Sunday, May 31, 2009

Little Paws

Sometimes, boredom and the rain makes me write a bunch of nonsense. Here is a little story.

Chuck hears the dripping of blackish water droplets from above. The puddles of muddy liquid forming in front him does not seem to disturb his ruffled, grayish furry back. His whiskers, quite long for a young rat, seems to have lengthened for every day he has spent under the gutters of Quiapo underground. He hears a clinking sound not far off.

"It looks shiny from afar... what could it be?" He wondered aloud. His soft, slippery feet nimbly hopping from piles of rubbish collected by the years, he tried to approach the contraption where the sound of the clink echoed. He saw a strange, round, quite golden piece of metal.

"What could this be for? It seems to be so worthless yet it is so elaborate." He traced with his nose the profile of a man, with straight hair it might almost be likened to a brush. His features betray a parentage akin to the people of the overworld and the merchants of nearby Binondo, where he usually visits to see his bigger-bodied relatives always on the prowl for food, if not being hunted by the heathen, shirtless men to be made into their own finger snacks. In his sholders were installed epaulets of a bygone era.

Clenching it firmly with his still-brittle teeth, he strove to carry it towards their family's little hole nearing the main waterway of the canal. His family was the only family of pack rats which was able to survive the recent fumigation drive at Recto carried out by the pot-bellied, ugly man who seems to have waged war on all of them quadruped street mammals. Not only these, his little eyes have also witnessed how the men of this villain would drive away the vendors of street food, vegetables and other implements he and his friends always love to steal from. He wonders what is this man's sense of beauty and art, as he saw his equine profile, posing like a watch model, shouting the word "KAAYUSAN" from a poster.

"Mother, I am home! I found something strange," Chuck shouted at the threshold of their little hole.

"Oh, finally! It would have been much better if you were able to take a few bits of rotting meat for our dinner, but let's see what you have..."

The moment Chuck dropped the golden piece from his mouth, his mother's jaws dropped open. She called out on her husband nibbling on a fleshy piece of cat bone he was able to salvage from a carcass that was run on by a truck from the highway going to Jones Bridge after a long day of scavenging. Annoyed at being disturbed, he grumpily went to them but was immediately floored by the shiny appearance of the golden piece...

"Chuck! What a find this is! Where did you get it?"

"Why are you so astonished, Mother? Father? Did I find something worthless?"

"On the contrary, not at all my son!" His mother was so livid with excitement. "Don't you know you have just found one of the most important pieces of treasure we pack rats are always trying to catch? You were able to find a coin!"

"A coin? What could it be, father?"

"Let us begin packing, beloved. We must show this to your grandfather, Chuck, so you will know the importance of your find!"

"Immediately after reducing the cat bone to a dry white sturdy piece, the pack rat family went to the other corner of the canal which is already at the mouth of the Pasig River. At the very mouth of a drainage pipe there lived a quite old pack rat named Old Atanasius. When shown the coin, he became quite cautious in movement and led the family to a carefully-hidden hole at the bank of the river. Inside this hole is a quite-wide space, about twenty square metres, filled with countless shining coins, some silver, some copper, some gold, and a bunch of brilliant stones. Old Atanasius told Chuck: "You are very lucky, little child, for having found a beautiful trinket such as this."

"Why, grandfather? How important could this little shiny coin be to your vast collection hidden here underground?"

"Ah! You are indeed very young, and have not travelled that far into the world. You know, my child, this world is populated by stupid giants who do not know the value of little things. They would throw little things away in favor of the big things, which they admire all their lives but cannot acknowledge them in return. Big things have doomed this race of giants, as it is the concept of gianthood which has driven them to conflict with each other. We pack rats, having been given the task of collecting the little things most of the larger animals have discarded, are intended to make a catalogue of the history of this world. When this world is eventually destroyed and wiped out, we pack rats will be the keyholders to whatever little remained of the world. Other beings from outside space will be able to study this world, from our holdings. Sadly, however, the younger generation of pack rats only collect pieces of scrap and stray pieces of food, without regard to the really valuable trinkets of this world."

"Do you think it is possible still to collect the little treasures, more so recognize them?" Chuck's mind is still puzzled.

"Nothing was ever accomplished with giving hold to doubt. Many undertakings of these stupid giants were done with simple stubbornness and perseverance. The idiots among them have interpolated and thought and wrote and argued on the true nature of things, but only those among them who were willing to take these thoughts as action have made a mark. Why not us with little paws? At least we know the value of what they throw away."

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