David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

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Children of the White Gold Cinema

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I saw the tears streaming down his face, wetting his plaid shirt buttoned up at the point of his neck

The White Gold Cinema, one of the great entertainment points of the population of Paranavaí (Archive: Osvaldo Del Grossi)

I am not part of a generation that has the strongest and clearest memories of the White Gold Cinema, one of the great entertainment points of the population of Paranavaí, in the Northwest of Paraná, until 1993. When the cinema was closed, I was still a child. Despite this, I went to the Gold Cinema for a few years of my childhood, and I have fond memories of that time.

My first time at the movies was a session of “The Bumbling Heroes – An Adventure in the Jungle”, on a weekend in 1988. By then, the biggest screen I had seen was the 21-inch TV, covered by a box of varnished wood, which was in the living room. Even so, I was happy watching cartoons on it.

As soon as my brother, my mother and I arrived in front of the White Gold Cinema, in Manoel Ribas Street, in the downtown, I paid attention to the people lined around the box office. Tiny, I watched everything in the proportionality of my stature. I saw more shoes, legs and belts than faces. Except, of course, when people were as little as I was.

Before we got inside the cinema, I walked slowly and backwards along the sidewalk, trying to observe the height of the White Gold’s building, but it was impossible for me. So, I thought that was the biggest movie theater in the world. Who knows, maybe it crossed the skies and had direct contact with the paradise they talked about in school.

The gentle popcorn seller smiled at me, noticing through my large, cylindrical black eyes that it was my movie debut. “Is it your fist time?” You’ll like it and you’ll want to come back many times”, he said, straightening a small amount of sweet pop corn, preventing it from mixing with the salty one.

Warm and smelling, the popcorn popped into the cart. For a moment, I believed, in my boyish illusion, that maybe the popcorn had a life, and wants to go to the movies to watch “The Bumbling Heroes”. By my side, prevailed a sweet aroma that pacified the most bewildering children – yes, it was an effective white-hot soothing odor.

It reminded me of the airy red tabebuia tree, that I saw every day near my house, when I pointed with my finger and shouted: “Look that sweet popcorn tree!” On the other side of the popcorn cart, the smell of popcorn changed, as well as the public. The adults, especially the men, approached and asked: “Give me the salty one, please!”

Skilled, the popcorn seller knew the exact amount of popcorn to fill every bag. I watched his grooved hands glittering in front of the small yellow lamp that glowed and gilded his wrinkled face. It was that way, whenever he leaned in or steeled himself. That was his spectacle, and at the entrance of the White Gold Cinema, nobody was more important than the popcorn seller.

On that day, before we went to the cinema, five shoeshine boys, aged between 6 and 14, approached. They leaned against a wall next to the White Gold Cinema and, as the ragamuffins boys from Buñuel’s “The Young and the Damned”, started smoking, watching families getting out of cars and crossing the sidewalk.

“If I had a father or a mother I would not be in this life, brother! Being poor and alone is not easy. No, sir! Look how much luxury those kids have”, said one of the four boys to his friends. Without a word, they just shook their heads in agreement, crushing little butts with their little feet.

Dirty, with grimy nails and the nauseating smell of cheap cigarettes, a shoeshine boy no more than 12 years old lead a group of kids. As someone hesitant about entering or leaving, he folded his arms and raised his face as one of the entrance lights highlighted his dubious expression of satisfaction

“Guys, listen up! Quickly! This movie ‘Bumbling Heroes’ is very good. There’s only one bad thing. Mussum and Zechariah die at the end. Thanks! Bye! “He shouted and ran laughing, while his dark and curly hair was fluttering. At that moment, he became an antagonist worthy of the villain Scar.

The boy dragged his shabby slippers and, with his companions, went down to Pará Street. Some children did not care about the revelation, but others were so angry that they wanted their parents to call the police or do something about it. For good, no one pursued them.

Inside the Gold White, I was stunned by the out of sight seats. “There are one thousand five hundred seats here. Look up there, it’s like an opera”, my mother told us, watching our reactions. Unhurried, we spun around the mastodontic room, trying to see all the details.

Luckily, there were vacant seats in the front row. Then, we walked there, crossing hallways and listening to the sounds of spectators eating popcorn, talking, making fun of someone and hugging each other. Near us, the usher accompanied everything with its indefectible aura of firefly. He felt like the leader of a coliseum where nothing would happen without his permission, especially when the lights went out.

As soon as I sat down, I observed a boy in mended clothes sitting next to me, accompanied by his mother. His name was Juscelino, and he was a year or two older than me. It was also his first time at the movies. I noticed his anxiety because his small feet kept swinging, as did mine.

His trembling hands sweated so much that every time he wiped them on the sides of his plaid pants. Juscelino was talking to me, keeping his face toward the disproportionate projection screen. I thought he was excited because of the movie, until I noticed something different in his eyes, a crystal clarity like I’ve never seen before. Naturally, the mother revealed that her son was born blind.

Juscelino could not see anything. Still, his excitement at White Gold Cinema surpassed even mine. The sounds and smells that came to him were like immaterial gifts, memorials. With a rare auditory and olfactory acuity, Juscelino could even see what people were doing or eating in the furthest seats- and he liked to discuss everything with me.

Son of peasants from Alto Paraná, he arrived in Paranavaí by bus in the morning, and stayed waiting for hours for the ticket office to open. His father could not participate in the big event, because the savings just barely covered the expenses of his wife and child. “It’s going to start, mom!” Said the little boy seconds before the projector started showing the movie, as if he had a gift for omens.

From beginning to end, Juscelino was completely silent, trying to absorb as much sound information as possible. Occasionally, he moved about the chair without making a sound, worried about bothering people. Juscelino, my brother and I were united by an experience that would never be repeated. Our greatest discoveries were visual, and those of Juscelino were auditory. Perhaps even richer than ours, as he put himself in the position of creator by putting forth to the creativity of everything he heard.

Still in the dark, I saw the tears streaming down his face, wetting his plaid shirt buttoned up at the point of his neck. At the end, with the return of the lights, I asked him what it was like to watch a movie at the cinema without being able to see. My mother scolded me, but Juscelino’s mother did not mind the question.

“I can not explain it right, but I see, yes, I just do not see with my eyes. I see everything I carry inside me”, he justified before taking hold of his mother’s hand and walking in short steps toward the exit. The artificial lighting contrasted and harmonized with the compliant light of the newly arrived portentous moon.

On the corner, at the intersection between Pará and Manoel Ribas Street, the five shoeshine boys, children living as adults, drummed their boxes. They were seated on the curb, immersed in false smiles and sullen stares, trying to exist for a world that scarcely recognized their true intentions.

Returning home on foot, we crossed the street. As we passed them, the same boy, who caused the commotion at the entrance to the cinema, pulled me by the arm and, with an implied look, asked “Hey, my friend. Can you tell us the story of the movie you saw there at the cinema?”


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Written by David Arioch

March 30th, 2017 at 1:28 am


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15073405_1229816640443062_66558832310908531_nI came in from the gym, I took a shower, and, starving, I prepared my plate. As soon as I sat down to dinner, there was a blackout on my street. Without being stressed, I walked from the kitchen to the backyard with the plate in my hands. I sat on one of those traditional porch chairs and I dined in the moonlight. A huge moon that casted light on me and everything that surrounded me.

Then I peeled an orange and I sucked it. As soon as I finished, I heard a grim sound. It was Kali, the tuxedo cat from here, acting weird. As I tried to understand the situation, she let out a oxytone mewoed and jumped in my direction, twisting her nails into my beard. Suddenly, she calmed down, gathered her claws, and the macabre expression on her face disappeared.

I did not understand anything until I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. In front of the mirror, there were two orange seeds in my beard, looking like two small eyes. She probably thought my beard had taken the shape of an animal and she was jealous. The moonlight dinner did not come so cheap. It cost me some nails on my neck.

Written by David Arioch

February 7th, 2017 at 11:03 am

In front of the bathroom

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The door was locked. There was a person inside

In the morning, I went to the mastologist to give him some test results that I’ve done in the last few months. Before being attended to, I felt a great urge to urinate. I went through the clinic and, in front of the bathroom, I turned the knob – the door was locked. There was a person inside. It’s alright! I pulled away and waited for my turn.

In the meantime, a pregnant woman arrived with her husband. They watched me suspiciously. As soon as a man came out of the bathroom, she stepped forward and, without asking, entered and locked the door. I saw no problem in that, even though I longed to use it. After all, she was a pregnant woman. I could keep waiting, even uneasy.

In less than a minute, the husband of the pregnant woman continued to analyze me. I did not move my head or eyes to return the doubt, curiosity or suspicion. While simulating my attention at a fixed point, I noticed her husband approaching, picking up a paper towel from a counter a few inches away from me, and pulling away. For a few seconds, I saw him walking toward the waiting room.

I stood there, motionless, with an inscrutable countenance, feeling so phlegmatic that I almost could become an extension of the balcony. Without delay, the man returned. He was still watching me. He could not pretend anymore. He fortuitously struggled to make some kind of opposition to himself. Maybe he was in conflict. Then, his wife left the bathroom. She looked at me, and I did not do the same. I realized without any effort that they watched me right and left. OK!

I had the impression that they were trying to crush me with their eyes. Without communicating, I ignored them. I walked into the bathroom without looking back, and it seemed to me that there was some kind of surprise in that, at least on their part that they did not understand what I was doing there. While I was urinating, I felt my body lighter, especially my head that seemed to carry the weight of eyes that were not mine. I washed my hands, took off my shirt, straightened my beard and hair. I cross the hallway to the second waiting room without looking at anything.

I noticed a few pairs of eyes and walked to the first waiting room, where I left the results of my exams on one of the chairs. After I was attended by the mastologist, I asked the receptionist to give me the original guide to the examination request, because I needed to present it in the laboratory. Meanwhile, the couple I met earlier approached me. When the husband saw that I was leaving, he put his helmet on one of his arms and cordially smiled, opening the office door, so I could leave.

Written by David Arioch

February 7th, 2017 at 10:59 am

The death of the lady next door

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The announcement was made by two half-blooded dogs (Painting: Jonelle Summerfield)

A lady who lived on my street died. The announcement was made by two half-blooded dogs attempting to invade the house. They howled and left claw marks on the kitchen door. In a few minutes, they carved a tangle of risks, syncretism of sadness and despair. They felt her absence before witnessing her dead, fallen in the kitchen, victim of a stroke.

Together, they dug a hole in the yard, a naive attempt to reach her. They did not let themselves down. They just left the pit when they heard someone opening the gate. It was her son. “Mother … mother … I have arrived!” Lorenzo and Matino approached the boy. With muzzles full of dirt, they barked simultaneously.

Tuneless by their fatigue and disarticulation of surprise, they lamented as orphaned children who have not yet learned to speak. Tears streamed down, as did the long, fragile howl that floated like water wires drifting uncertainly through the mouths of the wolf. The son opened the door and the dogs moved forward into the kitchen. They licked the hands of the woman who no longer existed.

The boy covered his mouth and screamed, suppressing the sound and swallowing the hot breath like a burst of fire. He wiped the tears from his T-shirt and called the Fire Department. “There is nothing more to be done.” Circling the body, Lorenzo and Matino howled again. With a husky voice, the son shouted: “Sorry, mother! Forgive me!” Without making a sound, the dogs approached and licked the boy’s hands.

With the arrival of funeral workers, they packed the body in a PVC bag and left. The son went behind, in his car, accompanied by Lorenzo and Matino. With their heads through the window, they kept howling at nothing, or at all, since life celebrates death as much as death celebrates life.

Written by David Arioch

January 18th, 2017 at 11:14 am

Dora’s destiny

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One day, Dora could not stand the pressure, and collapsed on the chilly floor of the work room


Dora decide to alleviate her own pain by committing suicide (Art: Copy)

Dora and I met in early 2008, after the death of her parents in an accident on the BR-376 highway. She was 23 years old, and she had worked at one of these telemarketing stations for three years. After the tragedy, instead of worrying about the girl, all the family moved away from her. At the same time, I was fired from the newspaper because the session where I worked was extinguished shortly after the publisher resigned.

But, it had been a long time since Dora and I met to talk, ramble and tell our plans. Inspired by James Joyce’s Dubliners, my idea was to use layoff money to travel around Ireland. To be more precise, I intended to attend shows from the post-rock band God Is An Astronaut. Furthermore, I wanted to write in a notebook, everything I saw as interesting about human behavior in the Old World, and its relation to time and the environment. I did not want to work, only to wander until the money was gone.

“I want to distance myself from everything, in order to have a chance to be reborn. Humans need to change from time to time, otherwise they can go mad or become even worse – a resigned fellow”, I said to Dora, who smiled as she lightly tapped the tips of her purple nails on the massive rustic table in the bar. She paused for a moment, stared up at the starry sky, pointed the immense moon with one of her delicate hands, lowered her almond eyes, raised them again and said, “Man, I have leukemia.”

I had no reaction, and I believed that nothing that came out of my mouth at that moment would comfort her. Then, I simply recovered my serene expression, fixed my eyes on her eyes, and I subtly touched five times her left hand that rested on the table. She understood and smiled, not saying a word. I realized that Dora did not want to talk about the disease, only to share with someone a revelation she did not dare tell anyone else.

Later, I took her home and went home thinking about how delicate her situation was. I, who had already lost my father to cancer in 1997, could never again see the disease as less than ruthless. It usurps the human being much more than life itself – annihilates its dignity. It is the reaffirmation of our weaknesses, of the end, of ephemerality.

We met for another two months, until one day, talking on the cell phone, she suggested that we should not see each other again. I ended up respecting her decision, understanding the delicacy of the situation. She no longer turned on the camera during our online conversations. She also hid the profile photo. I questioned it once and I regretted it. I did not see her anymore nor by chance. Maybe she had made the decision to leave the house just to work.

Still, I know that I would have felt like the meanest of men if I had left for my joycean journey. I gave up the trip to Ireland and started writing about Dora. We still talked quite often, and I asked her to tell me about her routine. At work, she did not tell anyone about the diagnosis of the disease and continued living as if she had no health problems. I was probably the only person who knew about her leukemia. To look at me, might have been a proof to the sum of her weaknesses.

I never asked her if she regretted telling me about the illness, but I began to realize that she felt more vulnerable in front of me. On the cell phone, her sweet voice diminished more and more, subdued by the constant contradiction of emotions. At times, distressed and confused, she called me at dawn. I barely heard her gasping breath and she hung up regretfully. Her sensibility intensified every day – to the prime of the skin.

At work, there was no respite and she did not want to admit she had leukemia. The clients, who called the call center complaining about the services, did not care about the life or emotional state of those on the other side of the line. “Are you retarded, woman? You donkey! I want my money back! I will not pay for a service I did not use!”, shouted a man, claiming that he was a judge and promised to do his best to see her fired if his problem was not resolved.

The daily complaints intensified. Within three hours, Dora was verbally insulted by up to 20 clients. Unhappy, they overflowed their personal and professional problems on the girl, criticizing her for failures that were beyond her functions. “Listen here, my dear! I’m a doctor, can you hear me? I’ve studied a lot to get where I am and it’s not going to be some kind of telemarketing girl, which has a dirty job for dumb and disqualified people, who will take advantage of me!”, said a woman who presented herself as a relative to a federal legislator.

One day, Dora could not stand the pressure, and collapsed on the chilly floor of the work room. She was pale, lips purplish, and she was cold. She took the afternoon off and went home. She went into the bedroom, sat on the bed, and stared at the reflection in the oblong mirror. She did not feel as pretty as she had before, and she began to cry, watching the tears trickling through her dimpled slits after a heavy loss of weight. She was ten pounds leaner, her hair rapidly losing volume, and hardly anyone knew what was happening to Dora – Although there were many rumours.

“She was so beautiful! What a body she had, eh? Remember the dimples? A charm! Does she suffer from anorexia nervosa? A waste! No more thighs, butt… nothing!”, spoke her boss with a colleague, without noticing the presence of Dora, who heard everything when she was going to the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet, Dora put her hands to her face. She struggled to cry, only tears were left. She was exhausted, and she felt constantly dehydrated, even though she was trying to drink a plenty of water.

She leaned forward and asked, in a small, hesitant voice, if God would take her as fast as possible if her destiny were death. For her, nothing overcame the pain caused by ignorance and human insensitivity. Leaving home has become a tortuous exercise in coping with the worst adversities.

Even in the street, strangers looked at her as if she was not a human being, but something different, innominate. “Mother, why is that girl so thin?”, asked a ten-year-old girl. “I do not know, honey! Because of her face, I suppose she has AIDS”, the woman replied instantly, believing that the distance was enough to prevent Dora from hearing the answer.

Dora quit her job as a telemarketing operator before starting her chemotherapy treatment. She locked herself indoors, surviving from savings and communicating with the world and people only through the internet and the cell phone. She also gave up treatment. Dora did not even go out to the market anymore.

She could not distinguish day and night, especially when she spent many hours lying in bed, sleeping or staring at the white ceiling, which gained uncertain forms according to the prevailing sentiment. “I will not lie, Dora. The truth is that you have from six months to a year left to live, “said the oncologist with sudden naturalness.

Refusing to receive any kind of visit for months, Dora decided to alleviate her own pain by committing suicide with rodenticide. She bought the product online and waited for its arrival. She heard someone clapping, opened the door and, for the first time in more than 50 days, Dora felt the sun touching her snowy face. It was lukewarm and caressed her fine apples. The sky was so clear that she watched closely a noisy, loving rapture of mockingbirds.

She walked to the gate, took the package from the mailman’s hand, and before entering the house, she noticed a small, black dog with only a few days to live, and his brown little eye turned upwards. He was left beside the iris beige vase, Doras’s mother’s favorite. She was surprised by the resistance of the specimen that grew bright and gallant despite the abandonment.

As soon as she opened the package, Dora broke the sealing wax and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water, when the telephone rang. “Is it Mrs. Dora? It’s the lab here. We’re calling to let you know that we need you to come here urgently. We have discovered serious errors in your exams. You’ve never had leukemia, just anemia. “

Written by David Arioch

January 17th, 2017 at 1:25 pm

The beard and the boy Yusuf

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“I never imagined that one day I would see you speaking Portuguese. Amazing, son!”


In 1957, the boy named Yusuf died in Port Said (Photo: Copy)

When I was much younger, I had never considered the possibility of growing a beard. The truth is that I did not even know if there was a beard to grow. However, from an early age I was intrigued by the number of bearded thinkers and writers until the early 20th century.

Among the Brazilians, my earliest memories of my time at the college involve authors like Machado de Assis, José de Alencar and Gregório de Matos. I do not know whether the fact of growing a beard was a preference with aesthetic motivation or whether it had a relationship with the zeitgeist. In addition, I also recognize that in the past it was customary to keep facial hair to hide imperfections and scars caused by diseases such as smallpox.

Thinking internationally, Plato, Chaucer, Melville, Victor Hugo, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Whitman, Bram Stoker, Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, Bernard Shaw and Ginsberg are some bearded men who come to my mind at this time. And analyzing periods, it is fair to say that from the beginnings of philosophy and literature, the beard was present, and here I speak not as a form of social distinction, but as a resource of personal construction. However, today, unlike other times, bulky beards and long beards are almost always associated with hipsters, terrorists and religious fanatics. Of course, political parties.

Thinking about it, I remembered a singular experience after I became bearded. One day, I left around 8:00 am and went to the house of a man named Francisco, who arrived in Paranavaí in 1944. He agreed to give me an interview about the colonization times of the Northwest of Paraná. In front of his house, I rang the bell and watched a little dog roll around inside his wooden house.

It was not long when someone shouted from the distant porch: “Come in, my son. Come to me. “I opened the gate, climbed a few steps, and crossed the garden. There he was, tall and thin, sitting on a comfy brown chair with beige upholstery. Beneath his feet was a scattering of sand inside a small box. “What a nice old man!”, I thought, and then we shook our hands. Suddenly, he looked me in the eyes and said: “I bet you understand it more than I do.” I did not catch the message and I noticed his feet sinking slowly into the sand.

“Sand is life, isn’t it? How many shades of sand can you recognize?”, he asked. I was confused and I laughed, suspecting that the man was drunk or under heavy medication. Still, I replied: “It depends on the incidence of the sun, the factors of action and reaction. Hmm…thinking better, I suppose, I can identify 25 to 30. ”

– Splendid! I already imagined something like that. I was suspicious when I saw you”, he said.

And the conversation went a completely different way, leaving me sometimes hesitant. We talked almost nothing about his life, because most of the questions were asked by him. “I never imagined that one day I would see you speaking Portuguese. Amazing, son!”, he pointed out in the first ten minutes with a dubious smile.

He digressed heavily, and occasionally asked to see the palm of my hand. “You may not see it, but the traces of your hand say a lot about your beard. And whoever says that a beard is nothing more than hair on the face is a fool. It says a lot about the ways of a man’s life. It, in its sinuosity, is like a physical extension of your own mind. I know this because I have been growing a beard for almost 60 years”, he told, touching his gaunt white beard that covered his chin. So, he regretted that at the age of 86 he was no longer bearded like 20 years earlier.

I also noticed his damp eyes as he bent over and slid his index finger into the sandbox. Some tears dripped painfully, as if coming out of an eyedropper. Seeing that, I apologized and suggested that maybe we’d better schedule the interview for another day. Trembling, Francisco got up and asked me to give him a hug.

“Of course, mister Francisco”, I replied.

When his translucent wrinkled hands touched me, I heard his restrained sobs and his heart pounding. “Now, I could even shave my beard,” he whispered, weakened. Soon, he faded. I screamed and his wife appeared. She asked me to put him on the bed. Fainted, his expression was serene and I saw his meager smile. Respectfully, I did not ask for explanations, I said goodbye and walked to the porch, where I found a picture of a seven or eight-year-old child sitting on the shoulders of Francisco still young.

The following week, I discovered that the smiling little boy in the photo was an Egyptian orphan who would be adopted by Francisco, a former soldier of the Suez Battalion. In 1957, the boy named Yusuf died in his arms, after being shot in his head by an Israeli soldier on a mission in Port Said. “I will never shave my beard again in my life. Never! I swear by everything in this world, unless Yusuf returns to life”, shouted Francisco in tears that day.

Written by David Arioch

December 27th, 2016 at 11:54 pm

The MRI and the metal’s chimera

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I had the impression that the machine slowed and compressed me as the sound increased

I even forgot how big the machine could be (Photo: Steward Health)

I even forgot how big the machine could be (Photo: Steward Health)

After more than ten years, I went back for another MRI exam. Arriving at the clinic, I confirmed my data, signed a new guide, got a badge and sat in a comfortable armchair in the next room. Meanwhile, Oprah featured the story of an architect facing termite problems. Around me, nobody said anything. They were all silent, looking at the TV.

I tried to follow the outcome of that modern tragedy, but it was impossible. My eyes turned to the door, open or closed, where young women appeared calling the patients. In these circumstances, my anxiety overrides any other sensation. Despite the great movement, soon I heard my name, I straightened my beanie and went my way.

I walked into a locker room and the girl said she’d be back in ten minutes. As usual, I took off my clothes and sat in the armchair, where I noticed again how clinics look more glacial on rainy days. Even the most subtle of the breezes seem able to cross walls and puff the unsuspecting, remembering that nothing in life is unattainable and that the moment can be as hard as a cement piece.

Over my head, was a small safe for things like watches and cell phones. I looked at it closely until a phrase echoed through my mind: “Leave everything that contains metal because otherwise something bad can happen”, the MRI technician warned me earlier. To corroborate, I read a warning next to the door, stating that metals can damage the machine and cause serious injuries to patients.

It worried me so much that still naked, I kept sliding my hands over my body, trying to find some trace of metal. “Is there anything metal in my body? Am I right? Am I right?”, I questioned myself, so distressed that I did not rule out the possibility of finding lead needles, sticking out from my nails and aluminum wires from my ears.

I took off my cap and rubbed my hands on my hair to make sure there was no steel abrasives in my scalp. After wearing the trousers and the t-shirt that she gave me, I spent at least five minutes in unfathomable introspection. And in the meantime, I digressed so much that my body became numb, so lethargic that I was feeling like a seed. I tried to get up, but I could not move. My feet were trapped in a void immersed in a whole. “That’s weird! It looks like a sign!”, I inferred.

Suddenly, the technician knocked on the door and called me. Then, I followed her into a huge room. It had been so long since I had had a MRI exam that I even forgot how big the machine could be. As soon as I lay down and smiled briefly, the woman frowned and made a squeak of displeasure. “Gee, you wear braces! Can you remove it?” I said no. She watched me for a few seconds and accepted the fact.

“Look, it’s going to make a terrible, terrible noise, so I’m going to put those protectors in your ears. If you go wrong, just squeeze this little ball that I’ll take you inside, okay? “I nodded my head, I pretended I was calm, and waited for the start of the exam, already seeing that white tunnel like a crematorium in disguise.

I did not remember how small it looked from the inside. After two, three, and four minutes, my imagination had worked as never before. “It does not make much noise. It is a soft, slow sound. I’ll end up sleeping”, I thought after nearly five minutes. Believing that my exam was coming to an end, I heard a crash so loud that my sleep numbed eyes widened.

How foolish of me! The exam had not even begun. Along with the noise, I had the impression that the machine slowed and compressed me as the sound increased, out of cadence. And to further aggravate the situation, a bewildering noise sounded like an explosion. Along with the noise, I had the impression that the machine shrinked and compressed me as the sound increased, out of cadence. And to further aggravate the situation, a bewildering noise sounded like an explosion.

“Damn, did something happen? What if this machine becomes on fire with me right here?”, I fantasized, already noticing my warm back and thinking of changing positions. It was worse when I remembered the braces and could not find enough space to bring my hand to my mouth. I just felt my gums burning.

At that moment, a macabre and dystopian salad of movies ran through my mind. From David Lynch’s “Eraserhead,” to William Sachs’s “The Incredible Man Who Melted”, I watched hidden in the Mouth of Hell when I was a child. In short, I traveled through an untimely universe of tragedies.

I often pressed my tongue into my braces to make sure everything was still normal. And the noise intensified. My anxiety increased among the intervals because the silence flustered me. There was a satiric type of claustrophobia that made my mind a hostage. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and tried to restore my composure. It did not take long and I realized that there might be something else even in the crude dissonance of the noises.

So, the din turned to music when I linked what I heard to movies like “Run Lola Run” and “Trainspotting”, and bands like Ministry, Atari Teenage Riot, Nine Inch Nails and KMFDM. When the MRI exam was over, I had the most grateful sensation of anyone who sees a light at the end of the tunnel. I got up with a cherished heart, said goodbye to the technician, and walked to the dressing room. There, I saw a girl who did the same exam. Wearing braces, she was laughing in front of one of the doors. We did not even greet each other. We just laughed, recognizing in the creativity of fiction a joke in the form of redemption.

Written by David Arioch

December 24th, 2016 at 6:54 pm

What I did not know about herniated disc

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I liked the suggestion, and encouraged myself with the possibility of being cured


After my confirmation, he straightened his lab coat and told me to lay my face down (Art: Copy)

I’ve had a herniated disc since I was 20 years old. Despite this, I live normally. I do many exercises that require a lot of my lumbar spine. But, like any other person who has an intense weight training routine, occasionally, I make a mistake and I feel the consequences the next day.

Once, in 2014, I spoke with a friend about my misfortune, explaining that in situations like this, I must take it easy until I recover completely. Supportive, he suggested that I look for a specialist known as Torino Masseur, an excellent professional who lived a few years in Nanjing, China, where he studied millennial techniques for the treatment of herniated discs, osteoarthritis and scoliosis, among other spinal problems.

I liked the suggestion, and encouraged myself with the possibility of being cured, without having to worry so much about the lumbar, in case of soft injuries during the exercises. I called the massage therapist on Wednesday morning, and scheduled a session for 4:00 pm on Friday. At 3:40 pm, I press the intercom of the clinic located in a residential neighborhood of Paranavaí.

I was greeted by a smiling young man, with a dubious expression, who gestured more than he spoke, reminding me of a mime. “Welcome, sir”, he said behind a counter, holding a self-help book. Inside, I saw two middle-aged men sitting in very comfortable single chairs. There was a third vacant armchair, so I settled in and I began to watch the environment since I was not yet attended to.

The place was extraordinarily clean and exuded a lenient perfume that I could not identify; a supposed and pleasant combination of herbs. The clear arabesque granite floor glistened, drawing my eyes and allowing me to see my own reflection on the floor. On a coffee table, also granite, there were many health magazines, especially about alternative therapies. The most surprising thing is that it was not old like most that we found in offices.

During my distraction, I heard some strange short sounds, albeit low and indistinguishable, coming from two different directions of the clinic. Someone seemed to be in a lot of pain. Maybe the treatment will be beyond my expectations, minimizing my vile condition.

Suddenly, I heard footsteps coming from the corridor on the right. A man of medium height, about 40 years old, walked with satisfaction, displaying short teeth in a wide mouth. He approached the reception on my left, and, before he said anything, the receptionist asked if he would want to come back on the same day and at the same time the following week. “You bet I do!”, he replied, keeping his voice relatively low and looking at me suspiciously.

As soon as the man left the clinic, a comrade I’ve known for more than ten years, with whom I have dined in his house with his wife and children, left a room in the hallway on the right. When he saw me, the serene expression and laconic smile was replaced by a serious physiognomy – I even noticed a startled look. I did not understand his reaction and I kept silent. To my surprise, he ignored me, opened the door, and left.

Waiting for his turn, a bearded man greeted me and asked if I had been there before. I said no, and he told me that he started attending the clinic two years ago. “Young man, this place has changed my life. Today, I am another man, much more accomplished in every way”, he said, adding that he had always had the support of his wife.

The man kept praising the clinic, when the receptionist picked up the phone and called me, without saying my name. “He will attend to you now, sir. Shall we?” I got up and followed the guy. As soon as he opened the door, he asked me to take off my clothes, just wearing my underwear, and I lay down on a massage table, so comfortable it looked like a highest quality bed.

As I undressed, I realized that there was great instrumentation in the place, even hanging on the clear walls with practically pictorial inscriptions, and I had no idea what it was for. It seemed unusual to me, but I concluded that perhaps it was tools brought from far-off places in Asia. Until that moment, I interpreted everything that I saw, that was different in the room, as a result of a unique service.

A minute later, I lay down, and then, the recommended Torino Masseur approached me, introduced himself and questioned whether the reason for that session was a herniated disc. After my confirmation, he straightened his lab coat and told me to lay my face down. Although the position was uncomfortable, I did not want to sound impolite or foolish, and I agreed.

Across the room, he turned on a small stereo that played a transfigured moody song, a curious kind of lethargic pop. Then, I noticed that the ambient fluorescence dropped considerably. There was also an exotic, fruity scent in the air. I do not know how, but the place was no longer so clear. “Close your eyes and feel the energy flowing. Let it all happen”, he said.

Silently, I felt a foreign body, something damp, warm and grooved, leaning against my right arm. When I opened my eyes, the masseur was wiggling, wearing black synthetic leather briefs with a zipper, where his own phallus stood out and rested on his hand. “You are crazy, man! What is this? What’s wrong with you?”, I asked. Surprised and equally embarrassed, the man argued that this was not a real clinic.

Without wanting any further explanation, I jumped off the table, wiped my arm with a paper towel, I dressed into my clothes in seconds, and walked down the hall. In the waiting room, the man I talked to earlier stated with an indecorous smile, followed by a wink: “Didn’t I say the service is premium?” I did not answer. I simply opened the door and went home, aware that herniated disc is also a code for something else. I never wanted to know exactly what it is.

Written by David Arioch

December 21st, 2016 at 3:39 pm

A friendly call

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A friend called to tell me about her problems

A friend called to tell me about her problems. As a good listener, I was silent, assimilating her discontent. Suddenly, she asked for my opinion. “So, David, what do you think I should do?” When I started, “Well, I think …”, she interrupted me and complained:

“No, David! No! Look at that! Let me go on! “Then I shut up again and she continued:” But I don’t know either. It’s a difficult situation and I don’t think my mother will accept it. Do you agree? “When I tried to speak, she stopped me again. It’s all right! I preferred to abstain, aware that any answer could be misinterpreted.

“So! Are you going to say it or not? ” Getting ready for the worst, I did two exercises with my jaw. When I tried to open my mouth to make a suggestion, I could not. My mustache of long strands simply entwined with my beard. I struggled to open my mouth in vain.

As I struggled to resolve the situation, my friend shouted, “Wow, David! How insensitive you are! You’re very selfish, you know that? How can you be like this? I bet you did not hear what I said! People should know who you really are. Oh, you know what? Goodbye!”

At the end of the call, I went to the bathroom to persuade my mustache to leave my beard alone. To my surprise, I received a message from Whatsapp: “Do not forget to send me your opinion. I am waiting. Kisses!”

Written by David Arioch

December 19th, 2016 at 11:15 am

The Beard

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


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

December 16th, 2016 at 12:09 am