- The crow pecked the bamboo, and Kurukusog came out. The crow pecked another bamboo, and Mahinayhinay came out. Kurukusog and Mahinayhinay gazed around them and were terrified of the things that they could not explain, which were almost everything. Their fear grew even worse when their union caused Mahinayhinay’s belly to swell and a smaller version of them came out between her legs. They named the baby Abathalgad.
While raining one day, a thunder cracked through the air. Mahinayhinay pulled the baby to herself and took refuge under Kurukusog’s arm. Kurukusog noticed that the baby had burped. He told Mahinayhinay, “Fear not, my love. Abathalgad must have caused the thunder.” Mahinayhinay doubted Kurukusog’s observation, but she was comforted.
When the rain stopped and a rainbow appeared in the sky, Mahinayhinay noticed that the baby had smiled. “Indeed,” she told Kurukusog, “Abathalgad must have something to do with what’s happening around us.”
They began to associate everything with whatever Abathalgad was doing, and they were eventually convinced that the baby had power over the world and over them. They worshipped him, and they lived their life according to what they believed was Abathalgad’s will.
2. Abathalgad made the durian tree, and he made its fruit tasty—tastier than any other fruit. Aside from Abathalgad, however, there was no one else to appreciate his creation. His father and mother, Kurukusog and Mahinayhinay, had long been dead. So Abathalgad said, “Let there be man.” And there was man. “Let the man have eyes,” Abathalgad added. And the man had eyes.
The man stared with awe at the tree, but soon he lost interest in it and wandered off. “Let the man have a mouth,” Abathalgad said. And the man had a mouth. The man went back to the durian tree and ate the fruit.
Soon the man was full and wandered off. “Let the man have an anus,” Abathalgad said. And the man had an anus. The man hid behind the bush and defecated. He then went back to the durian tree and ate its fruit again. He defecated and ate and defecated and ate. Abathalgad was pleased.
- The sky lay close to the ground, so Amad and Ebi always had to make love lying down. One day, tired of being pinned under Amad, Ebi rolled herself and Amad so that she ended on top of him. She liked the position better. They continued making love. Ebi slightly raised her head as she moaned, and her head bumped the sky, causing it to rise a little. Ebi wanted to move freely, so she sat up, straddling Amad, and her head bumped the sky again, causing it to rise higher. Wild with passion, Ebi drove her mortar down Amad’s pestle—hard, and then harder.
Much much later, Amad and Ebi lay spent in each other’s arms, watching the clouds, the sun, the moon, and the stars above, far beyond their reach now.
- The grandchildren of Amad and Ebi had become so evil, they were beyond redemption. Infuriated, Abathalgad hiked up his cloak and urinated. He didn’t stop until all human beings, save for one family, either drowned in the flood or suffocated in the stench.
The grandchildren of the grandchildren of Amad and Ebi decided to build a giant statue of Abathalgad. The statue was to be made of gold, everyone agreed, but they could not agree how many heads and how many penises to shape on the figure. Abathalgad had never shown his face, much less his penis, to any of them. One group of people believed Abathalgad had one head and one penis only, just like human beings. Another group believed Abathalgad had a hundred heads and no penis at all. Yet another group believed Abathalgad had three heads and seven penises. Each group insisted theirs was the only correct belief, so a fight broke out. The builders hammered one another and pushed one another off the structure. Due to the commotion, the unfinished statue shook, cracked, and collapsed on all of them.
Jude Ortega, born and raised in Sultan Kudarat Province, was a fellow for fiction at the 2012 Davao Writers Workshop and the 2014 Silliman University National Writers Workshop.