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The Fool on the Narcissus

I know the Mezzanine still looks like unholy crap, but bear with it. I'll get it fixed sooner or later, I promise. Meanwhile, there's something that I've been meaning to put down in writing, but haven't had the drive to do so.

In the neighborhood where I live in, there used to be this old woman who was a lawyer. Her name was (to the best of my knowledge) Attorney Cuevas, and while she wasn't anything special as far as lawyers go, having one living within spitting distance of your roosting place is, in a way, kinda awesome. I've nothing but the utmost respect for lawyers - even the corrupt ones, because you'd have to be hella smart to drain the financial resources of people (yes, I condemn the act of corruption, in case you're wondering, I just find the mental faculties of successfully corrupt people interesting). As a lawyer, you can defend yourself in court. You could ask for things like in-depth investigations and witness protection programs. Sometimes, you can even sentence a man to death.

The most amazing earthly power is the power to govern the life and death of a living being, never mind the moral consequences (yes, two morally questionable statements in a heartbeat, way to go Martin Cruz).

Lawyers aren't the point of this entry, however. Attorney Cuevas, or whatever her name is, is.

Her little house was roughly a garage and two doorsteps away from Mount Narciso (the name the Cruz residence goes by). Right beside it is a little eskinita which has recently been claimed as private property by my uncle. As far as I can remember, the little house was really nondescript, something a little bit smaller than a shoebox, but since the old woman lived alone, it wouldn't have been much of a problem.

Recently, Attorney Cuevas has transformed, like a phoenix gone mad, into the village idiot. Her already swarthy face is now covered by a layer of soot worthy of the best taong grasa you could imagine. Her hair hangs down her face in rivulets of keratin and grease, and she wears a faded flowered duster that was probably last washed during the 70's. She hangs outside her house doing odd little projects that nobody understands. Her house is now in shambles, so much so that it's a wonder how she keeps the lone lightbulb in her house working properly. There's ages of trash built up in the debris, and the shadow of an unused staircase can be seen from the doorway.

The woman has become the butt of the neighborhood children's jokes, much to her consternation (I imagine it'd be easier to get annoyed when you've lost all emotional restraints). She screams at them in unintelligible gibberish, and once in a while, tosses random pieces of lumber in their general direction.

The biggest question here, of course, is why the woman went cuckoo. There are rumors that this was built-up emotional stress from a variety of things, from the fact that she lived alone to the possibility that the members of her family that used to live with her went and left her behind. None of these theories are founded, however, but none of it would be too surprising.

I sometimes wonder, though, just how far gone she is into cuckoo-land. There are times when she emanates a kind of almost frightening lucidity, such as when she casually commented on how these two friends of mine, a couple, should never let go of each other. She also has a rather uncanny knack of sensing levels of prospective threat - I was less of a threat than, say, the sunog-baga from Isla (that's the name of a region in Pandacan), so she decided to stick closer to me, much to my discomfort, when I was buying pan de coco from the corner bakery.

Crazy people, in my book, are just like lawyers. They serve very little purpose in life except to stir things up, and make things progress, one way or the other. The crazy nutcase does that by being crazy. The lawyer does that by being an asshole. It's just fascinating that two proponents of radically opposing forces - one being a force of chaos, the other an avatar of order - has converged on one single individual.

It could be said that right then and there, when Attorney Cuevas finally lost it, she achieved perfection.

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