An Attempt At A Short Story

An attempt to write a short story. Inspired by a book and movie recently read.

Everything was silent. The house was empty. Things were a bit messier than usual, as if the kids had playmates visit the house. I walk towards the kitchen. Broken plates, shattered glasses, an overturned table, spilled Coca-Cola. Now this is a mess. I walk through the kitchen, through the seemingly war-torn place of the house and out into the hallway leading to my kids’ bedrooms.

"Hello?" I call out. No response. Maybe they haven’t gone home yet.

I open their rooms, check each one out. First, the one on my left. Everything was in order. The neatly arranged bed sheet, the blanket folded seamlessly, pillows stacked properly, everything was fine. So I go out of the room and close the door gently.

I walk slowly across the hall to my older son’s room. Nothing’s wrong. The Gibson Les Paul, the electric guitar I gave him for his 18th birthday, was on its stand, with his Marshall amplifier beside it. The room was a bit more disorganized, but that’s the usual arrangement he has. Messy. Typical rockstar mindset.

Then I went out, turned right, walked a bit, and went up the stairs to my left. Near the top, I see blood stains. I reached the last step and turned right. On the wall, more blood, the splatter you see when someone near a wall was shot. But this one wasn’t too big a splat. A few more steps and I see my bedroom. I know for a fact that my wife’s inside. I turn the knob and push the door open.

Lying on the bed, bloodied, bruised, battered, is my wife. Tears spring from my eyes. I approach the body. It was already in rigor mortis. Stiff. Cold. I hold her by her head, and I feel the exit point of the bullet. By the foot of the bed was the weapon, a revolver holding 5 rounds. The gun was empty at this time.

Outside I can hear the sirens of the ambulance and the police cars. Pretty soon I can see the red and blue lights emanating from these vehicles. I feel so weak. The tears continue to roll out.

The paramedics come in, followed soon by the cops. They take the body on a stretcher and wheel it out of the house. “Follow me downstairs, sir,” one of the cops ordered me. We settled in the patio in front of the entrance. As I was staring into the officer’s eyes, my body was shaking with dread and with regret. I may spend time in jail, maybe for life.

It was all my fault. I shouldn’t have shot my wife and killed her.

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The Godfather

 It was often asked by my mom, "Ano bang values nakukuha niyo diyan sa sineng ‘yan? Puro violence, patayan, etc.," referring to one of the greatest classics of all time, "The Godfather".

She’s right. But to really love Godfather, read the book. Trust me.

I just finished watching the movie, which I viewed right after I finished reading the classic novel by Mario Puzo.

It was the third time I’ve actually watched the film. But it was only today that I actually understood the movie. It really deserves all the praise and credit it always gets from people; a movie which, I would say, is the best novel-to-movie transformation of all adaptations ever created. Best there is, best there was. Let’s see about the "best there ever will be" part.

When I was reading the novel, I already had in my mind scenes from the movie which I vividly remember: Don Vito Corleone’s near-death assault by the fruit stand, Sonny’s massacre at the causeway, Michael’s killing of McCluskey and Solozzo, to name a few. I also had in mind that I didn’t get the story of the movie. So I read through the pages, reacting along the way to scenes and revelations which shocked me or struck me in some way.

Reading it was a great experience. I learned things about Sicilians; their people, their customs, their attitudes. And also how corrupt the Mafia is and can make you.

Because of this book, I really want to go to Italy, experience that place, hear the Italians talk, eat Italian dishes, and visit Italian tourist spots, and also those places which aren’t really tourist spots (Corleone, Italy?)

Archers Rammed Down By Tamaraws

 The Far Eastern University Tamaraws are moving on to the finals of the UAAP season 73 men’s basketball tournament.

It was a close game for most of the contest. Back and forth all the way. One team goes up by 10, the other goes on a run and ties it up, then take their own 10-point lead. What cost the De La Salle University Green Archers this game was their inconsistency from the free throw line. Rarely did I see them convert 2-of-2 free throws. They made either a split or none at all. It was so bad one of their players actually AIRBALLED on a free throw. 

I just don’t get that. It’s supposed to be free. FREE.

Later on in the game, in the last 1:05 of the overtime session, the Green Archers already started jacking up three-pointers. The score by that time was only 64-59. Quick 2s could’ve brought them closer much faster. After a basket, foul, and go for another basket. They lacked execution in the final minutes of the game.

But really, the main catalyst for the loss was the plethora of missed free throws. FEU, yes they played well on offense and defense, but that has been them for the whole season. La Salle is not a team that shoots THAT bad from the foul line. But today, that side of the Archers stayed home. As a result, clunked free throws left and right. Ultimately, that cost them the game.

Props to Sanga and Terrence Romeo of the Tams for their stellar play during crunch time, most especially Romeo.

MRT: Mightily Rejectable Trains

 (If you’re not a fan of ranting, look away now. Rant Alert. Rant Alert.)

I hate this. Every time I go home at around 7pm, I am always welcomed by a very much unwelcome sight: clumps of people crowding the MRT station, waiting for that south bound train that will all bring them kilometers closer to their homes. And so I open up my bag,  show it to the guard (who I don’t even think knows what he/she is looking for when they inspect bags), put my card in and join the throng of commuters.

So I wait in line group. 2 minutes go by. 3. Now I’m getting bored. So I take out my earphones and stick it in to my cellphone, tune in to the BrewRATS on 92.3FM and enjoy the laughter they provide me. 5 minutes have passed. No train in sight AT ALL. 7 minutes. Oh, come on, two of them have already gone north! Where could those two have gone?! Frustration is building up. 10 minutes. None. I look for distant lights to the far end of the rail. Nada. 12 minutes pass. Still, no luck. 15 minutes. I see a set of lights. Oh finally. Stupid train. The train comes closer and closer. I see the people inside. The women’s cars are full; the girls are standing, which means the unisexual part of the trains is even more jam-packed. The middle of the trains pass me by and I see a message: I cannot board this train yet; maybe the next one will.

It’s been 17 minutes and the next train after the first hasn’t arrived yet. More time passes. Tado makes me laugh with his jokes. Then I check the time. 20 minutes! And still no ride! Oh, dear, how long will this take? Finally I see the other train coming. I box out a bit to get in front of the "queue", figuring that after I waited THAT long, I would get a convenient ride to Ayala Station.

My eyes are set. I step in the train. I look around. Something isn’t right. The air-conditioning system is not working! Just as I stepped in I immediately felt the lack of air-con. Damn it!

The train leaves. Then as it arrived in the Most Dreadful MRT Station in EDSA (Cubao), it was like a gust of wind surged in from the outside. Too bad the gust of wind took the form of a million people trying to fit through train doors. I was pushed around, of course, just like everybody else in front of the door was.

There was now the population of Asia in that train I rode. Combine that with the fact that we were standing like sardines in a can, very tightly packed, so tight if the train suddenly moves, you won’t fall, for there will be someone to lean on to anywhere in your radius. Literally. Imagining the scene? Now combine this with a temperature of almost 40 degrees Celsius.

This was my experience for tonight. And this is an experience I’ve had for at least 4 times already this semester. This is also why I vehemently oppose the MRT fare hike increase.

Just like in the South Luzon Expressway, wherein the toll cannot and MUST NOT increase because traffic is very rampant, so should the MRT not increase fares because there isn’t anything worth paying extra for. The space in the trains are so little compared to the LRTs. The air-conditioning is horrible.

But the thing I absolutely hate. loathe, condemn, about the MRT is the TIME. My goodness, anytime of the day, the trains have never been consistent. Sometimes it would come in short intervals; in others, long intervals; still in others, extremely long intervals. I had to wait for 30 minutes one time for a train. At ang dumating na train eh yung sobrang puno, yung tipong hindi ka na makakapasok kahit anong paniniksik at pambabox-out ang gawin mo.

Hindi ko lang talaga maintindihan ang mga nagpapatakbo ng MRT na iyan. Ang dami dami nang train na nanggaling from the south (meaning mga North Ave.-bound trains). Ang galing naman at naipon nila yun sa North Ave Station/Trinoma. Ano yun, pinasok nila sa mall? Ano bang goal na naaachieve nila sa pagpapahintay sa mga pasahero? Pinupuno ba nila yung mga train sa Trinoma pa lang? Jeep na ba ang MRT ngayon, na kailangan pang punuin ng pasahero bago mag-layag?

Walang sistema sa oras, napakasikip, mainit, tapos tataasan ng presyo ang pamasahe? Sabi nila kapag train naman daw, talagang mahal. Alam naman pala nila e, bakit ngayon lang magtataas? Tapos biglaan pa. Kalokohan. Sana noong umpisa pa lang ng MRT na ‘yan, mataas na yung presyo para hindi na nagulat yung mga tao sa pamasahe. At least kung ganoon, hindi na nalugi yung MRT ( o kung anumang kompanya ang namamahala dito), at hindi na rin magugulat pa ang mga tao sa masamang kondisyon sa loob ng mga tren.

Sana naman ibasura ang MRT fare hike na iyan. Hindi siya makabuluhan para sa mga pasahero ng MRT. At kung magtataas sila ng singil, ayusin muna nila ang sistema nila, lagyan ng oras, hindi bara-bara lang kung kailan gusto nung mga driver umalis; dagdagan ang aircon, dahil may ibang bahagi ng tren na hindi inaabot ng aircon, at kapag naging mala-sardinas ang mga tao, nagiging sauna na iyong tren.

Ang alam ko kasi nagtataas lang ng presyo kapag may improvement e. KASO WALA. Grabeng MRT yan.

Don’t fix something that ain’t broken. The MRT is broken, so it must be fixed.

Cheerdace Competition Thoughts

It was a July afternoon. The UP Fighting Maroons opened their season against the host school, the De La Salle University Green Archers inside the Araneta Coliseum right after the opening ceremonies for the 73rd UAAP season.

The result wasn’t good. It was a loss.

The next game wasn’t much better: another loss.

And then another.

And another.

Until the streak reached an astounding 14.

Yes, the UP Fighting Maroons lost 14 consecutive games in the elimination round. Since it was an elimination round, of course the Maroons got eliminated (I mean, after losing all your games, how could you not be eliminated?).

Disappointing? Of course. After part of summer was spent training in the United States, expectations were high for this team, with their own coach even saying that the team will reach the Final Four.

But, lo and behold, this afternoon, UP broke that unparalleled streak of futility! After enduring 14-straight defeats in men’s basketball, the Maroons, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, burned through the Samsung Cheerdance Competition, soaring all the way to first place, besting defending CDC champions, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws and perennial CDC top 3 finisher, the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers. And this came right on the heels of a crushing loss to the University of the East Red Warriors yesterday, where at one point they faced a 20-point deficit.

But that was the basketball team. And this afternoon was the Pep Squad’s time. They didn’t seem fazed at all by the drubbing the ballers took at the hands of the Warriors yesterday, and it showed on the mats. The dancers executed perfectly. Sure, I only watched on TV, but even so, I didn’t see any hitches in their routine, unlike in other schools’ numbers where the flaws were looking me in the eyeball. Just an amazing performance by the Maroons.

This totally made my afternoon. I could’ve watched had I gotten the ticket my friend was offering, but it was grandparents’ day and I spent it with my family. And we watched the whole thing on Studio 23. It was sad both events had to be on the same day, but family always comes first.

Next year, I’m not going to miss this. Not after seeing their performance today. And after seeing the atmosphere of the Araneta Coliseum a while ago? Yeah, I’d definitely want to experience that, having 23,000 faithful fans of their respective schools around me, all screaming, cheering, chanting our school chants. I’d want to drown in the energy of that throng of people.

Maybe in the Ateneo-La Salle final? (In the event that this happens, which I hope does)

I Missed The Ride To Markus Highway

 The most boring class of my freshman 1st sem had just recently concluded. With a bored-to-death mind, I walked my way out of the classroom, a bit hurriedly just to get out of Math. I got to the Toki "terminal" along CP Garcia Street right outside the Math building. As I was waiting for the vacant jeep to park, I saw these two men walking to the direction of the Naitonal Institue of Physics, wearing khaki shorts, white shirt, and bringing something on their shoulders, something like a fencing sword (sorry, I don’t know what it is called).

They looked weird, honestly. But since there are many weird people in UP, I ignored them. They’re everyday occurrences in UP, anyway, I thought.

So I got in the jeep and made my way to Palma Hall/AS Building for my favorite class of this semester, Philosophy 10 (Ain’t that great? Right after the most boring class is the most fun class. Things indeed do come in pairs). Just the usual routine I go through every Wednesday and Friday. By this time, the image of those two unusual-looking dudes wasn’t lingering that much in my head anymore, but it’s still there.

(Oh, that’s it. They looked like some sort of hunters.)

The typical things happened: I went down the jeep, went up 4 flights of stairs, got in room 312, sat down, finished the readings, and waited for our professor. And waited. And waited. And waited. I sensed something fishy by then. Yeah our prof was always late, but not this late. An hour late? No, that’s not him. Maybe 30 minutes. But 1 hour is just too much.

Eventually he arrived, and he was his usual self: a bit intimidating when he arrives, seemingly in a bad mood, but then will lighten up a bit later, joking around with us.

As is always the case in our classes, the discussion was like a butterfly in a garden: it floats around from flower to flower (or in our class’ case, from topic to topic). St. Thomas Aquinas, then the book report, then love life, then boobs, then back to St. Thomas Aquinas, then to a class couple, then Aquinas. The typical. (Yes, that is a typical Philo 10 discussion, folks.)

In the middle of one discussion (I forgot the topic), two people pass by outside. I managed to catch a split-second glimpse of them, and I think I’ve seen them earlier. Once they walked past the door and out of sight, our professor asks, "Nakita niyo yun? Si Marcus ng Eraserheads." Immediately I looked up! "Sa’n?!" I asked excitedly, with eyes wide open and a smile creeping its way onto my face. "Andun sa labas? Sige habulin mo! Seryoso ako," Mr. Caslib said. But because I was hesitant, I declined his offer.

And then it hit me. Si Marcus Adoro ng Eraserheads yung nakita ko kanina sa may Toki-han sa Math!

Eraserheads.

And I blew my chance. Damn. The Eraserheads was the biggest OPM band in history. Probably the best there ever will be. And Marcus is a great guitarist. Not too technical. Very simple. But it fits their music, which is how exactly guitarists must play.

Marcus seems like a great guy. I wanna talk to him, and of course get a photo with him. He’s one of my idols. Well, not really but I really look up to the man being a part of the Eraserheads. He may not be as well-known as Ely Buendia or Raymund Marasigan (of Pupil and Sandwich, respectively), but he definitely is a key part of the E-Heads.

I’m sure there will be more chances to see him. Maybe I may also see Ely or Raymund, or even Buddy in campus. Or Ramon Bautista. Who knows who I may bump in to? The next time it happens, I’ll come out with a picture.

"Seize the moment, try to freeze it and own it
Squeeze it and hold it
Cuz we consider these minutes golden"

Sing For The Moment, Eminem