Short Stories

A man of no importance

Second prize, international competition organized by the group ""Palabras " of  Sydney. March 21. 2009.


Since he started working for "Computers SA”, Avelino Madrigal was the perfect employee. He was the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. Always efficient, never gave cause for complaint, never asked for a salary raise or, complained about working conditions, and more importantly, never became sick or took a day off. When he took annual leave it was because the company forced him to,  and even so he still visited his office three or four times a day. He worked with twenty-four other employees in the office, which was divided into individual cubicles.   He was a very quiet and  solitary man, never had what one could call  friends at work, and who barely said  "good morning" or "good night", when arriving or leaving.

The pace of work in the office was frantic; phone calls, messengers bringing or carrying loads of documents, computer technicians doing their best to avoid bringing the company to a standstill, and secretaries taking messages for everyone. Although they had two breaks a day for coffee and a cigarette, Avelino never participated in such times; therefore, none of the employees knew that he was a good man, a practicing Catholic, who had an indifferent and unfaithful wife, plus two rebellious and immature teenagers, who despised him. Every day he took the bus in the morning at a quarter past six, in order to arrive early, and did not care which bus he took at night, because he always returned home late from work.

Avelino thus, spent fifteen years of his life isolated from the world, entirely devoted to processing tons of information that came through the Internet daily. He spent the time looking at his computer screen and typing on his processor. He thought it was his duty to do a perfect job, and his greatest satisfaction was to receive a pat on the back from the manager, and hear the usual "Good job Avelino, we do not know what we would do without you!"


One Friday afternoon, the secretary of the department received a telephone call from the wife of Don Avelino, saying that she had just realized that he had not been home since Wednesday.   She had called his phone in the office, but he did not answer.  She then requested the secretary to go to his cubicle and ask him to come home immediately, because they urgently needed money for shopping.  Standing up and looking toward the cubicles, the girl told her not to worry, he was at his post, and she was more than happy to pass the message on to him.                                                                                         


The girl, who was very attractive and sexy, crossed the corridor separating the cubicles with a catlike grace.   With a seductive smile on her face she received a bath of compliments, and sexy suggestions from the employees, while she slowly made her way to the office of Don Avelino, which was the farthest away.  She walked in, and began to give him the message, but he did not reply to her, or move.   She stepped closer and gave his shoulder a gentle shake, then looking more closely, gave a scream of terror, which paralyzed "Computers S. A ".


Forensic doctors, who treated the case, diagnosed that Avelino Madrigal had died of a heart attack on Wednesday, at about nine o'clock in the morning.

The following Monday a new employee took possession of the office of Don Avelino, and the frantic routine of work continued. The world kept on spinning as usual, nobody remembered Avelino, and apparently no one missed him.   It was like he had never existed!

©Humberto Hincapie
Kariong. September 2008.



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18.05 | 08:58

Bárbara, lamentablemente no pude leer su comentario porque está incompleto. Gracias, Humberto.

18.05 | 01:17

Mi nombre es Barbara y me baso en Noruega. Mi vida está de vuelta! Después de un año de matrimonio roto, mi marido me dejó con dos hijos. Sentí que mi vida esta

26.03 | 08:54

Felicitaciones Humberto por esta pagina donde nos pones en contacto con tu personalidad y encontramos un momento de esparcimiento y paz al leer tus escritos.

05.09 | 05:21

Un saludo literario, cargado de todo el afecto y admiración que se merece mi primo. Soy tu seguidora y te leo con ahínco, y prisa, soy adicta y tu fans

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