Truly Yours

by

M. Maharlika[1]

1

“Clean up this mess you’ve gotten into Santina, or else you’ll lose your job, I’m serious,” said Mr. Peculla in a thundering voice.

All the heads that had appeared above the half-size walls of the office cubicles to see what the commotion was vanished again, when Mr. Peculla walked out of the landscape office.

“I hate that old bastard. Argh!” said Trina irritated.

“What are you doing hiding there?” Santina asked Trina, when she saw her friend standing behind the old filing cabinet.

“Duhh! I been here since that boss of ours, aka the old bastard, came and bawled you out. Good thing that he didn’t notice me hiding here. My God! I almost became a part of that dusty old cabinet!” Trina carried on complaining, while dusting the cobwebs out of her hair, so all the office girls started laughing.

“What are you doing there anyway?” Santina asked.

“I just came for a chat, when I noticed that old bastard Peculla stomping into the office, so I hid behind the filing cabinet,” Trina explained, still trying to brush the cobwebs off her dress.

“Tsk! You shouldn’t be so nosey you know. You might get into trouble,” Santina said.

“Why was Peculla mad at you anyway? Is it about the exclusive interview with Ferreira?” Trina asked eager to hear some gossip.

“Yes. Like what he said – I’ve messed it up,” Santina said grimly.

“Ooh. What did you do? Did you kick him in his crotch with your Louboutin stilettos?” Trina asked, her face one big question mark, while she was sitting on Santina’s office desk with her slim legs crossed.

“Uh uh. It’s a long story,” Santina said.

“For real, girl? Wow you’re really amazing!” Trina laughed so loud that the other girls in the office started to pay attention to the intriguing gossip.

“Your voice!” Santina warned her friend, “Mr. Peculla has ears like a bat.”

“He looks like a blood-sucking Dracula bat too,” Trina said giggling.

“Guys, Santina kicked the very famous Ferreira in the balls with her high heels,” Trina humorously and loudly informed the fifteen other girls in the office, about how Santina had dealt with the big-time client. The girls started giggling at such news, wishing they also had the balls to kick some self-important rich people in the balls. Santina was their secret heroine!

~

Santina Dimantag works in Esperanza Street, in Makati, Manila, as a writer for a very prestigious magazine, “Famous People”. It is one of the best-selling international celebrity magazines, specialising in news and exclusives about the rich and glamorous. She is one of the top writers. She had been given a top assignment. However, little did she know that the job would awaken a ghost from her past. She had kept her deepest secret hidden. She had suppressed it, and pushed the anxiety-provoking memory out of her mind. What was this memory she had suppressed? It was none other than Jameson Ferreira, who is the CEO of the Metropolitan Bank, and is one of the most eligible men of the decade here in the Philippines.

Santina had been given the assignment of interviewing him, for a story that would be published in the next month’s edition.  

Mr Peculla, the boss, was very happy that they had caught this celebrity on the hook. He’s known for being very elusive and has never been interviewed by any magazines or appeared on any TV celebrity shows. He’s a multi-billionaire who has inherited the major shareholding of one of the largest international banks. However, he is also of great interest to the magazine, because he is a so-called hunk-of-a-man and still a bachelor, although there are rumours that he has a ‘hidden past’. The Filipina women dream of catching such a giant fish on their hooks, and will buy any celebrity magazine with tit-bits about him – thus, the magazine needed to boost their sales by getting such an exclusive interview, which would titillate their readers. 

~

“How come you were able to stiletto his balls? He must have about twenty bodyguards at least?” Trina asked excitedly, waiting for more gossip. 

Santina stopped what she was doing and looked nervously at her friend. She had been her best friend for almost five years already. Santina didn’t really want to be an office gossip, but this was different – she needed someone to talk to.

“It’s not what you think. I can’t explain it here. Let’s have some dinner tonight, and I’ll explain the whole thing,” she said.

“Okay?” Trina looked confused. She hadn’t expected this to be some major intrigue about her friend’s life, but Santina bore a very serious expression and had spoken in a subdued voice.

~

Later that evening they met at a restaurant in Makati, “Lorenzo’s Way”, in Greenbelt Mall.

“Spill the beans frenny,” Trina said, as the waiter walked away to attend to their orders.

Santina swallowed hard. She didn’t quite know how to start to tell her friend the biggest secret of her life.

“What? You’re quiet all of a sudden,” Trina said impatiently.

“Ehermm eherm,” she coughed and got ready to tell her all about it.

“What? If you won’t tell me, I’ll make you pay for this dinner you know Santi,” Trina said jokingly.

“He’s my husband,” Santina said almost under her breath.

“Who is it? You’re married?” Trina looked confused, as she looked around the restaurant to see if she could spot the husband her friend was talking about.

“Jameson Ferreira,” she answered.

“What? Can you please elaborate?” Trina asked irritably.

“Jameson Ferreira is my husband,” Santina said.

Trina’s eyeballs almost fell out of their sockets at this news, and she laughed loudly and incredulously. “What!?” She exclaimed.

The other diners turned round and gave the two young women a wondering look.

“Wow! That’s a good one, Santi – pull my other leg – it’s got bells on! Now tell me what you really wanna talk to me about?”

“Do I look like I’m joking?” Santina said pissed.

Trina looked at her friend horrified and stunned. She thought Santina had flipped.

“No one is going to believe me,” thought Santina to herself. “After all, I’m just an ordinary Filipina girl who has to work like a slave just to make ends meet. Of course, no one could imagine that I would be married to a noble prince like Jameson Ferreira who was born with a golden spoon in his mouth. He doesn’t need to work, and probably sleeps on a mattress stuffed with $1000 bills.

“Hey snap out of it Santina – are you dreaming?” Her friend asked, as Santina was going through these thoughts in her mind.

“Is it for real?” Trina asked, with a look of shock.

“I know I’m joking sometimes, but I’m serious now – although I know you can’t believe it,” Santina replied, so that her friend almost collapsed in her seat.

Santina continued, “I know it’s difficult to comprehend that the biggest secret of the century is true.”

“Oh My God!” Trina exclaimed.

“And you’d better shut up about this, bitch – you’re the only one apart from my lola[2] who knows I’m married to Jameson Ferreira!” Santina warned her friend, and took a sip of her glass of Chardonnay.

2

“How come? What happened? Did it really happen?” Trina continued asking her friend.

“I can answer all your questions one by one. But I can’t answer all your questions at the same time, you know?”

“So spill the beans. I can’t wait anymore,” Trina said excitedly.

“Okay.”

“Eight fvcking years ago! Sit back and I’ll tell you what happened at that time.”~

“At that time, I was attending classes at The Lyceum, when I was a little late one day.”

“ ‘You’re always late, Santina Dimantag! If you come late one more time, I will send you to the councillor’s office.’ ”

“That was Professor Lancer, the very strict biology instructor. I walked with my head down, as I went to my assigned study place, but I saw that someone was already sitting there. An athletic-looking guy with chiselled features, suggesting a strong character. I hadn’t seen him before.”

“ ‘Excuse me, mister? But you’re in my seat,’ – but he just looked at me blankly.

 “ ‘Was yours,’ he simply said with a boyish smirk, and looked away.”

I was already irritated, because of the professor bawling me out, and now there was this vain newcomer stealing my place – so surreptitiously, I just gave him a kick in the shins , and said, ‘Move your ass bub’.”

He couldn’t believe a little girl like me was beating him up, so he looked completely shocked.

“ ‘What did you just do?’ He asked under his breath with gritted teeth.”

“ ‘You stole my seat, and refuse to budge – so you deserve it asshole.’ ”

“ ‘Do you know who I am?’ He continued.”

“ ‘You talk as if you were God Almighty! You want some more? Eh!’  I exclaimed in an irritated whisper, cocking my leg!? ‘This is the last time I’m going to ask you!’ My adrenalin was starting to rise, ruling out my common sense.”

“This shocked him, but had an effect, as he suddenly moved back in the chair, so the metal legs screeched on the floor, attracting the attention of the professor and my classmates.”

“ ‘Yes, Mr. Ferreira? Is there a problem?’ The professor asked very politely, as if he was addressing some high-and-mighty lord.”

“What the heck?” I thought. “The professor must be having a brain lapse – why does this ‘Ferreira’ get the special treatment?”

“Nevertheless, I was adamant. This guy, ‘Mr. Ferreira’ glared at me, but I kept to my guns, and I glared back at him. In fact my guns were cocked and loaded.”  

“ ‘Nothing. Please continue,’ ‘Ferreira’ said and the professor meekly obliged.”

“I was nonplussed that ‘Mr Ferreira’ had such a mollifying effect on the normally belligerent professor. But at least I got my seat back, and subsequently forgot about this little episode until ….. .” 

~

“A couple of days later I was sitting in the university cafeteria eating the usual slosh they serve up. My God! Pork Adobo[3] and salad – the miserable salad saturated in something that looked like manure sauce, I think it was pig’s manure! As I was saying, I was sitting eating the crappy food, when I heard a voice behind me say ‘Hi’! – so I almost choked on the filthy college pig swill.”

“It was the stupid vain guy who had stolen my place in the lecture auditorium.”

“In an irritated tone I said, ‘What do you want now?’ ”

“He had an apologetic look on his face, despite my cantankerous response.”

“ ‘I just want to say sorry. I know I was wrong for what I did earlier,’ he apologized, giving me a ‘puppy eyes’ look.

“I was pretty confused, suddenly – this asshole, who seemed to be an arrogant and vain guy was now coming on to me with stupid ‘puppy eyes’ and apologizing. But at the same time my mind managed to make a switch – because he was one-hunk-of-a-guy – and seemed to carry some importance with the university employees; and I was surprised that his ‘puppy eyes’ gave me a sharp twinge between my thighs.”

‘Have you been drinking too much at lunch, perhaps?’ I cheekily asked, implying he must be drunk coming on to me in such a way.”

“But, I was a little charmed by him, but didn’t want to let my defences slip straight away.”

“ ‘Some apple juice? Why?’ He asked looking confused.”

“ ‘I thought maybe you had drunk something slightly more intoxicating, now that you want to apologize to me? Because you were pretty arrogant before, when I asked you for my seat,’ I remarked with furrowed eyebrows.”

“ ‘I’m sorry. I was just a little bit stressed at that time,’ he tried to excuse himself.”

“ ‘Alright. Apology accepted,’ I said to him, so that a smile appeared on his face.”

“ ‘Friends?’ ”

“ ‘Friends,’ ” I smiled while shaking his hands.

~

It was a long story Santina had to tell, so she ordered another glass of Chardonnay, while Trina ordered some Bailey’s, as she had such a sweet tooth. Santina drained the last drops of her glass of Chardonnay and carried on telling her story to Trina who was listening avidly.

“We became so close as the days and months passed by. Jameson is extremely handsome – a mature man in his thirties, but his manly presence suggested he was much older. He is kind and thoughtful – he’s the full package as they say. I also learned later that his family have a majority shareholding in the university, so it’s no wonder Professor Lancer was so polite to him at that time. All the girls at the university were crazily interested in him – I must have been the only girl who didn’t know who he was – and then he accidentally fell for me. But I kept my feelings close to my breast; I was scared that he might reject me. At least we were close friends, and the only one at the college who got close to him – and for me, at that time, I was content with that.

“Then one day out of the blue he asked me: ‘What’s your plan for Valentine’s?’.”

“ ‘Since I’ve had no boyfriend since birth?[4] Nothing. What about you? Which one of your girlfriends will you ask for a date?’ I jokingly asked.”

“ ‘I don’t have a girlfriend,’ he said looking embarrassed.”

“ ‘Then it will be a lonely Valentine’s Day for us both,’ I said.”

“ ‘Since we’re both single, why don’t we dine out together on Valentine’s. My treat’ he offered, which delighted my heart, but I tried to hide my feelings.”

“ ‘Are you seriously asking me? Sure I will, if you’re treating me,’ I happily answered letting down my defences a little.”

“ ‘Great.’ he replied.”

~

“Valentine ’s Day came and I was so excited. Having a date on Valentine’s with Jameson actually made me start to dream that I could be his girlfriend.”

“ ‘Are you ready?’ He asked, when he picked me up at home. My grandmother already knew about him. Remember I told you before, she’s the one who took care of me since I was a small girl.”

“ ‘Yes. I’m looking forward to it,’ I said nervously.”

“ ‘I have booked a really nice place for dinner, I hope you’ll like it,’ he said – his gentle voice calmed my nerves.”

“ ‘This is my very first date, you know,’ I admitted shyly.”

“ ‘How can that be – a girl like you who is so beautiful. Every guy wants to date a girl like you,’ he said, making me feel a little self-conscious.”

‘I’ve always been careful – I didn’t want to upset my “lola” who devoted her whole life to taking care of me –that’s why some boys maybe think I’m too strict,’ I said in explanation.”

“ ‘But they never realised that although you’re shy and strict, that you’re truly a diamond in the rough,’ he said.”

“My God I thought – Ferreira – he’s such a bolero[5]. Well, that’s alright, because I love the way he lies, I love the way he lies.”

“His words caressed me – stroked me, and made me feel weak and utterly drugged – my heart melted and my knees turned into jelly.”

“ ‘You’re such a sweet talker,’ I said, trying to hide my true feelings.”

“ ‘It’s true. You’re beautiful inside and out. If you’ll let me be your boyfriend, I promise I’ll never let you down,’ he said.”

“His words almost made me faint – it was suddenly all my dreams coming true – but I didn’t want to show him my true feelings – at least not yet.”

3

Trina was enthralled by Santina’s story – although the whole thing seemed to be some kind of fairy tale. Trina was not totally convinced – this was some kind of young girl fantasy, she thought. But she gave her friend the benefit of the doubt and wanted to hear the whole story anyway, even if it was only a fairy tale.

Santina carried on with her story – she and Jameson were celebrating Valentine’s together:

“ ‘Wow! This place is so nice. Thanks for bringing me here. This Blackbird restaurant is so lavishly decorated, and in the style of art deco. It has such a romantic ambiance,’ I said as I looked around the restaurant soaking in the atmosphere.”

“ ‘You deserve nothing but the best,’ he replied while looking intently at me.”

“I stopped and looked back at him with questioning eyes.”

“ ‘Why?’ I asked.”

“ ‘What I said earlier, I mean it,’ he said.”

“ ‘What do you mean?’ I asked, with my heart almost jumping out of my ribcage.”

‘I’ve known you for quite some time now. From the very first moment I saw you, I felt electricity running through my veins. I can’t understand it myself – I just woke up one morning and realised that I loved you. Don’t be startled – I’m just telling you what I feel. I’ll be very happy if you’ll give me just one chance to court you formally,’ he said, so that I had a problem keeping back my tears of joy.”

“Despite being already madly in love with him, I wanted to hold back a little – so I said, ‘I like you too, and maybe someday it could become more,’ scared that he might change his mind, if I didn’t offer some encouragement. But I didn’t want to offer myself freely to him in case his desire would suddenly fade away.”  

“ ‘Oh damn! Are you sure? I’m so lucky. This is the happiest Valentine’s I’ve ever had. Thanks to you, sweetheart,’ Jameson said, barely unable to control his feelings.”

“In retrospect, I had him well and truly on the hook. By managing to be interested in him, but at the same time a little reluctant – I promised a more succulent bait in the future, so his desire for me quintupled. Any fisherman knows that it is wise to allow a bite time to develop, and not draw in your line straight away. If you tease with the bait, so he bites the hook hard, then you can reel him in. But if you want to catch a big, powerful and formidable fish like a Marlin (Jameson Ferreira), then you have to be prepared for a hard struggle before you can finally pull him on deck and have him gasping for breath at your feet. But perhaps I share some genes with Hemingway, because I was ready for the fight. Without being boastful, there were few men that could resist such tasty bait as me at that time. And why let some small fish taste your bait when you can reel in a large one.”

“My lola always said to me ‘you have to think of safety first’. My lola was actually my lola sa tuhod[6], so she was really old and had fallen in love with a black American soldier in World War Two. He was part of a force trying to liberate us Filipinos from the terror of the Japanese here in Manila. Well he used to play old 78 records with Bessie Smith – and the one song she liked the best was “I’ve Got What It Takes (but It Breaks My Heart to Give It Away)”. The song is about a pretty girl (she’s got what it takes), and she was surrounded by sharks trying to take what she had ‘saved up’, but she wouldn’t let any of them touch her ‘dough’[7], because it breaks her heart to give it away. It’s in demand, they want it every day. But she had been saving it up for a long time, so she thought to give it away free would be more than a crime. She thought, ‘their eyes may roll, their teeth may grit, but none of my money will you git. You can look at my bankbook, But I’ll never let you feel my purse. Cause I’m a woman, believes in safety first. If you want my money, then you have to be a real good man.’ ” This was the way I thought, like my lola had taught me – it was true 100 years ago – it’s still true today – I wanted a ‘good man’ and a serious relationship.”

~

“Time flew by, and Jameson and I had what you could say was an ideal relationship that people want and are often envious of. We were the stereotypical ‘happy couple’. We didn’t argue and fight much, but if we did, he would always back down and claim he was in the wrong just to prevent further disagreements. He was not like some other men who thrive on conflicts.”

~

“When the time came for me to meet Jameson’s parents, I was very apprehensive about how I should act and behave in front of them, and what I should say. They are high up in society; in fact, the family are descended from a long line of Spanish nobility, which is evident from their family name. They are what we indigenous Filipinos call ‘Kastila’ (Castilian). What most attracted me to him was his light skin and non-Asian Spanish features – his straight blue-black hair and his chiselled features, and high intelligent forehead. They say his family even reaches back to the conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi of Cebu who also founded Manila, and that it was due to his influence the islands were called the Philippines in tribute to the king he served, King Philip II of Spain.”

“So you can imagine my apprehension on meeting the parents of my high-born lover – I was a mere Plebeian girl who had by some miracle emerged from the Filipino masses, and was able to touch the hand and heart of this exalted noble Spanish prince.”

‘I’m so nervous, I hope your parents will like me,’ I said.”

“ ‘Don’t worry. I’m sure, they’ll like you. Just relax,’ he said, trying to calm me with his words.”

“In fact his family are rarely in contact with the Plebeians of Manila, because they live in a walled-off community, which bars the admittance of ordinary Filipinos – that is, Plebeians like myself. They live in Forbes Park, a gated community, and barangay in Makati.”

“We went to their mansion in Forbes Park, Makati, which was extravagant and magnificent. The place was protected by heavily armed guards, as if they were expecting an imminent invasion of the barbarians (ordinary Filipinos). It constituted a private army defending this private fenced-off area. But at least his parents could sleep safe at night, as they were protected by the huge number of guards who were armed with an arsenal of handguns, rifles, shotguns and automatic weapons.”

“Wealth and sophistication were shouting out in every aspect of the Ferreira mansion. I felt quite out of place there. The only luxury I was used to was shopping in the corporate owned malls, such as the Mall of Asia (which is also defended by private security guards – but not so heavily armed – as they welcomed being ‘invaded’ by ‘barbarians’, as long as they had money to spend). We were to dine together with his parents. Jameson held my hand tightly as we walked towards the very spacious dining area of the mansion, which had a very bright and large chandelier hanging from the centre of the ceiling and illuminating the whole room.”

“His parents were already sitting there in the room when we arrived, and his mother, Imelda, rang the bell when she saw us coming. A huge number of uniformed helpers appeared with casseroles containing a large variety of foods, which they then put on the dining table. Everything there spoke of class. I started to wonder if the rugs on the floor were also fashioned from the dust of diamonds.”  

“ ‘Good evening mom and dad,’ Jameson began.”

“ ‘Good evening son,’ his parents replied formally in chorus.”

 “ ‘This is Santina, she’s my girlfriend. Santi, these are my parents.’ he introduced us.”

‘Good evening, Sir, Madam,’ I nervously greeted them, noticing that his mother looked askance at me.”

“ ‘Take a seat; dinner is ready,’ his father said welcomingly.”

“This was the longest and most tedious dinner I had ever partaken in. I couldn’t help noticing that his mother was constantly ‘inspecting’ me – and seemed very judgemental. I was just hoping the whole thing would end soon. But I still tried to smile and get along with them; perhaps I was paranoid, and imagining the whole ‘inquisition’ thing. It was then that an amusing thought struck me – that’s it – they are not only descended from Spanish nobility, but also from those people who made up the Inquisition. It seemed, his mother, Imelda, thought it sheer heresy that I, a Plebeian, should ‘bewitch’ her aristocratic son by devilish means.”  

“I managed to ‘wake-up’ from these imaginings – and remembered that Jameson had told me that his parents were strict, especially his mother, Imelda. So, I had to get out of this frame of mind that his mother disliked me.”

“ ‘How’s the pork adobo[8], dear? I hope they didn’t use too much garlic and pepper,’ his father asked me.”

“To tell you the truth I was sick-to-death of ‘adobo’ because of the pig swill I had to eat at the college, and would rather have had some ‘Chicken Joy’ at Jollibee. But I couldn’t say so, so I said, ‘It’s good, sir. Thanks for inviting me here.’ ”

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“ ‘Of course she likes it,’ his mother commented, implying that I would be satisfied with anything, that is, that I normally dined at Jollibee[9] with the Plebeians, or bought cheap food from street vendors, when I couldn’t afford Jollibee.”

“ ‘Are you okay?’ Jameson asked when he noticed that I looked a little uncomfortable.”

“ ‘Just a little stomach ache,’ I said.”

“ ‘You wanna take a rest?’ He kindly asked.”

“ ‘If it’s okay,’ I said.”

~

“Jameson drove me home, but I couldn’t sleep that night, because of what had happened. I had nightmares about ‘Maleficent’ (Imelda) pricking my finger with a drug, so I would never wake up again – but the nightmare and interminable sleep was broken by the dream of Jameson’s kiss of true love. So the next morning, I went to college with my head spinning.”

~

The next day at college one of my classmates came up to me and said, ‘Santi? Someone’s looking for you.’ ”

“ ‘Who?’ ”

“ ‘I don’t know. But she’s in the Dean’s office.’ ”

“I headed to the Dean’s office and found Jameson’s mother, Imelda Ferriera, there, talking to the Dean. The Dean left the office on the mother’s instruction when I appeared.”

“ ‘Madam? Are you the one looking for me?’ I asked the obvious.”

“ ‘Yes it was me – and I will be frank with you. You’re a very beautiful and nice girl, but I can’t permit your marriage to my son, because you are his social inferior. We consider it almost traitorous to marry outside our class. I have already picked out a suitable girl for him of his own class. I would never permit my son to marry a squatter from the north side of the Pasig River. Is it correct that you live amongst squatters in Tondo?  A girl from the gutter may not marry into the upper class, however nice and pretty she may be. Moreover, if you really loved him you wouldn’t expect him to stoop so low as to marry you, and give him bastard children with tainted blood’.”

“Her words stung me like a thousand bee-bites. I had suspected this was how she felt about me, because of her glowering looks, when we were eating dinner in their Makati mansion. But I wasn’t going to take her vitriol lying down, and decided to fight back.”

“ ‘I’m sorry, ma’am but we love each other. And everything you say is wholly untrue. I may live in Tondo, but my family are not squatters, they are God-fearing Christians and respectable. It’s true – Jameson is of noble birth – but he has explained to me that love is more important than class – and he has even said he would relinquish his class for my love. Would you despise Mary, the mother of Jesus, if she were not of nobility?’ I said, but she just smirked cynically at my defence of my love for her son.”

“ ‘He’s young and so are you. He will change his mind eventually. He won’t stoop to your low level. Why don’t you just tell me how much money you want? I can offer you a gift of one million pesos if you just stay away from him,’ she said.”

‘I’m sorry, ma’am, but I love your son and I don’t need any money from you,’ I said bravely, while my heart was racing.”

‘I’m trying to be reasonable. We can do this the easy way or the hard way. You refuse my generous offer – the easy way – and insist on dragging my son down into your Tondo gutter amongst the vermin. If you hate my son so much that you’re hell bent on trying to destroy him with your whorish ways then so be it. I will sacrifice him and destroy you to protect our family name and honour. I give you this one last warning – stay away from my son!’ which were her last words, as she marched out of the Dean’s office, casting a murderous look at me as she passed by.”

“My knees were trembling. I even started to think she was right. I wasn’t a squatter like she accused me of – but was I thinking about what was best for Jameson – would he be happy marrying below his station and going down in the world. Would he always feel embarrassed introducing me to his high class circle of friends as if I were some floozy, he had picked up one night in a bar in Ermita? But apart from these considerations, his mother, Imelda Ferreira, had actually threatened both me and Jameson. It was as if she had kamikaze intentions and would destroy part of herself and her family just to prevent our love and union. She’s a very wealthy woman and has the power to turn her threats into reality. I had to admit she held all the strong cards.”

“I even tried to break up with Jameson, because I partly believed what his mother, Imelda, had said – that I would be ‘dragging him down’ – perhaps not to live with the squatters in Tondo – but to a respectable and hard-working milieu amongst ordinary Filipinos. But when he discovered that his mother was behind the whole ‘break-up’ thing, he refused to relinquish his love for me.”

“ ‘Why didn’t you tell me? Do you think I’m so weak that I can’t do anything about it?!’ He said in a rare fit of anger.”

‘I’m sorry. I just didn’t know what to do,’ I said, bursting into tears.”

~

“That day, he confronted his mother. I tried to stop him, but he was adamant. Everything ended upside down for us. Especially when he commanded that we run away together and get married in secret, with no care about the practical plans for the future.”

“I gave myself wholly to him, and believed our love was so strong. He was my sun, I wanted to follow him everywhere.”

4

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“Jameson took me away to live in Bicol. Far away from all the judging and manipulation of his family – or rather his mother, Imelda. He used his savings, but after a few days, all of his accounts were blocked. But fortunately, he had extracted some cash from his accounts beforehand, so we were now living on credit. We rented a small one-bedroom house and started our new life together there.”

“The house was humble, but was a romantic enclave, where we could consummate our marriage. In other words, it was a humble bridal suite. I was totally innocent in these matters and hoped Jameson would guide me.”

“The furnishings of the small house included an antique sofa and footstool. Relaxing on the sofa, I was dreaming of my new perfect life, despite the difficulties. I was unsure how our marriage would be consummated in the eyes of God, but lay on the sofa awaiting further instructions from my master, my husband, Jameson.”

“I hadn’t been lying there long daydreaming, when Jameson abruptly awoke me from my reverie and said, “Darling I’m sorry about this very humble place I have taken you to, but it does have a simple bathroom. I have asked the landlady to prepare the bathroom for you with towels, soaps and perfumes. I hope it’s not too simple for you?’ He asked.”

“ ‘Darling you’re always so considerate. The bathroom here is more than enough for my needs,’ I said.”

undefined

“I went into the bathroom – my body was already tingling with the expectation of what was going to happen. Although I was just an innocent girl, my more experienced girlfriends often joked about boyfriends that were too timid, or too insistent, or that their maleness was too insufficient or too sufficient. In this respect, I thought Jameson and I were perfectly matched souls, but would we be matched in the world of physical dimensions? Would he be too large, and hurt me, or would he be too insignificant and leave me unsatisfied? All I could do was go and shower and get ready and see what would happen. But as God had sanctified our marriage, I was also sure that He had taken this into consideration.”

“I perfumed my body with Chanel No. 5, which a girlfriend of mine had given me as a going away present.”

“I came out of the shower wearing a white-towelled bathrobe.”

“As soon as Jameson saw me, he fixed me with an intense gaze.”

This was our first night as husband and wife. I was only 18 years old, and had no experience of men, apart from holding Jameson’s hands and his light kisses on my lips. I must say although I was eighteen, I was often mistaken for being 14 or 15, because of my childish ways, fresh face, and slim petite body with boyish hips and butt. Perhaps this was what initially attracted Jameson to me – as he often remarked I was so ‘innocent’.”

undefined

“We had been married by a local priest in a private ceremony in Masbate Cathedral, with only the priest present.”

“To tell you the truth – like I said before, I was eighteen – but my mind was that of an innocent young girl – I hadn’t even contemplated what our marriage vows before God would mean in the bedroom. Was Jameson going to plant seeds in the land that he had purchased, and which had been blessed by God? I was now his legal property, and he could do with me as he liked.”  

“I hadn’t really thought about all this at all, and felt very shy. He was lying on the bed – but after coming out of the bathroom, I went and lay on the antique sofa again, some distance away in the corner of the room.”

“ ‘Why are you so far away from me? Come here. You look so nervous – remember, it’s just me, your husband,’ he said, while smiling invitingly.”

“ ‘You know I don’t have any experience yet. I don’t know what I should do?’ I said shyly.”

“I was totally willing to be his slave now that he was my master, and was just waiting for his next command, which of course I would obey.”

“He said, ‘I’m going to take a shower, when I come back I want to worship the innermost part of you. I will sanctify our holy marriage.’ ”

“I didn’t expect my man to be SO commanding, but I was his willing maiden, and would do anything to please him. So, I cast aside my bathrobe, and waited for him to reappear.”

“When he emerged from the bathroom, and I saw that he was stunned by my welcoming nakedness. He had perhaps not expected me to follow his every instruction. I was a shy girl, but I was now his slave, so only did what he commanded. Despite my shameless nakedness, I still bore the look of an innocent child, and it was this that invigorated his manliness.

“ ‘Darling, I would never have guessed that you were so beautiful – underneath your clothes, you’re a song written by the hands of God,’ … his words warmed the core of my womanness.”

“He came over to me, and snuggled close. He started by kissing my forehead softly, as if I was his beloved child. He carried on like this for a while, and uttered words of love quietly in my ear. He touched my breasts gently. He then started to stroke my spindly legs – and on each touch moved closer to the core of my sex. After an interminably long time, I felt moist and warm. He suddenly became more forceful, and kissed my inner thighs. I felt paralyzed, and my legs uncontrollably splayed themselves welcoming him to taste me inside. He wasn’t hesitant – and then I felt his tongue penetrate me. I pushed my womanness towards his face welcoming his tongue, which went deep inside me.”

‘Uhm uhm,’ I couldn’t say anything, but just moaned.”

“He stopped making love to my womanness, and started to kiss my lips, and I could taste my own love juice on his lips, which made me even more turned on.”

“ ‘Let me kiss your lips, sweetheart,’ – he said while inserting his tongue inside my mouth.”

“He kissed me torridly. He became engorged with lust as his eyes roamed along my naked, young girl’s body, kissing me everywhere. He then kissed me between the thighs, and inserted his tongue deep inside me again. He frigged my pussy with his fingers, and I became lost in a paroxysm of pleasure.”

“I don’t know what happened to me – but it must have been what other girls had talked about – ‘cumming’ as they vulgarly say. My whole body went into a state of uncontrollable shaking and intense pleasure. I felt totally limp. While lying there on the bed as if in a state of paralysis, Jameson whispered in my ear saying, ‘You’re so beautiful, sweetheart. I’m so lucky to have you.’ ”

“He carried on showering my body with his delicate and wet kisses. But I was now so limp that I needed time to recover, and stroked his hair and held him tightly to me. We relaxed for a while in each other’s arms. After some time I felt his desire starting to rise again. My desire was also burning. I felt totally in love with him now – not just mentally, but now that we were physically one. I also saw that his manliness would be able to satisfy me through a long life. His strong body could not only protect me, but satisfy me.”

“He started to suck the brown nipples of my ample breasts – I was a skinny girl but I was blessed by God to be a woman who could satisfy a horde of suckling children.”

“ ‘Ooh’ I moaned as he sucked my nipples, as if he was expecting milk like a child – but that day would come, I thought.”

“ ‘The scent of you makes me delirious sweetheart,’ he moaned as he carried on kissing my body and inserting his tongue in my orifices.”

“He lowered his head to my honeypot and started sucking and eating it out with his long and quivering tongue. I almost went crazy with the sensation that his snake-like tongue was giving me, so it was only now I started to understand the story of Genesis in the Bible, and Eve’s love affair with the snake.”  

undefined

“ ‘Do it now please. Make love to me.’ I begged him.”

“I was totally wet just waiting for him to enter me. With a jolt, his hard, long spear pierced my virgin flower. I was expecting some kind of pleasure, but instead it felt like a sharp blade had punctured my innards. I suddenly hated this man, inflicting such pain on me.”

“ ‘Oh. It’s so painful hu hu hu,’ I cried.”

“ ‘Shhh. I’ll be gentle. If you love me, you’ll trust me. Don’t worry it just feels like this at the start – you’ll soon feel pleasure in time,’ he assured me.”

“He carried on thrusting hard into me – he was very large – perhaps too large – the pain became worse – I don’t think he was in pain – in fact, it was the pleasure of his desire that drove him on to inflict me with pain. But I loved my husband – I had to obey him and take him at his word. I am a Christian girl so I have to obey the words of God as written in the Bible. I must ‘submit to my husband as to the Lord. For my husband is the head of me, as Christ is the head of the Church. Now as the Church submits to Christ, so I must submit to my husband in everything. Just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, and the Church submits to Christ, so also I submit to my husband in everything’ (Ephesians).”

“I would sooner or later feel pleasure he said – but all I could feel now was excruciating pain and I could also feel the blood pouring out of my vagina and down my thighs, staining the white bed sheets with a profusion of red blood. It felt like he was murdering my virginity.”

“He saw I was in pain, so he slowed down his thrusting and started to kiss me gently on the lips, and say ‘I love you darling.’ ”

“But through the teachings when I went to church as a young girl, the priest had told me that woman was the first sinner because of her love of the snake. God had said, “I will sharply increase your pain in childbirth; in pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis, 3:16). So, I had understood at a young age that pain is the fate of women. They will suffer pain when they give birth to their children after being impregnated by men, but they will also suffer pain when being impregnated, that is, when man ruptures them and spills their blood, as this is ordained by His Lord, God.”

“He went in and out of me slowly just using the head of his hardness, but I was still in severe pain. But in obeyance with the Bible, I must ‘submit to the head’. He kissed me on the lips again, so I felt less hurt. And then the pain suddenly turned into great pleasure.”

“ ‘Oh. Faster, it feels so good now. Faster please, ahh,’ I screamed in pure lust and desire.”

“ ‘Oh sweetie. You’re so tight, I love being inside you,’ he sighed.”

“We made love that night for three or four times more that made me sore, so I was hardly able to walk the next day. My love had turned me into a cripple! We filled our small and humble home with love and joy that money can’t buy.”

“But the world needs money. And something turned our life upside down. Jameson worked on a small construction site, but after a month of being employed there, the company fired him for no valid reason.”

“ ‘Don’t worry. I can find another job, sweetheart. There’s a lot out there,’ he assured me. But I guessed that his parents were in some way involved – with the intent of making us suffer.”

“ ‘Yes Jameson, we can do this. But I’m worried, because you’ve been coughing for a week now – and seem to be lethargic and have lost some weight,’ I said to my dear husband. But he didn’t want to go to the local clinic.”

“ ‘Don’t worry about me. I’ve lost weight, because you’re so good in bed my sweetheart,’ he said jokingly.”

“ ‘Jameson, please watch your tongue’! I warned him, but couldn’t help but laugh inside.”

“We were certainly happy, but now we were having more problems than ever. I also became scared, because I think Jameson was sick, but he just wouldn’t admit it.”

“Then the day came, which I hoped never would arrive – Jameson got terribly sick. He started coughing up blood and had fever, so he became bedridden. The doctor was called and tuberculosis was diagnosed. Normally, well-off people like Jameson didn’t contract the disease; but he must have picked it up from one of the poor workers at the construction site, because many of them were slum dwellers from Legazpi City. The disease was highly infectious, and it was enough that someone coughed while you were drinking coffee in the break time.”

“The doctor, a Mr. Finlay, said perhaps his immune system had been weakened, because of all the stress caused by family problems. Doctor Finlay said he needed immediate care and attention and medication; but that the government health services were unreliable, and that private health care would be much better. It was very expensive, and only well-off Filipinos could afford such private care when they were sick.”

“The doctor said, ‘I thought he is from a wealthy family that can afford to take care of him? I have to be honest with you, thousands of people die every year in the Philippines from tuberculosis, because the public health services are unable to provide adequate medical care for ordinary Filipinos. But this shouldn’t be a problem for your husband, because I understand he is a Ferreira – one of the richest families in the Philippines – and deserves better care than an ordinary Filipino – private medical care?’ He concluded.”

“The doctor recommended that we should admit Jameson to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the local hospital – he was confident his family would foot the bill, which was by no means cheap, if he was to have a private room, and personal attention by doctors and nurses.”

“I was confused – I didn’t want to contradict the doctor and say that he was estranged from his family, because he had made the ‘mistake’ of falling in love with an ordinary Filipina girl – me! So I said nothing. I didn’t have the money to pay for the care of my loved one – but hoped things would work out in one way or another. So I just nodded, and said to the doctor, ‘I’m so glad I met such a professional and understanding man like yourself, who can take care of my husband.’ I even ‘lied’ and said – of course – I will be in contact with his family straight away.”

“However, it seems I didn’t have to contact his family, because the ‘grapevine’ must have informed them. On the afternoon of the day Jameson was admitted to Legazpi City Hospital, a nurse in the ICU informed me that there was a woman waiting at the reception who would like to meet me concerning the admission of the new patient, Jameson Ferreira. My heart started beating faster. I walked quickly towards the reception and saw Jameson’s mother, Imelda Ferreira, standing there waiting.”

‘Please help him, ma’am,’ I pleaded. But her face remained hard like stone.”

“ ‘I will do anything to save him. Please!’ I continued, bursting into tears.”

“ ‘You will do anything?’ She seemed very happy, when I said this.”

“ ‘Yes. Please save his life,’ I said.”

“ ‘I can pay for all the medical bills on one condition,’ she began.”

“ ‘Please ma’am – I will do anything,’ I said begging.”

“ ‘Stay away from my son, and never make contact with him, or any of our family from now on,’ she cruelly demanded, so that I almost swooned on hearing her words.”

“It was such a hard condition – but what could I do – I wanted to save the life of my husband – my loved one. So I had no alternative but to obey the cruel edict of my mother-in-law. It broke my heart and half of me died that day.”

5

Trina had been sitting listening attentively to her friend’s story. It was almost as if it was just a ‘story’, but there were so many realistic details she chose to believe it was all true, despite how fantastic it sounded.

She thought, ‘rich people could fall in love with poor people, and rich people could even contract diseases from poor people. Our society may be socially segregated between the rich and the poor, but we’re nevertheless connected physically in the ‘real’ world; we breathe the same air – the air that had infected Jameson.’

Trina was astounded with herself that she managed to have such profound and insightful thoughts. But it wasn’t so difficult for her really, because she was a devout Christian and had been brought up to believe that all men and women, rich and poor, are equal in the eyes of God.   

“Wow. That was quite a dramatic story! Why didn’t you tell me about it before?” Trina asked.

“I actually didn’t obey the instructions of my mother-in-law, because I still kept myself informed about Jameson’s progress in the hospital. I had a friend in the hospital who worked there as a porter who kept me informed about his progress. After some weeks, I contacted the hospital and learnt that he was fully recovered. The disease is not really problematic, if one receives proper medical treatment, although thousands die from it every year.”

Santina continued, “After many years, I finally met him in person again, because I had been given the job of interviewing him. It was in one sense ironically comical – because the first time we had met at the university, I kicked him in the shins. And now, many years later, I had advanced in my kicking skills and kicked him in the balls with my stilettoes.”

“Our boss, Mr. Peculla, had arranged the interview, but hadn’t informed Jameson about my name – just saying a young and most attractive female journalist will interview you. Jameson must have taken the bait – I don’t know exactly what Peculla had said about me – but he probably made me sound like Liza Soberano. It was arranged that he would meet the young delectable journalist at Fridays in Robinson’s Place, Pedro Gil, Malate. He chose such a low profile location to avoid any other magazines getting in on the act.”

“He was already seated in Fridays when I came along, and was sitting there drinking a San Miguel Pale Pilsen. This was just as well – because had we met outside the mall he might have just turned around and walked away.”

“When I suddenly appeared in front of him he looked very shocked, and couldn’t quite believe his eyes, and took a large swig from his glass of San Mig. Realizing the situation required some explanation I said to him, ‘I didn’t want to meet you, but I was given this assignment, and might have been sacked had I objected. My grandmother is now in hospital, and she is absolutely dependent on me getting a pay-check every month.’ He didn’t look very convinced, but nevertheless agreed to carrying on the interview.”

“We ordered a seafood plate, some side dishes and a bottle of good Australian red wine, Yellow Tail. But now he acted like a different person. He wasn’t the sweet man I used to know. I made lots of notes, and by the time we had finished the meal and the interview, we were ready to part our ways. It was then he said he could never see me again under any circumstances, and that he only agreed to carry on the interview out of consideration for my grandmother. It was at that point I lunged under the table with my stilettoes at his manliness. Despite being in Fridays, he let out an almighty screech, so that all the faces in the restaurant turned towards him.”

“Maybe he was mad that you suddenly disappeared without explanation – especially when he was seriously ill. Did you try to explain matters to him?” Trina asked.

“He was so rude when we met again, so I started to wonder exactly what his mother, Imelda, had told him about me,” she said, while taking a sip on her drink.

“Girl, you two need to talk again. Explain your side of things. Maybe he’s been given the wrong story,” Trina suggested.

“What for? He seems to have moved on already,” Santina said irritably.

“Come on – he doesn’t know a thing, and you still need to apologize to him for kicking him twice with your stilettos!” Trina said with a smile on her face. She added wickedly, “Maybe you two can never have kids, because after all the kicking you have given his balls with your sharp stilettoes, he is perhaps now infertile – you have put an end to the centuries’ old Ferreira Dynasty with your ball-kicking antics!”

“I don’t want to give birth to his bastards,” Santina replied.

“Come on – you can’t leave things at such an impasse,” Trina said trying to encourage her friend to repair her marriage.

“I know. But let’s see,” she said.

Santina and Trina were devout Roman Catholics and believed divorce was a sin.[10]

“Okay keep me informed. Can we meet tomorrow at Starbucks in Robinson’s, Pedro Gil, so you can give me all your news? If you’re not busy afterwards, we can go to a few bars in Ermita or Burgos Street with a new friend of mine, a Scottish professor called John McClean. He’s very generous, so we can have a night out, and lots of fun – because there’s never a dull moment with him,” Trina said to her friend.

“I’m not sure about the clubbing with your professor, but we can meet in Starbucks – I really need someone to talk to – and you’re my best friend.”

“Ok! It’s a deal then – send me a message tomorrow and we can meet at Starbucks.”

Santina followed her friend’s advice, and decided to keep an open mind, although she was sceptical about talking to her estranged husband.

~

undefined

The next day Santina messaged her friend to give her the latest update. They met at Starbucks – although they could hardly afford to go there, as just one coffee and a New York cheesecake cost about 500 pesos, which was a day’s wages for simple Filipinos like them. They managed to find a seat among the Westerners and Koreans who seemed to like Starbucks, as it was ‘trendy’.   

“Ok girl what’s happening?” Trina asked her friend straightaway, more out of wanting to hear some tasty gossip, than a feeling of empathy towards her friend.

“Well, you’re not going to believe it! But let me start at the beginning,” Santina began.

“I returned to the Ferreira Empire the next day in the Trump Tower in Makati. Mr. Peculla almost dragged me along. I didn’t have any choice but to face the man that I didn’t wanna see anymore. Mr Peculla had managed to convince Jameson that it was absolutely imperative that we have a second interview, if the magazine were going to be able to present Mr Ferreira of the Metropolitan Bank in a favourable light. Mr Ferreira was worried about the reputation of his bank, as they were undergoing an international investigation about major money laundering in connection with the international narcotics trade. So Mr. Ferreira and his bank were sorely in need of any kind of good PR (public relations). So although he had refused to meet me again, he did so with the hope of stalling any national and international investigations. Amongst other things, Peculla had stressed he might want to give Famous People more information about any charities they were contributing to, such as aiding the plight of Manila squatters, and contributing to more donations to Filipino hospitals.”

“So obviously it was not out of love of me that he agreed to a second interview, but with the aim of trying to deflect investigations into his corporation.”

“So, I met his secretary in the reception on the ground floor, and we took the elevator to his private office on the 57th floor, which took us quite some time travelling upwards to the business haven of my husband-mogul. When we finally arrived at the destination, she knocked twice and then opened the door for me.”

“ ‘Sir, Miss Santina from Famous People is already here to interview you’, the secretary informed the man sitting behind the large desk in the office.”

“ ‘Please go in, he will attend to you soon, but he’s a very busy man – good luck with the interview,’ the secretary said, as she closed the door of the office leaving me inside the room with him.”

“The office was much larger than our humble little house in Bicol, where we had enjoyed a short-lived married bliss. The room was oval in shape. It had five large north and east facing windows, showing a prospect of the Pasig River, and a view below of Burgos Street. Fortunately, we were south of the Pasig River, as being south or north of that river seemed to have some significant meaning for his mother, Imelda – which I remembered from our conversation some years before. I don’t know why she was so concerned about the dirty old river, as it is a sewer and filthy on both the north and south banks. The rich men in their shiny skyscrapers use it as a cost-free garbage dump for the excrement which is spewed into it from their high-profit factories and businesses along the banks.”

“I walked towards his desk, where he was sitting with his back to me looking out over the grimy Pasig River, and engaged in an ‘important’ telephone call.”

“When he had finished his phone call, he still carried on looking out the window, as if ruminating on something.”

“ ‘Eherrm,’ I coughed to attract his attention.”

“He swivelled around slowly in his sumptuous leather executive office chair, and gave me a grim look.”  

“ ‘Yes? And what reason do you have for me not suing you? I remember the last time we met, you physically attacked me for no accountable reason – and it was only by luck I managed to avoid a serious injury,’ he said in a gruff and accusing tone.”

“ ‘I’m sorry sir. I didn’t mean to. It was a spontaneous reaction, I thought you were being rude to me,” I said, choking my pride – I didn’t want to end up being sued, or even worse in jail!”

“ ‘So you’re saying it’s my fault now!?’ He said irritated.”

“ ‘It’s not what I mean sir,’ I said.”

“ ‘So you believe I’m always the one at fault,’ he said nonetheless.”

“ ‘Sir?’ I asked, confused.”

“ ‘I will not report your criminal assault to the police, or instruct my lawyers to initiate civil proceedings against you for injury, under one condition,’ he said.”

“I started to see a resemblance to his mother, Imelda, – laying down conditions, giving ultimatums and making threats, so as to get his own way. At the time, I thought it is perhaps a way of life of the rich and powerful, manipulating by making threats, laying down conditions, spinning the facts, paying lawyers to do the dirty work, and so on, to get their own way, just like a baby who would murder the world just to get a stick of candy.”

“I couldn’t believe these words were being uttered by my husband, and a man who had made intimate love to me. Nevertheless, I didn’t immediately protest at this absurd new stance of his.”

“ ‘What is it Sir?’ I asked.”

“ ‘In recompense for your despicable behaviour, I want you to serve as my housemaid for seven days and seven nights,’ he said, as if he was appointing me to an executive position in his corporation.”

“ ‘You can stay here in Trump Tower – there is a small maid’s room on this floor, where you can stay. You will also be provided with meals free of charge. I have an adjoining apartment; I want you to take care of all the housemaid functions – my nanna will instruct you about all your cleaning duties and other responsibilities,’ he said.”

“ ‘What?!’ I responded in a state of shock.”

“ ‘Okay. If that’s the tone you want to take, I’ll meet you in court then, and the police will serve you with a summons directly – I only have to make a phone call – and they’ll be here in ten minutes. I have informed the security guards to not permit you to leave the building until I give the green light. You will be held here until the police come to arrest and jail you, while awaiting trial. The police chief of this barangay is my personal friend, so I hope you’re taking my words seriously.’

“He continued, ‘I should perhaps also remind you that women in the custody of law enforcement officials are vulnerable to all kinds of abuse. Although my friend the police chief is an honourable man, he does not have a 24-hour watch on all his police officers and jail guards. The police chief has informed me that as long as there are beautiful women in custody, there will be cases of abuse. I don’t have to remind you how beautiful you are,’ he said in conclusion.”

“This was obviously blatant blackmail and extortion. But I feared he would not hesitate in turning his words into actions, which is the way of powerful men, so I had no other choice but to prostrate myself before him. So I begged:

“ ‘No sir, okay sir. Please forgive my impetuousness.’ ”

“ ‘Settled then,’ he said with a victorious smile.”

“He continued, ‘I have already spoken to your boss, a Mr. Peculla. In fact, I have gone higher up and spoken to the CEO of Famous People. Due to the global recession, and the transition to digital media online, the magazine has been making losses. I have proposed to boost the company by purchasing a large part of the shares, and offering a large loan so the magazine can modernize, focusing on online delivery of the product. I informed Mr. Peculla that we need to have a more in-depth interview spanning one week and suggested you could reside here in Trump Tower, while being relieved of all your other work responsibilities for one week – to which he acquiesced.’ ”

“He continued his lengthy harangue, ‘Of course, this agreement is just between me and you. You will have to sign a confidentiality agreement – a nondisclosure agreement, which means that if you disclose any details of our agreement to a third party you will be subject to prosecution and be sued for damages. My lawyer, Mr Cohen, has also drawn up another agreement, which states that if you serve as my housemaid for one week, I will drop all criminal and civil proceedings against you. But this agreement is also subject to non-disclosure requirements. You have to sign both agreements.’ ”

Trina had been sitting patiently listening to Santina’s narrative without saying a word – but then she interrupted:

“My God, you’re his wife, and now you have agreed to be his slave?”

“Yes but I still love him – I’ll do anything he commands me to do,” Santina said.

 “My god! You’re addicted to love – you’re really a victim of love! Your lights are on, but you’re not at home, your mind is not your own – your will is not your own.”

“Yes it’s true, I can’t deny the fact that I still love Jameson.”

Trina replied, “Okay – I’m too depressed at this latest news – I’m not in the mood to go clubbing with you and John McClean. I hope things work out for you – let’s meet here again in a few more days and you can tell me how things are working out.”

~

So the girls didn’t meet for another few days. They finally met at Starbucks again. Santina was addicted to love, but Trina was addicted to hot chocolate.

“Okay girl what’s happening now?” Asked Trina with a creamy moustache, as she made love to the hot chocolate with cream topping, licking the whipped cream that was oozing out over the brim of the mug.

undefined

Santina responded, “Everything is changed now. I’ve been his cleaner for a few days. He made me clean everything and wash all his dirty clothes, sometimes insisting that I do the same job over again, because I hadn’t removed the stains from his underwear and bed sheets. He’s slaving me to bits. It wasn’t surprising there were lots of stains on his underwear and bed sheets, because he was bringing home many different Burgos Street girlz, which he picked up in the street near his Trump Tower office.”

“I know I’m only a housemaid now without any rights, but still I couldn’t stop my heart from being hurt – especially when I was sleeping in the next room, and I could hear him having sex with hookers. And one time I heard the bell ringing and went into the master suite to answer the call, when I saw a naked Burgos Street whore sitting naked on my husband’s bed with a sluttish dirty look on her face – waiting for my husband – he was in the en-suite bathroom preparing himself.”

“It’s okay, Santi. You only have four days left, and then you’re as free as a bird again,” Trina said to her friend.

“It’s not that simple – one day I was cleaning the kitchen, when he came home drunk with a Burgos Street whore and started trying to touch my intimate parts. It seems he wanted to have a ménage à trois – him and his wife/housemaid – that is me, and the Burgos street whore.”

“ ‘Stop it, you asshole. I’m not one of your whores,’’ I said to him, but he only smirked.”

“ ‘You’re worse than them. Would they leave their husband for money?’ He said in a rabid voice like a mad dog.”

“ ‘What did you say?’ I said to him, shocked. I quickly figured that this is what his wicked mother, Imelda, had told him.”

“It seems he had been drinking with his whores in Burgos Street and was now drunk and aggressive.”

“ ‘I don’t repeat myself, bitch – you should pay attention – are you deaf or what?” he shouted foaming at the mouth. He then tried to touch me in a vulgar way, pressing me against the freezer and grabbing me between the legs and trying to stick his tongue down my throat. I pushed him away slapping him hard in the face, so his cheek turned a crimson red.”

“I was the angry one now – I screamed at him, ‘You don’t know a damn chit, Jameson, … you don’t know the real truth,’ … but then I completely broke down and started crying hysterically.”

“He was surprised at this turn of events, and changed tack.”

“He said, ‘Ok – why don’t you tell me the truth huh? Tell me another lie,’ still trying to cling to his anger and feeling of self-righteousness.”

“I looked away from him, so I could get my bearings. I didn’t want to completely break down. But I kept on, because I thought he needed to hear the truth.”

“ ‘Why don’t you ask your mother,’ I said in an adamant voice.”  

“ ‘My God – what’s my mother got to do with this!’ He said – his anger starting to rise again.

“ ‘She’s the one who holds the key – she knows everything,’ I replied plainly.”

“ ‘Yes she knows everything of course, because she’s the one you asked for a pay-off – she’s the one you asked for money!!’ he said heatedly.

“ ‘Then I’m sorry to say your wrong! You’re right about the payoff, but I didn’t ask her for it, she offered it to me, and I refused. It was then she said she wouldn’t use her money to pay for your expensive private healthcare, unless I stayed away from you. She threatened to let you suffer penniless and without help like any other poor Filipino not blessed with rich parents. She threatened to excommunicate you from the family and leave you to the charity of the Church and the state, which is a meagre offering. In other words, I had to agree never to see you or your family again in exchange for your safety and health,’ I exclaimed.”

“ ‘Don’t lie. She couldn’t have done that,’ he said, almost in a whisper. It was as if he had suddenly realised this was something which his strict and domineering mother, Imelda, was capable of. She only wanted to increase the wealth and power of her own family, so she wanted to keep her son separate from the rest of Philippine society. It was this that had made her and her family so rich – being able to exploit ordinary people in order to increase the wealth of her family. So from her point of view – it was almost a traitorous act – to marry below one’s station, as she had spent her whole life raising her family above others.”

“ ‘Why don’t you ask her,’ I said crying.”

“ ‘I can’t.’ he said slowly.”

“ ‘Why not? Because you can’t accept the fact that you’re so wrong about accusing me of things that are totally wrong!!’ I shouted, frustrated.”

“ ‘Because she’s already dead,’ he broke down, and fell to his knees weeping. I couldn’t comprehend what he had just said – so I just remained confused and unbelieving.”

“ ‘Wh-what?’ I couldn’t really take in what he had said.”

“ ‘She’s dead. Two years ago already,’ he just said plainly, and walked out of the kitchen leaving me there.”

“I couldn’t believe that his mother, Imelda, was already gone, most likely to Hades. I’d never received any news of her death; of course, this was because I had followed the mother’s instruction, and when my husband made no attempt to contact me, I just archived our marriage away into the file ‘past life’. When his mother had been so adamant, and he never contacted me, it seemed absurd that I should in some way force myself on them, as I felt they lived in a world apart from mine. Jameson and I had finally had “a talk” in his kitchen, but I felt I needed to pull my life up by my stockings and have a real talk with him.”

Trina had been sitting patiently listening to her friend’s intriguing story, hardly believing it. She had long since finished drinking her chocolate and cream, and said to her friend, “Yes you need to have a final showdown with your outlaw husband.”

“Yes it’s true – everything seems to be too fantastic – but I need to bite the bullet – and invade his Trump Tower emporium one more time,” said Santina.

“Okay girlfriend. Do it! And keep me informed. Don’t forget to invite me to the second wedding!” Trina said with a glint in her eye.

“Ok – I’ll do it tomorrow – I’ll call you and maybe we can meet here again.”

“Ok sister!”

~

The next day Santina put on her gunbelt with two six-guns and made her way to the Trump Tower ready for the final showdown at high noon. She had made up her mind she would rather die in a ditch than not get this mission impossible accomplished. She had to confront him, and decide the final outcome of their lives.

6

The next day Santina made her way to the Trump Tower in order to have a final showdown with her husband.   

Two days later she met Trina again at Starbucks, and recounted her continuing story to her.

“Are you getting the chocolate drink again – remember to ask for extra cream,” Santina said to her friend.

Trina was now sipping her chocolate and waiting for the latest instalment in the Santina-Ferreira saga.

She began: “I had made my way to the Trump Tower, and was shown up to his office again.”

“ ‘Can we talk? I can’t stop worrying,’ I began when I entered his oval office.”

“ ‘About what? Maybe about me being an asshole,’ he said, with his head bowed down.”

“I was shocked by his sudden about turn – his change in sympathy towards me. But thinking on my feet I managed to say in indulgence to him ‘It’s not actually you’re fault. We can’t always blame people for the way things turn out.’ ”

“ ‘I’ve been a fool for hating you. My only excuse is that you just disappeared after I woke up in that hospital bed,’ he said almost breaking down into tears.”

“ ‘You were so sick at that time. You needed to be taken care of, but I didn’t have the money to pay for your healthcare. It was then I met your mother at the ICU, where you had been admitted, and she proposed her plan,’ I said, thinking that he deserved to know the truth.”

“ ‘I asked her to help you, and said I was willing to do anything so you would get well again. Little did I know that she already had a plan prepared – so in the end I didn’t have any choice but to agree to her conditions,’ I continued.”

“ ‘Why didn’t you show up and tell me!’ He shouted.”

“ ‘For what, Jameson? You know how powerful your parents are. I wasn’t scared for myself, I was thinking about you. You were so vulnerable and sick, and they were the only ones who could help you. Your mother was willing to sacrifice your health and perhaps even your life, than have me, a lowly Filipina, besmirch your family name with our marriage communion and bastard offspring. Don’t act like you are the only one broke into pieces. You don’t know how I have had to pull myself together, to be whole again,’ I cried.”

“ ‘But still you should have told me,’ he said, almost whimpering like a lost child.”

“ ‘I was so helpless at that time. I couldn’t let you be sick and suffer just so you could be with me. You deserved everything that I couldn’t give you then,’ I said, bursting into tears.”

“ ‘I’m sorry that we ended like this. I’m sorry for hating you the way I did for a long time,’ he begged asking me to forgive him, while breaking down into tears.”

“ ‘It’s all done now and past. We need to get on with our lives,’ I said pragmatically.”

“Out of the blue, he said – ‘Do you still love me despite all the bad blood between us – I know it’s crazy to ask you this when I have been so despicable in every way – nevertheless, I still have a glimmer of hope!’ He said in a begging voice almost breaking down.”

“ ‘It doesn’t matter anymore. There’s no use in cryin – you go your way and I’ll go mine,’ I said not wanting to challenge what it seemed fate had destined for us.”

“ ‘But you still didn’t answer my question  Santina. Do you still love me?’ He almost shouted, his voice was now hoarse from desperation.”

“ ‘What difference would it make,’ I said avoiding his question and his stares.”

“ ‘Please tell me,’ he said falling to his knees in an act of suppliance, asking for forgiveness and begging for love.”

“I had been his slave and wife, but now he had become my slave. I was not sure I could forgive him, so I rejected his offer.”

“ ‘Please believe me – I never stopped loving and worshipping you. I’m ashamed that I have sinned against you so badly,’ he confessed.”

“ ‘I always told myself to hate you, but I was just denying our love – I don’t know how I can ever make it up to you if you will let me,’ he said lying prostrate and grovelling at my feet.”

“He continued, ‘I beg you please forgive me! I will serve you as my mistress throughout my life. Please fulfil my wish, my mistress – allow me to serve you.’ ”

“Although we were married, and had lived together many years ago, it suddenly occurred to me that although I had that Marlin fish on the line, I had never really hauled him on to the deck and seen him gasping at my feet. Well that time had finally come. I looked at him gasping and grovelling there on the deck. He may be big, powerful and formidable swimming around in his own world gobbling up all the small fish – but now he had entered my world on the deck of my life and was completely powerless, as he lay there paralyzed by my hook. His bulging eyes begging me to take out the hook – but not yet I thought – I’ll leave it in a little longer, otherwise he might lash out and bounce back into the ocean again. So I said to my tortured victim in a loving whisper, ‘Jameson.’ At that moment, Hemingway would have been proud of me, for finally reeling in this large Marlin. Men like fish are not that smart. They think that they are the hunters, but in reality they are the ones being hunted, and if you have the right bait and a strong line you’ll always be able to reel them in no matter how big they are.”

“He said, ‘I love you with all my heart sweetheart. Please give me one more chance. Let’s fix it up and start over again,’ He said still lying prostrate on the floor, while his eyes wandered upwards along my legs looking up my skirt towards my core. His gaze lingered awhile on my full and sumptuous breasts and then finally fixed on my eyes looking down at him.”

“I stroked his hair and pulled his head towards my core, whereby I pressed his face into me. My panties got soaked as my love juice mingled with his tears.”

“ ‘Jameson, I can’t say anything now,’ as I held his head and pressed his quivering lips against my rose.”

“ ‘Can’t we do that? Just be like before? I love you so much and I only want to be together with you,’ he said begging me like a little boy wanting sweeties.”

“Pulling my panties to one side I gave him something sweet there and then; clasping his head with both hands and pulling him towards my flower, he had no other alternative than to kiss my hip lips. I held his head between my legs, so he could French kiss my lips. I grasped his hair, offering myself gladly, enthralled at the wondrous feeling of his snake-like tongue.”

“Despite my wondrous feeling as he made love to my honey pot – I managed nevertheless to keep a cool head. My hands still had hold of his hair. So I pulled at his hair, moving his head away from my pussy. I twisted his hair so that he had to look up at me, as he still was on his knees before me. I held his hair tightly as if in earnest, but not in anger, and said to him in a serious tone: ‘But how can I know you will be more true this time. How can you prove your love is sincere? Can you buy me a diamond ring, which I never got when we were married?’ I said.”

“ ‘Darling before my mother’s death I had no control over the company’s funds. Now she is dead – God bless her soul – my father has given me complete control of the company. My love for you is worth a thousand times my own life. I can buy you the biggest diamond you can ever imagine, and anything else your heart desires,’ he said almost ecstatically. I smiled, and pulling his hair once again, drew his head towards my rose, letting him taste my honey some more.”

“The next day we went to the jewellers and he bought me a diamond ring, a stunning 10.47 emerald-cut diamond flanked by two large baguette diamonds. The ring was by renowned French jeweller Cartier, and Jameson paid $4 million for it; but this represents only a small part of his huge wealth. It is reckoned that his family are so rich that they own more than what 99% of the Filipino population. On buying me the ring he said it was much too ‘cheap’ as a symbol of our love – and that he would soon buy me a larger diamond ring on the anniversary of our ‘reborn marriage’.”

“And now he gives me sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening and sugar at suppertime, and loves me all the time. He puts his arms around me, and swears by the stars above, he’ll be mine forever, in a heaven of love. Sugartime is anytime that he is near. So I’m drowning in the sea of love. He gives me sugar-coated love. Now I don’t have to worry ’bout money, ’bout clothes. I don’t have to worry ’bout anything. He gives me everything – love and money. What is the most important you might ask? You can have money without love, but can you have love without money? The best things in life are free, but give me money – that’s what I want!’

“My God I can hardly believe it’s true. It sounds like a fairy tale,” Trina said to her friend.

“It’s true. And now Jameson has signed half of his corporation into my name. I will need a ‘lady-in-waiting’ to serve me in the Trump Tower. The salary is at an international standard, that is, $200 000 per annum. I really hope you will accept the position!”


[1] This is a translation of the original version written by Sara Jhen Neri, which was written in Tagalog. It has been edited and adapted by M. Maharlika. The illustrations are created by M. Maharlika, and based on originals sourced on the World Wide Web. Copyright permission for the originals is pending. For instance, the sketch of Imelda Ferreira is based on a painting by Picasso.  

[2] Lola is Filipino for granny.

[3] Philippine adobo (from Spanish adobar: “marinade,” “sauce” or “seasoning”) is a popular Filipino dish and cooking process in Filipino cuisine that involves meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns, which is browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade. It has occasionally been considered as the unofficial national dish in the Philippines. Adobe in Spanish can refer to clay or brick, and perhaps is related to the idea of marinating in clay pots.

[4] This is a literal translation from Tagalog (“since birth”), and a common utterance of Filipina girls, reflecting their strict Roman Catholic upbringing. But the cynic might ask the question: “Is this true?” Moreover, the literal translation is comical, because you would hardly have a boyfriend when you were one year old (“since birth”)?

[5] In Tagalog, if a Filipina woman calls a man a bolero, she is saying he is a smooth talker – giving complements that are not genuine. But at the same time most Filipina women like men to behave like this without admitting it.

[6] Tagalog: Great grandmother.

[7] Money.

[8] Philippine adobo (from Spanish adobar: “marinade,” “sauce” or “seasoning”) is a popular Filipino dish and cooking process in Filipino cuisine that involves meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns, which is browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade. It has occasionally been considered as the unofficial national dish in the Philippines. Adobe in Spanish can refer to clay or brick, and perhaps is related to the idea of marinating in clay pots.

[9] Jollibee is a Filipino chain of fast food restaurants.

[10] Philippine law does not provide for divorce inside the country, and it remains the only UN-member state beside Vatican City without legal provision for divorce. The only exception is with respect to Muslims, who are allowed to divorce in certain circumstances according to their religion” (Wikipedia). “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits “adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18).

Where do broken hearts go?…….. Sagaduhh 😁😁 (Sagada, Philippines).

Where do broken hearts go?…….. Sagaduhh 😁😁(Sagada, Philippines).

People nowadays happened to asks this question most of the time. People who experience difficulty, stress and having a broken heart from their love ones or sometimes an event on their lives that affects their emotions and decisions.

As a normal human being, what we do as the very first step to conquer and escape all the negativity and depression that is slowly eating away our whole being is to find ways how to get through it and doing it right away just to forget, Like partying all night, drinking and getting drunk with anybody , taking illegal drugs as the worst part, locking themselves in their room alone; some go to gym or yoga classes as their getaway and some travel too and that is the best part ( though it’s certainly a bit costy). But the feeling that you are going to some unfamiliar places excites you and forget some of your problems behind. Finding yourself or having your own space are what we usually hear when someone’s broken.

Like some other countries, Philippines has it own version of place where you can relieve stress and mend your broken heart, and it’s none other than Sagada, Mt. Province that located in the northen part of Luzon, Philippines. Sagada is well known for its very cold weather and peaceful community. It resides in a very high mountain and 12 hours away from the city of Manila.

Sagada is not very develop but its the very reason why people go up there, for the peacefulness and calmness of the place. Sagada itself has their own tourist spot that will surely helps you move on from what pained and stresses you.

Sagada’s tourist spot that you will surely love..

1. Sumaguing cave

2. Bomod-0k falls

3. The hanging coffins

4. Mt. Kiltepan

5. Marlboro hill

6. Pongas falls

7. Lake danum

That’s some of the tourist spots in Sagada, that tourists been coming back for more. And most of them admitted that whenever they exiting or leaving Sagada, they leave with a peaceful and happy heart. Even me who suffered from depression and stress went straight to Sagada and i never regret on going there, The place is a breath of fresh air and very refreshing for me. The ambience is a perfect place to relax from the very stressful and busy city where we from.

So if you’re depressed? Stressed? Or broken hearted? You know where to go to…

😊
😊

A Deal with the Devil

by

M. Maharlika

UNO

“I can’t believe that you’d rather travel at this time of night to such a secluded part of the countryside, instead of having a big party night in the city,” Marge complained, as they drove along the narrow country road in an old Hispano Suiza.

“And my God! Where did you get hold of this old jalopy, it smells of rotting carcass,” Marge carried on complaining, referring to the classic Spanish-Swiss limousine they were driving, which was so large and cumbersome it could hardly traverse the small country roads.   

“I can’t miss Aunt Lisa’s death anniversary, Marge,” her friend Maria explained for the umpteenth time. And my grandpa likes it when I arrive in his old car, which he gave me to look after. It’s a solemn occasion, and the vehicle adds an aura of respect and dignity.”

“But can’t we just go tomorrow?” Marge pleaded.

“We’re already on our way, you know. And Grandpa and I promised on her deathbed to visit her grave every year, pray and make offerings in remembrance of her tragic death. And anyway, we’re only one hour away now.”

“Okay. Whatever, girl,” Marge lazily answered.

“Besides, it’s only three more days until the anniversary, on October 31st, and there are some things I need to prepare. You know she was my favourite aunt. Most Filipinos only celebrate the babang luksa[1], the first death anniversary, but our family celebrate the death of special loved ones every year, to ensure their souls are still not wandering the Earth.”

“Oh my God! Where did you dig up all that eerie stuff?” Exclaimed Marge.

“It’s not eerie, it’s very tragic what happened to me and my grandpa, her father. I can tell you later,” said Maria in way of explanation.

Marge fell into silence, and Maria carried on driving through the dark silent night, with only the thrum of the car’s large engine to keep her company.

Maria’s Spanish ancestral home is in a secluded part of the countryside, some distance from the old town of Vigan, in the province of Ilocos Sur – some three or four hours’ drive from Baguio City in Luzon by way of San Fernando following the western coast. The two young women work in Baguio as legal clerks, and had been given a few days free from work, as their offices were being refurbished. They thus took the opportunity to set off on a little adventure together. But Maria had not wholly informed her friend and colleague Marge why she wanted to drive to this remote part of the countryside.

After driving many hours, Maria saw the old dilapidated signpost that read, “Villa Luciano – 2 millia”. After driving some minutes more she could finally see the old iron gates of the villa, which happened to be open. She glanced over at Marge and saw she was still sleeping. On driving past the open gates, Maria decided to wake up Marge.

        “Marge? Wake up, we’re here,” said Maria.

After a few calls, Marge finally woke up.

Marge and Maria had met in the legal department of the local government offices in Baguio. Maria had worked one year more than Marge and was an executive officer, while Marge was only a junior executive officer. Marge was assigned to Maria, so that Marge could also become a fully qualified executive officer. Despite their role as mentor and student, they had become close friends. 

“Have we arrived at the old man’s villa, huh?” Marge asked, still a bit sleepy.

“Yes,” Maria replied while manoeuvring the large old car, and parking it near the front entrance. 

“My god! This villa is enormous and really ancient,” Marge exclaimed.

“It certainly is, ha-ha,” said Maria.

“But it’s a little bit scary,” Marge added.

“Yes, because my grandfather is so old now, and can’t take care of it like he used to, especially after my grandmother and aunt died some years ago. That’s why it looks abandoned and overgrown – almost like a haunted house, ha-ha,” Maria said humorously.

“Yes, haunted. That’s the right word.”

“Maybe there’s some supernatural things inside, let’s find out,” Marge said excitedly.

“You think so?”

~

The two young women took their baggage out of the car’s trunk, and headed for the front door.

Maria knocked hard on the thick oaken door, and shouted out, “Abuelo, we’re here.”

“I think he’s already asleep?” Marge said.

“I don’t think so. I told him what time we would be here,” she explained.

“Alright if you say so.”

Maria tried the door handle, and found that the door was unlocked. So they both just entered the large villa.

“Let’s go straight to the kitchen, because I’m starving,” said Maria.

“Sure, me too. I didn’t have any lunch or dinner earlier, so for Pete’s sake give me food or I’ll die soon,” Marge said animatedly.

“For real? Where do you get all your energy from? She said to Marge.

“Don’t over react, Maria. I’m just gifted in that way,” Marge said laughing.

“Whatever,” replied Maria.

They walked through several large rooms, before finally getting to the kitchen.

“Why don’t you check on your grandpa?” Marge asked.

“I will. I’ll just get something to eat first, and then go upstairs,” she replied.

Marge sat down on a chair in the dining area of the large kitchen.

Maria discovered there wasn’t much to eat in the kitchen’s butlery, so she just made some bread and jam, which she gave to Marge. Marge hated such simple food, but was starving and had to eat it as she had no other choice.

“I swear, I’ll wake up early tomorrow and drive to San Fernando, so we can buy some proper food,” she said while eating the bread and jam and gulping down a cup of hot cocoa, which Maria had made.

Maria decided to go and see how her grandfather was doing upstairs.

DOS

“What happened, Maria?” Marge asked as she came back into the dining area of the kitchen.

“You’re right. He’s already asleep. I didn’t want to disturb the old man when he was sleeping, but he suddenly woke up, or at least he opened one of his eyes – a pale blue eye with a film over it – he looked sick – but then he closed it again, and went back to sleep, she said.

“Just let him rest more, he needs to recuperate some strength if he is sick,” said Marge.

“You’re right. But I also feel guilty that I’ve left him more or less alone in this old villa and gone to work in the city.”

“But how could you ever find a job in this out-of-the-way place, if you don’t mind me saying,” Marge said bluntly.

“I know. But still I feel sorry that I can’t personally take care of him,” she said sadly.  

“Well, we’re here now. You can look after him as long as we’re here,” Marge replied, trying to cheer up her friend.

“Yes. So are you done eating?” She asked, changing the topic.

“Yes. I’ll just clean up this mess,” Marge replied, starting to pick up the dirty plates.

“That’s okay, Marge. Leave it.”

“Don’t worry. It’s nothing.”

“No just leave it I said – okay?!!” Maria said, raising her voice angrily.

Marge was shocked and surprised at Maria’s sudden outburst.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that – just leave it – ok. The caretaker will clean it up. Just follow me upstairs so we can both get some rest,” she said in a milder tone, trying to make up for her sudden angry outburst.

~

Maria had shown Marge to her room, where she was now lying in bed. But she was unable to sleep, and her mind dwelled on the events of the day. She couldn’t understand Maria’s sudden outburst. She had never heard her raise her voice in anger like that before. Marge tried to explain it to herself by thinking that her friend must be tired.

Marge’s thought turned to the old villa. She’d now be spending some days in this mansion of gloom. She wondered whether the atmosphere of the place had taken hold of her, so that she was no longer able to rationally perceive her surroundings. Because, in her imagination, she felt that there hung a peculiar atmosphere about the whole villa and domain, which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which reeked of decayed matter; and the walls were ingrained with a pestilent and mystic vapour, dull and sluggish, it seemed to her. She had taken in the prospect of the villa when they had approached it in the car – its principal feature seemed to be that of an excessive antiquity. The discoloration of ages was great. There was indication of extensive decay – minute fungi overspread the whole exterior, hanging in a fine tangled web-work from the eaves. Yet despite the dilapidated state of the building, no portion of the masonry had fallen. 

Wrapped up in these thoughts, Marge thought she could very well be in one of the haunted houses in the numerous stories and horror movies she had read and seen such as The Fall of the House of Usher and Bluebeard.

However, Marge wasn’t worried by her thoughts, she promised herself that the next day she would become a tourist and visit various places of interest in the location. She had even heard there was a beautiful and scenic beach not far away. With such pleasant thoughts running through her mind, she started to drift off to sleep.

But Marge hadn’t been sleeping that long when she was awoken by some noises. She lifted herself up on the pillows, and, peering earnestly into the intense darkness of the chamber, she could hear certain low and indefinite sounds, which came through the pauses of the storm, which raged outside. The sounds increased in volume and became more discernible. It was someone or something scratching behind the wall in the vicinity of the antique closet at the opposite side of the room. She looked at the old grandfather clock ticking away, and saw that it was three in the morning.

She tried to ignore the sounds and went back to sleep. But, she hadn’t been sleeping long before she was awoken once again by the scratching, which was getting louder now. The scratching turned into a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream, utterly inhuman—a howl—a wailing shriek of horror, such as might have arisen only out of hell, from the throats of the dammed in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation. Marge decided to explore where these horrendous sounds were coming from. It almost sounded like the sound of some cat buried behind the walls. Or perhaps it was just her imagination, and the scratching sounds were just rats scurrying back and forth within the walls of this dilapidated old villa.

The only way to solve this conundrum was to inspect the closet and the wall behind it. The lighting was very dim in the room – she couldn’t see any hole or anything in the wall, so she tried peeking behind the old closet. And there she saw a part of the wall that had been newly plastered over as if to cover up something. However, she needed to move the closet, if she was to free the cat that she imagined was imprisoned within. Using the strength of her whole body, she started to push the heavy old closet, with the expectation of being able to reveal access to the wall behind. However, before she accomplished this task, she heard a large bang outside her door.

“What the hell was that?” She frantically asked herself.

She immediately ran to the door to check what had happened. She grabbed at the handle of the door, which suddenly opened. Maria appeared perspiring profusely. Marge invited her inside, and they sat down on the edge of the bed together.

“What was that loud bang I heard?” She immediately asked Maria in a panic.

“That was nothing. Don’t mind that,” Maria just said.

“Are you sure? That was a pretty loud bang, and why are you sweating profusely?”

“Uhm—I was just working out, because I can’t get to sleep,” she explained unconvincingly.

“It’s three in the morning for heaven’s sake,” said Marge.

“Is that so? You should sleep then, because we need to get up early,” Maria said.

“Alright. I’ll get back to sleep,” Marge said.

Maria was on her way out, when Marge remembered the scratching sounds behind the wall.

“Wait a sec, Maria. Earlier I heard some strange sounds coming from the wall, near the old closet,” she said.

“What sounds?” Maria asked, curiously.

“It was like a scratching sound. Perhaps it was some rodents or large insects or something like that?” Said Marge.

“How now, maybe a rat? Maybe it was a rat? Don’t worry I’ll check it in the morning, okay?” She just said, and left the room.

Marge then went back to bed and tried to sleep, hoping she would hear no more scratching noises.

TRES

Marge woke up around five in the morning. She still felt very sleepy, but she needed to get up. She threw on her clothes with haste, and aroused herself from the pitiable memories of the night and evening before. She left her own room to look for Maria, but she didn’t actually know where her room was exactly. So she knocked on the doors of all the rooms when she walked along the long hallway.

“Maria, I’m ready. Are you awake?” She said in a low voice, because she remembered that Maria’s grandfather was also sleeping, and that he was sick. She knocked on the door of the room that was next to her own room but nobody answered. She tried to open the door but it was locked.

“Maybe in the next room,” she said to herself.

She kept on walking towards the second room in the hallway, when she heard something that was coming from the first room. She decided to go back to the first room.

“Maybe Maria’s awake and those sounds were made by her,” she thought to herself. She then went back to the locked room.

“Maria? Are you getting ready?” She asked while standing outside the door of the room.

She grabbed the door handle, but peculiarly, this time it wasn’t locked. She couldn’t help but wonder why it suddenly was unlocked. She reasoned that perhaps Maria had unlocked the door. She opened the door slowly and peeked inside, but the room was very dark and there was a bad smell of decomposition oozing out of the room. She reached inside trying to find the light switch, but her fumbling was unsuccessful.

“Maria? Why is it so dark in here? Are you taking a shower? Hurry up!” She said enthusiastically, while walking inside the room.

But still there was no reply from her. It was really dark and she couldn’t see a thing. To take away the eerie feeling, Marge decided to open the door fully, so the light from the hallway would flood inside the room. She was still near the door of the room – not having entered fully – when she heard some whispers. It sounded like it was coming from deep within the room. And the whispers sounded like there were many people talking silently.

“Does Maria have other visitors?” Thought Marge curiously to herself.

Out of curiosity, she walked towards the direction of the whispers, but as she delved into the innermost regions of the room the light from the hallway was more or less dissipated. The room seemed to be very large, because she walked quite far without touching or bumping into any furniture while she progressed towards the source of the whisperings. The whisperings became louder and louder. She still hadn’t found the whispering people, when the whispering suddenly stopped. She looked all around her, but the room was very dark so she couldn’t see a thing.

“Maria? Are you there?” She asked, while an eerie feeling came over her.

She decided to leave the room, because of the strange and unnatural atmosphere. She was walking towards the door when she heard another whisper, the whisper of a woman’s voice. She stopped walking, concentrating intently on the whisper of the woman’s voice, because it sounded so close. She looked back and saw nothing but darkness. She didn’t believe in ghosts, but now she was starting to get scared.

Arriba!”[2] Said a very hoarse voice.

Marge was already terrified. She tried to see where the voice came from.

Arriba!” Said the voice even louder, repeating the word that she didn’t understand. 

The voice sounded like it was emanating from a person who was out of breath, so it was very creepy.

Arriba,” repeated the voice once more.

And now Marge had an idea where the voice was coming from.

In fact, she was very sure that the voice was coming from the ceiling. But how on earth could that possibly be, and she didn’t have the guts to check out what it was all about. So she silently walked straight towards the door. But the sound seemed to be crawling over the ceiling towards her direction and what terrified her even more was a cracking sound, like some bones were breaking.

“Damn!” She said.

She walked faster towards the door, but the crawling sound also move towards her faster, and the cracking sounds became louder.

She finally reached the door and grabbed the handle, but before she could open it, someone else on the other side of the door had opened it.

“Maria,” she cried out, teary eyed and trembling very badly.

CUATRO

“What happened to you? And what are you doing here?” Maria asked.

“I’ve been looking for you and ended up in this room,” Marge explained still trembling.

And the fact was that this was her first encounter with such unknown phenomena that she had almost lost consciousness. What’s more, if she had come face to face with what she had heard and felt she might have died from shock.

“I was just downstairs and my room is the one next to this one,” Maria said as she closed the door of the creepy room.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know. You forgot to tell me,” Marge said.

“I’m sorry, but now you know where my room is,” said Maria while staring at her intently.

“What’s with that room, Maria? I heard whispers and other peculiar sounds in there. And I was really terrified. God knows what might have happened if you hadn’t come along,” Marge blurted out.

“You’ve been hearing things since we came here. You have to remember this is an ancient edifice, so the timbers are old, and creak and groan when it’s stormy outside. Anyway, that room was my late aunt’s room,” Maria added.

“For real? But I’m sure I heard crawling and cracking sounds! That really freaked me out! What was that? Don’t tell me it was the old building moving on its foundations?!” she frantically said.

“Maybe it’s the spirit of Aunt Lisa and she’s welcoming you, ha-ha,” Maria added, with a mischievous smile on her face.

“Stop teasing me. What I experienced in that room really scared me to death, I swear,” she said irately to Maria.

“I’m sorry,” Maria apologized, but still silently laughing to herself.

“So what’s the plan for today, anyway?” She asked Maria as they went downstairs.

“Ah yes, I was about to tell you earlier that my grandpa Pablo needs to be checked by our family doctor because, he’s weaker now. I’ve already asked Crispin, the caretaker, to take you to some places of interest and I will join you later. I’m sorry that some of our plans have changed,” Maria said.

“It’s okay, don’t worry. How’s your grandfather?” She asked a bit worried about the old man.

“He’s in his room, resting. I’m just waiting for the doctor to come.”

“Does he stay upstairs?” She asked Maria while they were walking into the dining hall. The breakfast was already laid out on the table ready to eat.

“No. His room is at the end of the hall from here. I transferred him there, because he isn’t able to walk up and down the stairs. His body is too weak, especially now,” Maria said sadly.

“Sorry to hear that. Can I visit him?” She asked. Maria looked taken aback at this request.

“Of course. After you’ve finished your breakfast, we can go there,” Maria agreed.

“Who cooked the breakfast anyway?” Marge asked.

“I did it. It tastes good right?” Maria asked.

“Wow! How did you manage to do that? We both slept so little, and you even did some exercises, so if there was someone who was going to sleep in, then it would surely be you.”

“I’m just an early riser, you know that,” Maria replied.

“Have you found out about the rats?” Marge asked, referring to the scratching sounds in the room where she was sleeping.

“Rats?” Maria asked confusedly.

“Yes the scratching sounds behind the wall,” she answered.

“Oh! Not yet, maybe this afternoon,” replied Maria.

“Alright thanks,” replied Marge, as she was finishing off the remnants of her daing na bangus[3].

After they had finished eating breakfast, they went straight to the room where Maria’s grandfather, Pablo, was resting. They walked along the long hallway that was without windows and dimly lighted. Marge was suddenly reminded of her unnerving and unpleasant experiences in her own room, and the room that she mistakenly thought was Maria’s room. But she erased these thoughts from her mind.  They had been walking for quite a long time, but still hadn’t reached the grandfather’s bedroom.

“Wow! Are we going to walk forever?” Said Marge teasingly.

“The master bedroom on the ground floor is at the end of this hallway. That room is the only one that has a garden view, so I decided to put him there,” Maria explained.

“That’s his room, right?” Marge asked, when she saw the last room at the end of the hallway, almost next to the back entrance of the villa.

“Yes. Wait here, I’ll just fix him up first,” said Maria.

“Fix? It’s okay, Maria,” she quickly replied.

“Just wait here,” Maria said, and then hurriedly walked into the room.

She was left alone in the murky and silent hallway. She looked back along the hallway, but couldn’t even discern where they had started from because of the poor lighting. The aura of the place chilled her to the bone. At the end of the hallway, there was one small window, she discovered, with a view that looked out on to the garden. She peered out, and saw that the garden was more or less lifeless, hardly a garden at all – as there were no flowers, or green plants, or vibrant young trees. The garden seemed to be abandoned and overgrown with dead leaves everywhere, and the dead trunks of decayed trees. There was a fountain, but it just spouted some brown and muddy liquid at intervals.

“Why stay in the farthest room along the hallway, if the view is like this?” She thought, when she went back to check on Maria.

She was walking towards the room, when she heard Maria calling her. She opened the door and walked inside. She saw Maria standing beside her grandfather’s bed. Her grandfather was sitting up in bed, wearing a soiled nightgown. He looked at her. One of his pale blue eyes was covered with a film of grey. He smiled wide and invitingly to her, exposing his decaying teeth.

“How are you, sir? I’m happy to finally see you,” she greeted him.

“I’m happy to meet yet another beautiful young girlfriend of my granddaughter,” he said with a mysterious smile that sent shivers down Marge’s spine.

She felt like the mutterings of the old man portended some hidden meaning – but what?

“Thank you Sir. I’m starting to enjoy this wonderful residence,” she lied.

“Are you really enjoying?” He emitted another mysterious smile.  “Yes, especially if I can visit some attractions in the area,” she said, looking at Maria who was standing next to the old man.

“That’s good. I’m sorry that I can’t accommodate you,” he said, as he stretched out a scrawny hand trying to reach her, which made her jump back inadvertently. Maria put her hand on her grandfather’s arm restraining his unwanted approach.

“Marge needs to go, grandpa,” Maria said looking at Marge.

“Yes?” I do.

“You can wait for me outside,” Maria commanded. Maria waited for Marge to leave the room, before she helped her grandfather lie down again in his bed.

~

“I don’t understand Maria’s weird behaviour,” thought Marge to herself, while pacing back and forth outside the old man’s room.

CINCO

They left Maria’s grandfather, and went to the reception area of the villa, where Maria had agreed to meet the villa’s caretaker Crispin. But he wasn’t there.

Cobwebbed in a dark corner of the reception area was an ancient house phone that suddenly began to jangle and ring intermittently.

“That must be Crispin,” said Maria.

She walked over to the jangling phone and took it off the hook, holding the ceramic earpiece to her ear.

“Hello, this is María de Aragón y Castilla of Luciano Villa,” Maria said into the mouthpiece, giving her full name and title which Marge had never heard her use before.

“Yes, … I see … okay … I’ll inform my friend Marge, said Maria to the person on the end of the line.

“It was Crispin. He said he can’t come, because he has some kind of emergency situation,” Maria informed Marge.

“Is that so?” She replied.

“Maybe you can go alone? And I’ll just follow you later,” Maria suggested.

“Yes. It’s okay,” she agreed.

Maria let Marge use her grandfather’s vintage car, because she said that there’s no public transportation anywhere near the villa, because all the surrounding lands are private property attached to the villa. The plan was that Marge would drive to Crispin’s cottage, and he would function as some kind of guide for her planned tourist trip to the nearby town of Vigan. Maria had told her to turn right when driving out of the gate and then to follow the signs for Sagada. When she was in the vicinity of Sagada, she would see a signpost reading, “The Hanging Coffins of Sagada”[4]; some short distance after this she would read the signpost Villa Luciano Cottage – which would lead her to Crispin’s residence. 

Marge wasn’t sure she would ever be able to follow these complicated instructions.

Marge started the 12-cylinder engine of the J12 Hispano Suiza by pressing a small bakelite button on the dashboard. The engine sprang into life. She gently depressed the acceleration peddle and the car moved off in a dignified fashion. She didn’t realise at the outset that it was such a long way. Fortunately, although the car was almost a museum piece, its gigantic engine and 12 cylinders enabled it to cross the Sagada mountains without any problems, and its large headlamps penetrated the darkness of the forest so Marge could at least see where she was heading.

After following all the driving instructions, for what seemed like an eternity, she finally saw the signpost that read, “The Hanging Coffins of Sagada” – and driving further she saw the signpost, “Villa Luciano Cottage”.

Through the narrow windscreen of the old car, she espied what must be Crispin’s cottage. She parked the large limousine in front of the wooden crofter’s cottage – in fact, the old distinguished car was almost larger than the tiny cottage. Marge felt quite proud of the fact that she was able to drive this prehistoric car, and actually find a destination in this God-forsaken region of her homeland. It was now the evening – so the sun had long since disappeared beneath the horizon. But it wasn’t that late that civilized people were still not awake. With this thought in mind, she approached the front door of the cottage, and bravely gave it a manly knock with her delicate girl’s hand.

“Hello? Anybody here?” She called. 

A young boy suddenly appeared and looked at her curiously.

“Hi kiddo! Do you know where I can find Mister Crispin?” Marge asked cheerfully, despite the sullen atmosphere of the dank small cottage in the dark forest.

“Wait ma’am,” he said respectfully.

She didn’t know if she was even at the right place. She watched the boy turn around and walk into the small wretched cottage.

She heard him say, “Papa, someone’s outside.”

“Who?” A baritone voice answered – which must be the father of the boy obviously reasoned Marge.

“Tourist,” the boy simply answered.

The boy returned with his father in pursuit. The father must have been in his late thirties or early forties.

“You need something ma’am?” The father asked respectfully.

“Yes, yes. I’m sorry for bothering you – I’m staying at Luciano Villa with my friend, Maria, and she told me you might be able to show me around – that is – show me some local attractions.”

“Ah yes – I talked to Maria on the phone – I was supposed to meet her but something unforeseen turned up. It’s okay. But there’s nothing around here, except for the hanging coffins. But perhaps you can drive into Vigan town. It’s one of the few towns left around here whose old structures have mostly remained intact, and it is well known for its cobblestone pavements and unique architecture combining the Spanish and Filipino, especially the Bahay na Bato houses and an Earthquake Baroque church,” he explained with a friendly smile.

“Alright. Thank you for helping me out,” she said.

“That’s okay. But how come you didn’t know? You’re staying in the town, right?” He asked a bit confused.

“Ah no. I’m staying in Villa Luciano with Maria and her grandfather Pablo,” she replied.

“Villa Luciano?! Are you sure?” He asked shocked.

Marge couldn’t understand what he meant.

~

Maria was disappointed that she couldn’t join Marge visiting the tourist spots in the province, but she didn’t have any choice, because she had to look after her grandfather. After Marge left, she went back to the kitchen to wash the dishes and clean up. She then had to go to her grandfather’s room to check up on him. He was sitting on the edge of the bed looking out of the window and the old decaying garden. When Maria walked into the room, his face turned from one of blank expression to fear. 

“Why, abuelo?” She asked him.

“Why don’t you rest, Maria?” He suddenly asked, still looking at her.

“It’s okay, abuelo. I’m not tired yet, and you need to have a check-up soon,” she said smiling.

But he just remained silent, while still looking at her with the same fear showing on his face. He looked like he was scared that something was going to happen.

Maria didn’t understand. “Who or what is he frightened of?” She thought to herself.

“Are you ready?” She asked, referring to his check-up.

Por favor,” he exclaimed.

And she was really surprised at her grandfather’s sudden outburst. She wasn’t sure what was happening to him – was he sick – or just getting old? She needed to be more patient she thought to herself. She felt sorry for him. She decided to leave the room and go back to the reception area. Before closing the door of his room, she looked back at her grandfather and saw that he still look terrified, his sick eye staring out into the void of the room. While she was leaving, he was mumbling to himself, but she couldn’t discern what he was saying.

“He’s really getting worse,” Maria thought to herself. Maybe he would get even more worse during the next few days. All she can do is to get ready for such an eventuality. She closed the door and went back into the reception area.

SEIS

Marge had already arrived in the town of Vigan. She had to park her monstrous car outside the perimeter of the city, because motorized vehicles were forbidden in the inner environs. The local inhabitants believe that machines are the work of the devil. Marge needed to do some shopping for things that they needed at the villa, especially food. She managed to find a large grocery store. She bought some candles that they could light to honour the death anniversary of Maria’s aunt. It was almost as if she had forgotten Maria and her grandfather, when she was wandering around Vigan. But then she recalled the reactions of Crispin the caretaker who seemed to be shocked that she was staying at Villa Luciano and that Maria was her friend. She had tried to ask him what he meant, but he only became speechless – so she just left him and thanked him for his kindness in telling her how to drive to Vigan.

~

After Marge had finished shopping she drove to one of the nearest beach resorts called Santa Catalina. She soon found a hotel near the beach and checked in – the OveMar Hotel. After parking the car, she went straight to the lobby and asked the receptionist what activities were going on.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but there is not much going on at the moment, but you have access to the beach from here.”

In fact, Marge could even see the welcoming beach through the window behind the reception desk. The prospect was indeed invigorating, and stirred her expectations. “It’s all too beautiful, It’s all too beautiful,” thought Marge to herself. “I feel inclined to have some fun in the sun – it’s more fun in the Philippines,” they say, thought Marge.

“Is that so?” Marge said to the front desk officer, feigning disappointment.

“But the beach and other water activities are fully available, ma’am. You’ll surely enjoy our beach, ma’am,” the front desk officer offered.

“That sounds interesting. I’ll try that then,” she said. 

“You’re alone, ma’am?” The receptionist asked her, while she was writing down Marge’s personal details.

“Well, at the moment yes. But my friend will be following me here soon. I’ll just call her later,” she answered.

After she finished checking in, she walked to the beach, enjoying the air and the view; she took some quick photos, before going to the restroom to change into her swimwear.

~

She didn’t regret coming here, the beach was so serene.

On seeing and hearing the waves rolling back and forth her mind was cast back to her first love, her cousin, the handsome gentleman Lee: I was only 13 years old when we first consummated our love, but it was not to be. It was many a year ago now. The heavens tore him from my young heart. He lived not long on this earth, but he lived with no other thought than to love and be loved by me. I was a child and he was my lover in the kingdom by the sea. But we loved with a love that was more than love – I and my sweet lover Lee. With a love that the winged angels of heaven coveted him and me. And this was the reason that, long ago, in the kingdom by the sea, a cold wind blew out of a cloud, chilling my beautiful lover. So his highborn kinsman came and bore him away from me, and shut him up in a tomb in the kingdom by the sea. But our love it was stronger by far than the love of others – and neither the angels in heaven above, nor the demons down under the sea, can ever dissever my soul from the soul of my handsome lover Lee. Whenever I hear the sound of pounding waves, my heart always remembers my Lee, my love, my life, buried in the tomb there by the sea, in his tomb by the sounding sea. Marge was woken up from this daydreaming reverie with the squawking and wailing of an angry white gull flying overhead, which returned her mind to the present.

She decided to give Maria a call. It took her a few rings before Maria answered.

“Hello? Maria? I’m already here at Santa Catalina. Are you on your way here?” She asked.

“I’m sorry again, Marge. I can’t go there at this time; the caretaker is still not here to look after grandpa, so I decided to just stay here,” she explained.

“Oh! That’s sad that you can’t come, the place is really great. But it’s ok, family first of course. Take good care of the old man, okay?”

“I’m really sorry, Marge. Don’t worry I’ll make it up to you one of these days, I promise,” replied Maria.

“That’s a promise huh? Anyway I’ve already bought some food so no worries. I’ll just spend some more hours here then go back there.”

“That’s good. Take your time.”

“Alright. Bye.”

“Bye, Marge. Take care.”

After her phone conversation with Maria she decided to take a dip in the sea, before heading back to the villa. She swam back and forth not far from the shoreline – along the coast facing the South China Sea.  She wished she could stay another day so she could see the dawn coming up like thunder out of China across the sea in the morning, but she had to get back. Marge pondered, “Why is it called the “South China Sea” at all? Why isn’t it called the West Filipino Sea”?

After her swim, she decided to go back to the hotel and take a shower and have a rest.

~

She drove the long way back to the Villa Luciano. When she was driving towards the villa’s gatehouse she saw a silhouette of a man waving at her. She slowed the car down but could still not figure out who the man could be. She pulled the car up to a halt before driving under the archway of the gatehouse. The man was now waving his hand at her. So she wound down the car window a little bit and called out to him, “What do you want? Do you need something, Mister?” She asked.

The man walked in the direction of the car and she was then able to identify him. It was the caretaker Crispin who she had met recently in his small cottage. She wondered what he was doing here, or if he had been waiting for her arrival, hiding near the gatehouse. She had no clue. 

“Good afternoon, ma’am. Remember I’m Crispin the caretaker,” he began, “the one you asked about directions to Vigan town, if you remember?”

“Of course I remember,” she said, surprised at his question.

“Can we talk ma’am,” he politely asked.

“Of course. Here?” She asked.

“But it would be better if we could have some privacy. Excuse my effrontery, but can you drive me to my cottage, and we can talk along the way,” he asked with a cowering expression.

Marge thought his proposal absurd and slightly impertinent, and had doubts about this man who was almost a stranger – but she was intrigued, so agreed.

“Alright, go round the other side of the car – you can sit in the front,” she instructed him. 

~

Marge revved the twelve-cylinder engine, pressed down the clutch, and holding the ivory knob of the long floor-mounted gear lever, she thrust it into first gear. She released the handbrake, and pressed carefully down on the accelerator pedal, so as not to give free reign to all of the 250 horses of the J12 engine. Nevertheless, the back wheels kicked up the gravel on the road, and lifted the prow of the bonnet, so the flying stork (La Cigogne Volante) almost flew away.

When the car had reached a comfortable speed, Marge decided to open the conversation. She kept her eyes on the road ahead, but addressed him in a quiet and civilized tone, which was possible, because the V12 purred quietly like a contented lioness. Marge began, “Well, what is it that you want to talk about? You sounded very serious earlier,” she asked wondering.

“It’s about Villa Luciano, ma’am,” he started.

“What about it? And please call me Marge instead of ma’am, because I feel like I’m your employer when you call me that. By the way, I know your name is Crispin, but what’s your son’s name?” She asked.

“His name is Julio, Ma’am— err, Marge I mean,” he answered.

The country roads were tortuous. But because of the enormous power of the engine, Marge did not need to gear down when reducing speed; but the large vehicle was no sports car, so she had to slow down for the numerous bends in the road, but accelerated up to 85 mph on the few straight stretches of road and overtook the few puny modern vehicles on the route.

“Alright. It’s nice to meet you again. So anyway – what’s this all about”? Marge asked.

“She’s doing it again,” Crispin said obscurely, while shaking his head in dismay.

“Doing what? And who’s ‘she’?” She asked.

“How long have you known Maria?” He asked, ignoring her questions.

“Almost one year, I guess? I met her at work. Why do you ask?”

A knowing grin formed on his face, which developed into an enigmatic nodding of the head.

“And how much do you know?” He continued.

“I know a lot of things about her since we work in the same company, and I’m the one she’s most friendly with. And why do you keep on asking me things about me and her? Get straight to the point – what are you trying to say?” She asked, feeling a bit irritated, while swerving the two-ton vehicle dangerously to avoid a hedgehog crossing the road.   

“I’m sorry. But I just want to hear how you met a person that died six years ago,” he said in a very serious tone.

“Are you feeling well? There are reasons why our progressive government, led by our compassionate President Callahan, have implemented reform programmes to help poor people who are burdened with drug addiction due to antipathetic social conditions. I’m sorry if you have such a problem – but it seems to be the case, because what you’re saying now is tantamount to some kind of delirium,” said Marge in a sudden outburst, almost losing control of the car in a hazardous uphill hairpin bend.

“I’m sorry, I know this must all sound very far-fetched to you. I’m not a drug abuser, Marge. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve been living here all my life. Didn’t you ever wonder why in the extensive lands of the villa, which stretch for many miles in circumference, it is only me and my son who reside here. There’s just one reason for this,” he said while glancing at her sideways.

“Tell me then. Don’t make me more confused,” she said nervously.

“Okay. I’ll tell you. Señora Matilda died 8 years ago. She’s the late wife of the late Señor Pablo de Aragón y Castilla who also died 6 years ago, Maria’s grandparents,” he said.

“Late Señor Pablo? What do you mean? He’s gone too?” She asked and saw him nodding.

“But I saw him earlier, and he even talked to me?!” She informed him frantically.

“Let me finish first, please,” he said.

“Okay. I’m sorry,” she apologized.

“I’ve been their caretaker for almost twenty years. I was only nineteen years old, when I first started working there; I started to work there when my father became sick and I took over his job as caretaker. My father often took me with him to the Villa Luciano when I was younger. I saw everything that went on there, and I got to know Maria’s mother Clarita. She was just some years older than me. She died of complications after giving birth to Maria, so Maria grew up together with her grandparents and her father. Nobody knows where he is now, but some people say he’s living abroad. Maria was a very shy and silent girl as I remember – always alone, and staying in her room. She started to behave in a peculiar manner. She hardly talked to anybody, although I had a few words with her sometimes. After some time she began to be severely violent towards small animals. She burn one cat alive, stoned dogs and cut off the limbs of mice and rats. Her grandparents were worried about her behaviour, and took her to a well-known psychiatrist. After a few check-ups, Maria was diagnosed with early-onset schizophrenia at the age of eight,” he said.

Marge was unable to absorb all the things that she was hearing. Her head started to ache. But she decided to carry on listening to what Crispin had to say.

“At the age of ten, she became worse. Her grandparents saw that she was becoming more intractable and unfriendly. Her grandmother even had to prevent her from jumping from the balcony a couple of times. At the age of twelve, she progressed from hurting animals, to hurting herself and other people. And the servants always saw her talking and mumbling while walking along the hallways in the middle of the night. I also observed how she was sometimes walking around the hallways shouting and screaming uncontrollably, and becoming hysterical. At that point, the staff were instructed to bind her in a straightjacket. On some occasions a local doctor was called who administered electro-shock treatment, so that she became subdued for a period,” he went on.

Marge started to believe this incredulous story about her friend and colleague, and almost began to feel very sorry for the young Maria. She had to experience such terrible things at a very young age.

Crispin carried on telling his story: “Her grandmother, Señora Matilda died when Maria reached the age of fourteen. She then became even more uncontrollable without her grandmother’s soothing hand. Her grandfather couldn’t accept the death of his wife, and in some unfathomable way started to blame Maria for his wife’s death. So he came to hate and neglect the young Maria. It was during this time that I saw how the old villa became the host and home of cult activities. Señor Pablo imagined that if he pledged and sacrificed a pure soul it would bring his wife back to him. His servants became terrified at these goings on, and fled back to their homes. In the end I was the only one left. After a year of consistent study about the cult’s knowledge and demonic activities, Don Pablo decided to pledge and sacrifice a pure soul. And that was Maria. He sacrificed his own granddaughter to bring about his wife’s resurrection,” Crispin went on.

Marge didn’t quite know what to feel right now. That she was shocked is an understatement. She was having mixed emotions – fear, sympathy and empathy. Crispin continued his story, while Marge carried on driving almost in some kind of haze. 

“Do you know why he hated and blamed Maria for Señora Matilda’s death? Because Maria had killed the old woman by burning her alive. While her grandmother was sleeping, she had doused her in spirits and then set her on fire, because she had scolded her for torturing her black cat. Maria was sent to a mental institution right away by her grandfather. To avoid a family scandal – as the Luciano family were revered for miles around, he told people that the old woman had died by accident,” Crispin continued.

“At that time, when Maria had been forcibly admitted to a mental institution, Señor Pablo told me to visit her. This gave me the opportunity to ask her why she had committed that horrible crime. She answered that she only did it because her “imaginary” friends commanded her to do it,” Crispin added. 

He carried on, “the reason why Señor Pablo hid the facts about the death of his late wife was because of his hidden motive regarding Maria. He didn’t pursue the case towards Maria, but had her put into a mental institution instead,” said Crispin.

He continued, “He had planned to demonically sacrifice Maria, so as to get his wife back. He needed to sacrifice a virgin.”[5]

Crispin carried on. “Pablo believed that if he sacrificed Maria to the devil, the devil would bring his wife back to life.”

“Oh my god. Are you for real?!” Marge exclaimed, extremely terrified yet sympathetic towards her friend Maria.

“But all the stories have their twisted part,” he continued.

“What do you mean?” She asked.

“On the day of the sacrifice, it was decided that the gardener’s brother, Jose, a mentally deficient man of thirty, should represent the devil by proxy. Thus, she was drugged and bound and dragged down to the cellar, where an altar of sacrifice had been prepared. Witnessed by Pedro, and others who had been invited to view the ritual, the simpleton Jose violently raped Maria. Her agony and screams shook the very foundations of the villa’s cellar. The cellar was hereafter named, Casillero del Diablo. Jose was later mutilated by an ox, that first abused him, and then gored him to death,” said Crispin finishing his story. 

Marge started to feel sorry for Maria even more. And for the very first time, she became speechless.

SIETE

After being abused and raped by the mentally backward gardener, Jose, in her grandfather’s ritual sacrifice, Maria finally tipped over the edge and entered into another world of hallucinations and delusions. After the death of the gardener, she still believed that he entered her every night, and she would break out in screams waking the whole household. She also believed that her grandfather was using her in satanic rituals – physical and sexual abuse of her in occult rituals. Maria was unable to see the difference between dreams, or rather nightmares, and reality. But we also had problems, because she had been abused and raped, so it wasn’t completely unlikely that this happened on numerous occasions. There were even rumours going around the nearby village that the only reason Pedro had not taken her life in the sacrifice was that he wanted to carry on abusing her in the rituals to which he invited the wealthy and powerful of the region, so they could also take part in the mass rape of the poor child. So in the end we didn’t know what to believe.

Her deliriums and nightmares became too much, so that she was transformed into a pale ghost of her former self. Pablo finally had her interred in a mental asylum again. He had explained to the doctors in the asylum that Maria was suffering from female hysteria, and told them to ignore her protests that she is sane; Pablo pointed out that all mental patients claim to be sane, much as all criminals claim to be innocent. Of course, Pablo had her interred so he could say all her claims of his abuse of her were mere delusions of a sick mind.

She spent some weeks in the Maison de Sante or private mad-house, and the asylum’s doctor was a young man, Dr. Cordero, who was up-to-date on the latest medications and electro shock treatment – so after a period of time she could almost function like a normal person.

~

Marge and Crispin finally arrived at his cottage. But he still hadn’t finished his story. Marge parked the car outside, and they went inside, where Crispin’s son, Julio, was playing with some toys. Crispin disappeared into what must have been a small kitchen and reappeared with some light victuals – some local wine and biscuits. He continued his narrative, sitting in front of the fireplace.  

“After being interred in the mental institution for some weeks, Maria was released. After this, the rumour went around that Señor Pablo carried on committing his malignant deeds and performed pledging rituals. He invited all the rich and powerful men of the region. She was the main attraction; they took turns at abusing her for three consecutive weeks; the pledging ritual of Maria was always initiated by her grandfather, Pedro. The other men cheered Pedro as he abused his granddaughter, and then cheered each other as they took turns abusing her.”  

“And how did this all end,” asked Marge.

“One gloomy morning, a horrific view met my eyes. Señor Pablo lay on the floor outside a room at the rear of the building all covered in blood. He had been decapitated – his head was sliced off! I heard some steps behind me, and on turning saw Maria approaching with his head on a platter, which she offered to me.  The head was ugly beyond belief, because the eyes had been gouged out, and the tongue removed. The heart was missing in the decapitated torso. His death is still officially unsolved, though the main suspect is of course Maria,” he carried on. 

~

“I immediately contacted the authorities, but it would take them some time to arrive, because the villa is so isolated,” Crispin continued.

“I went to look for Maria, but she had mysteriously disappeared. Also, Pedro’s head had disappeared, as I had taken the platter and placed it beside the body, while I was contacting the authorities. The head was later found buried in the gardener’s dung heap.” 

~

“I went to look for Maria, but felt very apprehensive and scared. Every step I took walking along the hallways and going in and out of the rooms of the large villa filled me with angst. I went upstairs, opening every door on the right and left of the hallway. I finally found her in the seventh room, on the left. And what I saw terrified me beyond the extreme. I found Maria’s mutilated body, which had been so tortured and abused it was completely disfigured and unrecognizable. But I knew it was Maria because of the ring on her finger, which bore the initials, M.A.C, that is, María de Aragón y Castilla. I was so frightened and scared that I ran to the villa’s stables, and taking a horse rode as fast as I could to the local police station. I returned to the villa with the police. But when we arrived at the villa, her body had disappeared.    

~

Marge was becoming tired listening to this incredulous story about her office colleague Maria, so she was barely able to take it all in. Crispin had made some strong coffee and added a shot of Emperador deluxe brandy. Marge swallowed the laced coffee, which revived her, so she was able to continue listening to Crispin’s grotesque and what she thought at times must be a fanciful story.

“After the deaths of Señor Pablo and Maria, a number of young girls went missing every year. And they were last sighted in this province before they disappeared. Five young girls had already disappeared. It was usually girls travelling alone on holiday to the province, who were going to meet up with friends later – but they never met them.”

Crispin took a long pause, poured a double Emperador, and downed it in one. He continued.

        “And do you know her last victim? I say “her”, because it is obvious that Maria never died, as she is here in the flesh now. My whole body freezes up when I tell you this – her last victim was my own daughter, Elena. Maria had become so obsessed with sacrifice, rape, abuse and death that she herself had now become the perpetrator, when before she had been the victim. So she delighted in abusing, torturing and murdering others, especially young girls. She had bound my daughter with rope and sacrificed her on a stone altar in the cellar of Villa Luciano, now infamously called Casillero del Diablo. Until now, I still dream of her – while she’s being abused and sacrificed by Maria, I can hear her calling, ‘Daddy come and help me!’ But I wasn’t there to help her. I can never forgive myself.”

        Crispin put his head between his knees and began to sob uncontrollably. After some time he seemed to recover.

        “At least I thought I could find the perpetrator of my innocent daughter’s death and torture. I enlisted the help of the villa’s gatekeeper, Igor, and we proceeded to dig up Maria’s grave. The grave was deep, so it took us many hours of hard labour. However, our labour bore no fruit. All we found was an empty casket covered in large strange handprints.

Crispin took out of his pocket a packet of cigarettes – La Bella Filipina, and offered Marge one, which she politely refused. He lit up his own cigarette with his father’s Zippo lighter. His father had been given the lighter by a US soldier during World War Two. His father had fought for the “Huks”, Hukbong Laban sa Hapon, a guerrilla movement of peasant farmers that had defended their homeland against the Japanese invasion; victorious, they were part of the forces that liberated Manila from the Japanese.

Taking a long drag of his cigarette, he exhaled the smoke through his nostrils and continued his story.

“And it came to me that she’s not dead and she was the reason for the disappearance of all the girls in this province. And I’m still trying to find out where she hides the bodies of all her victims,” Crispin said, as he began to sob uncontrollably again.

“Are you sure it was Maria? She’s sweet and she’s alive actually. I can’t imagine she is a monster,” Marge said, with a fearful expression on her face.

She continued, “How could she work together with me all this time, for months, and be my friend, and appear perfectly normal?” Marge asked.

“I don’t know – but some people say that antipsychotic drugs can have a normalizing effect, while if the patient stops taking the drugs due to side effects, they can revert to their original psychotic condition. But I don’t understand all these new scientific ideas, all I know is that ‘the Devil is such a good pretender, she will never show you her real appearance with the horns, tail and fangs until she wants to show you her real intentions.’ It’s not the same Maria anymore – maybe it’s her body – but her soul has been taken over by the devil. I don’t know. Some say the devil took possession of her soul while she was asleep, or even after she died.”

“How can you say that Maria did all of those things? Do you have proof?” asked Marge.

“Aside from her missing dead body, some people say that they saw Maria walking at night or they saw Maria walking near the Villa’s entrance. And I also heard unusual sounds and some familiar voices every time I enter the villa late in the evening. I’m still looking for my daughter, but it seems that her body is well-hidden somewhere. Is she alive or dead I don’t know? Maria is clever at hiding her victims. I always dream of my daughter – that she is perhaps alive and kept imprisoned somewhere. Maria’s grandfather abused her in the cellar of the villa, but there are also stories circulating that he abused many others. No one has all the keys to all the doors in the labyrinth of the cellars. There is also talk that Maria is carrying on with the rituals where she had once been the victim, and that she chooses young virgins to abuse and keeps them barely alive in some extremity of the passageways in the cellar. This is my wish – that I can find all these young girls alive including my daughter,” said Crispin hopefully, but sadly.

He took a pause from recounting his narrative, and poured himself another Emperador brandy.

He continued, “There is also a rumour that Maria has an accomplice – otherwise how could she commit all these crimes on her own? Maria’s grandfather Pedro had found a barefoot orphan child begging on the streets of Ermita in Manila, and raised him in secret in one of the villa’s cottages, where he hired a woman of ill repute called Jane, who he also met on the streets of Ermita, and had enjoyed her services. It is said that this child, Manuel Brezo, is descended from the negrito peoples, although the father was reputed to be an American soldier stationed in Angeles. He is forever indebted to the Luciano family for rescuing him from the deprivation of the streets of Ermita, and is pledged to being their servant for life. This faithfulness he now shows to Maria. So he follows her biddings no matter how perverse they may be, because he thinks the Luciano family is synonymous with goodness. His soul reflects that of his mistress Maria, demonic and hellish. In his devious exploits, he is also helped by Jane, who is not much older than he – both being in their twenties now. They have been protected and remunerated by the Luciano family ever since they were rescued from the streets of Ermita, and will do anything they are instructed to do. Despite the demonic nature of Manuel Brezo, his appearance is that of a gentleman in dress and aspect,” said Crispin, concluding his account of Maria’s helpers.

~

Marge felt absolutely confused and exhausted by all these revelations – in fact she thought this must all be some kind of nightmare she was dreaming in the daytime – a “daymare”. But even if only part of what Crispin had told her was true, she asked herself: “What does she want from me? Why did she befriend me and bring me here? For what reason?”

~

“I’ve already talked to my psychic friend and my cousin the parish priest in the town of Bantay. Both of them have the same theory. They believe she is looking for victims, so as to gain more energy, power and strength, because the evil continues living, using Maria’s dead body. And it’s also how they mock the virgin Mary, the one they hate the most.

“I don’t know what to think,” Marge said.

“I’ve been waiting for this chance. Tomorrow is the anniversary of Maria’s death, October 31st, what the heathens call Samhain, but which we God-fearing Christians call All Hallows’ Eve. It’s the day on which we Christians celebrate pain, torture and murder; the bloody murder and torture of the son of the virgin Mary, Jesus, and other martyrs. We celebrate the dead, and prepare to enter the period of darkness ruled by the devil. We need to ward off the evil spirits that flourish in this period of darkness – the demons, witches, and hobgoblins. It’s the same day on which all her victims went missing,” he continued.

“So even the story about aunt Lisa isn’t real,” Marge asked.

“It was Maria who died on October 31st – it’s her death anniversary. Aunt Lisa was real – that’s her late mother’s oldest sister. But she died before Maria was born, so Maria never even knew her. But it is also true her aunt died on October 31st, but as I mentioned, it’s more than a score years ago.”

“Yes. She told me that tomorrow will be the day of her aunt’s death anniversary,” she said to Crispin

“Indeed, that’s also what she has told others whom she tricked to come here,” he said.

“I just can’t believe Maria would have any evil designs on me,” she exclaimed, teary eyed.”

Marge was exhausted and said to Crispin she needed to take a walk in the garden to refresh herself. After walking around the garden lost in thought, she started to believe Crispin’s story. Perhaps she needed to cooperate with him in some way so as to avoid her own demise. She walked back to the cottage, and when she entered the living room, she saw that he was still sitting in the same position with a pensive look on his face. His son Julio was putting some of his things in a small traveling bag.

“He’s leaving tonight with his mother. We actually live in Vigan town – this house was my father’s house – we sometimes come here to breathe in the fresh air of the forest,” he said to her, when he saw her looking at Julio packing his bag.

“What should we do now? I’m scared. I’m not ready to leave this earth yet,” she said, crying.

“I have a plan, but we need to talk to my psychic friend, Lander, and my cousin, father Simeon,” he said while getting ready.

“Alright. But remember you told me you saw something in the second room?” She asked nervously.

He stopped what he was doing and looked at her.

“I saw Maria climb the wall to the ceiling by crawling along using her long and sharp dead fingernails – and then she suddenly stopped and slowly looked at me with bloodshot eyes and her mouth wide open, so that I almost swooned from the shock of the sight,” he said.

“So that was the sounds I heard, when I was exploring the rooms!” Said Marge.

OCHO

Even though Maria was one of her closest friends, she still needed to cooperate with their plan of stopping her evil deeds. Now she was able to connect everything – such as Maria’s odd behaviour ever since she had first met her. Marge hadn’t paid much attention to this before, because she had thought at the time that it was “normal”. Maria had been absent at work many times unaccountably. She didn’t socialize with people that much either. Sometimes she had caught Maria talking to herself, babbling incoherently, while smiling to herself. Sometimes blaspheming, and speaking in tongues she could never have learned. She didn’t even know where Maria had been living all this time. And now Marge just wanted to run away and go back to where she came from, but she thought she had to help them catch Maria for her crimes, although she wasn’t even sure who the “real” Maria was.

~

They drove the car to the Bantay parish to meet Crispin’s psychic friend, Lander, and his cousin, the priest of the local church. The old church had a small study, where they all met.

“But we can’t be sure. Maybe she knows what we’re up to; we need to be careful,” Lander said, Crispin’s psychic friend.

“I know. There’s no turning back, this is our chance,” Crispin added.

“Don’t be scared, Marge, because God’s always with us – He’s our greatest weapon.” Father Simeon’s words gave Marge hope.

“Thank you, father. I hope that everything will be okay,” she replied.

“I’ve been studying this case for a long time, and I have confirmed most of the facts by now. And the Bishop has just approved my request to perform a sexual exorcism on Maria, because we believe she is copulating with the devil; we have solid proof now, with people like Crispin as witnesses,” Father Simeon continued.

“You can go there first, Marge – and we’ll come later. Don’t be scared, because we’ll arrive not long after you, Lander said.

“I will recite prayers for you – St. Michael and St. Benedict prayers – so as to protect you. And I’ll give you holy water that you can put in a drink you can give to her – it will make her sleep, but we still need to be careful, because the devil comes in different forms,” Father Simeon said briefly.

“Buy her something you can offer her as a drink from the nearby store and then put some of the holy water in it,” Crispin added.

~

Maria put the holy water that Father Simeon had given her into her haversack. After father Simeon had said prayers for Marge, she got in the car and drove to the store to buy the drink for Maria.

~

Marge was already on her way to the villa, driving alone. She was very apprehensive and drove very slowly; so slowly in fact that Lander’s car appeared as a tiny speck behind her in the rear-view mirror. She assumed that the car had three occupants, Crispin, Father Simeon and Lander. She was really scared out of her wits, and her shaking hands were barely able to grasp the gigantic ivory steering wheel of the Hispano Suiza. By the time she reached the villa, the sun had long since set. She drove the car past the gatehouse, and parked it near the front entrance like before. It was pitch black, but there was a light over the front door of the villa, under which she could see the figure of Maria waving at her. Marge felt very confused – was this Maria her dear friend – or the fiendish she-devil as described by Crispin, Lander and the parish priest? Maria got out of the car slowly. She needed to act normal or else everything they had planned would go to waste. She grabbed her haversack with the cranberry juice and other food she had bought earlier. Maria immediately ran towards her to help her when she saw she had things to carry.

“How was your trip to the city,” Maria asked, smiling. Marge tried to read something else into her smile, but let it go, and tried to focus on the plan they had hatched.

“I- it was g-great b-but tiring. H-how’s your g-grandfather,” said Marge swallowing hard, as they walked towards the kitchen so she could deposit the groceries she had bought.

“He’s okay. And now he’s resting,” she replied, and smiled her enigmatic smile.

“T-that’s great. I-I brought some food, let’s eat,” she offered hiding her nervousness, but she still couldn’t help stammering. She just hoped that Maria wasn’t suspicious of her behaviour.

I see you’ve bought some food, but I’ve just finished eating, Marge. Maybe I’ll eat later,” Maria said.

They walked into the kitchen and Marge gave Maria the food she had bought so she could store it away in the butlery, which was accessible from the kitchen. Marge held back the cranberry juice, and went to the cupboard and retrieved two glasses, while Maria’s was putting the food away. She poured the cranberry juice into the glasses, and added the holy water, and placed both glasses on the table in the dining area in the kitchen.

When Marge walked back into the kitchen, Maria said to her, while glancing at the table where the glasses of cranberry juice were placed – I’ve bought some wonderful fresh cranberry juice, why don’t you try it – they say it’s good for your health, and wards off evil sicknesses. 

“I’ll drink it later,” she said, not even glancing at the juice.

“Are you sure?” Marge asked.  

Marge began to have doubts. She still looked like the same old Maria, sweet and shy. She couldn’t believe that she’s some kind of an evil virago – a termagant – a dragon-lady. Not with the way she talks and not with the way she behaves either. She looks like a normal healthy shea girl, but like Crispin said, the devil is a great pretender.

“What are you thinking? Why are you so silent?” Maria asked while staring at her.

“Nothing. Just tired,” Marge replied, looking down at the floor as she couldn’t stand the intensity of her stare.  

“Of course, I understand you must be tired going from one place to another,” Maria answered, which sounded ominous to Marge. Marge wasn’t sure if she was just being paranoid, or if Maria’s words had a double meaning.

“W-what d-do you mean?” She asked nervously.

“You visited places, right? That’s maybe the reason why you feel drained,” she answered.

“Ah yeah. Don’t let the juice get warm – taste just a little bit, I bought it especially for you,” she said picking up the glass and offering it to Maria once again. But Maria just looked blankly at Marge.

“Of course you bought it for me. What’s so special about that juice – why do you keep insisting that I drink it?” Maria asked while staring at her with emotionless eyes.

“B-because i-it w-will get too warm if you don’t drink it now,” she reasoned, while avoiding her chilling gaze.

“Alright. That drink seems so special – I will drink it later. And let’s rest for now – we have a long night ahead of us,” said Maria with a meaningful smirk.

Marge wasn’t able to argue like before, because she’s too scared and has the feeling that Maria might even attack her. She’s getting more and more worried with every passing minute. She was already making her way upstairs when she remembered she’d forgot something, so she turned back and walked towards the kitchen. She saw that Maria was still in the kitchen, so she walked as slowly and silently as possible. She then saw something that gave her a jolt. Maria was pouring the cranberry juice down the sink. Marge quickly turned around and went upstairs to her room, and locked the door. She couldn’t stop walking back and forth in the room thinking about what she ought to do. She was shaking uncontrollably and decided to message Crispin that Maria had thrown away the cranberry juice; perhaps he had some idea what she might do now? How she wished that the morning would come soon.

NUEVE

A scratching sound woke up Marge. She quickly got up when she discovered that she had fallen asleep, which wasn’t exactly in her plan. She immediately grabbed her phone and checked the time, it’s almost 2 am. Then she looked towards where the sound was coming from; a sudden feeling of fear washed through her entire body. She decided to message Crispin and looking at her phone she saw that she had missed a couple of calls and text messages. She quickly opened the messages.

From: Crispin

We’re just here waiting. Father Simeon said that it’s still okay if she didn’t drink the juice with holy water.

From: Crispin

The wind is rising and getting stronger. The trees are moving in an unusual way. Are you okay?

From: Crispin

Lander has already seen Maria’s apparition. Are you alright? Please message us back.

From: Crispin

We’ll enter the villa in a few moments. Both Lander and Father Simeon can feel the negativity getting heavier. We hope you’re okay.

~

Crispin’s messages just made her more scared.  After messaging him back, she stood up and observed the surroundings, looking to where the scratching sounds were coming from. She became scared imagining what thing could be making that sound. She slowly and silently walked towards the door and checked if it was still locked. When she saw that the door was locked, she leaned against it trying to hear if there was anybody outside. She was almost going away from the door when she suddenly heard footsteps that were coming towards her. As the steps got nearer, her heart began to beat faster as well. The footsteps stopped in front of her door and she heard something hoarsely breathing. Her body froze. Then that someone outside was trying to open the door in a hurry, and was rattling the doorknob.

“Marge?” A hoarse and raspy voice called her name. And she wasn’t mistaken – it was Maria. But she kept silent and listened intently.

“Margeeee,” Maria called hoarsely in a singsongy way. Her voice changed – it now became sharp and sounded like she was losing her breath. Marge silently walked towards the bed while crying.

Then Maria stopped calling her; Marge went back to the door and it seemed that Maria had gone away already. She was able to peek between the doorframe and the door, and she saw Maria with her bloodshot eyes looking straight towards the crack through which she was peeking. She hurriedly ran towards her bed and picked up her phone. She was calling Crispin, when she heard a loud bang coming from the direction of the door. She was waiting for Crispin to answer her call, while staring intently at the door.

“Hello? Marg—.” She dropped the phone when the door suddenly burst open. She automatically walked backwards when she saw Maria coming towards her – her body was all bent. She looked almost like some kind of perverse gymnast, walking towards her with her body all twisted. Her fingers had turned into knife-like nails. Marge started to weep uncontrollably, but managed to reach into her haversack to retrieve the small bottle of holy water. She tried to be brave even though she was shaking badly.

“Maria? What happened to you?” She asked, terrified and saw that she had stopped walking, and was trying to straighten up her body.

“Come here, Marge,” Maria said while opening her arms welcoming an embrace, while her head was still twisted to one side. Marge stepped backwards from this vision of Maria in the shape of a witch, with bloodshot eyes, and a wide and gaping smiling mouth full of protruding sharp teeth. Her hair hung down in strands, and she waved her arms around uncontrollably, her long nails making a swishing sound through the air.   

“Please, whoever you are. Leave me alone,” she shouted.

“I’m your friend, Marge. I’m Maria,” she said, and started walking towards her again her bones making cracking sounds like they were breaking. Her body started to contort again, and this gave Marge the chance to run out of the room. But before she could reach the open door, Maria had crawled so quickly forward with her head moving jerkily to the left and right, and then she jumped at Marge. Marge released the loudest scream she could, and fell down to the floor. When she looked up, she saw Maria clinging to the ceiling with her long nails. She had clattered quickly up to the ceiling and was now facing downwards towards Marge who lay prone on the floor. Maria let out an unearthly scream, and opening her mouth full of sharp teeth, she fell down on top of Maria cutting Marge’s neck and lapping up the red fluid that oozed out. Marge blacked out.  

~

Before the events described above, Crispin had tried to message and call Marge, but she hadn’t answered.

“I really hope she’s okay,” said Crispin while dialling Marge’s number, but she didn’t answer. Because there was no response from Marge, the three of them were already making their way to the villa. They had been calling her for hours, but she hadn’t answered any of the calls.

~

When they entered the villa, they saw Marge sitting comfortably on the couch in the living room. She looked pale and drawn. She was wearing a velvet band around her neck, which Crispin thought peculiar, as he couldn’t remember that she had been wearing it before. They hurriedly walked towards her.

“What happened? Are you okay?” Crispin asked in a low voice.

“Yes. I’m okay, so all of you can leave now,” Marge answered them standing up.

“What are you saying? Did she scare you?!” He asked.

“Maria isn’t evil. And she’s okay, sleeping upstairs already. So you need to go before she wakes up,” she stated oddly. Something’s not right.

The three of them looked at each other with confused expressions. When they entered the villa and saw how Marge sat there fearless – right at that moment, Crispin already knew that something had happened.


[1] First death anniversary, one year after the death.

[2] Arriba (Spanish): Go, go! Come on, come on!

[3] Filipino breakfast dish where bangus (milkfish) is split open, marinated overnight in a vinegar solution, and then pan-fried until crisp and golden.

[4] Members of the Igorot tribe of Mountain Province in northern Philippines have long practised the tradition of burying their dead in hanging coffins, nailed to the sides of cliff faces high above the ground. Comfortably predating the arrival of the Spanish, the procedure can probably be traced back more than two millennia. https://www.roughguides.com/article/hanging-coffins/

[5] Sacrificing children has been practiced by several “civilizations”, such as the hundreds of children sacrificed in Peru by the Chimu civilization.

Ploy

by

M. Maharlika[1]


[1] This is a true story told to M. Maharlika, who has tried to remain faithful to the report she received from Professor John McClean.  

1

“Ladies and gentlemen, British Airlines welcomes you to Bangkok, Thailand. The local time is 8:30 p.m. For your safety and the safety of those around you, please remain seated with your seat belt fastened and keep the aisles clear until we are parked at the gate. The Captain will then turn off the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign, indicating it is safe to stand. Please use caution when opening the overhead compartments and removing items, since articles may have shifted during flight,” the FA announced as we landed at Suvarnabhumi airport.

I felt the excitement as I walk towards the airport exit. This place is a haven for me since I live in a windswept rainy place that might be compared to a deep freezer (I live on Rhum in the Western Isles, Scotland). I’ve been to Bangkok a few times, but it always feels like my first time here, especially as I haven’t been here for a few months since last time. But still, I can’t wait to experience the best in this place.

As I reached the loading area, I received a message from the hotel that the car would arrive in a few minutes.

“Taxi, Sir?” A local taxi driver kindly offered me a ride.

“No, thank you. I’ve already booked a car – it will be arriving soon,” I humbly declined the driver’s offer.

“Okay, Sir,” the taxi driver said, and then made the same offer to some tourists nearby.

I looked around the area and saw a lot of people arriving and departing. I was amazed, the place is really a blast. I’m one hundred percent sure that I’ll enjoy my stay here.

After a few minutes of waiting, the car from the hotel arrived. I was going to stay in Hua Hin, at Citin Loft Hotel, a 4-star hotel. Hua Hin is a seaside resort on the Gulf of Thailand and the area is also known for its beautiful beach. I’ve been here before, but I can’t wait to roam around the place some more, as I really love to jog or walk along the beach, shop in the markets, eat in the restaurants, drink in the bars, and everything else.

“What time will we arrive at the hotel?” I asked the driver of the car.

“Sir?” The driver didn’t seem to understand me.

“Do you speak English?” I asked him.

“Yes, sir,” he quickly replied.

“I was asking how long till we get to the hotel?” I asked again.

“Ah okay, sir. Three ’our – if no twaffic,” he answered cheerfully.

“Alright. I’ll just take a rest on the seat,” I replied. Fortunately, the car was a large comfortable saloon, a Toyota Camry, so I was able to stretch out on the back seat and nod off; I was woken up at regular intervals though due to the uneven Thai highway, which was punctuated by cracks and bumps. After the slightly arduous journey, we finally arrived at the hotel.

“Welcome to the Citin Loft Hotel! Enjoy your stay!” The attractive girl behind the front desk cheerfully announced, as I arrived at the hotel. After receiving my key card, a bellboy led the way to the elevator with my luggage on a trolley.

“Room number sir”? The bellboy asked as we approached the elevator.

“Yes. Room 706,” I replied.

“This way, sir,” the bellboy said, as we got out of the elevator on the seventh floor.

The Thai people are always nice and respectful, constantly smiling and bowing their heads making a wai[1] – it’s very welcoming for me as a foreigner visiting here.

After fixing my things inside the room, I ordered some food and then planned to rest, as it was quite late. It had been a very long day for me, 14 hours travel by air from London to Bangkok, and then three hours in the hotel car – so I was pretty exhausted. But still, I can’t wait for tomorrow to come and roam around the places that I’m planning to visit.

I lay down on the bed, and sent a text message to my Thai girlfriend:

“Just arrived. Maybe we can see each other tomorrow whenever you’re free?”

(Message sent) (One message received)

“Ok. 2morrow – I see u.”

“Miss you. Meet in Soi 80 at 5 p.m.” (Message sent) (One message received)

“Okay :-).”

One of the reasons why I’m here is because of Ploy Chai, a Thai beauty. the girl-woman I was talking to on the phone. I put my phone down on the bedside table after reading the last message, and started eating the Khao phat[2], hoping it wouldn’t taste like its pronunciation.

Let me quickly introduce myself. The reader is perhaps under the illusion that this is a work of fiction. Well I’m sorry to disappoint her. This is a true story – or rather one episode in the travels and research of Professor John McClean. As you can see from my name, I am of Celtic origin and not tainted by German blood like one of my cousins (who has relations on Rhum, where I live). Albeit, there is no such thing as a pure race of Scots, as they are tainted by many races, such as the Norse and the Spanish amongst others – but that’s another story.

I would preferably like to wander around incognito while whoring and drinking, but my idiosyncratic appearance prevents this – my female acquaintances, even if I haven’t seen them for months and years, always recognize me at 100 paces. Obviously, the girls want to recognise me, not because of my stud-like qualities, but because I always remunerate them generously. In other words, the girls and women can spot me at 100 paces – my tall lanky frame, and large-eyed disdainful expression

Without going into a lengthy description of my appearance, let’s just say I resemble a British comedian called John Cleese, famous for his role as Mr. Fawlty. John Cleese is famous for his “silly walk”, which he demonstrated in the episode “The Germans”. I am fortunate because I was born with a “silly walk”, and didn’t have to learn it (also making me more easily recognizable at 100 paces). I also wear a John Cleese like moustache. I am happy with my so-called “funny-man” appearance – after all, women are attracted to funny rich men! (I’m not so rich, but the girls think I am)

Ploy and I had been together for three years already. I met her the first time I came to Hua Hin. She was working in one of the bars in Soi 80 – where we were going to meet tomorrow. After we had a few meet ups, I offered to help her so she could stop working in the bar as a bargirl[3], and maybe start a small business instead. I paid for everything, supported her financially and also her family. I was really attracted to her the first time I saw her and that attraction grew fonder, so I was willing to give her a lot for her to be happy with me.

The first time I saw Ploy, she was busy running in and out of Bar 80 chasing a small white poodle that was in danger of being run down by scooters and tuk tuks[4]  that intermittently zoomed down the street. Her long ebony black hair flashed from side to side across her petite back; even in such unrehearsed movements – her hips tightly clad in short shorts of denim gyrated in the pronounced fashion of bargirls. Her face is iconically beautiful – pronounced high Isaan cheekbones, and heavily mascaraed Cleopatra eyes. As mentioned, I was also staying at Citin Loft on this first meeting, which is just a stone’s throw from Soi 80. I met her by chance in the street, being bored staying in the hotel room. When I passed Bar 80, Ploy went into ‘bargirl mode’: “Welkum, handsome man”! I was immediately captivated by her manner and beauty. She chaperoned me to a bar stool where I ordered a gin tonic, and she immediately started to massage my neck, while I was sipping the exquisitely strong gin tonic. “Rikki” Ploy shouted, and the white poodle comically bounded out on to the narrow street again. Ploy took a break from massaging my neck and ran out after the dog. My mind managed to focus again after Ploy left off massaging my neck. I became aware of another alluring visage behind the bar – who had actually served me the gin and tonic. She was more diminutive than Ploy, but had the same inviting smile – she was perhaps even prettier – although slightly older – both “girls” were rather “women” in their 30s – but had retained the beauty of youth.  The woman behind the bar counter had features that were almost Indian-like . My attention as mentioned was now focused on this other beauty – but she was limited in her verbal response compared to Ploy. Her name was Noi. She was the manager of the bar, and Ploy’s “sister”[5] (actually her cousin).

2

I woke up late the next morning. In fact, it was already 12 noon when I got up. I checked my phone and saw Ploy had called me a few times and sent me some messages.

(Four calls missed) (Six messages received)

“Good morning, dear.”

“R u ’wake? Werking?”

“We meet 5 p.m. ok?”

“U busy?”

I quickly dialled her number when I read her messages. She answered on the second ring.

“Hello, dear?” Ploy began, her deep but angelic voice brightened up my day, like she usually does.

“Hi! I’m sorry I didn’t answer your calls immediately, because I just woke up,” I explained.

“Ok – I wurry u not reply,” she sweetly replied. making me smile.

“Thank you. We’ll meet at 5 p.m. ok?”

“Ok – I get ready. I want see u,” she said happily.

“Me too,” I replied.  

“See u,” she just said.

“Yeah. See you so–.” I didn’t finish my sentence, because she ended the call suddenly.

She often did that, and I didn’t know if she was busy or what. Sometimes I feel that she has less and less affection towards me every single time we meet. But I choose to think positively, because there’s no room for doubt with the girl that I truly adore. ~  

I’m already walking along Soi 80 at 4 p.m., and we chose to meet at Jimmy’s reggae bar. I ordered a San Mig beer – I wanted to have some red wine – but Jimmy’s bar didn’t cater to such “special” tastes. I sat drinking my San Mig waiting for my Asian Thai-beauty, my own Suzie Wong – just as Richard Mason had sipped a San Mig a half-a-century before waiting for his Chinese girl in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

“Here your beer sir. Enjoy!” The guy said smiling, who was working in Jimmy’s bar – Jimmy was in Sweden looking after his well-endowed young Swedish wife, and their kid.

“Thank you,” I said.

I had almost finished my beer, when I saw Ploy walking along Soi 80, swaying her hips, and smiling at her friends in the various bars. It felt like the first time I saw her. She looked gorgeous with her little black dress that hugged her petite body perfectly. She walked along the street getting near the bar, and I noticed how the men in the bar on the other side of the street ogled her with expressions of disbelief.

I was sitting outside the bar, perched on a bar stool – I waved my hand and she saw me straight away. As soon as she saw me, she gave me that same sexy and sweet smile she always reserved for me.

“Hi, handsome,” she greeted,

“Wow! You look sexy, darling,” I said half-serious and half in earnest.

“Thank U,” she said.

She sat on the vacant bar stool next to me, and waved to the bartender, and asked for a “Mai Tai.”

“Did you eat already?” I asked.

“It ok – we eat later,” she said, sitting on the bar stool next to me.

I don’t know why I felt so uneasy. Maybe her presence really intimidated me to the core. I’d been travelling around Asia for years, and met and had carnal knowledge of all kinds of female beauties, but only she could make me feel like this. Specially now, with her short sexy black dress showing the pale skin of her skinny legs, and her pert young girl breasts. My blood was already raging for Pete’s sake! Her long silky hair was ruffled and she looked at me with her beautiful sleepy brown eyes. There was an immediate movement in my pants, which comically reminded me of the Blackadder quote, “Am I glad to see you or did I just put a canoe in my pocket?”

“U ok? Why u not talk?” She asked when she noticed my sudden silence.

“Yes, I’m okay. What about you?” I said; she touched my hand and I felt an electric shock – how could I still feel like this after knowing her for so long, I wondered.

“Why?” She asked, a bit confused.

“Nothing. Anyway how’s your shop doing in the market?” I asked.

“Ok – but no tourist – so I close shop. I work Bar 80 now, she answered in a mute tone.

“Why? I thought the shop would be okay? What about the money I sent you?” I asked, not so happy about what she was telling me.

“My babies need things.” She answered still avoiding my gaze.

Ploy had two daughters in the Ubon Ratchathani region that lived with Ploy’s mother on a small farm in the Isaan countryside. She called them her “babies”, although they were both 15 years old and going to school. In fact, one daughter wasn’t a “daughter” at all, but a niece, the daughter of her brother who had died in a motorbike accident.  

“But I thought I sent you some money for them too, right? And why are you just telling me this now?” I asked, confused.

I thought I had sent her more than enough for her “kids” and her mother, so she wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore. I was also paying her rent for a small house in Soi 80.  

“Grandma sick – go hospit’l,” she said quietly. I could see she didn’t want to talk about the topic much. Or rather, I didn’t want to talk about the topic, because any talk about problems and money had an inevitable outcome – more problems and more money.

“Okay, okay. Next time tell me what’s happening.” I just said, because I thought she could find better things to do.

“Ok,” she said smiling.

“What’s it like in the Bar 80 now?” I asked.

“Same ’fore – more girl now,” she answered in a low voice.

3

“Shop no good – no sell. Sister Bar 80 – she need help,” Ploy continued.

“So what you do there?” I asked.  

“Serve dwink,” she said.

“Okay. But you don’t need to work there, I can always give you a little extra,” I said to her.

“I werk bar cause promise Noi,” she said.

I didn’t have any choice but to accept the fact she was working in a girly-bar again. I didn’t like the idea she would be catering to a lot of pre-historic, fat, bald men wanting massages with “happy endings”. These men, although decrepit, were also naive enough to believe that on arriving in Thailand they were magically transformed into God’s gift to women, some kind of Casanova.

It was perhaps naive of me to worry about her making a fool of me, by having other boyfriends; her girlfriends would be aware of this “double play” – that is having several farang[6] boyfriends at the same time – as this is “normal” practice among bargirls. Thus, they try to schedule their boyfriend visits in such a way that they don’t all turn up at the same time. But why should I worry about her “making a fool of me” when all farang men were “fools”. In this context, “in-the-know” expatriates know that “You can take the girl out of the bar, but you can’t take the bar out of the girl…..”[i] For the “naive” farang in Thailand, there are plenty expatriate blogs and webpages offering their advice on this topic.[7]

“Okay. But I hope you can get your shop going again,” I said.

“Tank you darrling,” she said with a smile. 

We had a few drinks that made us tipsy. Partly drunk, I was thinking that I couldn’t wait to get her back to the hotel room so I could fuck her blind.  

“We go Chang Bar – I want meet fwend,” she half commanded me. Ploy wasn’t like a lot of other Thai girls, because she liked to take control – other girls would often say, “It’s up to you.”

“Oh my God, I tired,” I said, starting to talk “Thai English” by leaving out the modal auxiliaries.

“Cum we go!” She commanded.

“Ok – but not too long okay? We go back hotel soon, so we fuck, ok?” I said.

She more or less ignored this last frank suggestion of mine, and said, “We go.”

Although Ploy was very beautiful, and attracted the attention of other farang, she wasn’t the kind of sexy doll that stopped men in their tracks. Such a girl was my Filipina girlfriend Fatima. When walking next to me down Mabini Street, Malate, strutting along in her high heels, her braless breasts pointing straight ahead, and hips swinging to and fro – the Chinese, Japanese and Korean tourists couldn’t control their gazes, and just stared silently wide-eyed. The Filipina men were so threatened by her strutting sexuality that they sometimes made lewd comments, which I fortunately didn’t understand, but could infer from their ridiculing-cheeky expressions. 

We ended up at the Chang Bar. “Chang” means elephant in Thai – which is obviously culturally important to the Buddhist Thais. Chang is also the brand name of one of the best-selling Thai beers. Thai beer is quite good, and similar to Northern European lager (pils) rather than hoppy flat British beer. Other Thai brands are Singha and Leo amongst others. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Thais have stolen the “elephant” idea from the Danish Carlsberg, who use the elephant motif on their labels.

The Chang Bar was hardly a bar at all – if there were 15 people there it was already pretty crowded. It was squeezed in between the Bangkok to Surat Thani railway line and the busy Prapokklao Road. The plywood wall of the latrine in the bar was all that separated the bar from the locomotives that rumbled by two or three yards away several times a day. On the other side of the open-front bar the drinking guests were only a yard or two away from the busy, noisy road that spewed fumes into the bar. But the bar guests were usually oblivious of these little points while they sat there being charmed by the very attractive, vivacious and intelligent manageress, Plūk.      

Meeting her “fwend”, usually meant that I was the sucker who paid for the evening’s entertainment; in other words, not just “fwends”, but the owners of the bar who were also her/my “fwends”, and anybody else – that is, “hangers-on”.

Ploy got a bit upset, because I touched the inner thigh of the bar owner, Plūk – who is very sexy and flirty – I blamed it on the booze. Sometimes I wish I had a girlfriend like Plūk, because she’s a “normal” girl with sexual interests. But she goes through farang boyfriends like there’s no tomorrow – in fact, she specializes in Norwegians, and is now quite fluent in Norwegian.

The Thai “street” girls are “street smart” – so they may not know what is the population of their own country or that of Norway – or the GNP per inhabitant of Norway. However, they instinctively know through experience that the GNP per inhabitant of Norway is one of the highest in the world, and that the Norwegian state pays its retirees roughly $3000 per month, which is nearly 4 times higher than the average Thai salary of $800.[8] Thus, this explains the attraction of decrepit Norwegian men to young Thai women. It’s what we can call a function of the global capitalist market – supply and demand and so on. Thus, international corporations not only screw workers in the East due to low labour costs, but the retirees from the richer nations are also able to screw Thai girls, and dip their wicks in low-cost Thai girls. These old men can thus thank the global capitalist system for the fact that they still have a highly functional sex life. Capitalism God be praised! 

After ringing the bell[9] several times (I was getting drunk), and buying drinks and snacks (from mobile street vendors) for all and sundry, I decided to just pay the bill and get Ploy back to the hotel room.

After paying, I called her name, but she seemed oblivious of the surroundings. I grabbed her arm and pulled her in the direction of the street. She looked a bit drunk, but I was a bit drunk too. Before paying the bill, I had gone to the latrine at the back of the bar, which is less than one square yard; you had to flush using a bucket. The geckos running around the walls kept you amused. I had deposited a large amount of the powerful aphrodisiac, the Sudanese blister beetle powder, in a secret pocket sewn into my shorts. At my age (I was no longer 21), I needed to take a quadruple dose of the blister beetle powder to counter the effects of alcohol. Poor old Shakespeare – he was unaware of the aphrodisiac effects of African insects, when he said, “What three things does drink make a man do? Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes. It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.” Well he was right when he said it provokes lechery. Thus, I had the best of two worlds – the drink turned me into a Sadeian pervert, and the blister beetle powder turned me into a cruise-control stallion.  

“We’re leaving now,” I said to her.

But she just nodded. We managed to get a tuk tuk[10] that was passing by. Once inside the tuk tuk, Ploy started grabbing my manhood and didn’t care about the driver’s presence – so she must have been pretty drunk, as she was normally much more reserved, and disliked any public show of affection, or even worse, sexual flirting.

When we got back to the hotel, her cock-grabbing seemed to have fizzled out. She said (like a well-rehearsed bargirl) “you take shower.”

I think she wanted to go to sleep now, and had figured if I took the shower first, then I would fall asleep by the time she emerged from the shower.

To pre-empt this tactic I said, “you take shower first.” I thought all these months, all these payments, all this entertaining her friends, at least I was going to fuck her one way or the other.

I emerged from the shower – and to tell you the truth I was pretty fed up and didn’t feel like fucking her. But I took the James Bond attitude – after all I had to do my duty for “Queen and country!” Of course, which country are we talking about – certainly not the fucked-up Eton boys’ England.

As mentioned, I wasn’t really in the mood. But decided to make myself in the mood. I went down on her pussy, licking it and applying my small, white and gold vibrator which provoked some high-pitched squeals from Ploy. I felt her orgasming – the vibrator was pretty effective! 8-inch-long John had become half-interested, and was reasonably hard – so I took the opportunity to insert it in her – my God, it was a trial fucking these old contrary girlfriends I thought – even when you “loved them”. I didn’t want to cum inside her – my God – heaven forbid the thought of her getting pregnant – so I proceeded to jack-off on her 14-year old pubescent breasts – which she didn’t like, because my ejaculation was peculiarly strong reaching her face and eyes.    

4

We just collapsed and fell asleep. I’m perhaps the laziest person in the world and always wake up late. Ploy is the perfect girl for me – she must be the only human being in the world that wakes up later than me. But the blister beetle powder was now working at quadruple strength when I woke up because it lasts 24 hours, whereas the cock-killing alcohol wears off after 8 hours. So I had an enormous “morning wood” as they say. But Ploy was in a coma, so I didn’t have the heart to wake her.

Ploy finally woke up and said she was going to meet her daughters at the beach. She said she would send me a text message later. “We go restaurant later ok,” she said just before she left.

~

The beach is only a 15 minute walk from Citin Loft hotel. You just have to cross the Phet Kasem Road – a heavily-trafficked 4-lane road – so you do so at your own risk. Hua Hin beach is quite an attractive beach and stretches about four kilometres from the centre of town – not far from the Hilton Hotel – up to Wat Khao Takiap; Wat Khao Takiap is a Buddhist temple on “Chopsticks Hill” (Khao Takiap) about 4 kilometres south of Hua Hin Town centre. It straddles a 272-metre tall hill that juts out into the Gulf of Thailand and is visible from the northern end of Hua Hin beach. Sometimes when I’m feeling extra fit, I run the 4 kilometre length of the beach and back again, plodding along through the sand – trying to remain close to the hard-packed sand near the water’s edge. You have to go jogging when the tide is out though, because the sea covers part of the beach when the tide is in. Running along the beach reminds you why you should be a little cautious about swimming in the sea here, because the 4 kilometre run will provide ample evidence of nasty looking stranded jellyfish. I’ve never seen anyone swimming properly there – just some Asians sometimes paddling around near the water’s edge and taking selfies. Although there are kite surfers there – but they use wet suits. Ploy and her family like going to the beach – not that they do much when they are there – perhaps it is because they come from the land-locked Ubon Ratchathani that they like going to the beach.  

I went to the beach first on my own; Ploy said she would join me later. When I arrived at the beach – it was nice and refreshing – a cool ocean breeze blowing landwards from the Gulf of Thailand.

I was only wearing bathing shorts, a light summer shirt and running in my Asics Kayanos – so I decided to do a 30-minute run along the beach, as it wasn’t too hot with the sea breeze.

As I reached the end of the beach near Khao Takiap, I saw various stalls selling refreshments and trinkets. It was just what I needed – some fresh coconut juice – I bought one with ice. As I was walking along sipping my drink, I saw a small but interesting looking souvenir gift stall. I don’t know why but my feet seemed to lead me towards the stall. Maybe I can buy something for Ploy and her family, I thought.

“Can I help you,” the girl at the stall asked me.

“You have a lot of nice things here,” I said complimenting the wares she was offering, which made her smile shyly.

I was looking at the various trinkets and picking out some things I thought I might buy. It was then I thought I saw a familiar figure in a beach store about 100 yards further down. Well “familiar figure” is hardly the right expression – I thought I saw Ploy – but perhaps my eyesight and imagination were playing tricks on me. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so my imagination often determined what I thought I was seeing. The Ploy of my “imagination” was gaily walking arm in arm with a blonde man. So it obviously couldn’t be her because she said she was going to meet her daughters at the beach later. I’m obviously being paranoid I thought to myself – why on earth would Ploy be here holding arms with some blonde guy? That’s impossible. She wouldn’t lie to me, or fool me either. She’s too smart to do that. However, by the time I had bought the trinkets – when I looked up again the girl I thought was Ploy had vanished from sight. I decided to just try and erase the negative thoughts that were running through my mind, even though I still wasn’t convinced it wasn’t her. I needed to be sure, I thought. I had forgotten to take my phone with me, so now I wouldn’t even be able to message her so we could meet here later. I decided to go back to the hotel and take things from there.

5

I went back to the hotel and had a catnap. It was later now, so it was too late to meet Ploy at the beach with her daughters, which we had agreed on. I had called her, but she didn’t answer the phone. I decided to go to Bar 80 and wait for her there. I thought I could surprise her, as we hadn’t agreed to meet there. This wasn’t always a good idea, because you never know what bargirls could be up to – but it was still early in the evening – so it was unlikely she was into any serious business at that time.

~

“Walking the gauntlet” along Soi 80

“Walking the gauntlet” is a phrase you can apply to walking along the various “walking streets” of Thailand and other south-east Asian countries. Historically, to “run the gauntlet” is to take part in a form of punishment in which the guilty soldier is forced to run between two rows of soldiers, who strike out and attack him. Obviously, the girls along the walking streets of Thailand do not attack men with sticks, but they attack them verbally, demanding that they pay them for fucking them (of course there is no obligation to fuck, but an obligation to spend money, but the invitation to fuck is wide open, and will incur extra expense).

This represents a true liberation of women. In a patriarchal society, men make the rules, and “hunt” women. In the “walking streets”, the roles are reversed however. The women are the hunters. Of course, they are not hunting for sex, but for money. The men are on the whole stupid farang who imagine they are “the hunters”. This is more a case of the spider and the fly. The fly perhaps imagines he is hunting something, until he ends up in the web of the spider.

“Welkum,” said the spider to the fly.

(Jump right ahead and you’re dead)

“Jump right ahead in my web, you handsome man.”

Many men, especially the younger ones, find it very intimidating to have sexy young women demanding to have sexual intercourse with them. These shy young men thus “run the gauntlet” – that is, they walk more quickly than is the norm trying to avoid the invitations of the hundreds of women. Soi 80 is maybe about 500 yards long – and stretches between Prapokklao Road and Phet Kasem Road. But there are perhaps about 50 bars, and each of them with a bevy of girls outside in the middle of the street offering their wares – “Welkum handsome man – where U going,” and so on. But the Hua Hin girls are much more laid back than their sisters in the Walking Street in Pattaya, or the girls of Soi Cowboy in Bangkok who will often make a lunge at you and grab your arm trying to coax you inside the bar.

The purpose of this long interjection was to prepare the reader for John’s “walk” along the said Soi 80. John looked at himself as a dyed-in-the-wool debauchee and cad, so he pretended to be not intimidated by all the offers he received while walking along Soi 80.

It was quite early, but there were still a number of girls trying to sell their wares.

For the uninformed, girls selling themselves for the entertainment of foreigners (farang) is as normal and accepted in Thailand as selling anything else on the street, such as fruit and snacks. It doesn’t have the same stigma as it does in Western countries. So these girls and women don’t feel “ashamed” in the Victorian sense, although they would obviously rather be doing something else if they had the opportunity; but then girls working 100 hours a week in a Chinese factory in Asia for a pittance would rather be doing something else as well if they had the chance. Perhaps the girls in Soi 80 would like to be working girls in a factory instead of working girls in a bar, but it’s difficult to get a job in a Chinese sweat shop, as there is a shortage of such slave-contracts; some have worked in factories but been laid-off – now they are just laid instead. In other words, this kind of living (working in a “walking street”) is very common here – it’s just like “a walk in the park” for these girls. And this is how I met Ploy, as I mentioned, because she worked as a bargirl in Bar 80.   

As I was walking along the street, I saw some girls from the Hut Bar walking towards me.

“Welkum sir – handsome man,” a plumpish girl in a mini-skirt said. I obviously knew what she’s offering.

Soi 80 is what you might term a secondary or tertiary market. If you want to find those girls who demand a high price in the market, then maybe you should go to the best go-go bars in Bangkok, in Nana Plaza near Sukhumvit, or Crazy Horse in Soi 23 near Asok – or the various in-demand places in Pattaya and Phuket. The clients in Soi 80 were often the less well-to-do senior citizens of Europe, and the girls were often as not – not so much “girls”, but plumpish women in their late twenties and early thirties – in other words, not the crème de la crème. Thus, in a sober state, John found few of these women attractive. So “walking the gauntlet” was hardly a problem. But this didn’t mean that you couldn’t still be “polite” – so John tried to respond to their invitations with a smile and a nod – but it wasn’t a good idea to be too “polite” as this may be understood as an affirmative answer to their offer.   

“WelKUM sir?” Said another girl as I walked past the Europa Bar.

As I neared the Tivoli Bar one of the girls looked like she had made up her mind I was going to visit her bar, almost blocking my progress along the narrow street.

“Hi handsome man – welkum!”

I thought I recognized her as one of Ploy’s friends so I asked, “Have you seen Ploy?”

“Ploy? You one of customer at her bar?” She asked while giving me a smile with a mischievous glint to it.

“Yes. I’m her boyfriend,” I said, which made her emit a quiet giggle, accompanied by an impish grin.

“Why?” I asked her, curious to know what she seemed to be implying.

“Cause you say you Ploy boyfriend,” she replied.

“What’s wrong with that?” I asked a bit irritated.

“She know you cum now? She asked.

I didn’t want to talk to her anymore, but my curiosity got the better of me – ‘curiosity killed the cat’ as they say – it’s perhaps never a good idea to be too “curious” about the goings-on of your Thai bargirl girlfriend. ‘What you don’t know can’t hurt you’, and so on – that is, all the old the wise old sayings about not sticking your nose into other people’s business, especially where “love” is concerned. 

“What do you mean ‘does she know I’m coming now’ – what do you mean? She’s my girlfriend and I’m visiting her, and that’s why I’m here,” I said getting more irritated.

“Okay, if you say so. Ploy she have many fwend you know,” she said as a parting shot, as she made her way back to a group of girls sitting on the bar stools of the open-front bar while keying their cell phones or eating take-away noodles.

As I continued walking along Soi 80, I ruminated on what she meant by her last statement. Maybe she was just fed up because she had no customers today – or maybe she had a bone to pick with Ploy. In a street employing anything between 500 and 1000 bargirls it was to be expected there would be many intrigues and catfights. In fact, it seems Ploy had a reputation of being pretty much a wildcat amongst the girls, and the other girls were very wary of her claws – although I had never witnessed this in practice.

I finally ended up at Bar 80. I mentioned above that the street employed between 500 and 1000 bargirls at any one time. Well the thing is these 1000 girls are replaced at regular intervals. So the same bar may, or may not have, the same staff from year to year. Well I hadn’t been in Bar 80 for a quite a while now – so when I arrived there, I didn’t recognise any of the girls working there. The “boss”, Noi, – wasn’t there either.  

“Welkum sir! You want drink? A plumpish bargirl in her twenties with overdone make-up asked me.

“What drink you like sir?” She asked smiling.

I don’t normally drink before 9 pm, and now it was only early evening. But I couldn’t sit there drinking coke, so I said, “give me a San Mig.”

I don’t really like the San Mig light – they don’t always have the premium – but I had to remain faithful to Suzie Wong.

She went to the cooler to find a San Mig.

“Wait! – where is Ploy?”

“She said she’s working here now?” I asked

“Ploy?” She asked.

“Yes. She works here?” I asked again.

“Ploy? You mean sister boss Noi?” She asked.

“Yes, yes, Noi’s sister,” I said.

In actual fact Noi was more attractive and sexy than Ploy. But because Noi was the manager she didn’t want to fuck customers, unless they were of special interest to her sexually or financially.

She had had one such customer before, a rich Australian in his late seventies. He gave her large sums of money, and bought her a new Japanese SUV, which she drove around Hua Hin as if she was royalty. They were going to have their honeymoon in Hong Kong, but some days prior to the trip she gave him a back massage, which invalided him, so he ended up in hospital – but I digress – that is another story.

As I mentioned, she didn’t normally fuck the customers. When drunk on a previous occasion I considered this as some kind of challenge. I figured if I offered her enough she would say yes. Of course, after a few gin and tonics, I thought I was richer than Bill Gates, Steve Jobs (deceased), Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, Paul McCartney and Queen Elizabeth put together, so I thought I had the God given right to fuck whomever I wanted to fuck. So challenging this absurd principle of virtue of hers I said I can make you an offer you can’t refuse – thus I was suddenly became Vito Corleone. “I’ll give you 10, 000 baht for ‘massage’,” I said.

I should perhaps explain an important detail here. I don’t have the time to go into a long architectural explanation of Soi 80. First of all – it’s very confusing for an Englishman (Scot) – because Soi 80 actually comprises two parallel streets. But for working class people in England it is not so difficult to understand as it is called back-to-backs. That is terraced houses that share walls on three of their four sides, with the front wall having the only door and windows. However, these houses in Soi 80 do not resemble the working class houses of Newcastle or other industrial cities in Northern England. In fact, I’m no cultural or architectural expert – all I can say is that these houses (like others in Thailand) have certain quasi Greek and Roman elements with pillars and statues and so on.

The point I was trying to make was that these houses are so ingeniously constructed that you would imagine that the architect had the phenomenon of the bargirl in mind when he designed them – because, they have an open front ground floor, and a first floor that usually includes one or two bedrooms and a shower. The open front facilitates the marketing of the wares; while the first floor facilitates the sale of the wares, that is, massage sessions for drunken, decrepit Western clients who want to find out if their cock is still working despite them being in their dotage and drunk.

I’m sorry about this long digression again – the point was that I some months previous I had offered Noi 10,000 baht for a massage when I was drunk one evening, while her “sister” Ploy sat there at the bar counter listening to these goings on. We (me and Noi) went upstairs and I fucked, sucked and fingered the life out of her taking into consideration my drunken state – in fact, it was a miracle I managed to fuck her at all.

After we fucked she ran around the bar screaming, “I fuck first time in one month.”

The ladyboy working in the bar – whose name I forget – thought this was highly amusing – and repeated many times in a high-pitched parrot-fashion voice, “FUCK FIRST TIME FOR ONE MONTH”.

So it was almost vaudeville or farcical entertainment.  

At the time, this left me thinking why the hell was I fucking Ploy who didn’t really want to be fucked, when her more sexy “sister” wanted to be fucked?  

‘But I had made my bed and now I had to lie in it!’ To tell you the truth I was in love with Ploy whatever that means.        

“I think Ploy is coming later,” the girl said.

“Okay. Thanks,” was my only response.

While waiting for Ploy, I started drinking a few more beers; she still hadn’t arrived. I had nothing better to do than to dwell on the latest revelations about Ploy. Her not answering the phone; her “double” walking arm-in-arm with a guy at the end of the beach; the fact that she had stopped working in the shop and started working in the bar again; the bargirl outside the Tivoli Bar who made insinuations about Ploy having other boyfriends. Under the influence of alcohol, and irritation at having to wait for Ploy, my mind wandered from giving Ploy the benefit of the doubt to figuring that she was holding me for a dupe. Was I just one in the thousand-mile long of stupid farang who had been duped by Thai girls. I liked to imagine that I was superior to the average stupid farang. Had I become a character in one of Stephff’s cartoons – or one of those witless farang described by S. Tsow in Thai Lite. While dwelling on these thoughts I saw Ploy coming.

6

I had already drunk about six bottles of beer by the time I saw Ploy entering the bar. My blood started quickly to boil when I saw that she was accompanied by a well-built blonde guy about ten years younger than me. He was holding her lightly on the shoulder that seemed obviously to denote some kind of affection, and they were both laughing as they approached.

I stood up and walk towards them and pulled Ploy away from the grasp of the guy.

“What the heck’s your problem, man?” The guy asked while pulling Ploy back.

“You’re my problem. That’s my girlfriend you were touching,” I said angrily and glanced at Ploy, who also seemed to be shocked.

“Girlfriend? Are you nuts? Ploy is my partner, dude. So stop holding her or you’ll be in trouble,” he said, looking very pissed.

“What’s he saying huh?” I asked Ploy and faced her. By now the people and staff in the bar had already started to notice the scene.

Ploy looked shocked, and just stood there speechless. It seems that she doesn’t know where to look.

“Is it true huh?” I asked angrily.

“Ploy? What’s going on?” The blonde guy asked.

“I essplain,” she just said, not sure who to talk to first. She was avoiding everybody’s glances.

“How long have you known her?” I asked the guy instead.

“She’s my girlfriend for almost 8 years,” he stated.

“And she’s my girlfriend for 3 years now,” I said angrily while looking at both of them.

“Is it true? Have you been fooling me with this guy?” The guy furiously asked her, and while she tried to give some half-assed explanation, he angrily marched out of the bar and down the street with Ploy running after him.

I was left alone in the bar with my beer.

“Sorry,” a voice came from behind me. I turned and saw it was Noi, the manager and Ploy’s cousin. I had been so wound up that I hadn’t noticed that she had come into the bar and was now behind the bar-counter. Obviously, Noi didn’t seem to think this was a world crisis as she had a smile plastered all over her face.

“You knew all along that Ploy was fooling me and obviously just milking money from me,” I angrily said to her.

“She big girl. She not listen me. She do same before,” she simply said.  

“I’m a real fool for believing all her sweet lies and empty promises,” I said feeling dejected and sorry for myself.  

“Don’t care. She not worth it,” she said while asking me if I wanted another drink.  

“I give her everything. How could I be so blind? I’ve seen the signs from the start, but I chose to trust her,” I said, continuing my ‘woe is me’ spiel.

“Just drink beer. Forget it,” she said waving to one of the bargirls that we wanted two drinks.

“Give me a gin and tonic – I’m fed up with the beer,” I said. Noi’s gin and tonics were vast improvements on anything James Bond ever happened to drink. Despite Bar 80 being only a small and poorly equipped bar, Noi made sure she had the proper ingredients for drinks, such as London Gin and lime. Her single gin and tonic was in reality at least a treble gin and tonic.

I felt pretty dejected about these latest Ploy revelations, so ignored the fact that I was already getting pretty drunk, and it wasn’t even late evening.

“She’s a very good actress, a great manipulator. Damn her! I wonder how many boyfriends she has and how many men have been fucking the hell out of her,” I said angrily to Noi, who was now on the other side of the bar-counter in front of me, as I was perched on a bar stool.

“Why you not choose me before. You be happy now,” she said. “I want be your girlfriend before,” she added.

“You’re all the same. Fuck foreigner for money,” I said crazily, because I was pretty drunk now.

She wasn’t offended by my crass words, but only started to laugh.

“I like jus have one man,” she said naughtily.

“Just one,” I smirked cynically.

“Where you stay now? You drunk already,” she asked.

I looked at Noi and wondered why I never ended up with her; she was more beautiful, sexier and naughtier than her cousin Ploy. She was very petite. Although in her mid-thirties, she looked no more than 24. She had an impish and inviting smile constantly fixed on her face. She was flirty and coquettish – erotic, girlish and feminine. I had fucked her once before – but that had almost been like a business arrangement – because I had challenged her principle of not fucking bar guests – so it was almost like we did it for a laugh – and it turned out to be the comical episode of that particular day. And now it seemed like such a long time ago.

I was now increasingly under the influence of the demon alcohol. As mentioned above, Willy Shakespeare noted that drink “provokes and unprovokes. It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.” Translated into modern colloquial English this means you get horny when you drink, but your cock doesn’t work.

Getting back to me and Noi at the bar: the drink was at one point making me feel sorry for myself – but now this had transformed into me noticing how sexy Noi was. She was wearing a very tight black dress that revealed her erect girlish nipples through the scanty material.

“Don’t stare at me like that…..I’m so shy OK. You like my body dear?” Noi asked wearing an impish smile.

“What!” I said proclaiming innocence – although I had actually imagined sucking her small-girl nipples.

“You wanna try? Suck them?” She playfully asked.

Despite having consumed a ridiculous amount of alcohol, I felt some reaction in my cock at this obvious sexual offer. I had consumed a large dose of blister beetle powder in the morning in case me and Ploy ended up having sex after a drinking session. So it was the blister beetle that was responsible for the movement in my groin area.

“You want boom boom[11]?” Noi bluntly asked.

I didn’t reply, which she took as an affirmative.

“We go upstairs ok?” She said.

Walking upstairs she said, “You take shower first ok.”

We ended up on the bar’s “fucking bed” on the first floor. I lifted up Noi’s short tight black skirt, and too lazy to take off her red laced knickers, I pushed aside the material with my fingers, and inserted my tongue inside her shaven pussy, tasting that special woman’s taste – a little sour and pungent, but with the beginnings of her sexual release, which always reminded me of Carlsberg’s strong elephant beer.   

“Please eat my pussy – eat out my pussy,” she pleaded while spreading her legs even more.

“Aaaahh. Suck pussy lips please, oooh, I wait long time for this hmm,” she moaned louder.

I pulled off her red knickers so I could get better access to her pussy. I bent her legs back so her knees were almost touching her shoulders, while pressing her legs as far apart as possible. This strategy splayed her legs, so I could face-fuck her pussy, like Winnie the Pooh licking a honey pot. I wanted to eat it and taste it, unlike Winnie the Pooh who wasn’t going to eat it just taste it.

Her pussy wasn’t newly shaven, so it started to scratch my face. So, I got bored with sucking her pussy, and thanks to the blister beetle and the sucking of her pussy, my cock had now risen to its full 8 inches.  

“Wow, you’re so BIG. I never seen such a big size before. Aaahh. Fuck me now please, fuck me, put that big cock inside of me!” She screamed.

But instead of fucking her, I stuck my cock in her face. She looked a bit shocked. “Oh my!! It’s so huge, you’ll hurt pussy,” she said, looking so inviting.

“Suck it,” I demanded, sticking my cock far into her mouth so she gagged.

She sucked my cock, but before I came in her mouth, I pulled it out and plunged it into her wet pussy.   

“Oh – you cock very big,” she said.

On hearing this, I was inspired to shaft her as hard and far into her as possible. I lifted her legs and pressed her knees towards her chin, making her pussy much tighter. I lunged as hard as I could and her moans which initially signified pleasure began to denote pain. 

Getting bored with fucking her in this way, I took out my cock, and splayed her legs as far as they would go revealing the pink moist wound between her thighs, and continued to lick her pussy with delight.

7

The fucking session seemed to go on forever. My cock was doing well thanks to the African beetle. The alcohol, however, had brought forth an aggressive untypical aspect of my character. 

“Suck my cock bitch,” I said while feeling in a sadistic mood. I rammed my cock into her mouth so she gagged yet again, almost vomiting. I grabbed her hair at the roots by her neck, and twisted it, repeating again, “Suck bitch!”

“Suck it deeper, bitch,” I commanded while moving back and forth inside her mouth that almost made her choke.

“Hmmm, mmmmm. Slurp slurp slurp, mmmm,” were the sounds coming from Noi, as she expertly sucked my cock, which only a professional with 20 years’ experience could achieve. She had maybe sucked the cocks of thousands of men, so she knew what she was doing; she was a skilled artisan.

The feeling became too intense – I didn’t want to finish it now by coming in her mouth, so I ejected my cock from her mouth, and inserted it violently into her.

I pumped back and forth in her wet, tight little-girl pussy like there was no tomorrow.

“Aaahhh. It feels so good hmmm aahhh,” Noi loudly moaned.

“You want deeper, bitch?” I ruthlessly asked while pumping frantically.

“Yes. Ahhh, fuck my pussy harder mmm,” she pleaded.

We were fucking like crazy rabbits, when the door suddenly burst open, and Ploy was standing there, looking like she was witnessing a murder.

“What are you two fuckers doing huh?!” She angrily asked while walking threateningly towards us

Noi looked like she didn’t care about Ploy’s intrusion and slowly stood up from the bed wearing a mocking smile, and displaying her fully naked slim and pocket-sized body adorned by her tiny shaved pussy and her long straight black hair falling down her back to her cute pert ass.

“Why you surprise, Ploy? You expert,” Noi said sarcastically, as she didn’t even bother to get dressed, but just stood there naked, moving her hips in a provocative pose.

“You little ho?! You ho!!” Ploy screamed in a high-pitched voice and strutted towards her cousin and grabbed her hair and yanked it as hard as she could.

I got up and pulled on my briefs quickly, and tried to stop the cat fight, but Ploy lost her balance and fell heavily.

She got up quickly and sticking her face in mine said in a rage, “Wot u du?!”  

“What are you doing here, Ploy?” I calmly asked even though I felt far from calm.

“I want talk you. It misunderstanding,” she said starting to cry. Perhaps she was trying a tactic to make me pity her, I thought.

“I don’t need to hear your lies anymore. I know that you’ve been fooling me, but I chose to be blind, because I’m so stupid;” I angrily said to her.

“Pleeze listen me. I not liar,” she pleaded

“Stop pretend, sister,” Noi said.

“Wot u say?! You fuck him huh?!” Ploy angry replied to Noi.

U care? Everyone know u ho all man,” Noi said mockingly.

“Wot u say?!” Ploy said grabbing her cousin’s hair again.

Noi let out a squeal. I tried pulling them apart again.

“U hurt me?!” Noi angrily shouted.

Noi started to put her clothes back on. She then started to push Ploy, saying, “U get outta here ho!”

Ploy stumbled downstairs, and Noi followed her still pushing her cousin in the direction of the street.

“I werking here – u can’t push me out on street,” Ploy bravely answered.

“U not werk here more. Go away! Not come back!” Noi said angrily, pushing Ploy out of the bar

“Now u big trouble – u treat me bad – I get u for this,” Ploy said threatening her cousin as she walked off down Soi 80 like an angry and scolded cat.

I was in shock after witnessing the whole scene. I can’t believe that I’ve managed to get into this absurd situation. I’m supposed to be a respectable professor, and have ended up in some kind of could-be-violent farce with Soi 80 working girls. I’ve been a fool.

I started heading back to my hotel and trying to forget as quickly as possible the events of the evening. I needed some kind of break.

When I got back to my hotel room, I collapsed on the bed, as I felt drained due to the over-consumption of alcohol and the events of the day. I tried to erase all the bad things floating through my mind. 

~

It was almost 12 noon when I woke up the next day. My phone keeps ringing and I saw Ploy’s name register on the screen. I decline the call, and then saw a lot of messages from her too.

(27 messages received)

“Pleeze answer.”

“I sorry.”

“Forgive me.”

“Pleeze answer.”

“Help me please.”

“Noi kick me out bar. Help me.”

“Pleeze talk me.”

I read some of her messages and couldn’t help but still feel sympathetic towards her. But I needed a break from all this.  

She fooled me, because I was easy to fool. I lowered my guard, but just got bullshit back in return. But we were both to blame. I’ve been too blue-eyed about the whole thing.  

I should have taken more time to try to get to know the “real” her. But that just isn’t me. I’m basically like a mad boar rooting for truffles.

I don’t blame Ploy for everything, but I have to try and move on. With this in mind, I sent her the following message in my Thai English, so she would understand better.

“I sorry. I finish now. It best. It not good you and me. I hope you can be ok. Take care.”

(Message sent)

I’m not even sure if I would understand this message. But I couldn’t send a long complicated message in idiomatic English. I wasn’t even sure if I believed what I was writing. But at least I tried to pretend it was true for the moment. To try and add some emphasis to my final message I turned off my phone, and checked out of the hotel, so she couldn’t track me down there. I quickly ordered a hotel car to take me to Bangkok. I didn’t want to dwell on this sad “love affair”, and wanted to console myself with the multitude of young girls and women of all nationalities who specialised in providing such a service along Sukhumvit and numerous other localities in Bangkok. So many in fact, that you could live to you were 1000 years old, yet never have tasted all the sweet fruits on this tree. Samuel Johnson had said that when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, “Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.[12] I won’t contest Johnson’s assertion – but just point out that he never visited Bangkok! I went to take a shower with the perhaps naive thought, “This is a new day for me”.


[1] The Thai greeting referred to as the wai consists of a slight bow, with the palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion.

[2] Pronounced “COW-pat”.

[3] A girl who works in a bar, typically in Southeast Asia and catering to male clients, and who may provide personal entertainment or other services.

[4]  A three-wheeled motor vehicle used as a taxi in Thailand.

[5] The Thai word “ป้า” is used to refer to a good female friend. In English, it translates to “sister”. But this doesn’t mean a real sister, it’s just how Thai people refer to intimate female friends.

[6] Farang: (among Thais) a European or other foreigner.

[7] https://www.stickmanbangkok.com/weekly-column/2011/01/thai-bargirls-and-red-flags/

[8] https://checkinprice.com/average-minimum-salary-in-bangkok-thailand/

[9] “Ringing the bell” in a bar. In South-East Asia there is a custom that if you ring the bell in a bar then you have to buy everyone in the bar a drink.

[10]  A three-wheeled motor vehicle used as a taxi in Thailand.

[11] Slang term for fucking.

[12] Samuel Johnson, 20 September 1777. Quoted in The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1791) by James Boswell.


[i] https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/948642-the-expression-you-can-take-the-girl-out-of-the-bar-but-you-cant-take-the-bar-out-of-the-girl/page/3/

Angelica

A working girl of Manila

by

M. Maharlika[1]


[1] This is a true story told to M. Maharlika, who has tried to remain faithful to the report she received from Angelica’s friend, Judith Santos, who also works in the Gold Coast Bar. 


1

The Gold Coast Bar in Mabini Street, Ermita, Manila

Angelica answered her phone – Kath was calling her.

“Hey Anj! Saul is calling us for a show-up. Seems that he’s got another generous customer that’s coming to the bar soon,” Kath informed Angelica, calling her by her nickname ‘Anj’, telling her about the latest message she had received from the bar manager.

Angelica was in a 7-Eleven down the street from the bar where they worked; she had just popped out to get a snack.

“Is that so? Where’s Marie?” Angelica asked.  

“I think she’s in the bar,” Kath replied, as Angelica walked down Mabini Street towards the bar.

~

Angelica had started working in the Gold Coast Bar not long after giving birth to her kid who was now about two years old. She worked in the bar driven by the hatred in her heart of the kid’s father – because he had made her pregnant, but didn’t want to have anything to do with the kid or her. He was just an irresponsible bum. She had no choice but to swallow her pride, and work as a working girl in a bar to support her kid.

Kath and Angelica were now back in the bar again. They had taken their places sitting on a long bench behind the bar counter staring upwards at the backs of the guests who were perched on the high bar stools drinking.

“Okay, girls. Wear your sexiest smile, because we’ve a good customer coming to the bar soon looking for a nice girl,” said Saul the bar manager with a smile trying to invigorate his stall of 10 or 15 girls sitting on the long bench along the long back wall of the oblong bar.

Most of the bar girls cheered, because this meant a good payday for at least one of them.

Angelica, one of the girls sitting on the long bench, was lost in other thoughts, however. She was looking around the bar for her best friend Marie. She saw her sitting at the back – she hadn’t yet been “promoted” to the line of girls on the bench, as she was new. Angelica thought her friend must be feeling a little uncomfortable sitting at the back listening to the girls cheering.

“Quiet, girls. He’s here,” Saul shouted frantically as a tall lanky guy in British military shorts came into the bar, smiling from ear to ear.

“Good evening to all of you lovely ladies,” said the English looking guy.

“Girls, this is Sir John. He will choose one girl now that he will take out for this night,” Saul happily informed the girls all sitting on the bench with hopeful looks.

John look at each girl sitting in a line on the bench in the bar trying to do their best to look seductive and innocent at the same time.

Professor John McClean was visiting Manila. He had prepared himself for an evening in Ermita, and had $7000 in his security pocket, a mojo in his pocket, and before leaving his hotel he had taken a quadruple dose of African blister beetle[1] powder. 

“You can choose now sir, and anyway we have, two new girls here. Chelsea and Marie,” Saul boldly said while pointing the two new girls sitting at the back of the bar.

But John, was staring at one girl in particular who was sitting in the middle of the line. She was a pocket-sized beauty of 80 pounds with large strutting and pert breasts, a cute and innocent face and long black flowing hair and one of the youngest at nineteen. This was none other than our heroine Angelica who was now staring back doe-eyed at the long lanky man standing in front of her.

“Oh! I bet you’ve already chose one, sir?” Saul said abruptly as he noticed John staring at Angelica.

“Yes. I like that girl, she looks exceptionally pretty!” John stated, amazed at Angelica’s slim and pocket-sized looks – he loved these petite Filipina girls – pocket-battleships of sex – pocket-sized sex bombs. 

John’s comments made all other the other bargirls moan quietly in annoyance.

“Great! You made the right choice, sir. That’s Angelica, pretty and shy, but wild in romance,” Saul said as he clapped his hands.

John just smiled and continued staring at the pretty petite doe-eyed girl named Angelica.

Angelica felt intimidated by this tall, erect man, but she still managed to smile while walking towards Saul and John McClean.

She still felt shy, but happy at the same time, because the tall handsome man had chosen her in front of all the other bar girls. She felt proud and overwhelmed.

“Hi! I’m John. You look very pretty,” John smiled at Angelica. Angelica became even more shy standing near the man – he was so tall and she was so small, so she had to crane her neck to look up at him.

John paid the barfine[2] to Kitty – the mamasan[3] behind the bar counter. He took the money out of his “secondary” wallet – that is, not his main stash of $7000 in his security pocket sewn into the inside of his military shorts. He didn’t pay attention to the amount, as it was only a small amount compared to the cost of things in his own country.[4]

“I’m Angelica, sir,” she said as they walk towards the bar exit.

“Just call me John, mi amor,” John said dearly; it seemed that he really liked her a lot – which made her smile shyly.

“We can go to my hotel room now, ok,” John explained softly.

“Oki, ser,” Angelica said, while walking behind him.

“I’m staying at the New World Hotel. Have you been there before?” he asked.

“No ser, I never been der,” she replied in a broad Filipino accent.

Of course, English wasn’t Angelica’s first language, which was Tagalog. However, most Filipinos are more proficient in English than their Asian neighbours, such as the Thais.

They rode a taxi to go to John’s hotel, although it wasn’t that far away.

When they were in the hotel room, John changed his pants to boxers, and went straight to the small bar counter in the room, and opened a bottle of Sicilian red wine, Barone Montalto. Angelica in the meantime was just sitting quietly on the bed.

“Do you want some wine?” He asked.

“Yes, thenk yu,” she nodded.

He found another glass and poured some wine into it, and walked towards her and handed her the glass of wine. She took a sip, but grimaced – the taste was much too strong for her virgin tongue.

John then went to the office table and opened his laptop and played Sade Adu’s No Ordinary Love. He turned back to Angelica who was now looking back at him with doe-eyed innocence. John went to her on the bed, and kissed her lips, and she sweetly returned his kisses.

“How old are you?” John asked her

“I’m 19,” she said.

“Really? You actually look younger,” John said, sitting beside Angelica, while caressing her soft large breasts.

“Why are you working at that bar anyway?” He asked, still cupping her breast that he had already released from her tiny sexy tight red dress.

“I hab to wurk for my kid. Aym a single muder,” she explained with difficulty in speaking English.

“Oh! Sorry to hear that. Typical story,” he sympathetically said.

“Wat tipical?” She asked confused.

“I mean, the father has no job and is irresponsible?” John explained.

“Yis, yis. He’s a crazy guy,” she agreed while nodding.

He felt sorry for her. He had heard of similar stories before, and felt sorry for those girls who had to raise their kids alone. That made him like Angelica even more.

Eventually, Angelica started to caress John’s thigh, so he became enlarged. He kissed Angelica again while massaging her bare breasts that made her moan and welcome his kisses. He became so incensed by her passion. Angelica was also already enjoying his sweet and wet kisses, especially when John ran his fingers along her thighs reaching her already-wet pussy.

2

John was now lying on top of her on the bed. She can’t help but like John’s gentle touch.

“I wanna taste your wet pussy, hmm,” he said, already positioning himself facing her wet pussy, and started licking her pussy lips that made her sway her body and moan uncontrollably.

The hypnotic sounds of Sade Adu’s song went through his head as he ate out Angelica’s pussy:

This is no ordinary love

No ordinary love

This is no ordinary love

No ordinary love

“Oohh shet, ooh,” she sweetly moaned that made John eat her more, and slide his tongue in her pussy as far as it would go.

“Slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp, …. .”

The sound of John’s mouth licking and eating Angelica’s wet pussy echoed around the room.

“Oooh ooh shet.. My ghad aaahh,” she loudly moaned, while John continuously romanced her wet and juicy pussy.

“Your pussy tastes so good hmmm.. I  wanna fuck this juicy pussy right now,” John exclaimed, while sliding one of his fingers inside her pussy.

“Oooh shet, aaahh,” she moaned louder.

John positioned himself on top of Angelica, while spreading her legs widely. He saw how wet her pussy was, which made him even more hornier.

“Hmmm.. O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are! What a beautiful Pussy you are!” he said, waxing poetical.

“We have tarried too long,” he said while making his way inside her pussy.

“Baby, come here to me, Come into me, Ooh, baby, … You can always come into me,” she said moaning.

Angelica looked at him with full anticipation with what he was going to do next. She really liked how he ate her pussy, and now wanted him more. She saw how he slowly slid his hard and long dick inside her wet and juicy pussy, which made her scream with joy. It felt so tight inside her, so good – his super hard dick.

“Oohh my ghad. Aaah, shet aaah,” she loudly screamed.

“Oohh fuck.. It feels so good inside your pussy, aah,” groaned John while fucking her harder and deeper.

“Baby, show me ow dip your love kan bee … Yis, yis. Oohh, yis, fuck me like dat,” Angelica moaned deliriously.

John was now even hornier when he saw Angelica orgasming, and how she enjoyed his hard dick inside her pussy. Fucking on the spur of the moment, they had forgotten to use a condom for protection.

“Hhhmmm ooohh God. My dick feels so good inside your tiny pussy aahh,” John moaned loudly.

“Oooh shet, John!!! Yur dick feel so gud – ooh my ghad,” she screamed and moaned with pleasure.

John continued fucking harder and deeper into her pussy, so she moaned and moaned deliriously. His dick easily slid in and out of her pussy like the single piston of a 500 cc Vincent Comet engine; her pussy was dripping wet, because of the sensation that his dick gave her. She screamed and cried out with pleasure.

“Ooohhh, dear. I’m exploding cuming soon, aaah,” John groaned in a state of delirium.

“Oooh ghad, aah aah shet aaah,” Angelica shouted deliriously as she pushed her pussy towards his throbbing dick.

Her final push made him explode inside her wet pussy. They both collapsed into each other while releasing their loads.

He can’t believe that behind her young girl quietness and shyness, she moaned and screamed louder than a siren.

Angelica, on the other hand, didn’t expect that she would enjoy having sex with this tall and slim pale-skinned foreigner. She can’t believe that her pussy was so wet while John was romancing her. They fell asleep with his hard dick still inside her pussy.

~

It was still dark outside when John woke up, but he’s sure that it’s already morning. The blister beetle aphrodisiac had woken him up. He was lying against Angelica’s back. He had been dreaming about fucking Angelica’s cunt, which had become so big, so that it had swallowed him whole – so it was partly an unpleasant dream. He was surprised when he realised that his dick was still inside Angelica’s tiny pussy, but was growing bigger all by itself and demanding that he energize his ass to fuck her cunt. He obeyed his cock and started pumping inside her pussy slowly, so as not to wake her up. He liked sometimes to participate in “necrophilia sex”, as it was so undemanding, as you didn’t have to worry about the responses of your partner. However, his cock got out of control, so that Angelica almost woke up from the dead, and started to moan softly; she still wasn’t fully awake yet, so John fucked her slowly so as not to wake her completely.

“Oooh ooohh,” Angelica softly moaned, while John was still pumping inside her. She was still oblivious of what was happening.

“Ooohh, dear, your pussy feels so good. I love fucking your wet and tiny pussy,” John whispered in her ear.

His dick is so hard now – he couldn’t help stop himself from fucking Angelica’s juicy pussy harder from behind that woke her up.

“Oh shet.. Aaahh,” she just moaned, when she realised that John is fucking her again.

But it made her hornier; she feels that she’s so attractive and irresistible that made John fuck her more and more all over again.

“Ahhhh… How I love fucking your sweet cunt, I can’t stop fucking your tiny, little pussy, oooohhh,” he whispered deliriously to her while pumping his dick inside her more and more.

John changed position and now wanted Angelica to lay flat on her back.

“Lay down, dear. Spread your legs wide apart so my dick can go inside your wet and tiny pussy,” he demanded, and she instantly obeyed.

She spread her legs wide and spread her pussy with her fingers, so John could easily slide his dick inside her. He held her legs apart, so her cunt was more open to his cock.

“Ooohh, mother of heaven, this feels so good. Aaaahh,” John moaned, as he pumped inside harder and deeper.

“Oooh shet… Oohh yis, yis,” Angelica moaned and screamed, as their bodies united incredulously once again.

Angelica felt so special while John fucked her non-stop again. She had never met such an insatiable man before – he was like a non-stop fucking engine – a perpetual motion machine. Although her pussy was a little bit sore, she didn’t want to stop, and felt more pleasure while he pumped his long hard cock in-and-out of her non-stop. She was enjoying it, and wanted more of his hardness inside her.

John continued going up and down on her. His body is energised again; he looked at her young and innocent angelic looks, making his cock even harder. He started kissing her luscious lips again and  she immediately answered with her tongue.  

She was trembling with so much pleasure. She couldn’t help but moan louder and pushed herself and her pussy harder towards him. All her shyness was now gone. All she can think of now is how she loves John’s hardness.

“Oooh shet,” she said again.

3

Angelica left the hotel in the morning. John had given her 10, 000 pesos, which he said was “for her kid”. She thought it was much too much – about 3,4 or 5 times more the going rate. They had sex about five times, so that she had hardly slept at all. It was certain John liked her a lot and he couldn’t get enough of her.

They had also planned to meet the next day in the evening, and she planned to take her best friend Marie along, since John was very generous and gentle.

~

Angelica was now back in the Gold Coast Bar later that day.

“Dat wayt guy last nayt was so hooked wid mi last nayt,” Angelica proudly said to the other bargirls who wanted to know how things had turned out.

“How can yu say huh? Yu just get him because he’s horny and nids a playmate,” Tanya said while smirking, spoiling Angelica’s mood.

“Shatap, bitch. Yu know nuthing. He really layks mi, because he can’t help but to romance mi couple of tayms, wid all gentleness a guy could give,” she fired back.

Tanya and some other envious bar girls just smirked and made their way to the back of the bar to put on their make-up to get ready for the evening.

~

“We are going in a bit to Café Breton in Makati to mit John,” Angelica said to Marie as they walked to Saul’s office at the back of the bar.

“We? Wat do you mean?” Marie asked confusedly.

“I’m bringing yu with mi. John is kind and beri generous. I want yu to hab some earnings while relaxing. Here at the bar is veri toxic,” she said as she grabbed Marie by the arm and went to the manager’s office to ask if they can go to meet John. Saul knows that they have an appointment to meet John this afternoon. She had to give Saul the barfine money, if she was going to visit a client in bar-time, which she paid out of the money John had given her; she hoped John would recompense her.

~

On arriving at Café Breton in Makati, they already saw John sitting at one of the tables in the area outside the Café, and went towards him.

“Hi, girls. How are you?” John said to them and offered them to take a chair at the table.

“We are gud, John,” Angelica said.

“So is this Marie?” John asked while kissing Marie’s cheek so that Angelica glowered sourly.  

“Yis, ser. I’m sorry if i go wid, Angelica,” Marie shyly apologized.

“Don’t worry, dear. Angelica has already informed me that you would join us,” John said, to reassure Marie.

John couldn’t help but hide his excitement that he would be fucking the life out of these two young Filipina girls later in the evening. Angelica looked displeased at how he was affectionate towards her friend, but thought that he was just being nice – he likes me that’s all that matters.

~

They all went back to John’s hotel room after eating dinner at Café Breton. Angelica went straight to the bathroom, while Marie sat on the couch near the bed, and John went to the small bar counter and poured himself some red wine, Casillero del Diablo, the well-known Chilean wine.  

“Some wine?” John offered Marie some wine to drink but she declined.

She said that she’s still breastfeeding her kid that’s only seven months old at the moment. John felt sad about Marie’s situation, but it turned him on at the same time knowing that she had milk in her breasts. John wanted to taste the milk from her full and sumptuous breasts while fucking her.

“The father your kid left you?” John asked abruptly.

“Yis, ser,” Marie answered as she nodded her head.

“That seems to be common in your country,” John just said and sat near her.

“You have very beautiful breasts. They seem so huge. How could your man leave you, when you’re such a beautiful woman gifted by God?!” John said praising her.

“Ah yis, ser. They big because I still breastfeed my kid,” she explained.

“Do you want to have sex with me too?” He asked.

“No, ser, only touch my boobs maybe,” she said shyly.

John looked a bit disappointed, though he was pretty shagged out after his long session with Angelica the night before, and in the morning. His cock felt pretty worn out. But he got turned on with the idea of fucking both Angelica and Marie. With this in mind, he had taken an octuple dose of African blister beetle powder before meeting Angelica and Marie, so his cock was already standing to attention waiting for orders.

He also had this stupid idea that he liked helping girls that were in difficult situations. Apart from this, giving these girls money also had an aphrodisiac effect on his cock making it bigger and harder for some peculiar reason.

“Marie wants yu to play wid her breast,” Angelica said as she emerged from the shower and stood fully naked in front of him.

“How much is your rate for playing with your breast?” John asked.

“Two tawsand pesos, ser,” she said.

It made him think – it was rather a large amount for just a bit of breast massage, but he felt obliged, since he wanted to help her too, and he wanted to see the milk of her breasts at the same time.

“Come here on the bed and take off your clothes,” he said.

She looked hesitant, when he told her to take her clothes off.

“Don’t worry, I’ll just play with your breasts,” John said.

Angelica laid down next to John and took hold of his hand and placed it on her pussy. Marie undressed herself and sat on the other side of the bed. John ended up in the middle of two lovely and sexy young girls.

“Wow! Your breasts are so huge,” John said while playing with Marie’s breasts, pressing the areola to release some sweet sugary milk that he caught in his mouth, while Angelica played with his hard and throbbing cock.

“Hhmmm,… Your milk tastes so sweet,” John said and kept massaging her breasts that made Marie horny and she started to moan loudly.

“Oh fuck. Feels so gud, ahhh,” Marie loudly said.

John is turned on a bit and his mind is saying to him that he wants to fuck Marie now even though he felt tired. Especially with the way Angelica played with his cock. He turned to Angelica and kissed her hungrily while still massaging Marie’s huge breasts.

“Can you taste the taste of Maria’s sweet milk on my mouth, dear?” John asked Angelica that made her frown.

John turned to Marie and made her lay flat on her back on the bed, which shocked Angelica. Marie didn’t struggle, because she felt too horny.

“I want to fuck you too; I will pay you five thousand peso if you agree,” said John.

Marie looked interested by his offer and said she would agree if he would add another two thousand pesos, because it will be her very first time to have sex with another guy apart from her ex-boyfriend who made her pregnant. But Angelica looks so disgusted with the both of them and with the deal and made her way into the bathroom and locked the door.

John felt hesitant at the said price, but since he’s playing the hero with the girls, he just agreed.

4

After the discussion of the price, Marie laid on the bed and John started spitting into her cunt a few times and rubbing it in with his fingers to moisturize it. John seemed surprised at Marie’s hairy cunt – as he wasn’t use to eating hairy pussy – having only fucked bargirls and freelancers for many years, who spent more time tending the appearance of their pussy than putting on makeup. Marie pulled back her pussy lips with one hand, so John’s tongue could have better access.

Marie’s cunt also had a natural aroma, which John wasn’t used to either, despite the fact she had spent a lot of time in the bathroom. In other circumstances, this might have aroused John, but he was tired and depleted by so much fucking that the aroma didn’t entice him into rabid sexual action.

In fact, the smell of her cunt gave him a déjà vu experience taking him back to his British and Nordic girlfriends of yesteryear who also seemed to have a disdain for the aromatic qualities of their fountain of pleasure. To counter the natural aroma of Marie’s cunt, John took a deep draft from the large glass of Casillero del Diablo which was placed on the bedside table, but didn’t swallow the whole mouthful, but spat some of it into the young girl’s cunt. This greatly improved matters, and he continued to lick her cunt which was now perfumed with the “devil’s cellar”. It left a red stain on the sheet which worried John, as the hotel manageress on a previous occasion had tried to extort several hundred dollars from him due to another girlfriend called Fatima who had decorated the bedding à la Jackson Pollock with her menstrual blood when he was fucking her.

“You don’t shave, dear?” John asked the obvious that made Marie uneasy.

“Sowwy, I not shave. I not have sex wid more dan one guy,” she explained shyly.

John left off sucking her cunt and started to kiss Marie on the lips, and she started to kiss him back – it seems like she liked the kissing part. John was actually still pretty tired, and he just wanted to penetrate her and get it over with. Marie reminded him that he should wear a condom.

 John attempted to enter Marie’s pussy, but the condom had strangled the life out of his cock, and her pussy was still a little dry. “My God,” John thought, “this is a labour of love.” Determined to fulfil his self-appointed role as debauchee he made a determined effort.

“Ouch, ouch!” Careful pleeze!” Marie cried as John tried to force entrance into her cunt.

“Ooh. It’s already inside,” John finally managed to penetrate inside her pussy at last.

“Oohh shit… Hmm,” Marie moaned.

After a few minutes of pumping and enjoying Marie’s fresh and youthful body, John took out his dick, which surprised Marie quite a bit.

“Are yu done?” She asked staring at him.

“Yes,” he answered.

John knew that all the bargirls were only too happy when a client finished quickly. It’s an absolute advantage for them, because it meant less work, while still getting full pay.

After the less-than-perfect intercourse with Marie, Angelica came out of the bathroom, as if she’s certain that John and Marie were done. Her annoyance and jealousy soon disappeared, and she started fucking John again without using a condom while Marie lay on the couch on the other side of the room.

John inserted his dick in her cunt while she was in a doggie position on the bed’s edge. Marie on the other side of the room was watching them while touching herself discreetly.

“Ooh ooh, shet. C’mon John, oh shet!”

Angelica’s moans were so loud they must have been heard in the adjacent rooms.

“Ah ah. Oh my ghad aaaahh,” she moaned deliriously while John was now fucking her while she lay on her back.

“Hhmm. You’re always wet, dear. I love being inside you, oooohh,” John moaned loudly.

“Yu look so tired and exhausted huh?” Angelica asked when she looked at John’s face after they had finished fucking.

John was so amazed with Angelica’s sex drive. Sex in the early morning to the music of the Malate fighting cocks that started to crow in the street below; sex in the late morning after room service breakfast; sex in the afternoon; and sex in the middle of the night – she’s the one and only girl he had met with such an enormous sexual appetite, while at the same time playing the role of the young shy virgin – it was a toxic sexual cocktail that blew John’s mind.

In other words, Angelica had the appetite of a cougar, but the cock-hardening disposition of a frightened doe-eyed schoolgirl.

~

In the morning Marie had to leave, because she had to take care of her kid. Angelica stayed in the room, while John went to the hotel pool to swim two kilometres, as he liked to try and keep fit, because he imagined this was good for his cock.

After the swim, John went back to the room. Once in the room, he saw that Angelica was standing on the balcony – she hadn’t heard him enter the room. Walking up quietly behind her, he saw that she was waving to some workers who were working on a building site on the other side of the street opposite; he crept up behind her, and went down on his knees; he prized the material of her panties to one side and inserted his tongue in her cunt from behind and ate her out. Angelica pretended he wasn’t even there, and carried on waving and smiling to the workers on the roof opposite three or four floors below on the other side of the street; they were in room 1111 on the eleventh floor. As John carried on eating her cunt, she started to let out high-pitched squeals and waved to the workers more frantically than before – the workers were only too happy to wave back; she finally started cumming and squirted into his mouth, and then collapsed in a heap on the floor of the balcony. They repeated this role-play on many occasions and called it “waving to the workers”.

When she was lying in a heap on the floor of the balcony John dragged her back into the room and carried on sucking her pussy while she lay on the floor, giving her a little time to recover first.

“Ooh shet. Ah ah,” she moaned as he sucked her cunt lips.

“You want me to always suck your cunt, huh?”

“Yis, yis. Oh c’mon John,.. Oh my ghad,” she softly moaned, as John continued eating her wet cunt.

~

John’s cock was a perfect fit for Angelica’s eternally moist cunt. John and Angelica were also compatible in many other ways – they agreed on almost everything. And she liked fucking so much, though she’s not so demanding and assertive.

~

In the meantime, Marie had come back to the hotel. They all went out together to have a brunch at Café Breton in Greenbelt, Makati. John then remembered that he still had to pay the girls.

“How much should I pay you two?” John asked Angelica.

“Wat do yu mean?” Angelica had seemed to forget their deal, but Marie remembered, and answered.

“About last night, Anj. It’s seven thousand peso each ser,” she said.

So John went to the ATM nearby in Greenbelt and withdrew some money. He paid the girls seven thousand each and one thousand more for the taxi and said goodbye.

“Alright. All is settled now?” John asked as he paid the girls.

“Yes, ser. Thank yu,” Marie said, grateful that she had a bigger pay than she had earned for a long time. Now she would finally be able to buy some medicine for her kid.

~

Later on

John noticed that every time he met Angelica, she always had Marie tagging along. He didn’t have any choice but to take both of them at the same time.

Angelica was always together with Marie, because they wanted to help each other, as they were both single moms. The more their kids grow up, the more they would cost. Their pain in life was less when they could share their agony, since they had the same situations.

“Are you sure that it’s still okay for Ser John that I will go with the two of you?” Marie asked Angelica.

In reality, Angelica had egoistic reasons for taking along Marie when she was going to fuck John. She didn’t mind fucking John, but she liked to have a break. And her English wasn’t that good and she didn’t know what to say to John anyway; he was a professor of language and philosophy, and raved on about all the subjects under the sun, and she didn’t understand a word he was saying.

After the girls left, Angelica started to explain to her friend Marie why they should be a threesome: “Why not? John’s nice and helpful. Don’t you wanna earn more – he’s generous – not like the guys in the bar who grope you and give you nothing,” Angelica explained raising her eyebrows.

Later on:

The three of them went to the Gold Coast Bar and partied like animals. Both of the girls loved to dance, especially to INNA – “Gimme Gimme”:

Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme that love

Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme that love

I’mma love you, love you, love you long time

So give me, give me the way that I like it

Everybody outside when the night ends

We can do it all again when the sun’s up

You know I really wanna be dirty wind in

You know you really wanna give me your love

Angelica liked to dance to the rhythm of “gimme gimme”, gyrating her hips in imitation of fucking.  

“Let’s dance John,” Angelica offered while wiggling her hips in a fucking style right in front of him, which she had learnt from the other bargirls.

“Sure, sure. But I’m not that good a dancer,” John explained.

“It’s oki,” Angelica said.

They had been dancing and singing in the bar, especially Angelica who loved to party. John got too drunk and spent too much in the bar ringing the bell too many times.[5] He had spent almost 20, 000 pesos!  

5

Some days later, John went to the Gold Coast Bar again accompanied by his brother Murdock. Angelica wasn’t in the bar, but her rival Clarissa was there. When Clarissa saw the two men enter she adopted a sexy pose, pouted her lips and flashed her long eyelashes.    

Clarissa was a typical Filipina beauty with dimples in her cheeks, and a provocative sexy smile. She was what you might call a “chocolate drop” – somethin’ fit to eat – a brown-skinned girl – a long tall girl with skinny legs (tall for a Filipina).

John didn’t really like his own brother, because he’s a bit of an idiot; they are twins, and John hates it when people mistake him for his brother.  

Marie had seen John come into the bar, so she immediately took her cell phone and messaged Angelica who was in Robinson’s Place buying some make-up.

  • John here at bar … .

Angelica read the message – she was a bit pissed, because John hadn’t told her that he was coming.

Marie went into the CR and called Angelica.

“He at bar. He look a bit wasted. Now he talk Clarissa and Neslyn,” Marie told her.

“Ok, I come soon,” she said and rang off.

~

When Angelica walked into the Gold Coast Bar, the first thing she saw was John eating out Clarissa’s pussy; she was sitting on a high bar stool next to her friend Neslyn. Neslyn’s short skirt was hitched up; she wasn’t wearing panties, and her legs were splayed slightly revealing her pink shaved pussy; it was if she was next in line for John’s attentions! The bar stools were swivelled around with their backs to the bar counter to give John access to their cunts. But this also gave the row of girls sitting below them opposite a front seat view of this theatrical performance. The girls seemed delighted, as they were cheering John, and some of them said, “me next,” as it became evident later that John paid each girl a premium for participating in this pussy-licking sport.

John hadn’t removed Clarissa’s red knickers, but just hitched up her short skirt and prized the material of her knickers to one side so he could insert his tongue.

John finished off Clarissa and started on Neslyn. The other girls sitting on the bench became hysterical. John had promised each girl 3000 pesos for partaking in the sport, which was at least a week’s pay for 5 minutes work!

Angelica felt betrayed. But what she didn’t know was that the guy eating out the girls’ cunts wasn’t John but Murdock, John’s twin brother, and his alter ego; Murdock was like the mad Doctor Hyde, while John was the more sane Doctor Jekyll.[6]  

Both John and Murdock wore the same style of clothes, a kind of British military colonial style in the manner of Jonathan Quayle Higgins III in his role in Magnum, P.I..

Angelica got angry when she saw her enemy’s pussy being sucked and licked by Murdock who she thought was John.  

“How can he do that to me? I thought we were connected and could start something, but he’s just like all the stupid guys,” Angelica complained.

Marie was just listening, Even though she knew that the guy was John’s brother Murdock.

~

The next day John met Angelica in the Café Havana in Makati, after John had sent her a message.

He asked her what she would like to eat or drink. He became confused, because she seemed indifferent towards him.

“What happened? Did I say something wrong?” John asked.

“Wow. How come yu forget you eat Clarissa’s pussy last night huh?” She angrily asked.

Marie had explained to Angelica that it wasn’t John, but his twin brother Murdock – but somehow she didn’t quite believe it, although she had met Murdock in the bar.

“What? It wasn’t me – it was my brother Murdock”, he explained.

“Yur liar, I saw you at bar. Yur drunk and suck Clarissa and Neslyn’s cunts and I see how yu make out wid them,” she said teary eyed.

“You’re mistaken, dear. Maybe you’re talking about my brother, Murdock. You know we’re twins – you saw us in the bar together,” he explained.

But she still looked unconvinced.

“Is dis real?”

“Yes. He’s my twin brother, I’m sorry if you think I’m him,” John apologized to her.

In the end, Angelica still remained sceptical, because she knew that John was crazy about pussy, having fucked her non-stop on several occasions. 

~

John became more fond of Angelica. She came to the New World Hotel again, and he fucked her all night long and in the morning. Her cunt was always wet and she was always willing, but she wasn’t like a whore, more like an innocent young girl who he delighted in abusing. Every time he penetrated her, her young girl face looked shocked, but also thankful to receive his large and long organ. John loved fucking her – she was so easy to fuck, always wet, and ready to fuck, anytime and anywhere.

Angelica is also happy to be with John as well. He gave her all she needed, and she could not ask for more. John is so sweet and gentle, humorous and fun to be with. There’s no space for boredom when she’s with John. She was so hurt when she thought that he had fooled her with Clarissa, but she finally accepted that it was his twin brother Murdock all along. Clarissa, who is her rival and enemy always ruined her day. Crazy Clarissa – she’s just a plain drug abuser and should be in rehab. She was a user of shabu, and Angelica had seen her snorting it in the bar. The drug meant that she had an untiring sexual appetite. Some people say that the war on drugs is just an excuse of the rich and powerful to abuse the poor, so they can keep power. However, Angelica didn’t believe this. She believed that the people in power were good Christians and truly believed in God. The people in power believed in the forgiveness of sinners. They were motivated by the aim to bring equality to all Filipinos – that every person in the Philippines should be equal – that all people are created equal, that God gives every person rights, the right to life, freedom and happiness.  

But it was true in one sense. Clarissa had an addiction. And she would do anything to get money to spend on drugs, including fucking anybody who would pay to fuck her. Clarissa should perhaps go in rehab. Is there such a thing as rehab for poor people in this country? Perhaps only for the wealthy? Perhaps the poor can expect another solution?  

~

Angelica looked at a text message she had received from John. He said he wanted her to take Clarissa along to the hotel instead of Marie. He knew how she hated that bitch – why isn’t he more considerate? Angelica ignored his request and took her friend Marie along anyway to the hotel.

~

Angelica came to the hotel, and he fucked her all night long and in the morning too. Marie had come along too, but he didn’t fuck her – she just lay on the couch in a dismal mood. John was perhaps very inconsiderate in that he couldn’t be bothered fucking her again. To make things worse, Angelica had made a joke – she had said in Tagalog to Marie, “why you not wearing panties, you get ready to fuck.” Angelica thought this was hilarious, but Marie remained mute.

John would have loved to have fucked Marie so as to do her a favour, but he was fed up with all the rigmarole of condoms; also, Angelica and Marie didn’t specialise in threesomes. It might have been more interesting for John if Angelica had massaged or licked his balls while he was fucking Marie, but they weren’t professionals in this sense, unlike some of his other “girlfriends” in the Philippines. 

~The next day John went to the Gold Coast Bar again. He was sitting together with Angelica and Marie, but he couldn’t but help notice Clarissa who was sitting two or three bar stools away. She was young and skinny like Angelica, but she had an intriguing look about her – promising some deviant young girl sex. He thought to himself – “I always manage to pick out the wrong girl.” Although he loved fucking Angelica, she didn’t have the “forbidden fruit” factor of Clarissa. John didn’t know how old Clarissa was. All the girls had to be eighteen to work in the bar. But many girls falsified their IDs. It wasn’t like in the Bible anymore, when you could fuck 12-year-old girls. John wasn’t a Christian, but thought he would convert if he could fuck a 12 year-old Clarissa-Abishag like King David (1 Kings 1:4). It would be one way of dying happy – fucking and being eaten by the insatiable young lioness cub Clarissa. John was willing to be eaten by this skinny young lioness.

He studied Clarissa’s features and when she looked back at him, she immediately smiled seductively, in a young virgin-temptress sort of way.

~

Angelica and Marie wanted to stop working at the bar, because of the bad atmosphere there.

“We want to stop working at the bar. You know how the bar girls act here,” Angelica said.

She’s hoping that John is serious with her, but John seems very unsettled in the relationship. John loved fucking her, but how could he make the step from fucking her to suddenly becoming a regular husband – the whole idea seemed preposterous to John – despite the fact he loved her in many ways – they had so little to say to each other, because of the language problems and other circumstances – after all – he liked kids – but didn’t really have being a stepfather as his number one priority. In fact, he 10 % admired fathers he observed at the hotels where he stayed, but 90% appreciated he wasn’t in that category. He had moved outside the so-called regular humanity. He had become the hated object of capitalists, fascists, socialists, and communists – he was an individual.  

John really wanted to fuck Clarissa, despite the fact that she was a crazy drug-girl and hated by Angelica. The management in the bar wanted him to fuck her too, because this would mean an extra barfine for them.

But for one reason and another he never got to fuck the pussy that his twin brother had been avidly licking some days before.

“I’ve been hearing some gossip,” Angelica said, a bit pissed.

“Gossip?” John confusedly asked.

“About you liking that Clarissa!” She angrily replied.

“Stop listening to gossip. That’s all lies,” John just said.

She stopped bothering him about Clarissa. She should just trust him and believed what he was saying.

~

John decided to stop going to the Gold Coast Bar, because they overcharged him for bar fines – two or three thousand more than the regular amount. But this is all irrelevant now because there is no more Gold Coast Bar in 2019. It was closed down by the authorities. But this is another story. But John continued to fuck Angelica – but now she’s working in another bar in Mabini – and she’s older too. But this is also another story.


[1] The Sudan blister beetle can be utilised as a powerful aphrodisiac.

[2] Barfine: A “bar fine” is a payment made by a customer to the operators of a bar that allows a dancer, hostess, or some other employee of that bar to leave work early, usually in order to accompany the customer outside the bar.

[3] In South-East Asia, a woman in a position of authority, especially one in charge of a bar or massage parlour that rents out girls.

[4] He was from Scotland, but also worked in Scandinavia – so a barfine in Manila was perhaps a third of the cost of an airport taxi in Oslo – so for John it was an unimportant expense due to the currency differential between Scandinavia and the Philippines which was a ratio of about 1:10. Sir John was very thankful to global capitalism, because it meant he could have his pick of the most beautiful young girls in the world for mere pocket money. 

[5] “Ringing the bell” in a bar. In South-East Asia there is a custom that if you ring the bell in a bar then you have to buy everyone in the bar a drink.

[6] The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886).

Lamelight

by M. Maharlika

ONE

“Get out of here!”  Aling[2] Diding shouted angrily, as she was throwing stuff out on to the street.

This is the scene that met Marga when she returned home one Wednesday afternoon. Aling Diding is the owner of their rented house in Tondo, Manila. Marga is eighteen and lives together with her mother and younger sister Melanie, who is fifteen. Marga had just come back from job hunting; she had been looking for some weeks now without success. She’d finished working in a Chinese restaurant chain two months ago, after her temporary contract expired. So now, the little family were more in debt than ever, as they no longer had any form of income. Marga was the only one who could work, because their mother was very ill and the younger sister was still going to school. Marga pleaded with the landlady:

Aling Diding please, please give us a few more weeks.”

“You’re always asking for more time! It’s been three months since you last paid the rent,” she angrily barked at them.

“We promise to pay you soon – please give us a grace period. I’m sorry because we had to use the rent money to buy my mother’s medicine,” she explained.

“I’ll give you one last chance, Marga. If you don’t pay by next week, then I’ll call the police to get all your stuff out of my house,” she heatedly warned them.

“Thank you very much, aling Diding, and I’m sorry.”  Marga was very grateful that aling Diding had agreed to her request.

“Make sure you keep that promise, Marga,” she said, turning around and walking away from them.

When aling Diding left, the gossipers in their compound also vanished. They’d been watching the whole scene as if they were watching some dramatic telenovela.[i][3]  Marga went out on to the street and picked up their belongings one by one that the landlady had thrown out on to the street.

“You came just at the right time, ate[4], otherwise we don’t know what we would have done,” said Melanie with teary eyes

“I’m very sorry child that I can’t help with this situation – don’t worry, because I can go to the Henares’ house to do their laundry tomorrow,” their mother Linda said sadly.

“Let it go, it’s okay. It’s okay, okay?”  Marga said even though she didn’t know where she was going to get the money for the rent.

“What if I work too, ate?” Melanie suggested.

“Put that thought out of your head Mel. You’ll do nothing of the sort! Your job is to finish your studies. Is that clear!?”

“Yes, ate. I’m sorry,” Melanie answered meekly.

“Let’s trust in God, because He will help us and we will survive,” Marga said with hope in her heart. “We have to overcome the trials that God sends us.”

~

“So why don’t you apply for a job at the place where I work?”  Kris suggested while puffing on a cigarette.

She and Marga were hanging out at aling Bebang’s sari-sari store[5]. Kris is Marga’s childhood friend. They grew up together in Tondo, Manila

“And where is that? In the club where you are working? My mother wouldn’t like it,”  Marga declined immediately.

“And then what? Look for those jobs that will take you forever? You know that aling Diding has given you only a week to pay,” she said.

Marga didn’t answer her straight away. She was quiet – thinking about the rights and wrongs. But she had no time to waste – that was true.

“You know you don’t have a choice, but to grab any opportunity that comes your way,” Kris added.

“Ah, don’t worry – I’m sure I’ll find a good job tomorrow morning,” she said with a hopeful heart.

“It’s up to you, but if you change your mind you know where to find me, and you’re lucky because madam wants you to work for her,” Kris continued, talking about Madam Gracia who owns the club where she works.

“Thank you, but I’m going to get the rent in a good way,” she answered.

“It’s your decision, but don’t wait until you die with your eyes wide open,[6] because of your principle,” she said.

Kris was a good friend, but because of the difficulties in her life, she had ended up in that job in the club, which literally meant she had to sell her body. It’s sad to think that life is often like that – unfair.

~

The next day Marga woke up early to go look for a job.

“I’m going now, nay,”[7] she called to her mother.

She kept calling her but got no answer.

“Mel, is nanay[8] in the bedroom?” She asked her sister who was cleaning the kitchen.

“Yes, ate. Maybe she’s still sleeping?” her sister answered.

“I’ll go and see,” Marga said, and walked into the small bedroom. 

Nay–! Nay?! What happened?!

“Mel!” she called her younger sister for help. She was terrified to see her mother lying on the floor, unconscious.

Ate – oh no, what happened?”  They both burst into tears, but managed to pull themselves together, so they could help their mother.

“I don’t know, call help. Come on!”  Marga ordered her younger sister to go out on to the street and ask for help.

After a few minutes, Melanie came back with one of the barangay[9] police officers.

“Marga, let’s get Linda to the hospital straightaway!” The barangay policeman urged her.

“All right,” Marga immediately agreed.

“But we don’t have any money for a hospital ate,” Melanie pleaded hopelessly.

“I’ll take care of it myself,” Marga told her.

Marga didn’t know what to do or where to get the money from to help her sick mother. But she needed to be strong for her mother and younger sister.

TWO

Marga and her sister were able to talk to the doctor at the hospital.

“Your mother is in a very serious condition. It was good you brought her to the hospital in time, it will be a great help to her. But her heart is in very bad condition. She may need heart surgery. If her heart doesn’t show any signs of improving, or if it does not return to its normal condition, then she will need an operation. In such a case, that can be quite a costly affair,” said the doctor. He continued, “you will have to be prepared to find a considerable amount of money for her operation if she needs surgery. I can give you the details later. But to be blunt, it will cost in excess of 300, 000 pesos.”

Somehow, they were a little relieved when the doctor told them that their mother was fine for the time being. But this seemed to be a temporary condition, because without their mother’s improvement, she would surely need surgery.

“Mel, I’ll go home and get the clothes that nanay will need, and I’ll bring some of your clothes as well, she told her younger sister.

“Ok, I’ll wait here for you,” Melanie answered.

After she gave Melanie some money, so she could buy whatever she needed for her and their mother, she went back to the house to get everything they would need at the hospital. After she had packed everything, they would need, she left the house, and just before reaching the corner of their compound, she bumped into Kris.

“Hey Marga, I heard what happened to tita[10] Linda, how is she?” her friend asked.

Nanay is better, but she might need heart surgery later, but we have no money to pay for it,” she said despondently.

“In that case come with me in the club – try and see what you can grab there,” Kris offered.

“I can’t do that kind of work Kris. I’m scared.”

“Well where do you expect to get the money from? You don’t have any money,” said Kris plainly.

Because of the gravity of the problem, she had no alternative, but to go to the club where Kris worked as a dancer and entertainer, and see if she could get work there too.

~

At the club, “Black Room”, in Ermita, Manila

“Madam, you have a visitor,” Kris said as they entered the boss’s office.

“And who is this pretty girl?” madam said flitting her gaze from Kris to Marga.

“The girl I told you about Madam,” Kris answered.

“I see,” madam said turning to Marga, and running her eyes up and down her young body.

“Madam, Marga wants to work here,” Kris said, causing Madam Gracia’s face to break out into a wide grin.  

“Of course, of course,” said madam still smiling.

“And madam, if she can get an advance, because her mother is in hospital,” Kris asked.

“I can give you some money in advance from your salary, but not much, since you haven’t started yet,” she offered.

“I appreciate it Madam Gracia – it will be a big help – don’t worry, I will do the best I can at this job,” she said earnestly.

“That’s good – we’re agreed then,” madam said smiling again.

“Thank you very much!” She was very grateful that Madam Gracia could lend her the money.

~

The same day, Marga immediately rushed to the hospital to deliver half of the money she had borrowed from Madam Gracia as a deposit for the surgery, and gave it to her sister in the hospital, so she could give it to the hospital administration the next day. She also paid the rent from the other half of the money.

“Look after nanay, okay?” she said to her sister. She had to leave her sister there looking after their mother, because it was her first night working at the club.

“Are you really sure you want to work there? There are so many nasty things there that might hurt you,” she said as she was worried about her sister.

“I can do it,” she said, perhaps trying mostly to convince herself. “It’s for our mother. God has shown me this is the right thing to do.”

“Alright just be safe,” and God bless you,” she said.

“Okay I have to go now before it gets too late – watch over our mother. I will come back as soon as I’ve finished work,” she said saying goodbye.

“Okay, ate.”

She was reluctant to walk out of the hospital, knowing what was awaiting her. But it’s true that beggars can’t be choosers was the only thought she was left with.

“Hay .. Be strong, Marga”! Her little sister said as they parted.

~

Upon arriving at the club, she immediately ran into Kris. They went straight to the dressing room. Kris helped her get dressed for the show – the garment she had to wear was such that you could almost see the soul of the wearer.

“Oh my God!” She gasped. Just wearing this outfit makes my knees weak.”

“Don’t overreact – it’s just a dress, and you’ll get used to it,” Kris said.

She was nervous and worried about what Kris was going to show her next.

“I’m going to point out some basic pole dancing moves, and it’ll be easy since you’re good at dancing,” said Kris.

“You will be the new pole dancer in the club. The regular clients always like seeing a new girl,” said Kris trying to encourage her.

She became even more nervous, because she was going to dance on stage, with a lot of men ogling her, and perhaps many of them will be drunk, she thought to herself.

“You have to grind the pole using your thighs, and wear an inviting expression,” Kris explained. 

She taught her the steps and how to dance using the pole. It was a little bit hard, because basically Marga was a really shy Christian girl who went to church every Sunday. But she had to sacrifice herself for her mother. Like a female Abraham[11] in the Bible, God had given her this trial to test her faith. She wasn’t to offer a child like Abraham, but herself. Marga thought of her mother lying unconscious in hospital. There was no one to help her. It was only Marga that could help her. She had to make this sacrifice, so that her mother might live. She was the only person in the world who could help her mother.

“That’s it; it’s a little bit more complicated, and it’s obvious you’re not used to it, but you’ll get better with practice,” Kris advised her.

“I hope I can do it well,” she said.

“Just think positively. You can earn a lot of money here – even in just a few days.”

After one hour of practice, she was ready to perform – she felt really uneasy. She just hoped she wouldn’t mess it up, she thought to herself. 

Madam Gracia came into the dressing room. “Are you ready?” she asked grinning.

“Yes, madam,” Marga answered nervously.

“Get ready – you’ll be called for soon,” she said, and left the dressing room.

Marga prepared herself as best she could, and prayed everything would be fine.

THREE

“AND FOR TONIGHT’S SHOW, LET’S WELCOME THE NEW GIRL OF THIS HAVEN, MARGA!!” the MC loudly introduced her to the crowd.

When Marga entered the stage, music began to play. She started to dance, even although she was still very apprehensive. All she could hear were cheers, wolf whistles and shouts from the drunken guests. She forced herself to perform all the steps that Kris had taught her. After the performance, the drunken audience became wild, demanding another performance. Many of them tried to approach her, so she felt frightened; but it was a good thing there were bouncers inside to protect the dancers. When Marga went back to the dressing room, she met Kris, who seemed so delighted ….

“You were really good out there, Marga. It seems like it’s not your first time.”

“Yes. I’m relieved it’s all over – I think I almost fainted out there,” she laughed.

Madam Gracia suddenly came into the dressing room.

“I didn’t make a mistake when I gave you the job! The clients are looking forward to your next performance. Everyone wants to take you out,” said Madam Gracia happily.

“Take out? What does that mean?” Marga stuttered while asking the question.

“It means some of the clients want to take you out of the club – they are always generous,” she answered frankly.

“No, I don’t want to do that. It was hard enough just dancing on the stage. I don’t want to do more,” she said declining the offer.  

“I’m just telling you what the customers said to me. It’s up you what you do. It’s you’re decision if you want to go with them or not. And another thing – the person in desperate need will most likely take what is offered. You’ll come to understand the meaning of those words,” said Madam Gracia, who then left the room.

She was horrified at madam’s words. What did she want her to do?

“Don’t mind her. That’s the way she is – upfront and blunt,” Kris said, as if offering a plaster for her anticipated hurt.

“It’s fine. I understand,” Marga said to her. But somehow, she still felt frightened that someday Madam Gracia’s words would take material form. Still, she hoped they wouldn’t.

~

It was almost morning when she got back to the hospital. She had bought some fresh fruit and food for her mother and sister. When she reached the ward, she saw that her mother was still unconscious, and Mel was sleeping in a sitting position beside her mother’s bed. She just let Mel carry on sleeping, as she must have been very tired. She arranged the fruits on the table next to her mother’s bed. Then she sat in the empty chair next to her sister, watching over them.

“Whatever happens, I’ll not neglect you. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure you get well,” she silently promised her mother.

~

“Well, you’re here already,” said Mel waking up.

“Oh yes, I’ve just come actually, and I’ve brought some food too, Mel,  – come and eat first,” she said to her sister.

“Okay, ate. I’ll just go to the restroom first. Anyway, the doctor that checked on mother told me that nanay’s heart is still in bad shape, and one of the reasons is that her whole body is very weak,” Mel sadly informed her.

“That’s bad news for us. But don’t lose hope. We have to keep on fighting!”

“Yes. And he said that all we can do for the moment is to wait for a few days for nanay to rest, and then they’ll decide if our mother needs surgery or not,” Mel added sadly.

“Just pray that our mother will be okay, because that’s all we can do right now.”

~

In truth, Marga was having mixed emotions about the situation, and what she felt the most was a great fear over what might happen.

“But God is still with us, and He will never abandon us,” was her innermost thought.

“And nanay needed to get better, because she was all that Melanie and I have, because our father preferred to be with his mistress, and left us when my little sister was just a baby,” thought Marga to herself, brooding on what life throws at you.

The father of the two girls had left their mother with nothing, except two young children to take care of. He never contacted them or gave any assistance in any way whatsoever. Mel still hadn’t learnt to walk when he abandoned them. Although abandoned, their mother did everything she could to raise the children properly, with no help from the father or anyone else. The church had offered her spiritual help, but were not of the material world. The government were unable to help her, because she wasn’t qualified as a single parent.

Marga needed to be strong for her mother. Her heart was filled with a mixture of regret, desertion and revulsion at the thought of her father. “Why did he leave us? Why do we have no room in your heart – in your life? Why didn’t you choose us? Why did Mel have to grow up with no father?” She couldn’t ever remember the feeling of having a father that guides you and protects you. She became transfixed in her thoughts and tearful about the things that never were and never could be.

~

After she left the hospital, she went home to get some rest and get dressed, because she had to work in the evening. And tomorrow, Mel could be with their mother. It was a good thing that Mel had her school vacation at this time, so they were able to share being together with their mother and looking after the home. Marga did the housework, and then had a wash, before taking a rest. When evening came, she got prepared to go to the Black Room. She could visit her mother and sister in the hospital first, since the club was just one ride[12] from the hospital, and it was along the way.

FOUR

Upon arriving at the hospital, she immediately went to the ward, where her mother was. When she got there, her younger sister was tidying up her mother’s bed.

“How’s our mother doing?” she asked her sister.

“Still the same,” Melanie replied, and sounded frustrated at their mother’s condition.

“It’s a difficult situation, eh? I miss all the small talks I have with our mother every day.”

“Me also, ate, I miss hearing my mother’s voice; I just really wish that she would get better soon,” Melanie said in a sad voice.

Nanay will wake up soon, don’t worry – we’ll get through it. We just have to pray,” she said in an attempt to make things brighter for her younger sister.

“Hopefully, God will hear our prayers,” she said to comfort her sister.

After giving her younger sister some instructions, she left and made her way to the club. She could never imagine that she would end up working in such a place. Her only comfort was that God sends us trials to test our faith. One can’t choose one’s trials. God had chosen that she should work in the devil’s haunt as a pole dancer! If that’s what it took to show God she was a believer, and to save her mother she would do it!

In the Black Room

There were further “trials” awaiting Marga that she had never imagined. Some of the other girls had turned up in her dressing room, and were insulting and verbally abusing her.

“Hopefully, they will stop these insults soon,” she thought to herself.  

“Well look if it isn’t the new recruit,” said one of the girls sarcastically, as she strutted into the dressing room with her hands on her hips accompanied by a couple of the other girls.

Marga didn’t want to jump to any conclusions, because so far she only knew Kris in the club. But it was plain the girl that had entered to dressing room together with a couple of the others was referring to her, although she didn’t use her name or address her directly. Marga thought she was being paranoid, so just carried on putting on her make up. She saw in the mirror that Kris had just come into the room. But, the girls continued, adding details to their initial comments.

“Yeah, Lalaine, and she acts as if she’s the prettiest here,” said another girl.  

“And what annoyed me more is how Madam Gracia gave her a big role right away – as the star pole dancer,” the girl named Lalaine continued.

This complaint made it evident they were talking about Marga.   

“And with that face, huh,” another girl said, and they all started laughing.

Marga just carried on putting on her makeup, as if they weren’t there, hoping Kris would interrupt soon.

“Hey Lalaine, stop bothering Marga, or else I’ll tell Madam Gracia,” Kris said defending Marga.

“We didn’t mention any names, don’t get carried away!” Lalaine snapped in reply.

“Well, obviously, Marga is the new one here, so stop denying it,” Kris responded.

“Kris, let it go,” Marga said.

“Hmmpp! Let’s get going! There’s a bad smell in here,” said Lalaine as she marched out with her buddies.

“Tsk. what a face! She looks like a bull frog,” said Kris when Lalaine had left the room.

“It’s ok. Let it go,” Marga said.

“That’s what they’re always like when a newbie comes here. They act stupid, because they think someone is going to steal their job.”

“Good thing you came along in time,” she said thankfully.

“It’s nothing. Next time they are like that fight back. They’re only bothering you, because they can’t get any clients,” Kris continued.

“Well, I’m glad you really helped me out,” Marga said, smiling at Kris.

“Anyway, are you ready yet? Let’s finish your makeover,” Kris said.

“Yeah, I was just waiting for you to come actually,” she said.

“Ok, let’s get started then.”

After her makeover, Kris asked her to rehearse again. Like before, she still felt very nervous and  lost.

“There you go! You’re good to go now, ha-ha,” Kris said happily

“I could never imagine I would do this kind of work, and I really don’t know how to tell my mother about this job whenever she wakes up,” she said to Kris dejectedly.

“She’ll probably understand, especially when you have no other options and no other means of income,” Kris said in support. “You have to do whatever it takes for your family,” she added.

“I hope she’ll understand, and all these struggles will end,” Marga retorted.

“As long as you live, the struggle of life will go on. When there are no more troubles, it can mean only one thing. It will be done. You will have gone home to live with God. But we’re still alive, so we have to keep on fighting,” Kris said trying to open up Marga’s mind to the realities of life.

She continued, “But let’s not get too dramatic, we need to get ready, because your show starts in a minute,” Kris said while perfecting the last details of her costume and make up in front of the huge dressing room mirror.

“That’s right, and I know you’re not the one to get too melodramatic about everything. I’m ready to perform even if I’m still nervous,” she said to her.

“That’s okay, it’s normal, especially when you’re just new here. I used to be just like you before,” Kris said trying to reassure her.

“Of course, I still remember that you really wanted to be a teacher, so it really makes me wonder why you are here,” Marga said to Kris.

“No choice; you know I need to work for my family too. Just like you. I know you wanted to be a lawyer too. But because of the struggles and problems of life, we put aside our dreams, so we can work and put food on the table,” she explained with a cynical expression on her face. “I don’t know why it is, but those people in need will always need more and suffer more,” she added bitterly.

And they both fell into deep thoughts about life, and what the future held in store for them.

FIVE

Some weeks later:

While dancing to the rhythm of the music, the drunken crowd kept cheering her. She’d been working as a pole dancer now for a few weeks, because she needed to earn a lot of money, since the doctors had informed her that her mother’s heart surgery would be costly. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to earn enough money to pay for her mother’s operation. Madam Gracia had already advanced her a large sum of money. 

“What’s that! Three hundred thousand is a huge amount of money,” said Kris.

Kris was worried about the problem Marga was faced with.

“I don’t know what to do, Kris,” Marga told her, feeling very confused.

“Did you try borrowing from madam?” Kris asked.

“Not too sure she’ll lend me more. I already owe her a lot,” she answered.

“Still, you should try, you know.”

“Well, perhaps I can try. I hope she can help me, although I’ve already borrowed a lot,” she said.

They went straightaway to Madam Gracia’s office and asked her for an advance on her salary.

“I can’t give you this time, Marga. I’ve already lent you some money a few days ago, and that’s the n’th time already,” Madam Gracia said.

“I’m sorry I asked, madam. I just really need to borrow some money from you for my mother’s surgery,” she pleaded.

“It’s a big amount of money we’re talking about here, Marga,” Madam Gracia said.

“I just don’t know who to ask anymore,” she said to her

“If you’re so badly in need of money then why don’t you let some of the clients take you out?” Since you need money, the customers are rich here and you would earn a lot of money – even if it was just for one night. I can give you a bigtime client,” Madam Gracia suggested.

She fell into deep thought. This is what she was afraid of in this kind of job. And she has no choice but to try and do everything to finance her mother’s operation. Even if it was against her own will and beliefs – she had no choice but to do it.

“What’s wrong? Just come back here if you decide to do it,” Madam Gracia said, dismissing her.

“I’ll do it,” she said, with her heart full of fear and apprehension.

“Well, it’s the right decision. And it’s certainly not hard to find a good client, since everybody has been asking for you,” Madam Gracia said cheerfully.

“I’ll do this for you, mother,” she said to herself, hoping everything would turn out fine in the end.

Later she met Kris in the club after their show had ended.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Kris asked her in a worried voice.

“Yes, I’m really sure, especially as I have no other option left,” she replied in resignation.

“I just hope your first client is a gentleman, since you’ve never had any experience with men,” Kris said to her frankly.

“Kris watch your mouth,” she said to stop any further discussion on the topic. Even although she was ready, she was still very anxious and scared.

But Kris was right – she was still a virgin, and had never had a boyfriend.

“I’m sure you don’t want a nasty client that is bad to you. You’ve no experience, so I’m really worried for you.”

“It’s okay. I’ll handle it when the time comes,” she said putting on a brave face.

“Hey Marga … Why is the world harsh to unfortunate people like us?” Kris said in an upbeat voice.

~

“Your mother’s condition is getting worse – she needs to have surgery as soon as possible,” the doctor told her when she arrived at the hospital.

She met Melanie who was sitting by their mother’s bedside; she explained the situation. “Don’t worry, Mel, I’m working on it.”

“I’m sorry I can’t help, ate,” her younger sister said frowning.

“What are you saying? You’re the only one who is looking after our mother. What if you weren’t around? Who could I trust to look after her?” she said in encouragement.

“I know how much trouble you’re having working in the club, but I can’t do anything to help you,” she said almost crying.

“The fact that you’re here to watch and care for our mother is a huge help, so don’t say you’re not helping,” she said trying to make her feel better.

“I’m sorry – I just hope this will all come to an end soon,” said Mel who had cheered up a little.

“Don’t worry, everything happens for a reason – God is watching over us; I know it’s hard, but we have to keep on fighting.

~

When Marga came to the club, one of the other girls said to her that Madam Gracia wanted to see her, and she had to go to her office straightaway.

“Madam? Did you want to see me?” she asked on entering her office.

“Ah yes, yes, I have some good news for you,” she answered her straight away.

“What is it, madam?” she asked nervously.

“I’ve found the perfect client for you – and he’s a bigtime client. He’s been watching you ever since you first came into the club,” madam said to her.

“Really?” She didn’t know why she was more displeased than happy.

“And do you know how much he wants to pay you for one night? 100 thousand pesos!” She exclaimed. He is a special client, a Chinese businessman who owns a factory here in Manila. He is willing to pay a large amount for young Filipina virgins here at the club.

She was shocked by the news. It was such a large amount, but she had to admit to herself that it would be the answer to all her problems. She would now be able to pay for her mother’s operation, if she could continue attracting rich clients.

“Really?! When is this going to happen?” she asked.

“He’s very eager. He wants to meet you straightaway – tonight.”

“Alright,” she answered and then headed for the dressing room.

SIX

Sitting in the balcony bar in the club:

“Wow! Really, girl?” Even Kris was amazed at the fact that a client was willing to pay so much for just one night with a virgin.

“Yes, but I’m still nervous as hell, because I don’t know what to do, and how it’ll work out,” she said, while sitting in the balcony bar drinking a juice, while Kris was smoking a cigarette.

Imagine? One hundred thousand pesos for just one night. What if he wants to take you out every night!? That guy must really like you.”

“My goodness! I haven’t even met him yet, but my knees are trembling already.”

“Marga, Madam Gracia is calling you,” said one of the girls interrupting their conversation.

“I’m coming. Thanks.”

She got up to go to Madam Gracia’s office. It must be the client she was talking about, she thought. Maybe he’s already arrived.

“I’m going Kris. See you later,” she said.

“Well, good luck, tell me about it later,” Kris replied.

~

Standing outside her boss’s office, she knocked on the door.

“Come in,” she heard her say through the closed door.

Once inside the room, she could see Madam Gracia together with a middle-aged Asian man who was sitting comfortably on the office couch. “That must be the one she’s talking about that’s willing to pay a lot just to take me out,” she thought to herself.  

“Mr. Kang, this is Marga, Marga, this is Mr. Kang.”

“Nice to meet you, Marga,” said Mr. Kang smiling. He was well-dressed and looked like a decent Asian businessman.

“You can take her out after her show Mr. Kang,” madam said to him making Marga even more nervous.

“No, perhaps I can take her out straight away,” Mr. Kang said.

“But we already have a contract, Mr. Kang.”

“Okay, I can pay you more if I can have her now,” he insisted.

“Oh my God!” Thought Marga. She thought she was going to faint when she heard this interchange.

She became more nervous, and wasn’t able to say anything, or move her hand in remonstration. She just sat there as they bargained over her.  

“Okay, it’s a deal then – thank you Mr. Kang, enjoy!” exclaimed Madam Gracia who was obviously happy.

~

When they left the bar, they went straight to the car that was driven by Mr. Kang’s bodyguard and drove to the New World Hotel, a five star hotel in Pedro Gil, Ermita, which is popular with Asians, because there is a casino accessible from the hotel. This was the scene of the crime, where her life began to fall into ruins.

~

“Here’s your money,” said Mr. Kang curtly, throwing a check into her face to pay for the done deed. He left the hotel room abruptly. On the way out, as if in apology, he said, “I’ll see you next time.”

She couldn’t help but cry. She’s a mess. She felt so low and dirty. She’s no different now from the girls working in the club was the thought in her mind. In other words, she was a desperate girl who would do anything. She knew that what she had done was a mortal sin.

“Forgive me, Lord for I have sinned. I hope you forgive me too, nanay,” she prayed, while sitting there half-naked on the edge of the bed. She rose from the bed to go to the bathroom, but found she could hardly walk, and had to limp to the bathroom.

She couldn’t stop crying. She picked up the check that he had thrown at her. Unbelievably, the amount was 150, 000 Php. She was surprised that Mr. Kang had paid her more than the agreed amount. Some tens of thousands more, the price of her purity.  She started crying again. She knew she’d get used to it, and maybe one day she could get away from this new life of hers. After leaving the hotel, she immediately went to the hospital to give the initial payment for her mother’s operation. She then met up with her younger sister:

“Where did you get so much money, ate?” Melanie asked in disbelief.

“Madam Gracia lent it to me,” she lied, because she couldn’t tell her what she’d done to get the money.

“Really? Your boss is really kind, ate.”

“Yes, she’s very kind. But maybe I have to work there for a long time to pay back the debt to my boss,” she said, in order to prepare her younger sister for future events.

~

“Hey! You look like you’re spacing out again,” Kris said to Marga.

“Just thinking,” she said to her. Until now, the memories of what had happened to her were still fresh in her mind.

“Let it go. What matters now is that you can help your mother, so she can have her heart surgery,” Kris said.

“It’s nothing. I’ll just go to the bathroom,” she said.

~

“Ha ha! She’s trying to wash the dirt away,” said Lalaine, as Marga emerged from the shower.

“She can wash as much as she likes, but the truth is everyone can see that she’s no more now than a slattern, a dirty woman,” said Lalaine loudly who had come into the dressing room.

“Maybe she had an itch. Maybe he remedied her itchiness,” another girl named Pam bitchily added.

Marga just headed for the bathroom while the girls continued their criticism of the “unknown” human being (which was obviously Marga, although they hadn’t addressed her directly). But she just ignored them. She had so many other problems to think about. She leaned against the bathroom door and tried to settle herself. She was angry, but couldn’t determine what or to who she was really angry with. After a few minutes, she left the bathroom. When she came back in the dressing room everybody had gone – perhaps they had started work again.

Marga started to reason quietly to herself:

“It’s good no one is here, it just stresses me when I hear what they are saying. And maybe the time will come when I start answering them back.”

She went out to see Kris again before their shows and performances started.

“What happened to you? You look bothered?” Kris asked, sitting in front of her.

“Nothing. Just some lady bees,” she answered.

“Ha-ha, Lalaine? Don’t mind those bitches, just ignore them. They will get tired of it soon.”

“I hope so!”

PART II

ONE

Days, weeks, months and years have passed but Marga was still doing a job that is not socially acceptable. But she had now got used to this type of work, so it didn’t bother her much anymore. Her mother had been operated on some years ago, but she didn’t survive the rigours of the surgery, because of her frail body. Until now, Marga couldn’t quite accept what had happened to her mother. After the surgery, she had become weaker and weaker, until finally, several months after the operation, Marga had lost her. At first, Marga had almost lost the will to live because of her mother’s death, but she needed to carry on for the sake of her sister, who was now studying at university.

~

“You’re here, ate,” Melanie said when she saw Marga coming through the door.

Marga had just come back from work – the job that had changed the beliefs that she used to live by. She had become used to her unworthy life, and her self-image was that she was no better than trash. No good man would ever choose her now. She had lost count of all the men who had used, abused and trespassed across her body. She couldn’t even recall now how she had once condemned this kind of work. But now? It seems that she had been raised to this profession – it now came so natural to her. It was fine with her, if men wanted to use her body, as long as they paid for the privilege of it.  

“You’re going to school now? I’m sorry that I only came home now. I had to drop by somewhere,” Marga explained, while giving Melanie her allowance money.

“Yes, it’s okay, because I’d actually just finished preparing, ate,” Melanie said.

“All right, be safe – I’ll get some sleep now.”

“Okay, ate, I’ll be leaving soon – maybe you want to have breakfast first?” Mel offered.

“Maybe later, I’m very sleepy – lock the door okay?”

~

Marga woke up around about five in the afternoon and then got something to eat as she was starving. Mel had not come back yet. Marga thought Melanie was often coming home late these days. She made a mental note that she would talk to her about this when she finished working in the club tomorrow. After she had had something to eat, she got cleaned up, and prepared herself for her work.

~

“You’re spacing out again,” Kris remarked when Marga entered the dressing room at the club.

“Just thinking about what’s out there this evening,” she said trying to change the topic.

“Not so much, it’s a weekday,” Kris answered, frowning.

“True. That’s why I’ll maybe just stay here.”

“Your Amboy[13] – your regular client was looking for you,” Kris informed her.

“Carlo? Just let him keep looking,” she said.

“Have your way – but maybe Lalaine will take him,” Kris joked.

“It’s up to him,” she answered lazily.

Carlo is a Filipino-American and one of Marga’s clients. She’s already experienced in this line of work. She already has a lot of clients, and most of them are married. Her very first regular client, Mr. Kang, is also married. So basically, she became his mistress. He financially supported her – especially her needs regarding her mother. However, lately they hadn’t met much because he is based in Singapore. She hardly recognized herself now. Her life and beliefs had changed. She could only rely on herself now – as she was the only one who could fix her own problems. She made her way to the club lounge, where men were getting drunk with girls at their side. She surveyed the bar area and saw a man sitting drinking on his own. He seemed to be broken-hearted. She observed him a little bit more and found him interesting, so she decided to approach him. As she walked towards him, someone tried to block her way. She looked up and saw it was Carlo.

“Hi, Marga, Wanna join me?” He asked right away.

“I’m sorry, Carlo but I have other things to attend to,” she said declining his offer.

“Is that so?” He continued.

“Yes. I’ll go now.”

Carlo walked away to join a friend sitting near the edge of the stage.

Marga made her way to the “broken-hearted” guy, although she didn’t really know why she was so eager to meet him. She approached him, and sat down on a chair in front of him. He immediately looked up at her.

“Sorry. I don’t need a girl,” he said grumpily.

“Why so snooty, lover boy?” Marga said trying to lift his mood and adding a charming smile.

But he didn’t reply. So, she started to study his features instead. He had thick eyebrows and deep-set brown eyes, a fair complexion, and a well-built body; all-in-all, he was very manly, and looked good.

“Why am I looking at this guy in this way – weird,” Marga thought to herself. She shook her head as if trying to rid herself of her silly thoughts.

“Why are you still here? Can’t you just leave me alone?! I don’t need a girl, so get out of my sight,” he said dismissing her irritably.

Instead of responding to his rudeness, she just smiled sweetly, trying to charm him.

“It’s a lot better to drink with someone,” she said in a sweet voice.

But he still didn’t pay any attention to her and just carried on drinking.

“Jerk,” she said under her voice.

“What!?” He asked furrowing his eyebrows.

“Nothing, she said, “just that you’re so handsome,” she said rolling her eyes, but askance so he didn’t see.

She just kept on bothering him. She didn’t know why she took delight in seeing his reactions. If this had been one year ago or so, maybe she would have been ashamed of doing it, but now she was different. She was doing things like this as if it was nothing to her – all the shame and inhibitions were gone from her body. And whether she admitted to herself or not, she seemed to have lost faith in God. She just left the guy sitting there drinking when she had to start her show.

TWO

She went home early after work, because she wanted to talk to her sister. She arrived at her house, and went into the bathroom to take a shower. She then went into the bedroom to check on her sister, but she was sleeping. Marga wondered when her sister had arrived home. Marga was tired and decided to go to sleep in the living room, taking a mattress and a pillow from their bedroom.

~

Ate? Ate? I’m leaving for school already,” Melanie said waking up her sister.

Marga was still drowsy; but she got up to give Melanie some money. And then she remembered she wanted to talk to her sister.

“Can I talk to you first?” she said to her younger sister. They sat down together on the couch in the living room.

“Sure, what’s it about, ate?” Mel asked in a questioning tone.

“I’ve just noticed that you often get home late and you’re not telling me the reasons behind it.”

“I’m sorry, ate.  We’ve just finishing some projects and school activities – especially now that the exams are close,” she explained.

“Well, then next time you can tell me why you’re going to be late and the exact address, so I know how to get hold of you if I have to.”

“Yes, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before, because I know you’re busy at work,” she added.

“You know how dangerous it is nowadays, there are too many bad people wandering the streets. You’re the only family I have, and I’m all you have. That’s why we need to look after each other more,” Marga said to her younger sister.

“Sorry again,” she apologized.

“You’d better hurry now before you’re late for class. You know how our mother wanted you to finish college,” she said reminding her.

“All right, I’m going now.”

“Be careful!” Marga felt relieved after talking to her sister. She didn’t want Melanie to get hurt, because she’s the only one she has, so she had to keep track of what she was doing.

~

It was late when Marga arrived at the club, because she had prepared dinner for her sister  beforehand, and they had eaten the meal together.

“What happened to you? Why are you late, girl?” Kris immediately asked when she came into the club.

“Just some family matters. You know I’ve been very busy lately, and that’s the reason why I had forgotten about Melanie.”

“Ah okay. That’s nice that you’re looking after your sister sometimes.”

“Did you finish performing already?” Marga asked her.

“Yes, just done changing my costume, actually,” Kris answered.

“Ah okay, my schedule on pole dancing starts tomorrow, so I’ll just keep the customers company tonight,” Marga said.

“Anyway, there’s someone looking for you, a handsome guy,” Kris said.

“Huh? Who?” Marga asked.

“I don’t know. I just saw him earlier – just see for yourself.”

“All right,” she said.

~

When Marga reached the VIP lounge, she saw the man Kris had been talking about. But his back was facing her, so she couldn’t see if this was someone she knew – but the manly shape of his body seemed familiar to her.

“Excuse me sir? Are you looking for me?” She asked approaching the table where the man was sitting. He turned around slowly. But it was dark, so she still couldn’t tell if she knew the guy or not.

“Yes,” he answered, facing her head on.

And yes, she had guessed right – she knew this guy  – he’s the grumpy one who snubbed her the other night.

“You?!” she said surprised.

“Yes, me!” he said, smiling. This was the first time she had seen him smile.

“Why are you looking for me? Remember the other night? You didn’t even want to look at me,” she said.

“I’m looking for you, because I want you to personally serve me whenever I’m here,” he said.

“Well that can’t be. You need to go through the management first,” she informed him.

“Don’t worry, I’ve already talked to your boss,” he said smiling again.

She thought it was peculiar that he should start treating her like this now – she wasn’t used to it. He had snubbed her the first time they met. It was bizarre; especially considering that apart from being very handsome, he was also by his appearance obviously very rich, evident from the fact he was wearing a Rolex Pearlmaster.

“Ah okay. Did you order already?” she asked glancing at the table, and seeing a bottle of Glenfiddich whisky, and a small bottle of Dom Perignon champagne placed there with two empty glasses.

“Yes, but you can order something else if you want too. I didn’t know what you like, so I just ordered some champagne,” he explained.

“Ah okay, thank you; just order some Perrier water for me – I have to get back to my friend now; I’ll come back soon,” she said.

~

When she left him, she was finally able to relax. She didn’t know why she was so nervous.

“Hey, Marga! Did you see the guy?” Kris asked when they met at the bar counter.

“Yes, I’m taking care of him already,” she replied.

“You’re lucky, he looks so yummy, ha-ha,” Kris teased her.

“Whatever,” she just replied.

“Ha-ha, well, I have a client I have to take care of, so I’ll see you later,” she said.

“Okay,” Marga said, and went straight back to the VIP lounge.

When she entered, she saw the man drinking already and he only looked at her when she sat directly in front of him.

“I don’t even know his name,” thought Marga to herself.

“What’s your name?” she asked him.

“I’m Stefan,” he answered while looking at her intently.

“I’m Marga,” she answered.

“I know,” he answered that made her wonder.

“Your boss told me,” he added.

“Ah ok.”

He remained silent, when Marga didn’t say anything, so she started to wonder why he wanted to take a woman from the club.

THREE

After the evening that she had spent with Stefan, she was summoned by Madam Gracia to tell her that Stefan had already paid the bar fine[ii] to take her out. But he hadn’t mentioned anything to her about it when they were together, but they were to meet tomorrow before lunch to talk about it according to Madam Gracia.

The next day she arrived at the meeting place, Ninyo, one of Manila’s “romantic” restaurants in Malate. She found him sitting at a table on the lower level.

“Good afternoon, sir,” she greeted him formally.

He pointed as by way of invitation to the empty chair in front of him.

“Sit down,” he commanded.

“Ah yes, sir,” she answered quickly.

“I’ve told your boss that I will pay for the time you will spend together with me,” he began.

“What will I do exactly?” she asked in a confused tone.

“You’ll accompany me to my newly purchased holiday residence on an island off the coast of Misamis Oriental,” he explained to her.

Stefan explained to her that amongst his business interests, he was also owner of a marina on the island, allowing yacht owners to dock their boats on payment of a fee.

“How many days?” she immediately asked, thinking about Melanie.

“Maybe a maximum of five days.”

“That’s a pretty long time,” she said, worried about her sister being left alone. “I’ve never left Melanie before – not even once,” she said. “Perhaps I can ask Kris to look after her.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll pay you fifty thousand pesos a day,” he said, which cheered her up no end. But I also want you to accompany me on other trips later for the same per-day fee.

With such an amount, and the promise of future reimbursement, she would be able to stop working in the club, and start a small business; that is, if he was really serious about paying her that amount every day for five consecutive days, and on future occasions, if his attentions continued. She hoped he wasn’t like Mr. Kang, who was good at the start, but petered out suddenly, in step with his waning desire. If Mr. Kang had kept all his promises, she could have left her job a long time ago. “Inconstancy, thy name is man – most gentlemen can’t be profound,” thought Marga to herself.

“Is this for real sir?”

“Yes,” he answered seriously.

“When will we leave?” she asked.

“Tomorrow afternoon – I’ll pick you up here,” he said.

“Alright. I’ll get prepared – and tell my sister.”

~

When she arrived at home, she met her sister who seemed to have just arrived too.

“How many days are you going to stay there, ate?” Melanie asked her.

“Just for five days,” she replied.

“Be safe always, okay,” Melanie said.

“You too, don’t worry about me – and I’ve already talked to Kris who’s going to look out for you.”

“Alright, ate.”

~

The next day she was standing in front of the restaurant outside Robinson’s Place in Pedro Gil, Malate, where they had agreed to meet. The street was noisy, humid, polluted by streams of Jeepneys, and full of life; populated by hundreds of Filipinos not unlike her – with hopes of a good life. She hadn’t been standing there long when a large black Mercedes-Benz GLC pulled up, and the mall security guard holding a machine gun waved his free hand directing the vehicle where to park. The dark-tinted window on the driver’s side wound down, revealing Stefan’s smiling face.

“Jump in,” he said still smiling.

Once ensconced inside the SUV, she sank into the luxury of the sumptuous black leather seats.

“Good afternoon, sir,” she said smiling at him, while he was engaged in manoeuvring the large vehicle on to the traffic-jammed Pedro Gil.

“Stefan,” he said.

“Huh?” she reacted confused.

“I mean, call me Stefan,” he explained.

“Ok – I thought you wanted me to be your maid or servant on this trip,” she said. 

“No, call me Stefan,” he repeated.

“Ah okay, sir — I mean Stefan,” she giggled nervously.

“You look so tense, relax. I don’t bite,” he said with a wide grin on his face.

She didn’t know why she felt so ashamed and nervous. She had been through many of these kinds of situations before, because of her job as a “take-out girl” and escort at the club.

“Sorry, this is the first time I’ll be away from my sister for a few days,” she explained.

He nodded while driving.

“Sorry about that. Maybe you can just call her from time to time,” he advised her.

It was at this point she started to fall for Stefan.

~

It was now the third day of their trip, and they had decided to go to the most famous beach on the island, Paras Beach.   

“Are you ready?” Stefan asked her as she emerged from the bedroom looking every inch the stunning, delectable and desirable woman of Stefan’s dreams.   

“Yes.”

“Let’s go then,” he said, while taking her hand.

Her heart began to beat faster with this gesture. He’s a gentleman and very caring. It wasn’t difficult for Marga to fall for him, even if she tried to resist his charm. She had been guarding her heart for a long time, and had never had a boyfriend before. Even although she was an escort, she had never given any man the chance to kiss her lips. She just really hoped he felt the same way too. After travelling by rented car, they finally arrived at the beach resort. When walking in to the lobby of the resort hotel, they walked hand-in-hand as if they were a newly wedded couple.

“This is a very nice place. Even if I stayed here forever it would be fine with me,” she said happily.

Stefan didn’t react to what she said, but just stood in front of her looking at her intently.

“What’s going on? Are you ok?” She teased him.

“Nothing. Come on, let’s go,” he said instead.

~

They spent the day swimming in the deep blue sea and did other activities in the area that day until late afternoon – that’s why they were so tired when they finally returned to their hotel room. They both lay down on the bed on their backs looking up blankly at the ceiling.

“Are you happy?” He asked.

“Sure, are you?” She also asked, while turning sideways so she could see his face.

“Yes, I am,” he answered, and also turned around on his side so he was facing her.

She became so tense when he held her hand. And when she looked at him, she saw that he was staring at her intently again.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“I never thought that I’d feel this way towards you,” he admitted.

“What exactly do you feel?” She asked – that made her heart beat faster.

“I love you, I don’t know how it happened; this was just supposed to be a long weekend vacation for me to get away from the stress in the city, so I didn’t expect to fall in love with you.”

“I love you too, I don’t know when it happened, but I know I love you too,” she said crying, the tears running down her cheeks. He licked her tears, and she started to cry harder. She raised one shaking hand to his hair, and her sobs became uncontrollable.  

“Why are you crying?” He asked worriedly.

“Because I didn’t expect that this could ever happen to me. You know, because I’ve been working in the club, and you know the kind of person I am. But you still fell for me. I know for a fact that I don’t deserve you – you deserve better,” she helplessly replied.

“Me too, I never expected this to happen. And it’s so sudden.”

“Yes. We just met.”

“It’s okay. Let’s take everything slow. Stop crying. I will never hurt you – that’s a promise,” he said, hugging her lovingly.

PART THREE

Months later, she and Stefan were still together as a couple. And regarding her long-term wishes, he fulfilled her dream of leaving her job and being free from the job that had “jailed” her for a long time. He paid her debts to Madam Gracia, so she could be freed from the prison of her job as a pole dancer, escort and fille de joie; where she had lost all hope and self-esteem as a woman. He had lifted her out of her degradation. Melanie already knew that Stefan was her sister’s boyfriend. The cycle of her life had suddenly changed, which she before had thought was an impossibility.

“Good thing that your heart already found the guy who accepted you, ate,” Melanie said to her one Sunday afternoon.

“Yes, I thought I would end up dying alone,” she said.

“But look at you now, you’re getting married soon,” her sister said happily.

“Don’t worry, you and I will still be together after I’m married,” she said to her.

“I’m happy for you, ate.

“Thank you, Mel,” she replied.

“It’s time for you to be happy. You’ve sacrificed enough for me and our late mother,” Melanie said.

“It’s nothing. Who else can help and care for you and nanay but me, and you would do the same too, if you had the chance,” she said to her sister.

“Thank you.”

The following day, she and Stefan met to arrange things for their upcoming wedding.

“How was your day?” He asked after kissing her.

“It’s good, Melanie and I spent the day together, and what about you?”

“Work as usual,” he answered with a tired sigh.

“Wow!  Even on weekends, you’re still working. You’re very hardworking,” she complimented him.

“You know I’m an only child, and my parents are old, so I’m the only one they expect to take care of the business,” Stefan explained.

Last week, she was finally able to meet his parents who are both good people; and despite her low status in life compared to them, because they are rich and successful, they still warmly welcomed her into their family. She was very lucky having Stefan, because he accepted her with his whole being without hesitation.

“You’re still young,” she just said.

“Don’t worry I’m used to it,” he just laughed.

Until now, she still couldn’t believe that this man loved her too. She is very grateful to God that he gave her Stefan, someone who will love her entirely, even though he knew about her dark past. She didn’t really abandon God, despite her bad experiences in life. Even though she sometimes doubted Him. He still gave her a precious person that accepted and loved her despite what she has done in the past.

“Even if you’re busy, you still find time to visit your parents – you should be happy, because they’re still alive and kicking. Don’t miss the opportunity that you can still embrace and interact with them,” she advised him.

“Yes ma’am,” he said, and they both laughed.

“I love you, Stefan,” she said while adoringly looking at him.

“I love you too, my Marga,” he answered her and lovingly embraced her.

No matter what she had been through, no matter how hard her experiences had been, she was still able to tackle the struggles life pitched her way with strength and confidence. And even if she got mad with the world for being so unfair, God opened her eyes and gave her a chance to be loved. He gave her a wonderful gift. You just really need to fight and believe you will get through all the tests that will come your way in life.

~

A few months later Stefan and Marga walked down the aisle together, and then walked hand in hand along the long and winding road that leads into the future. Who would have thought that a woman who had almost given up in life would still meet her Prince Charming. He rescued her and lifted her up, and allowed her to grow up, despite herself.

So fight, because where there’s life, there’s hope!

The End.


[1] Translated and adapted from the original Tagalog.

[2] Aling is a Filipino word used to address an older woman respectfully.

[3] Philippine television drama, also known as teleserye; Filipino telenovela is a form of melodramatic serialized fiction, which is very popular.

[4] The term “ate” is literally used in Filipino when addressing an older sister; it denotes respect and is also used when addressing cousins and friends in the same generation but a little older.

[5] A sari-sari store is a small neighbourhood convenience store found in the Philippines.

[6] Dying with your eyes open is interpreted in some cultures as dying in a state of unrest or mission in life unfulfilled. https://lostpedia.fandom.com/wiki/Eyes

[7] Filipino: Short for nanay – mum.

[8] Filipino: Mum.

[9] A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village. In metropolitan areas, it often refers to an inner city neighbourhood.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

[10] Filipino: the word “tita” means literally “aunt”, but it is also used for older women that are close to the family.

[11] Some time later God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. “Take your son,” God said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will show you.” Genesis 22:1-5.

[12] The regular cost for a jeepney ride is ₱8 for every 4 km ride, and about a ₱1 increase per km when going beyond the 4 km . Filipinos describe trips between point A and point B in the number of jeepney rides it takes – as the jeepneys have fixed routes. For instance, “I’ll see you in about one hour or more – it’s three (jeepney) rides away.”

[13] Used by Asians when referring to American “boys”. 


[i] Philippine television drama, also known as teleserye, Filipino telenovelas or P-drama, is a form of melodramatic serialized fiction in television in the Philippines. Teleserye is derived from two Filipino words: “tele”, which is short for “telebisyón” (television) and “sérye” (series).

Teleseryes share some characteristics and have similar roots with classic soap operas and telenovelas, yet the teleserye has evolved into a genre with its own unique characteristics, often working as a social realist reflection of Filipino reality. Teleseryes are aired in prime-time, afternoon, five days a week. They attract a broad audience crossing age and gender lines, and they command the highest advertising rates in the Philippine television industry. The series last anywhere from three months to a year, or even longer, depending on their rating.

Other forms of Philippine dramas include “serials” and “anthologies”, which are usually shown on a weekly basis. These dramas are also intended to air a finite number of episodes usually lasting one season depending on the ratings. (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_television_drama. Accessed: 3 August 2019.

[ii] Bar fine: A “bar fine” is a payment made by a customer to the operators of a bar that allows a dancer, hostess, or some other employee of that bar to leave work early, usually in order to accompany the customer outside the bar.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.