About Me

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The best thing about writing is molding life to characters you find interesting. The worst about it is having these characters crowd your head, unable to get out because you haven't written down the pages for them. Continue writing? Hell, yes. This blog is a way of letting these characters out for a gulp of air. I love creating them. They remind me that there's a nutjob in all of us. Some are in for a brief appearance via short stories. Others are in for the long haul, peppering a novel I have written. Enjoy these stories. After all, life is more fantastic than we imagine it to be.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Chill

The past days have been unusually marked with good mood on my part. Absent were the worries about tomorrow's pack of work challenges and office politics, anxiety over my fledgling business and just about all the small bits of paranoia that bother me daily. A good part is due to the holidays I'm enjoying now. Temporary respite as I go back to work tomorrow then take a break again for the New Year celebrations.

The calm is also brought by acceptance on my part. I've been struggling these years to change my fortune, to desperately go for the dream I had in my mind. Peace never settled in me because I hated it that I was not enjoying the achievement of goals I feel I had worked hard for.

But things do happen for a reason, arriving in their own good time. I look back at the times I've gone against the tide of the moment and repeatedly became faced with growing frustration, desperation and sadly, anger. I'm fortunate though that love and kindness from loved ones and acquaintances have been shown to me. And when one is faced with that, one cannot help but realize what matters most in life. The chance to love and to be loved back is reason enough for happiness.

In this light, everything else in my life is clarified. The goals I have been running after are not my life's Holy Grail anymore. Oftentimes, when I am not forcing my way, opportunities arrive unexpectedly. And everything becomes a cinch as if the time for these have come to fruition and did not need any push on my part to make these a reality.

I am teaching myself that the experiences on the path to one's dreams are the source of life's beautiful tapestry. As someone advised me before, "Take sometime to smell the flowers."

So this is my wish for everyone. May life be a beautiful journey, lined up with kindness, paved with love and moved forward with hope. Happiness is not at the end of the road but a constant companion along the way. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Walls Have Ears

It has been difficult to cast a net over my thoughts this past week. They have their own trajectory, fueled by unrelated incidents that seem to have decided among themselves to have a joint visit. I had a short story plot already in mind. But it did not reflect the blender of emotions I have been sloshing through. So as a tribute to that, I figured a different story is more apt for my mood these days.

They say change is good. But nobody accompanies you in the jump off the cliff. Life is a journey you take with yourself. Enjoy reading.


"Can somebody help me up?" mumbled the mobile phone, which lay face down on the carpet.

"Would like to, buddy. But we all know we can't help you. The last time vacuum cleaner tried, you almost choked to death," answered the coffee table.

"Let's hope the dog doesn't carry you off again. He's been frisky these days. I got brand-new scratches and bites," the door complained.

"At least he's not as bad-tempered as his mistress. What happened just now? It's like a volcano erupted! I got a kick from nowhere," grumbled the couch.

The phone started to relay why he went airborne from the bedroom door to the living room carpet.

"Hey, hey, slow down. You're choppy!" shouted the window.

"I'll help him out. This is what happened guys," offered the wall. "She found out that her problem assistant failed to follow up an important client. She called him up and the 34th war in middle earth ensued. Godzilla versus a dim-witted, scatterbrained elf."

"She's not always Godzilla. She should get rid of him. The guy's an idiot of the worst kind. An idiot who thinks he's doing nothing wrong. And I can't stand another barrage of slamming. My hinges are creaking in protest already," complained the bedroom door.

"It's her fault. She knows what's wrong with her employee yet takes pity on him after the whiplash is over. Then we brace ourselves for another shout down," said the coffee table.

"It's not technically a shout down when only one party is shouting," corrected the window.

"I agree. Remember when her old boyfriend was around? The insecure, control freak?" contributed the main door.

"It took her years to realize they were wrong for each other. Their last months were more stressful than a Black Friday sale," said the television.

"Humans don't get stressed with Sale. They love it! Look at us," said the couch.

"They don't. We do. I was praying I wouldn't get ripped apart by two women fighting over me," the curtain replied.

"Anyway, back to the old boyfriend, you didn't get to meet him, did you Vase?" asked the main door.

"No. I heard my predecessor met her end after being thrown along with a bunch of flowers the ex gave her," answered the vase timidly.

"Oh yes. I still have my pockmarks due to that incident," said the wall. "Gone are the days that lovers only tore letters. Now they have a lot of objects at their disposal. Case in point, our friend the phone. And back in the bedroom, the laptop."

"My keyboard is still recovering from the angry email she sent her staff," came the laptop's feeble reply.

"Should I worry?" the vase seemed more nervous than usual.

"Oh, don't. She won't destroy house stuff for an employee. For boyfriends, yes. But her current love is a total sweetheart," gushed the window.

"He's good for her. Calms her when the Godzilla and the 50-foot woman in her go crazy," chimed in the bed.

"She's back," whispered the main door.

"There you are," the young woman uttered upon opening the door. She immediately picked up her phone. While dialing, she walks to the bedroom, "Hey baby, I had an outburst again. Yes, I know. I should have kept my cool. But Jerry is an unteachable moron! Yeah, yeah, he's hopeless. I had a long walk after shouting at him. Will talk to him tomorrow. Yes, calmly. I threw just my phone today, nothing else. And pounded on the keyboard. But nothing else..."

"And she's sane again," announced the bed.

"You're safe," whispered the coffee table to the vase.

"Ah, those are our masters and mistresses. They're crazier than they think they are," said the door.

"True. None of us should get caught up with their drama. They usually get over it and move on to the next. You'll just go insane if you take everything they do seriously," advised the wall. "As our ancestors have done, let's do our jobs, sit back and enjoy their dysfunctional show."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three Witches and a Birthday

I love witch stories. These characters are bitchy, vile, accidentally funny but oftentimes misunderstood. I would like to be one. It has always been a guilty fantasy. How exhilarating would it be to vamp one's way around without any tip toeing on other people's or creatures' feelings? Pretty good life if you think of all the potions thrown in for your use.


This story is about three witches, long believed to be sisters as they had lived together for hundreds of years. It did not matter that they did not look alike at all. Maybe witches were born or made that way. They were Grishel, Clara and Ekaterina. Our story opens with Grishel and Clara busy preparing for Grishel's birthday party.

"Did you invite Mother?" Clara swung around a humongous ladle in an equally gigantic cistern, the contents of which expelled a powerfully pungent odor. In a strange way, the strong smell was intoxicating.

"I did. At least to get back the hat she borrowed from me." Grishel was busy decorating the living room with yellow cherry blossoms.

"You actually lent her something?"

"No, she stole it during her last visit. The weasel."

"How could you think she'll give it back?" Violet liquid gurgled to the brim of Clara's cistern.

"Of course not. I'll steal hers. Once she gets brain-dead drunk," Grishel guffawed out loud then cast a sharp eye towards her younger sister. "Haven't I told you to let the ladle mix by itself? You're huffing and puffing there. If somebody sees you, they'll think you're stupid for exerting the effort. And worse, they'll think I'm stupid to let you."

"I, Clara Of Heistglow, make the best booze in this county. I cannot risk falling short of perfection if I let the ladle mix on its own. My arms are part of the secret ingredient."

"I won't be surprised if your arm sweat creates the difference. But I heard there is a wizard six counties away from here who is starting to be known for his concoctions." Grishel had managed to fill the room with festive floral arrangements, the flowers twisting themselves into bows around furniture, across windows and on doors, while she sat reading a potion book.

"That is untrue and irresponsible word-of-mouth. I am disgusted at how reality pales in comparison to the reputation unworthily bestowed unto this wizard," Clara stirred the ladle faster.

"You have proof?"

"Of course. I needed to check out competition."

"You were able to buy his booze?"

"Why waste my money in buying his stuff? No, I went to his house."

"You did? You stooped below your pedestal to ask for a taste of his preparation?"

"No, I offered him something."

"Offered him what?"

"I offered to clean his house. Told him it's a token gift from the homeowner's association for new residents."

"He believed that?"

"You bet. Not the sharpest knife in that area. He even asked me to go up the roof the yank out dirt from his chimney."

"You really cleaned his house?" Grishel began to seriously listen to her sister.

"But of course. I gave my word to him. That would have been misrepresentation."

"Then you snuck in to take a sip of his booze?"

"No. I took a bottle."

"SO why didn't you just fly off? You did not have to do the actual cleaning, Clara."

"As I've mentioned, that would have been disrespectful, Grishel." Clara mimicked her sister's glare and big voice.

"Whatever. Oh, look at what you've done. My flowers have decorated themselves everywhere."

"Where did you get those, anyway?"

"A witch from the far east sent them as a gift. We're letter friends." Grishel fussed over her floral masterpiece.

"I wish you would write as often to Mother."

"After our falling out and even after we kissed and made up, it has never been quite the same way."

"You two fought over something silly."

"Did not! False claims are a disgrace to our honor. To think that she will do it to me? Me, her eldest daughter!"

"Maybe you both are right."

"I am the witch referred to in that popular story. You know, about the very pale, dark-haired girl and some little creatures."

"Weren't they dwarves?"

"Ah yes, dwarves they were. They sounded goofy the way they were written I totally forget they were supposed to be dwarves."

"Mother claims she created that spell of the speaking mirror. Didn't she use up hundreds of mirrors to perfect that?"

"Fool, fool! Those mirrors she broke were for another spell. The speaking spell she experimented on used smoke. After learning of my lead character in that story of the insipid, apple-chomping girl, she made up this fabricated yarn that she was the basis for MY character."

"Lead? Wasn't the witch there the villainess?"

"Do you think I will accept a villain's part? That's a matter of perspective. Ask werewolves or vampires."

"What makes you so sure that you were the basis for the character?"

"I perfected that apple potion gimmick mentioned in the book, stupid. Didn't I lend you one of those to steal rare herbs from the hermit for your liquor?"

"Oh, yes. How could I forget? Thank you, Grishel. I think I was drunk during that time."

The front door suddenly opened, the third witch, Ekaterina, entered holding a large gift-wrapped box.

"Your favorite neighbor sends her birthday wishes." She handed the box covered in beautiful autumn leaves to Grishel.

"Oh, oh, my, if this is from my most favorite neighbor to throw into my cauldron, I am so touched." She grinned widely at the precious-looking gift. She shook it. "Do you think it's expensive? I would hope so since she's obviously bribing me not to complain to the homeowner's association about her noisy fairy parties."

"Ever since that Tiffin wide-eyed fairy settled in our neighborhood, peace left. Those fairies are really annoying. Don't they have work to do? Somebody should tell them they party a bit too hard." Ekaterina began arranging plates for the party.

"They're quite nice, actually," Clara chimed in from her cistern.

"Only because they buy booze from you." Grishel finally opened the box, took out the contents and pulled at her hair in frustration. "She's dumb. Who gives winter coats made of rose petals? Wait, is she planning to kill me by hypothermia?"

"Grishel, you are so paranoid. Look at it, it's so pretty!" exclaimed Clara.

"Do you want me to sell it for you?" Ekaterina offered.

"Yes, we split, 60-40. I'm sure you will find a dumber creature among your customers to wear that during winter," replied Grishel.

"I'll offer it to the elves. They're crazy for fairy stuff."

A knock interrupted their conversation. Before they could answer, it swung open to reveal a tall witch with whitish blond locks.

"Mother! You're early," Ekaterina greeted her with a flying kiss. Clara waved timidly, looking as if she was about to jump into her cauldron. Grishel flashed a wide smile at her mother then announced languidly, "Mother, it is so very kind of you to attend my party. Have the first drink of Clara's liquor." She turned and glared at her sister who stood motionless back in the kitchen. "Clara! Stop standing there like a retard and serve our dear Mother."

"Dear children, I miss you so much." Complete and utter silence in the room. "But not as much as you miss me. Tsk, visiting has become such a pain. Your neighborhood is not the same anymore since those fairies moved in. Such a noisy, trouble-making bunch. I almost ran over one with my broom."

"Maybe you were flying over their property, Mother," Grishel pointed out.

"I was along their fence. Then somebody jumped from a tree! They were playing this silly game of landing on a heap of autumn leaves. Such lazy creatures!" Their mother continued her rant while looking around the house.

"They were not bothering you, Mother. You were snooping on them. Just as you did with all our neighbors before," Clara managed to blurt out in between two short breaths.

“Mother can't help but be curious. The fairies can be quite weird, if you ask me," chimed in Ekaterina. "I've attempted to sell them all sorts of things but they stubbornly use only fairy-approved material, even for their house cleaning stuff."

"Doesn't Clara sell them booze?" asked their mother.

"They made an exception. And they do it in secret," whispered Clara.

"Yes, Clara's liquor is really worth being banned as a fairy. Give Mother a second bottle, Clara," urged Grishel.

"What a bunch of hypocrites! I don't want to have anything to do with them. Moving on to more important topics. I have good news for the three of you. This is my birthday present for you, my dear Grishel," beamed Mother.

"What is it?" Grishel asked suspiciously.

"There is a potion-making competition being organized by the wizards in the far north. You know, those old fogies rarely socialize so this is a big deal, girls!"

"What's in it for us?" asked Grishel.

"The four of us will join as a group."

"Four? Don't these competitions require groups of three's?" Clara shouted above the gurgling liquor.

"I will be your coach," grinned Mother.

"What's the prize?" asked Ekaterina.

"Our profiles will be on pots, cauldrons, mugs, plates and whatever those wizards will produce for the competition. This is the first time they are doing this. Think of it. My daughters, we will be immortalized!" Mother started a queer dance of glee.

"Even the coach?" asked Ekaterina.

"Of course! Why do you think I even informed all three of you? If the coach won't be part of the prize, I would have dragged two of you and left one in the dark."

"Who are the two?" Clara asked sharply.

"Oh, forget it, dear. It doesn't matter anymore. All the four of us will beat the hell out of them."

"What do we need coaching on?" Grishel looked suspicious.

"Two words. Fake death," was Mother's quick reply.

"Oh yes, Grishel. Remember when you tried that fake death potion on our cousin Vinkel? And he almost died until Aunt Vilma rescued him?" Ekaterina pointed an accusing finger to her elder sister.

"True. It was good he lived or else the entire clan would have cursed silly old me. He wasn't quite the same though. He has talked to trees ever since," sighed Grishel.

"So, are we all in agreement that Mother will be our coach?" asked Ekaterina, already eager at the competition prizes she can sell.

"Anything and everything about killing, you can count on me," said Mother.

"Alright," said Clara and Grishel.

"Wait, that's your gift? You did not bring even a recycled gift someone gave you? At least you do that to other creatures!" Grishel was indignant.

Before Mother could defend herself, a voice called out from outside, "Hello....hello, is anybody home?"

"One of the annoying types of guests. The really, really early bird. Some creatures have nothing to do. We haven't finished preparing," grumbled Grishel. When she opened the door, there was a farmer outside with a cartful of huge pumpkins.

"May I speak with Grishel?" the young farmer's face was white with anxiety he looked ready to faint especially when the four witches went out the front door to look at him.

"I am Grishel. What do you want? You're not selling me anything, are you?"

"Oh, no. No. I came here to give these as birthday presents," he gestured towards the humongous pumpkins.

"Do I know you?" Grishel asked.

"Who cares? Take them. We can sell them for thrice the price of ordinary pumpkins," whispered Ekaterina.

"No, no, umm..you don't know me. I..I am not worthy of that honor. I happened to pass by your house the other week..." his voice trailed off.

"AND?" asked Mother.

"And forgive me, I just thought my pregnant wife will love your flowers. Really, I have never seen anything as beautiful."

"So?" asked Clara.

"So...so..I picked a few flowers. Only the ones that were over the fence." The farmer's voice shook.

"So what?" Grishel was beginning to be impatient. They had to finish the preparations before her guests arrived.

"My wife loved them. She is having a difficult pregnancy and is mostly bad-tempered nowadays. But when she saw your flowers, she was so happy."

"You stole my flowers, your wife loved them, and you’re giving me pumpkins I don't know where to store. Story finished. Good day."

"Oh, you won't get my child? The pumpkins are enough for you?" the farmer looked relieved.

"What did you say?" the four witches asked.

"M-my wife said you might get angry and ask for our child."

"Your wife is a sissy. Where did she get that idea?" asked Grishel.

"Yes, that's so silly," agreed the other three.

"I don't know. Some people warned us about it."

"Look, the last thing I want is to have a bawling baby in my house. Where do you people get your stories? At the very least, get them straight," scolded Grishel.

"But we'll still take the pumpkins," grinned Ekaterina.

"Yes, please, would you want me to stack them near your door?" asked the farmer.

"No, near the gate. I want people to see them," instructed Ekaterina.

As they stood to watch the pumpkins being stacked, Grishel urged Clara, "Mother's bottle is empty. What kind of party is this? Let's give her another one."

"Alright. Mother, you should come in and sit. You're doing your crazy dance already. You're already drunk even before the party has started," said Clara.

"I'm not drunk. Oh, this hat keeps falling into my eyes. Grishel, can you place this on the rack for me? I want to dance unobstructed," Mother slurred and gave her a drunken grin.

"Of course, let me take your hat, Mother. Mmmmm…what a pretty hat. You liar. You brought me a birthday present, after all. What a sweet witch."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Peanut Gallery

I had a ‘Wish I had the money to tell everybody to fuck off’ day at work yesterday. Here’s my version of reclaiming my center using a dartboard with the bosses’ pictures as targets. Of course, all characters are fictional. Any resemblance to a real person, living or dead, is merely a figment of your paranoia.


John waited for a few minutes before entering the room. Being an early bird this time made him uncomfortable. The others might think he was too eager. Besides, he should not be in this important meeting. He was only filling in for his boss.

“Darn, of all days for her car to be run over by a garbage truck. Her timing astounds me. Someday, I will use her excuses on her.”

He sat at the back, chose the seat closest to the door. A few people nodded at him. He gave a shy smile, minding not to look gleeful that at least somebody acknowledged him. The last thing he wanted to happen was to be asked why he was there.

In a couple of minutes, they were complete - the high-flying company vice-presidents who will battle it out this afternoon. And then there was him. And the note-taker.

“What the hell am I doing here? I should be happily enjoying my ignored existence in my cubicle,” he muttered between gritted teeth, taking out his pen and notebook. “The least I can do is to pretend I understand what is going on. Hhmmm.. everybody else seems to have touch-screen gadget to take notes on. Shit, even the note-taker.”

The complex dance began. The polite professional discussion mired with undercurrents of aggression, reminders of supremacy and subtle exchange of favors.

“This VP should know that outtalking everyone else does not make him sound any smarter than an annoying salesman.” John decided it was a waste of ink and the environment to note whatever this VP was saying.

“Oh, thank heavens. Somebody interjected.” John squinted in pain. “Oh, Lord help us all. This guy is a kiss-ass. Press button to eject.”

Another one raised a point. “At least that made sense. Wow, they seem to be really into what their doing. Do you guys have a life? I still watch television. And don’t bet you’ll all be here to watch the five-year corporate plan come to life. You might be dead tomorrow. Ask my boss. She almost got waffled by the jaws of a garbage truck.”

There were a couple who cleverly tooted their horns. A few ignored them. John nodded his head to signal he admired their announced accomplishments, whatever those were. As he did this, he noticed that one VP was not saying anything at all. No, not just one. There were two, three, four. About four of them had not said anything at all. Merely nodded their heads sagely to signify they were still part of the meeting. But nothing was really happening in that great beyond.

This was interesting, like watching a movie with less physically-gifted actors. “I could chomp on some junk food now.” The meeting dragged on after it took a few wrong turns when somebody muddled up the flow. He seemed to be lost in translation. “He’s American. And we’re…no, they’re speaking in English. How the hell can he not understand what’s going on?”

Then it came. “How can you explain the slump in sales this quarter, John?”

For a split second, a thought crossed his mind which he never thought was possible. Despite being much-derided and much-ridiculed, it offered the safest, closest haven at this moment. “I’d love to go to my cubicle.”

Of course, he did not utter that statement out loud. He still had rent to pay. “I have figures from our field team, which I can share with the group.”

Five minutes into his monologue, he got beaten up by the corporate gladiators in the room. After the bloody, dressing-down that he received in proxy for his boss, John retreated to the obscurity he enjoyed before the carnage.

“I need a drink. Fuck these idiots.”

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I'm watching Julie & Julia now, the movie about Julia Child and a modern-day fan/student. It’s a refreshing to know that a culinary legend like Julia Child only knew how to boil an egg by the time she was forty. By the way, she got married at this age. Hope comes in unexpected ways!

For years, Julia Child searched for a career in vain yet never lost her unabashed embrace for the joys of life. It seems she always had time to smell the flowers even if direction about her life was not clear until her later years.

I admire her serenity as opposed to the pressure I put on myself because I have not achieved my dreams yet. Or what I think my dreams are.

I feel a kinship with Julie, her fan. I’ve gone through the same cycles of experiences – the highs of hope, fiery outbursts and lonely walks of pessimism. How can Julia Child be consistently buoyed by optimism despite advancing years and obstacles? Mixture of serendipitous connections, lucky breaks, fortitude and the mother of all secret ingredients – passion.

Oh, to have readers. Like what is happening to Julie’s character now. I will do a triple somersault if I can reach that. Or something like it.

Life throws in curve balls along with lifelines. I just have to find joy whether I’m crawling through a rough patch or gliding along a smooth wave. This movie is a shot of hope in my arm.

And may I say this, thank God for the joy of seeing Meryl Streep act.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Small Pond

I have begun to feel listless again. These periods of restlessness come and go, never really disappeared, merely abated by token instances of joy or clouded by frequent eruptions of everyday life's small pains.

I've been stuck for years. I think I know what I want to do with my life. Or what I hope to do but never really getting there. It seems so sensible to go on making a living the way I've been doing. I've been badly burned by jumping ship before. Yet the pull of dreams cannot be silenced. Movies have been made about topics like this. It's cliché already. Yet the human spirit is fueled by passion. Every person with this struggle feels the icy wasteland that this lack of fire brings.

I'm a dreamer, yet disappointments have blunted that part of me. I feel comfortable already in my small pond. I'm safe here. Yet more and more cold.

Maybe I should take a chance. I'm not young anymore to have years to waste on the rational. Will I ever reach a big pond? Possibly. If the universe allows it, I’ll touch the open sea. Each person should have that chance.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Gods Are Like Us

Image courtesy of dan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Loss lazily twisted her fiery red curls around her long, candle-like fingers. She tried to enjoy the soft breeze in the balcony. The cloud goddess gifted her with a caftan. She marveled at how soft if felt.
Her brother Ecstasy was late as usual. "Busy spreading joy. One couple at a time," she
whispered to herself. She was about to raise her hand when a servant magically appeared with a hand mirror for her. "Thank you, Matilda."

"Your bath of morning dew is ready."

"That could wait. I need to talk to Ecstasy." She examined her oval-shaped face, not a single line visible on her ancient face.

"He works a lot. That boy should ease up and take it easy."

"Are you saying I'm a slacker? My job is much more taxing. Separating lovebirds. It's the sewer cleaning job for us gods. I tried bribing other gods to do it for me. No takers. They say waging a war is much easier. Nobody else can take all the hysterics!. Too much shouting and crying. These humans love drama! I have to make sure poison letters get to the intended party. Through the ages, I have learned to dodge clothes, glass furniture and crazy things thrown out along with an unwanted lover. Nobody appreciates that. All everybody notices is what dear brother is doing. Don't they realize that I have to fix things when he accidentally hits a couple I previously broke up? Batting average, they split up again!" Her red hair loomed large around her head, framing her now angry face.

"Sister, cut Matilda some slack. Thank you Matilda.
You may leave me to deal with my twin." The servant heaved a sigh of relief and bowed down before making an exit.

Ecstasy bounced down Loss' side. "Another bad breakup? Haven't you learned to cope? You have that almost every single day. PMS? You're not human. New boyfriend? Not another loser, Loss?" He tussled her hair.

"I'm quitting.

"How many times have you told me about that?"

"Oh, Ecstasy. I really do mean it this time. I'm so fed up with breaking up."

"Have you talked to Father and Mother?"

She curled up beside her older brother. "I will. After my trip with Rage."

"You're going out with him? Isn't it too much bad vibes with the two of you together?" he laughed.

"Misery loves company," she moped. "He is good for my work."

"You said that about your previous boyfriends, Pride and Paranoia? Do you realize what was wrong with them?"

"Their names both start with P?"

"Yes, and you skipped S when you hooked up with Rage." He pulled her ear. "Won't my little sister ever learn? These gods are beneath you! They are not even good at what they do. Pride could barely show himself to us. I'm bewildered at how embarrassed he was about he does to humans. Paranoia was a classic example of how a god should not operate. He got eaten up by what he does! He made me so jumpy after I talk to him I would not be able to hook up a single couple for days."

"Rage is different."


"He is assured, confident and good at what he does."

"Is he the reason why you're thinking of quitting?"

"No. I'm tired."

"Who'll take up your work?"

"Father can do it while snoozing. He is not Pain for nothing."

"You do realize that what you do is important?"

"Yes. But it's a bitch of a job. Nobody likes me. I always have a cloud over me, complete with rains and thunderstorms." Upon uttering those words, a small clump of clouds stopped on top of her and let out a cold shower.

"WHAT?!"Loss screamed curses while being drenched.
Ecstasy was torn between laughing and shooing away the cloud that apparently only targeted his sister.
"Why are you laughing, you moron! Help me find the culprit! Oh, it is already such an effort to maintain my extraordinary looks by being Mother's daughter. And I still have to deal with inanities like this!"

Then suddenly the rains stopped and the cloud dissipated. From afar, the sorely drenched Loss and the choking Ecstasy saw their new neighbor, Nature, scold her young son. She called out her apologies. "My deepest apologies Loss. My son Water is so playful. I will send new vestments to you. I'm really sorry."

"But Mother, she said she always had a cloud with rains over her. She did not have one so I made her one."

Before Loss can hurl curses at the mother and son, Ecstasy accepted her apology. Nature called on her other sons, Fire and Air, to dry out Loss before she called on her father Pain to exact revenge for the childish prank.

"Sweetheart, what happened to you?" A thin, young man entered the balcony.

"Young deviants." Came the terse reply while shooting sharp glances at Fire and Air, who managed to stay farthest from Loss while drying her.

Rage planted a kiss on her forehead. "Laugh, my love. They are children." He turned to Ecstasy and shook his hand. "How are you, Ecstasy?"

"Business has been interesting but difficult. How about you?"

"Humans remain to be the simple creatures that they are. But they complicate their lives in ways that baffle me. Who am I to complain? They make my job easier." Rage presents a calm aura. Quite unexpected from a god with a fiery goal.

"Those same complications compete for their attention. I have lesser good hits now than centuries ago. I try so hard, tried every trick I can think of, yet more and more humans are jaded."

"Woe to me. My load increased hundredfold," Loss interjected dramatically.

"I try to consult with other gods on how they're doing. Might help my hits get better. I hear you're going on a trip with my sister?"

"Yes, we'll visit humans."

"What's special about this trip then? We do that all the time?"

"I have been able to persuade her to go as a human."

"Finally able to get over your trauma, Loss?" Ecstasy's boyish face betrayed his concern. "The first and only time she visited as a human was with our father. She never went back in human form."

"You were fortunate. Mother was with you in your first visit."

"I could understand why Ecstasy did not become scarred like you. Your mother, Love, would have shown the best side of humans."

"I only felt their hurt. It was too much to bear given their fragile existence. I never felt that helpless again."

"How will you cope this time?" asked Ecstasy.

"Rage will be with me. He is far more aware how humans survive their flimsy lives. Father opened me up to their pain, the magnitude of which I was not ready for that time," explained Loss.

"Take time off then. The world can do with a breather from breakups," smiled her brother.

"Oh, you thought I will stop performing my duties while I'm away?"

"Shouldn't you take a break? You always worry."

"Ever since that goddess Envy said that she felt she worked harder than me, I cannot allow myself to relax. What will other gods say? That I am slacking off?"

"Dear, dear, calm down. Let's plan our visit first. Shall we? Breathe. Unclench your fists. Stop staring at those two boys. They're already petrified of you."

"You two go ahead. Is that your fiery chariot over there?"

"Yes. I changed that fire color to blue so it won't steal attention from Loss' hair." Rage smiled. "I'll get it ready. Good to see you, Ecstasy."

"We'll leave you here, brother."

"You and Rage seem to be good for each other. I wish I can work my magic on you, Loss. Just to seal the deal a bit more," he laughed.

"Your magic doesn't work on gods, Ecstasy." She kissed him goodbye. "There's a price to being one of us. See you sometime."

Nicolas & Catherine

We've seen incarnations of Romeo and Juliet throughout generations. I have wished that the two lovers were a bit smarter, funnier and definitely lesser on the mushy side. Here's my own version of the star-crossed lovers with a crazier family thrown in for good measure.


Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

"Do you, Catherine of Rothsguile, take Nicolas of MonteSievert?"

"Excuse me?" Catherine could not believe Professor Hamlin uttered such a sacrilege.

"I asked you if you will take Nicolas as your duel partner today? Your pairing is up." She was not quite sure if she saw a smirk flash across the haughty professor's usually scowling demeanor. She glanced at her prospective partner for today, heir to the Sievert fortune and symbol of that family's new blood. Their families' fortunes had run parallel for centuries, the violent animosity never been quenched. Nicolas chatted animatedly with fellow VladSieverts, cousins and allies. They did not seem to have any want for an interesting topic to discuss.

"Why should I refuse? We'll see how the MonteSievert boy holds up," came Catherine's defiant reply.

"Very well. I haven't had this chance at entertainment since your great grand uncle dueled with his great grand aunt." The professor motioned Nicolas to join him and Catherine.

"Hhmmm...Stuff of childhood stories. Great uncle Silvanos lost an arm. They had to bring him to Morocco to grow it out. Centuries of family connections at the Marrakesh Market helped. I can still hear the curses thrown at the MonteSieverts whenever this story is told. "

"Silvanos was a fool. A blundering idiot trying to show off against the MonteSievert girl. She blasted him to bits. I haven't seen that kind of stupid behavior again in your family. Please don't be a repeat of it. Show him no mercy." Professor Hamlin turned to the dark-haired young man by his side, his white skin a beautiful contrast to his raven-black hair. He looked very masculine, the lines of his beard accented his strong jaw.

"Nicolas, you are to duel with Catherine this afternoon. Since you are both in your highly advanced levels, you may use everything in your arsenal. In short, you can do everything except kill each other." This was the first time anybody in their class saw Professor Hamlin break out into a wide grin, like he finally discovered Christmas.

"Where'the fun in that? I'm sure the class has already place their bets, including you." Nicolas laughed. "I daresay you've placed me in a dilemna, fighting with a girl."

"Such an ass," muttered Catherine, which didn't escape Nicolas.

Nicolas glanced at Catherine's backside, "Such an ass."

She glared at him, red waves of infuriation crept up from her neck, making her head seem on fire. Nicolas barely contained his grin. "Do you want to start now?"
Catherine took a deep breath to regain composure, unconciously giving her skirt a slight tug downwards."We'll start at the professor's bidding. Professor, let me know when the duel begins."

While watching her walk away, Professor Hamlin warned Nicolas, "The Rothsguiles are not to be underestimated. They are known to be a deceitful lot. Do not let your guard down."

To which Nicolas replied, "She's cute when she blushes."

Cute was not included in Catherine's mind when she let out a bolt of energy that landed right above Nicolas' head, showering him with a ton of ashes from the burnt tree leaves. Her right rib dug at her skin. Nicolas' smashed her against a brick wall. He was not looking smashing himself. His shoulders and left leg were bloodied from daggers of fiery light that Catherine chased him down with.

"By God, I'm a god. Look at these two. They're way better trained than they should be." Professor Hamlin watched in glee, bringing out the entire class to watch the two heirs of the oldest families he had ever known. Both lineages rose in wealth and in power through the centuries, their survival assured with their supernatural powers. He should know. Generations of MonteSieverts and Rothsguiles had trained before him.

Catherine hid behind a dense stretch of shruberry, trying to control her breath lest Nicolas sensed where she was. "How could I miss that last blast? I had him squarely in my vision. He must have used a reflective defense. Nicolas seems a bit off today. He should have hit me big time by now. He's not the best in class for nothing." She kept still, trying to decipher where he was. "But I have more A's than him. And I, Catherine Rothsguile, intend to be on top of the class."

Suddenly, a deathly silence enveloped her, a white fog appeared, confusing her senses. Catherine slid down to the wet grass, keeping her ear to the ground, letting minute sounds guide her out of the fog. "Ha! He thinks I'm still by the shrub. Am I that good? Or he's being kind. How sweet of...." BLAM! A ball of fire blazed in front of her, barely missing her by a foot. "The fucking bastard is trying to kill me!" She quickly gathered her composure and concentrated on locating Nicolas.

"By the shrub. Nice. Eat this, asshole!" The humongous shrub uprooted itself and torpedoed down Nicolas.

"What the fu-?" It took Nicolas a few seconds to realize what was on top of him. And another few to notice the fire racing through the shrub. "The bitch is trying to put me on fire."

From the corner of his eye, he saw Catherine rising from the grass. For a split second, she was open for target. He raised his hand, the only thing he could freely move now, aimed then released.

"Burn, bastard." Catherine muttered from where she was sprawled. "Wait, the fire is moving quickly. He's not doing anything!" She shouted, "Nicolas, move!". Her mind was raising, "Fuck, he passed out! Because of the shrub? That wasn't so heavy. Weird." She got up, "Nicolas!" The something stirred under the bushes. His hand.

"Fuck! He's going to hit me. Catherine, you brainless idiot." She braced for the oncoming pain. It was cold. Then came the large spatters. It was raining.

The shrub moved away from Nicolas, revealing him lying on the grass, seemingly enjoying the cool drops.

"Is this a joke?" She stood beside him. "Did you make it rain?" Catherine remained intensely alert lest it was all part of a ruse.

"No, blame the old man in the sky." His eyes remained closed on his upturned face. He did not show any signs of getting up. "Or the old woman, whatever your family believes in. Better choose just one so you won’t be confused. My family did once. Become confused, I mean."

She sensed the game ended for him already. "You were not yourself today," her voice sounded relaxed, even concerned.

Nicolas took a sharp breath. "Had a bit trouble focusing today." He opened his eyes and smiled at her. She could not help but notice that his acorn blue eyes looked at her in their usual mischievous way. He bounded up with slight difficulty. "You are good. I got hit a lot. You could have killed me. Though you should really learn not to show concern for me."

"What? What are you talking about?" Catherine's voice could not believe his smugness.

"Really, it could get you in trouble. You should have seen your face when you saw me under the fiery shrub. I did not really get the full look with all those leaves but man, you looked heartbroken. Come on, let's get ourselves healed." Nicolas ambled ahead of her.

She threw her arms up in the air in exasperation. This guy was really an asshole. The freaking nerve! Under the continuous drizzle, MonteSievert and Rothsguile medical teams appeared from the crowd of students to assist their master and mistress.

While lying inside the healing room that looked much too luxurious for healing, Catherine could not help but rant to her long-time nurse, Gertrude. "Isn't the family tired of this....this stupid war?"

"I would gladly ask your parents that the next time we have a heart-to-heart," came the snappish answer. "Stupid? The hell, yes. Personal? To the day they die. When did your father go off on a hunting binge and even took shots at poor bystanders?"

"When he lost the auction bid to Nicolas' father for a Picasso."

"When did your family hold the mother-of-all parties with all the Rothsguiles in full force?"

"When the family took over a company the MonteSieverts were eyeing to acquire."

"And when did your mother last have one of her near-nervous breakdowns?"

"Ah, such silliness. When Nicolas' mother was featured on the front page of the annual list of best-dressed women instead of her. It didn't help that mother dropped from number 1 to number 4."

"And that will go on and on until someone in your silly families grows up. But better not mention that last adjective to your parents. They do take it seriously." She rolled up her eyes.

"Since when did Professor have a taste for designer furnishings?" Nicolas walked in casually into the room.

Gertrude eyed him curiously, amused to see a MonteSievert up close. Catherine was a bit taken back by his entrance but managed to grin. "Mother spruced up the place when she heard I have a duel this week. Maybe the healing is faster in the company of designer labels."

"How are you? Everything healed?" Surprising, he sounded concerned.

"I think so. You?"

"Good enough for a cup of coffee. You want to grab some? And of course, we'd love you to join us, Madame Gertrude. By the way, I am Nicolas MonteSievert." He extended his hand to the blushing nurse. Catherine wanted to throw a pillow at her.

"Oh, oh...don't mind me. You, young people, enjoy yourselves." Catherine raised an eyebrow. Her mother was totally going to kill Gertrude.

"I would have loved to be in a company of a Rothsguile nurse. We can swap stories," Nicolas teased.

"We can do that some other time," was the nurse' gushing reply. Her father would join her mother in killing Gertrude.

"Do you want to meet there?" Nicolas turned his attention to her.

"How about your bodyguards?"

"I can tell them to keep themselves busy. Yours?"

"Gertrude can take care of the boys."

"Let's have some coffee then."

"No. Let's have a drink. After all that banging, I need to relax."

Nicolas laughed, took her hand and led her out. "You're not such a stuck-up, after all."

As they were about to board his Porshe, Professor Hamlin went out to his office balcony. Upon seeing them together, he stopped in his tracks, raised both his arms, yelled something incomprehensible then went back casually to his office.

"What the hell was that?" Nicolas laughed.

"He's insane." Catherine laughed back.

"Just like our families. Your phone's ringing."

Without glacing at her phone, Catherine shrugged her shoulders. "My mother. 17th missed call. Let's go."