Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Monday Morning Vent’

Monday Morning Vent: Mugged

January 11, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Crime, Monday Morning Vent 4 Comments →

Remember that you are not the Slayer.

by Deo

Working for outsourced companies brings you a lot of perks. You work at night, there’s night differential pay, fewer traffic jams, and no sun to smite you with its evil rays. On the other hand, you wake up and work AT NIGHT. And on local holidays and during national calamities.

It happened in July last year, on the week when three typhoons decided to blow through our little islands on their way to greater Asia. It was past one in the morning and I hemmed and hawed about going to work. But of course, weather-related calamities are not an excuse to miss work, etc. It never crossed my mind that I would be a cliché that night.

Everybody thinks bad things will NEVER happen to them. Everyone thinks they will never get cancer. Everyone thinks they will never get STDs. Everyone thinks they will never be scammed. Everyone thinks they will never die. I had been thinking of buying pepper spray a couple of days before it happened; I can’t remember why I didn’t. Wrapped in my raincoat, umbrella in hand, I braved the storm.

Trudging along a dim pathway, I saw a group of disturbingly colorful umbrellas coming my way. I assumed they were girls who knew the least flooded way to the bus stop, so I decided to follow them. (What girls would gad about in the middle of the night, in a storm? The question came to me too late.)

At the exit to our compound, they all stopped and let me walk ahead. Suddenly, one of them grabbed me and frogmarched me back to the dark end of the street. “Huwag kang kikilos. Akin na ang phone mo,” he demanded. Contradictory instructions, plus he didn’t need to demand, actually, because he had seized the phone with his other hand. Yes, like an idiot I’d been using my phone’s flash as a torch. My neck was on the receiving end of his knife—a kitchen knife, the kind you use to gut fish with.

They were six men barely out of their teens, and each had a “patalim” of his own. I imagine they had been drinking at home, got bored, agreed to filch whatever they could from whomever at that time of night, and picked up whatever weapon was lying around.

They flanked me and another one gripped my bag. The first kid still had his knife at my neck. “Kunin mo ‘yung bag, kunin mo ‘yung bag,” the others chanted. All this time my hand was clutching the knife blade—partly to control my aggressor’s hand, and partly to snatch the knife away and use it against him if the opportunity arose. But all I got was a flesh wound on my palm and neck that stung for days after.

“Nasa’n ang wallet mo? Akin na pera mo,” kid number two repeated, probably realizing that I wasn’t going to let go of my bag. Again, he didn’t need to demand, as he promptly took my wallet out of the bag. He took all the money from it—a staggering stash of 300 pesos.

“Ano, eto lang? Eto lang pera mo?”

“I can feel a hint of exasperation in your voice and I’m sorry that’s all I have, I promise I’ll bring more next time. Shall we meet again here, same time tomorrow? Or would you like to come with me now to the nearest ATM so I can withdraw money for you?” Of course I didn’t say this. Was I supposed to explain to this scumbag that I don’t carry a great deal of money at this hour, as a precaution against people like him? And that I only brought enough for that day’s fare and food?

Instead I said, “Kunin ‘nyo na lang ‘yung phone at ‘yung pera, huwag na ‘yung bag.” I don’t think there was a “please” in there, but amazingly they agreed after I repeated my request several times. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to haggle over my bag and wallet. “Bagitos sa industriya (Newbies in the profession),” a friend said later, to cheer me up. If the muggers were real professionals, they would’ve asked me to withdraw money from an ATM, or insisted on taking the bag. I could’ve been killed and all I could think of was all my cards and IDs and what a pain it would be to replace them.

Did I mention that I’d just had my phone plan upgraded? It was a month-old phone, newly-christened, tempered glass-covered, etc. It hadn’t even reached its mobile data usage limit. “What’s the password?” kid number three snapped. They just wouldn’t stop with their demands. The phone didn’t have a password: it required a pattern you draw to unlock it. I gave them a fake PIN.

They were still figuring out how to access my phone when they shoved me back in the direction I came from. I was so confused I just walked along my usual route. Yes, I intended to go straight to work. Then I changed my mind and ran home as fast as I could in the rain and mud.

My cousin and I attempted to go to the police station that same night, but at the exit to the compound I saw some guys who might or might not have been the muggers and I turned back, trembling.

I wanted to be melodramatic. I wanted to launch into full histrionics. But I could not because I was furious. I wanted the rain-soaked earth to swallow them like quicksand while they shrieked with fear. I wished I had psychokinesis so I could choke them to death from a distance. But when I got home all I did was shout every swearword I knew.

The next day I filed a police report and called my telecom provider. As luck would have it, my free 30-day Gadget Care promo had just expired and I had not opted to continue it. Because I had NEVER thought I would get mugged.

For weeks afterwards, I had nightmares in which all possible alternate scenarios happened. I had dreams in which I was a hero and brought those kids to justice. There were nights I woke up feeling that they had finally been caught, only to have the feeling replaced by uncertainty and frustration.

For weeks afterwards, there was a broken record in my head. What if I had taken another route. What if I had called in and decided not to go to work. What if I hadn’t used the flashlight app. What if I’d had my switchblade in my bag (the company I work for disallows the bringing of sharp objects/potential weapons). Well, it could’ve been worse if I’d tried to take on six people. And now we come to the fun part: the moral of the story. Never attempt to take control of the assailant’s weapon (Unless you’re an expert in martial arts). Avoid people in dark places, however harmless they appear, whatever gender. Avoid dark places altogether. Be paranoid. Move to a safer place. But where is safe?

I’ve been asked by friends to see a shrink. I don’t know, maybe I’ll just wing this thing called getting over and moving on. But as we’ve all learned in Psych 101 and Hollywood 101, PTSD isn’t just some made-up sickness for you to sound deep and interesting—the P is there because the T can S you years after the fact.

Today, I keep a small flashlight in my bag. For finding my way in cinemas. Still no pepper spray.

Monday Morning Vent: Momelia Versus Evil (or, You’re alone in the house when you spot a giant rat.)

January 04, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Monday Morning Vent 6 Comments →

This Monday Morning Vent was written by the valiant Momelia. Warning: Some violence and gross household imagery.

Necronomicon from Ash Vs Evil Dead

How to Deliver Your Self from Evil
by Momelia

If Evil were a foot and a half long, scuttled on four short legs, coated in fur as black as corruption, with a leathery tail as long as its body, then I woke up to the sight of it on my kitchen floor. It wasn’t doing any scuttling this time because, to my mounting horror, Evil was half-trapped in a glue board. A part of me was convinced that it wasn’t sticking around to make friends. Half of Evil’s horrible length, from its lower feet to some of its tail, was stuck to this glue board that I got in Puregold for fifty-five pesos.

Evil was not moving for the time being, like it was calculating a pandemic, and it was truly the most disgusting thing. Meanwhile, that glue board was the most amazing thing, and I elected to purchase more of it if I lived through this ordeal.

I was frozen on the sofa I slept on. I stood up, and Evil tried to scamper a few inches towards the open kitchen door. That slight movement paralyzed my courage all the more, because it meant I was not making all this shit up. “There’s this adult rat that’s half-trapped on this glue board on my kitchen floor” shoved the sleep off me, and I armed myself with a purpose. I cannot allow, I will not allow Evil to live. It will return with an infernal appetite and an infestation of other Evils, and I will not live with that. Evil would triumph if a good gay like me did nothing, and besides, what would Jesus say?

The fading sunlight of that afternoon betrayed Evil’s true form. The hair on my arms prickled. Evil was plump like gluttony and its scraggly coat of hair, not fur, was black as sin. Its gray tail was the whip that scourged people who take hourly selfies for all of Eternity. I saw that Evil’s bottom legs and maybe four inches of its tail were caught on the glue board, and this explained Evil’s restricted movement. I will not be able to unsee this oppressive image, it is now tattooed on my brain, but I imagine that Evil’s nuts were glued to the board as well, and that would make things tolerable because it is funny.

H.P. Lovecraft wrote a short story, The Dreams in the Witch-House, where the antagonist had a curious familiar. It was a large rat with the face of a man. Brown Jenkin teleported, was fluent in taunts, gnawed on human flesh with relish, and was altogether a mean little freak. He had nothing on this thing of Evil, however.

I remembered we had a hammer in the garage. And a box of sandwich bags. I decided that I had some smiting to do.

I stood up and walked towards the locked screen door, my eyes glued on Evil on my kitchen floor. A sharp click issued when I undid the lock, but what happened next was as alarming as the lack of standards in this report. I heard cardboard scrape across my kitchen floor at the same time the lock was released. Terror grew in my heart. The kitchen floor had been exorcised of the presence that possessed it a few seconds back. Where was it? I knew that I should be relieved, but I committed myself to cleansing my house once and for all, so I braced myself and walked towards the open kitchen door.

What I saw next nearly shocked me unconscious. And I wouldn’t have lived through this awful turn of events were it not for two words: “Glued Nuts.” You see, Evil’s panicked scuttling caused the whole length of its plump black form to stick on the glue board. And it was far more revolting because I was now seeing it up close. Evil was now as completely helpless as it was hideous on the glue board. It was now entirely stationary, except for its small, scheming head that moved left and right as it contemplated its circumstances. I crossed myself for protection. Glued Nuts.

I rushed back to the garage to where The Hammer was. It’s nothing more than a used claw hammer, really, but it would serve. I wrapped the business end of The Hammer in two sandwich bags. Things would be particularly messy, there would be blood, and you would not catch me scrubbing rat brain off the head of some claw hammer.

My feet trod with caution because Evil, trapped as it was, grew in size with each step I took towards it. My heart was on the verge of collapse as I squatted next to this helpless abomination. I was then a foot next to Evil stuck in the glue board. I paused, and with what little measure of courage I had about me, I squatted down. I gripped The Hammer in my left hand. Time slowed down. Imagine the smell of an adult rat.

I raised The Hammer two to three inches above Evil’s hysterical head, made one upward swing, for practice, took a deep breath, and then I closed my eyes. I repeated that trajectory in my head, and (Editor’s addition: with a cry of “Thor! Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston sandwich!”) brought The Hammer down in one thunderous wallop. Whackkk!

The air was still, and everything was silent save for my heart beating in my throat. Did I miss? I have good aim, usually, but I had smitten Evil on the head with my eyes closed. So there was a chance that my Hammer of Good had fucked up, and I might need to hammer Evil on the head one more time for good measure.

I opened my eyes. The glue board, to my mounting anxiety, was now flipped over, and all I could see was four inches of Evil’s leathery tail sticking out. It wasn’t moving. I let go of The Hammer, carefully. My heart resumed its rightful place in my chest, and I was breathing more easily. And with this resurgence of confidence, I tapped the glue board with my left foot, and it twitched.

The glue board shivered with the still-living Evil trapped below it. And it shuddered again. Evil lived, Evil survived my smiting, and it mocked my courage. Indignation coursed through my veins as I decided to…No, I was too exasperated to think straight (not to mention too gay), so I stomped on the glue board, twice, with every fiber of frustration in my person. And then it was still.

I tapped the glue board one more time, and it was lifeless. I left it alone for a minute, and it remained utterly still. So I took a garbage bag and heaved the glue board into it. A small pool of blood marked the scene of my triumph. I could have bled that pool myself, for I had never killed anything larger than a cockroach before this day.

(Editor’s note: Blood is not easy to scrub off. Next time, spread a sheet of plastic on the floor.)

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