Category Archives: Fiction
Continued from Freudian Tales II http://wp.me/p1B1SV-hm
Lia arrived at the courthouse bright and early on Monday morning, feeling much better with Antonio in tow as moral support, whom she promptly sat down on the bench behind the defendant’s family. She and Antonio had had a good time reminiscing and she had confided in him regarding what was happening at her first Santeria trial, which had not started off on the right foot. Being Cuban, he had suggested she read up on the subject and she had picked up El Monte, in a botanica on 8th street. He had told her it was the definitive book by Lydia Cabrera, a Cuban anthropologist, on Santeria rituals and folklore, and she had used it to create a glossary which significantly bolstered her confidence.
Sure enough, her weekend reading on the topic, plus what little she had been able to pull up from her work computer on the case, did the trick. Much to Harry’s chagrin, Lia sailed through the interpretation of the morning testimony without a hitch. She blithely interpreted terms he would have been hard up to come up with despite his experience.
The fireworks began in the afternoon, when the defendant’s brother, a self-styled intuitive, whose proclaimed mission was to find the true murderer of whose crimes his brother was being accused, started wheeling around regularly to face Antonio and stare him down, muttering ominously under his breath. It reached a point that Tony became incensed, informed the bailiff, and the man was reprimanded. He vehemently screamed for justice saying that the court should interrogate Tony because he could see blood on his hands, insinuating he was involved in the case, after which disruption, the judge called a recess. During the recess, Lia spoke to the bailiff off the record, explaining that she knew Antonio, who was an ex-federal agent, and had brought him to the court. She also disclosed to him that on a more disturbing note, someone had put a bloodied rubber chicken on her desk the day the trial began, which she had initially taken as a joke but was now unsure about. When court was reconvened, the judge dismissed the accusations and informed counsel for the defendant at a sidebar, that if there were any further outbursts, the “clairvoyant” would be held in contempt of court, fined and ordered to leave the premises. As to the chicken, he said an investigation would be conducted by the U.S. Marshals office.
Harry, trying to appear nonchalant, was hanging on every word, not too pleased to hear that his prank was going to be looked into. Nonetheless, he was confident they would not get to the bottom of the matter. Little did he know that during a routine inspection of court surveillance videos, he would be identified, putting the offensive fowl through the x-ray machine upon entering the courthouse, laughing with the Marshal on duty about it. Unfortunately for him, that same Marshal was part of the investigation that was ordered and would remember the incident, that would ultimately result in an official reprimand that would become a negative element of Harry’s personnel file.
Around the same time as the disruptions in the Miami court, we had left Kirsten waiting for Eric, unaware of the plans Antonio had put in motion with his underworld connections, to get rid of Eric in his absence.
On the night in question, Eric came home, and had a convivial if superficial supper with Kirsten, during which he slipped a qualude in her wine. Once she passed out, he carried her to bed, officiously propped pillows around her so she would feel protected, and quickly snuck out through the service door, to a titillating rendezvous with Ana at Calle del Espiritu Santo, a funky street that takes on an edgier feel after midnight. He figured he could be back in the early morning hours before she ever woke up from the sedative.
He did not figure that there were contract killers out to get him, who had followed him home from the bank, but had not seen his surreptitious exit. These same operatives easily jimmied the front door lock shortly after he left, stealthily came into the bedroom, and coupling a silencer to a semi-automatic, systematically and callously sprayed the figures on the bed with impunity.
On his way back to his grandmother’s, Bo came to the decision that he had embarked on a trajectory, which although not to his liking, was the only means he could envision of overcoming his problems. That is, unfairly beating out the competition in order to make the money he so desperately needed. He was aware that he was running the risk of being found out but he thought he could reasonably get away with it and the results would far outweigh that probability. In spite of his body’s answer to this response in the form of a blazing migraine and his Nai nai’s advice that he could not achieve homeostasis with this self-imposed conflict in his life, he was dead-set on his course.. He could only see what his mind and physical senses were telling him. She, on the other hand, was stressing the concepts of the Tao Te Ching. That it is not about doing what we individually think is best for us, but about making the best of our universal nature and expressing it every chance we get. “We cannot impose our wishes on Nature or the Universe, but if you work with Nature, the Tao will work for you”, she said.
He did not foresee the fact that the interpreter candidates that were being interviewed had taken matter into their own hands by informing government representatives of their suspicions. Not that these officials really cared whether Chinese interpreters were losing out on a job, but they were very interested in being able to pin any kind of irregularities on the Americans because of the sensitive nature of the accusations regarding China that they were making before the World Trade Organization, which would be significantly undermined if these allegations were proven.
Consequently, the government scheduled one of their own, privy to the situation, and who was also an interpreter, to be interviewed for the position, to evaluate how to proceed.
This is the potentially explosive scenario that Bo walked into the next day, unbeknownst to him.
As the morning developed and the questioning got under way, despite his intellectual reasoning, Bo noticed a change of consciousness automatically occurring within him, which governed the way he did his job and innocently saved him from a major misstep on both macro and micro levels.
Verse 33 of the Tao as recited by his grandmother, swirled through his head and he felt more at peace:
He who knows others is clever.
He who knows himself is wise.
He who masters others is strong.
He who masters himself is powerful.
This is my first foray, in installments, of fiction related to the interpreting field, which genre I haven’t seen before. I am very interested in learning how it was perceived by my readers and would appreciate feedback from you to judge how to proceed. At this stage in my writing, I feel it is liberating not to be constrained by facts and didactic considerations. I believe stories can help to spark ethical discussions about events that happen all the time but don’t often come to light unless there is a scandal of some sort.
A quick refresher for those of us who don’t remember Freud’s tripartite structure of the psyche.
Seconds before the alarm on his i-phone went off, Harry languidly opened one eye, methodically scratched his parts and peered through the blinds that faced the Atlantic Ocean and the 395 causeway on South Beach. Traffic was barely starting to crawl but he knew he had to move fast to not be caught in the crunch when everyone starts to head towards downtown. He had to be at the federal courthouse by 8:00 for a big trial in which he was going to be interpreting with a new hire. Although he would never admit it, Harry had developed a ritual over the years to haze new interpreters at the courthouse and demonstrate his seniority, or so he thought, because he technically didn’t have any. Today’s game was particularly exciting because although she was touted to be a very good interpreter, she had almost always worked in conference settings. There was no way she could have hoarded the amount of legal trivia Harry had proudly amassed in his brain over the last twenty years, and he felt certain some of these obscure terms would be showcased in today’s proceedings. He relished in anticipation the “deer in the headlights” look on his prey’s face when it was her turn to interpret them and craftily planned what his response would be.
Halfway around the world, it was 1:00 p.m. Ana was well into her day’s work, interpreting at the Global Forum to Eradicate Child Pornography being held at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos de Madrid. She was hoping she would not run into her friend Kirsten during the lunchtime break, who was working the German booth. Understandably so, because although she justified it to herself because her friend had told her their relationship was on the rocks, Ana was having an affair with Kirsten’s boyfriend, Eric. She was afraid that during an argument between the two of them, that uncomfortable truth would come out and she would then have to deal with it. It could hurt her reputation in the circuit as well as affect her output. But in the meantime, he was great in bed and she had had quite a dry spell after her own breakup over a year ago. Ana was unrealistically hoping that the two Germans would soon come to a cordial or at least civilized separation, in accord with their intrinsic nature, so that this detail would never come to light. After all, from her Teutonic experience, scanty as it was, they were not nearly as hysterical as Latinos. And that was something she did know a lot about.
Lastly, all the way around the world in Hong Kong, it was 7:00 p.m., and Bo had finished his interpreting work held at the posh Kowloon Hotel, at interviews grilling potential translators for the attorneys that had brought him there from San Francisco. As the image of the scintillating skyline of neon-lit skyscrapers receded on his way to Happy Valley on the tram, he realized how exhausted he was. It had been a long day and he was shouldering a delicate responsibility in advising his clients on the selection of a linguist for this all-important case. He had hoped he would be asked to do all the work himself which entailed flying regularly to HKG, a lucrative gig with the added benefit that he could also visit his elderly grandmother and mentor, but that did not seem to be in the cards unless he swiftly took matters into his hands and manipulated the outcome of this trip for his own benefit. It would be relatively simple to do, as luckily none of the attorneys spoke Mandarin, and after all, the justification was they would be getting himself, the best professional available, who was thoroughly familiar with the case.