EDUARDO
ALBUQUERQUE
 

2021





CRÔNICAS DE FIM
2018



On the cusp of the Brazilian presidential elections of 2018 that resulted in placing fascist, racist, homophobic, mysoginist Jair Bolsonaro on the presidential chair, Eduardo Albuquerque wrote a series of impromptu chronicles dreaming of ways to prevent the unpreventable from happening.



Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4


Originally published in Portuguese






B.
GOOGLE TRANSLATE
TRANSLATION
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CHAPTER 1

Geovani's bar was called “Regininha” because of the establishment that used to exist there; a bakery founded in 1950 by Mr. Antonio. The typical Portuguese man, he arrived in Sergipe coming from Bahia, coming from the Azores and named it “Regininha Bakery” in honor of his eldest eponymous daughter.


But Geovani only knew that from hearing the story. When he started working at Regininha, in the early 1980s, the establishment was already run by her; a, then, forty-year old woman who would always reminisce about the story of her late father.


As soon as the Collor plan came, Ms. Regina took a tumble. In this case, financial. But Seu Edmundo, her husband, had literally had an accident—the tale goes that in the bathroom, when trying to observe the next door neighbor through the tipper. During the fall, he cracked his pelvis and needed qualified physiotherapy — non-existent at the time in Aracajú — to recover 100% of his movements. There was no way; they would have to move to the Southeast.


Dona Regina tried to sell the bakery, but in addition to not having the time or inclination to do so, the truth is that there would be no one to buy it. Since she owed a good amount of money to Geovani—his last remaining employee—she proposed that he run the operation in exchange for a monthly rent for the equipment and the real estate. The profit would be his.


Geovani accepted. Had nothing to lose and also barely knew how to scale the difficulty of the challenge at hand.


He tried for a while to keep the bakery, but the bill wouldn't close. To make matters worse, his daughter Rosana — protagonist of this story — had just been born. Needing to do something drastic, he didn't even want to know: he sold an oven, he sold molds, he sold a basket, he even sold the bike with which his wife used to deliver bread — all without Ms. Regina's consent: who, in fact, didn't give a damn; she just cared about the rent in her pocket at the end of the month—and turned the place into the only thing he believed had the potential to bring in clientele: a dive bar.


It wasn't an instant hit. The profit margin of beer and cachaça is not easy and the humble worker clientele didn't spend on luxuries like snacks. Alcohol and nothing else.


It was 1996 to 1997 when Geovani made an offer to buy Ms. Regina's property. As she was financially re-established and had no plans to return to Sergipe, she was happy to earn some unexpected money; paid for the trip to Disney that she took with her grandchildren.


Like Ms. Regina, Rosana had grown up in her father's business. Always respected by the humble drunkies, Rosana went through all areas of Regininha: her first job was to stay quiet and wait for her father and mother to close the register, then she started helping with the bimonthly cleaning, then she served, then she closed the register. Along with the good times that Sergipe, the Northeast and Brazil were going through, the business was flourishing. With money in their pockets, the drunks even began to spend money on the cod cake—an authentic recipe from old Seu Antonio—that Regininha served.


But unlike Ms. Regina, Rosana was encouraged - by her parents and by her country - to dream and believe in her protagonism. She was the only child, the first to go to college. And Sergipe grew, developed. The Brazilians were optimistic; Regininha's clientele no longer drank to mourn, but to celebrate. Some, in fact, no longer drank; they had become evangelicals. Started to bring their wife and children together, because, thanks to the “Bolsa Família” government allowance, they could afford to spend a Sunday at Regininha together, eating feijoada and watching football and TV Globo's Domingão do Faustão. No to mention the forró dancing, for those who were single.

It was almost the end of the 2000s. As a teenager, Rosana began to honk her father's ear about a Regininha expansion and remodel but Geovani would never engage. On the one hand, he liked and admired his daughter's ability to dream—he had fought for her to have it! - but on the other hand he felt it was a little naive of her. The adage that *the joy of the poor lasts a short time* made him resort to another socially discriminatory “popular wisdom” and say that he knew his place. But Rosana knew better.


She brought his father to tears at a branch of one of those banks whose strategy was exactly to create a low-income line of credit: they got a loan — the first in Geovani's life — to renovate the bar by adding a beer tap, a menu, TV and new layout. All in all, the bar was closed for only 1 month and a half.


The strategy paid off from a financial point of view. The redesign made all the difference and the regulars supported the arrival of new customers who suddenly noticed the existence and vibrancy of Regininha and decided to find out what the place was like.


Rosana provided “consultancy” from time to time, but was focused on the UFS (Federal University of Sergipe), where she was studying nursing. If the “Plano Real” had reset the system and made Geovani stick his head out, the “Fome Zero” program and the “Bolsa Família” incentives gave purchasing power to his customers and everything started to go smoothly.


Until 2014 arrived and everything changed.



Geovani got ill. Cancer. Rosana had to leave college to run Regininha. His mother was in charge of all necessary support to Geovani, in and out of the hospital.


Once the tragedy was so ubiquitous it demanded to be put in the background or else she wouldn't make it, Rosana began to notice how much Regininha's clientele had changed. The head count might even have improved. The amount of consumption for sure. But the population extracts were different.


The original drunks barely showed up. Colleagues from her old school—whose parents had risen financially to the point of sending them to private schools— frequented the bar. They stopped their tuned Audis and HB20s at the door — sometimes with a ridiculously loud sound — and drank too much, played pool, watched UFC or soccer, and every now and again got into brawls among themselves or with others… but they'd always buy Rosana's forgiveness by leaving a disproportionate tip.


Concerned about the growing turmoil and the growing absence of the original clientele — spurred both by new clients and by gentrification in Aracajú — Rosana hired a bouncer to support her. But the situation was complicated, after all, among the beastly and fragile males, were sons of politicians and armed off-duty policemen. In the end, the bouncer was just someone disproportionately large who was supposed to be scary.


The best thing about Regininha had been lost: the art of the encounter. With the collective hysteria that began to take over the country, the place became a stronghold of stupid extremists and after the 2016 impeachment, the train derailed. Vindicated by the coup d’etat, middle-class regulars who think they're rich—because there weren't any millionaires there; just a bunch of “the son of”—they shamelessly distilled all their prejudices, stupidities, and insecurities. Rosana spared herself and was spared the talk that “every woman is a whore”, that “blacks don't work” and other things common to those who have little brain mass and zero empathy.


But the discomfort, of course, hit Rosana.


That money that seemed to pour into hordes, she realized, was too little for what it was buying: her integrity. The bill of sale said “bucket of beer, ice and vodka”, but the truth is that, when going to Regininha, these imbeciles bought two things that were not declared: from the door to the outside, an alibi that they weren't racist or sexist — after all; they frequented what, despite all the renovations, was still a dive bar, a place for the poor with a woman's name, run by a woman - and, from the door in, they bought the certainty that this was the exception that proved the stupid rule, because, despite being a woman, black and poor, *Rosaninha* was loved by everyone; she had a “white soul”.


It was getting harder and harder for her. Hatred and prejudice always masks a person's problem with their own existence. They start projecting onto others all the things they don't have the strength or ability to handle. It's never enough for them. It starts with cutting the nail, until it reaches the head.


Marcao, the security guard—black as the night—was the first to feel the weight of his skin on his skin. During a UFC night, one of the assholes' tables started watching Jair Bolsonaro's video on his cell phone talking about blacks who weren't good not even for procreation. One of them - drunk after half a glass of Red Bull and Whiskey - stood up, staggering and breathlessly hugging the security guard:


- “Except Marcao! I heard that Marcao has a big cok; fucked everyone at Lamarão!”


Marcao, sitting on his stool, alert watching the movement, just said: "Don't touch me, Playboy."


It was enough for the temperature to rise. They didn't do anything. They are looser. But the promise remained. And little by little, with each absurdity that Bolsonaro spoke and did publicly, they gained the courage they did not have to be as imbecile as their spokesman.


One afternoon, before Marcao arrived at work, one of the shitheads showed up with a poster of Bolsonaro to hang on the wall of the bar. Rosana tried to argue that she didn't want the poster there; said that she did not want to get involved in political talk, that Regininha had no political position. The asshole had the face to do a good guy routine and said he deeply respected her position — as if he had any right to an opinion about what she would do with her own business establishment… - but quickly turned and made that veiled threat saying her entire clientele was with Bolsonaro so she should think carefully about the signals she was sending. “You don't want them to not feel welcome here, right?“.


Rosana was smart enough to notice the broth was spilling out of the pot. And intelligent enough to choose which battles to fight: when they started leaving Bolsonaro flyers on the bar counter, she simply pretended not to see them, and - once the person who had brought the material left the bar- she would simply take the pile and discreetly throw it in the trash.

Despite having all the WhatsApp groups - to which she was constantly and unwillingly re-inserted - on mute, she always took a peak at the atrocities that were shared, and this was doing her harm. Rosana was no longer herself. Rosana was an old memory.

Despair gave way to hopelessness when, a week before the first turn of elections, Seu Geovani died.

The event was Saturday, October 6th. Moments before midnight, when the dry law would enter into effect nationwide due to the first round of the 2018 presidential elections, Sunday, October 7th.


Rosana was slow to respond to that grotesque and insensitive message. She collected her thoughts, internalized the anger, absorbed courage and swallowed her tears. Like all women, her body was small, but her insides were infinite.


She had a plan.


She replied: “But of course. Only a night of Regininha will clear my head. I owe it to my father. Tell everyone on zap that Saturday the UFC will boil and, as I can't sell drinks on Sunday, it'll be 2 for 1! emoji beer emoji beer emoji money flying”


With only a few hours before opening, Rosana finished putting on makeup and flat ironing her hair. She had never worn makeup to go work at the bar. She had never straightened her hair for any occasion. But that night asked for it.


As soon as Marcão opened Regininha's doors, there were already 5 people ready to enter. As soon as the event started, Rosana gave a signal to Marcão. She climbed onto the counter, turned down the volume on the sound system and told everyone: “Attention, customers! The best night is here at Regininha! Let your friends know! Beer round for everyone for free and a special gift for all my customers who come! UHU!!!” and lifted her blouse showing her breasts covered only by a bra.


The crowd of stupid weak men went crazy. After announcing that she was going to personally serve the free beer to each table, Rosana looked around with her eyes for Marcão, who signaled as if to say “mission accomplished”. He had filmed and sent to WhatsApp groups.


Quickly, Regininha got packed. All the worst kind of people of Aracajú were squeezing to get free beer and, if everything went well, see a pair of boobs from Regininha's straight-haired black girl. You had everything; married men who abandoned family dinner, a father stretching out after his 3-year old's birthday party, and even the pastor of the church across the street.


What none of them realized was that Rosana was deceiving and attracting all of them to Regininha, yes by the memory of her father; but not in the way they thought. Using her intellectual and interpersonal knowledge acquired from her incomplete nursing course, Rosana took massive doses of Flunitrazepam (also known as Rohypnol, or “Roofie”). Having attracted his entire clientele of Bolsominions, she used the free beer as a trojan horse for the “Roofie” that would make everyone in the bar sleep until the polls closed at 5 pm the next day.


Would the 200 or so fewer votes make a difference and take Bolsonaro out of the first round? Hardly. And Rosana and Marcao were aware of that.


But that was beside the point.


The pont was to do the right thing and charge back for everything that had not been declared in the Rosana-Clients relationship's invoice.


It was taking action and doing your part.


The plan went well. Marcao, normally stationary, only moving when to clear away some confusion, was steering. He passed by the tables to make sure everyone was drinking their sleep drinks. If someone didn't have it, he would tell her boss, who would go to the client personally and, charmingly, induce him to drink.


Until the moment Rosana was pulled by the arm in a corner by the good-guy customer who had sent the whatsapp message that originated this whole thing. He was a former classmate of Rosana as a child and an emissary for the rest of the clientele. Rosana was startled and armed herself, but he immediately apologized and, with a sweet smile, said:


- "Are you okay?"

- "I am. You?" said Rosana, giving him a little kiss on each cheek.

- “No; I mean… Are you okay? Your dad and everything..."

- “Ah… I'm sad, you know? But he had been suffering a lot… it's for the better.”

- “Of course, of course. I prayed a lot for him.”

- "Aw, thank you" - Rosana said falsely.

- “But… are you really okay? You can tell me anything.”

- "I'm fine. As much as possible, I'm fine," said Rosana, already a little nervous.



And it's not that he was having that drunk talk…. Rosana thought he was just forcing an empathy, a concern that wasn't genuine. She wasn't moved; any resemblance of humanity from that people had long been discredited.


But Rosana read it wrong. The concern wasn't about her discomfort, but about her *well* being.


He was soon saying that she was weird; all tidy, with straightened hair. How strange it was that she climbed onto the counter—even worse when she lifted her blouse; she “wasn't like that”.


The problem for him was that, by stepping out from behind the counter, taking care of herself and presenting herself free and peppery, Rosana was betraying his expectations of her. Unlike her late father, Rosana “didn't know her place”. She could walk among them, but only on a specific lane. She wasn't part of them.


- “Actually I only came here because I saw the video and I was worried about you. I wasn't even coming… I'm going to be a delegate tomorrow at the elections. I cannot drink."

Rosana looked at the table he was sitting and, in fact, there was no alcoholic drink. Marcao must not have noticed.

That was a problem.

If everyone started to drift off to sleep—and as she glanced at her watch she realized they were just a few minutes away from that moment —the “good” sober young man could notice the weirdness of it all, connect the dots, and create a problem. In fact, if he hadn't had his eyes locked on Rosana, he could already see some of his friends kind of leaning against each other, on the verge of falling asleep.


- “I won't tell anyone if you don't tell anyone," said Rosana, hating to prostitute her seduction to survive.

- “Stop it, Rosana! You're not like that.”


The fear of the rising voice volume and bodily expression of the “good boy” activated Rosana's tear ducts. But her anger held back all the overflow. Purposely, she let a furtive tear fall: “You're right. I'm not."


She took a deep breath and said that she had some things to do quickly, but that she would love for him to meet her in the management room in the back so she could let off steam. She wanted his “friendly ear” but wouldn't accept it if he didn't drink something on the house. He refused, refused, but accepted a Citrus Schweppes, duly christened with a nice dose of "Roofie".


Rosana quickly explained to Marcao everything that was going on and asked him to keep an eye out—if anything happened, to knock on the door. They would exit through the back door.

The good boy didn't even notice that the whole table beside the parlor door was already in Morpheus' arms. He was smoothing his hair excited about having a one-on-one with Rosana in a room at night. In the macho mind, this is an invitation to have sex.


When Rosana closed the door behind her, the noise was left behind. And that scared Rosana, because it meant that the other side wouldn't hear them either.

But this story has no sad ending.

The good guy soon took a sip of schweppes — Rosana and Marcao had turned the air-conditioner temperature up so that everyone could feel hot and drink a lot. He had neither time nor opportunity to make any advances. Rosana didn't have to do much other than talk about being sad about her father's death. Weakly, the good man quickly began to speak incongruously, to say that he was sleepy, until he fell asleep.

Instantly, 5 knocks at the door.

It's Marcao.

He opens it, sees the scene and nods to the bar behind him: “It's done”.

Rosana walks with him and sees the scene: 200-odd idiots left on top of each other, on the floor, on the table, on the chairs. Just the TV announcing: "It's time for the main event of the evening!"

Marcao closes all the doors of Regininha. There are only him, she and 200 or so fascist Bolsonaro voters.


- "Did you get everyone's cell phone?"

- "I did."

- "Did you turn off everyone's cell phone?"

- "I did." - said Marcao - "Are you sure these people will sleep until five?"

- “Until eight. But at noon I'll give everyone another shot. Don't forget the plan!"


The plan was, at dawn from Sunday to Monday, with everyone sleeping - not just them in the bar, but the whole city - to "return" the unconscious fascists to places close to their homes, or other places that would corroborate with the thesis that they drank so much they were unconscious in the gutter. After that, both would flee by car to somewhere far away, never to return.


- "Wasn't it better to set the whole fucking thing on fire?"

- "No. I want them to know. And feel ashamed to tell anyone that they were deceived by a black poor woman.”


When Marcão places the “good guy” on top of a pile of other fascists as if he were dropping a potato sack on the floor, Rosana climbs once more unto the counter.


She pulls out her phone, sticks her tongue out, holds up her middle finger and takes a selfie with all the shitheads in the background.


Sends the photo to all cell phones present with a short question: “Who's the myth now?”


CHAPTER 2

When Renan graduated in electrical engineering in 2001, he never imagined he would do the kind of work he did. Although the concept behind his professional occupation was basically " electric", his practical day-to-day life was much more akin to computer science or, whatever, production engineering. But thanks to being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, and thanks to the CBA the company paid for him, Renan quickly learned to enjoy the role he played: that of Lightmatik 3000 suite operator.


Lightmatik 3000 is the name of a console consisting of a control desk with approximately 53 buttons, 16 levers, 6 analog gauges, and 4 digital screens, which operates high-performance hydropower production management software.



As it is a very expensive machine that requires very specific training, there are, in addition to Renan, at most, 10 other Brazilians licensed to operate the Lightmatik — 1 of which basically covers the vacation of the other 9. So, despite the young age, 32 years old, this gave him certain notoriety at Itaipu Binacional — the company where he worked operating the Lightmatik to manage the entire electrical production of the Itaipu plant. He liked that. The old ones called him "sir", the young ones "boss" and the women "darling". And they constantly called him; after all, every directive passed through Lightmatik's consent. Nobody could bear the costs of a problem with the machine, which - with the smallest of defects - could impede not only the production and transmission of energy in almost all of southern and southeastern Brazil but also in the entire territory of Paraguay. A few hours can represent a financial loss in the order of billions of reais.



Oh yes: his salary wasn't bad either.



So Renan enjoyed the position he was in. No competition in sight and also no need to rise in the political structure of Itaipu Binacional. His technical position protected him; “let the thirsty fight each other and send me the order when you have it!”



There was only one problem: he basically lived at the hydroelectric plant.



Officially, his shift was 16 hours like any other enslaved worker in Brazil — the overtime, despite being accounted for, was not exactly optional or occasional. And apart from that, in the free time he had, he remained connected to work, thinking and worrying about the tasks performed and the ones to come. He lived his work so intensely that he had a bedroom and living room inside the plant, where he slept as if he was working on a ship in the middle of the ocean. He used the bedroom whenever he’d do late-night shifts so he would not drive home and fall asleep at the wheel again — the next time, instead of getting stopped by a tree, he could die, or worse; kill.



Because of all this, Renan had not been romantically related to anyone for a long time. His life was Lightmatik. The only button he pressed was the one on the table, the only temperature he raised was that of the reactors, when not very productive. Aside from the fleeting, impersonal interactions at work, he no longer had any human bond with anyone. He’d exchange face-to-face relationships for social media interactions. There was a Tinder he used just to play swipe left or right; never carried it forward into the real world. It was just a Red vs. Blue on Facebook, messing with Instagram — which he only used passively, as it was forbidden to post Lightmatik photos and their settings — and sports news on Twitter.



It hadn't always been like this. The problem was that, knowing that the original agreement between Brazil and Paraguay would end in 2023, authorities from both countries had been making moves to come out as “winners” in their upcoming negotiation. On the Brazilian side, the order was for Itaipu Binacional to show its power by producing energy in even greater quantity and capacity as a form of pressure; as a way of saying “look what you're going to lose… we can produce for other countries too”. With that, in 2016, Binacional broke its record, producing an impressive 103.1 TeraWatts per hour!



It was in this exact year - in the midst of both the Binacional's political dispute and Dilma Roussef's impeachment - that Renan found himself at the brink of a psychotic break. Without leaving the plant — from the bedroom to the Lightmatik, from the Lightmatik to the bedroom, passing by the general management room, teleconference on top of conference call, and WhatsApp group of high school friends, and inspection in the turbine, and MBL, and WhatsApp group of family, and “Mamãe falei” videos, and software update... — everything sucked Renan's energy.



When one day, pissed off by a human error from another department that had made Binacional fail to count 20 TeraWatts — a minimum amount for those who ended up producing almost 5 times that amount FOR EACH HOUR — Renan decided to simply quit his job and get out of there.



Not from the room. From the plant. He didn't even use his car; started walking, pissed off. Stressed. He walked, walked, walked, and when he realized... he was lost.



That wouldn't be a problem; Binacional is completely surrounded. He would walk far enough to reach either the Paraná River or some Binacional installation or even the wall that delimits the area. In this case, it was the first option.



He looked both ways looking for the dam so he could get his bearings; Renan had frothed with hate so much he could no longer tell whether he was heading east or west. To the left or to the right, all he could see was the horizon.



Smart, he realized that all he had to do was notice the direction of the current to go against it, and, eventually, he would reach the dam. So he started walking until he found two children and an adult playing soccer. Shirtless, barefoot, almost Indians.



- “Hey! Can you complete the duo here?” the adult one asked Renan, who paused for 2 seconds until he realized there was no reason not to accept the invitation.



For about 20 minutes he played Adult and Child versus Adult and Child. Renan took a little nutmeg from one child, chipped the ball over the head of the other, ran, scored a goal, suffered a goal, sweated, and, in the end, was barefoot and shirtless like them. Having a lot of fun.



When they were tired, the adult asked:



- "Hey, friend! Have lunch with us? I'll grill a Dourado fish. "



Renan accepted.



While exchanging these words with the grown-up, Renan noticed the children heading to the banks of the Paraná River to bathe.



- “Hmm, kids… don't bathe in there”, said Renan, knowing that in that water there could be not only energy discharges but also a lot of harmful waste coming from the Binacional.

- "Why?"

- "It's dangerous; you can get hurt"

- "We take a shower every day here, Sir"



Dead from the heat, Renan took his underwear and did the same. Those 3, father and children, must have been one of the few families who lived in the middle of Binacional's “buffer zone” — an area purposefully dead so that, in the event of an accident, the civilians of Foz de Iguaçu would have time to flee or protect themselves. When the government nationalized that area, some families refused to leave and signed a term of commitment taking responsibility for any problems, as long as they could stay there. That family was probably centuries-old in that place and lived humbly, planting their subsistence. Disconnected from the rest of the world.



The Dourado fish got grilled right there, on the edge of the Paraná river. All it took was a bonfire and a lemon. Fascinated by having found them, Renan talked with them for hours learning about what it was like to live there. He heard the Father, the children, and the Mother and the youngest daughter, who joined them for lunch. For dessert, fresh and lint-free mango.



After talking about the things they had already seen there on the river—Mother swears she saw a mermaid on her daughter's birthday—about the amazing story of how they met and the best way to fish, Father finally asked Renan:



- "How about you? How do you live?"



After listening to what seemed to be a life (albeit simple) so much more alive than his own, Renan wanted to respond: “Badly. I live badly.”. So bad that, instead of talking about it, he said: “Holy shit!-- Excuse the swearing. I just remembered that I have to go back; Lightmatik has to have its ingestion until the end of the day!”



He didn't even thank him right. He picked up his shoe and walked away, buttoning the shirt and following the counterflow of Paraná until first hearing, then seeing the plant.



It was already night when he arrived in his office out of breath. He did what he had to do and noticed… that nothing had changed.



There was no one congratulating him. The fact that the ingestion was done late — and probably made Renan lost about 80 TeraWhats more — was not noticed by anyone because the report is only generated by plugging in Lightmatik. The world kept turning. Well; not there. Out there.



Renan could barely sleep that day. He wondered how much he was caged in; his body living trapped in the plant, his head and heart deluded by a fabricated reality. When he turned on his cell phone and saw all the mass hysteria of his WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages, he could only think: “they are deceiving me”. Everything was upside down. That wasn't life. Life was the riverside family. Or at least the riverside family was what life once was and could be again.



When he finally fell asleep, he had a weird dream. He was at Binacional like any other day, operating his Lightmatik when, due to being hypnotized by his cell phone, he failed to press a button, causing the Paraná water, when passing through the dam, to be transformed into newspaper! Observing that bizarre scene, looking through binoculars to the shores, he saw the riverside family who, focused on playing soccer and having fun, did not notice the amount of paper coming their way. Renan then ran to the plant's sound system to warn them, but when they turned to face the power plant…



Renan woke up.



What he understood from all this was that social networks were destroying what was humanity. They propagated a culture of fear in order to dominate everyone, exaggerating facts and drowning the population in horrible, crazy, and (in several aspects) even conflicting information. He studied it further and found it to be an old concept created by the Soviets. Dezinformatsia. The idea was to produce as much bad information as possible to make people numb, paralyzed, and surrendered over to the interests of the propagators of this chaotic and fatalistic vision.

Renan was depressed by the clarity of what he saw. It wasn't overnight. Every now and then the little devil would come and say in his ear that he was acting like a privileged person thinking that things were not as bad as it seemed, after all, how could he explain the amount of news reporting horrible things on the internet? But he persisted and tried to see the bright side of things: less than 100 years ago women and black people couldn't vote, families separated by continents could now talk and see each other via Skype whenever they wanted for as long as they wanted, people no longer died of the flu!


Except for Facebook and WhatsApp… the apocalypse lived there. Released from the domain of dezinformatsiya, Renan started laughing at the sea of pessimism and bitterness found on those social networks.



He decided to take erase them all from his cell phone.



After a week, he went further and took his sim card out and put it in his old cell phone, pre-smartphone, without access to social networks.



The changes were clear to him. He had a lot more free time, less anxiety, and he even made a useless but fascinating discovery: the Lightmatik had a sort of drawer under the controller table. He commented to everyone "Have you noticed this?!"



The charm was not understood by the others, who were much more entertained with the latest confrontation between coxinhas and petralhas, the latest lamentable speech by Jair Bolsonaro, and other steps that the Brazilian population was taking towards the abyss. But Renan realized how curious that was; he never had where to put his water glass. On top of the Lightmatik was a no-no; if it fell, it could spill water and short-circuit the table. The solution was there all along and it was too practical. He could lean his mug on the drawer; since it was under the table, if it spilled, it would never wet the buds.



With free time and realizing that life was out there, Renan started trying to find that family again. But two rays do not fall in the same place; the Binacional area is very large. For a moment, he even thought that the riverside family was a kind of mermaid, just like the one the Mother had mentioned. They were mythical figures that life had put in his way to free him from the spell of social media.



But, despite reaching this idea, Renan was too straight to actually embrace it. He decided to find out who and where his riverside family was in a smarter way than walking around hoping to get them by chance. He commented on the meeting with other people at Binacional, researched on Binacional's intranet… he still didn't know much about his specific riverine family, but he discovered a lot about the set of riverine families in Binacional's buffer zone.



There were around 10 families back in 1974 when the construction of the hydroelectric plant started. How many had resisted until today, it was hard to know - they had the right to live there and pass the deed to heirs, but not to sell the property to third parties. But he also discovered that since some of these families had their livelihood affected by the dam construction, Binacional made an “exchange of favors”, paying salaries to the families who lived near the backup energy replicators to act as security guards for these facilities.



You know those spatulas doctors use to defibrillate patients giving a charge of energy to their heart? These replicators, in the event of a failure in the conduction of energy, gave the necessary electrical start to activate the huge set of generators that Binacional had in case of any problem. Once this generator was activated, it did the same in several others that, together, would produce energy equivalent to 5 days of the plant's average production.



The thing is, since Lightmatik went into action, these replicators didn't have much of a function anymore. Lightmatik was able to start the generator system by herself. Anyway, as all care is too little; the replicators were kept there, as a backup.



As time went by, Renan developed new hobbies — all this research in search of his riverside family made him interested in riverside families in general and, after learning from his grandmother, that his great-great-grandfather was himself a riverside person (but in Santa Catarina) he got even more excited. The Lightmatik operator was realizing how much he didn't miss the social networks and how much everyone around him became gradually more stressed, bellicose and inhumane. Suddenly, everyone there was going to vote for Bolsonaro. And the arguments were all crooked. They wanted him to put an end to corruption; but Bolsonaro's party was the PP, the party that was the champion of convictions in the Lava Jato prosecution. They wanted him to end the violence, but releasing weapons to the population would only aggravate the number of innocent deaths. They wanted Bolsonaro because they said he had values; but Bolsonaro repeatedly made statements against gays, blacks, and women.



Renan even tried to influence one or another colleague to take a deep breath and open their eyes because they weren't able to see clearly. But everyone thought he was the one alienated. What do you mean the world is not falling?! What do you mean the PT didn't ruin Brazil?! It was useless to show that some of them arrived there precisely because of social programs put on by the PT itself. Just like a religion, people were “choosing to believe” in the truth that best suited them. If Renan insisted, he would be called a communist. Which was funny; he had voted PSDB and PV all his life. He had never voted for the PT; but the fanaticism was so rampant and the ethical standards had been pushed so far to the right that, yes, he realized that in that situation he was comfortably “on the left”. Bolsonaro and his uncritical fans had made him identify fully with the left.



The first election round happened. Renan wanted to vote for Marina Silva mostly because of her vice president nominee Eduardo Jorge — candidate for whom he had voted in the 2014 election — but ended up voting for Ciro Gomes so that the second round would not be polarized by the Bolsonaro x PT extremism.



But there was no way.



Disappointed and hopeless, Renan retrieved his cell phone and began to live the world of Fake News and see how much that monster had grown and how people were even more dominated. Right away he saw a photo of Manuela D’ávila with the worst photoshop job ever done of a bunch of fake tattoos on her body. It had at the same time a swastika and the face of Che Guevara… and everyone believed it! On the other hand, Bolsonaro's speeches, on video, saying that it was necessary to strafe petralhas and so many other surreal things that were amortized by dezinformatsiya, were received with “but hear me out...”, “this has already been debunked”, “it was a joke”. Not even when people started being beaten and killed in the streets, did the fanatics wake up from their trance and realized “oops; I might even like the guy, but I don't want to be on the side of whoever is doing those things”.



Not a mea culpa. They turned sideways. They said “But what about the PT?!”



And how could they?; Renan thought. Millions of bots would appear out of nowhere at any moment of reflection and challenge of Bolsonarists’ faith with a shitload of false information giving that injection of anti-PT that activated all the personal fears and prejudices of them.



This was a lost war.



With 10 days to go before the second round, Renan had another dream. He dreamed that he was floating on the Paraná River, when he saw a mermaid. The mermaid swam and he followed her, knowing that in every tale the mermaid leads the man to drown himself. He swam, swam, swam, and swam upstream. Never reached the mermaid. Until he realized he was close to the dam. Suddenly, without the slightest sense—as in any dream—the flow changed its direction. Now, instead of pushing him away from it, the current took him against the Itaipu waterfall. He tried to swim against it, as he would die from the force of that body of water that falls from 435 meters up. At a certain point, he gave up fighting and let himself get carried away... that's when he looked at the control room, and operating Lightmatik was the Riverside family. Renan tried to yell at them, trying to teach them how to turn off the dam — although there’s not such a thing as “turning off” a dam — but, obviously, they couldn’t hear him. When all seemed lost, one of the kids kicked the ball at the Lightmatik, making it short-circuit and…



Renan wakes up. And rises.



He spends the entire next day considering the possibility of what he had just thought—is it possible? isn't that crazy?! — but ends the night (after seeing yet another barbaric show reported in the media followed by a moral gymnastics competition on social media) convinced that, yes, it was madness, but a madness so necessary that it becomes sane.



Taking advantage of the productive rage of his superiors caused by the political dispute with Paraguay, Renan decided to put Binacional's turbines at full speed, quadrupling the number of TeraWatts produced per hour. His idea was to reverse the direction of each even turbine so that it would feedback each odd turbine and thus produce faster. The problem—and he knew that beforehand—is that such an action could cause the Lightmatik to overheat. What, normally, would not be a problem, as, every time it overheats, the Lightmatik would send a signal to the backup replicators that would come into action and reboot the generators.



That's where Renan's wit comes in.



He found 3 of the replicator stations on the map — abandoned, as they were hardly ever used — and manually reversed their phase so that, when sending the alert signal to the station, instead of sending the energy discharge to the backups, he sent back to Lightmatik!



With that, two of the stations shorted out melting their “motherboard” and the Lightmatik, which was already overheated, caught fire due to the high energy discharge. Not to mention the damage to the cabling between the Lightmatik and the stations and some of the cabling that was going out of Binacional into the street poles.



The product of all of this?



A 2-week blackout across the South and Southeast of Brazil.



There was no looting, rape, violence. People, without energy at home to charge their cell phones, stopped accessing social networks, started to meet on the street, look in the eyes and leave their trance. With jobs that could be performed without electricity, people remembered the power of collaborative action. Several people discovered "drawers" in their personal Lightmatiks. Friends who became enemies reconciled. Realized how surreal it was to see a sunset reduced by a cell phone screen when they can see without a filter with their own eye globules. Rediscovered the delight of Oxytocin. Lots of sex; 9 months later, a baby boom to make World War II jealous. They realized that everything was upside down, that the flow was reversed and everyone was going in the wrong direction. That life was not that sea of anguish and depression that social networks led us to believe. That virtual life has much less to offer than real, carnal, material life.



In addition to the vast majority in the Northeast, many in the South and Southeast gave their senses a chance and exchanged their vote, electing President Fernando Haddad. Jair Bolsonaro lost the election and it wasn't all rosy but, little by little, with the lessons learned without social networks and a lot of goodwill from all sides, these flowers were born and gave life to a solid and perennial democratic fabric.



By the way: they didn't even dream of any guilt/participation in what happened on the part of Renan, who, one day, months later, leaving Binacional in his car towards his house — he was going out to dinner with a girl he had met during the blackout — saw in the distance the father and the boys from Riverside.



He stopped the car for them to cross the dirt road. The father nudges the children so that they thank Renan. They say thank you. Renan says “No. Thank you".

CHAPTER 3

Dear Leila,

We haven't met in person, but I think by the end of this letter we'll be great friends. At least, I hope so.



I need to go back about 1 month ago to start this story. Yes, just a month ago. But it feels like a lifetime.



I've been married for 10 years to an asshole. A middle-class guy who thinks he's rich. Who thinks that, because he works for the financial market, he has a seat at the bankers' table. A stuck-up suck up. He saved up money — without ever asking me what we could do with that money — to buy an imported car full of useless features to create a status for himself, but complains about having to pay $2,500 for our daughter's school tuition. He hides himself in that “education has no party” bullshit — but uses our daughter to take a picture of her making the Bolsonaro gun hand sign and post it on his Facebook page and WhatsApp group. Not to mention all the more stupid machismo and manipulations, like being against me working and other things I will tell you later. Let's cut to the chase:



It was Thursday morning. I had gone to bed on Wednesday before he arrived. I was used to it; Wednesday tends to have complicated market closings - he said. But when he woke up, quickly drank coffee, and returned to the company, I ended up using the laptop he left at home; and the WhatsApp web was logged into it. With a picture of his cock and the message “still thinking about last night” sent to the woman he'd had sex with a few hours earlier, instead of being at home with his family.



Will you believe me if I say I didn't even cry? I just read the entire message exchange to understand the whole truth that had been denied to me, closed the WhatsApp Web tab, and turned off the computer.



What he did—and, from what I've seen in other conversations, he was doing not just with that one—freed me. It gave me the argument I needed to confirm what I had seen for a long time, but I was afraid to face it: I fell in love with an asshole. Years ago. Today I no longer feel that; I think I've been confusing — much to his efforts — the love and relationship I have with my daughter as if it had some contribution from him. It does not have.



He squeezes my collar tight so that every time I'm out of breath, every time I relax a little bit — via flowers, jewelry, or a trip to Ubatuba — and oxygen comes galloping in, giving the impression, by contrast, that there's still life in my lungs which are completely contaminated by his - however fragile - toxic masculinity. The analogy should be handcuffs and not a collar, because a collar suggests that I'm a bitch and I wish that was the case. He's smothered all my sexual libido a long time ago because (i) he poses as a moralist person in front of everyone, (ii) he is selfish, and (iii) he knows that a woman who is so close to the path of pleasure as to orgasm will never need to have someone with so little to add by her side.



So what I did was re-conquer my pleasure, my femininity. But that was what was at the deep bottom; at the time I was just getting revenge. I sent my mother to pick my daughter up from school and let her sleep there. I showered, shaved, got a very delicate thong that makes my butt perky (and the asshole said it was "a little too daring") and went to the gym. There's a beautiful personal trainer there, with a defined body but without being pumped. He must be in his early 20s, that energy; but he is not weak like most of them. He was always kind to me, polite, without being slobbering or suffocating. He and I did something I never imagined doing in my life… I asked if he could come by my station to help me and when we were away from his client, I spoke in his ear with my mouth almost touching his ear: “I want to fuck you. I'll wait for you to dismiss your client and we'll go to Lush to have sex all night.”



And then left, leaving him with his mouth open and pants puffed up.



Roger (I found out his name) made up some excuse and soon came to meet me. We went to Lush. On the way there, nothing happened between us. We barely touched each other. And that only made me more tense. I was mad with desire, nearly exploding, my heart pounding, and a bunch of thoughts running through my head. We shyly went up the stairs to the suite, making small talk, smiling like teenagers. When we entered the room, Roger locked the door behind him, and time seemed to have stopped. We looked at each other a bit and I walked to the bed. He stayed still. So I untied my dress, letting it fall down to just my thong. I felt like a work of art being appreciated, a spectacle being enjoyed. Seeing in his eyes the desire he had for me made me all wet.



I lowered my panties, got on all fours in bed, and said “come”.



He came and, to my surprise, he turned me around, looked deep into my eyes, and gave me a kiss that made me all hot. It was almost enough just kissing and feeling my breasts touching his chest, pressing my belly against his. It was a delicately strong, overpowering kiss. One hand through my hair, the other on my back. I was afraid to cum right then and there so quick, so I begged: "Get in me".



He took off his pants, his cock throbbing, but I just noticed how he had a beautiful abdomen, and he smelled great; that smell of a man that sweats and lasts. We got into it strong, but almost in love. I moaned shortly in his ear because I saw that it made him crazy, he sucked on my tits and it didn't last long until we both came together. What's the chance?



We cuddled a little. I kept kissing him while he got his breath and his erection back. I invited him to go to the jacuzzi to rest for a while. When I thought he was ready, then I did what I really wanted because that romantic mood had been a surprise; I wanted to be able to explore everything that I had been deprived of the last 10 years. I sucked him dry, he returned the favor, we 69'd, we played in all ways. I enjoyed it a lot.



It was 3 am and he was sleeping like a baby. I was still horny. I kept looking at his deflated cock, thinking about waking him up with a blowjob… but it was a little too much. I blamed myself. I had to control myself; that was too much. So I grabbed my cell phone to read something while I went to the bathroom. I thought about taking a picture of him and sending it to my future ex-husband. But it wasn't a good idea; it was just like him to (even after doing everything he did to me) take the photo and use it — with the support of his stupid contacts and the entire macho society in which we live — to take my custody of my daughter.



When I arrived in the bathroom, I realized that I had taken Roger's cell phone and not mine. The password was the same as mine: 0000.



And that's when I opened his WhatsApp with several Bolsonaro supporting groups:

Personals (sic) with Bolsonaro

B17 against Communism

Oppressors from São Paulo

Bolsonaro President emoji with glasses emoji little hand shooting



And other groups like:

Dog Club (where Roger and friends exchanged photos and videos of naked women - some they took themselves but mostly passed on from other groups)

Gym Girls (with photos of gym-goers working out in fitness clothes)

God is more emoji little hand praying



Unlike what I saw on my future ex-husband’s WhatsApp, that made me VERY pissed off. At him, of course — I still don't know how I didn't leave the bathroom and break his cell phone in his face — but also AT MYSELF. Look how crazy, Leila! I was pissed off *at myself*! For once again getting involved with a piece of shit. What is this society that makes the women responsible for all the problems these scrotums have? I thought “*but it's my mistake; the gym is no place to look for a person*”—why not? Why is the error the *place* one is looking for and not the fact that people act like shit anytime anyplace?!?!



No. I couldn't be mad at myself.



The real disease here is this toxic masculinity and Bolsonaro as their idol is the perfect representation of all the fragility of these men who are protected forever to act like boys.



All the “passion”, the horniness I felt in the various fucks and orgasms I gave him… were mine. Being free, conquering my individuality, is what made me cum. He was just a vessel.



So I decided I wasn't going to break his cell phone. I was going to do my part and use the power I had there — a primary power, as the conquest was primitive — and try to turn his vote around.












I reassembled myself. I brushed my teeth, put on makeup, fixed my hair. I wore my high heels And nothing else. I turned the music on loud. It was Rihana and David Guetta. “Who's that chick”. I tied Roger to the bed. He was excited. I started swaying, crouching down to his dick, hard, waiting for me to sit on it, just teasing; softly touching my lower lips, leaving me (and him) horny, but never sitting down. He was already surrendered:


- "Roger, I'll only let you in if you do something for me..." - I said in a voice and cadence so sexy it was borderline ridiculous.



- "Speak to me, speak," he said in an equally ridiculous voice.

- “I want…” — BAM! I took a seat in his cock and quickly got up and out of it—“…you to promise me”—I took two quick lunges—“…you will NOT vote for Bolsonaro”.



His look was confused. Then I sat down and swayed, until his eyes turned and I pulled myself off him, making it clear that he would only be pleased if he promised. I was in control. The stick was his, but it was my enjoyment.

Can you believe he still had the nerve to say: “But he's the Myth, man!”?



I got up and stared at his dick suffering to be embraced. Afraid of deflating and not having the strength to lift it back up, he quickly recanted: “No! 'm joking, I'm joking, baby! I don't even like him. Come here!"



I went slowly, feeling him — sitting on his cock was obviously making me horny as well — and making sure I had his head changed:


- "Roger, I'll only let you in if you do something for me..." - I said in a voice and cadence so sexy it was borderline ridiculous.



- "Speak to me, speak," he said in an equally ridiculous voice.

- “I want…” — BAM! I took a seat in his cock and quickly got up and out of it—“…you to promise me”—I took two quick lunges—“…you will NOT vote for Bolsonaro”.



His look was confused. Then I sat down and swayed, until his eyes turned and I pulled myself off him, making it clear that he would only be pleased if he promised. I was in control. The stick was his, but it was my enjoyment.



Do you believe he still had the nerve to say: “But he's the Myth, man!”?



I got up and stared at his dick suffering to be embraced. Afraid of deflating and not having the strength to lift it back up, he quickly recanted: “No! 'm joking, I'm joking, baby! I don't even like him. Come here!"



I went slowly, feeling him — sitting on his cock was obviously making me horny as well — and making sure I had his head changed:


- “But I saw that you like him, saying at the gym that you're going to vote for him…”

- “Ah, but it's just that we can't have the PT again, right babe? Come here with me, let me eat that pussy…”

- "Do you promise not to vote for Bolsonaro?"

- "Promise! For God!"



I started pounding rhythmically as I spoke:



- "We… can do… a lot of dirty things… if you don't vote… for him"

- "I will not go! I won't… Haddad for the win!”

- "Not him!" - I said almost climaxing.

- "Not him!"

- “NOT HIIIIIIIIM!!!” — we both came in unison.



But haven't you learned yet, Leila? I didn't back then. But I do now: a bastard is a bastard. It doesn't learn in pleasure; only in pain.



A week later it seemed that Roger (even without knowing that I was snooping on his Facebook to find out if anything had changed) made even more efforts to express his stupidity in the form of Bolsonaro, only because he submitted his "power" to be able to have pleasure and no man can never be forced to lose its privileges.



Fuck Roger. My mission had just been expanded.



I decided that I had to explore my pleasure more and it would be doubly empowering if I made it a means rather than an end. I joined Tinder and started researching people.  I searched on all their networks; if he had an avatar and posts celebrating Bolsonaro and was married — guess what, 70% of them were — I would swipe right and cross my finger for a match. My photo was just my cleavage; I was afraid my future ex-husband would recognize me. But it was enough for all those drooling idiots to match. How silly men are...



What I started to do was the following: print all conversations. I always asked if they were married. Some said no, others “I am, but I'd leave her for you”.



I'd fuck them, I confess. Just to feel myself using them. Reparation. Taking from them everything my husband had always denied me.



Afterward, I'd send the screenshots to their wives, alerting them about how much of a prick their husbands were. And since what they had in common - yes, because I did black, white, fat, skinny, rich, and poor - was Bolsonaro and their toxic masculinity, I knew some of those women would not leave them for countless reasons - they could get physically assaulted, could believe it was just once and deep down they still loved them, could think it would be bad for their family and several other things I don't agree but can't judge because awakening takes time. It's not easy. So I made clear to them that the best way to deal with it was to vote against Bolsonaro. #NotHim is the best way to say not THEM. It was a way to, without them knowing, kick their balls really hard. Whatever comes after only comes after.



By doing that alone, I managed to turn 7 votes away. And four of those votes started doing the same I was doing. It's a movement that can't be stopped.



And that's where you come in, Leila.



You must be thinking: why am I telling you all that? You're not married; why is this any of my business?



It so happens that my husband is Bruno and the woman he went out with on a Wednesday night 1 month ago was you.



I am not mad at you. Not one bit. You didn't know; I know that. I am sending you this message to open your eyes to who Bruno is. Because I know he will increase his charms towards you as soon as I leave him. And I know that you, as a woman, can do so much better than him.



My late aunt Abigail was a very strong woman. She'd always tell me that men put us, women, against each other, but the bond between two women was stronger than most things because only we know what we go through every day. I'd think she was exaggerating due to personal traumas she lived 20 years ago which made her get close to three other friends. But you know what? She was right. And that's why I'm leaving this door open with an invitation for us to create that bond.



I still don't know what I'm going to do - besides voting against Bolsonaro - to get my revenge. But the point is that, different from men, we don't want it all for us. We know how to share. I think this revenge is partly yours too, so you should have a say on what to do to make him pay. What do you say?



With love and hoping you understand my intentions,

Angela



PS: Can you believe Bruno came here to say “Love, did you see this video from Doria with the hookers? How absurd!”? Meanwhile, in his little WhatsApp groups he's sharing it laughing “kkkkk top”



***



Dear Angela,



What do I say? How many votes do you think I can turn until Sunday? Sis, let's fuck those pieces of shit. I've downloaded Tinder and I'm going hard.



About Bruno, I have a few ideas. Should we FaceTime?



Best,


Leila

#NotHim #NotEver #Haddad13

Chapter 4
Eduardo was tired.



Writer by profession, creative by vocation, he used all his narrative and argumentative skills to try to make people around him - some close, some just "acquaintances" - see the inhuman terror that was to vouch for Jair Bolsonaro and how necessary it was that on the 28th of October they all voted for Fernando Haddad to prevent the complete degradation of Brazilian's humanity.



Wrote big Facebook texts—only two; he thought they were more of a hindrance than a help—he spoke face-to-face, he was aggressive, he was loving. He tried not to speak at all either; to set an example, to leave people's conviviality so that, seeing this protest, the others would realize how important that was to him and how bad it all made him feel. However, nothing seemed to change people. Nothing seemed to break the Siren's song, the hypnotic trance that so many people were going through, fooled by a motherfucker like Jair Bolsonaro and his manipulative campaign financed by exploitative oligarchies and corporations.



Eduardo was very tired and helpless.



His last years had been filled with tragedies. Trying to give a 180-degree turn, a “hail mary” to see if he cheated life and was reborn, he went to the United States in 2016. He “fled” from a country whose judges abused their discretion, from a media that crossed the line of its rights and duties, to a country whose climate seemed favorable to him, and its institutions stronger. It didn't take long for the bombs to drop on his feet. Personal ones, with the death of his father-in-law, and also personal, with the election of Donald Trump; after all, an immigrant, Eduardo would come to live under the fear and neurosis of living in a place where its highest authority repeatedly said that he did not want him there.



If all of this wasn’t enough, even though he’d always tried to do everything right, not taking advantage of any basic services such as schools and hospitals, Eduardo discovered that the lawyer — Brazilian and future voter of Bolsonaro — who handled his work visa application had no license to practice in the United States and, due to successive errors, was already beyond the permissible length of stay; in other words, he was “illegal”.



Amidst this metaphorical hurricane - that happened amidst an actual hurricane, Irma - Eduardo was forced to, once more, start over. He had 5 days to pack one and a half years' worth of stuff and return to Brazil without knowing if he would ever be able to return.



He re-did the visa application, spent more than he could, but, finally, got his work visa approved. Returning to the USA, stronger, seeing things differently, understanding he couldn't be silent in the face of injustice. He had to use his privileges to try and break all existing privileges. For, throughout all the suffering, he was blessed to have a roof over his head, he had friends and tools to afford himself the luxury of taking tomorrow for granted.



One of these tools, he believed, was his vote. Therefore, in December, when he awaited his visa processing, he went to the Niterói’s Electoral Court to update his voter card, paying the fees and justifying his absence from the 2016's Rio de Janeiro mayoral election, and also to educate himself on how to vote from abroad on the coming year. He was informed by the kind (and super well-informed) Electoral Court employees that he could only do that request in Miami, on the Consulate in which he intended to vote.



Back in the United States in late January, Eduardo was broke as fuck. In between immigration lawyer's fees + airplane tickets + rent security deposits + day-to-day costs, Eduardo needed to work. Badly.



He sent his resumé to many places before being hired by a company far away from his house. 21 miles. About 40 minutes when traffic-free. Wasn't ideal, but it was much-needed money. He would do some other stuff- finishing a ghost-writer gig, editing video, sub for a friend writing newsletters…- all so he could add to his earnings and get back to breathing.



With so much on his head, he still couldn't forget about his vote. He went to the horrible consulate website after the info on how to vote. Called them. What he discovered was that even though he finished all online processes - scanning documents, giving all sorts of personal data, clicking hundreds of links in different pages - he would have to go to the consulate in flesh and bone for… for nothing. So they would “recognize it's you”, said the person on the phone.


The issue was that this change of electoral residence registry was only allowed until April. And the consulate had a ridiculous working hour of TEN AM until ONE PM. In Coral Gables, one hour away from his work.



Having just started his work, still in trial mode, needing the money, and scared about the (almost nonexistent) labor laws in the country, Eduardo implored the consulate to allow him to go on a Saturday, a day they did open for emergencies, but he did not have his request accepted. April came and the change of electoral residence registry was not made. Eduardo would not be able to exercise his citizen’s right to vote in the important coming election.



Eduardo was very tired, helpless, and hopeless.



Even if he wiped out of his coexistence all the people who supported Jair Bolsonaro's atrocities, he'd know they were still there. Not far from him. And, soon, they would be the majority. That immobilized him. A sea of anxiety. He couldn't get his head off from what would come after October 28. Couldn't produce the way he wanted, couldn't channel his energy to do anything. He felt pain in his legs and back, ate a lot of shit all the time. No libido, going more than two months without sex; a sad sack of emptiness.



Eduardo was very tired, helpless, hopeless, and, on top of it all, surrendered.



These three first sensations he could and knew how to handle. He had already tasted them several times. But not the last one. If there's one thing Eduardo had never done, was surrender.



But how to not give in to what cannot be avoided? It's the same as a null or blank vote: when something is unavoidable, you only have one real choice; embrace the inevitable. Not to embrace the inevitable is to withdraw from the question. And there is no subtraction of the world. With all the privileges he had, Eduardo couldn't close his eyes, look to the side, close himself in his dome and pretend that nothing was happening.



Eduardo, who had been dealing with his depression for years with impressive maturity, found himself surprised for considering, for the first time in his life, suicide a plausible solution. Yes, because he had thought about suicide dozens of times, after all, a Virgo and a writer, he always meticulously analyzed all the possible options - he thought that by diving into them, imagining them, he had a preview of what they could bring him and that took the power away from the difficult scenarios. He'd come out of it strong, wanting to live. But not now. Since he was repeatedly being forced to reboot his life to start over and he couldn't find reasons other than stubbornness to keep trying; then maybe a meaningful death would redeem a purposeless life, he thought. And fuck it if it didn't either: Eduardo was tired, helpless, hopeless, surrendered but committed.





He wrote a letter and on the morning of October 27, the day before the election, and sent it to 7 people.



It wasn't a suicide letter. It was a Facebook inbox warning: those people, Bolsonaro voters — some close, some not so much — had until 10 pm Sunday to prove with a video that they didn't vote for Bolsonaro. That they pressed “1, 3, confirm” for president. He didn't care how they would get in the voting booth with a cell phone, how would they film it — in the first round there was a bunch of people filming their vote, pressing the vote machine numbers with a gun; it's on them to figure out how. But they had to show their face, the act, and the confirmation of the vote. If he didn't receive all 7 videos until 10 pm Sunday, he would take his life. He also made it clear that there was no point in trying to contact him: his phone would be turned off and they wouldn't be able to call the police to look for him. They had, like Eduardo, only one option. Save or destroy a life through their vote.



Eduardo considered the scenarios. If 6 did it, but 1 didn't; what would happen? What if all 7 voted 13 and Bolsonaro won regardless? It didn't matter. What about people that liked Eduardo and would never vote for Bolsonaro? Wasn't that selfish of him? Wouldn't he be bringing unnecessary suffering to good, decent people? He'd laugh at such a frail argument. CLearly comes from someone who never faced such pain. Not to mention that empathy and compassion were things so out of fashion that moment, that the people that had it - the people that “liked him” and would “suffer” with his demise - would make such an effort to feel it, that they would never see that through their own prism; they would understand, albeit they would lament it. They wouldn't make this about them but about Eduardo and the state of things in Brazil.





Empowered by the reigning binarism, so did Eduardo: it was yes or no; come what may, Que será será. And that gave him peace after a long period of chaos. There was no anxiety. The dice were thrown. The ball wasn't on his court anymore.



===



Carlinhos was one of the people that received the message.



Eduardo's baby brother, Carlinhos lived through a big trauma at a young age. At the age of 1, he had Leukemia. He was so young he couldn't get a transplant. Had to do chemotherapy. Got bald, bloated, weak.His plaques count got better and the doctors said he was cured… but at the age of 3, he was diagnosed with Leukemia again.


His disease changed things around in the family. Eduardo and Carlinhos' father, surrendered, “deliver to the hands of God”. Not only Carlinhos’ life but his own. Feeling weak, he found a purpose in “praising the Lord”, a chance to redeem what he saw as his sins. But it was his daughter, Hana, who practically saved Carlinhos, with a bone marrow transplant that cured him 100%.



Carlinhos grew protected and hesitant due to this trauma. Diseases do that. This hyper-alert feeling takes a while to pass. Someone sneezes in the bedroom and they ask “Who sneezed?”, afraid it could be Carlinhos, for that could mean his immune system was low and if the immune system was low, could that mean the Leukemia is back? And even if it's not the immune system; if it was just a wind that crossed him, if it makes him get a cold, could the Leukemia come back?


More than once Eduardo assumed responsibility for the sneeze that came from Carlinhos so as not to start the session of “but are you ok? Let's call Dr. Marcílio! Get the thermometer!”. Back then, they had a strong bond. Eduardo played the role of the older brother, gave him Fluminense's jerseys that had been his, not just passing a tricolored piece of cloth, but as if it was a genetic gift, a hereditary authorization to a link, a connection. And everyone said that Carlinhos was a Mini Eduardo. That their expressions were very similar. The way they talked, behaved. Eduardo could understand where they were coming from, but he thought it was a little exaggerated, almost a general desire to show Carlinhos that, despite everything, he could have a future. Well, not "despite”; *because* of everything he _had_ to have a future. He owed himself to live.


But life happens. Adolescence happens. And each person, however you force comparisons, is different.


Added to the fact that their father had always been authoritarian and controlling, Carlinhos, who, unlike Eduardo, grew up suffocated as one of his father's accessories, was never encouraged to study, go to college: just to serve his father. Bass, drums, programming... always gravitating around his father's musical needs. The mask he wore on stage was a tribute to Daft Punk, but Eduardo thought that if anyone went to page 2 of the Carlinhos’ book they would find it was more worn out of a feeling of inadequacy and protection than anything else.


But Eduardo did little to help. Saw what a problem this was, but it was nothing new. Nothing his older sister, older brother, and younger sister hadn't been through either. And what's the point of giving a man a fish, right? The only time he intervened was when, still in 2016, he saw Carlinhos repost something — whose content itself was not even problematic, Eduardo even agreed with — from the “Bolsonaro oppressor” page. He texted him, marking his position: "Can't go with Bolsonaro, Little Man." Embarrassed, Carlinhos deleted the post a few minutes later.


When he learned in early 2017 that Carlinhos had gone to spend 3 months (which later became 6) alone in Japan — very much to their father's displeasure — Eduardo was thrilled. He always thought that in these situations, a partner's love and/or total disruption were the only things that have the power to take one away from someone else's domination.


But it did not work. Six months later, Carlinhos had to come back. While he was in Brazil waiting for his visa to return to the United States, Eduardo visited them and took some time to try and talk to Carlinhos. He wanted to go back to Japan, his dreams were all there

.

However, culture is a motherfucker. Their father's domination took effect and, added to having studied with Renan Bolsonaro (Bolsonaro's youngest son), added to the feeling of inadequacy and fear caused by his childhood trauma that never made him come out from behind his mask, never made him explore his sexuality in a healthy way - not to mention the anti-PT brainwashing created by Jair Bolsonaro's informational war - Carlinhos would follow the vote of his father and mother and vote 17.


When he received the warning from his older brother, Carlinhos ignored the message and tried to talk to Eduardo. Failed. He no longer spoke to his sister, for, mesmerized by the Bolsonarist atmosphere, he saw the person who had saved his life, whose part of her literally lived inside him, as something foreign. A woman. A "communist".


He didn't speak to his father and mother out of fear, not knowing exactly what to do. So he resorted to one of the WhatsApp groups that gave him everything he really needed: belonging. He heard it was a communist manipulation strategy. That Eduardo wasn't going to do that, that it was blackmail from someone who didn't really like him and that this was bigger than him or his brother; it was the country's future against the communist threat! Brazil could not be in the hands of the left!


And that was enough for him. He believed and agreed and was happy about it.


But once he went to try to sleep he couldn't.


He laid down, looked at the sky and all that came into his thoughts was his brother. He glanced at his cell phone again to see if Eduardo had answered; the arrows were not blue. Eduardo had seen WhatsApp 24 hours ago.


Eventually, he fell asleep, but as soon as he woke up his anxiety returned and seemed to grow with each passing hour: "What if he really kills himself?"


All he had to do was vote 13. His conviction wasn't that strong; he knew that. And he knew that no one entered the urn; only him. Why not vote 13? But that wasn't fair! It was blackmail. Eduardo was taking away his chance to choose, his free will! But, on the other hand, he thought: so what? Will I let him kill himself?


Carlinhos started thinking about scenarios where he could do both: vote for whoever he wanted but still save his brother's life. What if he did a montage? — But how to edit the video?!


The hours passed and he didn't have much more time. Carlinhos basically had to make a simple choice between a vote on 13 or something else. A choice between his brother's life and his brother's suicide.


Arriving at his electoral zone, he thanked God for the long line. He was looking for any sign to know what to do. But guess what? Even if there was any clear sign, it was of no use. Carlinhos was just like Eduardo, facing the inevitable. To vote 13 to save his brother and himself from regret.


Pissed off, he entered the booth.


Typed 1…


And when, upset, he went to type 3...


He noticed he hadn't brought his cell phone!


His heart started beating very fast.


How was he going to do it now?! Could one stop the vote and say they'd forgotten something at home? If he said he had forgotten the number of the candidates, some clerk would give him the problems and that would not solve his problem. He certainly couldn't justify saying he needed his cell phone to film his vote — it's an electoral crime to film your vote.


Carlinhos felt the weight of killing someone right then and there. And he realized the horror that would be a Jair Bolsonaro government, where the appreciation for the lives of others is null. His vote on 13, in a matter of seconds, became a convicted choice. To fail to do his part and prevent his brother's death became inevitable.


Impotence then took over his body. Tears began to well up, the teeth gnashed as he pressed the lower arch against the upper one. He banged his fist on the table, having some attention drawn to him. The president of the section looked worried to find out what was going on inside that booth.


That's when Carlinhos noticed that, when he hit the table, an object seemed to have been revealed behind the urn.


Someone had left a cell phone and a glass of mate on the table.


It was a sign from God. It was an even greater sign from God that the cell phone had no password; a simple swipe opened it up.


Carlinhos filmed, pressed 3, completing 13, and pressed confirm.


Leaving the urn in a daze, he passed by and heard the owner of the cell phone commenting that she had lost it, asking around if anyone had found it. He sped up his pace.


He entered his house, sent the video. His part was done.


“Now what happens?” he thought.


<< Unfinished Untitled Unpublubished Eneas book (2018)

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