A Pragmatic Man

He knew no cause. 12 midnight, we parked at a dark alley. Big-bellied men with tattooed arms and skinny topless punks eyed each, circling. First thing I asked him — “Are the doors locked?” I sure as hell wasn’t going down here; thankfully, neither was he. One, two, three minutes. Ten minutes. “Where is he?” I asked. He asked to borrow my phone, asking if he could call the guy. For the seventh time, I told him I had no more credits.

I felt unsafe, I asked him to move. We rolled by – he eyed all the men we passed, through his searchlight, seeking faces, finding a familiar one. None, none, none. I felt excited, I wanted to see what the guys looked like. He told me to wait. Half an hour later, we rolled past a guy — boom! His guy. He rolled his window down and beckoned the guy closer.

“Tara, sakay na!” (Come, get in!)

Inside, it was quick. An honorable five hundred for a miserable stash. The guy stayed with us — we had to get change for a thousand. A drugstore later, the guy bought medicine for his wife. Stuck at the car, I drummed my fingers at him. Fascinating.

An hour later, he was rolling foil in my room; cross-legged I watched him, a psychologist studying a patient. He wanted me to try; a polite refusal. I’ve had worse. I bum a smoke of my own. To each his own poison.

He’s done. Time for drinks. For a split second, I wonder if this would make him loser, if intoxicating and drugging him out of his wits would make me happy. As if sex is equal to happiness. But the moment passed.

“Tara, shot.”




THIS IS THE TAROT CHALLENGE, a 78-day writing challenge where everyday I pick out a random card from my tarot deck and write something about, against, inspired by, based on the card by the day’s end. The works can range from poetry to fiction to drama. When the card is from the major arcana, the title of the work should be the card name. When the card is from the minor arcana, the title can be different but the card drawn should be revealed at the end.