Chapter 10–The 13th Man


I didn’t give much thought to what I’m wearing tonight. I guess women in carnal industry have evolved into a variety of styling it is hard to recognize one anymore. Pick up location is at Starbucks Makati Avenue. It’s midnight, a little due agreed time. I lit up a stick while watching bare number of anxious men walking the streets for possible sex merchants. Eye contact often initiates transaction and so I have to avoid such accidents. Two other women are eyeing at my advantageous position, being in accessible row of tables parked outside the coffee shop. Low neck black strappy dress, short enough to give a mild peek of underwear must have been intimidating explicit competition. Ford Expedition stops across getting attention from desperate pursuants of high paying clients. Phone rings just as the guy in neatly set hair wearing barong came out of the car,


“Nicole?” Low and cold as it sounds.


“Yeah,” I dropped the half finished stick. He must be the pick up guy.


“Ok. He’ll come and pick you up.” Man finally signals me to follow him along with two other girls next to my table. Old timers.


Two girls in hanging top and jeans settled at the back ensuing me to follow. Pick up Guy takes the front seat suggesting driver to move forward to location. Not over 30 minutes, car slows down into subdivision’s main entrance parceled with North Forbes Park bold lettering. Few corners after, we station at a vacant brick cemented driveway adorned with central Greek fountain structure. All entry points are secured by one or two guys wearing the same barong type. Living room is typical of upscale Filipino class—cozy, colonia huge seater sofa set and a collection of ornamental figures and wall decors. Corridor leads to entertainment room beside wine bar stool. We are asked to change into school girl outfit in a dressing room next to bar stool. Gees, why is everyone in uniform?


“I hope that psycho doesn’t use his morbid bar on my ass again,” Two look at me as an intruder. I’m more than thrilled to be interrogated.


“You new in this job?” Blonde girl seems to have sniffed too much for numb sensation.


“Yeah.. uhm, actually not new about this. Just new for this particular job.”


Red hair sarcastically try to ridicule my experience.”Well this is gona be new for you. Watch out for Sanchez.” Oh yeah..


All four men are round up in one table. Room is dimmed by classic emblem Victorian lighting. Across is a reserved space for billiard session. Each of us carries whatever we can offer. Two pour in drinks while I hand black cavandish tobacco in varnished rectangular box. Vasquez pulls out one. Correl, a four feet stout, balding old man quaints at seeing me.


“What happened to the local?”


“Well you know Sanchez, couldn’t keep his leisure to a minimum,” Vasquez pouts, heavily exhuming fresh smoke.


Dealer lays out the card when Sanchez dashes in motioning his two security to stay out.


“Speaking of the devil.” Tejeron ducks his back while waiting for Sanchez to set down on vacant seat.


“What did I miss?”


“We’re just about to start.” Vasquez holds biggest authority or if not, keeps each one’s function in place within the group. While me and the girls customarily bring in drinks for contending glasses, my head busily jots modicum amount of significant details.


Vasquez interrupted exchange of jaunty game remarks. “Tejeron, I need people for Malays shipment. I have to remind you though, stink might just be a tale speculation for now in your department but it won’t be once the media smells a cheese.” Man in question looks forced-choke in silence.


“Everything is in order.”


“Is it?” Voice veils like his usual exorcism delivery. “Chosen ones are meant to lead and if you can’t.. Well, I don’t have to read some verses tonight. I’m just not in the mood”


Game continued on while periodically reputing on respective businesses. Finally, Sanchez glees like a kid as he flushes his card. He’s not interested in stakes hold out on the table. Security guy is cued at the back. Sanchez whispers something while two girls nervously huddle from behind. Guy points at me, “You.” Fuck it! Good thing I brought in my knock out gas..

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Abby Mabb

Snarly female. Occasional book reviewer.

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