The previous lawyer had his offices ransacked in March. Self was here in March; no one told her anything.
What was the object of the search? Who knows. Three Bacolod lawyers shared the space, so it could have been any of the three who was the object of the break-in.
She wondered about him because he could never seem to remember what documents of self’s he had in his files. She paid him well, but he was too busy to return her calls or even to be of much help. He kept emphasizing how she must enjoy Masskara, as if that were the sole reason for her visit.
The saga continues.
Today, for the first time in weeks, self resumed reading Valerie Trueblood’s collection Marry or Burn. How she loves these stories, each of the ones she’s read so far.
In the one she’s reading, “Choice in Dreams,” a woman is in love with someone else’s husband. Mike, the object of her love, appears in her dreams. One day, Mike drops by unexpectedly:
One day the doorbell rang. When she opened the door, with the chime still hanging in the air, there he was. “Come in,” she said after a second. He walked in unsteadily — nobody knew anymore which caused the gait, illness or liquor — and sat down at the kitchen table. He asked if Jeff was there, but of course Jeff was at work, it was daytime. Like many people who work on their own, like Molly, in fact, even without alcohol Mike often forgot whether it was the weekend or not and where people were who did go to the office. It wasn’t that he didn’t work hard. He was always on the track of somebody who could put him on the track of something before his deadline, and his big eyes, too big for a man really, almost in a class with Peter Lorre’s eyes, were always searching down a street or around a room or over the planes of a face. If it was your face, those eyes were a snare. They were the famished, dreaming organs you see on posters of ragged children. They had down-sweeping lashes, black and thick, that acted on Molly the way the forest in a cartoon draws the scared kids in on tiptoe. Her body followed her eyes, her mind swayed. She stepped closer. Even a man — Jeff, for example, ordinarily a man of few words — would talk more freely, and in a more fervent way, with Mike as his listener.
* * * * *
Self’s Bacolod family is enormous. Radiating out from her great-grandfather Basiliso who married a Montero, the only child of a friar, there are 68 registered heirs whose last names consist of:
Villanueva * Lacson * Fermin * Sichon * Varela * Azcona * Gamboa * Parreño * Abueg * Fuentebella * Salacata
None of these families knew anything about self, nothing at all. None of them care to know now, either.
“B______ is not an evil person,” she remembers overhearing her Manong Teddy say, March this year. Like it matters to anyone in Bacolod, what good or evil is.
The only thing that matters in Negros is power. It’s as simple, as naked, as that.
Like anyone cares that self is a writer.
“You want to have a reading in Daku Balay,” Cousin Elenita asked her once. It was a fake invitation, as was the one she offered six months later, for $98,000. “But you have to come in person to receive the check,” Elenita said. Self declined, recognizing this offer as just another bait, just another temptation dangled before the too-needy, too-hungry California writer, to see how low they could get her to stoop for the filthy lucre.
Listen up, Cuz: Writers love truth more than money. That’s what makes them such a subversive force.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.