David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

Jornalismo Cultural

Archive for the ‘Satire’ tag

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

A body that suffers

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I stopped walking for a few months, as soon as my body took control of my life

I still do not move and I can only think about the last time I stood up (Art: Mindcage, by Rodrigo Aviles)

I still do not move and I can only think about the last time I stood up (Art: Mindcage, by Rodrigo Aviles)

I woke up one day and realized that my body was no longer mine. I tried to move myself on the bed, but it did not work. I belonged to him, but he did not belong to me. So, I kept lying there, watching the ceiling amid plaintive darkness. There were misshapen and oscillating traits. No! More than that! A dense and clear filth that reminded me of those awful bacteria that I saw in biology classes in my teen years.

I had never noticed how the liner could be so dirty. I think that concentrates the core of our rotting. Or, was it my imagination? Maybe, I was the bacterium itself, graced with a panoramic view of myself. Who knows! The truth is that my breath was still stinking and noisy. It was horrible! My nose simulated a landfill, spreading slurry every exhale. And what dripped from my nose, I didn’t feel or see. After all, I was relegated to a mere spectator of the repulsive spectacle that used my body as a stage.

How I struggled to silence my mind. Of course I could not! I closed my eyes for a few minutes, and the ambient temperature dropped to five or six degrees Celsius. I shivered more by hate than cold. I was covered with a white comforter, old and dingy, with some yellowish spots – circles of piss that damn neighbor’s cat gave me as a present when he invaded my wardrobe. What a bastard!

It’s alright! Soon I forgot the cat and wanted to get up to give a lesson in mother nature. How I wish to drag her by the hair. Maybe with each wad of hair pulled out, she would rise a degree of temperature. With 15 wads, I would leave her partially bald and we would have 20 or 21 degrees. And what a victory! And I could still use those hairs to make a duster or a little curtain for a puppet show.

Rhinitis, bronchitis and sinusitis, sinusitis, bronchitis and rhinitis, it was difficult to find out who wanted to screw me up. Dammit! Who am I trying to fool? I really smoked! And I smoked a lot! I’ve consumed four packs a day! I was a chimney more effective than any iron horse ever seen. I am the greatest collector of lung diseases that this world does not know. I should be in the Guinness Book! Holding my biggest trophy, the only lung I have left, so black it looks like a post-barbecue coal.

So what? My teeth were so blond, and my breath so grody that I could make cosplay of Beetlejuice. I loved to blow smoke on the people’s face, especially those who despised smokers. I came close, like someone who did not want anything. I concentrated on the smoke and I released it just when someone would open their mouth to say something. Then, I faked embarrassment – a pair of wide eyes, a deep breath and a nod of the head, I apologized and walk away. I had so much fun when there was a no smoke free environment. Oh! Never mind… I do not want to talk about this anymore!

Look! I had never noticed how the lining gets filled with dashed lines at dawn. They are like roundworms that dominate the backstage of the house. I think I am one because I no longer feel my vertebrae. I summarize myself to a dormant emaciated matter. It may be that all that I see and contempt is, in some proportion, a representation of myself.

I wondered how many creepy, hideous creatures inhabit this place night after night. I bet if I knocked it down, I’d find hundreds of nameless animals, never cataloged. They are beings that only exist for a few hours of the dawn, when we confuse reality, dream and nightmare. It may be that they feed of hopes, daydreams, and prolonged reflections.

Right! I still do not move and I can only think about the last time I stood up. It seemed so irrelevant, useless. “Watch your spine, correct your posture, one step after another,” How silly! I just wanted to sit and lie down, lie down and sit down. Maybe, I was born to be an armadillo. But rolling also takes so much effort that I feel shivers just imagining. And the abdominal pressure at the time of turning? Sad and painful! Being a slug is equally despicable because I’m impatient and want it all at the same time. Well, I do not feel represented by any animal, rational or not.

Dude, I love food! I fed my life so badly and it gave me the most unusual of pleasures. Where someone was feeding properly, I would approach and sit beside them. I wanted the person to be disturbed by my presence. I was a wake-up caller. I did everything I could to shock them, to see them astonished by my bad habits.

“That’s right! This is me! And I am against everything you believe in. I am here as the full proof that the world does not belong to you. The dictatorship of health will not prevail. We are still the majority and we will not be defeated. I will not allow it! Never! Never! Look! Look at his size, how much fat! I asked the clerk to put another 200 grams of bacon and 200 grams of cheddar cheese. The more industrialized the better! I demanded triple trans fat! Watch! Watch the oil trickling through the burrs of my snack. There is so much oil that we can fry a potato inside my mouth after I eat it. Do you accept it? “I suggested. Displaying my teeth caramelized by the churros that I ate before as an appetizer. Shocked, the girl next to me in the food court got up and left without a word.

Physical activities? I despised it from the first day I saw it! Wherever I passed, if someone invited me to exercise, I did not think twice before telling them to back off. What a shame! Fuck the damn thing! I will live and die as I wish! Why stand, walk or run? I hate all this with all my might! I do not even believe we were meant to walk! Whose idea was that? I hope the moron has died brutally!

Speaking of bipeds and quadrupeds, how I loved meat! I ate more than 15 pounds a week until I got atherosclerosis. Marvelous! What’s done is done. But there is no denying that it was one of the best phases of my life. When I walked through the downtown, people thought they were close to a butcher or slaughterhouse. No! There was nothing like that around us. It was the natural fragrance exhaled by my body. “What smells of raw meat, where does that come from?” “Wow! What a dead cow stink!”,”I think there’s a new butcher shop nearby”, I listened copiously.

My constant drinking also marked my life. Of course! I said it was just a social gathering. Funny! Fool of whoever believed. What I drank three times a week was what many did not consume in a month. I needed to be good at it. So I discovered an effective method to increase my tolerance for alcohol. Of course, I will not say what it is! Yes! I went so far, so far that my liver could not stay with me. Today we live in separate places.

Now, the memories of my transformation have come to my mind. I stopped walking for a few months, as soon as my body took control of my life. It was about where he wanted to go and when. So capricious, what a strong personality! If he did not like the idea, he turned off like a toy with a worn-out pile. Is he vindictive? Yeah! How can be so hateful? Last week, he allowed me to move my right leg and left arm for the last time.

I keep looking at the lining, aware of two lizards that feed on a beetle. Leaning on the open window, the neighbor’s demented cat, with its ears staring at the full moon, licks his own paws and watches them. I remember the Devil Scarab, so valuable and so useless, just as life is for so many people. I feel tired, oblivious to my body. My eyes close and I recognize that I am no longer human, only prey to who I was predator. “May your body not be the first grave of your skeleton”, wrote Jean Giraudoux in Notes et Maximes, Le Sport, 1928.

Written by David Arioch

December 12th, 2016 at 5:11 pm