Saturday, December 27, 2008

Not Sleepy Yet

I can’t sleep. I guess the potent mix of mucolytic, paracetamol, ascorbic acid and a few bottles of alcohol did that. Usually, I never have problems sleeping drunk, it’s the opposite that’s true, staying awake drunk. To make matters worse, since I couldn’t sleep I thought I might as well fix myself my usual cup of coffee. Bad move, now I could feel my heart trying to leap out of my chest with every beat. So what do I do? I light up a cigarette, hoping it would somehow relax me. Now I have a coughing fit which further amplifies the pulsation. Great. Hmm… what if I add whiskey to the mix?

Well, I guess I better not try it. I’m in enough trouble as it is. Besides, it’s too early for Johnny, best to wait till after lunch. Think of it as that halo-halo that kids used to have for their afternoon snack.

Hmm, a busy day ahead of me, that’s for sure. First, the dishes. A week’s worth of it. Then the bathroom, then sweeping the floor. That should keep me busy until around ten at which time the supermarket should be open and I could do my groceries. Just the basics: food for two weeks. Then some items that I have earmarked, spice jars and some condiments I’m running low on. Or maybe I could hit the mall first, I might spoil the frozen food that I’m buying if I take too much time at the department store. I need to get some fabrics, maybe 5 yards or so to cover the couch and the recliner. No idea how much this will cost me, though. Then over to toy world for a birthday present to a friend’s kid. Also I need to pass by the hardware section for some tacks, sandpaper, double-sided tape (bravo invention, by the way!) and a small file.

After that, I need to clean the car. It’s been two weeks I think. It looks more like a soiled combat boot more than anything. Poor baby. Also need to have the spare tire balanced. I changed the rim a week ago but the fools didn’t balance it. Can’t risk having a bum spare tire again for the long drive ahead. Then I head over to my parent’s house to get some speakers.

And then day turns into night. There’s a birthday party I’m supposed to go to. Don’t plan to stay too long, though. I might make my condition worse.

So the problem now is, with me not having slept a wink the whole night last night, at what point will I succumb to sleep? Darn. If I recall correctly, this was supposed to be a holiday break. So far, 3 days into it I haven’t had enough rest. Tomorrow there’s a children’s party I need to go to. My last chance is on the twenty ninth. Sleeping all day sounds like a wonderful thought!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Waiting for Valentines (1994)

I was rummaging through my old room at my parent’s house looking for my old comics. Being a little short on money for that DVD player that I wanted to buy, I thought selling off my comics on eBay was a great way to raise it. Trouble was I never found my comics, drats! What I did find was a stash of old poems and stories which I wrote way way waaaay back in high school. Reading back on these, two things were evident: that I was a crappy poet, and that adolescence brings an unhealthy sexual appetite that never did go anywhere.

But anyway, there are some works that I think were almost passable. Too bad that they were printed with Wordstar 5.0 and saved on 5.25 inch diskette. So I have to re-type them (lots of editing) to be able to post them. Oh well, there goes the laundry…

Waiting for Valentines

February 4, 1994

I was really getting pretty bored that night at home. Mom and Dad were out of the country and my sister had this slumber party at her friend’s house. I was the only on left at home. You’d think that I was having the time of my life. Well, things don’t always that way. All my friends were either dead asleep or were hogging their telephones talking to some chick. I was left with old stacks of adult magazines that I had bought over the years. I was young and restless. I thought of driving around but was kinda scared. I just got my student’s permit and getting caught driving without a licensed driver meant a really long stint being grounded.

Out of boredom I decided to shoot some hoops. I got into some sandals and took the ball out to the court. I never liked playing basketball alone, but then I didn’t really have a choice. It was either play or read some more of those magazines, and my right hand was getting sore. I never got to play anyway, the neighborhood dogs had filled the court with enough shit that each time you’d attempt a shot, shit would literally come flying after you. I never really liked the idea of cleaning up so that idea went out the window pretty fast. I went back and sat by our gate. The street was empty, a few parked cars, some cats, plants, nothing unusual until I looked up. I noticed that Jody’s light was on. That was strange. I noticed that their car was not in the driveway. A thought flashed in my mind, I went back inside and dialed her up. One ring, two, three…


“Jody, it’s Nick.”

“Hi, what’s up?”

“Nothing. Just saw your light was on.”

“Yeah, I was reading a book.”


“Nothing, just something I need to make a report on.”

“Schoolwork? Ugh. Never remind me about school.”

“Sorry. You know, it is so boring around here. There’s no one home. They’re in Baguio, Tommy got first place in a quiz bee.”

“Isn’t Jim there?”

“He went out.”

“”So you’re bored too?”

“Dead bored. Say, aren’t your folks out?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Let’s go driving.”

“What? I just got my student’s permit…”

“C’mon. I’m coming over.” She said with a tone that meant no wasn’t an option. My mind worked double time to process this. Agree: Fun. Disagree: Boring. And with that, the monotony of the night had been broken.

She buzzed around 15 minutes after. Armed with leftover cash, half a tank of petrol and a box of doughnuts, I had this all planned out. We’d eat, visit some friends and have sex. Well, wishful thinking mostly.

I opened the gate and she wore jeans and a t-shirt. It was a cold and damp night. We got in the car and drove. We got onto the avenue with her feeding me a doughnut. Traffic was light and the yellow incandescent lights took our fancies. She started snooping around the car. Looking into ashtrays, compartments, pillows and stuff.

“Hey, do you wanna go to the Music Hall?” She asked.

“Who’s playing?”

“I dunno, let’s just go and see.” We headed for the Music Hall. I never enjoyed going there, never. I hope that Artstart or Side A wasn’t playing or I would be sucked into that place with no choice whatsoever. I never understood why these bands are followed around by screaming teenage girls. They play old songs, they have pockmarks on their faces, they never pay copyrights… I just hate those guys.

“Don’t you just love Side A?”

“Uh, yeah, they’re ok. They’re great.”

“I heard they’re having an album out this year. Just can’t wait to get it.”

“Oh really?”

“Uh-huh. I just hope it’s gonna be as good as their old ones.”

“Uh, yeah. Hey, that’s Annapolis, isn’t it?” Whew! Of course I knew it was, but I just had to stop her blabbering. She nodded, leaving me wondering if she knew I was looking through my peripherals for her otherwise useless answer and quieted down. She must have been already dreaming of Side A palying.

Fortunately, neither Side A nor Artstart was playing. Only an unknown band with a really dumb name. She was disappointed, I was glad.

“Want a bite?” I asked, feeling a little twitch in my stomach.

“Sure.” McDonald’s was open all night. There were a few cars parked, a premiere was playing at the theater and while I was already out of the car, Jody was still brushing her hair. We went in and found the place half full. She told me to order for her and she sat at a table by the window. I ordered burgers, fries and drinks. She didn’t seem to mind and nibbled on a fry. “It’s so wonderful.”

“What is?”


“You mean McDonalds?”


“What is this plastic for?” I asked, pointing to a plastic object the size and shape of a bottlecap.

“That’s for putting catsup in, dimwit!”

“Yeah I just knew that, I meant why so small a cup for the catsup? All it fits is just one short droop of it.”

“Silly boy… just go and get us catsup.”

“You do it. I already got our orders, you know.”

“Oh c’mon, you’re the guy. You’re supposed to be the one running errands for a sweet young defenseless lady like me.”

“Abusive’s more apt.”

“Masochist pig!” With that she took the bottlecap-looking object and went off. I didn’t really mind retrieving catsup, it’s just that I didn’t know how to use the weird looking catsup dispenser that they had at this particular joint. “There’s your catsup, I hope you choke on it!”

“We choked on catsup for half an hour or so. She wanted to drive around. I wanted to take off all her clothes. As time passed, she appealed to me in a different way. I started to have that same feeling when I would spy on her from my window, waiting for her to come out from the bathroom, leave the drapes open and undress right in front of me. That unfortunately never happened, but I used to spy on her window a lot, when we were a couple of years younger. Tonight however was the longest time and the closest to her that I have ever been.

“The car’s interiors had the soft tang of her perfume as she put some on, making me wonder where else she would lead me. She turned on the radio and a buzzing static came on. I started the car and asked where we were going. “Do you know where Balete Drive is?”

“What?” An bell rang in my head. Balete drive didn’t really appeal to me as a great tourist attraction. “C’mon, you’re not serious, are you?”

“Maybe.” She said. I could feel the smile on her face.

“Don’t people die there? Livers eaten and heads thrown into the gutter?”

She replied in a very coaxing way, “You mean you’re chicken?”

“Of course not.”


“Hey, I’ve got better things to do than that!”

“C’mon, please? I’ll pay for your carwash, treat you to McDo, anything!”

“A term paper?” I actually had another thing in mind but didn’t want to lose her company.

“Now seriously, do you want to fail?” The radio began to play after much tinkering on her part. She gave me a wink and not a moment later, I obliged. The car sped through nearly deserted roads, radio blasting, engine revving and my nerves all shot. My left foot was started to shake, my hands shivered in the cold, my heart beating loudly. She looked on intently ahead, not moving, I could feel her breathing heavily. A couple of turns later, Balete Drive. The foliage covering the drive seemed to wave at us with the breeze. The large houses and spacious lawns gave an eerie feeling. The car slithered through slowly down the drive, crumpling fallen leaves and twigs. She turned off the radio and closed the windows. Her hand shivered over mine as our eyes looked ahead, wary of the special reputation that this place carried. It felt as if the full moon shone particularly on the street as the dogs barked on at this untimely intruder.

“Suddenly I saw something jump up from the street and in absolute panic, I stepped on the brakes with all of my might, all tires screeched as loud as they could and the engine stalled. The tail spun and the car ended up almost sideways as I kept my eye on the alien being that suddenly descended on the road. As the screeching stopped, I realized that Jody had been screaming all the while in panic while she cringed in her seat, almost in tears. My body meantime turned pale as my eyes followed the toad hop and jump across the road.


“What was it? Did you see anything?”

“Don’t worry, it’s gone now.”

“Are you sure?” I watched the toad still there, looking back while jumping towards the opposite gutter. Rotten amphibians.

“Yeah it’s gone. Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I guess. Nick, whatever you saw just don’t tell me what it is, okay?”

You bet. “Alright.” I saw the color coming back into her cheeks and decided that that was enough excitement for one day.

“I’m sorry for the Balete Drive thing.”

“No problem.”

“You must have been really scared.”

We next drove up to a supermarket. “Let’s get a couple of things and just stay home.” She nodded her approval. I parked the car right up front and we both entered the supermarket. There were two security guards, a janitor and a few clerks as we entered. It wasn’t big at all, probably a little bigger than a 7-11, but it had everything I needed.

“What are you buying, anyway?”

“Oh, just some stuff.” Some stuff included items of an alcoholic nature. The refrigerator was loaded, I took out a couple of six packs.

“Aha! Now I know what you’re up to!”

“And so what are you going to do about it?”

“Absolutely nothing!”


“Hey, could you make mine super dry?” I obliged and switched the booze to the super dry variety. She also picked up some chips, nuts and I a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. We went out of the store and headed home soon after. She volunteered to take the contraband from me as I struggled with the keys and she now cradled them on her lap. We were excited about the stuff but didn’t talk too much about it along the way. She examined the Marlboros, opened the pack and took out a stick. “Can we open the windows?”

“Sure.” I opened the windows for her and she tried to light up. The wind kept extinguishing the flame, though.

“How do you light this up in this wind?” I took the stick and lighted it for her with the car’s lighter. She took the stick and took a puff.

“How did you learn how to smoke?” I asked.

“My friends taught me.”

“You smoke regularly?”

“No, only on occasion.”

“Can you give me a stick?” She took one from out of the pack and lighted it up with hers.


“Thanks.” I slowly slid my car beside the gate and took out my key. The lock opened and we came inside. “Do you think your parents called?”

“They already did before we left. Chances are they think me and Jim are already asleep.”

“We went up the stairs and at the end of the stuffy corridor was my room. I opened the door and the lights. I raised the blinds and put the table beside the window. She sat down on the bed and opened the plastic bag containing the goodies. She took each item one by one and placed them neatly on the table.

“I’ll just go downstairs to get some ice and glasses, okay?” She left the room not waiting for an answer as I took a can of beer from the table.

I had set the dimmer to low by the time she came up with two glasses and an ice box. She was smoking a cigarette and wore my slippers as she took her place beside me facing the table. I opened a can for her and she poured into her ice-filled glass. Bubbles oozed out as she over-filled her glass. The slow descent of the suds on the side of the glass left us staring and waiting before she finally picked up the glass and took a long sip.

“I was reading a book just before you called, a short story actually.”



“What’s that?”

“It is sort of a medallion, sculpted in the image of the Madonna. The story is about a kid that falls in love with a solon’s other woman, set back in the seventies.”


“Well, the kid tries to know more about this woman so he tries to be where she is going and asks around about her.”

“How old is this kid?”

“Thirteen. So he then finds out the truth about her but he doesn’t care because he doesn’t understand everything yet. One day, after mass, he met her and as a token of her gratitude for his kindness, she give him the cameo as a present. As he grows to love the woman even more, the real wife of this politician has her killed and he becomes broken hearted. “

“Sounds interesting.”


“Hey, where are you going for college?”

“Hopefully, La Salle. You?”

“I really want to go to UP. The problem is that I don’t know if I’m going to meet the quota. I hope I do.”

“What schools have you applied to anyway?”

“UP, Ateneo, La Salle, maybe UST. So far that’s it. You know, I just can’t believe that high school is over. It’s so sudden. In a wink, there goes four years of school. Next year, were gonna meet new people, new friends, enemies, that sort of thing. I don’t think I want to.”

“Yeah, me too. It’s like, all my friends are here. It’s fun and all, and now, I may not be able to meet up with them again. My whole life is gonna change I guess.”

“Yeah. Let’s drink to that!” The window gave a cool breeze as the ice kept melting. She made me turn off the lights as we watched from the window the rooftops of the other houses. The moonlight and our cigarettes lighted the room for us and the beer made our spirits lighter.

Against the moonlight, I saw her. Her short, brown hair swayed with the breeze. Her cheeks regained their rose red complexion, her eyes possessed a sparkle and her voice echoed in my mind. She was beautiful in a quiet way, sitting here beside me, gleaming like the moon. I imagined her as the cameo she talked about, and wore her.

“Nick, do you have a deck of cards somewhere?”

“Sure. I’ll get them, but I dare you to a game of strip poker!” She seemed amused by the thought but I didn’t think she would seriously consider a game with me.

“Uhm, okay.” Her answer came to me as a direct shock.

“You serious? I was only joking around, you know.”

“What’s the matter, chicken?” That tone again! The same one at McDonald’s.

“Fine!” I answered as I fumbled my way through the room.

Half sane, half asleep, we played. I remember having lit a candle and closing the windows for the game. Our shadows rose on my wallpapered room. She had a smile on her face, I had a blush on mine. I wasn’t used to having girls in my room, much less playing strip poker.

The first few deals were pretty amusing. A watch, shoestring, ribbons, hairpins. After the teenage accessories were exhausted, we were left with only our clothes. Her smile disappeared and tension began to rear its ugly head. The ice had long melted away, and the stench of cigarette smoke filled the air. She lost her shirt, I lost mine a deal later.

“Just a few more deals!” She said. I won, then lost. Out went both pairs of pants.

“What are you laughing at?” I managed to utter. She pointed to my groin which outlined a very stiff member.

“Sorry, let’s continue playing!” Despite her enthusiasm, she lost. She didn’t know whether to take off her bra or not when I threw a blanket at her.

“Game’s over, I win.” She was quiet at first.

“I’d say were even.” She managed to say as she put back on her shirt and pants.

“Well, whatever then.” I gathered the cards up and got another can. She asked to get another for her and poured. Then we again lit cigarettes. I too dressed up and lay on the bed awhile. She lay back as well, using my chest as a pillow. I placed my other hand on her belly and she played with it, pulling, pinching, having her way with it. “How many days till valentines?”

“Nine, ten? I dunno. Why, can’t wait to see your date?”

“Well not exactly. I don’t have one.”


“Never really had a valentine date before.”

“Well, just so you know, you’re not missing much. My valentines usually turn out just like any other day or date. Just you and the guy…”

“Uh huh.”

“I mean, nothing really special I guess. Same as any other date.”

“Well, I wouldn’t know now, would I?”

“It’s just a day. Flowers bloom without a thought about it. Beggars beg as every other day. Come to think of it, it is quite forgettable.”


“I mean, you go out with this guy you just met or who you think would be a great date, but after that you begin to realize there is no special magic. Just two people.”

“Yeah, well, I dunno.” We just lay there for a while. Not really doing anything for a while. Silent and unmoving.



“You’re awake.”

“I was just thinking.”

“Lemme guess…”

“Just thinking of women. Touching their bodies, feeling their touch.” She sat up and took my hand, moving them through her nape, shoulders and neck.

“Like this?” I slid my hands down from her neck down to the valley of her breasts. She froze, but didn’t stop me. I brought her to me with my other hand, kissed her, feeling her lips part. Then I broke off.

She just looked at me, without words. Half expecting and yet not knowing what to do next. I stood up, got the keys to the car. “Let’s go out.” She silently nodded.

We were back in the car again, a little drunk.

“Do you have the cigarettes?” I handed her the pack. “It’s the last one. Let’s just share it.” She lit up and handed me the next puff. I started the car up and soon we were out on the street. We remained silent as I clumsily navigated our way through a labyrinth of streets and avenues. I turned to a notorious avenue that was well known for bars and streetwalkers. From a distance, I spotted her, her lithe figure standing on the sidewalk, carrying a large handbag over her shoulder. I slowed down and stopped the car a few meters ahead of her, unsure of how this situation would play out. From the mirrors, I saw her watch as the car slowly passed by and stop. In the dark, she looked like a teenager, no more than twenty. Long black hair, the shadows that outlined her face were striking and I suddenly was out of words to say. She seemed to be staring at me through the same mirror as she walked towards us.

Jodi was silent the whole time. She alternated from looking at me to the lady walking towards us but didn’t dare speak out. A sort of understanding that no questions were to be asked permeated the atmosphere. She studied her, starting from the plain looking sandals, the tight fitting jeans and her flowing blouse with the very low neckline.

The lady reached the door, regarded Jodi for a minute then turned her attention to me. “Hi.”


“Do you want to party?”

“How much?” This was a question I have been asking myself for the past 15 minutes.

“Threesome?” Jodi, who had been studying the girl at the window suddenly jerked her head towards me with an alarmed look on her face.

“No, just me.” We had dispensed of the details the next 30 seconds and she hopped in the back seat, sandals, bag and all. Her name was Pearl.

We checked into a motel. Entering, Pearl came in first and Jodi stopped at the anteroom. She looked at me and I could tell she was shivering, I just didn’t know if it was from excitement or fear. I put a hand on her shoulder and led her into the main room.

Pearl was in the bathroom and Jodi sat on a large upholstered chair that lay on the side of the bed. I turned off the lights save for the subdued glow from the lamp on the table. Then, there was the sound of a flush from the bathroom. The water from the tap stopped, so did out heartbeats. We stared at the bathroom door as the door swung open to reveal Pearl with only a towel on her. She looked at me and told me to lie on the bed. She didn’t seem to mind that Jodi was there and simply disregarded her presence. I lay on the bed and she straddled her legs on my thighs. She took off the towel and revealed herself. She then loosened my belt and took off my shirt. I could feel my body shivering with the lightest touch of her skin. “Why are you shivering?”

“Nothing.” I just lay there, transfixed on her and feeling each soft inch of her body. She continued on, taking her time with each button of my jeans, purposely letting my anticipation get the best of me. She was pulling down my pants and when I sat up and put my arms around her tight as I could. She let me and guided my lips to her heaving chest. I felt numb, lucid with suppressed excitement as my hands worked to feel her soft body. She clamped my legs with hers and eased out of my hands, letting my body feel hers.

We were back in the car an hour later, Pearl again in the back seat and Jodi, still silent, riding shotgun. Pearl suddenly looked a lot older, and the years showed as she lit a cigarette, the glow highlighting the years on her face as well as in her eyes. She got off at the same place where we picked her up and we watched her alight the car and whisper her thanks.



“Are you hungry?”

“Are you? Actually yeah I think I do want to grab a bite.” We settled on a taco stand we spied on a few hours before. We ordered and sat on the plastic stools that they had up front. She took out her small purse and checked her pocked calendar, counting days.

Our orders came and we chowed down on it as hungry wolves. We finished with drinks and I caught her in a yawn. “Sleepy?”

“Kinda. Long day and all.”

“Let’s go home.” We were back in the car again, she reclined the seat as we cruised through to home. It was a few hours before sunrise and the streets were already deserted. We stopped at our gate when I spotted a figure on our front door.

“Hey, isn’t that your sister, Karen?” I was alarmed.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” Karen’s eyes opened from her soft slumber and peered at me.

“I thought you were home.”

“Yeah, I just went out. I thought you were at your friend’s house?”

“Vicky’s mom came to pick her up. I asked if they could drop me off as well. I thought you would be home.” She was stifling a yawn. I picked her up and she put her arms around me, still half asleep. I took out the keys but couldn’t open the door, Jodi took them and opened it for us. “Where have you been?”

“Just out with Jodi.” She looked at Jodi and whispered something in my ear. I managed to smile and whispered back. I carried her to her room and as I left, Jodi closed her door after me.

“Is she alright?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“She’s so cute. I don’t have any sisters. Wish I had one.” She led the way out of the house and I followed. “Thanks for an interesting time. I’m beat.”

“Me too. Sorry if I maybe went a bit too far.”

“Yeah, sorry about the mess in your room.” We were already outside and she crossed the street to her house, me following. “Hey Nick, no plans on valentines?”

“Thought you didn’t care for valentines?”

“Well, it wouldn’t be a date or anything. Just thought you’d like to hang out, grab a bite.”

“Ah ok. Yeah, I’d like that.”

“Well, ok then. See you in nine days.” She went closer, and bussed my cheek. “Good night!” Of course, I was speechless. I watched as she went through her door, looked one last time and closed it behind her. I still stood there as I watched the lights in her room go on and off again. Then I finally turned my back and went inside our own house, feeling the weight my weariness all over. As I closed the door, I took one last glimpse of her window and told myself nine days is just too long a wait.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It Stops At Six

Counting back, I realize that I have gone home drunk these past six days. I know I have made some sort of resolution to control my consumption of alcohol but some things just can’t be helped. In my defense, it was a series of events that called for it. I did however plan to stop the series today and have.

Thinking about it, my recent alcoholic exploits have resulted in a number of negative consequences:

1. A series of bad hangovers

Lately, I had been experiencing really sluggish mornings. Even with the aid of coffee, I can’t seem to shake off that heavy-headed feeling until lunchtime. Though I have been waking up right on time and getting to the office fairly early, I find my mind still on zombie mode. Obviously, this takes away hours of productive time that otherwise would have made my job a lot easier rather than having to cram a day’s worth of work in just a few hours in the afternoon.

2. Putting off the laundry

I do my own laundry, a means of saving up on money and making sure that the few clothes that I do own are safe and properly cared for. It does put a lot of strain on my schedule so I usually do it on the weekends. Between the hangover and getting ready for the next drinking spree, I just didn’t have time for it until tonight.

3. Weight gain

I’ve been trying to lose weight for over a year now, and so far I have lost a lot. However, these periodic alcohol binges take their toll on the scales. Sigh…

4. Lost savings

Unlike my weight, I lose money each time I open that next bottle of beer. And with the financial situation that I find myself in, I don’t think that I should be doing too much drinking. But then again, some things take precedence over money.

5. Health risks

Last Monday (was it?), I caught myself with a bad hangover and palpitating like hell. The coffee certainly didn’t help, and the cigarettes made it all worse. I may not be the most health conscious person in the world, but I have no intention of falling flat on my face in some gasoline station food court.

6. Drunk texting / Drunk calling

Yes, guilty. Not only do I make a fool of myself, but I can be really irritating and run the risk of losing a friend. Sorry about that.

The above are just some of the negatives. So how do I justify continuing my drunken ways? Well, let’s just say that the positives outweigh all these negatives. I hope…

A Parable

This is one those parables that time and again has reminded me of some of the most basic truths about people. I first heard it when I was in grade school during one of those daily morning messages of Fr. Capelli, and then years after, read it from one of Dr. Juan Flavier’s editorials back when he wrote for the Philippine Star. I’m pretty sure that one time or another each one of us or someone we know has felt like the turtle in this story.

The Parable of the Turtle and the Scorpion

One day after a storm, a turtle and a scorpion were stranded on the wrong side of the river. They were both on the way to the other side and though the river was no hurdle for the turtle, the scorpion could not swim and thus was unable to get across on his own.

The scorpion turned to the turtle and asked, “Since you can swim across and I can’t, could you probably let me ride on your back and let me off on the other side?”

The turtle gave it a thought and said, “I could swim across easily even with you on my back, but I’m afraid you might sting me and then I would freeze up and drown.”

“But why would I do such a thing? If I do sting you and you drown, then that would be the end of me as well. So there is no reason that I would do such a thing.”, said the scorpion.

The turtle thought about the situation a little more and then agreed to the cross-river piggyback ride. So they both walked to the edge of the river and the turtle lets the scorpion ride atop his shell. He started to swim across the river and as soon as they got midway across, right at the deep end of the river, he felt a short stab on his neck. Alas, despite the promise made by the scorpion, the turtle was betrayed and started to sink, the scorpion with him.

Before the turtle went under, he turned to the scorpion still on his back and asked, “Why did you do that?! You know very well that you would also drown along with me!”

The scorpion merely looked at the expiring turtle and with the most serious look on his face answered, “Because that’s my nature.”