Thursday, April 5, 2012

Goat in the Shell

[Last part of the "Sketches of Kitsch" series]

LOOKING BACK, life in prison was never that bad. I have managed to hold on to my soap tight and refuse to bend over just to pick it up every time it falls on the floor. Danny, that poor fellow from down south who was convicted of raping a goat — But Billy was asking for it! he would say before sliding into the sheets of his concrete bed, the cold hard floor, not knowing that it isn’t really a crime to take a goat from behind after milking it in the middle of the rice field in front of his deaf landlord — he dropped the soap many times, picked it up with both hands each chance he had, and he never walked the same way again. He said he loved it even if it might make a cripple out of him one of these days, and he would not hesitate to drop all bars of soap in the world and get on both knees first thing in the morning for his breakfast. My legs shall be my crutches, he once said while taking a bath with the rest of the inmates, and dropped his soap with much enthusiasm his smile revealed the tartars on his teeth while the early sunlight shone on his dark gums. In a way, I miss Danny. Fuck the police! he cried out loud. The chief was not pleased at the sight of his wide open ass and shot him three times from behind with his service firearm, the blood shooting out of his manhole like a geyser and turning the yellowish tiles on the bathroom floor into a sea of crimson until his lifeless body was hauled into a bag and brought somewhere I do not know. I reckon it must be a place where there is no soap. But life in prison was never that bad, and now that freedom is mine the world is officially my oyster. Or perhaps soon.

“Jesus Christ, Robert, shoot the fucking soldiers!”

“Christ, yes! Yes! What was I thinking?” Of course, I was thinking of my mother but I couldn’t tell Frank the truth when I should be aiming at the soldiers and shooting them down with my rifle even if we were outnumbered ten to one. I often wonder about mother ever since I was sent to jail for raping a prostitute in our slum. Say it, say it, I commanded, and she whimpered Oh god oh god before laughing and kicking me on the groins and running away with her panties down to find help. My mother never said a word after the conviction, and to this day I still contemplate about what she has been doing with her life, or whether she is still alive at all, living in our house, that heap of garbage, graced day and night by Lito Lapid’s splendid mustache.

“Move left! Move left!” Frank shouted. We moved left, fifteen of us, and sought refuge inside a tea shop, the sweltering noon raging outside as the bullets continued to fly in our direction, breaking the glass windows and turning them into a thousand shards. I wanted to have myself a nice cold glass of tea with some fancy name but I turned the thought down because nobody drinks tea as a pretense of sulking in bourgeois comfort right smack in the middle of a heavy gunfight when the country is busy with its bloody revolution. I peered at a hole by the chair I used as a shield and saw the armed men from a distance of a hundred meters or so, lining up into a squad as they began their slow approach to where we were. At that moment, I thought of the thousand other prisoners in every jail in the country suddenly released from authoritarian captivity and given guns to fire against all symbols of the state: policemen, soldiers, politicians, and just about anything that moves and is part of the government payroll. My first casualty was the prison chief who shot Danny in the asshole. Suck my cock! I screamed at his ears before I stepped on his face with my boots and shot him on his forehead. And then I said, as if in prayer, In memory of Danny and the goat that was the ultimate cause of his misery and joy in jail, the empty shells of my bullets shall count the ways in which vengeance shall be yours. And then I laughed so hard I could not help but fart.

“Move out! Take the back door!” Frank commanded, and in a minute we scurried like rats being chased by a bunch of pussies out of the tea shop, into the street, close to the bend in the highway. Back door, I mumbled, and the image of Danny on his knees flashed before my eyes. There was a sudden silence, an unexpected ceasefire. But it was momentary. There was a gunshot, and another shot, and then another, and then six or seven more. “There! There!” I screamed, and all fifteen of us made our way to where I pointed at. Right across the street was the coffee shop and the lady who just fainted on the floor, her red stilettos failing to save her from whatever it was that she was afraid of.

I kicked the bolted door open and hurried inside. It wasn’t the best garrison in the eastern world or the best room to have coffee while being in the middle of an insurrection. Otherwise you might easily die at the cost of an overrated Frappuccino.

“Shit, there are more of them coming!”


“Left side!”

Three military trucks full of heavily armed soldiers stopped and deployed a battalion. One of them ran toward where we were — a willing martyr who forgot to wear his brain, I thought — and fired at will. I aimed my rifle at him, an easy target, and pulled the trigger once, twice, thrice, son of a bitch the gun won’t fire! Then I felt a stinging pain in my head. When I woke up, my professor was staring at me with that crude grimace on his face. He was clutching his fan with much force I can see the veins pulsating against the skin of his left arm.

“David you idiot, time’s up and you aren’t even halfway done with your exam!”

Shit, I fell asleep and couldn’t even win an insurrection, I thought.

“Did you forget to wear your brain again?” Professor Arthur had that furious look. At that moment, I just wanted to vanish and die at the cost of an overrated Frappuccino. But I decided to get out of the room and accept my fate; Applied Physics isn’t my cup of tea, and my cup of tea will never have pearls and milk on it.

I took a jeepney ride. I had to walk the rest of the mile for up ahead there was a military checkpoint and the sound of bullets being fired from afar echoed and rippled in the air.

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

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