Friday, October 29, 2004


It was well past his bedtime, but Timothy remained wide-awake. Timothy was known as the school’s Prince of Pranks and he was thinking of a nice new trick. For it was almost Halloween and it would be a shame if the Prince of Pranks had no pranks to play.

From his bed he stared up at the ceiling. And thought…and thought…

And then…

The Prankster Prince grinned wide like a cat.

He threw off his blanket and leapt from his bed and rummaged through his drawer. After a little while, he took out not a rubber spider, not a bucket of slime, not even his plastic vampire teeth, but a flashlight. A plain old flashlight.

Timothy put the flashlight into his knapsack. Then he leapt back into bed and was soon sound asleep with a smile.

The next day at school, in the middle of class, the Prince of Pranks asked for permission to go to the little boys’ room.

Now the little boys’ room had a high narrow window (to keep naughty boys from hopping out to skipping class). So when the lights were switched off, as Timothy just did, and when the door was closed, as Timothy also just did, the little boys’ room was quite dark.

Satisfied with the creepy effect, Timothy opened the door a tiny bit and peered through the crack to wait for a victim.

Lo and behold! Walking down the corridor and up towards the little boys’ room was Billy the Bully. A worthy foe for the Prince of Pranks! As Billy’s heavy steps got nearer and nearer, Timothy closed the door and got ready.

He stood in the gloom, just beyond the door. The Prince of Pranks aimed the flashlight under his chin and switched it on and made such a frightful face. And waited for Billy to open the door.

Billy ran away much too fast, and screamed and screamed much too high for a respectable bully his size.

The Prince of Pranks laughed ‘till he cried in the darkened room for his prank was a roaring success!

And then Timothy stopped laughing all of a sudden when he remembered what the bully screamed over and over as he ran: Billy screamed ghosts, not ghost.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Got a new set of business cards, my first for the new job, quite recently.

I’ve always regarded these little pieces of cardboard as compressed résumés that would, hopefully, enlighten people we’ve just met as to why they’re bothering to talk to us.

At home, I have about six or seven boxes of business cards that became obsolete the moment a phone number changed, a company moved floors or I handed in a resignation letter. Then again, I am to blame for all those expired business cards, for I must have handed out less than thirty of them all these years.

Still, I’d like to think that I have hundreds of free little bookmarks.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


The bus broke down just as we were about to get off at the Megamall stop. The engine sputtered out, the air conditioning died and the hydraulics sealed the door in an instant rigor mortis while the horrible stereo tuned in to a cheesy FM station remained annoyingly alive.

Nothing surprising about this really. Most buses in Metro Manila appear to be units that had been phased out from Japan two (perhaps even three?) decades ago, and these rusty dinosaurs (or should I say Godzillas?) break down often enough.

I just found it quite ironic how the bus trapped us literally at a spitting distance from our destination.

The other passengers who were also supposed to get off at the same stop crowded the front of the bus aisle. They stood and watched the conductor and driver try (and fail) to pry the door open.

Perhaps some of them also began to wonder if we should start eating each other to stay alive.

I walked to the end of the bus and tried the emergency exit. To my relief, the red latch turned. But then, I saw that the door had been welded shut by what seems to be melted tire rubber. I guess bus companies sealed emergency exits to keep cheap passengers from escaping when time came to pay for the fare.

For a moment, I stood before the sealed door, listened to the muffled hum of traffic underneath some sad old pop song, and looked at the expanse of Megamall just beyond the filthy glass where EMERGENCY EXIT was painted on in both English and Japanese.

Then, I was finally able to do something I’ve (sort of) always wanted to do: open a bus window and jump the fuck out.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Speakers blaring out pop music and discjockey drivel are essential to the jeepney-riding experience. Every so often, a...bonus comes along.

Like last night.

A bespectacled yuppie-in-training (still years away from the coveted company car plan, I presume) got on the vehicle and sat quietly opposite me. Until whatever pop station the driver had on played Hoobastank.

Yuppie boy closed his eyes and, with much gusto (and volume), began to sing along to The Reason.

Never mind if he didn't know all the lyrics - he figured he can always catch up near the ends of the verses anyway. Never mind if he didn't know some of the lyrics at all - those parts, he was content to whistle along.

Now, if anyone ever doubted that Pinoys are musically inclined folks, I guess this is proof enough.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Though the maroon copies of the Da Vinci Code are quite conspicuous, it is easier to see what other fad the herds have embraced.

I see rackets everywhere.

The wealthier (or should I say, the more ostentatious?) lug their beloved rackets in special racket-shaped cases. The rest simply have racket handles sticking out of knapsacks and gym bags.

Either way, it gives the impression that a lot of people are expecting tennis balls and shuttlecocks to fall out of the sky any moment now.

Friday, October 01, 2004


Once in a while, what I'd presume to be an ordinary cab ride can turn out pretty interesting.

Like the one I had just a few minutes ago.

Now...I don't drive. But I do know what a NO LEFT TURN sign looks like. Apparently, the cab driver didn't. Or didn't care.

So we merilly headed left at a busy intersection where the NO LEFT TURN sign stood, right about the time the traffic light at the opposite lane turned green. Which meant that I was treated to the interesting sounds of screeching tires and blaring horns from cars that were, naturally, heading towards my side of the vehicle.

After a few more streets, the driver repeats this little stunt. This time we turned left at another NO LEFT TURN sign (perhaps he thought obeying signs like these was how one eventually became a rightist), and into a one-way street. It was amazing how the oncoming cars swerved out of our way.

And since I obviously lived to tell you folks about this tale, I think it's going to be a really great Friday.

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