On this day.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15, 2012 by Tales from UPD

Today, I reach what may be the happiest moment of my life. Everyone I know, friends and family, and of course, the family-to-be, are all here. The suit is a little uncomfortable, but that doesn’t really matter now, does it? I stand here today, nerves and all, waiting for that grand procession that is to place a gleaming gemstone in my otherwise ho-hum life.

She was fierce and determined, as I quickly found out when we were juniors. We never really got along at first, but it’s funny how a little time can change things, isn’t it? She was always straightforward and very engaging, for she was a person whom you would find witty conversation on a wide range of topics. She was, and still is, a competitive academic, giving her best in her scholastic activities, which I found very attractive though I myself did not do very well in the academe. Whatever our differences, she always complemented me, in a way that I was never actually bored with myself, and even found myself trying to be at least a suitable match for her. In the end, I fell in love with her, and decided that I should give it a shot. A woman like her comes only once in a blue moon, and I was not about to let her just pass in front of me.

The church bells are ringing. There is a ruckus outside as the bridal entourage arrives. I feel the anxiety, as if my body suddenly realized it’s not ready. The church organ starts playing. Ready or not, I know in my heart that I want to spend the rest of my life with this woman, a dynamic, faithful, and very unpredictable woman who takes my breath away. A woman who I have spent a very long time waiting for, and who has kept faith that I would. As the grandest procession of my life unfolds before me, I am moments from exchanging the most sacred vows with the woman whom I have shared and put so much faith in.

On this day, I stand waiting. I have dreamt and planned so long for this day. As my best friend pats me on the back, I take my place beside her, in front of God, and the future we will share from this day on.

 

A message

Posted in Creative writing on January 5, 2012 by Tales from UPD

“Wolf, here, remember, this didn’t happen, understand?”

I took the envelope and slid it in my pocket. “Go. I don’t know you.”

I watched him limp away in his crutches. Bob should have never taken this job, sooner or later the Pack is going to want to remove him. Better stay away from him from now on, or the Pack’ll think I’m softening up.

“Overwatch, Wolf here, package received from contact, I’m coming home.”; I looked at my watch. Beth’s old, but she still gets the job done. I looked around the alley, Overwatch is somewhere here, watching from the rooftops. “Oh, and Overwatch, I need a ride, I’m dyin’ out here.”

“Overwatch copies, Puppy’s your ride. Over and out.”

I sighed. My breath was so visible in this cold winter night. I guess I shouldn’t have brought my gun along, I really didn’t need it right now, but better safe than sorry, right?

Minutes later, I called the Pack. “Fort, Wolf here, Puppy still hasn’t arrived, he should’ve been here ten minutes ago, so where the hell is he?”

“Fort here, Puppy left Den seven minutes after you did, said he’ll be the one to bring your ass home, he should’ve been with you. Anything wrong, Wolf?”

Overwatch. Shit, the traitor! “Break radio contact! I have been compromised! Overwat-”

Bullets suddenly started flying. It was an ambush! I ran for cover behind a dumpster and realized that Beth had been hit. Now I knew why Overwatch insisted that I leave my rifle behind, the asshole. But there was no time to dally, there were five men shooting at me, and from the looks of it, they were Grundy’s. I took my rifle out and started returning fire. It took me 7 bullets to neutralize them all. Surprisingly, Overwatch was provided sniper support. “Guess I have to think about him for awhile.”

Beth got screwed, so I didn’t have any contact with the Pack for a while. I found Puppy in an alley a few blocks from where I was, strewn with bullet holes from the head down. Suddenly, I saw Overwatch emerge from the shadows.” Didn’t know we were blown, sorry, Wolf.”

I fought the urge to shoot him on the spot. “Well, we gotta get back to the Den, report to the Pack.”

We hid Puppy in a body bag in the trunk and drove back to the Den.

“Damn, Puppy, why? Why!”. Fort and Puppy were real close, so he took it hardest. “If you didn’t screw around in that alley, Puppy’d still be here!” and he raised a fist to hit Overwatch.

Mech stopped him. “Back off, Fort, no one knew they were compromised, Puppy lost his edge and got unlucky, got it? No one’s to blame for this.”

I butted in their little talk. ” To think of it, Puppy never made radio contact with any of us, did he?”

“But I did, before you met the contact. That’s why I knew he was your ride.” Overwatch said coldy.

“So you must’ve been blown while you were with the contact. Quite convenient, isn’t it? Wolf talks to the contact, Overwatch listens, and Puppy just waits somewhere no one knows and gets killed, Wolf almost gets done in, too. If you ask me, that contacts dirty.”

I knew they’d want Bob sooner or later, but isn’t this a little too fast, even for Mech? I tried reasoning it out. “Watch it, Mech, Bob’s been with us for 3 years now, and he’s yet to be dirty.”

“Well then, Wolf, I suppose it was one of the Pack that blew you, ain’t it? Can’t even trust your team now, can you?” The look on Mech’s face was smug. I would’ve wiped that smile clean off along with his face, but he was right. What if Bob blew us now? Or maybe he’s been all the time? But I remembered the intel, he always gave reliable intel, and this was the first time we got blown with Bob as the contact. “Check the intel.” I said smartly. “We can check on the intel and then we’ll know if he’s dirty.”

“On it.” Fort immediately forgot about Puppy and started encrypting the intel. “We got it in five. Wait for it.”

I noticed the envelope had something written on the inside. I didn’t notice it earlier with the disk in it, but now I do. I cleanly swiped it off the table without any one noticing. Then Fort finished the encryption.

” Darcmann and Grundy in cahoots, will do business at port next Friday at dawn. Heavy weapons for something. Don’t know what, yet.”

I slid out the envelope and started reading. I stared in disbelief in what was written in it.

Son, we’re still here. FFS.

Felix and Fortia Strife. Damn, man.

Character Sketch: Selim Strife

Posted in Creative writing on January 5, 2012 by Tales from UPD

I am Selim Strife. I live in the cold, hard streets of San Fierro. I used to live in Serene City,  with my sister, Vicky, until she  was abducted. My parents are Felix and Fortia Strife, both of whom are brave police officers who gave their lives in protecting the streets of San Fierro. My father was a SWAT Team commander, and one of the best in the force, if I might add. My mother was an undercover investigator, helping my father weed out Kidd Darcmann’s smuggled weapons syndicate. My sister and I were forced to move away to Serene City when the operation on Darcmann was getting dangerous. We heard little from our parents since the move, and 3 years later, the day I earned my bachelor’s degree in Military Science from the Serenity College in Serene City, we received word that both our parents were killed in the line of duty.

I am a stone-cold hunter. I have been tracking Darcmann for years, killing and maiming many of his thugs and goons along the way. He has taken everything from me, my parents, my sister, everything. I have little time for trivial things, because for me, there is only nothing but the next objective, the next mission, the next target. I am a man of few words and even fewer friends, for they are liabilities that will only hinder my pace. The day Darcmann took my sister, I ceased to exist. No documents, no certificates, nothing. I am a man who exists solely as a ghost to haunt Dartmann, with no other aim than eliminating every trace of him. I have honed my senses to track, to hunt, to kill. And I will stop at nothing until I complete my final objective.

But I am, somehow, still Selim Strife. I still love my family, or what’s left of it. If ever Vicky is still alive, I will rescue her. She is my only weakness, and if ever Darcmann uses her against me, I will have no choice but to follow his moves. Until that day comes, I am another man, known throughout the modern underworld as a merciless predator, cunning and swift. And through because I don’t exist, I go by the name they gave me, a birthname given by the prey I sought to stalk.

I am Wolf Pierce.

A Dream

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 15, 2011 by Tales from UPD

These are times when doubt and worry must be shed away, for the time being at least, but something happened in which I must inevitably put a considerable amount of attention to. You see, dear reader, that I had a dream, a dream like any other mind you, but a dream about whom I have a profound attachment to. I have to share my thoughts on this blog so that the people concerned may know what I have to say about them.

I woke up finding myself in my hometown. It was apparently the Season, as is now, and the town proper was busy with people. Forgive me, dear reader, but even though the dream came just before I woke up this morning I am having trouble remembering all that happened ( partly the reason for my chagrin when writing about dreams). Nevertheless, I remembered going to a food stall with my brother to buy a full order of noodles. As it happened, my chemistry teacher from my third year in high school was there, too, with what I can vaguely remember as a mug full of halo-halo in her hands. She was wearing a velvet blouse with light pink flowers printed all over it, and pink woolen pants (in reality I know her to possess clothing of the sort, which she sometimes wore during class). She looked glad, quite far-fetched from the stressed face imposed upon her by the very unfortunate circumstances in the classroom, even blissful, if I might judge. Wanting to give her my best wishes for the Season, I told my brother to wait for the noodles while I talked to my former teacher.

Ma’am, kumusta na po kayo? I suddenly blurted out behind her. She was considerably surprised, but wasn’t cross with me since she remembered me as being one of her former students. We talked for quite a long time, about my life in the University, and her life as, well, a teacher. On the course of our conversation, she laughed so hard at a comment I made about her salary that she almost dropped her mug of halo-halo. I noticed immediately that her fingers where already blackened ( she had an ailment, the identity of which I DO NOT dare ask. She already has much stress as it is, so there’s no point in reminding her about it.). I was concerned. In reality, I did try many times to persuade her to lighten her load ( by no means coercive, mind you, it was a sort of “jokingly serious matter” when we talked about it). In my dream, as in reality, I once again tried to tell her to give up her advisory class, in a tone I never would’ve used at her in reality. Somehow, she wasn’t at all surprised or even angry. Instead, she told me that she wanted what she was doing and she has known no other way (what that meant I may never figure out).

I fear that discussing too much details would be a great disrespect to one of the best I have ever known to practise the noble profession of teaching. It is a profession, just like many other important things in life, that we fail to recognize the significance of. Practised by a person with the right mix of knowledge, skill, and devotion, this profession will prove to have the most significant effect on anyone,and maybe, just maybe, everyone’s life.

I take my leave.

Out for the Season

Posted in Uncategorized on December 14, 2011 by Tales from UPD

‘Tis the time. The season to which the timeless words of  “joy and cheer” refer to. To some who keep the Faith, a time of full devotion, for it is the birth of Someone very special. To many, a time of presents and gifts of material value. But for most, a time to move back to where they truly belong, home.

Home. A word all-too familiar, yet a truth we will most definitely cannot do without. As a very important song to me puts it, a home is ” where your love has always been enough for me…” (whomever comes into mind for the word “your” is up to you.). It is a place that for most is a safe haven, void of hate, full of completion and acceptance. It is where one can truly find a measure of bliss, even if at times there is tension even at the home itself. Nevertheless, a home will never reject you, it embodies the love and determination of your parents to give you a chance to live, and more importantly, to love. A home is a mother, always ready to share your joys and sorrows, to whom we find satisfaction in times of hunger, reassurance in times of turmoil, and resolution in times of doubt.

When I was but a child (and truth be told, I am still a child, but I have learned a few more than I did then), I seldom thought of home. I was busy with other trivial things yet at the time were matters of seemingly great importance to me. My mind always seemed to be preoccupied with such matters as who ran faster than me, or whether or not the one I had feelings for felt the same way, and yes, I know, that these instances cannot be helped. After all, we all have times of seemingly blissful ignorance. But I learned, and is still am, learning a great deal more about myself than I ever did before, and in the course of that growth, a profound respect for anything and everything that will come in my way, and of course, for where I came from. Suffice to say that you, the reader, will have to forgive me for this selfishness in which I must indulge myself in. After all, I have to attend to these simple, yet immensely important things in my life. Mind you that the time of crushes and vanities is, for me at least, a time of the past. Now, and as will always be, this season will an opportunity to reflect on what has been, what is being, and what needs to be done. And of course, dear reader, I will get back to you when I must, for even in holidays work is ever-present, as in compliance with the rules of life. Be it what you may, but you too must fly, for you have your own story to write, a new chapter that promises to be one of the most fulfilling chapters in the end of this twelve-month year-book of your life.

As for me, well, my chapter is just like billions of others, I do not know as of the moment what to write in it. Anyway, time will always tell the story. It’s up to you on how you will write about it. But, one things for certain, In the seventeenth book of my life, I will know how to start twelfth chapter.

I’m going home.

The Salesman Dilemma

Posted in Tell-tales from UPD on December 8, 2011 by Tales from UPD

He watched them as they took a whiff of the stuff and coughed their lungs out. What the hell do these guys like about these things?; he thought, throwing away the stick they gave as he tried to get a grip of himself. “Honestly guys, get a life” he mumbled under his breath. Feigning urgency, he told them he had to go. ” Guys, it’s already nine o’ clock, I have got to go, so you can take these damn things and stick them to your gut for all I care, just leave me out of-“; a sudden burst of panic cut short what he was about to say. He really had something to worry about. After composing himself, he stood up and left James and Tristan, who were still smoking their lungs off at the foot of the stairs.

Damn, I really gotta get that reading or I’ll be…well, damned. He looked at his wristwatch. I really ought to clean this thing. Wait, what the hell am I saying? I’ve got to focus! Pull yourself together, you poor, sad idiot. If only you’ve…. He stopped and took a moment to figure out what he was thinking. Was he really worried more about his watch than about the time?  This is not happening to me, he thought, almost aloud. Kindly pull yourself together, dear sir, or else you’ll have nothing to show for all this talk of doing a better semester, capiche? That shook him. He looked at his watch again. Nine-forty, right, on it. And he was off to the photocopier upstairs.

At 11:35, he was in front of a class, yapping about things called assumptions, but his mind was busy juggling some other topics. “I’m sorry about my hand writing…”; Yeah, right, and what are syllogisms? “An assumption is…”; Damn, I pray to God I’m not the only one without a copy of the “Death of a Salesman”, I’ll be gutted out for sure. “…and that’s what an assumption is.”; Logic is such a load of bull, my brain hurts just thinking about that test. He sat down, and looked at the time.  Only ten minutes? My freakin’ report only took about ten minutes? God, I must be losing my mind. My brain hurts. And so he spent the rest of the class thinking about a salesman, his oncoming test on logic, and two women, one in a place called Laguna and the other in a semi-obscure corner of the Philippines called Marinduque.

The class ended and he went straight to the College of  Arts and Letters. He was confident now, because this one was in the bag. He was already ‘in the know’ about what they were going to discuss, thanks to some last-minute ‘research’. He had hope to borrow a copy from one of his classmates in creative writing, but what the heck, he found another, more pocket-friendly solution.

Two hours before, in front of a photocopying machine, he took a look out a of a window. He went into one of those “moments” when he felt that he had the world all to himself. It’s a bit like insanity, although he swears to himself that he’s sane (although we all have some bit of insanity in ourselves, don’t we? So this is his ‘particularity’, for the lack of any word), and that he is completely conscious of his surroundings, even the birds that seem to be flying in slow motion, and the sounds around him being muffled somehow…

“Hello? Sir? Hello? What do you need?”. He fell out of his daze. He hadn’t realized that he was the one being talked to by the photocopy lady, who was by this time getting annoyed. It seemed that everyone in this university had their own measure of importance, some measure of discontentment in their own tales of life. Anyhow, he had the presence of mind tell the lady what he wanted. “Death of a Salesman” please, Professor Quina, if you may”. But something was off. The lady didn’t start browsing through the papers immediately, as she usually does. He braced for what the she had to say. “Sir, Professor Quina just pulled out those readings earlier…” Crap. “…but he left a new set, that you might be interested in.” He looked in horror at the title of the paper at the top of that lump of readings: “Magnificence” by Estrella Alfon. Once again, he looked at his watch. Ten o’ clock.

A few minutes later, he was on a jeepney, on the way to the College of Mass Communication.

A midnight melancholy

Posted in Creative writing on November 19, 2011 by Tales from UPD

“Good night.” she said, and the line went dead. I sagged in my chair. Things haven’t been going well for us lately, and I’m at a loss to find the right thing to think about. It had been another argument, and, as with the other phone calls before this one, another dead end. I thought about calling again, but when I looked at my phone I realized that the battery went dead. Oh well, I thought with some degree of relief. Saved by the battery, I guess. If I called her then, it would almost surely be another argument. And besides, it was already 11:30 pm, so she was probably fast asleep by now. I went to my room and pondered deeply about what happened.

I wanted to sleep, but couldn’t. I tried counting sheep, but my thoughts were someplace else. I gave you the chance, but you didn’t come….bye. That stung. Hello?…so what?. That hurts. But what stung the most is having to listen to almost 10 minutes of silence, when I could not even fully grasp the nature of the quarrel. Trying to apologize, starting a light conversation, and even silencing myself as well- didn’t work. Let’s face it, I’m way in over my head, and have become numb due to the fact that I feel too many emotions at the same moment.

A few minutes, which seemed to me like hours, of thrashing around in my bed made me decide that I should go somewhere, although I knew full well that even if I went someplace far, I can’t and won’t escape the torment inside in my mind, eating away at my rationality. But I had to do something, even a little distraction would do. Finally, I went to the nearest internet cafe and started doing my writing assignment in creative writing, although I admit that I also opened my facebook account for no conscious reason. I was just beginning to finish my blog, so I went and checked who was online at facebook. Somehow, though unsurprisingly, she was there, online, for a brief moment, and I started to type some words to send her when suddenly, poof!, she went offline. I limited myself to deluding that she also couldn’t sleep because of the quarrel, but with women, you never know.

The cafe was crammed with people, some playing and some spectating. But I felt alone. And miserable. And cold, not just because of the airconditioning system installed in the cafe, but because of the feeling that I was just ignored, nothing more, nothing less. After finishing my blog, I went back home, feeling even more depressed than before, because I was back to reality, back to that dismal room where I spent my existence trying to think of something to do for tomorrow. Still, I felt that this time, I could sleep, finally ending a miserable day in the hope of having a fresh start at another miserable day. But then, my phone rang. In a split second, I weighed my chances of having even a glimmer of decent conversation. Considering the day, the choice was simple. I answered the phone. Silence. I tried greeting her. Silence. For 5 more minutes I listened to silence, never daring to cut the line myself, as part of a pledge I made and intend to keep. The line went dead. Finally, I can rest and try again tomorrow. I went straight to bed and as soon as my head hit the pillow, the throbbing headache from 30 minutes of online blogging hit me, although it wasn’t as bad as it sounded, because sleep came rather quickly.

I dreamed. I knew I was dreaming, yet I couldn’t bring myself to wake up. I usually have control over what I do in my dreams, and this dream was no different. But, it was already haunting me for many nights now, recurring again and again and again. In it, I was driving on a road, in a cramped old van with a bunch of people that I don’t know but who apparently know me. After a few “minutes” of driving and horsing around, our van stopped. It was then, I realized, that I came out of the car alone, and the road we were driving on was empty, although I could hear sounds of traffic in the elevated road opposite ours. I followed an apparently seldom-used trail that lead to a small town. Surprisingly, the town, or city, had absolutely no signs of life or activity, and I walked around till my feet “hurt”. I had never felt so earnest to see another soul, anxiously watching every nook and cranny for any signs of life.

I woke up. I felt a little dizzy and a little weirder than usual. I didn’t finish my dream, but I never do anyway, so there’s no sense in fretting over a cryptic hallucination. Looked up at the clock. Damn. It’s  2 am, and I have classes today. I tried whistling myself back to sleep, but it was no use, so I might bas well fix myself up early. I cleaned myself up and got dressed for school. Dressed for school, yeah, right, there’s no such thing as a standard dress code where you study, anyway. I was irked because of everything that happened prior to the midnight bell, with not being able to fix things with her, and more importantly, with myself.

Two long, boring hours later, I turned my radio on, all the stations were broadcasting songs from times past when one song in particular caught my fancy. It was a song I held special to myself, and hearing it helped boost my hopes for the day. I listened intently, feeling the song pierce my heart and reverberate through my mind. I was almost in tears when Ely was singing my favorite lines of the song: Lift your head, baby don’t be scared, of the things that could go wrong along the way…we’ll get by, with a smile, you can never be too happy in this life…

Beautiful. It’s absolutely perfect. After the song was finished, I looked at myself in the mirror. I still hated the person I see looking back at me, but, I was smiling. I looked at the time. Just in time, it’s almost five, I thought. After washing my face, I thought about my dream for a while. Alone. You are, and will always be,alone. Wrong. Time to man up and stop sulking. Pitying myself will never work. I loved the song, but treasured the message it gave me. I was about to look at my watch, but then changed my mind. Stop worrying, idiot, everything’s going to turn out just fine, I promise you. I truly believed myself in thinking that. Five hours later, I went to school and enjoyed the rest of my day, which was a very eventful day indeed.

Later that night, before going to sleep, I washed my face, brushed my teeth and went to bed. It had been a beautiful day, and I was sure that tomorrow would be just as fine. I took out my phone and dialed her number.

“Hello?”, she answered. I loved hearing her voice. Smiling, I answered back: “Hi, love…”.