Echoes of Pasig

Pasig River?s decline was said to be infamous. This was something else.

Eunice had promised that the ferry would undercut traffic by hours. Orife believed her, unfamiliar as he was to the congested spaces of the metropolis. He found, however, that her alternative was less reassuring. The ferry docks appeared abandoned. They sat next to a shantytown where trains zipped noisily nearby and giant billboards overlooked the landscape. In the middle of this squalor was the river?a tortured feature that seemed to bisect the city like an open wound. Small wooden outriggers and motorized catamarans cut through these thoroughfares, their wakes liberating debris and clouding up the river?s surface.



Hermoso wakes up wishing he had a different life.

He flirts with getting hair replacement therapy as he combs over his bald spot in the mirror. He is 45, has two teenage daughters who won?t listen to anything he says and a wife who refuses to have sex with him anymore. 

?By the time our next child enters puberty, I?d be too old and wouldn?t care for all the teenage angst in the world,? she said last night when Hermoso popped the question to her in bed. She turned away from him and promptly started snoring.


Amongst the Bissayans of Zvbv

Sanctified, Caesarean, Catholic Majesty, the Emperor Don Phelippe, Our Lord King:

May the grace, peace, and loving kindness of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with Your Majesty Don Phelippe, by the grace of God King of Castilla, Le?n, Arag?n, the two Sicilies, Jherusalem, Navarra, Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Mallorca, Sevilla, Cerde?a, C?rdoba, C?r?ega, Muria, Ja?m, the Algarves, Algezira, Gibraltar, the Caribbees, the islands of the Canaries, the Eastern and Western Yndias, and of the islands and continents of the Ocean Sea; Archduke of Austria, Duke of Borgo?a, Brabante, Milan, Atenas, and Neopatria; Count of Hapsburg, Flandes, Tirol, and Bar?elona; Count of Ruysellon and Cerdania; Marquis of Oristan and Guanno; Seignior of Vizcaya and Molina, &c.

Most serene, most excellent, most puissant Prince: from this city of Zvbv, the City of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, capital of your dominion of Las Islas Phelippinas, this seventh day after the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in the Year of Our Lord one thousand five hundred sixty and nine, greeting.



I was seventy-seven come August,
  I shall shortly be losing my bloom;
I?ve experienced zephyr and raw gust
  And (symbolical) flood and simoom.

When you come to this time of abatement,
  To this passing from Summer to Fall,
It is manners to issue a statement
 As to what you got out of it all.

So I?ll say, though reflection unnerves me
  And pronouncements I dodge as I can
That I think (if my memory serves me)
  There was nothing more fun than a man! 

?In my country?, he said in a soft, steady voice, ?they used to burn widows to death on their husbands? funeral pyres.?

??Used to? is the operative word, I hope?, she answered lightly, masking the chill his comment sent through her.


HEXOPUS: The Six-Limbed Lad


It?s the start of summer vacation in the quiet little coastal municipality of Sto. Domingo, and thirteen-year-old Paul Pelegrino, a boy born with six limbs?four arms and two legs?can?t wait to enjoy waking up late and spending afternoons at the beach. His last day of school, unfortunately, is marred by a brawl with the local bully, which then leads to Paul?s puking of an inky black substance. 

Things take an even greater turn for the bizarre when a series of dreams he has involving a mysterious squid-like being of ancient folklore known as a Kamdiri, coincides with a string of murders in which the crime scenes are caked with the same black goo. Paul, under suspicion by the police and rattled by revelations about what he believes are his own out-of-this-world origins, is then compelled to conduct his own investigation into the macabre happenings, and maybe even make sense of his unusual comeuppance.

Blending humor, horror, and folklore, Hexopus: The Six-Limbed Lad marks the beginning of Paul?s coming of age, in a deeply conservative Catholic town still firmly tethered to its precolonial past, and amid a tumultuous time marked by fear, uncertainty, and empowered law enforcement.