A cold, warm gun

Travelers of light we are, she is humming to herself. It is a song, but it is also the truth, according to her. They are marching the south-eastern suburbs of Brussels in order to get to the forest that still surrounds the city; despite the roads and quarters that have cut into it. It is 15 of January and wet snow is falling from the sky – the color of old unclean sheets. He is walking beside her silently, his upper body, head and good part of the face are covered in a bright red parka. Impossible to walk briskly in wind and snow and talk at the same time, so she keeps talking to herself. I will clear away the Christmas tree when we get home, finally, it is about the time. And then watch one of the Tarantino films – she got a box of DVD’s from a friend as a present. Walking in cold weather always induces happiness in her, as if there was a powerful substance in the air that shoots directly to her blood; happiness is a warm gum, another song quote. Cold gun, she muses and walks ever swifter. They are both having a day off, though it is Tuesday, not a weekend. Continue reading

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Encuentro casual y metáfora humana

Hay muy pocas oportunidades en la vida de coincidir con la misma persona en dos espacios y tiempos diferentes. Quizás te haya ocurrido alguna vez, en un vuelo, quizás en un restaurante, o puede que en un parque infantil con nuestros respectivos niños.

K: Oía como el cliente de la habitación de al lado en el Hotel Chambord Brussels hablaba por teléfono en una lengua, románica, como la mía, pero que por entonces desconocía. Y no sé por qué tenía la sensación de estar compartiendo emociones y pensamientos con él. Hablaba en el mismo tono y timbre que yo. Y parecía cansado y angustiado como yo por aquel tiempo de burn out profesional. Como si fuéramos la misma persona en dos espacios diferentes demasiado próximos. Continue reading

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Mugshot après shopping


A supermarket is not at all a playground for crooks, nor is it an all-you-can-mug service, in spite of what the self-checkout terminals seem to suggest to certain people. This is a serious market for deals between the company and the clients. Quality meets expectation. The orange juice will have the exact same taste in every bottle; so will have the yoghurt, even the one with a higher proportion of more perishable, transfatty acids. Herr Umber is very aware of these and a thousand further details necessary to run a supermarket branch as successfully as he is doing it with this one.

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Becoming a Murderer and Not Knowing Why

The traveller could not believe his eyes about what he did today.

He had just stepped out that train and he took a knife out of his pocket. The red blood on the sharp blade reminded him of what had just happened. Seven people! He had killed seven people this morning. But was it real? Wasn’t this all theoretic? Continue reading

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Out of What Law

Charcoal exercise

Artwork by Enrique Cropper

Their office block was nothing special by Brussels standards: recent refurbishment; nylon replacement carpet; LED lights fitted according to the new European norm; and a lick of pastel paint, trying hard to give the impression everything was fresh and new. Yet the corridors in the building languished as long and lifeless as before; the work inside the office cells remained a routine series of email instructions calling only for copy-pasted replies;  and the output documents continued being loaded in those thankless applications, for a hierarchy ever more obsessed with timeliness and form, rather than with content and meaning. The staff moved with the times.

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