Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Three Shades of Disposable Love

Or why there is no such thing as free lunch.


I thought the world was round, or oblique spheroid. With an empty bottle of beer on one hand and her sweaty forehead on the other, the lady at the bar said that the world is flat contrary to popular belief, which is not always popular, unlike her, young and beautiful and sexy on stilettos and drunk as a thirsty Irish, her breasts magnanimous enough to bare half of their splendid bulk, the cleavage deep for professional spelunking, the perfect recipe for fame and all things worthy of television airtime on any given Thursday midnight after payday, like the murder of five high school virgins in an urban Catholic school, their cadavers by the creek, the relatives of the victims receiving justice neatly sealed in a white envelope with three checks inside and a written threat, beseeching their silence or forever they will bask in it;

or the incestuous affair between two promiscuous sisters who wish that an ordinary mortal take the stead of their senator father perennially absent at home, and whose only legacy in his entire career as an elected joke is having proposed a bill once and only once and still got rejected outright, much to his surprise and frustration, especially since it was his earnest desire to put an end to political dynasties even if it meant dragging the rest of the government down the dirt and muck;

and prostitutes galore in obscure and dark places where hands reach under the table if the price is right, the genitals seized without warning and practically anything that has a pulse, warm and sometimes moist like underarms left to bake into a crisp tangerine under the sun because it is normal to be close enough to being brown, or tan, in a country of brown people, even if the people themselves want to become whiter than snow with the aid of God and soap and lotion, or whiter than the pale ass of their president when placed suspended under the natural fluorescence of any decent lamp, like the lamp hanging above our heads, casting little dancing shadows beneath us as I smile and laugh at all the gibberish nonsense she was saying. So the world is flat, I agreed, thrice to make my point firmer and my disposition resolute as I battle a stiff cock in my jeans. I took her home by the end of the night, and I took her hard between the thighs.

By morning, she was gone, the light of dawn shining on the side of the bed where her naked and tired body should have been, and the world was flatter than before, my wallet most of all. I don’t even remember her name.


“Just for old times’ sake, please?” I pleaded with a voice weak and trembling, as shameless and as desperate as my proposal. “I swear this will be our last and I’ll never bother you again, ever.”

Tanya moved away and stood by the window where the moonlight drew the silhouette of her body on her white satin dress. The ring on her finger briefly sparkled like a star in her room, that little space in the cosmos where the universe outside did not matter because she only needed four walls to feel alive even if it meant having to pay monthly rent, the veranda that jutted out ten floors above the earth the only sign that she was now above everyone who were less than ten floors closer to the sky.

I stepped closer, closer until I was right behind her, until I could smell the scent of her hair, until my chin could touch her shoulder, until my fingers could slide down her arms and plant themselves on her hips, until I could kiss her nape, my tongue dipping itself on her skin like smooth butter, and I undressed her like I have never undressed her before. She turned to face me and suddenly the bulging manhood in my pants wanted to break free, to push itself inside her, to force itself through her love tunnel with as much violence as she can handle, and explode inside her womb like a simultaneous big bang and supernova that waited for more than a billion years to elapse, the beginning and end in unchaste unity.

She gently pushed me aside, gestured that I sit on the bed, and she walked toward her dresser where she placed her ring. Now her fingers were immaculate again, like the first time my lips breached her innocence by suckling on her pinky ten years and twenty pounds ago, back when the professor was not looking and all of our classmates did not give a single fuck because a person’s life in college, the late onset of puberty above all, is just his own business.

She was looking at my eyes while she slowly walked closer to the edge of the bed. We didn’t say a word. And then she sat by my side, slid her right hand inside my pants, fondled my erection, and may God have mercy on my throbbing dick. “I want this,” she whispered.

“It’s all yours,” I said.

She unzipped my pants and in a moment I was all skin. She mounted herself on me, and all I could see was how her hair fell in disarray on her face, her hands gripping mine, her body moving forward, backward, forward, and backward again, each thrust accompanied by her moans calling out the name of her husband who was in Kuwait at the time searching for oil, until the seconds turned into minutes, fifteen or twenty, I lost count, our bodies entangled, perspiring. And then she came, her orgasm, that sweet momentary bliss that you wish would never end. But she ended hers right after she had it. She dismounted, and I was left on my own, still with a full erection to satiate and an orgasm that was yet to happen.

She stood, grabbed a towel, and wore her ring back on her finger. “Get out before I phone your wife,” she said.


My neighbor’s wife died a day before he did. She was his Juliet and he was her Romeo, both old folks, except that he waited for a day before he decided to follow her to the grave. Between those final hours of his life, he must have mulled deeply whether it truly is death that can only make them part. He must have finally been able to give voice to all the suspicions he suppressed all the while. He loved her when she was still alive, but he felt uncertainty when she was already a corpse, forever gone to cancer, all fifty years of their happy marriage suddenly placed under the mercy of a question mark and the afterthoughts that followed fifty years too late. When she was finally gone, he must have had all the chances in his life to prosecute his doubts without keeling from any guilt for hurting her feelings. The dead can’t defend themselves, he was sure.

Like the time when he worked a thousand miles away from home for three months and she would never answer any one of his five letters, or the time when he would be home earlier than usual and not find her in the house until she came later in the afternoon a few minutes before his duties would usually end in the office, or the time when she got pregnant when he knew that he was completely impotent for the last twenty years in his life, or the time when she said she lost the fetus in her womb, an accident she never wanted to happen, an unwanted abortion. But like all secrets, even doubts must go to the grave.

He took his own life, anyway. Ultimately, it was futile to resolve his doubts now that she’s in the coffin. He may be able to find the answers, but they would be answers that no longer mean anything, like revelations that signify nothing. It would be an insignificant triumph, a fleeting episode of victory with no one else to boast and celebrate it with. He’d rather die with a riddled mind than live another day trying to enjoy his meaningless discoveries of her imagined infidelities.

He hanged himself at the backyard.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Case 5: You

[Last part of the "Fiction Rebel" series]


YOU ARE NEITHER the miracle of the universe nor the gift of god to mankind. You are simply the child of your father and mother, the fruit of the night they put the flesh to good use at the price of an overnight stay in a motel when half of the city is asleep. Now that you’re an adult, do not think that you are at the helm of everything. You are not in command of the world. Rather, you are at its mercy, an underling waiting to be fed by the spoils of other people’s little triumphs in life. It’s a distressing fate, but nobody said you will be born in a manger and grow to be the savior of the nations, a crown of thorns to grace your divine head and a golden scepter to bless your tired hands. You will be nailed many times over, however, and that is all. That’s the closest you will ever be to becoming a messiah. In twitter context, you are just a hashtag floating without a keyword.

You aspire for greatness because you are not anywhere near it, at least not yet. You try to bridge the gap but you keep it to yourself. You’re not the only one doing the same thing. This is the earth, mortal, home to more than a billion dreamers, so don’t act as if you are surprised. If at all you land squarely where the treasure lies, do not let one, two, or even a thousand trophies get in the way of a little humility. Fortune favors the brave, but blind ambition destroys the ambitious until not even his ambition is left. Nobody wants to be remembered as the person who won the race but made enemies along the way, unless you are Hitler. You are not Hitler. You are just a Grammar Nazi, a speck of dust in the literary world who can easily be swept aside by the weight of sheer semiotics, never to surface again in any book, not even as a footnote.

Do not think for a moment that you are the sui generis of all sui generis. You are Dick, and your delusion lacks the fitting adjective to bring it to the plains of human comprehension. Fix your nose first before you fix the rest of the world. You’ve been warned.


You were fooled once, or you thought you were fooled only once. You easily trust people and things you’ve only known briefly, surrendering your life to whoever is bold enough to claim it for as long as they desire. Your conscience is clean, your heart more so, and you speak of purity as if you live it. You do, or you’ve tried, except that you’ve had your momentary suspicions trumping your confidence. No doubt you’ve had your mistakes. The measures you did to rectify them explain why you always see yourself as a clean slate after much reverie. You put too much thought into your life. But no one hears your musings of forever, of tender sentiments that echo the name of the one who owns it at a given time, because you prefer solitude each time you need someone who will listen.

Your belief in intelligent design suggests that there is an intelligent designer, someone whose genius includes the human body where the anus sits very close to the genitals, so close they could almost breathe each other if they had a nose. It’s like the sewerage is built right beside your home entertainment system. It is true that everything has its function, including your belief in intelligent design, and even your veneration of cows. Without it, Krishna will be rolling in the deep, probably chasing pavements, someone like you, and you’re not even Adele. Your faith in it has made you what you are: gullible but firm in your disposition. You are easy to sway, but you will stick to anything, or anyone, until you’ve realized that enough is enough.

Monica, my dear, you are already old enough to even pretend that you are still a teenager. Your life was once a mess. You’ve cleaned-up everything before you, and now you need to stop repeating the same errors before your life does. You owe it to yourself.


You know you’re a liar because you have a ready excuse for each deception. But you never call it a lie. You call it selective exposition, careful declaration, or other terms for hogwash you can conjure. You only say half of the truth because to your heart and mind that is all that matters — half of everything. It’s better than nothing, so you say. The world will not stop revolving around the sun with just half of what it knows. Besides, what it does not know will not make it suffer, either. You champion the idea that ignorance is bliss, especially if it is ignorance others retain and it is bliss you gain. If you cannot find refuge in an expedient story, your protocol is to feign silence as if you’ve heard nothing and, finally, to interject a random question that has nothing to do with the conversation. Escape is always close, your words smooth as an alibi.

But if all else fails, you reduce yourself into tears. You cry and cry until you fall asleep, or until the guilt that should have been yours is now the responsibility of the accuser. You turn the tables, which is your way of raising your objection, a demurrer to an indefensible accusation, and leave it that way.

You think your style is suave, immune from being exposed as a scam. You think you can always get away with anything. You think no one will ever notice. But right from the start, you forgot that there is a reason why they call you the Hooligan. Your reputation precedes you. You are as bad as you can be, and you’re the only one denying it.


On a dreary evening, you begin to think that the moon shines between your knees. You think heaven is where your head is and the boundary between Italy and France is where your feet are, carefully traipsing that other side of the world you’ve only known through cheap wine and spaghetti. You think that the sky will readily clear itself of clouds whenever you want to witness the light from the stars afar, only to discover darkness across the universe because this is one of the nights perpetually ruined by your lack of desire to open your eyes. You want them shut tight. There is not much to see in the shadows anyway, not even yourself, for it is dark and there is little left of you. You are alone, a lonely soul in a tragic world of lonely people.

By morning, you think the sun will never burn your skin, so you take all the pleasure you can get from basking directly under its fiery glow. You bathe the sunshine as if it is the last dawn you will ever have. Then you start to suffer a burning sensation close to your bones, and for once you realize how life itself can make you feel most vulnerable simply by being alive, completely helpless under the majestic star that will continue to shower its flames in the distance long after you are gone.

You are Jane, and you have the right to write your obituary one of these days. You will make the impossible happen as if it is the most normal thing in the world.


You are one or two or all of them, and you are nameless. Says John, “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together,” and says again, “I am the eggman. They are the eggmen,” until finally, “I am the walrus.”

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Case 4: Jane

[Part 4 of the "Fiction Rebel" series]


I WRITE OBITUARIES for a living. In a world where people die on a daily basis, orders from clients to publicize their grief come as swiftly as they bury their dead and collect their inheritance. They finance their declaration of mourning in print media with nary a sign of hesitation as though the earth suddenly closes its ears to these people left in unspeakable desolation each time someone’s eyes close for eternity. Maybe they are consumed by the idea that their proclamation of despair can only be given justice by newspapers where the words have voices loud enough for the living to hear. Or maybe they are inspired by the thought that sympathy is too infectious the readers will eventually march their way to whichever funeral their footsteps will lead them to while dragging a heart so heavy they can almost step on it as they walk. Perhaps I will never be deprived of condolences to pen. Death has more than a billion names patiently waiting in line before they are finally engraved on marble. I work hard on weekdays and even harder on weekends so that someday I’ll have the money to pay for my own entry in the obituaries. I’ll have my name in the papers by the time I’m ready to enjoy my well-deserved eternal holiday, ensconced in a place where the muteness is unending and the earth is warmer than usual.


Life is sad, especially when you live alone, sleep alone, and wake-up in the morning so that you can continue your routine of working for the dead. I stopped studying right after my second year in college and decided to get a job. Fortunately, I found one advertised in the papers, tried my luck, and now I’ve been writing the names of the dead for the last two years.

During my job interview, there was only one question:

“Jane Mojica, eighteen from Laguna. You studied Food Technology for two years. So what makes you think I’ll hire a woman to write the obituaries when you’re better-off writing about fancy dinner, if not cooking one, perhaps a sandwich for your man?”

I swear I could have stabbed him with my pencil. He certainly lives up to his name — Dick. When I looked at him, half in disbelief and half out of restraining my hands from grabbing my pencil, I thought I saw a nose somewhere on his face. I was not quite sure he had one. I thought how in the world is this asshole able to breathe? At that moment, I wanted to punch two holes above his lips with my pencil so that he can finally have a nose to show the world. But I let the thought pass.

“Well, my parents died a year after my younger brother did. My family is from Baguio, but we transferred to Laguna after my grandparents died there. We lived at my uncle’s house, father’s only brother. And then my uncle died just two months after we moved in. Another two years and malaria took my brother, my father after a year because of heart attack, and then my mother after three months. You can say that there’s death wherever I go. I’m the last of my kind. Call me like that movie, The Last of the Mojicans. If you’re after experience, my life is my résumé, sir.”

“Very well,” Dick said.

And that was it. I nailed the job although I couldn’t believe it at first. Maybe Dick had no other choice but to approve the sole application for the only position in the office that no one took seriously. But as it turned out, there is more to obituaries than just dead people.


The obituaries section of any newspaper is fertile ground for people who indulge in travesty. If you are famous, others will say you deserve a space there when you are dead, as if it is a throne you must necessarily inherit when you have been reduced into a corpse, a blotter in the papers announcing that the king is dead, so long live the king. To say the least, I find it ridiculous and obnoxious. If you are famous and dead, there is a good chance that everyone already knows you are just that: famous and dead.

I reckon the main reason why others still do it to icons good or evil is this: it’s a statement calculated not only to unravel social connections but also to reinforce these bonds, for even in death the long shadow of ancient feudal societies continue to persist like severe trauma, a seemingly cureless affliction that propagates itself through human memory. Here, commiseration finds its raison d’etre, the very guise it takes form, which is the reaffirmation of the archetype that death will hardly blur the lines that bind one bureaucrat with another, one public figure with the rest of his kind, cadavers and all, for as long as the people are made to remember. Worse, even audacious commoners may try to secure their association with the departed as a gesture of recognizing their impoverished status and, as a corollary, of endorsing their selves for acceptance in the legion through the tacit approval of those seated in the circle of power. This, I think, is the hideous face of association through commiseration. Man’s thirst for ambition cannot be quenched. It grips them by the neck.

There can be different names across different vernaculars for the same banana. In the case of those whose only claim to fame is having been able to live an honorable life, others will try to milk their name for what it is worth. Some people are willing to pay the publishers of newspapers just to snag that opportunity to polish their egos with the luster radiating from the reputation of these dead ambassadors of human virtues. They hope that the prestige in character of the departed will somehow rub itself onto them. I understand that people never get tired of massaging their self-esteem, especially if they want to keep it alive.

You may say that I am a conduit to this abomination at the cost of monthly wages just a little above minimum. You are right.


The first time I met Monica, I confessed how lonely I was. It’s not that I needed a man so that I can finally become happy. Honestly, women do not need men — that is certain. Happiness knows no sexual orientation. Above all, happiness isn’t all about sex, although a certain part of it is. For one, the vagina is not necessarily made for the penis, and vice versa. For another, heterosexuality is a remnant of the dark ages that has been deconstructed countless of times it no longer means anything today other than promiscuity. I’m not a lesbian, though. I just needed someone, or something. Any other object would have been equally fine, not necessarily dildos. Pleasure and happiness are different sides of the same coin, but they are different just the same.

When Monica introduced us to each other, he must’ve thought he was so bad ass he could use a plate of barbed wires for lunch and a cup of rusty nails for dessert. He said he got the stitches across his shoulders from a car accident, which is why he no longer had his car. I easily doubted he ever had one in his life.

He thought he is tough, and I thought I’ll test up to what point his machismo will refuse to break. I was lonely, and he was the perfect subject for my little experiment, the guinea pig with eight stitches across his shoulders.

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5