I was reading a novel by Danielle Steel entitled "Message from Nam." I bought the slightly used book at P70.00 and it's worth the read. I was halfway through it where its main Character, Andrew Paxton, an undergrad journalist just arrived in Vietnam to uncover the truth behind the enmities between America and Vietnam and its allies.

Teacher Belle sending a text message that she wouldn't make it to her morning classes prompted me to leave the bed early and so after a couple of hours before lunch, right after reading some installment of the book, I decided to doze off. I couldn't sleep fitfully and I felt like I was just lying in bed while images kept flashing in my mind.

Our office turned into a residential place. I could see unfamiliar people turning our stations into bedrooms, the lobby into a living room, while some Filipino teachers were being interviewed by whom I thought were Koreans. The interviewer in the living room was having a video chat with my boss as seen on the computer newly placed on the desk in the area.

Later I felt like I was taken outside, in a rustic place where there were so many mango trees enjoying the serene, misty, and the fresh smell of the morning. Chinese or perhaps Vietnamese people wearing blue satin clothing like that of Kung Fu's kept flying to and fro. I heard there was some kind of a competition and I even saw my boss' wife pounding on him to join the contest. A few moments later, my boss disappeared and before he arrived, I heard some of the Chinese people in their conspiratorial tones trying to conjure something to crash my boss, to see his defeat in the competition.

She displayed that usual look of a girl who was raised in a country and spent just a few years trying to adjust to what living in the city is. She is my cousin Aileen and looking at their house bridged the chance for us to see each other again and have a few exchange of thoughts and ideas after a long time.

We were looking at their house with wide amazement in my eyes, having not seen the shelter in a long time. I was wondering why their house all of sudden grew up in size with a wider courtyard this time. My cousin was doing all the explanation with ease in her rustic voice. The neighboring houses which I saw and which made the area looked so congested vanished like trodden mushrooms. The house was really big that I was unable to repress an air of envy. On the other hand, it looked portentous matched with the gloomy, foreboding atmosphere around.

Beside the house was a private road adjoining a fenced in yard further right. The yard which seemed like a pine-tree seedlings garden was so commodious and was fringed intervally with pine and juniper trees. We saw some people busying themselves with a sundry of unusual, peculiar, odd-looking, and gargantuan dead sea creatures. I saw some fish bigger than a horse, three times a horse's size perhaps. Just behind us was Aileen's father tending to his horses, giving them molasses in small buckets and guiding them to a hearty grass indulgence. Later, my uncle told me that those people in the pine tree garden were selling the creatures at 750 pesos per piece. My eyes glowed and the excitement in me swelled internally. I had been thinking of making 'calamares' or fried squid bathed with flour.

Seeing their big size, my uncle beckoned that he wanted one and so the seller bustled in our direction unbelievably carrying a heavy weight of the giant squid. He threw it towards the front yard but was unlucky enough to notice the horse indulgently grazing some grass just in front of the house. The weight landed on one of the horses and it right off the bat gave the four-legged animal a lethal wound on its trunk. The horse was motionless for a couple of minutes and my uncle was really mad.

The horse was bleeding to death and before it gasped for its last breath, the seller turned frantic and uneasy to show how apologetic and conscientious he was with the horse's misfortune. He started hopping upside down. His head was like an electric drill hobbling on the tablets serving as a pavement towards my uncle's house. The guy reminded me of the character in the game, pogo loco. My cousin and I were amusingly watching him do the stunt. He was amazing.

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