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The initiated

Rat 1 - You know, I don't know how long I'm going to put up with this situation... this man stays up almost every night working... It's unbearable! After the noise they make with the renovation all day, there's no one to sleep!

Rat 2.- I've already told you that if you use earplugs you won't find out... but keep on with your stubbornness...

Rat 1 - And I told you that I do not stay calm ... What if we are caught sleeping?
Rat 2.- Well, we’ll sleep in shifts, shall we? …by the way, I found out the name of our mysterious insomniac…and some of his implausible story…

Rat 1. – Oh yeah?! Account…!

Rat 2.- Apparently his name is Joan Mateo, and he has been in the construction business for many years, but although it is hard to believe, he began in the guild when he was at the head of a large family business called Construcciones Mateo,

Rat 1. – Oops! Sure rings a bell! Rare was the place where you couldn’t see those awful almanacs! They even said it was one of the strongest companies in the real estate sector, right?

Rat 2. – That’s right, little friend! I see that when you want to, you’re smarter than you look.

The family business Construcciones Mateo left a good number of calendars all over the Mediterranean coast, it was like an empire; but all that was left behind for our sleepless creature… I see, but if he enjoyed such a privileged position… how is it possible that he now devotes himself to masonry? Don’t tell me, the company went bankrupt, collapsed with the crisis, and the glassblower clung to the wreckage to stay afloat…

Rat 2 – How clever you are… but even if it could be the most logical thing to do, you’re wrong! He changed positions of his own free will! Well, apparently he decided to seek the anonymity of a humble and anonymous vocational mason.

Rat 1. – You’re kidding…

Rat 2. – Not at all! His story borders on the improbable, I know, but you can’t find in his professional career an evolution with which to limit any logical expectation, like you do when you eat dessert before food!

Rat 1. – Food? Dessert? You’re going to go now as a sybarite eating menu of the day in the restaurant across the street, right? Don’t make me laugh…

Rat 2.- His “fall” had nothing to do with any external circumstance: it was caused by an introspective and even existential drive.

Rat 1.-Oooh… existential? That’s deep! Is that why he came to work in the basement?

Rat 2. – Well, there’s something to it! Apparently there are people who need to get to the bottom of any issue in order to find the meaning of any subject… to build it from scratch, and to carry out the symbolic and the material at the same time… this is how he redirected his life from and into anonymity, seeking to carry out a silent job as a labourer, but in another much smaller and truly “family” enterprise. This company is dedicated to small renovation works, with few workers but efficient, as you will have seen.

Rat 1.- Is that why they called this company for the reform of this old cistern?

Rat 2. – Well, I guess… but getting back to our character… Joan Mateo keeps behind him some mysteries that are difficult for humans to unravel, his few friends know little about his private life, and everyone believes that he keeps a double life much more intriguing than Joan Mateo tells us. You and I know that, don’t we? Haven’t you noticed all those constructions and experiments he carries out when everyone else is gone?

Rat 1. – Of course… as if I didn’t notice, this looks like the lab of a crazy professor…

Rat 2. – Not so crazy, girlfriend. We are dealing with an individual of great ambitions, although it may seem the opposite… Joan only makes visible a small part of himself, of his dreams and fears. Like the tip of an iceberg that does not even seem to correspond to the cold environment where he is. In Joan’s shadow may be compressed the passion for the most hidden knowledge, to which only a small number of people have had access. What is certain is that our character hides a part that is pregnant with curiosity and passion for the transmutation of matter and the same “spirit”, “the quintessence”, the “opus magnun”… all those things that place him on the path of a constant search…

Rat 1 .- Speaking of searching, have you seen my piece of cheese? I’ve been looking for it for days and I’m afraid this would-be alchemist has swallowed it!


José Luis Serzo

Madrid August 2016