Tales From The Hip

Retreat To Palmyra

The Generals declared that ISIS has recaptured Palmyra.

My guess is that ISIS retreated to Palmyra

where they may have a weapons cache

and the logistics would be more favorable for them.

Furthermore, it is to be noted that ISIS just walked in to Palmyra.

Palmyra is also a site which is still full

of historic artifacts, and as such may not come

under bombings by the Syrians.

It is also closer to the Iraqi border, and may then serve

as a base for the ISIS in Iraq in case

these are forced to retreat.

Should all the terrorist forces be concentrated

on Palmyra, expect a last ditch battle.

Muslim’s Effing

muslim eff

Muslim Eff.mp4

Andres At Bagumbayan

The Rayadillo General stopped himself to investigate the raucus caused by the neighing Peta and Pira way down back of the garetta. Peta had took a shine on the finely groomed Pira who had nothing to do with the Stinky old Peta. So she kicked him exactly where it should hurt.

With Grandfather and Isko separating the horses, the general took another drag on his American cigarette. It was getting dark and he might as well finish the story now, he thought, because next time he comes he will continue to translate for them Rizal’s second book. He then continued his narration…..

Andres At Bagumbayan

by Cool_Ambo

The thin, small eye doctor proceeded to the kitchen with gusto and, with the same ardor, vehemently worked the wooden batidor all the while telling me some jokes that I supposed were standard jokes from among his ilustrado friends in Europe. I did not laugh before he did though, because I could never know when he was serious or not. This man was serious in disposition, I once concluded, only to realize that it was worse. He was really a dreary, fate-beaten, gloomy man who appeared to be under the weather all the time. His glee that he exhibited for me were downright profound, though. He didn’t have many friends, that was for sure.

He glanced at me more than once through the doorway of the kitchen to perhaps keep the conversation going and to make sure that I didn’t depart early because he prepared for this occasion and that the milk had to be ladled in before it spoils.

And so, over the frothy and thick tsokolate espanol in tiny teacups, he talked about the firebrand, Andres. He saw this man first when he came in the church to hear mass, among other things. He was seated spread-eagled over half the length of the pew. When their eyes met. Rizal gave Andres a nod of hello for which Andres nodded back in a bow. The Cura saw them nod at each other, nods which may have been interpreted as an approval of a scheduled secret meeting. The priest knew about Andres’ secret group and, at this instance, he now deduced that Rizal was in on it too, particularly when he saw both of them after mass talking to each other.

Andres introduced himself to Rizal after the mass, declaring his amenities and respect for Rizal and recalling the two books that Rizal wrote. Both had mutual respect for each other, the doctor recounts, but he did not join Andres’ secret group.

Rizal described Andres as a hyperactive person who could not stay seated for long without fidgeting. He had to pace around to burn anxiety. He appeared to be very clean as if a daily bath was a habit, or diving for pearls was an occupation. He was built well and had the makings of a bull pulling a plow. At any rate, Rizal confided in me that he told Andres of his fear that a carnage would follow should there be a revolution now, to which Andres replied what would happen will happen. With this in mind, Rizal declined to speak to the secret group of Andres.

Several meetings followed this. Sometimes they met in church, at the dalampasigan, tiangge, anywhere but this his place of business where we were. This is being watched I was sure of this, which is why he wrapped the two books he gave me with red Chinese paper, the kind they wrap rice cakes with. In these meetings, Rizal told Andres what to tell his group as if Rizal was speaking to the group, and he told me he was glad of the news that the group was getting bigger with some distinguished and educated people joining. He was assured that the group would have some capable people to take over and run the government should it fall. And this was probably the main reason for the tsokolate espanol celebration, and the jokes. But that evening was delightful despite the fact that we had to be suspicious of every sounds of hob-nailed boots from the outside walk.

The next time I saw Dr. Jose Rizal was not the best of times. He had his elbows tied together behind his back while marching between two rows of guardia civiiles towards a spot in Bagumbayan.

As they marched past me, I peered thru the line of people and waved the red wrapping paper at him. He smiled as he recognized me and smiled. He remembered the red chinese paper snd nodded his head a number of times. He was elated to know that I have read the books and that I have agreed to retell it to the people. And then he saw what I thought was the figure of Andres at the opposite row of the crowd. There were some peop;le with him who looked as restless and as anxious as Andres, who suddenly barged through the crowd as if grimly waiting for a signal from the doctor. Rizal did not nod this time. he shook his head, instead, with more vigor the second and the third time around. With a pouted mouth, he pointed towards his shoe which he appeared to be shaking off the dust. Andres gave him a questioning stare. But Rizal might have been giving Andres a clue that there is something hidden in his shoe, most probably the Order of Battle for the revolution. The Lieutenant of the firing squad came up to see what is holding up the march. And thusly did Andres and his men fade away towards their boats.

The doctor declined his blindfold. The Teniente refused to make him face the firing squad. At the last moment, though, the doctor spun around to receive the shots at the front.

At that precise moment, the General stopped to appraise the impact of his last sentence to his audience. Some were heard sobbing. More so because the night was upon them and that their faces could not be recognized. The coughs are still distinctive, only that their faces are distinguished only from the light of their balulang cigarettes when they puff. The hush was also the cue for Isko to harness Peta to the calesa. It also gave the General the time to comment on Andres. He said that Andres possessed a splendid physique and a magnetic personality which was so commanding that when Andres says ‘tara na’ to his men the General finds himself preparing to go for no reason at all.

Andres would charge a rampart with or without men following him, ignoring any effort to restrain him from doing so. Such a big heart for battle earned him full adoration from his men. But he did go against the level-headed tactics of the other generals. There were disagreements all around, and when finally he realized that to win battles military tactics are needed. This he knew little about. The time that he gave in and followed the orders of the other generals was about the time when he was brought down.

Tragic, very tragic, decried the Rayadillo General.

Somebody handed the General a lit cigarette and he took a drag from it. Too late, he smoked a balulang! And so he started to cough hard, even harder as he climbed Isko’s calesa, up to the time that the calesa rounded the bend, a cough here, a spit there—clearly audible from the garetta, peopled with faces dimly-lit from cigarette embers.

And as the cacophony of sounds faded into the distance, the General’s coughings gradually merged contrapuntal with the clippity-clop-clippity-clop of the horse of Isko, Peta.

wizard1a

The General’s Story

(As the Rayadillo General continues his story, it would be fair to warn the readers that while history suggests that this story is factual, it still remains as a product of my imagination. In other words, this narrative is not to be taken as the gospel truth in history. There is no need to break in the National Archives to verify that what I write is true. There is no existing proof to be found in writing, anyway. And since this story has been handed down several times over, something has to be amiss as regards the truth in this. Should you be bothered by what you read, just consider the events portrayed in this as mere possibilities.

A second warning though, since this is a product of my mental faculties, anybody or any group using these events and possibilities for commercial purposes may be found guilty of copyright infringement. This story was published so many years earlier than today. This idea is mine.

And again I say, consider the possibilities.)

 

The Rayadillo General approached the garetta and lit from the horse with a bound, leaving my grandfather to lead the horse away. He went straight to where his aquiline nose was pointed, which he knew beforehand that it was his appointed place for the afternoon. Without losing a stride, he unbuckled his shoulder strap and threw on a bamboo-slatted ledge his sword, scabbard, holster, and hat in one swoop. He then took out one of the last American cigarettes he had, struck a match to it and sang, “Ho-ose can you see, by the Don’s early light, what so proudly we hey….”, only to be stopped by the loud eherms, and coughs and ehems of the 43-odd people stocking the garetta. Pleasantly surprised, the General was amazed to discover that this symphony of coughs could actually come together in one note and in one beat if given the chance, like this instance.

The General’s Story

by Cool_Ambo

“Rizal was a Chinese mestizo,” he blurted out, “and that was his undoing”. That stopped everybody in their tracks, and pretty soon, their disbelief turned to arguments and discussions among themselves. After all, these were inopportune times for anybody to be Chinese or to have a Chinese lineage, much less be adored as a hero like Rizal. The General took these moments to muse about his becoming a general by Aguinaldo’s choice for the reason that he had known the good Doctor Pepe Rizal, and that he was able to translate Rizal’s two books impromptu to groups of listeners at any given instant.

“Another thing that was his undoing was his manner of nodding to people, European style.” This last statement did not sink in to the people, but it made them stop to listen.

“The good doctor was an eye doctor, but he practised general medicine to the poor, most specially to the poor. That was my cue to go to him for medical consultation, not because destitution applied to me, but because he was starting to be famous as a doctor of all sorts. He conducted me to his room, a makeshift treatment room, and called me Panyero, so I called him Panyero, too. This started us to converse in Spanish and lo, he speaks the language like a Spanish Don. He looked at my complaint, the wart-like lump over my left wrist, for which, without a moment’s hesitation, he reached for soap and proceeded to wash it with warm water. After drying it, he took out a bottle wherein some very fine needles on wooden handles and soaked in brownish liquid. He proceeded to stick these needles around the lump. Everytime he does, that portion of my wrist became numb. After a while, he took out a razor and cauterized the lump. There was excessive bleeding but he had bandages ready.

All the time he was talking incessantly about his two books. I had to listen because I was still too woozy to go. And then he talked about a change in the government. He was not in favor of it. He stressed that we are not ready for a change in government. There are not enough learned people to take over the government, especially with this kind of corruption all over. The religious orders are much too influential with the throne of Spain and the Pope. It will be very bloody for our people who has not handled nor even seen weapons of war. We do not have the right leaders. Most of all, our people are still unawares of what they will be fighting for. They are still ignorant of what is happening. Our people must first understand what they will fight for, and then get the funds to sustain a fight. Till that time, let us hope the Spanish Cortes will realize that reforms are very much needed. Or else the country would just be jumping from the frying pan into the fire if there be an armed uprising.

He gave me two books wrapped in red paper. He said that the second book tells of the futility of an insurrection when undertaken before that time when the message from the first book is understood. But the people must learn fast. And I must explain to them thru these books, he cautioned as he slipped a small phial of the brown liquid in my coat pocket to kill the pain. He said that by his training as an eye doctor he is able to make people see things clearer. But he prayed that he could make people see more than these things.

On my way out I met a heavy-set woman with sensuous, tear-bound eyes. Unmistakably European, and her wide hat flicked as we nodded a greeting to each other. She was with an old man, presumably her father and patient of Doctor Pepe.

When I returned to him the next week, he dressed my wound and we talked at length about the books. It seemed that the first book caused much stir in Europe. The second book is now considered a call to arms. This will get him into trouble. He said he came back so that he will intentionally get into trouble so as to put more drama to wake the people. The nostalgia is killing him, anyway.

The first book, he admitted, was easier to write because he merely recounts what transpired in his life and some other people’s lives. This gave rise to the topic of Elias. He told me he found such a man around town, but he regretted killing Elias in the first book because now it would have been a better story if Elias saw the dawn break even for a little bit before he died. He said he tried to create another Elias in his second book but he was engrossed in the student population so he dropped the idea. All the while he insisted that his purpose was to stir up the people to ask for reforms, but he would not mind if the people broke some Frayle’s legs or so. Besides, an insurrection would have given him positive proof that the people have understood his message. Maybe a little protest will do. Still, he dreaded most the uprising of the people with some guillotine in mind. He did not want to be remembered for starting a reign of terror in the country.

The exact character, which he stereotyped as Elias, was found sitting on a pew in church one Sunday. It was at this point of his story that the Doctor got up to warm a pot for the two of us to partake. It appeared that he knew I was coming in the morning so he personally roasted and ground some cacao beans and peanuts to make tsokolate espanol. And when he started telling me about this man whom I later came to know as the firebrand of the revolution named Andres, the prospect of listening to the tale of Andres and sipping tsokolate espanol was very hard to resist. So I did not resist, and stayed for another while.

next : Andres At Bagumbayan…

The Garreta

 

(And so we continue the General’s Story as I promised. This is, however, a flashback and not a sequel. We go to that time when the General was still alive. What’s more, he is the one to tell the story, not me nor my grandfather.  His stage for today will be the Garreta. This is a makeshift town hall constructed from what was once a Spanish militia outpost which was enlarged, thatched, and made sturdier with bamboo posts and thatched roof. It had no walls because when it rains in this town, it pours, so much so that nobody could hear each other with the din. No need for walls. But there is still the need for seats all installed in a U-shaped configuration which opens at the entrance of the Garetta, which actually was situated smack dab at the point when one road crosses the T with another road. But let us get off from this intro and proceed to when the General is supposed to come and speak about the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.)

The Garetta

By Cool_Ambo

The garetta is full today, standing room, in fact. Now this SRO classification has not reached the comprehension of the townspeople that filled up the garetta. The American occupation has not been felt in this part of the country. Only the rayadillo soldiers have brought news of the Americans, none of them bad, though. The Americans came to learn from the people, not to steal gold such as what conquistadores did. They are even sending teachers and educators. But, although the American occupation extended the military service of this rayadillo general, this very same man is the connection between the Philippine Government and the Americans. It was all summed up like what prevailed was not like that of an American occupation but something like what Aguinaldo described as American Intervention.

The garetta is situated on a crossroad and is built to be a waiting station for travellers. It also doubles as a meeting spot and a lecture hall for something like this occasion, or simply a lounging place for people to squander away the remaining light of day. But for this occasion, the limelight is on the Rayadillo General, who is scheduled to talk about the much adored hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. A much anticipated event is this that the people were visibly bustling around doing meaningless things and everything else to keep their chosen listening spot secure.

It was a tense situation, this waiting for the general to arrive. Not for Isko, though—he has been the calesa driver for the general in as many times as my grandfather was with the general. As a matter of fact, the rayadillo general rode his calesa drawn by his horse, Peta, as many times as the general rode my grandfather’s horse, Pira.

Peta is hitched at the side of the garetta, or that side where the inclined road goes down to the bangkerohan where travellers take bancas to cross the river. Isko had the habit of uttering the swear words “anakng—-” (SOB) everytime he straps his horse to make it go faster. Time came when Isko actually did not have to hit the horse to make him go faster, but only had to utter the last of the swear words, hence the name of his horse is Peta, (but not futa ) to allow for some modesty in case there are lady passengers aboard. When this word is uttered, though, load or no load, the horse just ups and goes at a gallop for nothing at all.

The rayadillo general said that he admired, nay craved, the American cigarettes for a lot of reasons. The people here smoked a kind of self-rolled, saliva-glued cigarettes called “balulang”, and the effect of regularly smoking this type is audibly apparent in the garetta. After one puff of this cigarette, the smoker coughs once. After two puffs, the smoker coughs twice. After the third puff, the smoker coughs three or four times. And then the smoker repeats this cycle all over. So it was easy to determine what progress the smoker had with his puffs just by counting the number of coughs he made. And all this while of waiting for the general, there was to be heard a series of coughs from within the garetta, a sort of symphony of coughs and puffs, all off-key and syncopated. To top it all, the thatched dome roof of the garetta was now firmly hugged by pale-blue balulang smoke.

As if on cue by a conductor, everybody stopped coughing and puffing to crane their ears towards the much expected sound coming from around the bend. The much-awaited heavy gallop of Pira slowly came to be distinct and lo, everybody shot to their seats and positions of standing room as if the symphony-of-coughs conductor is about to raise his baton.. The rayadillo general came into full view with a fist resting on his thigh, an upturned elbow, and an outstretched arm. One could almost say that he resembled a teapot ready to be poured. He started Pira to do some horse maneuvers and pirouettes and prances and gallops and sidesteps that everybody cheered the general. Everybody but my grandfather, of course, because he was instead cheering for the antics of his horse, Coolas_Pira.

 

Tobecontinued, if the smoke clears!

The Rayadillo General

 

And so I throw another curve at you as I write this story. It will probably consist of 4 parts, this one being the first. I start the tale with the story of a horse, and may finally end the story with another different horse. But that’s going too far ahead of the story. This part tells about the death of the Rayadillo (pin-striped uniform) General, another twist in the plot because the rest of the tale will have this general telling the rest of the story at that time before he got assassinated. And the setting of the story is that vacant number of years after the Spanish-American War.

 

The Rayadillo General

by Cool_Ambo

 

When I last talked to Dr. Jose Rizal, nah, that isn’t true. I never talked to Dr. Jose Rizal. My grandfather did, my grandfather twice removed. And yes, he was put away twice in his days. At least what I am going to tell you is what I heard from this grandfather of mine, twice put away in his lifetime.

But hey, this grandfather of mine was the official bodyguard of the Rayadillo General. Now I am downright sure that he never was, did not really want to be the bodyguard of the Rayadillo General even if the general was a very close friend of his. I should know this for a fact because he was blood of my blood, and my own blood dictates that I should do away with such ideas as taking a bullet for somebody else, even if this somebody else is a boon companion of mine. Moreover, my grandfather was scared of guns, and in this particular aspect he was blood of my blood after all.

At any rate, he was pronounced as the official bodyguard of the Rayadillo General by the general himself, against my grandfather’s wishes, of course. He was made so because the general happened to like my grandfather’s horse, and therefore my grandfather had to go with the horse if and whenever the Rayadillo General borrows it for special occasions. And since the general goes to more special occasions than one,it was deemed it proper for my grandfather to act as the official bodyguard. This arrangement was much to the other soldiers’ liking because by then they would be free of the task of guarding the general.

My grandfather pampered this horse, a kabayong mola (reddish black horse). She was a mare, named PIRA, or short for Coolaspira. She was the fastest horse in town, and maybe for two more towns over.  I can imagine her being so because the only other horses in town were made to pull calesas (passenger carts). Pira had to be the fastest horse in town because she was the only one who was not made to pull carts.

Grandfather brushed her skin with mustard oil to put out the sheen on her coat, and afterwards put her tail on a knot before she goes out of the stable. This knot, according to those who watched Pira, displayed her most seductive anatomical property to the other horses,, so much so that it made her strut more seductively. This was wistful thinking for the general but he just about wished that he could die riding grandfather’s horse, Pira, upon seeing her prancing on the gloss.

One fateful day, or that day that Pira was scheduled to be borrowed by the Rayadillo General, Grandfather could not find Isko, the Calesa driver. He was supposed to bring the special grass feed for Pira called sakate. This grass feed, for some reason, gave her strength in her gallop and stateliness in her strut. So Grandfather led Pira towards the turnip patch to feed. After a while, they went back to find Isko without the horse pulling his cart. The horse was the one borrowed by the General and he went without a bodyguard.

In that instant, Grandfather got on the horse and galloped to the appointed place for the general. He was too late. The Rayadillo General was shot dead. My grandfather was filled with remorse. He blamed himself for the death of the general.

So biting were the pangs of guilt that he changed the name of his horse.

He did not call her Coolaspira anymore. Thereafter she was called Coolasisi as a symbol of his remorse.

wizard6

 

Prom Night

PROM NIGHT

By cool_ambo

Always have I given the excuse that I was drunk when caught with my pants down, and that I never knew what I was doing.

But I’ve always maintained for myself that I was fully aware of what I did, after I did it, particularly on this night, which was Rachel’s prom night.

Next year was to be my prom. This year was hers. This gave me the more reason to accept the invitation to escort her for the prom night.

The punch that was laid out this year was a bit too strong for me, although I must admit that I could not compare it to another punch mixed on another year since this was my first time to go to a prom. I have seen the chaps replace each cup drained from the bowl with another swig of pure Gilbeys gin. The punch got more intoxicating every time. Consequently, Rachel had to drive us home in her dad’s car as I wasn’t that much good to drive.

And there I was, staring at her eyes, her body pinning me to the front of the fridge, with that shrill voice over the radio blaring down over our heads……..

There’s a line between love and fascination

That’s hard to see on an evening such as this,

For they both give the very same sensation,

When you’re lost in the magic of a kiss,

Your lips are much too close to mine,

Beware…….

…..this wasn’t helping the situation any. So I reached over my head and turned the radio off, only to find her arms deliberately tightening around my waist, and her auburn hair sticking a few curls through my nostrils.

“Suave!,” I said, “Mom uses this on her hair, too, and I never got used to the oily scent.”

She looked up to me again, and that’s when I felt a needle sticking through my shirt. So I reached around and with some deft maneuvering through the cramped spaces on my chest, proceeded to unpin the exotic blossom which I put on her strapless several hours earlier. Removing this flower was the general purpose we were in that position anyway. I was supposed to stick the flower inside the fridge when these new developments came about.

I fumbled with the gown and flower. All the while she had her eyes fixed on me, diligently reading what I had in mind at that moment. I really didn’t want to tell her exactly what I had in mind but she cornered me in front of the fridge so I did not really have to say it. I could say, though, that this situation for me is what you may call getting lucky!

I took my time unpinning the corsage, a move which she saw through my ploy. She asked in the most straightforward manner she could under such a circumstance, “Aren’t you putting more hands than necessary on that flower?” From the seriousness of the stare she gave me, I realized that the question she asked posed more of a dare than a don’t, or whatever. I tried to read between the lines but there were no more lines to read. Besides, I realized then and there the reason why women prefer men who wear neckties……so that they can pull the man’s head down to theirs.

And as she pulled me down by my tie, I pulled her up by the chin. We ended up under the table. There was so much dinner mess on top the table that we ended up under the table. The floor must have been cold. She didn’t complain. So I never asked.

In the subsequent months that completed the summer of that year, I learned that this sort of thing could be done under trees, in park benches, in back seats, in passenger seats, in driver’s seats, in trunks, in garages, and in any number of places fit for clandestine making-dos. Never have I heard anybody mention doing it under the table in front of a fridge. Yes sir, she taught me all I know, my cousin Rachel, and she has seen to it that I remember every lesson well.

My Foolish Heart.mp3

Red Blue; Red Blue

 

 

This is a story of a teen-age girl in the mountains of the Philippines.  She picks firewood to sell to the village people at the foot of the mountain. Today is Sunday, and Ap-palik is free to go down the mountain to watch the movies.

Red Blue, Red Blue

by Cool_Ambo

Ap-palik was never taught how to pray. She knows that there is a God. And it is always in a sitting position, very much similar to the position of her dead grandfather whose body was ceremoniously thrust inside a hole on the mountain even in a sitting position.

For her, the image of God resembles the crudely carved wooden idol which resides mutely at the bend of the trail, also in a sitting position.

As she turned to pay homage to this wooden idol, she once again imagined that this is a strong God because it is able to endure a chipped nose better than she can endure a toothache. Stronger is this God than the God of the lowland people, she thought, because this God is able to withstand the elements. If the lowland gods are really gods, why would they be kept secure inside and out of the rain?

She prayed by imitating the children of the school: genuflecting by knocking her forehead with the palm of her hand, beating her chest with the other, touching both shoulders with her fingers, and bumping her knee on the ground. With both hands stretched to the sky, she said, “Ap-palik is going down the mountain,” in a voice that sounded like a cross between a warning and a demand to the God of Travellers to grant her safe passage.

Glancing at the brother standing beside her, she thrust an upturned palm forward in the begging position and said, “WE are going down the mountain, God of Trees, please protect us as you would protect the gatherers of firewood!”

And then, with more exuberance than piety the third time around, she waved goodbye to her proud parents in the house on top of the hill, and proceeded to go down the trail chanting, “I am going to town.”

The moist earth was squishing through her bare toes when she stopped to shift her skirt so that the pocket swung to the front the way she does before she counts the money. The Catholic Convent gave this skirt to her mother, she remembered, and it was originally white.  Her mother is going to buy her a new dress when she gets married to one of her father’s army friends, but that would still be after the next firewood-gathering season. And shoes–it must be fun to wear shoes. Mother says it takes some getting used to. She does not have to wear them on the trail. She can take them off and carry them to make them last longer.

Her brother, Nonoy, was wearing her father’s old army sweater. Ap-palik was wearing her father’s worn-out camouflage army jacket. Father thinks of everything, she thought, as she looked at her wrist watch. He knows she can’t tell time so he painted the face of a clock on Nonoy’s forehead showing the positions of the hands to tell themselves the time when to start back home. The two got carried away, though, and painted dials all over their cheeks and arms and legs until both of them look like graffiti.

Ah, but her father loved the Army. Her name, Ap-palik, was taken from a favorite Army poem—The Charge of the Light Brigade. He taught her how to recite this poem from beginning to end.  And this she would recite while going down the mountain, with broken English and all.

“Ap-palik, ap-palik, ap-palik onward,
Into the valley of death
Rode the six hundred.
Forward the Light Brigade,
Charge for the guns, he said,
Not though the soldier knew,

…….not though the soldier..”

She wavered, and she tried again to find the next verse. Nonoy started a chorus with her, and all along the trail, the people that they met could have sworn that the two were reciting a litany to some unknown saint.

When at last they reached level ground, they headed straight for the candy store, buying all they could, including a huge bag of caramelized popcorn. People began to stare at their paint so they went at once to the theater, where the woman in the glass box ignored Ap-palik’s greeting. Who wouldn’t? Even when she smiled, she still looked like a woman on the warpath with all that paint on.

She liked cartoons. Even though the characters were not real people, they were what she wished people to be: simple and colorful and predictable, too.

They must have watched two shows twice. They left before the sad part. She always cried on those. They lingered in town for a while, munching on dried deer jerky which they tore with funny little angry bites. When the wrist watch showed a configuration exactly like that on Nonoy’s forehead they started home, taking the longest route towards the trail.

But then the lights started to come on! This was one thing they wanted to see—Christmas lights, colored lights, all on everybody’s window, flickering, and flashing, and giving color to the trees and the ground and the houses. They stopped at one particular house with bigger lights that dim and brighten slowly. They entered the yard and sat behind the hibiscus hedge, mesmerized by the lights. They called out together, red, blue, red, blue as the lights came on. Failing to recognize the colors green and yellow, they just skipped those, not knowing what to call them. Besides, they like red and blue best.

Pretty soon they fell asleep with their chanting, curled up in each other’s arms, all too happy to fantasize that they are actually living in a color cartoon.

Suddenly, they were awakened by shots and sirens, running feet and barking dogs. The colored lights were shut off. Men came running by away from something. People come chasing them. The two sprang up, but it was too dark to see anything. They came out of the hedge and walked away. The mud squished noisily. Headlights came on and blinded them. They started running away from the lights. A volley of shots were fired. Nonoy was hit and he fell down dead, still clutching Ap-palik’s hand. She tried to raise him but couldn’t. She turned to the lights in disbelief. A second volley was fired, and then a third. On both counts, she felt like two huge arms were pushing her back as the bullets hit. She staggered to maintain her balance in the mud, shifting her feet several times, but the fourth volley slammed her on her back. She tried to get up but her body does not respond. Instinctively, she lifted a hand towards Nonoy’s body. The hand fell limp. The pain went away slowly as numbness overcame her. She looked up for help, up to the flashing police lights, up to the blinking, mesmerizing red-blue police lights, and coughed her last.

Uniformed men milled around to view the bodies. One of them flipped Nonoy’s body over with a foot and said, “It must be a cult–it looks like a cult–yes, the six-o’clock cult.”

“For sure,” replied another. “You would never expect anything good to come out of this people,” pointing to Ap-palik’s body with the red oozing from the nose and through the teeth.

“She was saying something, no?”

“Yes, something like– redblueredblue!!!

EPITAPH:  Mountains don’t shed tears…….. they moan and they groan and they blow down branches of trees, a whole lot of branches of trees, for that time when Ap-palik comes to gather  firewood.

Epilogue :three days after her interment, and a full seven days after her death, the howling of the winds and the gnashing of the branches never stopped until the elders exhumed the bodies from the mountainside, cremated them,and scattered the ashes to the winds; after which a foreboding silence supplanted everybody’s business and in one awed gesture, all work stopped, as if to catch the faint squishing sounds of Ap-palik’s feet ascending the mountain.

As if on cue, all eyes look up to submit to the gods of the mountains, a new name to implore at firewood gathering time ; the name of AP-PALIK, henceforth the protector of brothers and innocents.

It is said, that while wise men and faithful women deserve the maw of the mountains, the virgins rightfully belong to the gods.

  Amen. 

The Hobbit Flood Warning System

 

The Hobbit Flood Warning System

In the wee, small hours of the morning, rampaging flash
floods regularly occur to threaten the village that is called Allemandor. Such
floods come without warning particularly at those times when the village folks
are sleeping off their drunken stupor. An early warning system was therefore
installed that solved the problem of domesticated animals being washed away
with the floods. This system included a very short man, not unlike a dwarf, to
sleep in the hut as shown above to watch the level of the water. This is so
because the village happens to have a large number of these short men. In fact
most of the men in the village are short.

A very uncommon trait of these short men is the fact that
they have very large feet, about three times the size of the ordinary tall man.
This is so because they use their feet to tamp down the upturned soil on the
seeds as they plant their crops. The rocky soil needed large feet for tamping,
so the men just grew these large feet. These will become handy as we learn of
the Hobbit Flood Warning System..

They were not called Hobbits before. The story goes that
when asked why they station small people in the flood warning system, the
answer was that it was “traditional”. But the words come out like, “Ich bin
habit.” And the name “habit” stuck. This was later made to connote as a “habit”
and a “hobby”, and there they coined the name “hobbit”.

The system goes like this: a hobbit is stationed inside this
hut, and he sleeps on a bed lined underneath with puffed-up pigskin air
ballasts. The hobbit himself has a life-jacket made of animal air bladders tied
all over and around his body. When the water rises, the bed floats, and at the
same time his large feet senses the water. He then gets out of the hut and warns
the village people who collect their animals and shove them into barns.

If the hobbit fails to wake upon the intrusion of the water,
a trap door on the roof is provided for his escape and he survives with the aid
of the air bladders. He then will have a long swim towards the shore. But
sometimes the villagers don’t fish him out early but let him ride out the flood
that empties on a lake below the village. This is to punish him for sleeping on
the job.

Like those times when the Hobbit named Alza Velotan, noted to sleep in the hut with his cask of Amontillado, oversleeps and bails out thru the trapdoor. He afterwards  uses his extra large feet to paddle himself to shore. No sweat!

(Now, was that a spin, or was that a spin?)

Water Level Indicator

I was meaning to give this post the title of Water Level Indicator, but then again that bit of an amusing anecdote started swirling in my mind, and I have decided to make this swirl some more until I have begun to put into motion another strory similar to the Religious Bear, or Snow White and the Huntsman, or maybe the Prom Night.

If you have not read these yet, go to the search box and type the titles.

This time, and for this picture of a sturdy hut, what comes to mind is somebody actually inhabiting this small hut. This somebody is a small person, more like a dwarf, and perhaps specifically a hobbit. Yes, this hut is inhabited by a hobbit.

But give me some time, maybe until tomorrow to complete this story about a small hut being used as a hobbit flash flood warning system.

Snow White And The Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman

  

The word was that a tiger white as snow prowled the woods around the village.

“Of course there was no such thing as a snow white tiger,’ he mused. He had been hunting tigers for eight years and he had never heard of one before, much less see one But then again, considering that the villagers see everyting mostly black, anything white for them would be called snow white.

“It must be a Siberian tiger,” he continued, “or an albino!”

Nevertheless the huntsman called Jabba buckled his gun belt and slipped on his bandoleer and proceeded to hunt down this tiger. For the umpteenth time he complained about the excess ammunition he had to carry. In all his hunts, he needed only three shots at most to bring down his quarry.  But if he must, he must. Besides, a snow white tiger rug would fetch a handsome price, indeed. So off went Jabba the Huntsman with all his ammo and rifle and provisions to bring down one tiger reverently called Snow White by the villagers.

One fateful morning, while following the trail of the tiger, he met Snow White face to face while the tiger was backtracking to the village. The encounter caught both of them by surprise. Instinctively, Jabba fired his rifle at Snow White, which lunged at the Huntsman at the same instant. Jabba missed his shot. Fortunately Snow White overshot its target. Needless to say, both of them ran off frightened by the encounter.

Our story does not end there, of course, as there has been no conclusion yet. Furthermore, if this story is meant to be funny, it has yet to put up a punch line.

So off went Jabba the Huntsman again the next morning, smarting from his embarrassing failure to bag Snow White on the first encounter, and still complaining about the excessive weight of his baggage, to practice shooting at close range. He had no farther to go when he espied Snow White in a clearing. It was actually, virtually practicing short leaps so it could catch short range targets.

And lo, both protagonists faced each other again in a similar situation only this time both knew what to do. Jabba fired first, but since this was to be a practice session, he forgot to load his gun, so it just went click. Snow White lunged at Jabba, but this time his jump was a little lower so he caught the muzzle of the gun in his open mouth. The tiger just went gluck. Again it is needless to say that both went off scared as can be.

The Huntsman was never again seen around these parts and for good reason, the tiger was not seen again prowling around for chickens to eat and for children to scare. Its diet was transformed to berries and all other foods generally relegated to seniors with dental shortcomings.

Snow White is sometimes seen ambling around with either a red or blue stain upon his breast, depending upon what is in season—raspberries or blueberries.

 

The Bear’s Prayer

Cornered!

The bear was about to eat him.

And when he saw that this is so

Michael raised his arms and prayed to God,

“Lord, I do not want to die.

Make this bear have compassion.

Make him understand religion.”

Huzzah!

All at once there was a flash of light,

and thunder echoed all around the mountains,

and the bear’s face started to glow.

Without warning, the bear knelt down,

put its paws together, looked up and prayed,

“Lord, bless  this food which

 I am about to receive from thy bounty.

I’m sure he tastes good. Amen”

 

Pet Goat2

 

 

I, Pet Goat2.mpg

We generally interpret the colloquial term “goat” t0 refer to someone we could blame.

Keep this implication when you sift the symbolism in this video.

Somebody keeps his eyes closed to everything that is happening all around him,

making him oblivious to the 0blivion all over.

He opens his eyes only on his final journey towards the brightness.

At about that time, the last edifice that houses Faith has collapsed.

The Triangular Book

 

Haydee,

here’s the story you asked for. This is a little too lengthy for email. Besides, what’s in this blog is for posterity.

The Triangular Book

Coming back from the fields one day, I mentioned to my uncle, the brother of my father, about some particular trouble with armed men during harvest time. This prompted my uncle to relate a story to me about his grandfather, a story which I dismissed as whimsical. Amid puffs of smoke from his special carabao-horn pipe, he told me about some bandits tying his grandfather to a mango tree and riddling him with bullets trying to get something out of him. Bullets could not kill him so they hanged him instead. Whimsically again was I when I dismissed this story about a very small, triangular book hidden around in that place where we were. He quit telling me about the book when he realized that I was in no mood to listen to it. I was in fact concerned about the pistol and the gun belt provided me. I was wondering whether this gun could actually stop a bandit’s charge knowing that my uncle’s grandfather did not die from bullet wounds.

Later, in another course in time, an American fighter plane swooped lower on the lot we were plowing with a tractor. It dropped by parachute a duffel bag containing what must be the c-rations containing, among other things, a couple of orange juice bags, biscuits, hershey chocolate bars, nescafe instant coffe, a gallon of powdered egg, a gallon of gelatined cheese, and a battery-operated radio. That was the first time I tasted instant coffee. It melted right on the spoon. And that was also the first time I tasted ham-and-egg yoke, and the very tasty spam luncheon meat.

But my story continues with the portable radio that came with the duffel bag. This one I brought back to my uncle’s house which, incidentally was where my father was born. Anyway, by cue enters my grandmother, sick in bed, and very much energized by the music coming from the radio. She sat up from the bed as if giddy from the music, and started handling the radio with curiosity, flipping it around, sliding it about, tapping it, even bringing it closer to her ears. As she did these, she was making rasping laughs and started talking about unimaginable stories.

She started with, “Hala, they do not know who is beating them with a broom, and pinching them, and pushing them. They have no idea it was me!”

And she continued the prattle about her going to market without an umbrella but not getting wet. She does not even get wet while crossing a river without riding a boat. She walks around with nobody seeing her. She does not get burned handling roasted cashew nuts from the fire. And she goes from place to place unseen even when her body sleeps.

Of course I did not believe her. Her tales were nonsense. When she died, no less than three people put me aside to ask if the triangular book was ever found. A lot of those people asking about the book were very frequent visitors to Uncle’s place.

(To read about how witches are made, go to Matanglawin Chapter 6 titled The Doctor Witch, October 29, 2009)

The Power of Winks

 

The Power of Winks

 

I had a girl friend once. Ah, but I must have said this already

somewhere along the way.

 Not that it could happen only once referring to a girlfriend.  

 It can happen, you know, it can happen more than once.

At any rate, this one looked at me like so over dinner she prepared for us.

I fail to remember what dish it was she cooked because

 she caught me off guard with a playful flop of her eyelid.

 She must have read what was swirling in my mind from

the way I looked at her.

 And then came another wink, this time a lingering, determined one,

 but one she could not complete because I switched to second gear

and revved it up.

The best part of this learning encounter is that she bore to mind

the way my transmission shifted by a wink.

I learned, too, how to rev it up faster’n Schumacher in rounding corners.

After a time, moving my stick shift to second gear became a routine procedure sans dinner

 but with only a wink.

 My part in the whole thing was to install an automatic transmission for a

responsive and more fluid gear transfer, 

 although I find that I still had to use my stick to shift to “park”.

btw, the girl in the photo is Rhea Santos of Unang Hirit, and never was my girl friend, silly—

Prom Night

 

PROM  NIGHT

 By cool_ambo

Always have I given the excuse that I was drunk when caught with my pants down, and that I never knew what I was doing.

But I’ve always maintained for myself that I was fully aware of what I did, after I did it, particularly on this night, which was Rachel’s prom night.

 Next year was to be my prom. This year was hers. This gave me the more reason to accept the invitation to escort her for the prom night.

 The punch that was laid out this year was a bit too strong for me, although I must admit that I could not compare it to another punch mixed on another year since this was my first time to go to a prom. I have seen the chaps replace each cup drained from the bowl with another swig of pure Gilbeys gin. The punch got more intoxicating every time. Consequently, Rachel had to drive us home in her dad’s car as I wasn’t that much good to drive.

 And there I was, staring at her eyes, her body pinning me to the front of the fridge, with that shrill voice over the radio blaring down over our heads……..

 

There’s a line between love and fascination

That’s hard to see on an evening such as this,

For they both give the very same sensation,

When you’re lost in the magic of a kiss,

Your lips are much too close to mine,

Beware…….

 …..this wasn’t helping the situation any.  So I reached over my head and turned the radio off, only to find her arms deliberately tightening around my waist, and her auburn hair sticking a few curls through my nostrils.

 “Suave!,” I said, “Mom uses this on her hair, too, and never got used to the oily scent.”

 She looked up to me again, and that’s when I felt a needle sticking through my shirt. So I reached around and with some deft maneuvering through the cramped spaces on my chest, proceeded to unpin the exotic blossom which I put on her strapless several hours earlier. Removing this flower was the general purpose we were in that position anyway. I was supposed to stick the flower inside the fridge when these new developments came about.

 I fumbled with the gown and flower. All the while she had her eyes fixed on me, diligently reading what I had in mind at that moment. I really didn’t want to tell her exactly what I had in mind but she cornered me in front of the fridge so I did not really have to say it. I could say, though, that this situation for me is what you may call getting lucky!

 I took my time unpinning the corsage, a move which she saw through my ploy. She asked in the most straightforward manner she could under such a circumstance, “Aren’t you putting more hands than necessary on that flower?” From the seriousness of the stare she gave me, I realized that the question she asked posed more of a dare than a don’t, or whatever. I tried to read between the lines but there were no more lines to read. Besides, I realized then and there the reason why women prefer men who wear neckties……so that they can pull the man’s head down to theirs.

 And as she pulled me down by my tie, I pulled her up by the chin. We ended up under the table. There was so much dinner mess on top the table that we ended up under the table. The floor must have been cold. She didn’t complain. So I never asked.

 In the subsequent months that completed the summer of that year, I learned that this sort of thing could be done under trees, in park benches, in back seats, in passenger seats, in driver’s seats, in trunks, in garages, and in any number of places fit for clandestine making-dos. Never have I heard anybody mention doing it under the table in front of a fridge. Yes sir, she taught me all I know, my cousin Rachel, and she has seen to it that I remember every lesson well.

My Foolish Heart.mp3

Hole-In-George

 

Hole-In-George

After the hectic fiestas and the succulent fruits of May,

after the heavy rains and the cumbersome floods of June,

come the heat and the doldrums of July.

Beneath the santol tree, or the sampaloc tree, and mainly the mango tree

Are gathered the children of the barrio folk  to savour the simple joys of boyhood.

 

Simple games comprise these simple joys, and one of these games is the Hole-In-George.

Here, four or five holes are dug in a line and amid the meticulously swept yard under the shade.

The holes are half as deep as golf holes and spread four meters apart. The number of players is of no consequence,

 The goal for each player is to sink his marble into all the holes in order,

forward then back. The first one who reaches the last hole on the homestretch wins the game.

If a marble is struck by another marble in play, this marble goes back to repeat the course.

And the marble That struck it is still in play continuing from where it landed.

Players may organize themselves into groups, each group having to play only one marble.

The strategy is to get closer to the next hole and at the same time have a safe distance away from the other marbles.

 

Why did they call it Hole-In-George?

Every time some marble gets in a hole via rolling from the ground, the owner of the marble gets to say,

“Holen,george!” and thus the name of the game—“Hole-In-George”

The marble is, of course, called a “holen”.

As anyone can see, the game is a friendly one, and there is no need to play dirty.

Everybody is dirty, anyway, what with the game being played close to the ground. :lol:

 

I must apologize, though, because this post is supposed to be one that deals with The Black Hole,

and the title was meant to be “Hole In Black”.

 

Ah, well…….

The Charge of the Pandesal Brigade

 

Dregs of society

Scum of the earth

Themselves they know this

Let no outsider say this!

 

Out to prove something

That they can also ask for something

People is what they are

Let people say so.

 

Pandesal for c-rations

With coco jam, or margarine-sugar,

or the sardine luxury

or tasteless boiled egg.

confront

Sticks for swords

Rocks for missiles

Against tear gas and truncheons

Rubber bullets and real bullets.

bybarricade

Leaderless overall

But leaders born

Whoever dares to go forward

Leads the mass onward.

protesters

Shorn of El Shaddai

Betrayed by INC

Denied by leftist champions

Beset by hunger

Buffeted by taunts

Cries of anger

Pleas for recognition

And then back to the barricades.

push

The charge goes once

And then twice

Thrice, four times

Each time the barricades go down

And with them goes

The science of crowd control

And the image of the

Philippine Crowd Dispersal Units.

hit2

 

 

There will be no honors

 

No medals, not even praises

Only whispered tributes

From newly discovered bonds

With the silent glow of pride

That theirs was a magnificent charge

So magnificent that nobody else

                                                                                       Dares own it, nor disown them

                                                                                                         No more.

watergate2

“When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!

All the world wondered.

Honor the charge they made,

Honor the Pandesal Brigade,

Noble Pandesal Brigade.”

painter

 cool_ambo