will Go Off at Ten to Five – Daniel Frini

You’ll get up without taking a glance at her, you’ll go to the bathroom slowly, take a coffee standing in the kitchen, you’ll go out wrapped up because TV says it’s two Celsius degrees and the price of that dollar you never saw went up. You’ll take the bus that’ll run late to the stop. You’ll punch the card in the factory clock, mechanically, and you’ll take a look at the timestamp without really seeing it. You’ll put on the work clothes; turn the machine on remembering, like every day, the Rusito‘s three fingers that laid on the floor when he tore them out with the seesaw; remembering his panic and his despair. You’ll look at the clock every ten minutes until five, not expecting anything. You’ll go out whispering “later” to the watchman. Tired, you’ll commute back home, just as it happens since fifteen years ago. You’ll get home and will almost be happy by realizing your wife has left you taking her kids.

Original title: Sonará el despertador a las cinco menos diez

Translation: Alex Jamieson

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