Superficial (4) (Fiction)

Sheepishly, I try to act with utter nonchalance, which are two very different behavior, I know, which only shows how stupid I could be at times. Personally, I was thinking Geez, I have to spring for coffee or worse – lunch. May I remind you before I left the house, the subject of monetary content in my coin purse is close to nil, and to have bought that coffee earlier has nearly left me with just enough fare to back in my rented matchbox.

“Josephine, are you from the publishing house that sent me here?”

As I opened the door into an already packed fast food chain with the bee. She answered ” So, you are the guy they sent me to see. Hmm.”

“What was that, disappointment?” I tried to sound like I’m kidding.

“Not really, I was expecting someone. . . . younger.” She let out a loud guffaw, opting to go ahead and follow the line up the counter. ” Don’t worry, this is my treat. You look like you could use some breakfast.” As she opened her big wallet and rummaged through it. ” Does chicken and pasta sound good to you?”

“Anything edible.” I said. Another blatant lie. Last night my supper was Jjampfong. This morning it was food on credit and it should take me through tonight.

“Get a table upstairs, I’ll have the food taken up” She said this with her back to me. Nice view from here, her shapely butt, sturdy thighs and legs under that sundress.

What was I looking at?

I found the upstairs level a lot less crowded and noisy. Just like in a bus where everybody seem to squeeze themselves at the front when the back part is relatively emtpy. Food came and we ate, not much talk just glad to have something in our mouths and skip the niceties.

“So, you draw?” Her lips were a bit glossy from the chicken. I tried not to stare.

” Among other things. I was an inbetweener with an animation company, I illustrate my own comics, I also did simulation drawings for news tv.”  Why do I feel like I have to impress this lady?

“Sorry. What?”

“What’s ‘What’ “? I answered.

“In-betweener. What’s that?”

Ah. The InBetween days. How much I would love to tell tales of sleepless for 48 hours on a single cut. The meticulous lines for One Piece. The hard corners and smooth muscle tones for Dragonball Z. Long, circling, curly lines for Sailormoon and Marmalade Boy. The sheer enjoyment of putting motion where the key animators deemed it needed. Curious peeks at story lines that would have to wait for another two months since a single tv feature animation episode takes 3 months and about 200 manpower, not including the hours at night.

But all these things people tend to take in with a quizzical ear and a suspicious eye, and do not really understand how animation people think. So I just answered back – ” Animator.”

” Wow. Disney?”

Somehow, all this good skin and teeth, not to mention the shapely shoulders and legs, has a real brain behind it. But who am I to judge? I’m a has-been with a love for illustration. That is all. All those wonderful things I did? That’s just it. They were in the past. What matters is now. And I need a new source of income.

“Forget it. What project are we talking about?”

“Well, we need a storyboard artist. Someone who could tell key scenes by illustrating them.” Josephine started. And she went on rambling about the production for a TVC, how the director wants the shoot the whole commercial with the initial 60 seconds, and to cut it into 30-sec, 15-sec versions. All the while she’s talking, her lips move like they were in a music video, still glossy, or maybe that was lip gloss I didn’t see when she applied it.  And She is beautiful.

No, not Megan Young  slender, barbie-doll beautiful. But Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo beautiful, with the right curvesi in all the right places and with the scratches and bruises of real life, not some glossy magazine cover’s idea of beautiful. You know, beauty, not just pretty. It’s an overall description, unlike cute or pretty. Those are comments made by boys.

She was still talking when I sipped the last of the coffe in my cup. Was this my third or fourth of the day? I lost track. maybe it was the food that’s currently marinating inside my stomach cavity, readying itself for digestion and distribution to starved parts of the body that need replenishment, that even with the mundane story she’s been telling, I feel good and content. For the moment by the way. The good looks in front of me also added a bit more languidity.

Until she uttered that dreaded phrase.

“We want you to think out-of-the-box on this one.”

I feel like a headache coming.

(To be continued)

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