Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Quantum's Leap

First Draft
November 2005

I.

Quantum Tejada is tired. He just came from his latest adventure wherein he combined business, when he edited El Filibusterismo into a soft porn erotica/romance novel just before it was published, and pleasure, when he went skinny dipping with Josephine Bracken (since Rizal wasn’t exiled there, or at all, anymore and she just happened to still go for a vacation) in the beaches of dapitan.

Despite his exhaustion however, he quickly stepped out of TEDDY (his time displacement gravity machine) to see the effects of what he has just done. He rushed to the poster, the very same that prompted him to go on his trip, in his kitchen and was saddened that it was still the exact same one before he left.

Tolits for President
2028
“Ako, ako, palagi na lang ako. Pero para sa bayan, ok lang!”


“Dammit! It didn’t work!” He told himself. He was expecting something more like:

Miguel de Roxas Presidente
2028
“Orar non que pais tu puede hacer, pero que les puede hacer pues pais”


Such is the nature of causality, or lack thereof. In the nature of Quantum’s ‘business’, that is what he has realized. Maybe somebody else besides Jose Rizal wrote the damn thing eventually and the course of history still proceeded similarly. Just as well, he tought to himself, he was quite frankly a tad concerned that he might have changed things a little too much anyway, including his own eventual future. He wonders what led him to decide to go back to that particular period in the first place, its not as if it was the single most defining moment of our country’s history. There are lots of others, but he was too tired to even consider making another Philippine-history changing trip. Perhaps he just wanted, for some reason, to see Josephine Bracken naked. And he did, and that is that.

Besides, he’s had a lot of previous successes. Mostly for himself, though. He didn’t care too much about anything else, he just wanted to play around and enjoy his (to him) god-like powers. The first thing he did after inventing TEDDY was to ammass great riches by being able to find some of the Yamashita Treasure before anybody else (he found crucial clues while watching “LIHIM NG GOLDEN BUDDHA” starring Jestoni Alarcon, but then Marcos still found most of the treasure). Everything else was easy for him after that.

He was able to get all the girls he ever wanted, he knew where and where to look after all. He was always there for the ladies at their moment of great need, he would simply hop unto TEDDY and travel back to those moments. The ladies in question are mostly movie stars that Quantum read about in his archive of tabloids. So, he was the shoulder-to-cry-on of Cindy Kurleto when she boke up with Jericho Rosales, and of Kristine Hermosa when she broke up with Jericho Rosales, and of Heart Evangelista when she was confused whether to turn it on with Jericho Rosales. It can be said that Quantum is the reason Jericho committed suicide (using a prop in one of his TV shows - no not the panday sword) eventually. Fortunately, his demise had no adverse effect to the future. Not a one.

Quantum retires to his antique bed and tries very hard to sleep, despite his exhaustion. He is like this every night. He cannot fathom why he cries himself to sleep. He has everything and yet feels….empty (as is the case with all people who have ‘god-like powers’). If you were in the same room with Quantum when he cries before he sleeps, you would hear a name in between his sobs.

Starla.

Quantum remembers Starla David, his last and only great love. He remembers - no, he cant forget, how he treated her. How he eventually, and finally, lost her. He cannot accept that this is affecting him so much to this day. At 53 years of age, 33 years after, he has not gotten over her. She is the reason he was able to invent the world’s first time machine, locked away in his house/secret laboratory for years trying to get over her and managing simultaneously to discover the secret of time travel- which only he, and TEDDY, knows. When he did, however, Starla was temporarily eclipsed by the ceaseless wonders his new toy gave him. But the emptiness grew. And he is now but a hollow shell.

Quantum rose from the bed, beads of cold sweat trickling down his forehead. He proceeded to the kitchen, to his omni-ref (which he obtained from neo-tokyo circa 2095) and said: “a burger please”, and waited 2 seconds as his burger materialized from the chamber.

“TEDDY. I need advice.” He announced as he approached his machine in the garage just beside the kitchen.

“Yes, master. How may I be of assistance?” Answered TEDDY, in a voice very similar to KITT’s from KNIGHT RIDER. Yes, Quantum loved 80’s TV shows. TEDDY is preparing to use his gravity displacement device to bend laser light into different shapes similar to balloons being twisted into poodles, parrots, and monkeys. He has always done that when his master is sad and distraught, to cheer him up.

“Starla.”

“Oh my. Not again.”

“Shut up, TEDDY. I’m a mess. I can’t forget her. I can’t forgive myself for letting her go. For dumping her.”

“Don’t you mean you can’t forgive her for dumping YOU?” TEDDY answered. Quantum told himself to remove TEDDY’s sarcasm program tomorrow.

“Whatever. I need to get her back. I’ve been delaying too much, with my shenanigans, always thinking that time is in my hands. But I don’t. I’m not getting younger.” Quantum remarks with great conviction, and adds: “I’ve decided. I’m going back in time for her, I’m going to woo her back. I’m going back to 1995, the very day I lost her. And make things right in my life.”

“Why that specific day, master?” Asked TEDDY, as if he didn’t know.

“Well, after that day, our last day together, she fell in love with Hesus Divina remember?” Quantum thought to himself: remove the ‘always humor my master’ program from TEDDY tomorrow. ”She was basically unreachable at that point. I wonder what love potion that bastard Divina used on her.”

“True love isnt a potion you can make.” Said TEDDY.

“…” Quantum thought to himself: remove TEDDY’s romantic/whimsical program tomorrow. “Fine. I’ll steal her away from him before she even meets him then.”

“Umm, master?” TEDDY asked hesitantly.”You plan to do that, Looking like that? You’re ancient and dilapidated. She’s pristine and fresh. Youre 53. She’s 19 in 1995. That’s just sick.”

“Shit. You’re right.” Quantum thought to himself: remove TEDDY’s adjective selection program tomorrow and looks at himself in the nearby mirror. “What should I do?”

TEDDY then gave Quantum the advise he was seeking.


II.

Quantum Tejada is tired. He just came from a basketball championship game where he played 20 minutes, scored no points, committed 18 turnovers, and fouled out. He’s simply not cut out for athletics, and was just forced to play by their class president because all the star players were down with Hepatitis after eating in one of the carinderias near their school. But Quantum did not care if he sucked at sports, he would’ve spent his day in the library had he not been called. Or, he couldve spent the day sleeping. He loved sleeping and bumming around, too. Quantum is lazyyy. And he was very nearly staring to doze off when -

“Tom-Tom!!!” Shouts Quantum’s mother from downstairs.

“Geez ma! Don’t call me that! How many times have i---“

“Get your lazy butt down here! Your worthless friend Teddy’s out by the door!”

Quantum lazily goes down the stairs and covers his ears as he darts across their living room as he is sure his mother would nag him about the appliances which he still has not fixed despite being an engineering student, to which he would always reply that there is a distinction between an engineer and a repair man, and to which his mother would snap back and say that he will never amount to anything and thus will never be able to contribute anything of value to this world because he is a lazy son of a bitch,to which he will say ‘you just called yourself a bitch you know’, to which she will retort by chasing him with a kitchen knife.

“Hey there Tom-Tom” Teddy says with a smug smile as Quantum steps out the door.

“Shut up, Teddy.”

Teddy Osorio is quantum's best friend. But they never call each other that, as they both think it is gay to do so. In fact, they spend most of their time together outdoing each others manliness.

"So. I can't help but notice that huge bulge in your shorty pants" Teddy says out of the blue, and Quantum tought to himself that he didnt need to say anything to prove that he is more manly after a statement like that. So he just casually replied: '' This long, thick, and hard baby just happens to be my Nokia 2110. My cell phone."

“You were always ahead in terms of technology, Q.” Teddy says while admiring his best friend’s long, think and hard Cell phone. “Waiting for a call?”

“Yeah. Starla’s” Quantum says, with a sigh.

“Oh my. Not again.” Teddy says, obviously referring to Quantum’s sighing.

“Shut up, Teddy.” Quantum snaps back. He loves saying it. “I really don’t know what to do or feel. It’s like…like she’s just there and…I don’t care. I’m just going through the motions with her, and frankly, I wont even mind if she calls or not” That was the best Quantum could manage to articulate what he really felt for Starla.

“But you just said you were waiting for—“

“That’s precisely the point, Teddy. I just don’t know.” And Quantum sighs again.

Then, Quantum’s phone rings.

“Quantum? Hi!” Said the voice on the other end of the line. Starla’s. “Are you set for tonight? I’m so excited! This is the first party we’re attending together” She is obviously giddy.

“Gee Starla, I just remembered that I have a lot of things to do tonight.” Replies Quantum, scratching his nape and winks at Teddy.

“Like what?!?” The giddiness is gone.

Quantum wants to say “sleep”, but doesn’t. He simply remains silent and winks to teddy again, who raises both his hands and turns away from Quantum.

“Fine!” Says Starla, not bothering anymore to wait for what Quantum will say. “I’m still going. I’ve had it with this relationship. I’ve had it yith you. You never do anything with me anymore.” She ends the call.

Quantum puts the phone back into his pocket nonchalantly. He knows that Starla will eventually cool down and things will go back as it was. It always does, he thought. He yawns and begins to head back into the house, not hearing what his best friend tells him.

“You’ll regret treating her like that. Somehow, some time, you will.”

And quantum goes on to sleep.

III.

“Geez, TEDDY, I’ve almost forgotten how ugly I was” Quantum remarked, into a remote transceiver.

“You still are, master.”

“Shut up TEDDY.”

Quantum is half asleep. He hears the voices. He is seemingly dreaming.

“So, how do I go about this again?” Quantum, into the transceiver.

“We almost missed our mark master, but we managed to make it to the morning of the big day. I do not have the energy to make another jump in the next 48 hours. You will simply have to instruct yourself what to do today.” Said TEDDY, its voice coming out of Quantum’s device. “You have to convince him…err…yourself errr…whatever….”

Quantum opens his eyes slowly.

“Gaaaahhh!!!” He pulls his blankets over his body up to his eyes to see who the intruder in his room is. “Who the hell are you, and what are you doing here?!” He exclaimed, still holding his sheet, still covering half of his face.

“Calm down, geez, you’ll wake mom up” Whispered Quantum, the older Quantum that is, and found it awkward saying the M word after so many years. “What I’m about to tell you is very important. Listen. Listen well.”

Quantum, the younger Quantum that is, nodded. He didn’t know why he did so easily, he just felt something very familiar with the person in front of him. It was like he was talking with his dad, and he hasn’t done so for so many years. He missed it.

“Dad. Were have you been all these years?” He said, teary eyed. Pent-up emotions about to explode.

“I’m NOT your Dad!!” Older Quantum shouted,and almost immediately covered his mouth. “I’m you. You Idiot.”

The older Quantum then proceeded to explain the very complex situation to his younger self. He had a hard time doing so and had to resort to enumerating things that only he, and of course his younger self, would know. Things like: his first memories, his first infatuation, his most embarrasing moments, his very private thoughts, and finally the secret story of Quantum, his dog porthos, and the mysterious injury he had which caused him to miss school for a few weeks (The older Quantum even dropped his pants and showed him the scar). That last one convinced the younger Quantum, and all he could say after was:

“I can’t believe I’ll be so ugly when I get older.”

“Shut up” Quantum replied, and felt it awkward telling himself to shut up. “Anyway, I haven’t told you why I’m here.” He added, seriously. “It’s Starla. I’m--” He paused. “you’re about to lose her. She met Hesus Divina last night.”

“Who the hell’s Hesus Divina?”

“The man she’s going to marry and love for the rest of her life. Some guy named Sam or Samael introduced them to each other last night.”

“Oh.” The younger Quantum muttered, not quite surprised. “But… somehow, I’m not all that concerned. I..I don’t know…”

Quantum grabbed both his younger self’s shoulders and gripped them tightly. “If you don’t feel that you love her now, believe me you will. And it’ll be too late. I AM MISERABLE. All I ever wanted was her.” He releases and bows his head and turns his back.

“I never knew, and don’t know still.” The younger Quantum says about what he feels about Starla, breaking the sudden silence. “But I see that you ARE miserable. I saw it in your eyes when first I saw them… I don’t want to be you, as you are now, when I grow older.”

The Older Quantum lifts his head and smiles. “Let’s get to work, then.” he said, and proceeds to tell the younger Quantum the plan. Its quite simple, once the absurdity and complexity of the other aspects of the situation was out of the way. It’s all just about love, really.

And the fact that if they were successful, Quantum may not end up creating the time machine and thus alter his future irrepairably.

“Remember.” Quantum hands all of his notes and the data containing the secrets of time travel and TEDDY, to his past self. “Build it even if you’ve got nothing else to live for except Starla.”

“What’s in it for you? ” the younger Quantum had to ask. “I mean, how does this all—“

“The happiness you will feel in Starla’s arms before you sleep, when you wake, her laughter, her giggle, you looking into her eyes every day… will be my MOST treasured memories. THAT’s what’s in it for me.”

Quantum nodded. He needed to prepare and call Starla and ask to meet her. While he was taking a bath, he heard his mother screaming downstairs. Something about an intruder and calling the police and a crazy ugly person. He quickly dried himself and found that his future self has gone. He went downstairs and saw his mom looking out the door as if seeing somebody off, well, actually, more like chasing somebody out.

“What is it, ma?”

“A weird old guy was inside our house! And you didn’t even notice it! He was crazy. Said something I couldn’t understand.”

“Like?”

“He told me to look at him. He said he amounted to something. He said I should be proud.”

“Yes, Ma. You should.”

And Quantum went up to his room and called Starla.

IV.

Starla David has a face and disposition that is a combination of sweet innocence and ferocious passion. She is hoping to use the latter when she tells Quantum that it is over between them. But she is unsure. She tells herself that she has had enough and yet feels that she needs just to see something in Quantum, when she meets him in a while, to finally decide.

Quantum Tejada or Hesus Divina. Someone she loves but takes her for granted, or someone she just met but makes her feel the adoration and reverence meant for her namesake, a star – burning brightly in the midst of the void, as Hesus so eloquently put it.

She is in deep thought when Quantum arrives.

Upon his approach, Quantum can clearly see Starla’s facial expression. Brows slightly meeting at the middle, down trodden eyes, lips curled downwards, beautiful beyond compare despite her sadness. Stupid asshole, Quantum whispers to himself, how could he have done this to someone so precious to him, and even needed intervention from divine science to make him realize so. Stupid stupid prick.

“Um, hi.”

“Hey.” Starla looks up to Quantum and holds her gaze even as Quantum sits beside her, as if using what she sees as a basis of her decision.

“So. How was your, um, party?” Quantum asks, and is slightly afraid what he will hear as a response.

“Quantum. I’m glad you have time to see me today. I need to tell you something. We -”

“So do I.” Quantum cuts off Starla. This is it, he thought, she’s going to break up with me. It’s now or never. “I’m sorry. For blowing you off so many times. For always putting other things before you. For being an asshole most of the time”

“Yeah, you are. And it’s too late for an apology. Last night was the last straw” Starla declares formally, trying to hide her uncertainty. “It’s not as if I asked too much you know, I just wanted a little time from you. And now—“

“Oh god starla! Don’t break up with me!” Quantum drops to his knees and clutches both Starla’s legs.

“Stand up Quantum! Jeez!” Starla pulls Quantum up. Slightly embarassed and yet flattered at the same time. “You always do this. You apologize and then things are the same after.”

“No, this time its different.” Quantum grabs Starla. “I realized something very important this morning when I woke up.”

“What?” Starla says. She wishes this is what she’s waiting for. The sign. She’ll hinge her decision on what Quantum will say. She doesn’t know what it is she’s seeing in Quantum’s eyes at this very moment, but it must be the truth for she’s never seen it before with him.

“I realized that…that I am about to lose you. And that if I let you go, I will spend the rest of my life regretting it and isolate myself from people and cry myself to sleep every night and even probably build my own time machine, which I will name after my best friend and go back in time to win you back even at the risk of possibly rupturing the space time order and destroy the universe as we know it.”

“That’s…”

Quantum holds his breath and closes his eyes.

“That’s the sweetest thing anybody’s ever told me.”

“I meant every word.” Quantum declares with great conviction and thinks about his older self whom he knows is watching them from afar.

Starla hugs Quantum tightly. “Somehow, I know.” She lets go and looks at Quantum, now with a smile so broad, eyes twinkling. “I want you to do something with me now.”

“Oh God she wants to have sex with me.” Quantum thought to himself. And from afar, someone shouts for joy.

“Let’s go bungee jumping in Subic!”

And from afar, someone groans.

V.

Quantum parks TEDDY near the cliff over looking the sea and the bungee jumping rig at Subic Bay. He is content, even though he is wondering why he hasn’t yet felt the rush of emotions and memories he was expecting to feel after Starla still accepted the young Quantum.

“Give it time, Master. They will come. Don’t worry the discs and data are still with him. The fact that we’re still here proves that he will still build the machine.”

“Yeah. Let’s just sit back and relax. I want to watch the two lovebirds bungee jump before we go back home. I’ll wait for my memories there.”

On the rig, Quantum sees his young self and Starla hug tightly, as the former prepares to jump. They are both very nervous but Starla is beaming. The old Quantum can see her shine from where he is. What a sight, he thought. “The love of my life.”

Then, Quantum leaps.

And his cord breaks.

“Oh crap.” Quantum and TEDDY mutters at the same time as they watched the younger Quantum plunge head first into the sea, to his death.

Starla’s screaming is the last sound both Quantums hear.

“At least…” The Older Quantum thought to himself as he slowly disappears.

“At least I had time.”

1 Comments:

Anonymous jilly bean said...

sooooo amusing...was smiling while reading it. It has the usual love story-adventure combo with a morbid twist...signature mo na ata yun...

ps. sumbong kita kay mama =)

9:12 AM  

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