Heiko H. Caimi – Improvements

Chadi, on all fours on the trash pile, rummaged frantically: at the shed they paid tin ten cents per kilogram. He was only seven and he couldn’t take so many kilograms, but he got crafty: he stole a shopping cart, and thanks to it he could take lots and lots of tins. He could earn up to seven euro per day, when things ran well.

«Hey you» a voice behind him said.
He turned around suddenly. It could be the man in uniform that had run after him the day before. Thank God he managed to hide the shopping cart in the trees and to burrow in a big bush. That one passed and he hadn’t noticed anything.
An elegant man in suit and tie was staring at him. Behind him a big black car was waiting with the engine running. What was a man like him doing there?
Chadi looked around for an escape.
«Do you want to earn ten euro per day?» the man addressed him.
Ten euro? At least, it would have been one hundred more euro per month.
Chadi got off the dump and approached the man with distrust. The man told him that he worked for a shoe factory, and that he would assume him for ten euro per day. The work shift was from eight in the morning to eight in the evening with a break of half an hour. He also explained how to find the factory.
«Then, are you in?» he finally asked.
«First, I should tell dad» the children answered.
«It’s right» the man concluded. «If he says yes, you know where to come».
The place wasn’t far away and he knew how to get there. Thanks to the skateboard that he had found the week before and that he had fixed with his friend Sabri, he could reach the factory quickly.
The man went away and Chadi ran to the shed to sell the collected tin. Then he came back home, and he spoke with mom. Mom said that they had to wait for dad. His brothers were curious. That evening dad told him that it was a good opportunity, and that he couldn’t miss it. Moreover, if he had worked for the shoe factory, he would have stopped working under the rain and risking to cut with things that people threw away. So, it was a good thing, and Chadi couldn’t wait to tell Sabri. Who knows how envious he would have been.
The next morning he went to the shoe factory. Another man welcomed him with a half smile on his face and let him down a dark staircase.
At the end of the staircase there was a door. The man opened it, pushed inside the child and told a man that was there to train the new lost puppy. That’s exactly what he said, lost puppy.
The room was huge and badly lit, there were some old and rusty machineries and a lot of other children that worked, sitting or standing, shoe parts: some of them the soles, some the strings, some the upper; some sewed, some glued, some dyed. The other children raised their heads slightly to look at him, then they came back to work without saying hello. Who knows, maybe he would have made friends with them and after the work they would have played together.
The man that had accompanied him exited, and the other man grabbed Chadi’s arm and took him to a machinery where another child was working. Chadi was happy. It was full of children there, and he would have done a job that allowed him to stay warm and to earn more. In the family they would all be better off, thanks to him. He was proud of it.

Translation by Marco Pinnavaia (edited by Francesca Ceccarelli)