New Old Continent

“The border is on The Rooftop,” is the first thing they said to me the next Monday when we landed in Johannesburg—where also finally achievements, happy numbers, diamonds are a girl´s best friend—the authorities of the South African country. “Keep it in mind for when you return to your country.” They pointed to the tallest skyscraper in the city, an impotent bulk of steel and glass more than 150 floors high in the central nervous system of the city owned by the national bureaucracy. During my days there: people, numbers, more numbers. New Old Continent: always the same furniture. Huge marble apartments: they look like sunflowers. I went to a lolitas´ store. Lo-li-tas. Poetry is made in the sheets, there. And always now with nostalgia for the Golden Age. That butt was the most lovely vertigo I’ve ever had. I’ve analyzed your payment—but it can’t be guaranteed. More numbers. During a walk immediately afterwards through downtown, I thought that the stock market building turned towards me: false alarm. Let’s get to business: the next day I closed the final deal on lower level 1 with a woman and a woman absolutely engineering. That basement was wonderful. Outside, the air, and nature are about to go extinct, at a short distance from “rain” or “terrible,” although some stubbornly insist that sunrise is coming; the country becomes see-through; I also had time to haggle for the necessary items: a colorful under development atmosphere; city of tiny doors, few windows; Begging, They were poor, There were too many of them, There were also children. Upon returning, the skyscraper was defended by the police and the army, its entrance and inside, especially the upper floors, the ones with direct access to The Rooftop. In this kind of fort, the security forces of that state defended the building’s roof in the purest Alamo style. Local bureaucracy did too, effective bottleneck. Elegantly dressed, they wore the uniform of tax collectors and they crossed themselves at regular intervals; it was as if the whole night were embracing you. In that country, the landscape, everything that made it up, despite it all practiced freely as a landscape, but the local human beings, instead, often acted as walls, impassable, anti-natural—living is choosing, and choosing is selecting—with a script written from an overhead shot: a number of steamy bottles, storms wrapped up in armor. Unbelievable media campaign by the Sons of Emile Zola Inc. in which, indirectly, and in a percentage not so far from or even the same as any epsilon, they accused me of having contributed with my purchase(s) to inciting the government of the neighboring Botswana to drive out the Botswana from their own land so they could blow up the diamond caves therein. They would have to end up allocating a percentage of guilt to me, probably comparable but still undefined, regarding the Civil War in Sierra Leon. (The shares of HEZ Inc. shot up thanks to all this; I got a jump on things which helped consolidate my position in the minerals industry: whatever it takes to acquire financial muscle). I flashed my passport at the skyscraper’s entry archway and again after several flights up the elevators. And, of course, at the final ramp to the heliport. Twenty-five minutes later I had already changed airplanes and we were on the airport’s runway: thousandth winged construction vs. a sky dyed an immense color. Visits as well a while later to some customers in South Korea. Their flag is so lovely.

TS Hidalgo (43) holds a BBA (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), a MBA (IE Business School), a MA in Creative Writing (Hotel Kafka) and a Certificate in Management and the Arts (New York University). His works have been published in magazines in the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, South Africa, India and Australia, and he has been the winner of prizes like the Criaturas feroces (Editorial Destino) in short story and a finalist at Festival Eñe in the novel category. He has currently developed his career in finance and stock-market.