Have you ever tasted dirty paint water?
“No, you’re not that stupid, right?”
No. No, I wasn’t. I never… but have you?

Anyway, I had sweet and warm coffee
right next to my wash cup
Did I dip into the wrong cup?
I dunno. Maybe.
It tasted sweet,
And red, and juicy.
And then I tasted salt,
metallic and red.

The thickness of the red covered my teeth,
My tongue, my lips,
And then my eyes were red.
And all I saw was that taste.
So I rubbed by eyes,
Hence, hands stained red forever.

All I touched was red.
Everyone stared back at me red.
I could not hear their hearts,
All I could hear was clanging, metallic red.

I dare not touch them.
Perhaps I feared my red.
Perhaps I feared theirs.

“Was it quinacridone?”
Nah. Cadmium, I think.


PATOK Part 3: It’s more fun riding a Jeepney…

…and not get shot.

Jeepney drivers pass down the trade to their young apprentices at night – less traffic, less passengers, less MMDA and police. Early in the training, they accompany the youths, acting as conductors/barkers so the Padawan can practice driving. Problem is, these kids have seen all six of Vin Diesel’s car movies and I’m not quite sure if they all have their licenses yet.

The day will come when they are trusted to drive by themselves, often accompanied by a fellow youngster who may be dreaming of drifting a jeep down Antipolo someday.

On my way to work, the jeepney cut in front of a car (I didn’t see the make and model) right in front of one of those “executive villages” along Imelda Avenue. I think the jeep made a scratch or dent on that car. So Mr. ExecutiveVillage yelled at Mr.JeepneyDriver through his window. Both vehicles pulled over.

Mr. ExecutiveVillage got down from his car and confronted Mr.JeepneyDriver, complete with all the expletives drivers reserve for such an occasion. Mr.JeepneyDriver tried to apologize profusely. Threats of police, threats of filing a case, blah blah blah.

And then Jeepney Driver started weeping. This ticked off Mr.ExecutiveVillage even more! “Anong iniiyak-iyak mo diyan?” he thundered.

I stayed put thinking “This gon’ be gooood!”

I changed my mind about this live telenovela unfolding before my eyes when the threats of cops turned to threats of guns. “I’m shaking right now!” That’s ExecutiveVillage-speak for “I’m so angry, I’m losing control.”

That was my cue. Exit, Stage Left. I hopped off and stood in the curb waiting for another Jeepney to take me to work.

Did I mention I had bandages around my right arm? Oh yes, my injuries seem to have a special connection with funny jeepney incidents. I was diagnosed with RSI (repetitive strain injury) to my right thumb and wrist. Look it up in Google if you have time. The doctor put my hand in a splint, immobilizing it to a constant thumbs-up sign.

So picture a prim-looking lady in glasses, heels and a pencil skirt, with bandages around her arm, laughing her ass off on the curb, hailing another jeep to work at 8PM. Thumbs up!

I’m not sure if they can tell but I gave the two drivers a big smile and a thumbs-up as I rode away on the next jeepney.

I got to work unscathed and highly entertained. Two Thumbs up!


Random Writing Challenge 1: Time Travel

Lena stared at the dress spread before her on the bed, like a gunman facing his enemy in a duel. It was 6AM, her daughter Grace was in the shower.  She doubted that the girl had any sleep. Lena wanted to spend the last night with her daughter chatting in bed, maybe even brushing her hair. But the girl insisted on being alone, perhaps contemplating her future, perhaps fussing over the dress, the shoes, the veil, etcetera. Grace loved planning and seemed to enjoy that her mother was part of it.

They picked the dress together, silvery white with a sculptural neckline ala modern Maria Clara. Grace looked lovely in it. Lena reached out and caressed the folds, proud of her choice.

Of course she had to be part of everything here. After all, she was the mother. When Grace turned 21, she announced that she’d be working abroad. Two months later, she was gone. Turns out she had been planning secretly for years. And now she comes back, only to be married away, taken away forever.

The girl stepped out of the shower in a towel.  “Ma, can you check if the flowers have come, please? And do start getting ready. I want my mother to be the prettiest mother-of-the bride ever.”

That was Lena’s cue to exit. Ten minutes later came stylists, flowers and chaos. All that Lena heard was the roar of the hairdryer drowning the dull thumping of her heart.

At around 8AM, Grace stood and sashayed around, “How do I look?”

Lena couldn’t decide on puffing out her chest in pride or tearing the veil off Grace’s head. She settled on a hug. “You are so grown up, so beautiful! He better take care of you.” They giggled away the tears.

She would not let go of Grace’s hand as they drove to church.


With all the people around her, Lena felt alone walking down the aisle. Her gloved escort, a tall lovely young man, held her arm gently. She had her hands at her back as they walked, resigned to her fate but hoepful for Grace’s future.

At the end of the aisle her gloved escort helped her lie down the gurney, a few more people strapped her in. She did not even feel the prick of the needle as it went into her arm.

Beyond the glass wall, Grace sat asleep on her Grandma’s lap, sucking her thumb. Lena tearfully smiled.

At 12:13PM, Lena Aberin, found guilty of three counts of Murder 1, was pronounced dead.


Hi Pinsan,

I hope you liked the first piece in our Random Writing Challenge. I’m afraid I went over the 300 word limit but I hope I did well. Your feedback will be well appreciated, after all, I have written anything in ages. Anyway, it’s your turn! Your topic is Bills and Receipts. Enjoy!

Much love,

Your Ate