Sunday, July 20, 2003


Part Two : The school and its stories

Apart from making time capsules in his spare time, Jon often went with his mother to school. He wasn’t enrolled but he was free to wander the half empty premises at his leisure.

The fact was, after two decades of facilitating young minds, the school was closing down. The reasons weren’t particularly clear to Jon but there was talk that a new shopping center was to be built in its place. Already, the high school department had not opened for this school year and so Jon didn’t get to see any of his peers. Some had probably transferred a few blocks away, to the nice private school administered by nuns. And it probably wont be long before the school relinquishes the last batch of graduates and got down to the sordid task of expiring.

But there seemed to be no hurry. The school was closing down and it was doing so at a depressingly slow pace. More aptly, it was withering away.

The whole affair made Jon sad as he paced along tidy and dead corridors. Growing up without a father, school was the next best thing he had. It taught him legions of sports and games, how to read the clock, find the value of x, and how to tie a tie. And he would miss the library the most, and all its attendant old book smells.

And the school shared its stories with him too. He found that after all the initial pity and sympathy you get from being terminal, people begin a rigorous campaign to ignore you in the most polite manner possible. Oh they still talk to you, laugh at your jokes, invite you to parties, but there is a sense of… otherness. Like they speak to you from the other side of a fishbowl or the opposite bank of a river. To both youth and grown-up, he was the personification of Mortality, and his presence was surreptitiously denied.

And so, from the fringe of the world, Jon watched the acts of the play unfold; an ensemble cast, each one with a tale. James rooted about his classmates’ bags when everyone else was at the cafeteria. He bribed Jon once with a leather glove so he would keep quiet, but Jon only agreed when he gave up the left glove as well. Loo was good at math and could give you square roots of integers without a calculator. Belinda liked Maritin, but Martin liked Linda Grace, but Linda Grace only liked other girls. Tami collected coins, and her collection would have been bigger had James not decided to start a collection of his own. Janitor got fired after he got caught smuggling twenty staplers and innumerable paper clips out of the school in his duffel bag. Mr. Diego was one of his favorite teachers because he lent Jon a copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories. Mr. Castro, the P.E. teacher-slash-cadet trainer, wore women’s underwear when he shot some hoops at night.

By far the most often repeated and engrossing of the school’s yarns was the Suicide of Susan May. She was a pretty but frightfully timid girl, and Jon liked her if only because, like him, she lived on the outskirts of polite company. She wasn’t especially bright but at times he would detect a glimmer of perverse wit from the handful of words she substituted for conversation. Best of all, she didn’t treat him like a walking cadaver.

It was Janitor who found her first. She had hung herself from a noose of electrical cords lashed to the ceiling of a classroom. They days that followed were a spectacle and Jon could remember the vans of TV stations parked outside the school and the horrendous wail of the grieving mother. He didn’t cry at all during those unreal times, but a picture of Susan May found itself among the other detritus of Jon’s life, three feet below and heading for the future.

Friday, July 18, 2003

the banner promised tales so its about time i told one. as with most things i probably wont finish it but i'll try


Part one : The boy named Jon

Jon was fifteen and he had leukemia. He didn’t really see this as a bad thing and he didn’t really feel sick at all. Not usually. The years and years of chemo poisoning were over and he could almost pretend to be a normal boy again. He did look sickly, however. He had the pasty pale complexion of a man who spent too much time in a dungeon. And his scalp was bare, though more out of choice now than as a consequence of disease and treatment. He liked to make his skull nice and shiny, and he was too accustomed to the absence of hair to wish them back any time soon.
He was thin and had the awkward gangling limbs of adolescence. He looked like a poster boy for UNICEF. But he had lips that always looked ready to smile and a dark, intelligent gleam in his eyes.
Jon was a smart boy but he didn’t really go to school nowadays. He would have started his first year in high school by now had he not spent more time in hospitals where they tried to torture him to health. His mother was a teacher at the school and tutored him during weeknights, which Jon enjoyed immensely. And there were nights when she would come home with new books in her plump arms for him to read. Those times were even better.
As I said, Jon really didn’t see this leukemia business with much sorrow. His only great regret was that he probably wont make it ‘till the millennium. He sometimes told himself that he would brave all the hospital pain he could if it would make him live at least two years longer. Something really special and cool might happen and he wont be there to see it. As a compromise he got a large powdered milk can, filled it with junk from his room, and buried it as deep as he could (which was about three feet). Maybe someday (in the next millennium maybe?) some archeologist will find it and say “Look at this. A boy used to live here. A boy named Jon.”

Monday, July 14, 2003

when you get to read an essay made by a stranger about herself you begin to imagine what she looks like. what her house is like, does she have any pets. you start to care about her story. especially if she is a mother with two adorable children that inspires her to keep working. especially if she wants to alleviate rural poverty and cares so much about the marginalized sector of our society. makes you all mushy and you want to wish her nice things.
then you read her NEO-PIR results and you tell yourself "Boy is she a fuckedupbasketcase"
you smugfaced basturd you