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Flor: Yes, Matilde, when you called me up to come and see you, I came right away.

Matilde: That's nice of you, Mrs. De los Reyes.

Flor: I hope you don't mind, Matilde. My last name is Caracoles. My full name is really Florencia Aragon de Caracoles. But just call me
Florencia. We must be good friends. It's quite an honor to know you, Matilde.

Matilde: Oh, don't mention it. I was told by Marilu to get in touch with you. She said you'd surely help.

Flor: I still think it's a great honor to know you, Matilde. After all, you're considered one of the best, known society women in Manila.
And you're so close to Malacanang, they tell me.

Matilde: It isn't true, not true at all. I just help occasionally when the first lady asks me to pitch in.

Flor: You're so modest, Matilde. You don't mind if I call you matilde? Since we are going to collaborate---er---work together, we
might as well call each other by our first names.

Matilde: As you wish. Well, I called because-

Flor: Just call me Flory, or Floring.

Matilde: Well, Flory, I called you because-

Flor: Did you say Marilu called you up? Marilu de Legazpi?

Matilde: Exactly.

Flor: Marilu's husband owns that big department store in Buendia, doesn't he?

Matilde: Yes. But what I really called you up for-

Flor: Well, my husband bought the Legazpi's rice fields in Pangasinan. It cost us hundred thousand, but it was worth it.

Matilde: That's nice.

Flor: Well now, just how did you want me to collaborate---er---help?

Matilde: It's a benefit show we are holding to collect funds for the SAPANG PALAY people. You know the place?

Flor: (With a gesture of disgust) Uff, yes. Those squatters who were formerly in Intramuros. Thank God they were evicted. Can you
imagine? I used to hear mass every day at the cathedral. And whenever we passed by these streets in our Mercedez Benz 600, I felt
myself suffocating with the smells and sights of those horrible people. Uff, such disgusting people, squatters and all.

Matilde: It's not their fault, really. After the war, thousands came from the provinces and didn't know where to settle-

Flor: Uff, don't talk to me about them. I couldn't hear mass properly. I couldn't pray because of them. Once a little boy made a face
at me. Can you imagine? He stuck out his tongue at me. But I forgave him just as our Lord forgave his enemies.

Matilde: This drive we are conducting-

Flor: And another time a woman spat on my car-it wasn't the Mercedez Benz this time, just Buick which is used to take the children
to school and the maid to go marketing-yes spat on my car. That's why I transferred to the Canctuario de San Antonio in Forbes park.
Oh, the beauty and quiet of the place. And such decent, respectable people. There you see the Matias, Legazpis, Urdanetas, and the
Zarates family. You must hear mass there too, Matilde.

Matilde: I go to Ermita church. I was born there.


Flor: Uff, such a small church! No distinction at all! Mrs. Consuelo Cartinage, who is related to the count Cartinage, they say that the
count is related to queen Isabella of Spain! She sat beside me and smiled at me!

Matilde: That's nice.

Flor: Ah, yes, it's so nice meeting decent people. People who have class. Not that I am a snob. The BAKYA CROWD, as they call it. Not
that Iam uncharitable. After all, I give large sums to the church. Now Ithink you were saying something Matilde?

Matilde: Yes, we are raising money for the SAPANG PALAY people. And we are calling it the sapang palay drive.

Flor: much as I find those horrible people distasteful, I should like to help. How do you wanT me tk collabo---er---cooperate?

Matilde: We are showing a movie with Elizabeth Taylor-not yet released to the public---and we are selling tickets.

Flor: Who are in the committee?

Matilde: Mrs. Consuelo de Cartinage is chairman.

Flor:Ah? Really?

Matilde: And there's Mrs. Urdaneta.

Flor: The wife of senator Urdaneta?

Matilde: Yes. And of course the first lady is overall chairman.

Flor: How much are the tickets?

Matilde: One hundred pesos.

Flor: Oh, that's nothing here. Here, give me one.

Matilde: We are thinking of making you a member of the committee.

Flor: I shall be delighted to serve such a noble cause. Those poor sapang palay deserve all help they can get.

Matilde: Members of committee are supposed to dispose at least five tickets.

Flor: Ay, this is my chance to get acquainted with the Urdaneta’s of Forbes park. Next tIme I hear mass I shall approach-

Matilde: If you wish, I could tell the first lady to give you a ring-

Flor: (excitedly) Oh, will you? I'll give you my private number. People used to call up and say all sorts of ugly things. That's why I had
to have a private number.

Matilde: What things?

Flor: Oh, it doesn't matter know. Who else is in the committee?

Matilde: Maria Cruz de la Dolorosa

Flor:Uff, that woman.

Matilde: You know her?

Flor: (hesitating briefly) Well slightly. She is very rich. She puts on such airs-she has only two cars.

Matilde: That is usually one too many.

Flor: Oh, no! We have five not including jeeps and the wagon which are used to take my husband to Capipisa.
Matilde: That barrio in Cavite?

Flor: (embarrassed) Er-no Matilde, not that barrio exactly-but another barrio nearby where my husband goes hunting.

Matilde: And he uses two jeeps and a wagon to go hunting? My husband also goes hunting in Batangas, but he takes only our car.

Flor: Er---no, not all the jeeps at the same time. But you know how men are. But we're talking about cars. Yes, we have five cars with
expensive and famous brands.

Matilde: We have only a 1960 chevy.

Flor: And Mrs. De la Dolorosa actually goes for Tagalog films, such a plebian woman.

Matilde: I go for Tagalog movies myself, when the film is interesting.

Flor: Uff, never, no, never.

Matilde: Have you ever seen a Tagalog movie?

Flor: Me? Oh, never in my entire life. Besides, my Tagalog is poor. I am from Pangasinan. But I am taking French lessons, and I don't
want my accent spoiled.

Matilde: Now, back to the drive---

Flor: Who else is in the committee?

Matilde: Ding Tabayong from Bacolod.

Flor: You mean the millionaire?

Matilde: You know her?

Flor: Well, at a party I smiled at her.Well, she must be short sighted or something---

Matilde: Could we gather at your place next week? That is---

Flor: Of course. My house is on Dewey boulevard. I have a huge living room, or we can gather near the swimming pool.

Matilde: That would be perfect for a meeting.

Flor: Do you think the first lady would come?

Matilde: Well, I could ask her to be present.

Flor: I should be extremely delighted if she could come.

Matilde: I'm not sure. I could try.

Flor: Please ask her to come and I'll buy all the tickets she wants. I have an official photographer and he could take a picture of me
and the first lady.

Matilde: Iam sure she'll be pleased

Flor: But only if she comes to my house Iwill buy as many tickets as she wants. After all my heart bleeds for those sapang palay. I
shall go visit them. I shall bring my photographer so that I could send the picture to the papers. But I will not reveal my name. I will
wear something that'll cover my face. And I will bring tuyo, tala and dilis. I could buy some stale bread form the bakeries and bring
them too.
Matilde: Don't you think they will welcome something more substantial than dilis and tuyo? After all, they eat that every day. And
stale bread is not exactly appetizing.

Flor: What can these people expect, good for nothing, lazy, dirty, and uncivilized. They should be grateful that I'm going to visit them.

Matilde: I am sorry to contradict you, Flory, but I am afraid they might resent it. Poor people are sometimes proud, you know.

Flor: That's the trouble of poor people now days, they have no sense of gratitude.

Matilde: Do you always expect gratitude from them? Times have changed. The poor need not be meek.

Flor: Why not? After all, we have no duty to help them. If they were not so lazy.

Matilde: They may not be naturally lazy. Sometimes poor food and poverty force them to be lazy.

Flor: Oh, well let's not talk about them. It makes me feel uncomfortable. (Osang enters)

Matilde: Come in, Osang. Did you bring the towels?

Osang : Enchang?

Flory was reminded about the times when she was still poor, living in Intramuros.

Setting: Sapang Palay (crowded and dirty area)

Flor: Osang? Osang?

Osang: Yes Enchang? Do you need something?

Flor: yes. Can I borrow some cardboards?

Osang: Sure! We've been neighbors for a long time now.

Flor: That's true.. But finding a proper job here in Sapang Palay is very hard...

Osang: I know.. The only way I earn money is by embroidering and making blankets.. By the way what are you going to do with these
cardboards?

(Hands the cardboard to Flor)

Flor: I'm going to cover my windows.

Osang: Why?

Flor: I'm going to spend the night at my cousin’s house.

Osang: Is that so? Well, take care Enchang!!

At her cousin's house.

Setting: Living room

Flor: * Knocks at the front door*

Cousin #1: Opens the door

Cousin #2: Hey Tia Enchang!!

Flor: Hey guys!! I missed you.


Cousin #1: We miss you too Tia.

Cousin #2: Come inside Tia Enchang.

(Living room)

Cousin #1: How are you Tia?

Cousin #2: Yeah.. We know Sapang Palay is a very crowded place.

Flor: Well I'm fine and, yes living in Sapang Palay is very hard....

Cousin #2: Ohh... Is that so? Tell us what your house looks like.

Flor: Well..

Mr. Caracoles enters.

Cousin : Oh, here you are! Here’s Mr. Caracoles, my friend.

Flor: Nice to meet you. I'm Flory

Mr. Caracoles:What a lovely name, nice to meet you too.

The night continued.

Flory: Sowhat do you do for living?

Mr. Caracoles: Oh, I just sell scrap metals... No big deal.

Mr. Caracoles: Do you fancy someone?

Flory: No, I don’t

Mr. Caracoles: Ms. Flory I like you. Can I court you?

Flory: Yes. Of course.

Then eventually the two fell for each other and as the time passed by they got married and had children. Mr. Caracoles got rich.

Matilde : You are mistaken, Osang. This is Mrs. Aragon de Caracoles.

Osang : I cannot be mistaken. She’s Enchang Aragon.

Matilde : I said she’s Mrs. Florencia

Osang : Of course! Florencia Caracoles, but we used to call her Enchang. We were neighbors in Intramuros.

Flor : I beg your pardon? You must be mistaking me for someone else.

Osang : No, I am not. You used to live near the Cathedral, remember? You came here soon after Liberation and borrowed some of
my cardboard to cover your windows. Then you married that Caracoles who made money with the Japs. He sold scrap iron,
remember? They used to call him Juan Demonio, remember?

Flor : I don’t remember any of those silly nonsense.

Osang : Of course, after you were married, you moved away and the last I heard was that you were living on Dewey Boulevard.

Flor : Matilde, I must run along. I have an appointment with the beauty parlor. Send me any number of tickets and I shall send you a
check. Good-bye.
Matilde : Is it true Osang? Are you sure that you are not inventing all this?

Osang : Why should I, señora? I was telling the truth.

Matilde : Did you say her husband collaborated with the Japs?

Osang : I don’t know if you can call it a collaboration, but he sold scrap iron which he used to gather, according to the neighbors,
from the camps burned by the Americans.

Matilde : No wonder she used the word collaboration so often- And you say she used to live in Intramuros?

Osang : Yes, just beside the Cathedral. She stayed there six months, then she married Jaun Demonio, I mean Mr. Caracoles.

Matilde : By the way, I have some bed sheets. I want you to embroider them too.

Osang : You want them finished in one week?

Matilde : No hurry, Osang. Here’s the money for the towels.

Osang : Thank you Señora. I am sorry-I hope I was not rude. You see, I thought Enchang would recognize me.

Matilde : Don’t mention this to anyone.

Osang : I won’t

Matilde : Marilu? Florencia Aragon de Caracoles was here a while ago... Did I convince her? What do you mean some? I am going to
sell her fifty-hear it well-fifty tickets... Why? Well, I can’t tell you over the phone, but we shall call it a mild form of blackmail. If she
refuses, all I have to do is whisper the name Demonio in her ear, and she won’t be able to say no. I know it is sneaky and all that, but
she had it coming to her, for being so pretentious. I’ll call you again.