Antonio Maria Nieva
One day along Pasilyo 8, in an entresuelo that passed for home for Bianong and Estela, for Ikong, Tenteng and Miniang and the baby called Biik, one day the katsa curtains shut out the sky. Bianong touched a lapad to his lips, and the baby cried from hunger, and Ikong was terrified of his father, and Tenteng and Miniang lay as still as death, and Estela, and Estela, and Estela … Somewhere in the morning a radio came to life, and Aling Upe a door away was berating her Sigue-Sigue-Sputnik son, and still farther on, the puto vendor was singing, Puuuuuuuuto! Itoy *****, the kubrador, was collecting the early bets for Jai-alai, working his way down from the far end of the Pasilyo, and at exactly 12 noon, he was going to poke his head through the door to ask if Bianong had any sondo to bet with, which was not likely, and also to see if by any chance Estela was not wearing anything under her cotton shift. Bianong touched the lapad to his lips. A fly buzzed and alighted on his arm, and he banged the table with his fist. The baby cried harder, and Ikong cringed, and Tenteng and Miniang lay unmoving. The morning reeled in Bianong’s mind, and reeled before his eyes, and he was growing more irritated because it would not stand still long for him to think, and how could a man think clearly in all this when there was no milk for Biik and not even any aspirin fro Tenteng and Miniang? Poor Bianong, poor Estela, poor Ikong, and Biik, and Tenteng and Miniang. Poor Estela who had to work all night so her family could eat, and Bianong, ay, what a burden he was the lazy carabao. The fishwives clucked their their tongues,a nd stradled the edge of his vision, safely beyond reach, mocking him. Bianong touched the lapad to his lips then shook his fist at them. He wanted to kill them, kill them, kill, kill them, but Pareng Isko merely laughed. He slapped his knee and winked at Mareng Estela when she emerged with a platter of pinapaitang aso, and winked at...
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