July 23-26, 2001


by Ramuel Mendoza Raagas

"Is that him?" I asked Luigi.

"Yes!" he said, his eyes beaming.

Thus on the stage under the incandescent light the man went on, "And that is the eloquence of ..." I was really paying attention to the cute girl on the left with her escort. They were nearer the speaker than Paolo, Luigi and myself.

She wasn't wearing anything... out of the ordinary. Chevignon jeans and a pastel topless... I mean sleeveless top.

"Give me mountain folk costumes, but without their riot of colors. Give me black on black..." in such wise went the Liturgy of the Theater.

The girl, whom I will annoint first as Bianca, might as well have worn a gown of pasta.

Luigi handed me a program. "Go check your ad."

I flip through the pages. Never had I been so mindless of a theater program's pictures. "Aha, they got the font right! Garamond."

Luigi had to whisper this, "You pretentious fuckhead with your bitchy specifications. You couldn't even tell one seriffed type from the next. Their printing got set back by three days."

"Who told you?"


"Why that damn bourgeois tub of..."

"Why couldn't you just tag along the Helvetica type that all other adds were..."

"At eight hundred pesos for a half page! Besides, I wasn't the one who made the company policy of using Garamond. It's Javy's, but he's the boss!"

"Didn't you score higher than he did?"

"His grandfather founded our firm."

"But his grandfather didn't make all that logo and Garamond font bullshit business."

"It's all about professionalism. Don't you practice that? I guess it's because you're just a student."

"A masterals student. And I'm not just any student!"

Luigi then asks Paolo if he's doing alright.

"Que horror! They..."

"Let me see that."

"This will be the last time that I'm sponsoring this damn amateur company. May they all rot in the circles of pederasty!"

Heads turned from the row ahead, but at least there was no standing ovation.

"Oh, well. At least they got Javy and Nick's surnames right."

"What do you mean? Did I not correct them right at the issuance of the official receipt? I had to remind them, "With an 'N'! 'N' as is nicotine!" Don't they know their Cantonese? Even then, I saw it coming."

"Next time, just leave out your name altogether. Three surnames for a law firm is bulky enough."

"Fine, I'm leaving. I'm going to my kind of theater: the disco theater. They always get my name right over there."

"Yeah, but you use a different name there."

"This time I'll use yours. I'll even pass off your calling card as my own and give three of them to GRO's."

"Find someone else to talk to." Luigi asked Paolo about how his math was going this summer.

"I hope they fuck up their script lines the way they fucked my name!"

"Next time, just go along with our soda pitchers in the pizza parlor. You had to pursue your own line of beverage, and I even had to pay it with my credit card. For a while, they even thought that we would get Paolo drinking as well."

"The cost of which was nothing compared to my sponsoring this stupid kiddie play. Not even if the actors took off all their clothes could they be worth it!"

Malditas palabras.

"Next time, don't drink."

"I took mints. I don't stink."

The girl is looking at me. I take out my other breath freshener, an Amway peso-a-shot spray.

"Give me your key."

"What are you getting?"

"My cell phone."


I take soft steps past the crowded knees.

"Paolo, kindly tell Jeffrey that he can't bring his phone in here anyway!"

"Let's not bother."

The front seat is my backstage. Why don't I just drive away? This is a Nissan. It has comfortable air-conditioning. It eats a lot of gas, but the tank is hardly used up anyway. Where will I drive off to? It is Friday, but it's only 7:13. I might as well while away time with my two good long-standing friends. We can go to Katips later. Luigi always suggests that. It's better in Pier One, though, although the Terillo brothers never could tolerate such a crowding in of smoke.

What shirt to wear? In my Varsity bag, I have my extra white shirts. They smell as good as I washed them, but one's getting too tight for the neck. The other's collar is all undone, due to my negligence in the use of hangers (before Nelia, Luigi's maid told me how to use hangers properly). I don't want to wear plain white to the play. I'll look line of the play characters. Yes, I've seen this play thrice throughout as many years--- Luigi, four; Paolo, two.

Oh, it's Bianca! She can't see me through these windows. I better... I'll just get this shirt on the hanger by the back seat. Wipe. Wipe. Tuck-in's for later.

"Hi! You're from Mass Communication, right?"

"No. Communication Arts: the only communication course in our school."


"No, Manila--- UP Manila."

I was about to pop in, "I myself am actually a Jesuit, so you can completely trust me in matters of moral character," but just said, "What did you come here for?

"I'm just leaving my phone--- and my cousin's--- in my car instead. I can't stand the hassle of lining up for checked-in phones after a show."

"What's your name?"

"Jennifer." Another archetypal name.

"I'm Jeffrey." I reached out my hand. "Why are you giggling?"


"That's mine, bozo," Luigi warmly welcomes me.

"And that one over there's mine," I retort in whisper.

"What do you mean? The show's starting!"

I've seen this play enough already. It's not like The Sound of Music which my cousin Adela kept playing over in Betamax until she memorized the lines. Adela became the star of their Poveda grade school production of... was it "Gabriela"? Oh, now, I know! For sure, it was "Pygmalion."

This play at hand is perhaps kind of like "Everyman", the classic composed by that undisputedly prolific polyglot writer, Anonymous.

Hell, I could write my own play and even put up my own production outfit: Dramatis Punsonae, with a more aesthetic mis-spelling (or at least Latinization, be it) of my own surname. I'll make my plays even more sensual than Dulaang UP, but they have such a stranglehold on bourgeois culture! I'm only a middle class agent, with "only a few million in the bank", to quote my Communication I teacher, Edel Garcellano. Anyway, my brothers and I did stage a French play--- inevitably with the collaboration of a Dulaang UP stalwart. We broke even, but it sure was well worth it to have a friendly grasp of the leading lady's shoulder, although she ended up getting hooked up with some theater fag. All guys in theater are fags--- Ricky Baizas, William Shakespeare! Everybody knows it and says it before I do, but nobody does a thing about it. The worst part is when the fags fail to merely sodomize each other, but end up maliciously sponging up cute chicks who make merry with their idle chatter. That's why I go for law. Not too many fags have made their mark there, and me and my brothers will keep it at that. Oh, well, Luigi's looking at me--- he being my best friend, and not of the brotherhood for that matter.

What does this play mean? I guess that I'm too young to as yet grasp its meaning. I feel that I'm in vertigo. It's theatrical--- of course, but I've seen theatrical things, too, offstage--- like the Pink Floyd concert videotape that Jeffrey left in our room one Sunday. I actually peeped into it, but soon put it off. I only like one of Pink Floyd's songs, but I read from the jacket that it wasn't even on the tape.

This play is all about life, as I told Jeffrey, back in Xavierville a while ago. In here, I see it all--- the corporate ladder, the greed... This, for me, is the greatest show on Earth, and I'm not alone in this. Once more, I see Tintin to the right. He waved at me. It seems that he's with someone new. I'll catch up with him later. Maybe, we could all join together for some plates of squid rings and garlic mushrooms.

No, I'm not hungry--- I'm actually paying attention the play.

"Yours now is the crown! Take it!"
So many bloody thanksgiving for such a stupid play! "Thanks to all our sponsors! We love your support!" "Stop being such a nagger." "I will." "Where are you going?"

How did you find the play

I kind of liked it.

"The play was magnificent."

"Nice meeting you," the cousin butted in, "but we really..."

"Luigi!" A hug came from the greeter.

I saw Tintin a while ago.

A man drags out two recently emptied plastic cases for Miguelito.

He stations himself right in front of the KFC bungalow.

"We'll all pay..." "We're all sinners."

"Hey, Jeffrey..."

"No need for whispers, Luigi, we're outside..."

"Isn't that teacher from your school?"

Amiel Leonardia coughs.

"Let's all go to Pier One," said Tintin.

Why, what's there?"


"Is that in Malate?"

Oh, no. It's just quite nearby.

Three guys. Paolo in a sports cap and baggy jeans. I'm in my neatly tucked-in surplus shop long-sleeved polo. Luigi still has his neck tie on, ever since his mini-meeting at the morning.

"That was a good game we had before the play."

"Yeah, three of us trouncing five computer foes", said Paolo.

"Perhaps the map was just an easy one."

No way, Dark Continent left us three with Marlon dumbfounded for five hours last week. We never solved it.

"So, I guess that I was the plus factor."

"Yeah, with all your stupid greed. Why didn't Paolo and I figure before that it's best to have a glutton in the bottom base..."

"to build two separate expansions, only five minutes into the game, both of which us ALLIES would have to defend."

"OK, guys. Didn't it get the job done?"

"At least, organize your attack units, instead of just counting on us."

"You build fifty probes before making a single zealot."

"A probe can do so much attack with instant photon cannons."

"If their first fire is more instant than the computer's bouts of rush."

"Yeah, we lost quick the first couple of times around, before Luigi and I learned to adapt to your strategy.

That wasn't strategy at all. That was impulse. Don't you know that two probes and not merely one can circulate each patch of crystals?

Yeah, but thrift only shakes at the computer's aggression.

He has a point.

Anyway, Paolo had the highest overlord, I mean overall, score. Of course, Jeffrey got the most in the resources division.

I also built the most units and structures.

... but it's from destroying enemy units and structures that you get higher points in those divisions.

"As such, Pao had the heighest overall score."

"Are you guys all solved on the matter?"

"I'll have one more supply depot."

"Attack mode! Here we go again?"

"What does this remind you of?" says Luigi, sticking up a fork's load."

"A hyrdralisk."

"Starcraft is my Kingdom of the Sun," said Luigi.

"By the way, how was that chick you were hitting on."

"I didn't see any girls, there. Did you, Pao?"

"Oh, come one. Did you get to 'Mind Control' her?"

"I don't know anything about girls."

"Come on. Don't show a bad example to Pao. You don't want my little brother to evolve into a torpid... or ever worse,"

"It wasn't fair. There was a lingering observer."

"Didn't you get anything out of her?"

"Don't worry... I'll comm sat her just about now."

Luigi went back to Sorbonne a little into the following January. I saw the man from the play later down the month on a week day leading a pack of boys to Tapa King.

Three years later, I started building my hatchery with Jennifer. I hope I'm not intercepting her prime. She's getting air time as a broadcast journalist.