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.