Category Archives: fiction

Catnip

Cat eye

I’m a cat, the stray one nobody goes looking for. And you’re catnip.

I scuttle around in the streets, hunting dark alleys for fat rats, born of shadow, a furry fellow.

Wild child. Pet to no one, master of myself. The gleaming silver trash bin is my throne and the shiny brown roaches are my subjects.

My kingdom stretches as far as my little paws could carry me and I have never encountered a leash or an itchy patch of fur I couldn’t reach…

I’m the mighty lion in my own great story.

But you’re catnip.

One sniff of you and the earth becomes the sky. I lose my balance–­­isn’t that an unacceptable crime? I roll, flip, rub, wriggle, waddle, tumble, scamper, scurry and prance. Scoot, shuffle, and dance! Leap down a hole just to steal a glance! You get into my head and get stuck there like a hairball, the kind I want to keep messing with my mind forever and ever and ever more. ‘Til the birds roar and the pigs soar and droplets of purple rain pour on my whiskers.

I’ll throw away eight out of my nine just to get in line for you. Bow down my proud head, play silly games like “play dead,” and like a common hamster, ride a never-ending wheel. Even risk being roadkill if it would get me nearer to you, just an inch or two…

Because you’re the poison I picked.

The laced needle that pricked.

And I can’t get enough of you like a stupid ball of yarn or a goddamn laser pointer.

Oh, you’re probably bad for me. And if I were a dog, you’d probably be my chocolate.

But I’m not a dog.

I’m a cat.

And, my oh my, you’re catnip.

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Science Fiction

alien world

The year is 9014. I could go for an alien if not for you.

One of those alien spawns born from massive swaths of egg farms in AStD941 in Canis Major Dwarf. They’re raised to life-rearing age within a week using advanced cellular differentiation acceleration and culture implantation. My resource-value has long been ascertained by the Government. I can afford an alien bitch.

That or go traditional mech. Unlike others, I don’t have a misplaced sentimentality that puts organics over androids. Who would’ve thought we’d still have this hippie problem in this age of human devolution and social stagnation? Universes are collapsing, realities have ceased merging some years ago, and yet here we are—these activist fools, not me—proclaiming the sanctity of flesh over ferrous? I don’t carry that bullshit. I’d fuck a robot as savagely as I’d fuck a shape-shifting mass of alien tissue if it would make me hibernate longer than four solar revolutions.

But I can’t do that, can I? ‘Cause there you are, still mapped in my neural networks—an electric anomaly that can’t be removed or rebooted. You’re lodged somewhere in the deepest recesses of the unconscious levels of my brain, and no program or custom-ware could corrupt you. In my dreams, your skin still glistens when hit by the original sun, blinding me for a second, reminding me of Earth 1.0., its roaring seas and chestnut mountains. Extinct fauna like jellyfish.

How unusually human of you. Two big, round eyes; thin lips; wavy strands of hair; two pairs of appendages—so simple. Primitive. But maybe that’s why what’s left of my recalibrated instincts long for you over the black holes and eras that separate us—because you take me back to my humanity. You know I’ve always tried to adjust the past in simulation and in linear life, always waiting for the next time-alteration update, but nothing has worked. I don’t even know why I keep trying when the best minds have done the tests and run the formulas infinite number of times only to reaffirm that the philosophers have won—nothing can change the past.

Some days, I’d lie under the shadow of an intergalactic explorer and wonder about you and me as the scheduled breeze blows my hair on the dot. I’d pointlessly ponder the inescapable logic and categories that have defined our actions putting them squarely in one social system or another, then jumble them again in my head, repeatedly rearranging and fixing them like a Rubik’s Chiliagon. But I would always fare no better than if I tried to live my life as another soul. Time and again, I gravitate toward our impossibility.

Where do I find inspiration when the degenerative reification of this multiverse has solved practically all unanswerable questions? No magic now in the air when air has been tagged as a precious commodity. I can’t trust no ship to bring me good news from any new planet or asteroid discovered and mined unless the algorithms birth a messianic mutant that would allow us to break free from these logic prisons we’ve built ourselves.

Where do I find love if the dark curtain of space—its only hiding place, so they say—cannot be peeled off?

I tell myself it’s in the trying. I tell myself a logical fallacy. I tell myself I still can find you and that you can find me before aliens and robots devour my soul.

Before I completely scrap the thought of you as mere science fiction.

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The World Ended on a Saturday Without Much Fanfare

It started just like any other judgment day.

On the Internet, websites were abuzz with jokes about the end of times while in the streets of Manila, the squalid creatures under bridges and along mucky rivers haven’t even heard about the importance of the day. On this topic, just like with any other piece of knowledge worth talking about, the masses weren’t part of the discussion. In other words, access to armageddon was limited.

I was in my cubicle, busily inventing a tale of nonfiction before I start with the day’s copies.

What’s really striking about the whole affair is that it was so Hollywood. You’d think the Son of Man would defy everyone’s expectations regarding his second coming but it seemed he cared less about originality than the purpose of his visit. And so it was that when the building’s windows to my right seemed a bit too bright and murmurs started floating around the office, I stood up, looked outside and saw… something.

———————————–

It was indeed something rehashed. It’s the very thing you’ve heard from your Bible-maniacal teachers, priests, parents and friends who joined fellowships about the Man way up there and his much-hyped return. For I saw the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life; something that sent shivers down my spine and made my heartstrings tremble. When I saw it, I instantly knew what it was all about. There wasn’t anytime to think “this shit is crazy.” There was nothing left to do. As supremely creative as I felt that morning, I had to leave that epic non-fiction on my computer screen unfinished in the middle of an incomplete word. I went outside.

We all went outside. Our chests overflowing with a feeling of finality to a whole life’s worth of work, confusion and misery, our legs couldn’t help walking very slowly. There was no hurry. It was the end anyway. There was enough time for everyone to silently weep.

I saw people walking hand in hand with their friends, crying on their shoulders as we made our way toward the fire exit. In a moment of clarity only the witty devil could’ve conjured in my mind, I thought it was pretty amusing that some folks chose to wait their turn at the elevators before they could meet their Maker.My supervisor and I glanced at each other. Alas! This was one time that very helpful man couldn’t help me in any way.

Outside, a huge crowd had already gathered all over the streets and EDSA. As cliche as it sounds, traffic was at a standstill. There wasn’t any “noise”; just the sound of mute beings scuffling to get a better view of the Thing up in the sky. But this wasn’t like your regular pop concert where the audience mangled each other for a better look and howled at each other’s ears. No, everyone could see It with mouths gaping open. I guess it was part of the grand plan for everyone to witness the grand finale.

———————————–

Needless to say, ABS-CBN and GMA weren’t covering the big event, neither were any station the world over. Somehow, I wondered what Mike Enriquez could be doing that moment. Just as there was no way to document the beginning of history, there was simply no way to document its end.

We were rendered illiterate like the primeval primates, like dinosaurs and the beings before them. And this is no exaggeration at all. The feeling was that of deep naivety or idiocy. Everyone went back to being children or rather, everyone realized they hadn’t grown up at all; like they were putting on papa’s big shoes or mama’s smeary lipstick for a whole week and now the angry folks were here. We were going to get spanked.

There wasn’t any need to talk to the guy transfixed at the sky next to you. An overwhelming sense of futility overcame every soul. After all, this wasn’t about the matters of men anymore. The instant you see that Thing, that marvelous Thing up there, all your issues melt into nothing. Me, I wasn’t thinking about the next payday anymore, or capitalism, or the RH Bill, Manny Pacquiao, my family and my girlfriend. Once in a while, a little stupid thought would still pop in my head, like Mike Enriquez, but it would disappear just as quickly for the only thing left to do was to immerse yourself at the certitude of the situation. This was the novel’s resolution, the final step in a long, arduous journey, an actor’s shedding of his costume when the curtains fall. The only relation left was between every man and his undoing.

I guess what Hollywood missed was that the occasion made chaos impossible. Last-minute looting, shooting, binging, smoking, copulating, jacking off and raping weren’t possible. For how could anyone even bring himself to do something “evil,” let alone do “something” when there wasn’t any purpose to anything anymore? Even purposelessness was purposeless. Nihilism and anarchism were reduced to empty terms–but to be fair, just like any word. “Dog” didn’t mean anything, neither did “Apple” or “love.” It’s the closing of the closed; what Marxists termed the “negation of the negation” but definitely not what they imagined it to be.

———————————–

To be sure, regret flooded the sea of humanity over the face of the earth. But there wasn’t any desperation. Each and everyone somehow knew that he should keep the regret to himself, however earth-shattering that regret was. No sin was big enough to make someone shoot his head or throw himself over a billboard. After all, wherever you were going, to hell, purgatory or heaven, you were surely on your way there and your guide was nothing less than the merciful Creator or, for the majority, the merciless Death Reaper.

And don’t you even suspect that skeptics were quietly criticizing the phenomenon. No way. The most brilliant scientists kept their mouths shut and the sharpest philosophers kept their minds blank. No one could question anything. It took a long time for people to learn it, but finally, people understood and took to their hearts the value of acceptance. And my god, how they could accept every little thing that day. No one was scratching his head over the validity of tools of measurement of sin. All the atheists, the agnostics, the people who hadn’t thought of the concept “god” since third grade wholly accepted their fate, the certainty that there was no tomorrow after this fateful day.

Suddenly, the clouds opened up and a powerful beam of light shone on the multitude. Again, like Hollywood. No one expected for the affair to be so literal an enactment of Bible verses, too. That psalm that said, “The Lord lifts up the downtrodden; he casts the wicked to the ground”–that’s exactly what transpired. The first to literally get lifted off their feet were the shabbiest of the shabby: men who never heard it on the news that today was judgment day, men who were so busy finding a way to live that they hadn’t been living their entire lives. They were the greasiest, the most emaciated, the creatures who the globalized, industrial world had consciously forgotten about. And they rose up from the cruddiest corners of cities. A shower of dirt and pieces of garbage from their feet rained upon the face of humanity who understood a little too late what that profitable holy book really meant. Acceptance was replaced with Shame. The most well-dressed cried the hardest.

Congregations waiting with their spiritual leaders anticipated air below their feet any moment–but many of them were disappointed. It seemed the Thing up there didn’t particularly care how frequently one practiced the “sacraments” or if someone knew the savior’s correct name at all. In fact, the ignorant tribes in the forests, savannas, mountainous and icy regions were the first to ascend. These people weren’t familiar to this monotheistic god. In fact, no one was really counting how many supernatural beings were there now. Nobody cared how many were out to get us. What mattered was, they’re out to get us.

———————————–

Then I kept looking at my feet. Several times, I half-thought they were rising, too. I couldn’t help running through all my sins and “good deeds” though I knew the activity was fruitless. It’s up to that Thing to decide what to do with the helpless child that was me. But scenes still kept appearing in my mind: porn sites, street children I turned down, those countless hours in the bathroom. I knew I wasn’t the only one but it didn’t comfort me at all.

Then I thought I saw my mother flying toward the clouds, riding the mighty light, and even if that person wasn’t her, I knew she’s one of the chosen ones. Finally, her endless chores were over. Her back won’t break no more.Toil was over and it’s not a revolution that ended it but a seemingly ordinary, quite boring in fact, Saturday.

A symphony of sounds sang by a billion heavenly voices swept through the crying crowds. It’s coming. Funny that everyone was just Facebooking and tweeting about it just that morning and now it came to harvest its crop. The tremendous feeling of my insignificance and the universe’s impenetrability hit me with an enormous force in the stomach and my knees buckled. Breathing heavily, squinting, I thought I saw a face slowly unmasked by the clouds.

I sho

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Jean and the Beanstalk

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away but definitely in the UK, there was a girl named Jean and somewhere in this fairy tale, she’d get some magic beans and an enchanted beanstalk. Of course, as early as now, it should be obvious that Jean’s no Jack ’cause, first, Jack’s a boy and Jean’s a girl. But also, and I guess more importantly, Jack’s poor while Jean’s fairy taley filthy rich.

Jean was fairy taley filthy rich ’cause she drank different flavors of coffee every day and posted the picture of the flavor of the day on her bedroom wall without fail.

She lived with her mother in an apartment where no green grass grew but where they did keep a cow in the form of Jean’s grandmother. Well, how could anyone argue that she wasn’t a cow when all she did was eat and get hated by the two for being fat and lazy? So they sold her, mysteriously forgetting the fact that if not for her, the two ladies might have never come into existence both in a fairy tale or in a real world.

One day, on the way to the mall to drink the day’s toffee nut super vegan impossible no-whey, no-weight latte, Jean met a guy with magic beans behind his glinting aviator glasses. How that was possible is completely irrelevant ’cause somewhere in this story, there’ll be a giant cupcake with a knack for interrogating humans and that’s more BS, if you ask me. So well, the guy with glinting aviators said, “You down?” Jean replied, “Hella down!” And the guy, deeply feeling how down Jean was, gave her all the magic beans saying, “Baby, no matter how down you are, these babies’ll bring you up.”

Back home, Jean showed the magic beans to her mom who said, “What the heck are those?” Continue reading

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Mr. Jackknife

1

Mr. Jackknife was a regular Jack, doing dirty jobs in a Japanese factory. Everybody who knew him knew him to be a jolly good fella. And Mr. Jackknife was–until his daughter, fair Jackie, came along.

2

See, Mr. Jackknife was indeed a jolly good fella even before he moved his family on a jet to Japan. He was a jeweler in his homeland, respected by every average Joe. For Mr. Jackknife was always giving, jovially giving his money to every average Joe. And so every average Joe was jam-packed in debt with Mr. Jackknife. But he didn’t mind as long as he pleased Jesus in his heart. And everything would have been all right until his daughter, fair Jackie, came along.

‘Cause Mr. Jackknife was a jack of all trades but he was best in giving and pleasing Jesus in his heart. Jolly as he was however, everyone would jump in fear whenever he’s jittery mad. For the truth was that no one could really jest at Jackknife since he could hire just about anybody to do what’s bloody just. And to this jack of all trades, only Jesus was the judge.

3

But there was Jackie.

Jackie used to be the joy of the family for she was the fairest among the babies. So baby Jackie turned into a lady, and, as was expected, became the fairest among the ladies. Oh, you’ll never guess how many John, Jacob and Jude fell in deep love for this gem of a woman named Jackie.

But fair Jackie had the heart of a free jay, always seeking the bluest skies for the most joyful of joys. And so it was that fair Jackie, quite amusingly, fell in love with no John, Jacob or Jude–but with a bottle of gin that we all know can be really, really, really good. Continue reading

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The Eye Shutter

In the future, when people can’t close their eyes anymore without the external services of a professional, Mac dreamed of becoming the best Eye Shutter in the world.***

His older brother was a licensed Toothbrusher. His sister was a Belly Scratcher living with a man who was a Burp Inducer. Mac’s mom and dad were really proud of them all but more so with Mac since he dreamed of pursuing such a high-profile career.

Being an Eye Shutter requires tremendous passion and skill for people simply can’t close their eyes through normal means anymore, not even with the anesthetics and tranquilizers of olden days. The career requires a 4-year college course plus 4 more years in an Eye Shutting Institute to learn all the technical skills to shut a person’s eye tight. Even the best Eye Shutters who had attained celebrity status like Brandon E. McDonald sometimes encountered almost insurmountable challenges in their field. There was this time when McDonald bashed a patient’s head against a wall to make him fall asleep, resulting in the patient’s skull and jaw cracking in 54 different places and his left eye permanently going blind. The case was much publicized until the patient–waking up quite sadly from a 23-day coma–finally corroborated McDonald’s statement that the “therapeutic” move was done with consent.

But none of those kinds of stories had ever deterred Mac from studying rigorously to become the person of his dreams. And so he became a legend in his Eye Shutting Institution for raking in honors and prestigious recognitions from organizations like the Neo-Insomniacs Club and government agencies like The Commission on Forced Unconsciousness.

Time passed and Mac graduated as the most promising student in his Alma mater. In 2 years time, his genius successfully transferred from his campus to his clinic and to the TV screens of people all over the country and the world over. Continue reading

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A Philosophical Rat

There was once a rat who tried to understand the world. It was a philosophical rat, a rare kind of rat for its issues were not limited to when the folks around the kitchen table would leave. So this rat, coming to the conclusion that their little scrappy hole couldn’t foster deep thinking, scurried along the rusty water pipes and finally came out on the roof. It was above the neighborhood blanketed in darkness. It was below the glowing yellow ball in the sky and the tiny lights that always looked down.

And the rat asked, “Why do we rats suffer?” But it couldn’t answer its own question because it didn’t know why the folks around the table used a cane (caked in the blood of its relatives) whenever its rat family would go out to get their share of food.

It looked up at the clouds and wondered, “Is there really such a thing as love?” But it couldn’t answer its own question for it couldn’t delve into female rats’ minds and, were it a gay rat, it also couldn’t know what male rats thought. In fact, when it pondered the question more, it didn’t know what love consisted at all. Continue reading

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