Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Merchants in the Dark

I ate lunch in a hurry. After gulping down a third glass of ice cold water I rushed upstairs to the Transcription Jobs Department to find the lights out as the hum of the airconditioner competed with the funny snoring sounds by office mates taking advantage of what remains of the one-hour lunch-break to steal a catnap. My luminous watch says there will still be a full 40-minutes of precious sleep.

I adjusted to the darkness and frantically searched for chairs, I needed at least four of them to align into a makeshift bed. Thank Goodness, there were not just four but five free chairs for me. My lucky day! The cold and the dark work in magical ways caressing me to sleep in no time. As soon as my back touched the cushion I was drifting off, my own snoring and grunting blending in perfect harmony with the ridiculous musical chorus of tired office workers.

Alas, they came! They walk in pretending to try to stifle the noise they make but you know they can't because their footsteps and their familiar voices intrude into your sleep especially if you happen to be a light sleeper which I am. They huddled around the huge front desk of the supervisor where all sorts of merchandise were hurriedly laid down. We call them, "Mga Negosyante ng Kadiliman" or the Merchants in the Dark. Smart enterprising officemates who use spare time to make spare cash.

"How much for this bra? Is this 36-C, Grace?"

"Five hundred, two gives (meaning, two installments), 450 if you pay cash."

"Well, it doesn't feel right, cup's too small".

"Here, put this on."

"Still don't fit? Are those things boobs or water melons? Okay Beth, remind me later to order the next size so that you can have it tomorrow".

'This phone charger China?"

"It is, Evelyn but I have sold dozens of that and not one's been rejected so far, it works, I assure you."

"These t-backs are gorgeous, I'm wearing one right now, you've got to try this Nimfa, I'm sure the boyfriend's gonna love it."

"Grace...!"

"Just kidding, well, just because you're born again Christian doesn't mean you can't wear thongs right? Who's gonna find out anyway? Does Brother Mike check you down there before every prayer meeting?"

"You crazy b----"

"Hey, watch your language, you're born again Christian, remember?"

The snorings have stopped and were immediately replaced by a lot of giggling and teasing as those awakened by the noise and who have already been eavesdropping on the sales talk could no longer suppress themselves. There goes our siesta... Now, back to work.

That afternoon, I went home with a burning fever. The lady who sat next to me in the cramped Toyota Revo looked every inch under the weather with reddish tearful eyes, and running nose that she tried to cover with a handkerchief throughout the trip. She was the culprit.

The minute I reached the dorm, I kicked off my shoes and threw myself to bed then dozed off. After a while, I felt the door gently opened. I heard the familiar voices of women, making small talk interrupted occasionally by bursts of laughter. The merchants again, I said to myself. I must have been already awake or perhaps I was dreaming but I realized I just came home from work so they couldn't be here. I backtracked to the day's events from the time I stepped into the dark room, the conversations that I had been eavesdropping on in the dark, and up to the time I took the trip home seated next to a sick girl... Maybe it was the fever. I must be hallucinating but the more I try to make sense out of what's happening, the more I get disoriented and the confusion slowly was growing into a cold fright. I listened closely to the women in the room and what I heard sent my hair standing on end.

Grrr... Grabagra... Grumpbhgragraphraga.... Grugh..
Rubrgrhara... grabraghagarapbharagh......
Habragrhrabrhabaghhaggrh...

Rugrubrugapghraga.... Grabraghabraghah....

Vraghbraghadda... Dhagrabhagahhh...

Strange. I couldn't move. I couldn't get up. I couldn't even open my eyes to look at them. I wanted to scream. They must have noticed my agitation, I really felt so, because the laughter grew louder. Someone sat on the bed close to my belly, I could feel it as the cushion unsettled, rising a little from the pressure. Then I felt a tremendous weight on my groin, like someone had mounted on horseback. The long slimy hair cascaded down my face, making me feel itchy all over. They were laughing out loud now, celebrating, cheering their hearts out. A hand reached for my neck, gently touching it at first before taking a firm grip.

And still I couldn't move...

(Strange voices coming from my room caught my landlord's attention. He thought I left the TV on full volume but when he came in, he was shocked to find me alone in the dark and gasping for breath having a seizure. Eyes wide shut. I was rushed to the hospital...)

10 comments:

yanjiaren said...

Oh dear lol..My Mum was snoring like hell last night and I remember the days I used to guzzle down my food lol..stumbled your post..as you made me laugh lol.

roadgurl5 said...

My goodness...that had me on the edge of my seat! Good post!

fahmi087 said...

Nice article, even though my English is not very good, I can understand it.

johnlazy said...

just passing by nice blog

Meka said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog. You have a very nice blog yourself. You have some really nice content in your posts too. It looks very clean and organized. Great job.

dextro said...

weird stories. I've once wake up lying on my bed and feel like something heavy was falling down on me. I can't move and it's hard to breath. But it only last for about two minutes and everything comeback to normal. Things left is only me sitting curious in my bed thinking what the heck have happen to me

Anonymous said...

interesting piece. has a very unsettling quality to it, which i guess is what you were aiming for?
nice.
LOJ...

Thunter said...

Stopped by to thank you very much for the comment on my blog, it's so gratifying to have peers appreciate one's work.

I have to tell you, although it is rather presumptuous, I believe you should be a writer. The stories I read on your blog show a talent for writing I only wish I were capable of producing. If you haven't written a novel, you should.

Isolde said...

very interesting, has a kind of Ray Bradbury feel to it...nice!

Red said...

Lovely weaving you do! Keep it up!