Monday, January 14, 2008

The Vengeful One

A baboon stole my ice cream just as I was crossing a street and getting to the other side of the road.

No, this is not some region in Africa I'm talking about here. I'm talking Davao here, and the incident happened on an avenue just a few meters from a shopping mall.

But there it was, a baboon on the road, and it was looking to have food the easiest way possible. I was about to step out of the way of a jeepney when, from behind me, I heard someone say, "ako na lang ni 'te." Before the beast could even finish its sentence, and before I could gather that I was the recepient of the message, the ice cream cone had been pried violently from my hand.

Not quite believing what had happened, I looked at the jeepney in front of me. I looked for the hint of a shock in the first face I could find, just to confirm what had occured--and to tell me that the ice cream that was in my right hand was not just a phantom I had been imagining the last five minutes or so. Sure enough, inside the jeepney, beside the driver, a man was staring at me dumbfoundedly. He looked half-shocked, and half-attentive, like he had witnessed something straight out of the movies, and was now waiting for me to make the next move.

My first impulse was to look ahead, step onto the curb, shrug, feign an amused smile to give everyone the impression that I was unfazed by the incident--"it's all part of life, folks!"--and forget whatever happened as I walk away. But, something stopped me from taking a step forward. Something in my head just refused to let this "little" incident go.

I mean sure, sure, it was just a P15 soft-serve ice cream. And I had about finished it half-way when that punk came around and took it from me. Y'see, it wasn't about the ice cream anymore. It was the utter disrespect of his action. He took it from me because he thought I was an easy target. I was small, and I was female--in short, he probably thought I was defenseless. He would practically be taking candy from a baby. And the tone of his voice, and the look of triumph on his face just as he had seized the cone from my hand--it was utterly without guilt. And that was what had made me change my mind.

After a few seconds, I finally recovered my lower jaw and turned around, just in time to see the louse stride confidently toward the other side of the road with two companions.

I wanted so badly to erase that smirk off the louse's face the soonest time possible that I was racing along the road, oblivious to oncoming vehicles, feeling that my my open palms were sufficient to stop their advance. I fixed my eyes on the pack of baboons, who were confidently making their exit across a makeshift ukay-ukay stall. Then, as I was within reach of the three baboons, I gave the last one a mighty shove from behind. Which, I realize in retrospect, was the wrong move. I should have just sneaked behind him and reached for the bastard's hair with my two hands and resolved never to let go until I've ripped a sizable chunk of his scalp off his skull with my tenacious fists.

In any case, the louse, who was shielded from my wrath by his two companions, was instantly alerted at the first sign of trouble, and proceeded to make a blind run for it. Meanwhile, I, realizing that the baboon had made too much headway for me to catch up with him, was hurling invectives and death threats at him in my faltering, surprisingly high-pitched voice. Adrenaline had not only made my voice go three octaves higher; it also made me unaware of my surroundings, as I was too intent on not losing sight of my target. As a result, I only realized later, as I was huffing and puffing my way back onto the street again, that in my haste to exact vengeance, I had stepped on a kanal. But I couldn't care less. At that point, I would have very much preferred rolling in mud or crap while engaging in a fistfight with the offender, if only to exact my idea of "instant justice."

Of course, the real, less-exciting scene was such a letdown for me. In the end, I think I only managed to land a stray blow with my flailing hands before he took off. (And I was really hoping to draw blood, sniff sniff.) But I think I had gotten my point across, and succeeded in letting that street punk know better than to mess with people half his size. Much less a woman who has happened to watch "Taxi Driver" and "The Brave One." 'Cause I can get really rabid. bitchy and un-Christian-like given the right conditions.

Anyway, it's been two days. I have had enough time to calm my nerves, and also to rationalize the whole event. Although I still have to do yoga breaths whenever my mind goes back to that event. And I don't think I can look at a McDip sundae the same way again...

Well anyhoo, thinking about it now, I realize that I really should have just let that street punk have it.

My fist, I mean. And my other fist.

Viva la mujer!!!