The transvestite manning the counter, lithe and every bit the woman that most women aim to be, smoothens the creases of willful napkins it is an exercise in futility. I sit here avoiding the gaze of the only other patron here the woman with the extra skin on her right cheek, attempting to entice me with her hyena laugh as the skin flops defiantly against the breeze of the small fan on the broken green tile floor. The skin is a nubbin, an un-plucked raspberry, one imagines, in a sun-drenched meadow wrapped in greenery as far as the eye can see. But this greenery is harsh with fluorescent, and the nubbin flaps against flesh colored flora.
Hemingway had his cafes I have my turo-turo, that says a lot.
Having found a reason to have one more red horse I take a peek at my wallet. Forty pesos enough for one red horse, which means a long walk to work later if I indulge myself.
Logic wins. I take a last look at the smiling woman skin still flapping like an index finger calling me and am confident that I made the right choice I stand and leave.
A soft “Goodbye sir” from lady-boy sends a shudder down my spine. “Why do I go to these places” I wonder, and the vision of two orange twenty peso bills flash in my marinated brain. “That’s why” I mumble under my breath.
As I traverse the road feeling the strong breeze from whizzing white taxis, I wonder if all air currents in the metropolis are a direct result of these white bugs. Tiny contributors to this ecosystem we call Metro Manila. I’m drunk.
Entering my building, my flip-flops flapping do little to disturb my security guard’s snores as both echo in the empty lobby.
Just another 3am.