Press Conference

This is a short story from David Miró, published in Catalan, and translated to English by myself, in the Diari ARA of Today. Enjoy!

Pere couldn’t believe what was he living at the moment. There he was: just landed in Madrid, at Moncloa’s press room and chatting with a corrillo of veteran journalists with the State Secretary of Communication, Félix Monteira. Certainly, he has been very lucky. The titular correspondent of the radio station was sick and the politics editor found him in the kitchen of the office and state him “I need somebody to go to Madrid now. How you feel about that?” At first, he was frozen. He didn’t knew what to answer. At last he was able to articulate “Yes, I suppose. Yes, sure. What’s the beef?”

“Zapatero has convened a press conference to talk about the crisis. Seems that there will be some important news and the bastard of Robert just had the great occurrence to become sick. Talk to Eva to find the tickets and a taxi to go to the damn airport. Once you’ll be there we’ll talk”.

The rest of the events appeared to him like a soundless movie where the actors were moving on a syncopated way. He grabbed the tickets (and an envelope with €500 for expenditures) and get into the first taxi at the same time he shouted “to the airport!”, to reach the terminal just at time to catch the noon Air Shuttle flight.  The call for the press conference was at 5pm, so he was plenty of time. During the flight he reviewed the last events, ordered his ideas and took some notes about the key questions he would like to make, in case he could make any. His head was like a boiling pot. He knew it was a unique opportunity  to convince the director of the radio station to hire him in as an intern: with a bit of luck he will earn till €800 neat monthly and be able to help at home, where the situation was not good at all. His dad was fired four years ago from the automobile factory at 52 years old and since then he only could achieved a couple of jobs payed cash in hand. His mom had to begin as a cleaner when the compensation (his dad did still earned 45 days for every year worked, a number he won’t be able to aspire never ever after the penultimate laboral reform) started to fly away. The biggest worry at home now was mortgage. How his parents could ever started a change of household near their 60s? How they could be cheated for that real estate agent from the Santander bank who assured them that with the benefits they could change their dark apartment in the Sants neighborhood to that sunny duplex in Poblenou?  The 10-year mortgage (now they were paying €900 but the quota reached until €1.200) was heavier as a marble slab. His dad had to sold a ceramic collection reunited after a whole life spend in fairs and markets of all Europe. That day, he will never forget, his dad weeped bitterly in his room while promising himself to struggle to death to recover part of the collection. After a certain time, his dad will confess him with tears on the eyes that was cheated by a supposed expert on antiques who offered him a very inferior price to the market established, and this just finished to drown him. Actually, yesterday he went to visit his dad to the hospital, on his third admission with an angina pectoris starting. Antidepressants only hurt him, but without them was completely unable to wake up every morning and face reality. Thank god mom was standing. Without her all the familiar building would be down time ago. His older sister saw all the drama coming and when she had a chance, she left to Germany for an Erasmus and settled there. In the last three years they only have seen her for Christmas. This exile was only more fuel for dad’s depression and he became the last hope, the only one able to redeem a family that time ago travelled around Europe with a camper (at last, they had to undersell it by the Internet) and that never missed anything. Lastly he wasn’t hangin’ out so often with his friends to fill the fridge, and in the radio he became the King of the Tupperwares. About clothing, he only bought when it was sales. He was lucky because in the radio he could take some books from time to time, and some CDs, and with a little bit more of luck some tickets for live concerts.

Suddenly, the corrillo melted down. Monteira went to the first row, and he just stared to the hall, looking how the totems of Madrid journalism, earning astronomical wages, took their pens off from their pockets. When he saw Zapatero, he couldn’t help thinking “Crisis is doing no good to this man. Look at his face!”.


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