My poor blogger-baby. I know I've been neglecting you lately. I hope you understand.
I have two excuses.
First, I've been awfully busy fighting fires and all that. Remember how I said that you were about me writing for the sake of writing? Yeah, well, lately I've been writing for other - more mercenary - reasons. You became a luxury I couldn't afford.
Second, well, this site was getting kinda lonely. I needed a bit of interaction with other people to feed my imagination ... to give me something to write about. So I opened up a 'friendlier' journal somewhere else. I called that journal world without end too - I am loyal to your concept baby, even if I did my writing somewhere else for awhile.
But I'm back now, baby. And I hope I can still convince my muse to give me the words I need.
Johnny looked at the clock and realized that in ten hours, there would be the devil to pay. How could he have forgotten? Absentmindedly, he twirled the bloody scalpel in his hand; this surgery would last another fifteen.
"Stop showboating, John" Melanie said, mopping up the blood welling deep in the sedated man's open chest. "Focus."
Yeah. Focus. In ten hours - long before we can stitch this poor bastard back up - I'm going either going to die standing here, or I'm going to forget everything I know about surgery. Focus. Sure. Beat the clock.
Thirty minutes and nine hours later, John blinked back the sweat from his eyes. He thought he had it done - completed the complicated procedure in record time - when the heart monitor suddenly stopped its rhythmic beeping."SHIT!" he and Melanie said at the same time. "Adrenalin!"
The heart restarted with a visible shudder, like a person freezing to death. Johnny looked up at the clock and saw that he had fifteen minutes left. "Melanie, can you fin -" The monitor cut him off midsentence with a long eerie wailing. "Not again."
Johnny grabbed the heart and began squeezing it to keep it pumping. Suddenly, he could hear nothing but the pounding of the blood in his ears, keeping time with the un-dead heart in his hands, and the loud ticking of the clock. "C'mon, damnit! Where's my defib?" But they were already there; long thin rods with flattened ends.
"Get outta the way, John!" Melanie again, holding the defibrillator. He barely heard her, reacting more to the sight of the metal rods, pulling out his hands, watching the heart lying limp once again. "Clear!"
John staggered backwards, out of the operating table light and into the shadows. Exhausted. "Clear!"
He looked at the man on the table, sleeping peacefully, blissfully unaware of the battle being fought for the possibility of eventually waking him up again. That's not such a bad way to go, John thought. "Clear!"
At least he won't know what hit him.
The man's eyes flew open. John knocked over a tray of bloodied instruments. The man's head snapped to the side and speared John with those cold blue eyes. John felt a moist warmth seeping down his legs. In his head, a voice thundered: "He knows, John."
"Call it." Melanie again. Resignation in her voice. Defeat. "Time of death, 3:00 am."
hmmm... have u been joining any of the local creative writing symposia or workshops? have u entered any of ur pieces into any of the local contests? or are u at least affiliated with the likhaan creative writing institute or any of its members? (hahaha--questions, questions). just curious. i graduated from the UP department of english and comparative literature under whose auspices the likhaan offers creative writing programs--which is why i'm a tad intrigued.
Got home real early today - early for me anyway. Flicked on the tube and saw Kris Aquino doing Deal or No Deal. Seem's like Tita Cory's kid has finally found her true calling: being a game show host. Well, at least she's tons prettier than Alan K.
Now, I never liked Kris Aquino. Her nasal twang and Pinay valley-girl whine were like laxatives: they irritated the shit outta me. But as I watched her on tv tonight, I have to admit that she doesn't look half bad. Her chinoy-coloration (that creamy kind of fair complexion that isn't as pallid as a redhead's, as ivory-ish as most caucasians, or as yellow as most asians)was mesmerizing and, did she do something to her nose? I can't remember it quite being that un-cory. And the way she's stacked, well, you really know where the money went.
Good God. I'm starting to think Kris Aquino is hot.
i have been penniless now for an entire friggin' week! i think i know how this happened - a combination of overspending (naturally), bureaucratic redtape (again, naturally), and the incredible expense of throwing a retirement party for someone i don't even respect all that much.
worse, my muse seems to have left me to go on some sort of sabbatical. when i started this blog a coupla' weeks ago, i was bursting with stories to tell ... well, not whole stories but vignettes. quite literally, worlds without end(ings). but now ... utter nothing. my mind feels like a black hole creatively.
i need a jumpstart. now, where'd i put those jumper cables. Igor!
a bleary eyed and unshaven writer hunched over the keyboard of his derelict desktop computer, pounding out a story about a bleary eyed and unshaven writer hunched over the keyboard of his derelict desktop computer, pounding out a story about a bleary eyed and unshaven writer hunched over the keyboard of his derelict desktop computer, pounding out a story about a bleary eyed and unshaven writer hunched over the keyboard of his derelict desktop computer, pounding out a story about a bleary eyed and unshaven writer hunched over the keyboard of his derelict desktop computer, pounding out a story about a bleary eyed and unshaven writer hunched over the keyboard of his derelict desktop computer, pounding out a story about a bleary eyed and unshaven writer hunched over the keyboard of his derelict desktop computer, pounding out a story about a bleary eyed and unshaven writer hunched over the keyboard of his derelict desktop computer, pounding out a story about a bleary eyed and unshaven writer hunched over the keyboard of his derelict desktop computer, pounding out a story about ...
... by the time you finish reading this sentence will have ended.
The boxer took long walk to the ring alone; his trainer, manager, and corner guys forgotten for the moment. At the end of the long dark tunnel, he could see the blisteringly bright kleig lights that flooded the ring. In his gut, he felt the butterflies slowly turning to lead and settling down into one big cold lump in his belly. He could just barely hear the hysterical ego-boosts and reassurances of his crew over the thundering of the blood in his ears.
The walk ended sooner than he expected. Emerging from the darkness of the tunnel, he looked around the arena and saw more empty seats than filled. If this sort of thing kept up, he would have to find a second job - maybe as a bodyguard for some government man or something. At this level, how much the boxer made depended entirely on how much the promoter raked in. Low ticket sales meant a smaller pot; sometimes smaller than could pay for all the painkillers. But what could a boxer do? He slammed his fists together unconsciously, reminding himself of the only thing he could do. The few people there thought it meant eagerness to rumble and responded with a straggly cheer.
On the ring, the boxer felt the springy boards under his feet - bouncing around a few times to check the responsiveness of the planks underneath the tarp. Too much bounce or too little would tire his legs and slow him down. He wondered how fast his opponent would be; how hard his punches; how tough his jaw. The bastard looked confident. Hell, the boxer thought, if I were six years younger than my opponent, I'd be confident too. All of sudden, he felt the age of his bones.
He took one last look around the ring and saw the usual faces: the local boxing commission rep, fanning himself with the programme, bored to tears; the has been sports reporter still looking for that flash of brilliance in the ring that he could write about with his florid prose; Manolo, the old promoter who first found him scrapping with other kids in the alley behind the old gym. The boxer wished Manolo hadn't come today; but Manolo always came. And then there was a kid he had never seen before, and wouldn't have noticed either if it hadn't been for the wide grin plastered across his face like it was painted on.
The first round came and went: the getting-to-know-you round. His opponent surprisingly mature, not rushing in to mix it up, but keeping his distance, getting the range of the jabs and sticks, bobbing and weaving with annoying energy. The boxer got in one good punch, tagging his opponent on the side of the head. But his opponent just shook it off and smiled. Is that the best you've got old man?
The second round brought hell into the four cornered ring. The boxer could barely see the punches coming - left, right, over, under, and across. The bell came just in time to save him the embarassment of showing the crowd that his knees had turned to jelly. He looked around the arena and saw the kid again; that smile unnerved him.
He almost didn't hear the bell for the third round had it not been for his manager practically pulling the stool out from under him. Everything seemed to move in slow motion, like swimming in syrup. His opponent leered at him and came in for the kill. He saw the fist coming and decided he wouldn't dodge. Instead, he forced all the muscles in his neck to relax and waited for the punch to connect. Whatta way to end a career, he thought.
Undercard ... local golden gloves champ ... regional ... olympian ... turned pro and became world welterweight champion in three years ... moved weight classes and made world bantamweight champion in a year ... national hero for a day and five years ... and now, canvass kisser for the first time in his life.
I'm just too old to keep on doing this,the boxer thought. Then the punch came, and the rest of the world went.
The boxer woke up in the empty locker room, an ice pack on his head, and a paper bag on his chest. He looked around and saw the kid again, only this time, there was no smile. "Good fight," the kid said, flicking a cigarette into some dark corner of the room. "Mr. Cruz won big because of you tonight." The boy moved to the exit and pointed at the bag. "He says thanks," the kid smiled again - wide, cheesy, and complicit. " Thanks, Manny."
My grandmother told me to believe in dwende. Experience taught me to believe. I first met Mota while vacationing at my great-grandparents' little house deep in the Negros countryside. I had been following a little brook that ran quite close to the house, curious where it came from. From where I stood at the beginning of my quest, it looked like the brook eventually disappeared into the brush clustered around the foot of the hill that overshadowed my great grandparents' home. Not too far, i thought. I can be there and back before lunchtime. And off I went.
Along the way, as kids will, I got distracted by this and that: a big-eyed dragonfly with crystal wings, a warty toad that I tried unsuccessfully to croak, a fluff of windflower that blew straight into my face. Before I knew it, the sun had gone behind the hill and I realized I hadn't gone half as far as I had hoped. Eager not to be beaten, I turned to run back home, but as I turned away from the woods, I caught a glimpse of something that should not have been there: a free standing pillar of gleaming white marble.
I wanted to go and investigate, naturally, and turned back to the house where I knew lunch and an irate great-gramma waited. I looked towards the wood again and the pillar had vanished. If I had been torn before - when I first saw the pillar - now, I absolutely had no choice.
All distractions ignored, the little brook forgotten, I rushed pell mell to where I had seen the pillar. Through brush and stinging grass, I struggled forward, always forward, until I reached the edge of the wood. Gasping for breath and sweating like a pig, I looked around for any sign of the pillar and found none. All I saw was a little spring - apparently the source of my brook - bubbling out from the base of a huge earthmound. Punso, I thought to myself. It had to be that.
Muttering the obligatory tabi tabi po, I approached the earthmound and looked it up and down. Made of dark earth, I couldn't have possibly mistaken it for a gleaming white marble pillar. No way. I looked at it from every angle, thinking maybe that the light filtering through the trees had played a trick on me, but the thing never even came close to what I had seen.
In disgust, I turned to leave and tripped on an exposed root. Being a heavyset child, I had always been particularly vulnerable to gravity; that day proved to be no exception. I came crashing down and hit my head on a rock. I didn't even have time to say goodnight.
When I came to, I had this suffocating feeling that I was in deep deep trouble. Then I remembered the knock on my head. A split second later, I remembered that I had fallen to the ground and not on the cushioned bed I currently lay on. I freaked. I jumped to my feet and hit my head on a low ceiling. I fell back on my butt and, for the first time, clearly saw the room I was in.
I'm not a good one for descriptions of spaces and all that, but I was a seated child of about 4'6" and the ceiling was about two handspans away from the top of my head. The bed I was on turned out to be no bed at all but several pushed-together ... quilts it looked like. All around me were things that looked like furniture pushed against the wall, as though to make room for something big in the middle of the room. And then I realized that the big thing had to be me.
That was when i started to cry. I used to pride myself on being a big boy who didn't cry easily. But at that moment, stranded in a place so different - so alien - to me, the tears just came and came and came. I bawled as hard as I could, scared to death. Within seconds, a door that I had not even noticed slammed open. And there stood in the open doorway was a man who, standing up, came up to eyes.
My eyes flew all over him, drinking in my first impressions: Bald; hairless face - not even eyebrows; chubby hairless face; black eyes speckled with silver flecks; fat; dressed in a flowing white robe studded with sparkly things - bits of glass, I thought - gathered up at the shoulder through ring that looked suspiciously like the plastic power rangers ring I lost last week.
"That's mine" I said, not knowing what else to say. I pointed at the ring.
The little man backed off, alarm written all over his face.
Emboldened, I tried to get up and bumped my head on the ceiling again. I fell back onto my butt with a dull thud. The little man tried to suppress a smile and looked up at me. He raised two hands in a placating gesture that I understood to mean sit back. Sit back.
He took the ring off his shoulder and held it out, pointing to me. Then he strutted around with his shoulders squared and made an exaggerated motion of throwing the ring over his shoulder. It landed at his feet. Then he turned around and feigned surprise at finding the ring. He picked it up, looked left and right a couple of times, shrugged and put it back on his shoulder again. I laughed at the little mime show and remembered that I had thrown the ring away after realizing that there hadn't been any kids that I could play with. This little man had apparently seen me throw the ring away and decided that if I didn't want it, well he certainly did.
Seeing me laugh, the man smiled. He pointed his finger at me and made an enquiring sort of noise in his throat. "Paul" I said. I had seen enough movies to know what that noise meant. He nodded his head and with great gravity pointed to himself and - in a voice surprisingly deep - said "Mota."