What Else

We knew him too well that every time we converse with him, more understanding was necessary so as not to make him angry for no reason at all.

When I was still living near the river. I had the opportunity to meet stranger characters, those individuals who used their own kind of logic irregardless of correctness.

One time, he arrived unannounced. He carried with him his wooden mallet, which for a long time we had no idea what was it for. Frankly, he was not menacing to look at. He was simply a man who probably did not learn how to smile.

“I wish to buy rice,” he stated. It was not a request but an order.

“I am sorry but we have only enough for today. I will be out tomorrow to get the palay milled.”

He held on to the mallet that was slung on his shoulder by a thin rope, playing with it while pounding his left palm.

“I want to buy rice,” he repeated but this time he sounded more serious.

I was tempted to give in. But then I experienced a wicked sense of curiosity, I tried to reason with him.

“This is not a store, you know.”

“I do not have money. I am willing to trade.”

Aha! That was what I thought of earlier.

“Tell me. What’s the mallet about? If you give me a good answer, I will give you rice for free.”

He looked me intensely in the eye. I was not sure if he liked my poking about.

“This is my weapon.” He resembled Thor holding it but there was nothing more other than that.

“For what? Against whom?” I wanted the mystery revealed.

“Snails!” he sounded triumphantly.

That was a big letdown. I always thought he battled unseen forces near the bay.

I hurriedly went inside the house and took a small bag to fill it with rice.

“Now, go home.” I commanded, handing him what he wanted before I had the chance to snatch the mallet.



9 thoughts on “What Else

  1. Excellent!
    You write with verve and fluidity that comes across as almost effortless.
    The best writing is the one you don’t notice, the one that does not get in the way of the story.

    1. You are very generous with your words. 🙂
      The man possessed that mysterious quality. He lived alone near the shore and he used to collect all kinds of snails and shells.

    1. He collects snails and shellfish which were included in his every meal. You might not have seen those big snails with hard shells. One needs something hard to get the meat from the inside.

      1. Ahh.. That must be in tropic waters.. I thought you meant garden snails.. How different is life there and here..

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