No Neon Lights in Manila

FEU Advocate
July 16, 2023 09:40

“The King is dead!”

Screams the front page of the morning tabloid. Rudy Duviel, keeper of Manila’s wonderland, perished just before the neon of his club could glimmer the Metro's mucky pavements. But before his body’s ashes rain over the city, he left his children a curse to rule over Manila’s twisted paradise. Paraiso, a palace where lustful kings play their vigorous games at night to withdraw from their sins during daylight. This devil’s playground was left to Rudy’s children: Ramon, Anna, and Sergio.

Ramon was determined to bear his father's torch, and hide the shadows of their sins. His sister Anna ruled over those who hid in their club's flames. Lastly, Sergio who lived for pleasure and a slave to ale and white lines.

After death came upon Rudy leaving his children, he only left them with a curse. A lust for childish ambitions corrupting a soul. Yet, all three wanted jousts for sovereignty–to wear their father’s crown. The curse Duviel left began to take place.

"I'll continue our father’s legacy!" Ramon screamed.

"Selling booze to officials isn't enough," Anna replied. "We should use the mess they dump here, they'll be ours."

Then from a distance Sergio declared, "Hear ye family! Wine is present and the winds of yesterday blew. Rejoice for me, your new king, the ruler of Paraiso.” 

The two stared fiercely at Sergio. As the crown they cry for was boldly claimed by a drunkard who bears the same name. They failed to realise Sergio is desperate for love from a family whose main concern is power.

Ramon promised he can lead their father's investment to greater heights, while Anna reminded them how she covered the eyes of justice from their nefarious acts. As the two scratched throats, Sergio's world kept spinning, he flamed his cigar for clarity. 

Two clamoured for the crown and one was lighting up his own world. They failed to keep Rudy's trusted people. 

The people once loyal to Rudy became snakes feasting upon a dead man’s legacy, seizing the club, and tarnishing their image that led to the closure of the sanctuary's gate. The bratty children chasing their father’s ghost only found the curse their father left.

The once lively Paraiso ceased to exist. Now a memory to those who witnessed its magnificent beacon. 

Rudy’s iron fist over his paradise slowly crumbled, buried along with him. The hope of their family’s crest worn by Ramon, defended by Anna, and sung by Sergio vanished as it slipped from the siblings' grasp. Those very dreams Rudy envisioned faded. The red neon of his legacy blackened.

Ramon lost the only connection he had with his father, Anna failed to defend their image, and Sergio lost the only world he thought existed; the only world he was accepted in. The siblings grieved their father’s death, but also the loss of the castle Rudy raised for them.

Daylight ran out and only the piercing silence of the city streets were heard. No rum spilled, no cigar was lit, and no melodies were sung as no neon lights glowed in the Metro.

-Rowell E. Jallorina Jr.

(Illustration by Miles Munich Montreal Jimenez/FEU Advocate)