Happy Meal Number One

Fiction by | June 15, 2008

Because you are a chef, I must stuff my mouth with your cooking. Beat the eggs well, in the kitchen, on the bed, you always say. Even though you know I can’t cook.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Turn the button. That is all I know how to do.

The fat chicken you had marinated overnight with pineapple juice lacks poise lying in the pan. Good thing its head had been cut off. Just imagine if it was there, you might think it was still alive.

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My Favorite Pair

Fiction by | June 8, 2008

On my left foot, the white sock with blue stripes is paired with a plain yellow sock. I’m wearing my favorite pair again. The left sock is made of a cool thin cloth, while the other one is heavy and warm.

I can still imagine my mother’s face when she first saw me wearing this pair when I was still in elementary. She was quite hysterical when I told her I wanted to go to school wearing them. My father was very strict about being organized. A perfectionist, you might say. I remember him pointing out that a young man must dress accordingly to earn the respect and trust of his peers. His deep solid voice and few words were enough to make me agree. I never showed them the pair again.

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Kaanugon Da

Fiction by | May 4, 2008

Hinaguros lamang ang agi ni Peter sa taliwala sa kamaisan samtang nagpadulong ngadto sa iyang lagkaw nga nahimutang sa iyang uma.

Ning-undang na lang gayod siya pagbungay bisan sayo pa ang kaudtohon kay ang iyang hunahuna kaganina pang ga-alindasay.

“Hidusdosan man lang ang kamot ta ning amol da! Karon ka gayod didto sa lantay kay hingpiton ta gayod ang pagsubay,” bagutbot ni Peter sa iyang kaugalingon.

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Why Doesn’t Gray Appear in the Kaleidoscope?

Fiction by | April 13, 2008

Sunrise, this lone miracle by which night is transformed into day; a perpetual incarnation of beauty to a city that they think has stepped out from the pages of a fairy story.

Far from what seemed remote a land was a castle of cold shacks where two boys, dull and gray, awoke to the realm of men’s coats and women’s dresses moving in throngs. These spectacle of colors they never tire of seeing, yet sorely wish at harmonizing.

Across the castle was the Land the boys call Fairy in which they see people go as they break from the moving throng and then come back, still in harmony amidst the hubbub of such beauty. In their heads were the different wonders, marvels, and miracles dragged from the cupboards of the Fairy and certainly kept for these people, them so full of color.

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A Love (Triangle) Story

Fiction by | February 17, 2008

When I first met Charlie at a young writers’ summer conference in Baguio, he and Winston had already been the best of friends. This was not surprising, because both of them came from the same town in Pangasinan and had gone to school together – from elementary to college. Charlie’s mom and Winston’s mom were best friends in college. Charlie and Winston were both first-born. So it was sort of natural they would be close to each other.

Charlie was a poet, Winston a fictionist, and both had been hailed as “the newest stars in the literary firmament,” as a campus review would put it. Both of them belonged to the exclusive Inner Circle, a select group of campus writers in the university. Charlie looked like a young Dylan Thomas (who happened to be his favorite poet): somewhat pouting lips and curly locks tumbling down forehead and nape. He was lean, fair and frail-looking. His eyes were his best features: saucer-shaped and brooding, dark with secret passions and what he would quote as “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower.” Winston was completely different. He was dark and husky, his kinky hair close-cropped, a crystal stud sparkling on his left ear. He was almost a head taller than Charlie. From a distance, they would look like a man and a woman together: a striking pair.

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In the Car that Straddled Me and Father

Fiction by | February 10, 2008

Father and I were in the purple car handed to him for the nth time; where n is equals to the infinity of the fathers who drove their daughters to the JS Prom. For years, the tinted windows of the car and the strangulating seatbelt have created an artificial intimacy—between me and the world outside the car, and him.

The suffocating airconditioner made the car windows misty, and I traced escape holes with my thin fingers. The traces made me recall my tongue, carefully parting the hairs of his stiffening chest that night we lay awake.

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To Build Fire

Fiction by | February 3, 2008

When I was sixteen at the old house, I used to sit on our wooden chair behind her and watch how she built fire with kerosene, wood, and pieces of folded paper. She would bend low enough, reaching for the fireplace, and I could see her spine arching downwards like a bamboo on a windy day, while behind her white head where I could not see much what happened, a light-blue smoke rose up to the sooted roof along with some ashes flying for escape through the slits on our wall.

She had told me once how to do it when Tatay was not yet around from work. We were alone inside the house and she began preparing rice to cook for dinner. Nanay Pacita sat on bended knees and looked for dry sticks under the fireplace. Tatay had split them outside days ago when there was still no job for him downtown. He had busied himself repairing the old electric fan, pounding wooden shelves for my books, and carrying large containers of water from the nearby pump. He preferred walking alone and whistling his own tunes of the sixties and once in a while, I would hand him a glass of water, which he would down in a single gulp and return to me.

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Ant Travels

Fiction by | January 27, 2008

From beneath the ground, across the leaves, up and down a wall, and into the cookie jar – the ants traveled, carrying crumbs of cookies back to their colony. Now and then, they would stop by and greet each other by brushing their antennas and then carried on with their merry hauling.

From far away – on the adjacent floor – the ant Antonino watched his fellow workers with a great deal of confusion and frustration.

Antonino had found a shortcut. By coming out of the edge of the colony, and passing through a crack on the wall, he could come out just beside the cookie jar. It would cut the length of traveling to less than half! His problem, however, was that the other ants did not want to take this route.

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