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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.

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.