Death Toll 9
He woke up and found himself five blocks from his workplace. He overslept again. It has been like this since he met his latest client. His last copy allowed him to mingle with some public figures and thus getting him a position as a publicist for an up and coming starlet. He was able to put a good word for the girl and got her good projects on TV. His client list grew and is now working for this has-been veteran actress who was rumored to have had drug issues who plans to make a comeback. Sad part is, the actress’ place is very much at the outskirts of Rizal. He hated the travel time. He received a call from his starlet inviting him for the junket for her first indie film tonight. “I’ll be there, of course”
He is two blocks away when he saw the billboard he designed several years ago for a popular junk food. He cringed. He didn’t even like the goddamn chips. So moved along. It was around 8.30am when he reached the modest house of the actress.
Good morning po! He was welcomed by an elderly who opened the gate.
Si madam po? I’m her new publicist, John.
Ay pasok po kayo, Sir John. She’s been expecting you, the old lady answered.
When he was about to lock the gate behind him, he saw this particular van on his peripheral vision. He was in the living room and looking at the photos of the time glory of the actress. He wondered if the rumors were true about her being a drug mule during her heydays. When he admired the drapes, he saw the men inside the van and realized something. They all looked dangerous. Just then, the actress appeared and he had forgotten about the men outside.
She is still indeed still lovely, kahit nakapambahay, he thought. Good morning, Ms…, he was cut off by the lady.
Hush, formalities are for strangers. Call me Mommy Dee, the actress said.
Okay, Mommy Dee.
With that, they started their huddle. He walked her through series of public appearances and general image reconstruction. He talked her into a change of pace. A more cheerful and livelier aura was needed. He began drilling her for some questions her detractors may throw at her and expected the answers he trained her to give. They finished two hours later and prepared to go to Mother Ignacia for her first TV reappearance.
They were about to get in on her SUV when bullets rained on them. He was still able to ask the actress whether these are the DEA or her former acquaintances who sold her drugs. He saw a bullet zoomed in on the actress’ head, passed thru and hit the side mirror.
He didn’t know he was screaming like a girl when he ducked for cover. He saw the old caretaker lifeless in the balcony. Poor manang, poor drapes, he thought.
Those were the last things his mind did before he was hit on the chest multiple times.