“So, are we taking the oyster and the wine?” asked Rigor anticipating for a celebration. Daniela busied herself rummaging through her shopping bag and found the tickler she bought. She threw roller blades beside her abandoning the plan of rolling tonight.
“Coffee bean and the tea leaf” said Daniela yawning and rubbing her tired eyes. Rigor knew the enchantment was gone.
“Cinderella and Aurora, what do they have in common? They both experience heaven but not long enough, just like you and that makes you lucky.” said Rigor
“Yes, they let me taste heaven, on my payday and full moon. The clock struck twelve and i became the ugly. They did it on purpose so i would crave for it.” she said with a bit of bitterness. “and just like those princesses, what really makes me lucky is my own prince charming.” she said hopping out of the car happily. “Come on, i got plans. You should know these before they snatch my brilliant plans or worst eviscerate my brains and scattered it out. I don’t want my life ends up a fairy tale or a tale of horror in morbid gory details.” she joked to keep her awake.
They found deserted canopies outside the coffee shop and the enclosed area full packed. They got their coffee and black forest cake and had no choice but to stay outside in the cold. However, they don’t fancy staying beside the wood burning fireplace for the evil might be lurking in its soothed chimney.
Before taking their seats, Rigor asked from the crew for two canisters of candles be removed from their table and replaced by an electric lamp for warmth. Daniela smiled at his excuses because she knew they can stand the cold but not the evil’s fire with its flame dancing over their laying of plans. Rigor thought the crew might be thinking now what kind of mental disease or phobia is it for someone who’s afraid of little flame.
“A space everyone covets for that is Bonifacio Global City and one has to pay extra for the best seat but no pity we can have privacy here.” Said Daniela sipping her coffee in between slices of cake. Rigor took his pen and Dept. Stores hands out eager to start jotting down Daniela’s plan. She took her tickler and pen too.
“Okay, first the good news. I had convince our store manager of my proposed plan for end of season sale.” Said Daniela wide eyed in excitement.
“What’s the plan?” asked Rigor whom Daniela found strange of him acting an eager beaver. ‘He definitely is in the quest.’ she mused
“She agreed i’ll put put on stickers on every obelisk in all BCBG stores; consignments and outright accounts. These stickers serve as an announcement for our upcoming BCBG BGC branch sale. It will boost sales but my sticking will actually disguise my finding of Braille.” said Daniela and proceeded to an enumeration of her other plans.
“I did my research and there’s a lot cover so i convinced our store manager to hire for an extra help. She said our ad man is not available till the next season so, i referred you to her and of course you got the job.” said Daniela proudly as he held out his ID and a copy of memo. Rigor smiled heartily as he can be with her extra hours a day.
“I won’t be surprise if next week I’ll be strutting my ware on the catwalk and you’re my agent.” said Rigor sipping his coffee noisily and Daniela laughed at the possibility.
“I’ll cover all BCBG in the North, you’ll be in the South and we split workload in greater Manila. We are not to use your Dept. Store’s time, because we are to post stickers after you’re off.” said Daniela
Did she suspect you’re up to something? I mean you offer to do extra work outside the store for a charity or labor of love to the company?” said Rigor continuing his taking down notes of assignments.
“No, she’s a result oriented and she wants a good one. My act is consequential and good thing is my food and fares are reimbursable and you have a hundred dollar allowance.” said Daniela finishing a mouthful of cake and restraining not to laugh as Rigor pocketed their receipts and collected from another table for reimbursements.
“Our work starts tomorrow night, those receipts are invalid.” Said Daniela holding out a parchment enlisting all BCBG obelisk installations as part of launching collaterals. Rigor took his copy and note of his South assignment. She handed him a brown envelope full of stickers that says END OF SEASON SALE BCBG BGC HIGH STREET.
The next day after he’s off from Dept. Store, Rigor started his extra work to BCBG obelisk in southern part the city. He wore BCBG ID and presented his introduction letter/ memo to another Dept. Store’s administration personnel. The guard frisked him, checked his bag and let him in to a partly lit store’s spaces for it’s about to close. He walked alone the wide aisle feeling nervous as if about to commit the great heist. He always felt nervous working on the obelisks and this is his first time finding clues lone. He didn’t want to fail.
BCBG was at the far end so he walked doubly fast. He stopped at the only fully lit glass enclosed spaces. Venetian blinds were heaved so he clearly saw everything that is going on inside. He ran to the back of the unpowered revolving duratrans ad standee for cover. He rummaged for his cam phone and took shots of naked bodies. There’s one who’s absurdly hit by a jet of shower she almost was in pain. The ad says of a Vichy shower.
Another one let the orange-y oil poured her forehead and flowed to her hair. The ad says of an Ayurveda treatment while other ladies were covered all over in gelatinous mixture of various colors. The ad says of seaweed, honey and milk; apricot and almond mud packs by Phytomer. In one open lounge, ladies were sitting on a couch not talking to each other, they just relaxed. The ad says of an oxygen shower.
The next room was wooden slats all over occupied by people clad in towel lying unconsciously on a steaming bed. The one wearing a printed parasol must be an attendant. She sported red hibiscus flower tucked in her ear affecting a tropical touch. She held a silver tray containing hypodermic needle syringe, alcohol and cotton. ‘They do not match the interior. Their presence is of malicious intent.’ thought Rigor.
She put the tray down, wet cotton balls with alcohol and uncap one syringe. Rigor knew of the Botox treatment the fixer had give them, still it disturbed him as there was no ad for that service. He turned the revolving duratrans to check last two ads. It says of Zero Gravity water immersion and various massages. The attendant rubbed cotton balls on woman’s arm and felt for her vein. This was definitely not a Botox. She injected the needle and pull the suction ‘O my God, she’s not administering, she’s letting blood.’ Rigor’s bead of sweats dotted her forehead thinking either of two procedures do no good. He recalled how the evil administer the ashen mixture of ichor on them and blood letting reminded him of Council’s concoction of ichor that failed. ‘Is the evil behind in all these? It is likely that the evil poisoned these people with his ash.’ the possibility terrified him. Hastily, he sent pictures to Daniela and deleted it.
“Ogling famous people’s lives and make a living out of it. Sadly, i won’t let it happen on my post of duty.” said the guard snatching the cam phone. After navigating through empty media box, he gave it back to Rigor with indifference. Rigor proceeded on walking toward the end of the aisle. He glanced back to where the attendant was. He saw the tray became the vessel of blood.
He opened his bag in front of BCBG Metro obelisk, retrieving the Coleman flashlight, fancy point detector, stickers, cotton cloth and extra sheets of onion skin paper for Braille lifting. He got a hard time pretending on cleaning surfaces of a dimmed obelisk. He couldn’t easily felt for dots because the guard was on the look out. Bravely, he flicked the print detector on and found fingerprints. No Braille.
“Too fancy for an ad man” intruded the guard. Rigor didn’t say anything but smirked. Skeptical, Rigor proceeded on repeating steps over to other three remaining obelisks though he knew Braille would be on Metro obelisk. He did it to avoid the guard from suspecting. No Braille. When done, he thrust all his stuff inside the bag.
He logged out looking gloomily at the guard as if it was his fault.
In one of BCBG store in a village, the least he could was post stickers. He went home with unpunched sheets of paper. No Braille. The Bohemian atmosphere of the village and gay’s hooting and complimenting over him didn’t make anything alright. The failure over finding Braille added to his all day’s hardships at work in Dept. Store. The stress was overwhelming it led to frustrations, he decided to end the day and off he went to a park where he’s to meet Daniela as they agreed on the same place after she’s done with her assignment.
Rigor can’t easily pass along gridlock all the way to Dept. Store; he knew something bad was happening there. Cable Networks were swarming. Curious frenzy of bystanders were being blocked from entering. Rigor retrieve his cam phone to call Daniela. Her phone was set to an auto answer so it hung up after three rings.
“Daniela, are you alright?” asked Rigor over Daniela’s fast running. Where are you? I’m stuck in front of Dept. Store. wait right there, i”m going in.” said Rigor hopping out of the taxi completely uptight from Daniela’s running away from something. Even barefoot, he heard Daniela’s panic stomping on wooden floor. He couldn’t remember from the store tour what part was of wood parquet or wooden plank. Still online, Daniela’s stomping was replaced by a calculating sound of her stiletto.
“Rigor, stay where you are, I’ve been running from the media. We’ll talk later. For now, i need to know how to get out from here undetected.” Said Daniela in a low voice walking faster. describing where she was hiding in a recess of no apparent use.
“Find the nearest exit and follow the arrow on stairwell all the way down. It will lead you to ground outside the Dept. Store. I’ll meet you there.” said Rigor recalling Ms. Fullesse’s useful reminder of their egress familiarization.
“No, thank you. Go ahead, take a walk till you got out of the traffic and take a cab to the Park.” said Daniela descending abruptly on steel stairwell. He insisted on waiting for her but all he heard was the clanking of her stiletto against the steel. She must have pocketed her phone hanging online.
Amidst the cacophony of honking horns of angry commuters, the whistling of traffic enforcers and the siren of City’s Animal Conservatory, Rigor still hear the weary clanking of her stiletto which lasted for several minutes and it ceased to a grating of metal door.
Rigor knew she reached the ground for the clanking was gone. Her phone hit something hard that it hurts Rigor eardrum. ‘What she’s doing?’ he’s trying to picture out, then a crispy crackling of plastic bag issued loudly. She must be sitting thus her phone hit whatever she’s sitting on beside the plastic. Moments later, he heard a familiar dragging back at the Milan piazza ‘She’s on roller blades!’ Then he ran to a sprint off the hellish disorganization of media events. A phone still in his ear, dragging became a gliding.
Rigor, end this call. I’ll send you everything. That’s what they wanted from me. They’re behind me now, i can’t believe this. They’re mad.” demanded Daniela ending the call and her thumb working on keypad as fast as her legs gliding. Her pity was for a cameraman colliding with cyclist coming swiftly from a curve. She took backstreets for easy gliding and at a good distance, they’re out of her sight. She slowed down looking left and right at the crossings until she look back she’s seeing again cameramen on bicycles still pursuing her.
Note: Pop Culture has always been embedded in our lives. We are all ardent consumer of everything Pop. Earlier days of our lives or our formative years had been encroached with images shown by an intrusive media which turned out to be our go-to guide on what’s cool or not. Readily available Pop Culture had been the staple of what’s cool to be accepted by our peers.
Peer pressure is a force to reckon with for it always sucked us in to be competitive- keeping up with those fads and crazes which from time to time leveling up the ante. Those who lead the game of Pop obviously become princes and princesses; and few who really raise the bar so high become King and Queen- but there’s a catch.
Raising the bar so high comes with a hefty price- what’s with the substance abuse to cope with the stress brought by the impossible demands of Popdom and thus we all are trap in a world that threatens to burst any given time.
This is the story of Rigor and Daniela maneuvering in an ever changing Pop World. They have their fair share of heartaches and mental illnesses brought by the world that Popped.
Follow their journey to the ever changing Pop world where their child’s game of retail therapy that Pop is known for leads them to find a cure or a therapy (that is not a pseudo science or pop science) but something Pop icons and Pop luminaries pioneered and led Pop world to achieve Mental Health.
Discover the gift of Pop………
Disclaimer: This journal chronicle events from my past career describing activities on and off salesman’s duties. All events described herein actually happened irrespective of the order the blog was posted. Any resemblance to persons living or dead should be plainly apparent to them and those who know them and that the author is not responsible for any assumptions that may arise; to construe from the fact presented is discouraged as the author is still trying to make sense of it. You may do so at your own risk.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to which i may earn commissions upon your purchase. It will cost you nothing extra but it will help my blog up.