Saturday, September 24, 2011

Crab Mentality (Part 12)

June 8, 2010 (12pm)
                “Well,” John said, calling everyone’s attention back to him. He made a handsome grin, and said, “That’s all.”
                He walked back to his desk in Row 3, as his friends from each row led the applause. “We don’t want students from 4th Project Town. They cause big trouble,” the other students shouted. They began pointing at Chalano.
                “Back to the lesson, class,” the teacher called as she stood up and walked to the blackboard. Good. That got their attention from the poor Chalano.
                The teacher wrote a long article on the blackboard for the students to copy to their notebooks. The whole class was quiet again as the students got busy with writing, but Chalano couldn’t focus. What was John saying? That they started the fight? How could that be? It was John who started the fight. How did we end up being the troublemakers? We weren’t doing anything bad to him. He was teasing Kim about Kim’s family. Then he began to taunt me. Whatever made everyone think that we were the troublemakers?! Did that mean that we shouldn’t have defended ourselves ONLY because he was the leader here? Chalano’s jaw was tightening with anger. He wanted to scream at Row 3, Hey! If we were the real troublemakers, who’s starting the trouble this time? The class was so quiet and peaceful, then you go around bringing up such an unreasonable topic?! What did we do wrong? Chalano really wanted to scream at John, but he would look silly suddenly starting a fight in the middle of a quiet class. I should’ve talked back while he was doing his speech there at the blackboard. These thoughts kept repeating in Chalano’s head as 12pm turned into 1pm, 1pm turned into 2pm, and so on.

                The school bell. Finally. Chalano stood up, and quickly put his school stuff into his backpack. He hurried out of the classroom before Kim could catch up with him. He just didn’t feel like he would be able to stand Kim’s unstoppable noise today. He walked to the back of the auditorium, which led to the parking lot.
John’s father allowed him to borrow his car, and John always parked the car near the auditorium. Chalano waited. After more than 30 minutes, John came with three of his friends. He ignored Chalano, and walked to his black Kia Piccanto. Chalano approached John before John got into the car. He’d never voluntarily speak to John  before, but he wasn’t nervous because he was very angry. He tried to calm down to keep himself from just attacking John, “What were you saying at the classroom? We didn’t start the fight. We were not the troublemakers. We didn’t even know that  you were there.”
                John turned to him, and tilted his head. Chalano couldn’t figure out whether or not John was angry, because the twinkle in his huge, brown eyes was still there. John tilted his head to an abnormal angle, and raised his thick eyebrows as he said in a sing-song tone, “Are you saying that I was the troublemaker ….?”
                “If that was what happened, just accept it. The class wouldn’t have known about the incident if you hadn’t announced it.”
                John grinned to himself, and turned to open the door of his car. He just took a small, black pillow from inside, and then he closed the door. “Let’s go under the shade,” he calmly said, pointing to the back of the auditorium. He and Chalano walked to the shade, and his three friends accompanied them. Once there, John said, “Are you hinting that you will tell everyone that ‘John started the fight,’ ‘John was the real troublemaker’? Are you hinting that you will be the beginning of rebellion against me?”
                It was so quick. John placed the  pillow on Chalano’s abdomen, and punched it. The impact and the pain shocked Chalano. Then he regained his focus and charged at John. John’s two friends grabbed Chalano, and pinned him against the wall. John placed the pillow on Chalano’s abdomen again. The punches were fast. Chalano closed his eyes in pain. He couldn’t keep himself from screaming, “No more!” He was about to scream for help when Johns’s third companion covered his mouth with one hand.
                The twinkle in John’s eyes had turned into a glisten. He stopped beating Chalano up. His thick lips tightened as he said, “Maybe you know now that you should never disagree with the leader.  You should never forget that you are in my town, and not in your town. You should never talk back, and you should never fight back. Deal?”
                Chalano didn’t really agree. John hit him once more, and asked again, “Deal?”
                Chalano stared up at John. He tried to remain as defiant as he used to be, but he felt like a loser. “Deal.”
                John made a lop-sided grin as he saw the will to disagree fade from Chalano’s eyes. Chalano looked weak. Scared. John left him, telling his friends, “Stay away from the CCTV.”
                They left. Chalano collapsed to the floor. He’d never been beaten up before. He felt so weak and helpless. He wanted to get back to his mother. He wanted to go home.

                “Hey! What are you doing there?”
                “Chalano? Chalano? Chalano! What happened to you?”
                “I’ve been at the canteen. I was waiting for you to go out of the gate so that I could come along,” Kim explained as he held Chalano’s shoulders and pulled him to a sitting position. Chalano’s body seemed so limp. “It’s already 4 in the afternoon.  Your mother would be waiting for you …. Hey, are you alright?”
                Kim held his friend’s chin, and looked at the boy’s unfocused eyes. “Hey. Hey. What happened here?”
                Chalano grunted. Kim was beginning to get alarmed. “Something’s wrong,” he warily looked around them. There was no one in sight. The place felt so gloomy. He looked at Chalano’s messy uniform, and how Chalano leaned in such an abnormal position. “Did somebody hurt you ….?”
                “He placed a pillow on me, and started beating me up.”
                “That’s what is done to keep from leaving any mark on the victim, so you wouldn’t be able to report him,” Kim thought aloud. “Who is he?”
                “I wanna go home,” Chalano retorted, and suddenly stood up to leave. But he swayed, and fell back on the ground.
                “Okay, as long as you promise that you’ll tell me what happened,” Kim said as he wrapped Chalano’s left arm around his shoulders, and led him out of the shade. “You shouldn’t have gone here alone.  You already knew that John had started some mob mentality among our classmates to bully us. You shouldn’t have gone to where the school didn’t have a security camera.”


   Hi! How are you?
   Things  are getting darker at Citrus Town. Of course, I cannot spoil my own story. The following is just an important part of the "plot map."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Crab Mentality (Part 11)

June 8, 2010 (6am)
   It was 6am on the clock. For a second, Chalano stared at the clock from his bed. He felt so irresponsible. 6am?! He was supposed to wake up at 5:30am. He left his bed, took the blue bath towel from the closet, and ran out of his bedroom. The living room was noisy. The television was tuned in  to the morning news, and their neighbors were on the same channel. As he hurried to the first-floor bathroom, he felt like he didn't sleep at all; he felt like he had been awake all night.

   There wasn't enough time to eat breakfast. He didn't feel hungry anyway. He hurried down their indoor staircase, and walked toward the front door. "Charlie," his mother called from the table. "You must eat your breakfast before going to school."
   "No, mother. I got no more time for breakfast." Chalano replied as he reached for the doorknob.
   "'No time'?! You should always have time for food," his mother yelled. Oh, no. She's angry. Chalano turned, and reluctantly walked to the table.
   "You should be thankful that you have breakfast," she lectured as he put his backpack on the floor, and sat down on his favorite chair. "Some kids go to school hungry. Do  you want to be just like them?"
   Breakfast was rice and "ginisa" (a mixture of tomatoes and onions with sprinkles of garlic). He felt the slices of onions in his mouth, not wanting to chew nor swallow them because they just .... did not taste good. He never liked "ginisa." She gave him the coldest look ever, and asked, "Where's the answer?"
   He got so frightened, that he quickly swallowed the slices of onions and almost choked. "No, mother," he had to give an answer.
   "Did you know that eating breakfast is good for you? You should never skip it. It will help you through the morning until the next meal, which is lunch. You should always eat breakfast, lunch, and supper. Breakfast helps you focus in school, and being able to focus means you will be able to get perfect grades."
   Chalano mumbled to himself, "How can I get perfect grades when breakfast tastes so disgusting?"
   His mother suddenly yelled, "What did  you say?!"
   Uh-oh. She heard it. Why is it that she doesn't hear me when I speak to her, but she hears my mumbles so clearly? Chalano's eating speed increased, only because he wished to get out of the situation as soon as possible.
   "Oh, my God," his mother yelled. "My son is the most unappreciative child around here!"
   She kept yelling. She was very angry. Chalano was too scared to even taste his food anymore. He quickly finished his breakfast, and stood up to get his backpack. She was watching him. She yelled, "Why is your backpack on the floor?! It was still clean! It is no longer clean! Imagine all of the germs on  that floor! You will carry your bag! You will put it on your lap in school! Imagine all of the germs that that bag will pass on to your clean school uniform! By Golly! What happened to your common sense,  Charlie?!"
   Chalano took the bag from the floor, and put its straps on his shoulders as he hurried out of the house. She yelled after him, "Are you not listening?! You are one hell of a rude child to turn your back at your own mother!"
   He closed the door behind him as she kept yelling inside the house. It felt so bad to be so rude to her. She was so mad at him, and she had a reason to be. He knew that she would never forgive him. After school, I will not go back home. He just wanted to stay away from her. She will not see me again. I will go somewhere else, and I will not get back home.
   He closed the gate behind him, and walked to the right instead of his usual route to the left. He was going to avoid Kim. Sorry for him, but the least who I need today is a noisy friend.

   "Good afternoon, class," John greeted as he stood in front of  the blackboard, and faced all of his fellow students. It was just after recess. Rays of the afternoon sun were beginning to reach into the classroom. "Today is the second day of school-year 2010-2011. As all of you know, it is our final year together at Shalton High."
   One of John's close friends clapped, and everyone in the classroom clapped as well. "July is our annual Arts  Month. We will be having painting contests, singing contests, etc. But the main event, the stage play contest, is what we've got to prepare for. Our class made it last  year," he said, and waved toward the muse of the class, Rella, who was his leading lady in their stage play that won in  2009. Applause.
   John liked to make speeches, but it was usually  not as special as this. Maybe he was doing this for the new student in class. Emma. "We're gonna start rehearsing this month. If you wish to join, you may audition at Room B on the second floor. Audition schedule is from 7am to 5pm, from Monday to Friday. We gotta win for this final year. So, join us, guys!"
   Applause. But John wasn't finished yet. Giving his charming smile, he said, "An appeal to students from 4th Project  Town, though: never consider joining this  play. The rehearsals will be difficult and require a huge amount of focus, determination, and cooperation. We don't need people who wait on others' path to start a fight."
   Kim, who was sitting at the front of Row 1, turned his head to look at Chalano. They were the only students in the class who were from 4th Project Town, and everyone knew it. The other students looked at Chalano and Kim. "Yes, we don't need people who make outrageous accusations," John's friend at  Row 3 declared.
   "We don't need people who have no respect for someone who is of higher rank," another one of his friends from Row 2 agreed.
   "The play would be better without a couple of troublemakers," John's friend from Row 1 said, looking at Chalano. Chalano glimpsed Kim turn away. He could feel everyone staring at him unrelentingly. He just kept looking on his own desk, and he didn't make any move. He swore to himself that he would remain that way as long as everyone kept staring at him. This is the worst situation that I've ever been in.

Hello Again

   How have you been?
   I'm starting to regain my normal schedule, and making quite a good progress with my project. I can finally afford to write a bit more of "Crab Mentality."
   Someone asked me last week about the location of the story of "Crab Mentality." Even though some of the scenes were based on real-life, I have no specific location for the story. A writing critic in the past once mentioned the difficulties of giving specific locations, so I've stayed away from those problems by giving the location as simply a couple of towns called 4th Project Town and Citrus Town.
   Speaking of real-life, among all of the characters, Kim is the only character who is based on a real person. Somehow, he had become my favorite "Crab Mentality" character. Kim is based on a college student from Manila who I met in 2009. Just like his real-life version, I think that Kim brightens up every situation. He is very optimistic and supportive, but, at the same time, smart. The big difference between the real one and the fictional one is that the real one is a very silent person.
   The most "artificial" character in "Crab Mentality" is Chalano. I had created the character to perfectly fit into the plot and effectively send my message forward ("Crab Mentality" actually has a hidden message, which is already in the title itself). Chalano is a complicated combination of all of the rarest people whom I've ever known. He is highly based on people who aren't sure about on which side of the law they really exist.
   The Adhesive Gang is also based on reality. They are based on Rugby Gang, a group of real-life bank robbers whose modus resemble the modus of Acetylene Gang (another group of bank robbers). I actually have friends and relatives from the law-enforcement force; people like us don't miss information such as the ones that I had just mentioned. Writing about the Adhesive didn't require much research. The police make press releases every now and then to warn the public about the latest tricks of criminals, and the crime details on this blog are a collection of those press releases.
   So here's the next part of "Crab Mentality" ....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Commemoration

   Today is the anniversary of the "9/11" attacks on New York, USA. Let us have few minutes of silence, please .....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Crab Mentality (Part 10)

June 7, 2010 (9pm)
  Chalano stood against the wall of his bedroom as his mind wandered back to year 2007 ….
   He was sitting on the passenger seat of a white Toyota Avanza. Cole was driving; it was the car of Cole’s father. They sped through the streets of 4th Project Town. The night was like a ghostly fog before them. The rest of the gang was at the backseats, guarding the dogs.
   It wasn’t normal in the neighborhood for cars to go speeding in the night while everyone was asleep. There were no people in sight, but the dogs noticed. And they really wanted the dogs to notice. Dogs came out from every house that they passed, barking at their car. The back door of the car was open, and all that the gangsters had to do was grab one dog. Its companions usually ran after them once they got hold of one dog. The strong gangsters threw the dogs into a huge cage at the back compartment of the car, and Cole drove on for the next house. Nobody noticed. As the youngest member of the gang at twelve, Chalano remained on the passenger seat; they just brought him along. By the time that they reached their secret meeting place in the forest, they’d caught more than ten dogs.
   The other members of the gang had gone to the other side of the town with another car. They met at the forest to count the dogs that they had caught. They piled up the cages in the middle of the forest.
   Chalano had been a member for only a few weeks, but the other gangsters said that it was their anniversary.  They stood around the cages to admire their work. The dogs were barking. It was how Cole planned to celebrate the first year anniversary of the gang called “Coal.” Chalano was happy to be a part of it. He was grateful about being with these people. Cole told him to do his task. Chalano had the match. And he lit it to show everyone that he could be as tough as them. He set the cages on fire. The screams. Yes, the screams.
   They still haunted him. The gangsters had called it “fireworks,” and Cole had admired it so much. But there was something within Chalano that didn’t like it. It was wrong, wrong. Wrong. He had quietly left early that night, and, in the morning, he spoke to Cole to say that he was going to quit the gang.  Cole did not complain. He let Chalano go. Chalano had the feeling that Cole just felt good about getting Chalano out of the gang, because he never really trusted Chalano
    Chalano  left the gang, and he transferred to a high school in Citrus Town for his sophomore year. But his memory of that night never left him. It kept haunting him through the years in the form of nightmares.
    He kept his past with the gang secret. Nobody else knew about it, not even his mother. The gang later became notorious in the neighborhood after they changed their name to Adhesive Gang. The Adhesive took money from banks by putting a strong form of glue on ATMs. Chalano never spoke up. Actually, knowing what had become of his former gang made him shut up even more. Later, the police caught the Adhesive Gang, including Cole. Nobody knew that Chalano knew those gangsters, and he remained quiet about it. But his nightmares didn’t.
    Now, he stood against the wall as he felt himself fill up with a deep feeling of regret. He always got this feeling whenever he got those nightmares. All that he had wanted was to be with the tough kids to keep bullies from going after him. He had had no plan to kill. It was too late when he realized what he had done. They kept haunting him. He walked to his bed, and lay down. He pulled the blue blanket over him until it covered the lower part of his face. There was something about killing those dogs that disturbed him so much. It felt so bad to take a life, even if it was just a dog. It was a living being that had feelings. He was so hurt about taking the lives of some of the most loving, loyal animals ever known. “Dirt is better than sin. You can wash away all the dirt from your skin, but you cannot remove sin. It remains in your soul forever,” his mother once told him. There was this heavy feeling that he carried within him every day, every minute. That was why he joined the Youth Council, he was hoping to pay for his deed in some way. But he knew what he'd done. You are a killer, Chalano. You have taken the lives of beings who had done no wrong to you. His face turned into a grimace, and he buried his head into his white, soft pillow. He didn’t want to think about it anymore. Denying the guilt was the most stubborn thing that he could do, but it was so strong, that he had to shut it out. The night was quiet, and he tried his best to sleep. But he could still hear their screams within him.   

New Post!

   Hi! How are you?
   I just left my current project for a while to get back to writing "Crab Mentality." I was so happy when I learned that I would get back to the world of "Crab Mentality." I have come to like the story, and I actually missed the characters in the past month. Chalano and his secretive thoughts, Kim and his favorite chit-chat, and the handsome-but-evil John. And don't forget (she wasn't really a part of the original plot, but I had to include her because my story needed some sort of a muse) Emma Hauchenof. After reviewing the "plot map" that I'd created a few months ago, though, I found a part that should not be missed. It isn't a happy part, but it is an important part of the story. I had to give a lot of effort in writing this part because Chalano goes solo in this. A huge portion of the story revolves around this part, so I chose to get the explanation over with as soon as possible to keep from having to explain it in the following scenes. A warning to some people, though: this part could be a bit uninspiring.