30 Enero 2012

One of Three: Draft

Dinner rush begins in earnest at six in the early evening, as soon as jeepneys clog the three-lane highway and wary commuters file into the wide, flat fast food restaurant. Along this avenue, three fast food chains and two coffee shops compete for the heavy rush of patrons between six and nine in the evening. On the left side of the street, two restaurants and one coffee shop share the narrow loading/unloading bay set apart by a special, flimsy fence painted bright blue.  Opposite them, a lone Jollibee squat, and decrepit beside a tired-looking cafe whose neon sign, grotesque in pink and blue, halfheartedly calling the crowd to "Get Buzzed". 

When it began to rain and the cement dust began to cling to her skin, she craned back to look at the blind sky. Roiling clouds seem to cling at the tapers of light momentarily shifting through the gray. She should’ve worn jeans.

From the opposite side of the street, Aly could tell the fast food joints were near full capacity. It 

Aly picked her way between jeepneys, pausing only to look down the street, as far as she can. Four or five jeepneys down, she loses sight of the distant, wide highway. From here, she can only inhale the fumes and listen: engine shaking with life underneath grumbling thin metal chassis chasing away the low hum of conversations. An L300 driver expels his mouthful of phlegm and spit. Some girl's long hair in a loose ponytail hangs out of another jeepney's wide windows, her shapely shoulders slouch. She must be asleep. For a second, Aly was tempted to reach out and touch her. Instead, she fondled the Hawaiian Hula Hoop Girl ornamenting someone's hood. The metal was hot and warm. 

Skipping between two cars and after daring a wave at the woman driving one of them, Aly hopped up onto the pavement. The paper bag ,heavy with the breasts she collected all week, strained and gave way, the ripping impossible to hear. Breasts bounced away from her, scattering pedestrians who leapt out of the way. Swearing under her breath, she picked them up and dusted them off. Three she found clustered near the sewer. 

20 Enero 2012

Draft: Untitled

Although Ryn stared at her parent's framed wedding photo, she was not looking at it. She had studied it before, but now she focused on the wall or the smooth edges of gold frame. In the photograph, Mama was a slow, shy girl whose tremulous smile was in danger of disappearing in terror of marriage. She wore her anxiety tight about her; in place of courage, panic and pride straightened her spine. The trepidation with which she first entered their union gradually subsided, to be replaced by quiet satisfaction, deep and serene. So Ryn barely recognized the girl her mother had been. In the photograph, beside her, Father stood with a hand upon her shoulder. Her mother's delicate neck was bare, her shoulders graceful even where her Father's hand weighed heavily upon it. If her father changed at all, Ryn never knew. He was as unreadable beneath the glass as he was in real life. He barely spoke to her. With Mama, it was different. When she was younger, she often pretended to be asleep when her father spoke in the dark, continuing long, drawn-out conversations with Mama.

"Sige na, please?" He pleaded, once.

"Nandito yung anak natin, hon." Her mother's tone brooked no argument.

Behind them, the altar seemed to disappear in the sepia background, as did all the other guests Ryn barely recognized. One was her mother's sister -- there, her hand with her widow's ring just visible. Squinting at the glass, Ryn giggled at the grinning eight-year old who looked back. She waited an hour more before the house lizard poked its head from behind her parent's framed wedding photo. Behind the glass, her mother wore the half-smile, half-frown, still.

Light brown and almost translucent, it scrambled from behind the picture before Ryn ran after it. The butiki's tiny body wriggled across the wall, quicker than Ryn could catch. With a flick of its tail, the lizard landed on the white-tiled floor making for the creaking staircase and the pile of newspapers piled behind it. But Ryn was bigger, her stride far outreaching the tiny lizard's. She landed on the third step, swiveled on the balls of her bare feet, and caught the lizard mid-jump before it lost itself in the broadsheets. Between the relative dark of Ryn's cupped hands, the lizard stopped squirming and grew still. Ryn could feel its tiny heart.

"Ryn, ano yang hawak mo?" She almost lost the lizard then. When her grip tightened, it squired. Tiny  nails dug into Ryn's soft palms.

"Butiki po! Kailangan sa klase!"

19 Enero 2012

Half Asleep


Cecilia's mother didn't believe the news either but she ran away all the same.

This morning, Cecilia woke up as 'Nay cooked breakfast at half-past four in the early morning. In the predawn light, Cecilia climbed down the stairs half-awake and stumbled, cursing, to the kitchen floor. Rubbing her scraped knees with a pair of stinging palms, she picked herself up and shot a nasty curse at her mother's large handbag sitting on the bottom step.

"Ang aga-aga, Elia, at 'yan agad narinig ko sa'yo!"

Cecilia gathered thin wallets, envelopes, a handful of unused tissues, and a collection of assorted papers and letters either stapled or pinned together. She stuffed them back into her mother's bag. That's when she noticed the single blue bus ticket to Batangas and she knew her mother meant to leave -- for a day, or a week, or a month. Or until the end of the world. Cecilia grimaced. Last night, her mother forgot to pray.

Hindi ako takot. Ano ako, bata? She thought. Hindi ako takot.

The words were like the prayer her mother  repeated every night for a month since the tall, fat news anchor stopped mid-sentence through a report on a kidnapping in Taguig. Mga kaibigan, he intoned. His voice had gone oddly flat. The woman beside him stared into the camera, eyes wide as saucers. She wore a red dress tight about her hips. Breaking news 'po. Neither she nor her mother had expected the world to end the same way it began. Although, now that Cecilia thought about it, she appreciated the simple artistry of its design. Apparently, God didn't want to take them unawares. The text messages, emails, Facebook notifications bombarded social media.

Breaking news: Seven months until the Apocalypse. To confess, SMS your sins to 2366 for Globe, Touch Mobile, Smart, Talk N Text, & Addict Mobile Subscribers. Php2.00 per message.  

16 Enero 2012

Angel Wings

"Ms. Ignacio! Spit that out." The geometry teacher,  Ms. Gabriel, barked at Angela who hastily wiped grease on her dark blue pleated skirt. Giggling, the girl swallowed her mouthful of chicken flesh. She stuffed chicken bones into her pocket and wiped her mouth with the back of her left hand.

"Sorry po, ma'm." She said, meekly.

From the raised platform in front of the class, Ms. Gabriel gave her a hard look, thin lips pressed together. She turned around with an audible crak, old wood under her fat two-inch heels. Angela had half a bag of chicken wings for recess that morning. The other half, minus one, had been tucked away underneath her seat. Two hours before lunch, she felt an angry hunger burn through her stomach.

Most of her classmates were listening to Ms. Gabriel's lecture when she slipped a hand between her thighs for another chicken wing. If she stood up, everyone would see the stain later, but the coil of tissue paper in her bag would help. Bowing low, over her armchair, she tore off a chunk of meat and slipped it into her mouth.

Studying the bones, Angela decided they were an agreeable alternative to eagle, duck, and turkey. At least wild chickens flew, she knew as much. Besides, there were no eagles to eat, turkeys do not fly, and duck meat wasn't as readily available. Her mother said the wings might be great, gray things to blow dust in her silly classmates' eyes.

"Pabayaan mo sila, ija." Her mother crooned. "Pabayaan mo sila!" 

Even now, one of her classmates stared as Angela gorged and stuck out her tongue, daring her to raise a hand. Pabayaan sabi!

"Angela! What are you doing?" Ms. Gabriel marched up the aisle towards her, still bent double in her chair. An angry spasm made Angela clench her teeth.

"Anong nangyayari sa'yo?" Ms. Gabriel demanded.

When Angela didn't reply, the teacher bent down, the stiff skirt rolling up to reveal pasty white thighs reminiscent of lumpy bread dough. "Angela?" She sounded a little worried. The girl looked at her, twisting her neck forward, eyes strangely beady. Angela gaped at her geometry professor, her breath foul.

When the girl gave a fierce shriek answered by the neighboring cocks, Ms. Gabriel shipped her home.  Feathers replaced skin and Angela's mother stopped calling the school demanding an explanation. When Angela's head shrank and her neck grew longer and thicker than ever, Ms. Gabriel gave them a small red box for the small red hen.

15 Enero 2012


Ate Ditta and her well-laden cart arrived everyday at half-past four, during a well-timed five minute commercial break between Ghost Fighter and Flame of Recca. He patted the loose pocket, heavy and reassuring, bulging with eighty pesos in five and ten-peso coins. Neither his father nor his mother were home so Rodrik need not sneak back into the house or gobble his pritong booba. He envisioned an afternoon in front of their television, tiles cool under him.

"Huwag ka na bumili sa labas ah! Ma-food poisoning ka, wala akong pambayad ng gamot." That was his mother, who once caught him wolf down a stick of teats dipped in the dubiously orange sweet and sour sauce. She yanked him home, forced half a pitcher of water down his throat, and threatened to feed him soap.

"Malinis naman po si ate Ditta, 'Nay!" he complained.

"Wala akong pakialam! Huwag ka na bibili uli!"

Clouds were high in a perfect blue sky, the wind warm upon the dusty street, and Ate Ditta's presence was like a siren call to most, if not all, the children on his street. They flocked around her like the flies she slapped away. When a gaggle of second graders, still in their blue and white elementary school uniforms, moved away, Ate Ditta beckoned Rodrik close. The boys bought two orders of fishball each, their thin paper cups full of spiced vinegar. Rodrik licked his lips, forming the order in his mind.

"Ate, apat na fishball at tatlong pritong booba."

Hot oil sloshed in the wok as ate Ditta stirred. This was Rodrik's favorite part: he watched the fishball brown and crisp, the oil a small turbulent lake. She was cooking extra kikiam, a best seller, although Rodrik found them disconcerting to eat. They looked like small dwarf dicks. Maybe that's why he best preferred his pritong booba with its crisped nipples and mallow-soft flesh within crusty, near-burnt skin. Small and prepubescent teats harvested from sporadic sunshowers yet, somehow, ate Ditta came with a fresh batch everyday. Rodrik felt his stomach growl. Smoke from the oil wafted over him. As ate Ditta fished his fishball out, she slid fifteen single breasts into the bubbling oil. Crackling, they grew to the size of modest eggs. Rodrik counted eight brown booba, his favorite. More than usual. Their skin tended to be crispier. Blackened nipples stared like eyes and he could almost taste them, the crunch of his bite, the sudden sweetness within.

Ate Ditta handed him the order bundled up neatly in plastic. He didn't know if the ate remembered him. She was a tall, fat woman who dressed provocatively out of habit. Her loose sleeveless shirt came in green, white, blue, vicious red, and pink of all hues but she favored a tattered pair of shorts. Rodrik especially liked to look at her toes with their queer, rectangular nails.

Inside, settled on the floor, Rodrik ate his fishball and fried teats. Licking his fingers and burping on the floor, he fell asleep as Flame of Recca ended. When he felt his stomach roil painfully, gas in his belly, the first spasm hit. Unable to breathe, Rodrik stretched out on the floor, distended belly cooled by the whirring electric fan above. The spasms came twice every five minutes. They rocked his body and left him trembling. When at last he could breathe properly, he burped loudly, and crawled to the toilet where he heaved his meryenda. When he took off the sweat-drenched shirt with its orange-sauce stains where he wiped his sticky hands, Rodrik glimpsed his large brown nipples atop a budding mound of pink, soft flesh, large as shy eggs.


Using the same concept as Untitled

14 Enero 2012

Greenwood to Weirwood

Hylls's egg-shaped little boat rocked unsteadily on the waves. All around him, wind-whipped waters sought to toss him off course. All of ten years, Hylls had been paddling since he was six and no son of Lake Town drowned in the relatively calm waters of their lake. Three days ago, the River Running had been swollen by rain and the water around them climbed up their long poles. While his elder brothers Horas and Haryl helped their father tie little skippers securely to their docks or ride the large flat-bottomed scows back and forth to North bank, Hylls had not even been allowed to ferry women and girls East on his little punt. His mother warned that the wind howled, the water was treacherous.

He summoned his mother's scowling face before him. Her anxious face and the shrill, half-shouted warnings from their kitchen gave him courage. I am no longer a little boy hiding behind his mother's skirts. On the dawn of the fourth day since a ragged storm, Hylls set out poling towards West bank and Greenwood's looming shadows and tangled boughs to prove his mother wrong.

"I'm old enough to Collect from the forest." Hylls reasoned. "And I know just as well as Horas or Haryl to keep to the elf path." His mother always said that. Hylls could have sworn and thrown filthy words to the shallows where his mother might never dig them out. If he knew any.

"I know, Mam, I know." Hylls muttered under his breath, arms straining at the pole. Lusty winds came down from the north breaking upon the Lonely Mountain to tear up the waters of the deep lake. His little punt rocked unsteadily. "Almost there." His arms ached as he pulled forward, the pain sweet in his limbs after three days of waiting by the window. Hylls had sneaked a peek at his mother's cupboards. When she woke, he would be back with an armful of mushrooms, unripe underbrush apples, lemon leaves, thyme, and wood fire if he could find any.

When he banked upon the stony shore, dawn had only begun to spread a gray light over the lake. Black and dark loomed Greenwood, impenetrable, protected by its shadows.

Hylls tightened the leather belt that held his small dagger. In one of the leather pouches buttoned shut, a rough sack in which he could carry the wood fire. Up the shore, he dragged the punt and upturned it, the pole underneath. He would be back, soon.

The trees lining the bank were scrawny things, bent and thin between boulders smoothed by the current and the wind. The larger trees began a few hundred meters beyond the banks. Once, Hylls accompanied his father and ten other grown men on a Collection. They took a rutted, narrow road north from where he banked. When the woods began and the shadows hid among the boughs, the Elf Road stretched forward. Only two men abreast could walk the road but his father squeezed Hylls between him and Jyk, a family friend.

On his own, Hylls found the rutted track and followed it, humming a tune. He liked the dawn and the breeze that smoothed his hair back. Soon, he found the Elf Track. Turning farther west, he followed it forward. In the time of peace, the Greenwood flourished with birdsong. Overhead, he heard a pair of cawing ravens, twittering birds. Once, a hare scurried across his path. Unafraid, it sniffed the air, taking a step towards him, before leaping off into the trees. Behind him, the pink and blue hues of dawn crept over the sky but within, the forest kept its silence, rustling sleepily. Beside the track, the trees had been kept at bay by the Lake Town foresters, the overreaching branches struck down. Hylls looked up at the sky, finally clear after three days of rain.

Farther on, he spotted an isolated grove of underbrush apples a few meters south of the Elf Track. Some of the frailer trees had suffered in the rains, the apples already rotting on the forest floor, but enough wore bright green, the hard fruit his mother used to bake pies. Carefully picking through the roots, Hallys left the Elf Track, turning back every few meters to make sure it was within sight.

The sack bulged with green apples when he finished. He took two dozen, muttering a prayer of thanks after plucking each from the sullen branches. Making his way back, he spotted a large, mossy tree, upturned, roots in the air. Upon its bark, a colony of fat mushrooms sprouted. Hylls ran towards it. He heard the thump of apples in the sack, his heavy panting, and his footfalls on the earth. He collected seven handfuls of mushrooms. He tied them with a length of cord and produced a small sack from his pouch. Now, heavily laden, he turned back towards the underbrush apple grove to find a wall of tall, slender trees. The grove had vanished.

Hylls didn't drop his sack of apples and mushrooms. Instead, he looked forward and found a clearing before him. Tall lemon grass grew thick on the ground. Unthinking and trying to calm his panic, he walked forward. Hylls collected a bundle of lemon grass, enough for three months' worth of tea for his father. Trying to keep from crying, Hylls straightened up. He felt tall. Greenwood is playing a game with me, he thought. He took a deep, calming breath, and looked back. Closer than he remembered, the apple grove loomed near. Hylls bolted. Leaping over roots and stones, he flew to the grove, but when he turned towards the Elf Track, he saw only an ancient tree with a staring red face.

It looked like a large, old crone. The sight of it chilled Hylls to the bone and he found himself weeping. All around him, the Greenwood seemed to grow denser. He found himself walking forward towards its red leaves, the mouth red with sap, the boughs tall and strong, blocking out the sun. Weeping, Hylls stopped in front of it. It had a laughing mouth and large eyes that bore him down and broke him. Hylls collapsed to his knees and wept.

"Mother! Mother! Mother!" He cried. He cried until shadows lengthened and sleep took him, his head pillowed on his sack of underbrush apples, the lemongrass sweet and scratchy in his arms.

12 Enero 2012

Boy Eater

And every night, Aggie crept out of bed to steal a plateful of baked macaroni, or a swig of soda, a thick slice of cake. He ate his midnight snack at half-past two in the early morning, in the light from the opened door of their refrigerator.  Every day this week, he managed to sneak past his brother, asleep on the bed nearest their door and never once caught.

Until tonight.

Aggie crept down the stairs, each step narrower than the last; the cold marble nosing rose an entire foot from the tiled kitchen floor. The fridge was across the stairs, past their breakfast table with its spindly legs and five squat stools. He groped for the light switch high upon the wall. As light flooded the small kitchen, Aggie straightened up, his bare feet flat upon the cold tiles. Licking his lips, he could almost imagine the plate of lechong kawali he coveted since their mother sent them up to sleep at half-past nine. But when he opened the refrigerator, a half-frozen little man smiled up at him. The little person had tucked himself in between the shelves and in his sharp, tiny hands, he held the tightly crumpled ball of aluminum. The lechong kawali was nowhere to be seen.

The little man burped. "Mabuti na lang narito ka, Aggie. Huwag  mo isara ang pinto! Masyadong malamig dito sa loob." He wore a tight little shirt over grimy with grease stains. The pointed face was hairless but cruel, the eyes dark round boles small as marbles. And he was dirty. Where he leaned against the refrigerator walls, he left round black marks. He was barefoot like Aggie, but where his toes should have been, there was another pair of hands, larger and longer.

"Masyado pa maaga para mag-meryenda!" The little man said, pointing at Aggie. Who are you, Aggie stammered, afraid. The little man's laugh was shrill and loud and Aggie worried that his parents might hear. "Hindi nila maririnig, Aggie. Walang bababa."

Aggie should have shut the door, then. But the little man was looking at him, fixing him from the inside out. "Pinanood ka namin, Aggie. Gabi-gabi, hinintay ka namin. At gabi-gabi, dumating ka!" He grinned gleefully. With a long finger, he beckoned Aggie closer so that the boy bent over, leaning into the refrigerator, squinting at the little man on the second shelf.

"Tara na."

And the refrigerator door closed upon them.  

In the Secular Night

Before I get on with the staggering four stories I have to write today, a poem:

In the Secular Night
Margaret Atwood

In the secular night you wander around
alone in your house. It's two-thirty.
Everyone has deserted you,
or this is your story;
you remember it from being sixteen,
when the others were out somewhere, having a good time,
or so you suspected,
and you had to baby-sit.
You took a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream
and filled up the glass with grapejuice
and ginger ale, and put on Glenn Miller
with his big-band sound,
and lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up the chimney,
and cried for a while because you were not dancing,
and then danced, by yourself, your mouth circled with purple.

Now, forty years later, things have changed,
and it's baby lima beans.
It's necessary to reserve a secret vice.
This is what comes from forgetting to eat
at the stated mealtimes. You simmer them carefully,
drain, add cream and pepper,
and amble up and down the stairs,
scooping them up with your fingers right out of the bowl,
talking to yourself out loud.
You'd be surprised if you got an answer,
but that part will come later.

There is so much silence between the words,
you say. You say, The sensed absence
of God and the sensed presence
amount to much the same thing,
only in reverse.
You say, I have too much white clothing.
You start to hum.
Several hundred years ago
this could have been mysticism
or heresy. It isn't now.
Outside there are sirens.
Someone's been run over.
The century grinds on.

11 Enero 2012

Paniz Pancitera

Paniz Panset was unhappy. 

She was also seven years old, tall for her age, with ears too small for her head, and large, wide-set eyes that gave her a look of perpetual astonishment. She liked to laugh. She laughed at small dogs who tugged at their leashes. She laughed when her Mother served her burnt rice for breakfast everyday, because her mother doesn't know how to cook rice. She laughed when she combed out her pancit canton hair which grew at least five inches everyday. She even laughed when the flies buzzed around her. 

But Paniz didn't laugh during her first day of school, when her new classmates saw her, gaped, and pointed

"Bat ganyan ang buhok mo?" They asked. Again, and again, and again. 

And Paniz could only clutch the springy golden curls that hung down her shoulders, the aroma of cooked noodles, toyomansi, and the slightly charred smell of deep fried pork filled the cramped classroom. Her first-grade classmates stared and stared, even when their teacher whacked the board with a plastic ruler. 

"Hindi ko rin alam? Ganito na talaga, eh!" She said. Again, and again, and again. 

The teasing began during their half-hour recess, when her classmates pulled her aside. A few stone tables and benches made up the canteen. Three Manangs served behind a lopsided shack but her classmates ignored the bowls of gum, candy, and chicherya. They clustered around her. One boy tugged a large chunk of hair free. Until she yelped in pain, he didn't realize that it hurt. At first, the boy sniffed it curiously. It was slick with oil, the noodles fine. Her fine locks were al dente and the boy commented, just a little spicy. He licked his lips and looked at her head of hair, fingers upon the shiny fabric of his shorts. 

"Puwede ko ba bilhin yan para sa meryenda? Walang hain sa bahay pag-uwi." The boy said. He shoved a shiny ten-peso coin at her. 

Paniz thought she should laugh but her classmates weren't smiling. So she held in the giggle and tugged. Off came a savory handful, greasy but delicious. When he tried to pay her, she refused. A small knot of hot shame fell into her stomach. The boy walked off, looking for a plastic bag. 

"Hindi ba napapanis yan?" A girl joked in a shrill voice from the loose huddle her classmates formed. "Kaya ba Paniz ang pangalan mo? Panis! Panis! PANIS!

By the time the bell rang, she had a dozen nicknames. Among them: Pancitera, Bangaw for the flies that buzzed around her,  and Hetti Isptapegi and she finally heard her classmates laugh. 


He carried the box of freshly collected tits into the house for breakfast. His sister, Elena, fast asleep on the living room couch, sported her crisp red and blue elementary school uniform. Scuffed black leather shoes dangled off the couch. Last night, as wind blew heard against the windows, Elena had crawled into her kuya's bed, afraid of the noise. Flesh upon the hard wooden doors, flesh upon the glass of their windows, or else flesh dropped useless to the ground, all the wet sounds of September rain.

Don't worry, her kuya said.  "Bukas, masarap ang almusal natin."  Elena snug beside him, Kato drew his curtains shut, lit the side lamp atop a small bedside drawer, and made sure the magazines under his bed were out of sight.

Kato was right. The following morning, he collected the box from their small backyard, under the rusty pipe that drained their roof. He looked through the black and brown flesh. Although bruised and dusty, when he held one, he felt the springy flesh was cool and a little moist. The pale brown one, he squeezed gently to bring some milk to its dark nipple. Elena would want the smaller ones shaped like papayas, with less fat and thick skin. She liked to save the nipples for last. But there, near the bottom and dwarfed by a large flat boob whose wide black teat stared, he saw pale white flesh tinged rose with a shy nipple blooming sweet carnation. They didn't get as much white meat down in the city. He plucked the breast from his brown box. It fit in his hand. He could not hide it in the pocket of his loose shorts, so he tucked it in the garter of his briefs.

After breakfast and after Elena boarded her school bus, he took a bath, dressed, and slipped out while his mother washed the dishes. Two streets down, past bright green cock traps that lined the street, past Nanay Lena's sari-sari store, and past his uncle's little billiards hall, he found Ditta tending a make shift metal grill, a fan her hand. The bright pink shirt tight across her own mismatched tits, the left side at least three inches larger. Kato had slipped the white breast into a plastic bag. Now, he held it out to Ditta, smirking.

"Anong luto gusto mo?" She said, scowling, her voice edged with annoyance.

"Para sa'yo yan."

Ditta wore too much make-up but, today, the white powder she spread over her craggy face cracked as she smiled.

"Oh may gad! Der perpekt!" Weighing it in her hand, Ditta held the white breast against her right boob. "Pero hindi ko kakulay!"

09 Enero 2012

08 Enero 2012

Prompt #2

I feel like there's a story, here, waiting to happen. Cross-over fanfiction like Scribendi's The Lord, The Wish, and The Wardrobe

Photo by Ivan Guerrero

Prompt #1

Leaving this here as prompt for the next couple of stories.

25 Things More Fun in the Philippines

The note read

Professor Lia--

You left your wedding ring in my car.


Irreconcilable Differences

Girlfriend aroused by role-playing ex-husband.

Boys will be boys

Nine-year-old Lucy didn't understand why she cried more for her classmates than for the maimed bird twittering desperately in their grip as the boys slowly plucked one blue feather after another. Naked and bloody, the bird's trills subsided before Lucy walked over, picked it up, and drenched it with her tears. The hollow she dug for it was shallow but the school yard offered no better grave.

When the boys threatened to thrash her if she told, she held up her head and fought back a sob: hindi na ako takot sa inyo.

06 Enero 2012

La petit morte

Impatient with his languorous love-making, his wife Rita pushed him out and off of her with all the agility left to a forty-five year old woman. Her tits slipped out of his hands and out of reach. He would have groaned if Rita had not taken him into her mouth, frizzy hair in a ragged halo around her head. Despite a desperately limited erotic vocabulary, a pious dedication to oral hygiene, and her favorite spearmint toothpaste, Rita sucked, groaned, licked, and tickled like a porn star half her age. Groaning, he pumped, knees audibly creaking. He  had vodka for blood; there was a sweet metallic taste in his mouth. Dino shoved himself deeper down Rita's throat almost choking her, flushed and panting, glad to have waited twenty years for his first blowjob.

And when his body shook and failed, Dino didn't know the spume he squirted nearly gagged his wife. It burst in her mouth, spilled down her throat, but he wasn't done. He lost control and he rode like a bucking bronco, arms in the air, prick in a hot, wet mouth. Pumping, pumping, pumping till his hips gave way. It went with a small pop, unheard behind the braying that escaped him. He was cursing and laughing and provoking the gods. When he finished, he was finished.

That's how he went, dry as a bone. It was as if nothing happened and nothing ever will.

Because Pao insisted, during an argument we had this evening, that there was no way to die instantaneously.

05 Enero 2012

Caught in the Act

"Paul, paul, paul, paul!" she bucked on the bed, ass in the air, breasts chafed and aching from being pinched. When she surfaced from underneath the warm blanket and pushed damp shoulder length hair away from her face, Ben her boyfriend stood over her. He still held her steaming cup of coffee, fresh from the shop corner, and she could have grinned at the doughnut he brought for breakfast.

04 Enero 2012

Not Stolen, But Saved

When the ceramic piggy bank in the shape of a box was full so Cynthia ran squealing to her father. He was out back, in their garden, replanting a springy young tree from its large pot. Daddy!

From underneath her bed, Cynthia bounded blindly into the mid-morning sunlight, barefoot. Her father didn't look up from carefully arranging the sapling's roots that, only soft tendrils and their delicate shadows on his light brown skin, into the dirt. He knew his daughter was barefoot on the sparse grass that covered the little lawn. Every time he saw her squatting among tough weeds or laughing as she crunched through dry leaves, he remembered the day she argued emphatically: we lived in the city, where else was there grass, her toes needed it!  She rocketed towards him now, all of twelve years old. In her hair, a clump of dust.

Tapos na, tapos na!

Her father shook his head. They were standing in the sunlight and from above, Cynthia's face was obscured by the flashing light that gilded her soft cheeks, round eyes, the toothy smile. She held up a heavy piggy bank, ceramic and painted, painted blue and be-speckled with yellow, orange, red stars and the swirling mass of galaxies huddled together at the end of the universe. Ang bigat, 'no.

Her father smiled the way he always smiled at her: eyebrows knit together in a tight, concentrated way that communicated the effort expended to produce his smile. That smile. It wasn't a lie as much as it was a disappointment. But she had a surprise for him. Cynthia had given him an invaluable gift, so rare it was sure to make him smile the way he used to or, even better, smile the way he smiled at her mother. She missed her mother as much as a child could miss something she knew she was entitled to but her father was here, now, under the sun every weekend and at night after work everyday of the week and she missed him most because he was there but curiously detached.

Cynthia, all blazing sky and darting shadow, the way she circled her father, watching him turn the ceramic box in his hands. Tightly packed within, its contents nonetheless jangled, making deep sonorous clang.

Anong pinag-iipunan mo, anak? Her father asked, amused. She didn't answer immediately instead, she took up and offered him a flat, smooth stone from the corner of his father's carefully cultivated hedge.

Buksan nyo, daddy! 

Curious enough to comply, her father pushed her gently away and told her to watch where she stepped, he didn't want her to cut her foot. Her father took up the stone once, twice, thrice, until the large, thick metal medallions, spilled out onto the grass, the pile strangely misshapen. Carefully, her father picked through the shards, wiped dust from the surface of the medallion in hand, and watched, upon its gleaming convex surface, his landlady asleep on a couch, foot twitching. On another: the boy next door through the grimy window, watching something on television, scratching his head. On the third: the boy's mother cooking lunch. Rough with the ridges that recorded hours, days, and weeks, no medallion was exactly the same size. As her father ran a hand to smooth the roughness of the disk that reflected the neighborhood boy's lazy afternoon, her father watched the hours disappear. The medallion grew less heavy and the shifting images changed to a rainy day a few weeks back with the little boy staring out the window. Hours upon hours of collected time. Cynthia had collected at least half a year's worth.

Happy Birthday! said Cynthia, happily, although it wasn't.

Anak, malayo pa ang birthday ko, her father said, completely engrossed.

At the bottom of the pile, her father glimpsed the surprise. Smaller than the rest because Cynthia had collected only an hour of her mother's life, the picture was nonetheless crisp, the disk sunny like today. Seen through a gap in the door, her mother in this yard, smoking a cigarette, dainty legs stretched out.

03 Enero 2012

Consequences of Sharing Lunch

Pauwi na ako. Biglang sumakit nanaman yung puso ko 'eh. Nanghina na nga ako e. 

. . . 

Hindi lang. Kasama yung tuhod pati balikat ko. Tumatanda na yata ako, Sita. Ha? Wala. Hindi sumakit ulo ko. Bat mo natanong? Hello? 

02 Enero 2012

A Kind of Hush

Cyril Wong

Silent again, we begin to hear
noises in our heads, swelling

to overwhelm the sound of our
breathing. If we are silent for

long enough, something would surface
from under the wind-troubled

faces of murky ponds
our minds have become.

All at once, ripples would flee
in a singular, outward direction-

these questions of guilt or blame.
Then what comes up for air

would be a different quiet
we keep drowning, pinning it

underwater in our pride until
its legs stop kicking.

Different because we may hear
the mirroring of fear and

a time-sharpened dependency
within it. Such a quiet we only

hear when we do not hear:
waking together, every meal,

sharing the same cab home.
Listen. Listen. My hand swims

into the bay area of your hand.
If we are silent for long enough,

we could start over. 

Sebastiana's Secret

The moon cracked the clouds, wounding the horizon, as a pale yellow halo appeared. His Lola used to say the band of light was an omen, harbinger of witches, elementals, or incurable illness. Great. Sam pulled his curtains shut. Three pages more, and then you can sleep. Rubbing his eyes with his knuckles until he saw stars, he pulled his notebook, a wad of stapled pages, and a highlighter toward him. Concentrate, he thought, tracing the words: 
He has given Rubio's father, Rufino, absolute freedom from the old pledge made by their ancestor . . .
From two flights below, the wailing crept up wide steps, down a hallway and, without knocking, burst into his room like a headache. 

Lola Sebastiana's death and wake attracted relatives who reappeared to stare at his grandmother's remains and eat the food his mother prepared. He suspected they wanted a private gloat at having evaded death thus far, themselves. He wouldn't blame them but Sam wanted them gone. As far as he was concerned, they were strangers to his Lola Sebastiana's death, if not her life. He met former college classmates from Class '63, former office mates, some former students. Former. None of them had been there the last few weeks as his grandmother slowly slipped away. Grateful as he was, he knew they gossiped in whispers during the service.