In my mind’s eye, I saw a man creeps like a snake on the gritty surface. A background music of the James Bond’s type competes with the night insects’ noises. Then … a latch flipped. Pipit, sitting on my side fidgeted in his seat. I was all ears listening to the radio anticipating. The man in my mind’s eye tried to open a window, but the window seemed flaked with rust. The window squeaked, and later yielded. Shards of broken glass crashed down. Pepit said something in my ears … “Little voices can make you a doctor”. He said.
What!” I yelled. I didn’t know which infuriated me first: his silly message or his bad breath. All the kids around us growled in anger. “Bang… bang…” Gunshots echoed from Tata Menggoy’s transistor radio. A body fell, with a big thud! Silence … The victim of the fatal shot, pleaded… “Si … sino ka?” (“Who are you?”)
“Ako ang batas. Tawagin mo na lamang akong …Lagalag” (I am the law. Call me Lagalag) the hero’s voice said. Then, the James Bond music faded, entered the Tide commercial.
Pepit has this ability to make your life miserable. He’s happy when you’re bored. Moreover, when it seemed you enjoy your life, he’ll do things to make you unhappy. I enjoy listening to “Lagalag,” a radio program, and he whispered this “little voices” crap.
“Imagine! Little voices can make one a doctor. You said your father didn’t have the money for your schooling. Solved! All you need are little voices,” Pepit said. He expected me to thank him for his brilliant idea! I bopped him. Tata Menggoy threw us out. His rules for listening to his radio, the only one in the neighborhood were: no farting, no horsing around, and no talking.
“Now,” I said to Pepit, “better make that ‘little voices’ of yours just as exciting,” I warned him while we’re walking toward Pritil, our hangout, “because if not, I’ll get your share of that banana bunch we’re ripening in Mang Dehino’s old hut.
At the Pritil while sitting, Pepit said, “It was Inong Isabela who told me about that little voices”. I bopped him again. I was mad. Inong Isabela was a town idiot. Yes, he was Bagong Nayon’s historian, but only on his rare sane mood.
“Listen first,” Pepit insisted, “Inong Isabela told me there were two at Bagong Nayon who got little voices and became doctors. One was Baby Mimosa. She was a nanny for a rich family in Manila. Baby told her employer one day that she keeps hearing little voices asking her to do things such as healing. Hearing this, her employer hurriedly brought her back to her parent.”
“Baby is a woman of remarkable talents.” Her employer declared in front of so many people gathering around their house, welcoming Baby’s return. “Baby could blabber different languages. Baby could cry and laugh without warning. Baby had little friends, the “little voices,” which could make her do magic. Folks believed Baby’s employer.
“One day, Baby announced that her “little voices” told her to heal people of their ailments. The barrio folks believed her. A boy with obstructed fish bone in his throat came to her. Baby advised the boy to chew a raw Ampalaya (bitter-melon). The boy puked out and the fish bone gone. That started her becoming a doctor. She healed people’s ailments through grasses, leaves, and herbs. She became famous. People flocked now at her house every day. Came a time Baby could no longer accommodate so many people at her house so she used Bagong Nayon’s chapel as her hospital.”
“Baby’s, ‘little voices’ messed up one time. In one of her hospital rounds, Baby instructed people to go out and gathered all green leafy things, and bring them all to the chapel. When the chapel looked like a barn, Baby told people to chew and munch all the greens, like hordes of goats munching greens. Later, a van carrying police picked up Baby, loaded her into the van and brought to the hospital to check on her mental status.”
Should I believe this kind of stuff? Why didn’t I know that? I looked for a rope so I could strangle Pepit. He is delusional. By my head’s turning, trying to find something I could strangle him with – this, he took it to mean I enjoyed his narrative. He still has guts to continue.
“And there was Ising Ihip. He was a tricycle driver blinded by a streak of light while plying his route and heard little voices telling him to heal people. The “little voices” says he has to heal people by water, mouth blowing, or kissing that part of the body that has the disorder. When Ising Ihip opened his eyes, he felt the urge to follow the “little voices,” instructions.
“Ising Ihip’s “little voices” came to the test when a woman and her son came to him complaining that her son had been bewitched. Her son thought her mother wanted to murder him, because she was forcing him to take a bath. Ising Ihip told the mother that the only way to drive away the evil spirit is to punish the devil dwelling inside him. He warned the mother, though, that her son might put up a fight, so he needed two men to hold his son’s hands. Two men came, and clamped the son’s hand. Ising asked for water, blessed it, gulped some, gurgled, and then spat in the son’s face as if it was a sink. The son yelped as if hot water poured out onto his earth colored face. Muddy residue dripped. The son struggled, “Mother. Stopped him please, I begged of you. I could die. He’s bathing me with sewage!”
“It’s the evil spirit, tricking us. Don’t worry,” Ising Ihip said. “Who are you?” Asked Ising to the son to identify who bewitched him. “You don’t want to answer… huh”. Ising gulped his blessed water again; spat it out to the son’s face. Now, the son looked dead. Ising went on gulping and spatting. The son’s face cleaned, and he stopped resisting. The evil spirit left. Ising, since then, became a famous doctor”.
It seemed believable the way Pepit tell his story. My only problem is why didn’t I know that? We live in the same neighborhood… it was a made up story, for sure. Alternatively, it was a made up story of Inong Isabela, his source.
Pepit continued his story. “Unlike Baby Mimosa who did solo healing, Ising picked up 12 apostles to help him, extending his healing power to them duplicating Ising’s method – blowing and kissing the body part that has the disorder. However, like Baby Mimosa’s “little voices,” Ising’s “little voices” bungled-up too.
“One day Ising Ihip and his 12 disciples were busy healing people, a young woman came accompanied by her mother. When Ising and his 12 disciples heard the mother’s complaints about her daughter’s illness, the 12 men left the patients they were healing and crowded the two women, and each of them wanted to do her daughter. Ising, being the boss, did the healing. The young woman’s complaint was she’s feeling a lump on her breast.
“At another time, Ising Ihip, instead of doing one patient for himself, had asked his apostles. All of them refused, because their patient was an old wrinkled woman who has had something wrong about her peeing. People sensed of Ising Ihip’s discrimination. He lost his credibility. The “little voices” left him. On the next day, people seen him walking the street in his birthday suit”
“That’s it. Pepit!” I shouted. “You just lost your share of those bananas.”