Tag Archives: scenetta

Volto em meia hora

technosmithing-gearsCorri os olhos pelo templo. Uma penca de clientes se esparramava esparsa nos bancos, passando o tempo o melhor que podiam. Uma mulher tricotava à luz filtrada dos vitrais cafonas, apertando os olhos para não perder os pontos. Um rapaz olhava mesmerizado as arcadas, onde pinturas toscas mostravam suplícios de almas penadas. Um outro se estatelava no assento, pernas e braços abertos, toda compostura corroída pelo tédio.

Chegava a tarde sem que o templo esvaziasse de um pingo. Um que saía, vinha outro, senha na mão. Na entrada, Marcão recebia o freguês, examinava o papelzinho, abria a passagem.

Luciano havia distribuído cem senhas, que sumiram como pães quentes. Vai saber que cambalachos ele usava para manter o negócio tão próspero, mesmo neste fim de mundo. Entendi que houve um acordo com o cura para barrar a entrada dos Finetuners e dos Fix-it-all e, obviamente, parte da demanda vinha de consertar anos de sacagens perpretados por aqueles merdas. Luciano, esperto, regulava a conta-gotas as visitas, mantinha a roda girando. Rolavam histórias de gente revendendo as senhas por uma boa grana, apesar das ameaças do cura de que cambistas e usurários arderiam no fogo do inferno.

Que ocupássemos o templo foi obra também de Luciano. Disso eu não podia reclamar: a estrutura era melhor do que de muitas cidades maiores. A luz externa convergia toda para o altar dos santos, um simbolismo piegas de culto-velho, mas tanto melhor: pusemos ali as bancas do artesanato técnico. Iluminação que prestasse era condição básica para o trabalho, e, frequentemente, um problema.

Exclusividade e conforto não saíam de graça: Luciano molhava a mão do cura, e não era pouco. Todos sabíamos exatamente o quanto, porque entrava no Livrão, lançado em ‹Bribes, Extorsions, Rackets & Tips›. Tinha limites a aversão do cura pelo enriquecimento ilícito.

Monique, Bernardo e eu estávamos nas bancas de consulta. Juliana também, já que nesse arraial perdido, compra-e-venda era pouca. Luciano dava conta, fácil, do mercadinho improvisado no passadiço à direita. Gustavo, que era pau pra toda obra, ocupava a saleta de aula que instalamos em parte da nave, tentando fazer entrar alguma coisa em meia dúzia de cabeças-duras, duas horas por turma. Trabalho nada invejável.

Monique terminou de atender um cliente — quase sem pausa, chamou o próximo:

“Senha 37. Por favor, senha 37.”

Percebi que, desde que eu acabara com o calculista burro, já passava um minuto. Dos bancos, o povo me olhava ansioso. Uma da tarde. Chamo o próximo ou saio para comer? Decisão fácil.

«I’m out of here. Lunch. Back in thirty. Okay?»

«Yeah!» a resposta veio em coro.

Bernardo garantiu a vaga:

«I’m next, folks. I’m starving.»

Quinzão já estava nos meus calcanhares.

“Vai sair, tozim?”

Urgh. Doutor, doutorzinho, doutorzim, torzim, tozim. Urgh.

“Vou comer,” respondi seco.

“Vou contigo.”

Dizer “não” seria pura perda de tempo. Além disso, vai saber: mesmo nesses cafundós, sempre se podia tropeçar numa encrenca. Quinzão impunha respeito, atirava melhor que eu, e sabia usar os punhos. A conversa deixava um pouco a desejar, mas bem, não se pode ter tudo.

Apanhei o chapéu mas deixei o casaco. Mesmo em junho, nessa hora do dia? Bobagem.

No pórtico, Quinzão trocou com Marcão um soco amigável.

“A barraca tá contigo. Ó a responsa.”

“Vai na fé.”

Ganhamos a rua.

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A Drink

fanta-and-bud“Screwdriver? That’s a faggot’s drink, buddy.”

A boring statement, at a boring bar, in this boring worker’s settlement. I glance at the source: a towering man, holding a can of beer and eyeing my booze with suspicion.

I consider pointing out that the glass I’m sipping actually contains Fanta and rum. Instead I raise it and say flatly, “Cheers to you too.”

He takes my sneer for a smile and chuckles amiably. A hand is extended. “Hank, ironwork.”

Drinking taste clashes aren’t a socially acceptable excuse to leave someone hanging. I shake the hand. “James, electricity.”

That’s all the invitation he needs to sit at the counter besides me. A bit too close. I doubt he’s heard of ‘personal space’.

“You don’t have the hands of an electrician, man.”

Direct yet subtle. Still, in that nonchalant tone of his, it might mean nothing. No, I know what I’ve heard: men don’t randomly comment on other men’s hands. Well… maybe this one does. I’d better be sure: making the wrong pass at a bar back home would be awkward; here it might be fatal.

I’m suddenly very aware of him, who looks ahead, at nothing. He swallows a large gulp of his beer, follows with a self-indulgent “ahhhh”, and spreads on the seat, relaxed, secure. As the silence stretches, I grow increasingly fidgety.

At last, I offer an answer of sorts: “I do data, mostly fiber, I don’t do power.”

“Delicate work, uh?,” he says, facing me with the slightest of winks. “Takes more brain than brawn. Bet you’ve got a good head on your shoulders, man.”

I feel the blush on my cheeks. His smile widens. I choose to nod and be quiet.

We now just tend to our drinks. He finishes first and props himself up on his hands, crushing noisily, as he stands, the empty beer can with one flat palm.

He clears his throat, I look at his face. For the first time, he seems hesitant, searching for words. After a moment, he crouches besides me.

“I’m having some fiber trouble back at the camp… in my room,” his mouth is now level to my ear, his voice not quite a whisper.

I slowly turn to face him. He’s trying to look serious, but a smile plays with his eyes.

What the hell, this is what I came for. I bite.

“Why don’t I go take a look?”

How to win friends

crt-tv-soccerThe TV room was my last hope to socialize with other foreign students.

I peeked inside, and saw five tall, gruff guys thrown over the chairs. The TV was blasting in an Eastern European language: a game of some sort — by the amount of green, soccer.

The men watched intently. They compared impressions through terse remarks in low rumbling voices, which — the moment I crossed the doorstep — halted.

“Hello, folks!”

My cheer, bright tenor got grunts for answer. Five pairs of eyes fixated me, and followed me as I courtly sat on a corner, legs crossed, hands folded over the lap.

Now the only noise was the excited narration of the game — yes, soccer. The men frowned angrily, staring each other, and throwing me an occasional glance. After getting a murderous glare in exchange for a smile, I decided to keep my eyes glued to the TV.

As I contrived how to slip away without further awkwardness — should I say “goodbye”? just leave? — they all got up and fled the room.

All but one, who extended his arm in my general direction, holding a keychain with the very tips of his fingers. Message understood, I took it without touching him.

“After you finish leave the key at the guardian’s mailbox.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll do that.” In a last desperate attempt, I offered: “By the way, I’m Andrew.”

“Yes. Leave the key at the guardian’s mailbox.”

And with no other word, he left.

For a minute a stood there frozen, key in hand, the TV blasting inane commentaries about a game I rebuffed in a language I couldn’t even recognize. I made the effort, dammit!

I found a remote. I turned off the TV. I locked the door as I left.

Overwhelmed by the unfairness, I had a sudden impulse: throw the key on the trash! hide it on a flowerpot! better yet: put it in the wrong mailbox — the one just below the guardian’s could pass as an innocent distraction. It’s their names on the borrow book!

The pettiness of those thoughts hit me. I threw the key at its place and went up to my room.