From the handsome terrace of a colossal mansion atop a plateau in a small island, Gabby had seen the sudden uproar in the middle part of the ocean. He was not shocked. It’s not unusual matter to his sight. He just made a quick glance.
He was wearing a blank face. His emotion was indefinable and in the small interval of time, he was quaffing liquor from a wine glass.
Gabby stopped the rocking chair. He anticipated the second explosion. He failed to see it after few minutes. He knew exactly the time span of dynamite explosion since he often witnessed this kind of illegal activity of fishermen.
He snatched the binocular on the side table. Then, he got a good view of the activity. Four men were registered in his telescope. He focused it on the acting-weird fisherman, who was holding the dynamite. The scenario enlivened his interest. However, he was startled by the cell phone ring. He just glared at it. And when he returned his focus to the scene, kablam was heard. He also beheld an upward fall of sea water. He looked for that man. He found him not in the boat. There were only three in there.
“Bullshit”, he wanted to throw the mobile phone away. “Damn you!” Instead he pocketed it. Then, he focused again his sight to the motorboat, which was leaving away. He did not take away his device to it till it became a dot.
Gabby went directly to the masculine bathroom. While waiting for the water to fill in the tub, he lit a light cigarette. The thought of queer fisherman made him smile a bit, with a tsk tsk!
The water on the bathtub was overflowing when he noticed it. “Shit!” He abruptly turned off the bulb and unclogged the drainer.
Later, he was on the water, thinking again of the cowardly man on the boat. He was wondering why he’s gone. What’s happening to you, Gabby? He asked himself silently.
He submerged his entire body leaving the face not drowned. He stayed in that position for many minutes, thinking nothing.
The sun rays were already penetrating to skin. The ocean was so serene. The breeze was humming. Sea birds were playing under the skies, like cheerful kids in the playground.
A sea bird got tired. It rested on a floating matter and pecked a reddish part of an object.
“Argh!” The bird flew away when wounded man cried out of pain and moved suddenly to catch breath. He changed his position of embracing the empty mineral water gallon, then, he began stroking his feet through the direction of an islet.
The small island he could see was not that far but he calculated that it would take time to be there. Yet, he was decisive to survive the planned tragedy, though his right hand was bleeding and it was weakening him too much.
It was so hard for someone who has a wound on the right hand to swim. He couldn’t even plunge the wound to the water. It’s hurtful and he possibly be attacked by a shark. In lieu, he kicked his foot with determination. He swam like a frog.
Gabby left the tub. He faced the mirror and looked down at his penis. It has been a long time since he last used his schlong in copulation with his girlfriend. He could not believe that he could bear many days without sexual intercourse.
He aroused it. However, it was a failure. It disgusted him.
Then, he looked at the man in front of him. Questions crammed his head. He considered it karma.
He is a sex addict. A playboy. He’s up to woman’s body only. No girl would never be his victim and would never come to his naughty fingers and mouth.
He’s a man that every woman is dreaming of to be with. His well-groomed and maintained beard and moustache give him the appeal that other men don’t have. He has the abs and chest that everyone could love to fondle.
Besides of his masculinity, he’s born with a golden spoon on his mouth. It is the penile impotency that hinders his bliss. Gabby yelled. Then he grabbed the robe and went to his bedroom. There, he got magazines from the cabinet. He scanned each one. “Come on dick! Come on..” slapping his penis, as he pursued browsing the men’s magazines and indulging to the nude pictures.
He has almost skimmed all the porn magazines but his schlong was still soft. “Bullshit! Mothafucking dick!” He threw away some of them.
The wounded man was gasping for breath yet he pursued stroking his feet. He was so tired and exhausted due to terrible heat of the sun. He wanted to drink water.
He shifted his style. He moved through the isle by floating, which was a bit faster than a frog stroke. His wounds hurt but he neglected it. He went on.
Two soundly shouts were echoed within Gabby’s room. He was torturing his dick. Slapped it. Spanked it. And, even tried to pull it up. Nevertheless, there was no development from his actions. It frustrated him so badly.
For the first time, tears fell on his face. They were the rarest tears he had ever made. The last time he cried was when he was fifteen years old, when a girl broke his heart.
Gabby let the tears crawl down his face.
The castaway was holding still the mineral water gallon and he stopped feeling the ache of the wounds. In addition, the sun helped in its quick clotting. The pain reduced as it dried up.
Gabby was talking with someone over his cellular phone. He was wearing a robe now. “I need it now!.. What?...No! Fix it soon. Bullshit! I need a psychiatrist..” He clicked it off. “Fuck! I can’t wait no more!” He sobbed in the sofa. He touched his penis again after a while.
The ocean was so calm. Its quietness was deafening. There has no visible floating thing around the islet. The beaches of the small island were lethargic. The waves were inviting to booze.
In a sandy part of the islet, a man crawled out of the sea and stood up very slowly when he was already in the sand that was when he felt the ache of his wounds on the right hand. However, he did not distort his face by that mere pain. Those were iota compared to the pains he felt before, when the world has been so cruel to him and the blames were put to him.
His throat was on drought.
He looked around and saw a coconut tree yonder. He searched again for water source, when he realized that he couldn’t climb due to his wounded hand.
Nothing. He couldn’t hear no sign of waterfalls nearby and it’s already noon. He of course couldn’t find dew anywhere. The only hope was the ‘buko’. Thus, he tried to invigorate his body. He uttered a long ‘aaahh’ while stretching his muscles. Afterwards, he approached the tree. Chicken feed, his mind said.
Under the tree, he tore off his shirt and made a 4’’ x 10’’ thick gauze. The climbing would be done fast when his wounds were covered by cloth. He did not need to give it first aid because saltwater alone has a healing power.
Without further ado, he climbed up the coco tree yet he stopped in the middle because he saw the gallon which was floating in the 25-feet deep part of the ocean. He abruptly climbed down, as fast as he ascended.
The gallon was floating twenty meters away from the shore. He was determined to save it from being left out. To him, it’s not a trash. It saved his life.
He swam to the direction of it. He was like an Olympic swimmer --- a determined one to get the prize.
When he recovered the object, he triumphantly rose it up and embraced it for a while.
Going back to the shore has been so tough for him. But he does not mind it anymore. He suddenly forgot his thirst, because of the successful recovery of that petty thing. He was not craving for liquid anymore. His exaggerated appreciation was what he did when he was ashore ---- kissing and embracing the gallon.
But wait! There’s a few water inside. He opened it and smelled the liquid. Oh! It’s water. Smell-less. He must thank the person who threw it.
Like a thirsty marathon runner, he gulped the potable water in the gallon. It anyhow soothed his terribly cracked-up throat. The thirst was quenched already though the liquid was very little. Yet, his stomach was revolutionizing. He needed solid food.
He walked on.
The island is not that big. Its perimeter is enough to shelter more or less one hundred families or to build one barangay. Varieties of trees were occupying the seventy-eight percent of the area. Wild animals are present. There’s a rocky portion in the beach but most of the part is sandy, which is inviting tourists and beach bums.
Seawater was so bright and clear. Sign of pollution was unseen. Colorful pebbles were visible through the crystal clear water. It was stimulating.
He was fascinated by the place. He wanted to beach comb but he must find food to eat.
He entered the forest when he saw the big, colorful bird, which flew away when their eyes met. He was not going to run after it, he’s looking for fruit, which would energize him.
There’s a mansion up there and he knew it. However, he could not enter on that palatial house because it’s fully-loaded with securities. He was sure the owner wants tranquility, peace and security in the secluded place where he was now. He was also certain that the man behinds the colossal home is deep, as deep as silent water.
The wounded man carefully walked on and looked around. Hunting for foods was his mere purpose on trekking the vastness of forest. He was expecting wild animals on his path but he was ready. His readiness including alertness, since anytime the owner might fire at him or shoot him to death for trespassing the privacy of that property. Pessimism was always on his mind, since then.
Life is unfair. He hasn’t had happy moment in his entire life. Just this morning, Andoy, Enan and Pedring left him half-dead floating in the ocean. They’re so merciless. After they insisted him to light the dynamite and after the blast that caused him an accidental fall, they rushed away. Nobody thought and suggested that he might still be breathing. No one tried to lift him up to the motorboat. He just fainted. It was his first time to do that. Dynamite-fishing was not his line.
He was one of the best fishermen in their barrio, with a small boat and fishing net and hooks. He was a fair fishing folk. A legal fishing practice and uncertain of indefinite catch contented him. His satisfaction gave him utmost happiness that the world could not give him.
That morning, he set up his fishing equipment and materials. With a happy heart, he paddled forward. The calmness of the sea gave him easy paddling. With no greed, he expected for enough catch.
He was living solo. His relatives were negligent for his welfare. His parents passed away. His brother, his only sibling, was murdered brutally. He’s now an orphan.
In a nipa hut, he was living quietly and happily. He was striving merely for himself. Nobody was offering him food. Nobody was extending him support and help, during his fall and crises.
That morning, the sun was smiling down at him. Its rays embraced him warmly.
He unrolled the fishing baits down the sea, with a hope of bountiful catch that would give him financial freedom. While doing it, he uttered a prayer to God. He told Him about his plan of renovating his house. He wanted to dwell in a secured, concrete home. His surrounding was the most perilous place to live in, where people were crude and humiliating.
It was only seven o’clock in the morning. The sun has just started to shower wonderful rays. He decided to nap, while waiting for the effort’s result.
The sun cooperated with him. He fell into a deep sleep. The breeze seemed like a lullaby and the salty air helped for his quick plunge to consciousness.
Thirty minutes later, a motorized boat approached his craft. However, he was in a deep state of dreaming, that he could not hear the sound of the motor and the flaky laughs of three fishermen.
The motored boat stopped. The antagonistic looking men looked at each other with wry smiles. First man grabbed the dynamite. Second man handed him down a lighter and the third man started the engine. The boat geared forward.
The small boat turned upside down. He could not even dare to jump out. Gasping, he tried to look who did it. Unfortunately, he did not even recognize the name and color of the boat. “Aaah!” He was so angry, clenching his fists. He tried to turn up the boat but he failed. It would not sink but he could not put it back to its normal position, impossible since he was in the water.
From the shore of their barrio, he was too far. The boat is too heavy if he would pull it while swimming back ashore. Thus, he needed another boat to do the pulling. He looked around, waited. Anxious, he was. But still he hoped.
He almost gave up, when a boat approached. He waved his hand. Fortunately, it headed to his direction. The men asked but he could not verbally answer them. He spoke through his hands. Without further ado, he was taken out from the ocean.
The three who saved him laughed soundly. The sound of motor joined them.
He tapped the arm of a tanned man and pointed at his upside-down boat.
“No!” Irritated. “You’re coming with us in fishing.”
A very loud laugh was heard.
The man with a curly hair and big eyes said, “We’ll help you pull your dilapidated boat out of the ocean, if you will help us catch fish. Understand?”
“It’s our law!”, strongly declared by the tattooed fisherman.
In his eagerness to save his boat, he nodded. Then, the three looked at each other with tyrannical smiles in their eyes.
Flock of birds fly away when he stepped on the dried leaves of coconut tree. He enjoyed the sight. It seemed like a welcome, for him.
He moved forward, while his eyes were seeking foods. Later, a banana tree caught his sight. He almost ran towards it. However he paused abruptly and made sure no one was around except to him and the banana tree with ripe fruits.
No one was around other than him.
Looking up at the banana, he wowed on his mind and touched his abdomen.
For a while, the faces of the mean fisher folks who caused him this were on his mind. He could still picture them out. He could not forget their hideous faces as long as he lives.
In his rage, he clenched his fists and boxed the banana tree. He gave his all might just to put the tree down.
He made it!
His right hand was bleeding.
In their barrio, his house was located near the shore. But, he never had a chance to beachcomb. His twenty-seven years in this world had been spent for working, survival and defying against tyranny of people and unfairness of life.
He never experienced schooling. He was banned to play by his father.
"You're not allowed to play! You have to come with me in fishing, tonight! Understand?" He was so domineering. "Don't cry! Or else I'll hit you with this paddle. Go home now, quick!"
At the very young age, he was fishing already. He was enduring the coldness and bearing the hardships of that manly work.
"Papa.." Hesitant, but he was determined. "I want to go.. to school like my playmates." Once, he told his father. He was then seven years old.
"Bullshit!" His father's eyes were fiery. "Can't you see? We couldn't even have a good catch.. That's a crazy damn idea! You better profess fishing. Bullshit!"
He could not even explain to his father. He was so scared of his furious eyes and harsh voice. He had to keep his silence and looked to his mother asking for help and back-up. However, his mother would only divert her vision. She couldn't support him. She has just given birth to a baby boy. She also has asthma that needs medication.
It was his first time to dilly-dally in the shore. All his life he's been hastening so that he would not be reprimanded by his father.
He sighed. Beachcombing is a stress-remover, he knew it. Though he's not stressed, he has to do it. By means of this activity, his traumatic past might be healed.
He picked up every shells he saw, except the no good ones. Big and small. Sometimes, he made ripples out of ugly shells. He enjoyed it so much.
Gabby plunged into the water, after setting the apparatus to his mouth and body. He then went even deeper--- deeper and deeper, till he found the wonder underneath. It was so amazing, he thought.
He has collected so many shells. He has a clam shell which he would be his bowl or glass at the same time.
On the way back to his tent, a dark facade near the rocky area yonder caught his attention. He came near out of curiosity.
Gabby wanted to stay long underwater but he has to cut it short. Mang Jack would be arriving this one o'clock, not to mention his stuffs to be packed up. His penis is still his priority. The ocean could wait. His schlong could not.
The castaway knew it's a cave, no one has ever discovered it yet. But he's not brave enough to enter it now. He has no torch anyway and he has to find food. Next time, he said to himself. Next time, I will break your silence. Then, he was enticed by the big boulders in the shore. He ran through there and climbed the highest boulder. There, he indulged in sight-seeing. He could see the expansion of the beach, as well as the portion of the forest.
Gabby was so tired, yet satisfied. He put off his mouth apparatus and sat awhile in the white sand. "Wow! Nice experience! You always amaze me, Ocean."
He was about to stand up when he saw a man standing in a boulder. Startled. He glanced at him intently. Confirmed! "What is he doing here? Sonofabitch!" He left his scuba and went to the man's direction. He shouted, but he was not heard. He was too far from him.
The castaway plunged into the water.
"Hey, you!" Gabby ran through his direction.
The alien was underwater. He could breathe and bear underwater breathing for one minute. He could also see the sea creatures. He wowed when he saw the cluster of oysters setting in the boulder. Alas, his handmade axle was up there. He left it there, not knowing there were oysters underneath. Thus, he swam up the water to get his axle.
"Gotcha, fucking trespasser!" Gabby was standing in the boulder, furious. Handmade axe was on his hand, ready to attack.
Obviously, the intruder was shocked. He was speechless. He wanted to plunge again deeply into the water.
"Who are you? What the hell are you doing in my aisle?"
He knew the owner is a professional swimmer, apparently because of his black tight suit.
"Answer me, intruder! Answer me!" He demanded. "How did you get in here?" He saw the shells. "Aha! You're a shell collector." He laughed a bit. "A caveman and the shells." Sarcastic. "Come out of the water now!"
The castaway left out the water. He was shivering not due to the coldness of water but because of terror and intimidation. Gabby followed him till the sandy shore. "Where are you going? Who are you, psst?!"
He did not know how to react. He faced Gabby and spoke signs, which made the island owner open-mouthed.
"What?" asked Gabby.
The intruder repeated his actions. But, it was unclear still to Gabby. "You're a mute?"
The mute nodded. His eyes were teary. He signed for pardon. Gabby looked at his eyes. He could remember a cowardly fisherman. Then, he surveyed him toe to head. "You are castaway?" The mute just nodded. "Why? I mean, how?" He waited for answer, but when he could not understand his sign language, he changed the question. "You are once a dynamite fisherman, right?"
The mute man did not know what to say. Yes! No! He's not using dynamite in fishing. Thus, he crossed his head thrice.
The mute protested. He shook his head horizontally again. Then, he looked at his hand.
"That's the proof! You're accidentally blasted by dynamite."
The mute intruder ran away ---so fast.
Gabby was a bit startled. "Hey! Mute, leave my island now!" He ran after him but the latter was so fast. "Bullshit!" He lost the track of the mute when he cut in the forest. He was cursing. "I'll gonna catch you, dumb! You better show up. I had your axe." He tried to trace the path of the intruder. "Damn! I'm gonna kill you," in lower voice. He's so furious and eager to find that man.
The mute ran and ran. He doesn't stop. He never expected that he could hike the forest in his situation. He had planned to make it the next day but he was doing it already--with a thrill was being run after by a raging owner.
He looked back and suddenly stopped, when he could not even hear any sound of approaching person. He sighed. His breath was pounding. The sweats were occupying his face and chest. He's so scared of him.
Wondering where the owner went on, he still walked on. He has to go a distance. He might be killed. He's a trespasser. People are innately cruel. It was not new to him anymore. Many, many times, he has experienced humiliations ----physically and emotionally. He has been a victim of the world and people's cruelty.
At that very moment, he was sure that it might happen again. He was vulnerable. He doesn't know how to retaliate. If the people around him are sadistic, he would give them masochism.
Gabby was not going far. The truth is he was afraid to do so. He knew that the mute man is well-abreast of manly activities while he's not. He could not even dare to hike the forest alone. He has a fear of roaring animals.
"Mute man, I'm warning you!" His voice was trembling. He was in halt. He had merely made a ten meter steps away from the beach. He enlarged his voice. " I'm gonna kill you. I'm gonna cut your fucking dick off. . by your fucking ax!"
He kept his silence for a while. He could hear something. "Oh! It's Mang Jack!" He has heard the chopper approaching the aisle. "I have to go. I'll be back, dummy!" He did not put down the axle. He ran out of the forest.
His fear of being attacked was gone when he was in the beach. He ran so fast back to his apparatus. He did not see the shelter of the mute man.. Yet he was determined to return.. with a vengeance, with Mang Jack. He thought of his gun.
The mute man also could hear the chopper. He's mute but he is not a deaf. He also knew that it was a helicopter and it was heading to the isle, where he was.
He moved quickly back to the shore. He decided to have a look at the chopper, even in the far view. He looked around, studying the location. He has to find where the mansion is located. He walked forward. He has seen no sign of alley. Meaning, the forest is almost virgin. Is that why the grasses are so tall? He could not even make fast-pace. He has to hit the bushes and grasses first before he could pass on.
The chopper was getting nearer and nearer the islet. Five or six minutes, it's gonna make a landing already. He's so eager to see it. If he is fortunate enough to have a glance of the helicopter, it will be his first time. It will be dream come true. All of his childhood life, he was dreaming of a helicopter toy like his playmates'.
Helicopter is not often visible in their place even there was, he couldn't even see the whole vehicle and its details due to his distance.
He almost forgot that he was being run after by the island owner. Besides, he was sure, he's safe now. He was too far from the shore. He couldn't even see the ocean. All he could see are the trees, the grasses and the bushes.
Gabby grabbed up the apparatus and rushed again to the mansion. He was not thinking of the mute intruder anymore. He was thinking of his penis. Anxious, he was, to know about the cause of his penile dysfunction and its remedy. It is his asset and greatest possession. He couldn't afford to lose it.
Subconsciously, he still was holding the handmade ax of the mute..
The mute man stopped. He was nowhere to go. he has to come back to the shore. His endeavor to see the helicopter seemed so impossible.
He traced back where he came from. Slowly. Carefully. The owner might startle him and attack him with his ax, he made.
The chopper successfully had landed near the mansion. Mang Jack jumped down after.
Mang Jack is a professional pilot, who is in service for almost 15 years. He's now forty-four years old. Loyal and trustworthy employee of Gabby's dad and Gabby, as well. He's not only a pilot, he's also a personal guard of both father and son.
"Sir?" He wondered why Gabby's not yet visible. Oftentimes, he is already there even before the chopper makes a landing. "Sir!" he called out loudly, approaching the mansion. "Sir, where are you?" He looked around the house. Gabby's not in his room. Not in the bathroom. He went out the house again and saw Gabby, approaching. He smiled and sighed.
"Mang Jack, there's a trespasser in the forest! Get my gun. Get my gun, quick!" He demanded.
Startled, Mang Jack couldn't believe what he was saying. He was asking why on his mind.
"Mang Jack?!" repeated Gabby.
The pilot got shocked.
"I said, get my gun." He's not angry. He's just being dominant and anxious. "There is a man in our aisle, aside from me."
"Sir.." He scratched his scalp. "What's that?" pointing to Gabby's ax. He knew it's an ax. He smiled a bit.
Gabby looked at it and exclaimed, "This is the proof! There is a dweller in our place. So, come.. Let's catch him!"
"So, where's your gun?''
"Ok.. I will get my gun and get yours." He then entered the mansion. He' still holding the ax.
Mang Jack went to the chopper.
The mute man was now in the shore. He was sure that he was safe and free. The owner gave up tracking him down. Thus, he ran the direction of the rocky area of the beach. He knew that the way to mansion could be seen over there. He moved quickly.
"Sir, do you really have to bring that queer armor?'' with a joking sound.
Gabby thought awhile. "Nope! I will not. Let me put this first on the chopper. Come on, quickly! We have to get him out of our property. He's a threat!" He moved forward with full determination.
"Sir, what he looks like?" in a kind, inquisitive voice.
Gabby knew that his pilot is willing to catch the subject with all his might. "The same of my height and built. He has a brown complexion. He is a fisherman. I talked to him before he ran away from me. He's mute."
"Mute?" His eyes widened in awe. "You mean, he can't talk?"
"So, how did you know that he's a fisherman? Did you see his boat?"
"There's no boat. He's a castaway."
"Let's keep moving. No more explaining. I assure you, he's not a good man. Come on, Mang Jack. Stop questioning me anything."
Mang Jack shuts his mouth up. He instead followed him.
The mute man was almost near the mansion. He already has seen the alley that will lead him to the chopper. However, he doesn't want to compromise. He knew he would be tracked down by the owner and the pilot. He instead searched for a hiding place. He saw a boulder in the sandy part of the shore. He quickly went there and hid himself. Over there, he could see and hear anyone approaching. But they could not see him.
"Sir, you haven't had your lunch yet.", reminded Gabby.
"No! Don't bother me. I'm not hungry yet."
"Mang Jack!" He's a bit irked. "You will not tell him. OK?"
The mute man could now see the two. They were heading the rocky part of the isle. Any time, he could run up the valley. But, he made sure first that he would not be noticed.
"I saw him there atop that big boulder." related Gabby.
"And you had a conversation with him? How long he had been here?"
"I dunno. I never asked him that."
The intruder went up the hill quickly. He was so excited to see the helicopter. The chance of seeing that closely was all his. He can also climb up if he wants to. He has the great opportunity to make his wildest dream come true.
He arrived on the valley. He wowed. His eyes widened. Like a child, he ran onto it. Ignorantly, he endlessly pronounced wow on his mind. He touched the outer surface of the chopper. Fascinated, he was. He then looked at its throttle and finally climbed up. He sat down at the pilot seat and touched every buttons there. Being there provided him with unlimited joy. He almost forgot that he's a trespasser and that he's being hunted--- wanted, as if he's a criminal.
His dream comes true. He was no longer an ignoramus. He did it. He was so proud of himself that he made it. It completed his life.
He jumped out the chopper.
He was about to go downhill when he felt hunger. He looked back at the mansion. An idea clicked on his mind. Suddenly, he entered the house, without thinking of the two furious men. Then, directly to the kitchen, he went on, as if he knew exactly the place.
"You're giving up?" Irritated. "What if he hurts me?"
"I knew the possibility, Sir. Isn't it, I'm here because you have to see a psychiatrist? So why look after him?"
"He might rob the mansion."
"And how can he transport the units?"
Gabby thought awhile. He remembered the incident. Then, he smiled at Mang Jack. "So. let's go! I never thought you're smart, pala!"
They laughed out loud.