I was with a few old school colleagues navigating the river by ourselves – floating with our bodies, without the help of any boat, swimming effortlessly and going with the flow as if the water were part of our nature. We didn’t have any cool clothes, so we were wearing animal costumes or were dressed as our favorite Harry Potter characters. The flow became stronger and took us to the bank, which was smooth and vegetated. There we lay down, changed our clothes and basked in the sun, as if we were lizards.
Then I became lost in the city, looking for a familiar address that I knew started from a square where there was a church. I was so used to getting to this place by another way that, when I saw myself in the middle of the square, surrounded by people and alleys that led to the most different directions and to streets with the coolest names I’ve ever seen, I became desperate. Pride prevented me from getting my phone to check Google Maps. I walked in circles and nothing happened. Finally, near the church, I saw a seemingly lost child and went there to ask for information. It was a very nice and smart boy, and he was in fact just poor: he was in the square looking for work. He and his mother decided to help me, and they guided me to a flooded area. From there, we had to walk on improvised wooden bridges; the houses stood up on stilts and the community stayed mostly on their open balconies, observing the coming and going of boats and animals. I asked the mother and the boy to come with me, for I was afraid.
Arriving there, which was not the same place I had intended to go to in the first place, I started to talk to the inhabitants; they were poor, but full of wisdom, liveliness and intelligence. Not even crime, deaths and murders could remove the shine of their eyes and animation from their voices. They taught me how to fish, how to use a boat and live simply. Inspired by that, I became part of a secret organization which fought against crime – especially robberies in the poorest communities. My partner and I were incognito in some sort of old scrap metal yard with boats, which was actually a deposit place for my ex-boss’s company. In fact, I still had some contacts within the company, and I believe the owner didn’t even know what was happening. However, I discovered that one the top-dog manager was stealing precious objects (jewels, vehicle parts, pieces of high technology engines) which he would sell for absurd prices in the black market.
The scheme was known by him (the crook manager) and two more cronies (which were nothing more than stupid thieves but could be astute and dangerous in extreme situations). Infiltrated in the company as an intern, I verified that the thief-manager was hiding these objects (which were actually the company’s property) in a private vault. Just like a magician full of tricks and abilities, he would trade an object without much value (like a flash-drive) for the precious object, would put this last one in a simple wrapping to outwit followers, and would take the object to his personal vault. Then, the object would end up inside one the of old boats in the deposit yard, waiting for transport along with the other boats.
As soon as I discovered how the bandits worked, I established an ambush with my partner. We would disguise ourselves as scrap metal scavengers, verify all the boats, their interior and their contents, and we would also painstakingly verify all the vans and trucks than came and went from the place. These boats had several small secret compartments which could serve as hiding places. One day, we noticed two vagabonds, which weren’t company workers, circulating around the yard: they were the crook-manager’s cronies. The manager hid the precious object in one of the boats, but only his cronies knew which, for the boats looked all the same at first sight. I managed to realize exactly which boat was the hiding place; my intention was to reveal the scheme and call the police. But first I needed to be sure: when there was no one else around, I opened the boat’s secret compartment, and after much toil, I found a box containing a small super rare mineral which was used in the fabrication of engines. I left everything exactly as I had found and came back the following day with my scrap metal scavenger disguise.
However, something went wrong. We were betrayed, or some spy had seen everything I did during that evening and thus found out my true identity. The bandits and company workers initiated the transport of the fateful boat. I was standing there as a guard, and the cronies found me and threw me inside the black van where the boat would be transported. Happily, the van’s occupants weren’t in on the stealing scheme and had no idea about the crime conspiracy going on: they were just company workers and their job was to transport the boat with the precious object inside (which they didn’t know about) until the harbor, where the manager made an inventory of all the objects, falsified documents and sold the precious objects in the black market.
My luck was, then, that these people saw no problem in helping me, deviating from their usual ways. I screamed and they rescued me from the cargo compartment of the truck. By then, I had already stolen the precious metal for myself, for now it would be impossible to prove the functioning of the crime scheme of the company’s manager. In the truck’s booth there was a family of black people: mother, father and daughter, who wore her frizzy hair in a ponytail. The family was moved by my situation and they agreed to take me home. During the drive, I explained to them that they were in great danger for helping me and that they should run away. After all that, I managed to find peace with the duality which tore me between altruistic honest person who did only good and swindler thief who seeks always her own benefit in detriment of the collective good.