Superficial (3) (Fiction)

Made it to the other side of  the road without any trouble.

Ah, Metro Manila. I wonder why people with boring lives tend to look for adventure and thrills, spending money for trips and accommodation just to go bungee jumping, white water rafting or swimming. Just get out of your apartment and what an adventure it would be. Good thing this meeting is happening on daylight.

I shudder at the thought of going out at night. Used to feel all invulnerable and immortal, going out. drinking and painting the town red. I’m not particularly tall, but built like a barrel. Years of getting beat up as a kid made me tough on the streets. But nowadays, you can’t be too sure. That red paint could be my blood splattered on the pavement.

But anyway, such morbid thoughts on a day like this when a chance to earn is at hand.  I stopped at a corner, lit up a cigarette and scouted the place for coffee.

9:45am, still enough time for one.

Took out my white Kata S10 and typed a message that I’m already in the area. I’m prompt this way. Sms does it for me. and email. But calls are something I avoid receiving , or giving in fact. If you have had the chance to work for Pocketbell in the nineties, you’d know. Talk about having your ears fall off from answering too many calls.

Got myself a rather flat tasting coffee at a nearby fast food chain. And went out again to light have another smoke.

Nasty combination. Caffeine and nicotine.

A steady flow of students chattering pass by me. People who are hurrying to someplace they’d rather not be. You can see it from the pinched expression on heir faces. Looks of disgust and disappointment, and the looming possibility if being late. I smiled a bit. At least I am the master of my own time.

If only I could earn as much from this.

Almost time.

Mr. Joseph should be arriving soon.

Then something occurred.

Actually, three things happened in this one setting.

A box filled with clothes and stuff came hurtling from above me, maybe several floors up. It hit the taxi below who have just taken a fare and was idling to look for another passenger. The cardboard box gave on the roof of the taxi and garments of ghastly colors and knickknacks flew everywhere. Something like a mug found its way into a bystanders forehead, shorts and underwear scattered like dry leaves. A shoe hit a woman on the back of her head, just as she was slamming the door and was walking away.

All happened in a span about 9 seconds or so . . .

A strange tableau of non-coordinated colors and ungraceful choreography. With a rather silly soundtrack playing somewhere near, maybe from one of those watering holes with a videoke machine, a steady stream of “Pusong Bato”.

Now I’m no hero.

But I caught that woman who was stumbling towards me, and managed to get a hold of her before  she hit the gutter with the dried up vomit. Not much of a rescue. I hurt my knee on the sidewalk, her bag hit me in the face as her hands struggled to grasp anything that would break her apparent embarassing tumble. Her sundress caught on her pumps, and we sit there for a moment like lovers in a Sharon-Gabby movie, but in a comical fashion.

It was at this moment that I noticed my own bag was tangled with the rest of the stuff she was encumbered with – her own bag, a manila folder,  and that stereotypical kikay kit females are fond of holding in their hand when it could be safe inside their own shoulder bag.

I helped her up, but not without any trouble. Her dress was torn a bit from having been caught in her suspiciously lethal spikes for heels. Also, to add insult to injury, her elbows hit me on the chin while she fumbles to fix herself , and I took a step back to catch my breath.

About 35 to 38 years old. Long hair in a bun, now a bit loose. Good neck and shoulders showing on her sundress with spaghetti straps hanging snug, smooth brown skin. Good teeth.

Darn. My own teeth are falling off one by one.

You alright. miss . . . . ?

Josephine. Call me Josephine. And thanks.

(To be continued)

She picked up her fly shades.

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