Gentle readers of humor, Ah Kong, your humble servant, is one of those daily laborers who happens to be afflicted with a dreaded disease called by many as “walking while sleeping.”
What got Ah scratching his lice-infested beard, however, was the malady surreptitiously became most serious during the campaign days of the recently held barangay election.
But that, dear readers, is putting a story ahead or, as you prefer to say, placing a cart before a horse.
When or how Ah obtained a peculiarity for such queer habit, is a query, which Ah shall leave the decision to you – intelligent readers – who are most knowledgeable in the science of the mind and in de-mystifying the mysterious, then Ah, at all, pretends to be.
Sure it is, ever since he could remember, and his fading memory carries him back to times when he turned adult, there and then started his sleep-walking habits.
Many times have Ah arisen at nights and stalked about their house like a talking ghost, to the consternation of his parents, brothers and sisters who dammed him to their hearts delight.
Indeed, in doing so, he had occasionally encountered accidents. An example: there was that time of a one-night perambulation, he opened the door of their house, went inside their pig sty and serenaded their pigs.
Their boar, upset at being disturbed from sleep, grunted, rose, charged Ah and unceremoniously dumped him into a pile of pig manure.
The boar, satisfied with his success, haughtily turned his back on Ah, his tail swishingly implying, “Nu di ka ketdi salbag, Ah, nga agharana nu nakaturog kami (the pigs).”
But of all Ah’s sleep walk, what he remembers clearly most was what occurred last Monday, occasion of the barangay election. That’s to say, not putting the story ahead.
Last Monday, around 12 o’clock, Ah decided to feel for himself the election fever roiling the Baguio populace. He decided to visit Bonifacio Elementary School in Guisad, Baguio City.
At the school’s junction, Ah met an old crony, Baston Kabyales, who has a private affairs business. His business is prying into private affairs of others.
“Heck, man!” exclaimed Baston, seeing Ah, “Whar you goin, you old bastard? And what for are ye in sic a hurry?”
Ah told Baston he’s trying to feel the barangay election and a little bit tired. To that Baston cheerfully said, “Come with me, you good-for-nothing kalabaw, man, I’ve got the tea of all mountain teas in my home that can cure your weariness.” His home was up Bokawkan Road.
Ah thought the offer too good to be refused. They proceeded to Baston’s home sweet home.
Scarcely, however, were the friends seated when Baston, as usual, got head on into one of his long stories.
Ah, as usual, even when not tired, began to nod. The clack of Baston’s tongue, as he told his story, continued. The tea, uncommonly composing, further prodded nodding of the head of Ah who sunk into a profound sleep.
All too soon Ah was at Bonifacio Elementary School junction. How he got there was a mystery.
Moments before, he was seated on Baston’s sofa, drinking tea. Now, Ah was back at the junction.
Finding himself far from Baston’s house, Ah’s astonishment increased, and could only account for his predicament by guessing that he had walked in his sleep to the junction.
At the junction, he overheard two male friends who headed to the school to cast votes, talking about barangay matter.
One of the males in jacket asked his friend, “Oy am mom mon ba?”
“Ti anya?” asked his friend who was in T-shirt.
The jacketed man said, “Tatta kanno nga barangay campaign, ti barangay captain ket tagay chief; ti kagawad 1 ket taga luto ti pulutan; ti kagawad 2, taga ugas ti baso; ti kagawad 3, agiyawid ti pulutan; ti kagawad 4, sao lang nga sao; ti kagawad 5, nakatugaw laeng.”
The jacketed man paused for a second and continued, “Ti kagawad 6, taga sakdo; ti kagawad 7, taga ibus pulutan; ti brgy. Secretary, taga palengke; ti treasurer, taga gatang ti arak; ken ti chief tanod ket taga kallung.”
Ah turned back his attention to his predicament: why he was at Bonifacio Elementary School junction. But though unable to solve the mystery, he was not so confounded as not to perceive the best way to proceed was to walk again towards Bokawkan Road.
But before he was able to start towards Baston’s home, he overheard a two women, also heading towards the school to vote, talking.
One of the duo in red sweater teased her companion and said, “Anya ti nagsabal-lian ti stress, tension, panic, suspense ken heart attack?”
“Sirit, saan ko ammo,” the other female said.
The sweatered woman laughing explained, “Ti stress, nu masikog ni Misis; tension, nu masikog diay kabit; panic nu sabay-sabay nga masikog ni Misis ken ni kabit; suspense nu diay katulong iti balay ket masikog met; ken ti heart attack ket saan gayam a ni Mister ti tatang, inpabasol da laeng ti amin ken mister.”
At Bokawkan Road, he magically encountered Baston, who beckoned to Ah across the street. Wordlessly they proceeded back to Baston’s house.
Inside the house, Ah immediately began questioning Baston, concerning the circumstances of his departure while as he slumbered.
Instead of answering Ah, Baston quietly began drinking tea from his cup again. Ah questioned Baston again.
“’La ket di, Ah! Ag-inom ka ti itsa,” exclaimed Baston.
Baston’s voice roused Ah who said, “Apoh, tag-tagainip ngata diay nakaturog nak nga magmagna?”
“Tagainip? Oh, poor boy Ah, Ket nu nakaturog ka dita sofa ti mapan a biente minutos. Ngork-ngork kunkunam pay, ken agsarsarita ka iti tally, spoiled ballot, maibilang ti nickname, saan nga maibilang ta boto, inga number 7 ti bilang ti kagawad laeng, ken anyapay ay sarsaritaem,” Baston said and burst into a loud guffaw.
Tarnation! Circumstances which Ah thought he was back at the school junction didn’t take place at all. The jokes he heard, he never heard them at all.
In truth, Ah had never stirred from his seat, that sofa upon which he had been sitting scarcely half of an hour. During so short a period, what a journey he had experienced. And all in a dream!
How strangely does our fancy accumulate together the odds and ends of a human being’s idea, forming thereof a barrier against reason. Indeed, how quick is a thought!
What an active, out-of-the-way, busy, meddling, mischief-maker is a human’s imagination.
Ah and his family supported Mary Capuyan in her bid for barangay chair at Dizon-Manzanillo Subdivision. She’s non relative to erase doubts. She lost. Yet, we are very proud supporting her. To good friend, Mary, chin up! Stand strong, steadfast and graceful despite defeat’s blow. Nonetheless the loss, continue your quest for the right.