David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

Jornalismo Cultural

Archive for the ‘Veganism’ tag

The fisherman and the golden fish

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It was a glinting golden as the first light as the sun was thrown on the Paraná River

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One hour later, Orlando was startled to hear something crashing against the hull’s boat (Photo: Copy)

As he did every day, Orlando washed his face, brushed his teeth, prepared his stuff, said goodbye to his wife and granddaughter, and left the house in the silent darkness of the night. During the walk to the shore’s river, he listened to cicadas and crickets singing with such eagerness that seemed like they looked forward to the dawn.

When he touched a bamboo wall a few meters from the riverbank, Orlando lit the straw cigarette and watched the idle sun on the horizon appearing behind the water curtains – casting a glow that gilded the river as far as the eye could see. “What a beautiful thing! This view makes it worth waking up so early every day”, said Orlando downing and blowing a grizzly smoke coming out hot and then cold, leaving a wheezing and a bitter taste on his tongue. He remembered the exhaustive pleas of his wife asking him to stop smoking. Stubbornly, he still was smoking two or three cigarettes every morning.

Before the last smoke, Orlando’s Stern face gave way to a candid laugh, making his stomach hurt while he noticed eight frogs croaking and playing at the heart of a swamp. “It seems like a contest to see who sings louder. And there are those who say that the animals aren’t smart”, he commented when the smallest frog dodged a blow by the biggest toad.

Without distractions, Orlando walked to the river, knelt, revered sky, earth and water; rose on the boat, untied it, straightened his stuff and started the engine. He created wavelets and cut the water that became less turbid and more clear as it distanced from the shore.

When the fisherman was massaging his few gray hairs, the temperate and humid wind brought youthful memories about departed friends and deceased parents. Since he was 60 years old, he was tired, but not from the actions of the time on your body. The striated face did not bother him. Orlando simply didn’t know what was wrong with his life, so he continued doing what he always did. He was a fisherman since childhood and lived in five islands within the Paraná River. He fished a lot in 45 years, so he no longer took pleasure in plundering the treasure’s nature.

– Since they created the dam, many species of fish are gone. That’s what everyone says, including me. But do we also have no fault in it? All those years of fishing must have traumatized nature – reflected Orlando, scratching slightly his wrinkled chin – burned by frequent sun exposure.

For decades, he smiled in photographs, holding fish up to 180 pounds. He supplied many fishmongers in a distance of over 63 miles. But in the last five years, Orlando stopped seeing the animals taken from the water as if they were trophies.

In late afternoon, he chafed when his friend Larry, one of his clients, talked about disruptive business, claiming he was delivering few fish.

“Looks like you forgot how to fish. I know some kids out there who already are leaving you behind, my friend. You will say you’ve forgotten that you called Hook Eye? Let’s get smart here!”, complained Larry. During the crossing of the Alligator’s Lagoon, Orlando recalled the episode in the fish shop. He said nothing to Larry that day. He felt under pressure, but did not even understand the true reason.

Around 5 p.m., after visiting the Bahia River, he returned to shore. Discouraged, he saw the house itself highlighting on the hillside. He turned off the boat’s engine and kept silent, watching the water and the sky. The fisherman didn’t want to be there and delayed the inevitable, embittering the volatility of an existential crisis.

Saddened, he dozed, keeping his head propped up on the lifejacket. The night wanted to be born and he had not caught any fish. “What will they think of me?”, he asked. The sun was pious and covered his body with a warm light. One hour later, Orlando was startled to hear something crashing against the hull’s boat.

Faltering, he prepared the fishing rod and cast it into the water with dexterity, as if whipping the riverbed. In less than a minute, the fisherman felt the bending rod and something biting the hook. As he struggled to pull it, a fish moved violently under water. It was a glinting golden as the first light as the sun was thrown on the Paraná River.

Laying unwillingly in the boat, the 13 pound fish fought with vigor, struggling on a piece of canvas. Orlando scowled, clenched his teeth and avoided looking directly at the animal. His eyes ached. Still, he took the fish and wrapped it in canvas to not have to watch him and walked to the fish shop. There, he put the golden on a table with traces of viscera and dried blood and shouted:

– Hey, is anybody here? Where are you, Larry? I came to bring a golden fish. You always complain about the shortage of this one.

– I’m here, Orlando. In the back! Come and give me a hand. I need to change the freezer’s place.

Even reluctantly, Orlando helped Larry. Back at the reception, the golden was no longer there, only the piece of canvas that was rapped around him. The fisherman brought his hands to his head and his heart raced.

– I don’t believe this! It is not possible that someone took the fish here! What am I going to do now?

One hundred meters downhill, Orlando was shocked when he saw the golden fish jumping, trying to get close to the shore. Then he ran to him and before anyone else did, took him in his arms and went down without worrying about the slipper straps that undid on the way.

With dark eyes and a mouth that opened and closed all the time, the fish stopped struggling, and for the first time the fisherman saw his own reflection on the animal’s scales. More than anything, the golden longed for water. And the smell emanating from his body was not of flesh, but of life. In the light of the setting sun, as soon as the fish was thrown into the river, Orlando was reborn and the golden fish disappeared.

The piglet from the showcase

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The truth is that no one cared about his presence until the glass began to vibrate

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“Oh my God! What is that? A live pig! Disgusting! How awful! What a joke! Lord, have mercy!” (Photo: Copy)

One day, the butcher shop queue seemed endless, extending to the far white wall, where the exhibitors showed up with hundreds of cereal boxes. And more and more people were buying huge amounts of meat.

“Give me twenty kilos of lamb!”, “I want ten kilos of pork ribs!” “Oh! And seven kilos of tuscan sausage!” “No! I asked fifteen kilos of termites!” “Yes! That’s it! Eighteen kilos of palette!”

Ground beef, chicken wings and drumsticks, topside, rump steak, skirt steak and bacon. The demand was so big that one of the butchers had to see if there was enough meat to satisfy all those people. Some customers became despaired with the possibility of missing one or another cut. “For the love of God! If I don’t get a good piece of steak, I don’t know what to do. This will be the end of the holiday for my family”, complained a man pushing a cart full of frozen and chilled meat trays.

While some people gnashed their teeth and others gnawed on their nails, the most discreet individuals subtly kicked the wheels of the cart and waited for the butcher’s response, who was given the most important task of the day. “I want steak, mother! I want bacon, mother!”, shouted a crying kid under eight years old. The little meatlover opened his big mouth to complain, and it was not hard to see meat lint between his teeth.

The tension increased as the butcher did not return. I noticed shaking hands, people scratching their bodies, as if taken by itching. With uneasy glances, expressions of dismay, anger and disapproval, swelled the bulwark of unrest. When the butcher returned, he nodded and smiled, and the crowd of customers applauded.

Quickly the voices and applause were drowned out by the sound of butcher saws slicing colossal rib pieces. No one cared about the mist of bone sharps falling over their heads. Thus the algid and assorted smell of flesh, a piglet was kept in the showcase.

With an apple in his mouth, he was ignored. The truth is that no one cared about his presence until the glass began to vibrate. The customers looked at each other and saw no hand or human leg touching the showcase. And inside, the piglet was trying to break the glass with an apple in his mouth. He made an extraordinary effort to get rid of the fruit. Then he grunted more than ever. Frightened, adults screamed and children cried. But no one was more thrilled than the pig who slipped on his tears.

“Oh my God! What is that? A live pig! Disgusting! How awful! What a joke! Lord, have mercy! This is so evil! What is this world coming to?”, they said. The image of the live piglet made customers leave the butcher’s queue, and if not for horror, at least for embarrassment. The exception was the man who was in line to buy fillet steak:

– What do you want, sir?

– I want the pig.

– But, sir, he’s still alive!

– This is how I want it.

– I will see what I can do.

– Well?

– It’s all right! You can take the piglet. You can pay for it over there, with the cashier.

– Alright! Thank you, my friend.

On that day, the last store customer abandoned the cart which carried many chilled and frozen meat trays. With the piglet in his arms, he crossed the market and ignored dozens of looks. At the register, he paid for something that he didn’t consider as one more product and walked to the exit as if carrying a baby. Outside, the night did not seem dark and cold. Then, the piglet from the showcase put his nose on the man’s shoulder and did not cry, just dozed.