Cages - Enrico Mattioli - ebook
Opis

Omar Mumba, Italian citizen, tells a story of deep introversion. In his mailbox there arrive letters of structures that there are in those lands, where every need is absolute and he can’t do anything but attend depressed to the contradictions of the society in which he was born, he grew up and lives. The constant activity for those in difficulties makes him inflexible on others’ superficiality and his ability to look far gets him to lose contact with things close to him, isolating him much more. Days go by jumping from U2’s music to dishes to wash, the job at the hotel and an infamous charge: who got a flat tire on the chief’s car?

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Table of contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

The Author

Cages

Credits

Chapter One

Night time, humidity is a merciless killer. I stay on the terrace staring at the moon, fickle, worshipped, feared, a target that cannot be hit. She's there affecting our lives, without an address to send complaints to. I wonder if one day someone will manage to shoot her on behalf of us all. Life does its dirty work.

Among the stars I blend the lights of a plane approaching the land. I would like to go far away, but where? The world is so small and varied as well, I would end up in another place watching the sky, which is the same in every corner of the universe.

In the dark of the night, humans are all alike. It's day time that shows the traits of our differences. The stroll of humanity through time is an inventory of lost opportunities. Past errors and horrors become a tradition to be faithfully respected. Everyone recognises themselves in one's own supreme entity and for many this is a kind of Mr.Wolf materializing from a movie, knocking on their door to solve problems.

We don't know what will happen a minute after our passing, but we will still manage to make one last selfie. We will be there, with our square or triangular heads staring into the darkness, each one different for the other looking. Will we still have that "I'm number one" grin? Will we sing our lame songs to the sky in the moment we will seem to be touching it?

Man seeks traces of life on other planets and can not find closure on their own. The only certain presence on the Moon or on Mars or Jupiter, is Coca Cola. Everything in which we recognize ourselves is in that red can with silver wings.

Earth is a hotel on the verge of a cessation of activity. The sun will eventually stop shining, water will retreat and the soil, infected, will rot, but my hope is that the end will happen painlessly, and that a moment later only smoke and ashes will be left. This extreme process is having a development concealed from everyone and forged in the form of aesthetic appeals: I download the last file of U2 from the computer, but the speed got stuck two steps till the end. History is infamous when you are in a hurry and need to go.

The workshop closes in twenty minutes. I go down the stairs and arrive in front of the mailbox. I collect all: letters and advertising that I will read during my break. I leave from the front door and I’m on the street. Two hundred meters and I will have my car back. A defect in the fuel pump releases a noise similar to the mechanical tool used by dentists.

- Hello Omar: I didn’t change the pump. It costs one hundred and seventy euro. Instead, I replaced the fuel filter and now it can run, but if the noise is still there, bring it back here within the week ‘cause it’ll need to be replaced.

- And the blue seal?

- Done... and also the MOT test that will have expired tomorrow.

- What? But didn't it expire in May?

- No, Omar. It was the day after tomorrow. Check the booklet.

I pay in the meantime. Eighty Euros: filter, inspection and seal. And if the noise remains, I'll bring it back in within the week. I changed a red gas Ford for a Lanos on unleaded fuel and I pay seals and I don't drive on Thursday when it's the turn for license plates with odd last number to drive. The inspection was in May, I'm sure, the mechanic has tricked me. I control the booklet: it would have expired the day after tomorrow. Everything expires, in some way. Like patience on this planet. Earth asks an euthanasia for itself and you have to please her. Don’t let her suffer.

Before going to work, I pay a visit to sor [1] Gaetano, an old man I take care of when I have time, and even when I don’t. He has several serious aches, among which there is his back that prevents his mobility, but when he can sit at the piano every ache is over, even if only for a few minutes.

- Who’s there?

- Gaetano, good morning, how are you?

- Omar, why you didn't come yesterday?

- I was busy.

- I see.

- Did the new bags give you problems?

- No, they’re great, I don't even feel them.

- Good. I'll come back as soon as I can, so that I'll change you.

- Okay, good work, Omar.

I start the engine. It's a paranoia. The noise seems stronger as the torture of a caries. I'll have to come back for sure, as you always come back to the dentist. It's a blatant subscription, but why isn't there a public health service even for cars? They get sick often, they are designed to break down. You have to buy them with financing with blocked or discounted rates, then they break, and if you still can drive, they stop you with the number plate and the urban centres with limited flow. It’s the smog, the smog, the fucking smog, the world jumps and the Earth jumps [2], everybody on foot on Sunday, the planet is blowing up, boiling, it's a sphere with a raging fever, seasons lose sync, your bones spoil, companies produce dehumidifiers for the summer, air conditioners for the winter, and you have to shave: you do make a lot of dough creating problems, don’t you?

I turn right, I enter on the main street. I have already stopped after fifty meters and I have to run to work, this time I won't survive, I have subscribed to delays and at the hotel they are waiting for me at the door.

A sector is the reflection of a whole system and when I look around, I only see sectors in crisis. There's traffic, roads are jammed. All directed toward the city centre to see live the advertising they usually watch on television.

The Polish guy at the traffic lights wants to wipe my headlights, a Senegalese wants to wipe my windows, a gypsy wants small euros because she’s got a kid in her arms. A black guy from Bangladesh wants to sell me handkerchiefs or at least a lighter and all of them would have any right on my paltry euro because they breathe this same air in the street and inspire even mine. I'm late and I do not have change and what I have, is for the workshop, then for the garage instalment (because there is no parking), for the green fuel I get at the beginning of each week (to stop on Thursday for the odd-numbered license plates) and this month, even for a fire theft insurance that any new legislation ensures will intervene and decree against wild raisings.

I look in my pockets and I offer to the Bangla guy a crumpled flyer.

- Dude, you only leave me a sheet?

- Yes, but I hadn’t read it yet.

I swear that, if it finished downloading the complete discography of U2, I would have made a cd and I would have given it to him, but it always happens that when you're running down on downloading a file, the system slows down, and today I have no time. I have to rush to work and if they see me on delay, there will be two poor people on the road, that is one more than now, and for what: for bonovox and U2? I don't mean to discredit him, because a bonovox cd has a moral value even if counterfeited, they should totally give him a Nobel prize; when I listen to the music of bonovox, I seem to read all the mail that I don't have time to check because I have to run, run again among the steaming city, polluted, chaotic and counterfeit such as the CDs that I download with a click from my pc.

I get to the centre. I find a parking in front of the hotel, I tick the parking tickets that are six for one euro each. The director of the plan is already there. He welcomes a group of Japanese tourists with their latest generation photo cameras. This time, however, I still have a good ten minutes before getting on service.

I enter the lobby. I pass the reception. I meet Baresi, the manager at the floor, a big guy, bald but hairy, big fat with an obsessive wife and three monsters as offspring.

- You're on time today, Mumba: what’s going on?

- I had some delays but they I’m on time, generally, let’s not make a case of it...

- It depends on you… by the way: they gave me a flat tyre again, did you know?

- What a world!

I go down to the locker room, Baresi wipes his sweat. The moisture is a good excuse for him. His wife washes the jacket of his uniform once a month, and doesn't want to hear about the shirts. Baresi takes them to the laundry room since the management has ceased to pass us the cleanser. Our continuous up and down to the stairs makes the shirts sweep under the moleskin jacket after only one flight, and for him it results in a white ring under the sleeves.

The group of Japaneses was assigned to the fourth floor, mine. I serve them welcome drinks while Marta, the interpreter, is engaged with bowing, scrapings and smiles. I distrust her, I have not forgotten when she refused to sign the repeated requests of technical expertise regarding the construction of the building. Traces of asbestos were suspected, and she was in the front row to foment the assembly, to then disappear and tell everything to Baresi, whom, in turn, reported it to the top brass. And to say, they seemed sisters, Sara and her. Sara Ferro, the one who took care of cleaning, from the lobby to the third floor, and that cancer has reunited with the Almighty in six months.

One of the new gruop, our guest of the room one hundred and four, asks two MrBacon with fries and a coke and I have to kick off, to run at the fast food around the corner. I go out and it starts to rain. I come back. I take the cloak of the hotel. In this city, just two drops of water and it seems that you have to sail around the block. Traffic swells, overflows like a river: one starts to honk and the other responds, like a code of communication that concerns only those who are mired in the jam. Scooters pass from the street on the sidewalks, and at least keep away the rats that emerge from their sewers. The fast food is empty at five o’clock in the afternoon. Everything is sparkling, festively decorated, clean, and there is a peaceful atmosphere. I stare at the shimmering menu above the fryer. Fried is the opposite of calm, makes me tense, but rain will sweep away the stench in which the cape is soaking.

Behind me, the workers are preparing the baby area, likely soon the usual little party for kids will begin. The essence of fast may be discussed, but when I'm inside here, I get hungry. Due to bonovox I didn’t have lunch, I’ll take two MrBacon for me too. I go out with the bags. A boy with a sweatshirt and hood leaves me a flyer: Read, black guy! he says, giving me a high five on the neck, something in between to a caress and a slap. He runs in the rain. I put the flyer into my pants’ pocket and I realize that there is an a stamp too. I go back to work.