He was a fast runner, I tell you. 🙂
I was not able to kick him in the butt for such a conceited proclamation. Who’s he kidding?
When people tell me things, I do not swallow everything at face value. I learned from experience, living in this place, that people stitched fact and fiction to suit the situation. Often, it was the tone of the delivery that gave away the story’s added spices.
I remember once I was told a revelation which seemed too realistic to be doubted as an invention. I was a newcomer back then so I did not have the faintest idea I was being conned. 🙂
Tell me what you think of this.
A escaped convict from a penal colony (there is one near the capital), about 70 kilometers from where I resided, was supposed to roam around at night. Many people claimed to have seen the guy who looked like Rambo minus the ammo and the muscles. More likely from their description, I could visualize him like a Japanese straggler from the last world war.
Fear was not the factor, for they claimed the man was harmless, hiding from sight at every possible instance. He simply needed his freedom from the daily chore he had been doing for several years while in custody: planting rice.
“Beware,” many warned. “Do not hang your laundry outside. He might steal them.”
I possessed few clothes so I took the warning seriously. If he stole mine, he would probably have more clothes than me in the end.
Days later, there was a report that he was apprehended. I wanted to check his face to see if I had met him without me knowing it. I had seen a lot of strangers which was natural because I knew fewer people by name then.
Passing a small sari-sari store, I observed a group of farmers taking their mid morning snack. They were killing time while the sun shone its brightest.
When they saw me approached, smiles formed in their faces. I recognized two of my neighbors so I titled my head downward as a silent greeting.
“They caught him last night.”
Such piece of news aroused my curiosity. I had to get closer to hear everything said.
“Where?” someone asked, after sipping from a bottle of soda.
“There!” the lead storyteller pointed to the place.
Horrors! It was a stone’s throw away from my house. I never imagined that the convict could have trespassed in my land but the information led me to believe I could have met him face to face if I went out at that particular hour.
“Have you seen him?” I interrupted, relieved the threat was over but at the same time still curious of the man’s identity.
They stared at once another, seriously considering if there was a need to tell me the whole story. One of my neighbors kept shaking his head: he would not look me in the eye.
“What’s the matter?” I inquired. “Is he dead?”
“Are you sure you want to know what he looks like?” their leader asked. “You might not like it.”
I waved my hand, signalling him I was prepared for any surprises.
The man approached the store owner and whispered to her. She was reluctant at first but was goaded into following the man’s request.
When she came back, a foot-square object covered with cloth was in her hands.
“Go ahead,” the leader said. “Take it.”
My right hand was steady. I removed the cloth with my left.
It was a mirror.