Automatic traslation from the original story in Spanish. Not checked manually

Robert, when he got up that morning, was circumspect. Peter had tasked him with speaking to Mr. Campbell, the CEO of Preserved Foods Ltd.

He must explain to him all the advantages of the machine that we want to sell him for his canning factories and Peter believed that he should do it, since he was the one who had designed it.

He was a very good engineer and also had good experience in using artificial intelligence, but talking to people was not his strong suit, it was generally Peter’s job.

Furthermore, when he had ever had to talk to a client, he would invariably get a severe itch somewhere on his body.

“Well,” he thought to himself, trying to cheer himself up, “if it happens to me, I’ll just scratch it.”

He looked at his watch and saw that he couldn’t waste time. He got ready, had a frugal breakfast and after saying goodbye to his wife he got into the car and left for the office.

Less than half an hour after arriving, Peter went to look for him. Come on Robert, Mr. Campbell is already waiting for us in the meeting room.

When they arrived Peter made the introductions and then said to Mr. Campbell: “Robert will inform you of any questions he may have.” As I have told you, he is the one who designed the machine, which allows the best use of American pineapples during the canning process.

Now unfortunately, as he had already told him, I must go to the airport or else I will miss my flight.

—Don’t worry Mr. Conrad. I am sure that Mr. Clarkson will give me all the necessary information.

  —I will try not to disappoint you. —Robert comments that, just after saying this phrase, he begins to feel an unbearable itch in his butt… Yes, yes, right in the anus.

A place where it is not wise to scratch when faced with a person who, according to Peter, is quite prudish and easily offended.

“An itch there” —Robert thinks totally terrified— “I can’t scratch my ass. Don’t think I’m being rude.”

Drawing strength from weakness, Robert begins to discourse on the characteristics of the project that he has carried out for him, praying that this unbearable itch will disappear.

Full of unease, pointing at the model, he tells her: —From this place, the trucks unload the boxes of pineapples directly onto the machine belt.

—These robots —he continues— will be in charge of separating the pineapples from the packaging. The packaging will go to this side of the machine where it will be converted into pellets, which can be sold as such. While the pineapples will head towards the processing train, which as he sees has several exits.

—In the first step—he continues—the machine cuts the crown and it is diverted to this left branch where it will be processed to turn it into a moisturizing cream for the skin. Said cream will be packaged and labeled. It will then be placed in boxes of twelve units that will be deposited on these shelves for later distribution.

—In the second step, hundreds of probe punches will be introduced into the skin of the pineapple and, thanks to artificial intelligence, they will stop just when they perceive the pulp. —he continues explaining— Later, with the electronic map drawn, hypersensitive blades will remove the skin, which will be sent through this side in order to convert it into cellulose. It will be canned and put in boxes, placing them on this other block of shelves, for later sale.

“Next, along this conveyor belt,” he continues to inform the speechless Mr. Campbell, “the pineapples will reach the blades that will cut the internal part to the necessary diameter and cut the core, to then cut the slices. All the non-useful rest of the pulp and the heart will be sent to the liquefaction process and packaged in tetrabriks. They will be packed in boxes of 12 units. These will be kept in this group of shelves for later marketing.

-Finally. In this last step, the slices will be cut and canned, which, properly packaged, will be deposited in this other group of shelves. With which the use of raw materials is 100%.

Mr. Campbell, impressed by the efficiency rate, only manages to ask: —How many personnel will be required to control the machine?

—To control the machine, a single person could be enough, who would monitor it from this control panel. Although it would be good for two more people to walk through the different ducts, checking in situ for any anomaly. Of course, he will need personnel to load what is stored in each storage rack into trucks.

After quite a few more questions and Robert’s corresponding answers, Mr. Campbell’s face was ecstatic. He then asked the definitive question: —How much will each machine cost?

—That’s Peter’s thing, well Mr. Conrad’s, but I don’t think it exceeds $800,000.

—It seems like a reasonable price to me. If it is above this price, instead of the 2 units that we had spoken with Mr. Conrad for the two new plants, we will add 15 more. In this way we will also renew the machinery of the factories that are in production. Obviously the most urgent will be the first two, but I am sure that it will be worth changing all the old machines.

After saying goodbye politely, Robert called the secretary to accompany Mr. Campbell. After a few moments, they were already crossing the door of the meeting room heading towards the exit.

Just as they left the room, Robert jumped for joy… he had managed to sell 17 machines instead of the planned 2, and for $100,000 more each than what they had agreed with Peter…

He felt proud of himself and with enormous satisfaction for what he had achieved. Of course, he couldn’t help but think that, without a doubt, the greatest satisfaction had been obtained when he, finally, had been able to scratch his ass. By the way, while he continued in a pensive attitude, his fingers are yet scratching the aforementioned area with relish…

Satisfaction – Short stories series – Copyright ©Montserrat Valls and Juan Genovés

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