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The following morning saw him returned to his desk with frightening intensity. Mais boatos sobre o Windows 8. A man with battered hands is shown to be a craftsman only when he puts them to work. Something in his bearing is exceedingly dignified. During the rainy season, due to runoff from the denuded mountains and foothills, the water became murky enough to present a mystery and a sense of foreboding. He picks up his watch from the desk and looks at it. They all stare back. The backpackers seemed to be having a hard time following him. Tito Odyseo was severely beaten one night when he fell asleep guarding the cages. I decide against it. Right, Grapes? To be angry implies you care. Average daily temperatures are given in degrees Fahrenheit.

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He looks around.

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He cranes his head to see her now. He thinks, Something about cabin pressure makes me horny. He blames the long-haul boredom. What if—he thinks—she feels the same as me? What if I just took her hand and brought her to the lavatory? The worst she could do is say no. He looks over but cannot see her. He marvels at its rabbitlike beauty. Madison had manly feet. The way Madison held him when they made love often seemed his main purpose for sex. It was like hands slowly being washed in warm water—needful, complete, and it cleansed him of that one thing he kept secret from her.

He rubs his stubbly chin, a silent-film villain deep in thought, and his watch reflects a locus of light that flies onto the walls, the seat backs, the faces of his slumbering seatmates. He examines it in the light. His grandfather had given it to him on his twenty-first birthday.

This was years after the whole family had returned to the Philippines, years after things had begun to curdle, years after his grandfather had returned to his politics and his women. Stainless steel, pearlescent white face, Oyster Perpetual DateJust. His grandfather has one exactly like it. A dedication to his grandson was later engraved on the back, and because of that the boy has treasured it. That and the savory memory of lost family dinners when the two would unclasp watches and trade and compare and marvel.

The boy for so long now has passed his off as genuine that even he has forgotten and has allowed himself, along with everyone else, to be fooled. Reach for the stars!

The window open, its panel swinging tauntingly. He crosses the room like a hungry tiger suddenly uncaged at lunchtime. He is swimming across the flooded street to a stranded flatbed truck. Dominador fights desperately against the raging current, debris hitting him at nearly every armstroke. Antonio hears shouts of men from behind him, the clatter of their shoes running up the stairs, down the hall.

The police! Antonio leaps out the window and into the flood. When he surfaces, he sees Dominador on the back of the truck, cutting the ropes of a tarp with his footlong switchblade knife.

Above Antonio, police crowd the window, aim their pistols at him. He dips below, swimming like a shark. In the murky water, their bullets cruise past him like torpedoes. He surfaces in time to see Dominador pushing a yellow-and-red Jet Ski off the truck.

Its engine roars like a grizzly and Dominador speeds away, weaving through the stranded cars and jeepneys. Antonio spots a second Jet Ski on the truck. He swims toward it. Bullets zip by. They make popping sounds into the water. Antonio pulls himself onto the truck. In a single motion he pushes the Jet Ski off and starts it.

He speeds over the flood-water, the wind fresh on his face. Through foggy shop windows, panicked people watch the commotion. As Antonio blurs past, he gives them his most winning smile.

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It kills me how these days everyone has clinical justification for their strangeness. My lolo was recently diagnosed with Freudian narcissism. He then had his secretary do research on the Net. Instead of finding all the bad in it, of course he saw only the good. So rather than baixar all the books about how the disorder can be overcome, and how they hurt the people around them, he bought The Victorious Narcissist—a book about the triumphant qualities of Nero, Napoleon, Hitler, Saddam, etc.

Hell, Grapes even bought a copy to give to President Estregan as a Christmas gift. To be angry implies you care. I just feel sorry for him. A self-fulfilling prophecy: try as he did, he was damned forever to be the tiny narcissus.

I never knew how to reply, so I smiled the smile of a shy child basking in attention. I was afraid to. He smelled of Old Spice and pipe tobacco, which, I realize now, are more of those comforting clichés. It became his pet name for me. We all had them, his private names that made us each his unique grandchild. I was afraid not to. Every night, under the covers, her foot would be pressed against mine. The biggest sin a Pinoy can commit is arrogance.

He should have ripped off from someone else. There is a time and place for everything, my dear old Crisp. Some posts from the message boards below: —Wat a twatface that Salvador is! Lets c wat his so-called The Bridges Ablaze has 2 say. More power to you, Marcel! Lop the head off that commie. But in fairness, do any of us have answers? Check out the yellow armpit stains in his barong! My bf has stains like that. Should work gr8. Ur wlcm! See: en. His head is nodding, slumping away from me.

My little bottle of alcogel peeks from his breast pocket. My hand hovers to fish it out. I decide against it. Instead, I try to sleep.

I try not to think of Madison. In the month before Crispin died, it got to a point that being with Madison was like walking naked around a cactus with your eyes closed. She liked to alternate her homoerotic suspicions with accusations of literary mercenariness. As if real-life people were too nebulous, too private and unreal for us to understand.

We liked to believe there is an alternate world, a better world, populated entirely by characters created by the yearnings of humanity—governing and inspiring themselves with all the lucidity with which we rendered them.

We posited such a world to be an afterlife for the monumentally great and flawed men and women of history, because Julius Caesar is as real to us as Holden Caulfield, Pol Pot is as alive as Judas Iscariot. The debt inside ourselves, as we Filipinos say.

My biography of Crispin will be an indictment of my country, of time, of our forgetful, self-centered humanity. Romantics are really only in love with themselves.

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Hand-painted canvas banners had been strung up at the gate. Dozens of farmworkers lined the gravel drive, straw hats pressed solemnly against their chests as they craned their necks to glimpse the child through the windows of the silver Packard. Some of them had undone their neckerchiefs and waved them like makeshift flags. The car pulled up to the two-story manor, and the household staff in their cream uniforms, lined up in order of importance from the mayordoma down to the stable boy, erupted in applause.

Leonora stepped out from the car, reached in to take Salvador from Ursie, and proudly showed him off. Pink cheeks were touched, the bridge of his nose pinched again and again, and his already thick head of fine blond hair caressed admiringly. They marveled at his hazel eyes.

An old four-by-five in sepia: in front of the Salvador ancestral home outside Bacolod. From left to right all squinting in the sun : Ursie, short and stout; reedlike Lena in her school uniform; tousled Narcisito holding his toy glider; Crispin, almost too big for his perambulator; the punctiliously attired Mortimer J.

Gladstone, their Bostonian tutor; in the background, walking beside the rosebushes, his face hidden in the shade of his straw hat, Yataro, the Japanese gardener. Cristobal, are you listening? He picks up his watch from the desk and looks at it. He tries to attach the chain but has a hard time. After a few moments he gets it right and slips the watch into the pocket of his waistcoat.

Yciar gets up from the bed. She picks up the silk robe off the floor and pulls it around her. Cristo watches her silhouetted against the thin, bright lines of sunlight coming through the shutters.

They look like gashes on her, on everything. She walks barefoot across the room and stands on his feet. She holds him around his waist. They waltz a few steps. Then when I transfer at Hong Kong. And of course the minute I land at Manila. Not there. She studies his face and seems guilty. She looks down. When she looks up again she is smiling.

She straightens his cravat. I know. You must rush home, to that hospital to care for your mother and sister. Promise not to forget me. Being remembered is all anyone can ask from a lost love. Her voice is so gentle he can barely hear her. I take it from the seat pocket in front of me. He opens it and begins to leaf. Tsk-tsk, he says, shaking his head. He nudges my elbow off the armrest and points at a particular article. Two more suicide bombings, just this morning. This time down south, in Mindanao.

Six dead, twelve injured by the first blast, at a Lotto outlet in front of the city hall in General Santos City. Most were municipal employees wagering just-cashed salaries. No one has asserted responsibility. The bombings are assumed to be retaliation for the coalition-led invasion of Afghanistan, of which President Fernando Valdez Estregan has made us a part. I look at my seatmate and shake my head at the article. Then I pretend to go to sleep.

A minute later, I hear him chuckling. I peek with one eye. Even I was shocked by the not-guilty verdict received by the Filipino-Chinese couple, who killed their maid by forcing her to drink Clorox Spring Flowers bleach.

The maid was minding their son when he drowned in the bathtub. She had been busy textmessaging. I hate lowbrow tabloid junk. I only clicked on the link that once, because the family involved was named Changco. I thought they might have been related to Dingdong Changco, Jr. It turned out the family in the trial was of no relation. The couple claimed he took it; the judge denied acceptance. The Changcos threatened to sue. Investigators confirmed a withdrawal of two million pesos had been made by the couple, though not a centavo surfaced in the accounts of the judge.

Blogs poked fun at how Mr. Changco returned home to find their three prizewinning Chihuahuas beheaded in the living room of their gated home.

In the past couple of weeks, the loveand-retribution story has turned Lakandula into an unwitting celebrity—as soon as the media learned that he had wooed his now dead beloved by writing songs for her and playing them on his guitar, he became a national heartthrob. Photographs of him were bought by tabloids and pop magazines at exorbitant prices. My seatmate is looking at a photo of Lakandula as a construction worker in Saudi Arabia, shirtless and muscled, leaning against a front-end loader.

His smile is bright, his hard hat askew on his thick shock of black hair.

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Among them are slips of paper filled with jokes, some in my handwriting. Crispin was obsessed with our oral traditions and doubly infatuated with translating Filipino humor into English.

For example, capturing how the deprecation is in actuality selfdeprecation.

One from the rival De La Salle University. The three students spot a very pretty light-skinned girl. Each of the boys takes a turn at trying to woo her. Are you hungry at all? Rain streaks sideways across the glass. Suddenly the plane dips. Our stomachs squeeze into our throats. Passengers squeal, straighten, clasp armrests tightly. Many double-check their seat belts, more than a few pull out rosaries and begin moving their fingers in time with their lips.

Its interior lights dim. Muzak standards are played from the PA system: a tinkling piano version of the theme from The Godfather.

The only person unfazed is my seatmate, who pulls out my bottle of alcohol disinfectant, takes off his socks, and starts slathering his feet, holding the plastic bottle between his teeth as he gets between his toes with all the fingers of both hands. He slurps to keep his saliva in. So much for my bottle of alcogel.

The plane shakes violently again. I close my eyes. The Godfather tune makes me picture silk-socked mobsters skating lithely on mirrored ballroom floors.

Liberace at his piano on a dais, watching expectantly for the imminent crash that would break everything into a million little pieces.

Independence is bliss. It really is. I remember, though, when Madison and I decided to get our own place in Brooklyn—my first real taste of independence. I remember when I called him in Manila to let him and Granma know my decision. But part of me was relieved that I had pulled it off so easily.

Madison and I moved our stuff into our shitty little wonderful new place, and returning the U-Haul truck felt like I was navigating my new yacht to one of those all-inclusive island resorts with vacationing Pilates instructors in G-strings and a pool with a bar in the middle of it. The next month, however, my grandparents arrived suddenly. Even I began to doubt myself.

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I thought, perhaps, my independence had earned their respect. Then they asked to see me alone on their last night in New York; they were leaving for Tel Aviv the next day to see a man about some especially fertile chickens.

Grapes stood by the table in their room at the Holiday Inn. The place made me sad, disgusted even. Ever since I was little, he liked to remind me that his wealth came from knowing how to save.

The shirt was inside out. Grapes turned around and sat down at the table. He placed his seven-day pillbox in front of him, opened it to Tuesday, and began taking out tablets and capsules and arranging them on the tabletop. They looked like candies. Granma sat in the corner, looking at her hands. Grapes sighed. It was a brutal, crushing sigh.

You went to Columbia! They should make you editor in chief. Do you want me to go with you to talk to them? I looked at the masthead. Are you editor? Brigid Hughes, managing editor. Is your name Brigid Hughes? Ben Ryder Howe, senior editor. Is your name Ben Ryder Howe? Oliver Broudy, senior editor. Is your name Oliver Broudy? George Plimpton, editor. Is your name George Plimpton? Always the same, huh? Are you the janitor? She sat quietly in the corner of the room, looking at her fists.

My own hands started to hurt and I realized I was clenching them so tightly that my nails almost broke the skin. When I spoke up, I could feel myself shaking. I steeled my voice. Why do you think the father figure is always you? Stories your grandmother would like and can show off to her friends. Her voice was surprisingly angry. You are always trying to shock. You have all this horrible stuff in your work. Not very Christian things. Not very patriotic. And you say things that are not yours to say.

Right, Grapes? What do you know about owning responsibility? We helped you play mommy-daddy with that girl in university. What happened there?

But of course we helped you. Because we love you. But how do you repay us? Listen to yourself. In what book did you read that baloney? Out of all of you six. Well here I am. One of us six. But look at where it got you. I wanted to hurt him, but not that way. Than your father did.

We stewed in the silence of a stalemate neither of us expected. I looked at my grandfather for what I knew would be the last time. He looked old. I went out into the hall. Granma followed. She started pulling wadded hundred-dollar bills from her pockets and pushing them into my hands. I kept my fists closed. For me. I let her. I hugged her. Then I walked to the elevator. I pressed the call button purposefully. We stood there.

Granma brought out a Kleenex packet and tried to open it. I pressed the button again. Granma hid her face in a tissue. Granma began to blow her nose. The elevator finally came. I was grateful that it was empty. I turned to look through the closing doors, but my grandmother was gone. The elevator went down and down and down until it stopped. The doors opened and I was faced with a group of guys who looked like Midwesterners in town for a wrestling competition.

For good. In past times, I work very hard. I remit money for a long time. I will now change everything. The money in the middle slips out of the stack and bills shower into our laps.

He laughs as we pick them up. I hand over what I collected. The bills smell like sweaty hands and baking bread. I feel unspeakably happy for him. And guilty for having resented him. Now, for the future of my children, I come home. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport is your apt introduction to my country. Your armpits drip sweat like a tap, though the sky is almost always white, the sun almost always hidden.

On the street, taxis done up like carnivals will honk straight at you, their drivers accosting your bags as if intending to hold them ransom for a twenty-cent tip. In their cabs—perfumed with three different fruit-scented air fresheners, pork cracklings, and spicy vinegar—they hospitably turn the air-con to arctic freezing and crank up the volume on their stereo just for you, so that the Bee Gees fly high-pitched and crystalline from the speakers by your ears.

Soot-caked cops do their best to direct the beast that is our traffic, their ineffectual whistles exacerbating the chaos that is our order. Let me welcome you to my first country, my Third World.

At dusk, when no other humans were afoot, Lena, Narcisito, and I would creep slowly between the cages. There was the jaguar, with his immense paws.

The pair of aardvarks, named for Saints Peter and Paul. The Palawan bearcat. The ring-tailed lemurs. The buff-faced gibbons. The Philippine monkey-eating eagle named Bonifacio. And the baby giraffe, who died before he grew to his full height. On those Sundays when his family would host all the others or at least those in good grace , Tito Odyseo would sometimes release the gazelles, a fleet trio that ran without knowing the estate was a larger, inescapable cage, or ran because a dozen children gave chase, or ran for the opportunity and sheer love of running.

I remember how we took after them, for those very same reasons. If only someone had taken a picture of that last picnic, with the animals in the background and the family all present. That was the last time we were together, the last time our ancestral land was still ours, the last time the spirits were still present there in the shadows beneath the trees.

When the war came, the animals were quickly stolen, one by one, by hungry farmworkers. Tito Odyseo was severely beaten one night when he fell asleep guarding the cages. Suddenly the plane dips again, and his thoughts take on the tinge of desolation, as they do in such moments.

He closes his eyes and tries not to pray. From above, the city is still beautiful. We pass over brown water off the coast, fish pens laid out in geometrical patterns, like a Mondrian viewed by someone color-blind.

Over the bay, the sunset is starting, the famous sunset, like none anywhere else. Skeptics attribute its colors to pollution. Connecting them, the grid and the superavenues—Edsa, Roxas, Aurora, Taft —countless overpasses built like Band-Aids, innumerable billboards, restaurants for every nationality and budget, huge shopping malls with Bulgari, Shoe Mart, Starbucks, Nike, you name it.

You want it, you can get it in Manila, in shops and tabloids, alleyways and boardrooms. Modern Manila. She who once was the Pearl of the Orient is now a worn dowager, complete with the hump, the bunions, the memories of the Charleston stepped to the imported and flawlessly imitated melodies of King Oliver, the caked-on makeup and the lipstick smeared in thick stripes beyond the thin, pursed lips.

She, the trusting daughter of East and West, lay down and was de stroyed, her beauty carpet-bombed by her liberators, cautious of their own casualties, her ravishment making her kindred to Hiroshima, Stalingrad, Warsaw. And yet, from the air you think her peaceful and unflustered. On the ground is a place tangled with good intentions and a tyrannical will to live. Manila has changed much since. If you know where to look, this is the most exciting city in the world. The passengers clap.

Our hero slows. Eagle-eyes search for Dominador. There he is! Antonio builds velocity, his black leather jacket flapping like a cape. He jerks his vehicle to the right, heading straight for a half-submerged car. The Jet Ski slides over its hood, up its windshield, and flies through the air, Antonio hunched over the handlebars.

Man and machine arc higher and higher, the engine screaming like a banshee in heat. The fleeing Dominador looks behind him, wideeyed and stupid-looking. The Jet Ski closes in. Antonio leaps over his handlebars, like a gazelle through the air, and tackles Dominador. They tumble together.

Seat belts click, click, click. Passengers rush to the windows on the right. Two pillars of evil black smoke, clambering up in the distance, seem to hold the heavens up.

At their feet, fire. In a way, I wrote that part for him. He became more than the guy beside me with annoying manners. What I said that he said to me, I could see that in him. When he tried to strike up a conversation, I closed my eyes and pretended to be dreaming. From this point on, I should promise to tell the truth. I even reached the point of being able to cuss in his company.

The friendship started with me doing a profile on him for my class with Lis Harris. Crispin and I would sit stiffly formal, a tape recorder like a string of barbed wire between us, always at some coffee shop or restaurant.

I finished the semester and turned in the profile. A couple of weeks after our last interview I was finally invited into his office for a cup of Lapsang souchong and some madeleines. He was visibly more at ease now that he was no longer under scrutiny. His smile, I noticed, was unexpectedly shy.

We sat and nibbled and talked about stuff. Books, probably. Crumbs clung to the front of his argyle sweater. When I saw him the next day they were still there. In the beginning I felt uncomfortable, the way one does when first spending time with the obviously lonely.

Crispin was a fixture on the busy campus, and his solitude was as familiar to everyone as the bronze Alma Mater statue. Every morning and afternoon he would lope up and down the steps between Butler Library and his office in Philosophy Hall—his countenance rueful, his attire that of a flaneur with tenure. He reminded me of the way a Tokyoite looks in a cowboy hat, though Crispin somehow almost succeeded with his affectation of brown tweeds and a wilting red fedora with a green feather in its band.

Always a variation of that outfit, no matter what the weather; always a notebook covered in orange suede tucked under his arm. During our interviews, however, he was lucid and confident. I learned much from Crispin, though a lot of the things he went on about passed over my head. But he was one of those teachers who, by a kind of osmosis, helped you discover the quantity of areas in your life in which you are still so ignorant as not to have even considered forming a wrong opinion.

In his mind, the trivial shared equal prestige with the academic, and his sudden flaring intensities, set off by a word, an image, a private thought, made his conversation unpredictable.

Listening, you lived vicariously within the corners of a kind of universal mind, the near and far reaches of the universe, the infinite expanses of the ages. All this over chipotle nachos before our cheese-burgers arrived.

His Comp Lit lectures, with students spilling out the doorway, were legendary for their gee-whiz fervor, violent digressions, miraculous convergences. Yet he struck me as possessing the self-centeredness of the calcified lonesome. During our first casual conversations, he chose his words with caution.

Only after a few meetings did his focus shift away from discussing himself. It bounded past, to another realm he found more familiar, the wondrous specifics of the great cosmologies. Then he would sit in silence, soaking it up.

Never did he ask how my weekend went. Rarely did he solicit my opinion, except perhaps to pass judgment on me. When Crispin went on and on, I would sometimes tune out, watching his hands gesticulate. Each was scarred bizarrely. The tissue, the size of a dime, was raised and silky, right in the center on the front and back of each hand.

Like stigmata. Such personal mysteries intrigued me. At such times, I studied Crispin out of the corner of my eye, hunched, tired, in his squeaking chair in a tiny office that smelled like a goat wearing expensive aftershave, and I wondered about the road that had taken him to this point.

They drink and watch the Purefoods vs. The student from Ateneo regales them with his dream of being a Supreme Court judge. A particularly skanky girl passes, wearing a micro-mini denim skirt, a halter that reveals her muffin-top belly, long straight hair to the small of her back, and those precarious Plexiglas stilettos popular with dancers of the exotic discipline. A veritable Whore of Babylon! What a puta! I heard the honking of a horn, the clicking of a turn signal. I wish you were here. You would have enjoyed it.

It would have made your grandfather so happy. It keeps me awfully busy. Which is good.

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Especially in this season, when everyone wants something from you. That will pass. Always suspecting him of being on the verge of declaring martial law. But their parliament of the streets is just mob rule. People like you. What can anyone do? You really think you can change the world? It would just be better. I have to go before he sees me on the phone. What time is it there in New York?

You better get to bed. He pushes Antonio off with his powerful arms. With a press of the button, the villain unsheathes his switchblade. Dominador sneers. Antonio smiles. His opponent closes in, slicing the air between them. My flight to Bacolod leaves early tomorrow. The traffic was too heavy to venture farther. I sat in the back of a taxi as it inched along a cordon of traffic cones, across the broad highway from a wall of fire swallowing blocks of shanties. Black shades of men and their hulking machines moved and shimmered against the backdrop of wrestling yellows and reds and oranges.

In places, spires of brilliant blue leaped and twirled and fell and shifted colors. The taxi driver and I sat transfixed, our faces pressed to the warm windows. Let us hope, my friends, and let us pray, that the rains will aid the brave firefighters in their heroic task. What was it really that kept him from returning to Manila?

I even asked him once, and he said living abroad was harder. That it took more guts to be an international writer. But there was always a lack of conviction in his voice. A defensiveness. Could it be that he had just grown too soft for a city such as this, a place possessed by a very different balance?

Here, need blurs the line between good and bad, and a constant promise of random violence sticks like humidity down your back. Wholly different from the zeitgeist lining the Western world, with its own chaos given order by multitudes of films and television shows, explained into our communal understanding by op-ed pieces and panel discussions and the neatness of stories linked infinitely to each other online.

Had Crispin grown to love the mythology too much, the way Emma Bovary loved romances? Like a hermit with a credit card and a telephone, Crispin sat back and dismissed what was happening outside his door. No wonder it revolves. Maybe because I was younger and postpostcolonial, I knew that even if it rotated askew, it was still one world.

When a butterfly flapped its wings in Chile, a child soldier killed for the first time in Chad, a sale was made on Amazon. But we also took fervid stances on issues burning up the blogs, even if engaged from the safety of our homes, our windows wrapped in plastic and duct tape. My friends and those like us monitored Fox News constantly, trying to understand the hypocrisy of the enemy, relishing our feelings of superiority before changing the channel to search for whatever subjectivity we found most satiating.

Sure, we abandoned the Philippines, inhabited Manhattan, and claimed the deserted nighttime streets, always in an incredulous state of self-congratulation for what we would one day do. Sure, we went out constantly, driven by our fear of either missing out or dying lonely or simply growing old. Sure, each night we staggered home, unfired, unglazed, already broken without knowing it. But at least we were trying.

Around that time the Philippines was listed by Western governments as a terrorist hot spot, though many Filipinos scoffed. Crispin not only ridiculed the warning, dismissing it with the air of having seen it all before, but he also shrugged off the ubiquitous stories of quashed coups and extralegal killings that we in the know recognize as the more pressing, if less sensational, concerns. And I forgave him that. Even if I thought he was running away from something by living abroad.

Or maybe I admired him because he had graduated into a different role. A man with battered hands is shown to be a craftsman only when he puts them to work. Yes, I gave him that. Because TBA was supposed to reach for more than a thousand young Turks like me ever could.

How are they so serene when they have so much less time than we do? I hoped Crispin would have looked in the mirror one morning and said: You obsolete old bastard. And that would have spurred him to a final assault. But that time I questioned him about the toothlessness of exile, he paused, then replied: What can one do? The scent of fire is pleasant. It wafts into my room at the pension, through the vent of the gargling air-conditioner unit.

Despite myself, I enjoy it. Two cockroaches climb the far wall, their antennae waving at each other. A drunk unheroic tenor belts Vita Nova love songs from the karaoke bar downstairs. Later, the silence after closing time uncovers the cries of sirens still blazing in the distance. Thunder sunders all. Wind pelts rain on the jalousie windows with such force it sounds like a riot. I sleep. The tiny house is gathering dust.

I watch it collect on the surfaces, on the objects. A red fedora. A gramophone.

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A framed photo of a little girl at First Communion with her parents. On the beach, I listen for a boat. The sea is reticent and raucous. How could I have never learned to swim in something so beautiful? Bangs of typewriter keys resound through the window. I rush back in and see an Underwood with paper in it. I search the house again, growing desperate with each successive pass. I doze in and out, unable to sleep, but trying desperately for some sense of normalcy.

I stumble up to suck, in vain, at the faucet attached to a plastic drum in the kitchen. When I bang the drum it makes a noise like a bell underwater. I lie down again, then have to rush outside to vomit. I lie down once more, then run out to shit diarrhea. I stagger to the bed, my heart pounding, and pain a new regularity in my head. I can almost feel my kidneys ache. One imagines strange things sometimes. My blood, I somehow know, is becoming more acidic.

Hypovolemic shock. I heard the term on a medical TV drama. My blood is pulling moisture from my body tissue, from my brain. The bedsheets are icy. Visions play with my mind. When the sun rises over the island, my throat feels like it has shut. With a panic like realizing your mother has left you in the supermarket, I know I am going to die. I wake up. It is the accepting moment of a dying night, just before dawn, just before the roosters have awakened.

Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst

I lie in bed and try to recall it before it slips away. It must be the jet lag. Morning arrives, slowly, then noisily. The cockroaches, in their wisdom, have fled. And so, this is where he is declared our protagonist. The dramatic angle to his story begins with recurring images of him fidgeting in his own silence, in deserted subway stations, in classrooms surrounded by schoolmates, in a forenoon queue at MoMA.

You can see in his face he is searching, hoping to dispel those things that nettle and diminish him, finding purpose in the conceit of himself as a modern-day member of the ilustrados—a potentiality owned by every expatriate today, a precedent granted by those first Enlightened Ones of the late nineteenth century. Those young Filipino bodhisattvas had returned home from abroad to dedicate their perfumed bodies, mellifluous rhetoric, Latinate ideas, and tailored educations to the ultimate cause.

Many dying of bullets, some of inextricable exile, others subsumed and mellowed and then forgotten, more than a few later learning, with surprising facility, to live with enforced compromise. His thick, furled intentions and rolled-up plans would also be shaken out to flap alongside our national flag, one day. So he waited, just as they did, collecting himself into integrity, just as they had, anticipating the final magnetism of native shores.

Now, having come home, we see him, our patriotic protagonist, sitting in bed, wondering, Where are the trumpets? This ocean is said to pacify the deserving—he thinks, trying for the bravery of a smile—and I am hopeful. If he looks hard enough, he can see land on the horizon. But when he blinks, it disappears. Lena rang me very late one night, to my surprise.

It was hours after I fought with Madison, who had stormed out dramatically. I startled Lena. She kept repeating herself. Her sentences were tinged with a British-school accent long blended into the blocky lilt of a life spent in Bacolod.

What could I have said? The task proved daunting. There was a lot of stuff. Yet I came to enjoy the work, hoping to understand his life from the artifacts left behind. I was now free to pick leisurely through his possessions, to recline and relax on his chairs, to make tea without asking permission, to open windows. There were no longer secrets hidden by drawers, darkened corners, closed books, doors.

The resulting oddity left me curious and angry and exceedingly depressed. It reminded me of stretching like a starfish in the very middle of the bed those nights Madison stayed out late to spite me. But at least the morning would bring her back. Shelves covered every wall. On the bottom shelf in the living room was his sizable record collection. I leafed through and put on Chuck Berry, to disperse the limitless silence.

He sang about going down to the Club Nitty Gritty. Atop his desk: a typewriter, the letters worn off its keys; a Bohemiancrystal decanter, filled with water; a matching glass beside it, fruit flies floating dead on its surface; an ashtray holding his forlorn pipe—meerschaum, stinking of Cherry Cavendish.

That was when I searched the place for The Bridges Ablaze. I found nothing. I did, however, discover a receipt for a large package he had sent to a post office box near the Hundred Islands, in the Philippines. It was dated the morning before he died. I made my move: rook to king-four. Central da Comunidade. Blood Money is a , word interactive novel by Hannah Powell-Smith, where your choices control the story. It's entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Choice of Games. Marcadores populares para este produto:. Inclui 27 Conquistas Steam. Distribuidora: Choice of Games. Acesse o site oficial Veja o histórico de atualizações Leia notícias relacionadas Veja as discussões Encontre grupos da Comunidade. Compartilhar Embed. Informações do pacote. Adicionar à conta. Sobre este jogo Blood Money is a , word interactive novel by Hannah Powell-Smith, where your choices control the story.

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