Superficial (Fiction)

Oh, let me rephrase that last statement.

I may have bought myself another one way ticket to creative hell.

It’s like that.

As I ponder on how to go about working around the lack of script, reading the instructions while inside a jeepney that’s booming with a rather clunky old Pioneer sound sytem, which was playing that super-extended version of Mary J. Blige’s Family Affair, I struggle to keep the papers I’m holding with the sudden stops and acceleration usually associated with jeepney drivers obsessed with anyone standing on the sidewalk even if he’d just seen that person come down from the one before him.

The cash felt good in my pocket. I could send the rest to my family in the countryside and keep just enough to feed my face for a couple of weeks. Think about the rent later. And the installment for that motorcycle that I haven’t ridden yet.

I stuff the papers back to its folder and envelope, with an idea on how to start with sketching the backgrounds and do some research on the net. Good thing I can load that plugit for 5 days. Even with the intermittent connection, it is still a viable tool for lots and lots of references.

And Game of Thrones.

I alighted, nearly missing my step as the driver hurried to get out of the no unloading zone. Didn’t bother me though, I was thinking of poses and angles and detailing the sketches I was about to start when I get home. Crossing the the street, I was reminded of  Josephine. How her hands felt soft as she handed me the money. How she smiled that semi-sincere smile, that drop of sweat nearly got me staring as it rolled down her cleavage.

I shuddered. Have to repress that hardon that was growing.

I stopped, debating whether to ride another gruesome jeepney home or stop by the market and get some real food. That chicken and pasta was the first real meal I’ve had for days. Somehow, the idea of tearing a pack of instant ramen doesn’t get me all stoked now.  So I walked, lighting another cigarette. Yeah, nasty habit. But I don’t encourage it. Not one bit. Leave me alone with my poisons. And no I don’t believe Vapes will make things a little better. A slow stroll down a crowded street, puffing along.

Ordered some rice and a serving of bulalo, topped with garlic and chili paste. Sent the rest of the money home to the countryside.

Money in my pocket feels good.

Bought some packs of smokes, coffee, creamer and sugar to sustain me in my solitary confinement for the rest of the days that will take to finish this project and get paid.

Simple, don’t you think?

I got to stop deluding myself.

This is creative hell.

I will do what I can with this project, pour my soul in it. Creating something beautiful out if thin air. Well maybe not entirely, because all of  it will be on paper. Still, clients, and employers for that matter are seldom, really, seldom mindful of your craft. it’s like buying meals at a fast food chain all over again. They line up at the counter pay for it and expect to get results in a manner of minutes. It is like that. They don’t want to know what happens in the kitchen. They are very much like vegetarians who see carnivores as a lower form of life form on Earth and they are the chosen ones to lord it over. But they need the proteins. So they ask the carnivores to get it for them. And it goes in circles.

The project gets done. You inform them, because the clients are just too busy to do follow ups on you, that you need to tell them “Hey! it’s done!” and they give you all sorts of bullshit. That copy of Non-Disclosure agreement you signed never did get to you. You ask about it, and no one answers. Now expectations of getting paid becomes blurry, because you’ve dealt with people like these before, and yet you accept this project because you have to earn outside of an establishment that for all intents and purposes , has the facade of order and functionality, but in al reality is full of inept people with official sounding titles and bosses who give that pep talk about teamwork and “one-for-the-team” speeches, how the boss is “one-with-you”, how “mediocrity-is-not-an-option”  all the while they have in their employ a couple of semi-creative minds that all the skill they have is shooting down ideas and creations they themselves have no capacity of doing, and artists like you end up as just hired clerks, doing things over and over. A step forward gets you two steps backward, and you get fed up with the delayed pay, and the unnatural ways of following  poorly thought decisions from bosses. So you get out and go freelance and what do you get?

Same sort of bullshit.

There’s Pasyon being sung somewhere near as I open the gate to my landlord’s house and I climb the steps to my room. I know Josephine was flirting with me. It’s a woman’s weapon that any man is susceptible., even priests. I know she’s just doing her job as an agent for her publisher boss. She got the project practically cheap. I accepted it cheap.

Because I’m a slut. There was an internet meme that says:

A Slut is a woman with the morals of a man.”

As I sit on my table now, still thinking about all the drawing I have to do, and how it’ll be another cat and mouse with the rest of the payment, I sharpen a pencil, took a fresh sheet of paper, adn started sketching.

What else can I do?

All the talk about creativity and talent and skill? None of it matters. It all boils down to the money. Forget how I think ” Finally I meet a boss whom I can follow  through and through.” Forget about everything.

It’s all about the money now.

And I am in hell already.

As I draw a form of a face, I keep thinking, ” Will this ever . . . .”

(END)

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