Archives for the month of: July, 2011

Angela Soriano could’ve and should’ve let Gandalf’s advice of “keep it secret, keep it safe,” apply to her affair with Majestico Valenzuela, the inventor, but most would agree that the problem was that she really, really loved traveling by jetpack. She could’ve taken the LRT, or cabs, or just about any other form of travel and their secret would have been kept safe. Who could possibly hide the fact that, once a week, one flew to a lover two cities away, when one is the only person in Manila to own a working jetpack? “Oh, look at that contrail in the sky, I wonder who it could be? Angela Soriano. Oh, jetpack leaving house of nationally-renowned inventor at 3 in the morning. Who could it be? Well, Angela Soriano.”

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I woke up at 6 a.m. as my Dad shook me awake. It was strange enough to be looking at him that early in the morning and inside my room, but I noticed the rank smell of liquor on his breath and what seemed like cat piss on his jacket. His face was gaunt, stubbled and he had lost a lot of weight. “Yeah? What is it? What do you think you’re doing back here?” I was going to ask him how he had gotten in but a quick glance at the door’s broken latch told me all I needed to know.

“Look, Son, I know I haven’t been the perfect Father to you, we’ve had our differences, me and you and your sister, but this is an emergency. I need your help. Please.” That one word, please. He was desperate and I didn’t know why but something about his manner sent me chills. “Please.” There it was again. He had a brown paper bag on my bed. He picked it up and handed it to me.

“You have to see this,” he said. “It’s a bomb. I don’t know what to do with it, but it has to be defused within ten minutes. Don’t ask me how I know it’s a bomb, but it is. And if we don’t prevent it from going off, something very bad is going to happen. It’s going to mean the end of everything.” I looked at him for a long time. And then, suddenly, I realized there was no longer anything in this man that stirred any sort of pity or love or hate or anger in me. This man simply was the father I had. And now he was mad and I didn’t really care to feel anything but recognize that detail. I took the brown paper bag from him and took a look at the contents. It wasn’t too heavy but the paper bag had more than one inside it. Coloring books.

This is exactly what you were warned about. And the whole series of events happened quite quickly, too. Yesterday, at around noon, the schoolkids just ran out of their classes, hooting and throwing their books up in the air. Some of the kids performed cartwheels just like in that old Bugs Bunny cartoon and these were put up on Youtube. Nobody could say what caused this disruption but next came the teachers and then the janitors and the bus drivers and the dentists and the doctors bringing with them everyone in the hospitals and prisons.

Congress and the Senate arrived soon afterwards, driven by their chauffeurs in SUVs and limos. Then, the priests and bishops and cardinals came. It was already evening and raining quite a bit, too, but the clergy didn’t seem to mind; they just crossed themselves and jumped, their habits and choir dresses riding up and bloating with the force of rushing air.

Hours later, the President and the remaining members of the media arrived. He gave a moving speech about democracy, life and the value of hard work and what it meant to be human. He said goodbye and jumped with the members of CNN and BBC jumping just moments after.

And then the next day, when it was all nearly over, you and your mother arrived. You looked at the sea of people, all the torsos and intertwined limbs dancing to some strange paroxysm and wondered. You turned to look at your mother to try and gauge her reaction to this not unpredicted scenario. To you, she looked tired. And disappointed. And then you jumped off the cliff.

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