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Dressing up

I decided not to submit the story of e, my parody on the presidential campaigns last year, to Dean's spec fic anthology. Changing the characters' names a bit would lose its mood, retaining them would invite libel cases for me and everybody else involved. No matter how I dress it in beads and sequins my heart is not sold to the idea of suiting it up and stepping into the political circus ring.

Its first appearance was more than a year ago in an inactive blog, so technically it can't be included. When I got hold of Murakami's The Wind-up Bird Chronicles, I got the consolation that the elements of my story are legal. Only engineers can have their licenses revoked.

This is the unfinished dressed-up version:


To be a victim of the Cassandra Complex is to see misfortune coming and yet be unable to stop it. Because no one would believe me even if my arguments were real. Yes, there were lapses, but these are far outweighed by what could have been missteps in our young republic. I could have been a disgruntled engineer until now, braving half-meant jokes from foreigners in a Pu Dong hotel sauna. Perspiration would cover my tears like a transparent umbrella braving the rain.

A year later and my impression was confirmed. She will find every means to win, even in the strangest ways possible. My dream talked to me like a phone call from outer space, very much away, but eerily vivid as yesterday's photograph.

1.

Error detected: please enter a body.

Body identified.

I fell asleep while browsing through Food Magazine's Step-by-Step cookbook. Bummer, the last time I fell asleep was on a vintage 1976 copy of Penthouse after three rounds of masturbation. I just don't know why it occurs on such an interesting read. A fatigue that's fundamental perhaps, that shuts my brain like a pawnshop vault at 7 pm.

The tiles hummed as my mobile on the floor in silent mode, vibrated to the incoming call. No other name registered, except "e."

"Who's this?" I asked.

"It doesn't matter, Castro. I need to ask you a favor. Walk to the sari-sari store in front of your house right now and get the envelope. Make sure that nobody sees you." said the female voice, with a thick southern accent akin to that of the famous seer to the stars Madam Soraya reading my fortune for the day.

"Mmph mm, mm mph mm." I buried my face into the pillow. "Can't it wait until daylight?" She hung up.

Bitch, I mumbled as I piled myself out of bed. I'm risking life and limb from drag racers and drug users at this unholy hour. I dressed to my boxers not knowing why I had to and what is in store for me.

The neighborhood videoke bar is still open as I made my way across the street, and some drunk is having his pharynx ripped wide open to the tune of Kastilyong Buhangin. Surprisingly, the street is empty except for the streetlamp highlighting the sari-sari store like a neon-yellow marker.

In the distance I saw the drunk's score flash on the video screen. 98. Damn videoke brains. I'll make a perfect score just by shouting and gobbling the mike like an oral sex performance. I reached for the envelope with a blue lining. A metallic sound sliced the night like a sword on a captor about to be beheaded.

Like it came not from my hand reaching the envelope, but from a hindsight, where my eyes turn blind and my ears tune to the exact frequency.

I went back to the house and opened the envelope. Numbers and an address. 7112252. 7268543. Joe Kerr Entertainment, Espana. In front of a Catholic university. Like I was some fool to believe that there really exists a Joe Kerr stand-up comedy bar in that address. A phony phone number with an equally phony address.

Ha ha. This is just a dream. Maybe I can permutate the numbers to bet on this morning's lotto.

"Whatever happens, don't give that envelope to anybody." It was Daddy. He was awake the whole time and has been observing me as I got back home. Mom was beside Daddy in her robe, still groggy. It was 3 am.

Swoosh. Somebody knocked on the door. "Quick! Out of the house!" Daddy hushed me as I jumped from the kitchen upwards into the empty sky. My heart instantly switched to a techno throb. In a snap I saw who was coming.

It was her. The Candidate.

What the f...she was wearing a Men-in-Black costume, slick as a devil in Prada. Funny thing was, it's just past 3 am and she's wearing signature Dior sunglasses.

I couldn't contain my laughter as I flew upwards. And it was then that I realized I was flying. No, I jumped fantastically, reminding me of Eternity: A Chinese Ghost Story. Dry leaves, a cigarette stump and a dead cat collected at my feet.

So I was skimming the stratosphere with nothing on but my boxers and the envelope. This is not a matrix dream, I suppose. I'll drop by Ninno and wake him up.



The first version of the story of e is available upon request.

“Dressing up”

  1. Blogger slim whale Says:

    interesting. and i love the wit! can i read teh first version? Please? you can send it to me at chriscroix@yahoo.com

    :)

  2. Blogger sky Says:

    sent it!

  3. Blogger banzai cat Says:

    Actually, this one IS interesting. Was there no chance of a lil' revision but still with the punch?

    Yeah, send me a copy also. :)

  4. Anonymous mud Says:

    ako ren po.

  5. Anonymous sky Says:

    bc, mud: i've sent it! i'd love feedbacks.

  6. Anonymous slim whale Says:

    hey, thanks for sending it. i sent you back my feedback.

  7. Anonymous siege Says:

    I heard of that spec fic anthology by dean alfar.

    I.M. not-so HO, I think what dean's offering in exchange of stories is unfair. Two compli copies, and that's it? For a LABOR OF THE IMAGINATION, you only get TWO COMPLI COPIES? Kaya namamatay ang quality nang local literature eh, hindi sinusustain nang fair compensation. A story is a writer's work of love-and-hate, and for somebody to equate that with just two compli copies is insulting. Why would you give your good/better/best works to that anthology when it's more rewarding to post it in your blog and have more people read it? Ganun din naman, di ka rin naman yayaman. :) I'm not saying that money should be our motivation for writing, all I'm asking for is wag naman sanang insultuhin yung trabaho by implying na it's not worth a cent.

  8. Anonymous banzai cat Says:

    Heh, them's fighting words. ;-)

    Playing as a devil's advocate, here's a question: why is two complimentary copies an implication that the story is not worth a cent?

  9. Anonymous jsc Says:

    in my opinion, siege's opinion is uninformed. first, dean is shelling out his own money to come out with the book. there is no guarantee of profit in the project, and that's saying a lot considering dean is a businessman among other things. talk about labors of love, there's one right there.

    second, about the thing about getting "only" two complimentary copies, siege shouldn't presume to be speaking for those who submitted their works. evidently it's a big deal to them already. congrats to the ones chosen, and i bet the ones who didn't get chosen will buy the book from their own pockets anyway.

    third, dapat hindi na lang nagmamarunong yung mga taong wala namang ginagawa para sa philippine literature or even venture their opinion kung bakit supposedly "namamatay ang quality ng (hindi "nang") local literature". in the first place, quality is not synonymous with volume or performance in sales. if one is really attuned with the current crop of writers nowadays, one would never make the stupid comment that there is no quality in their output.