Strike Three

Last week, during the long power outage, I decided to do some clearing work in the orchard. Weeds and tall grasses started to encircle the calamansi trees which was not good for their healthy growth and fruiting.

With a sharpened bolo, a cup of coffee and a small bottle of water, I walked through the grasses. Since it was early morning, the sun’s rays had not penetrated the growth cover provided by the tall trees.

Then, it happened. My first swing of the sharp instrument disturbed the quiet state of things. A painful prick on my left cheek, not on the face, took me by surprise. Instinctively, I did my rooster imitation to prevent a swelling which I knew would certainly follow after the sting.

It was not a good beginning, I swore to myself. Even the occurrence of the outage got me into a swearing mood. It was not my day, really.

To make matters worse, my feet felt movement of tiny creatures. They seemed to line up, moving upwards till they reached my legs. Pricking pain commenced, dotting my skin with redness.

I ran toward the irrigation canal and submerged my lower extremities in the water. If the tiny creatures could swim, good luck! That was their punishment for making my legs their target of revenge.

Clad with fresh and dry clothes, I went back where I left off which was really nothing. I took a long stick and poked every blade of grass to check if there were more surprises hiding that I should be aware of. I was not ready to be bitten again.

A swishing sound startled me. My stick touched something unrecognizable.

Psst! Psst!

I turned around to see if someone tried to call my attention. No one was around.

Psst! Psst!

An image came to my mind and it was not pleasing. If I was not mistaken, the sound belonged to a long crawling reptile with fine scales and forked tongue. If my survival instinct was correct, I needed not try to see the real thing before running away from it.

“I am out of here!”



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