A man wakes up before the world does and searches for his slippers in the darkness of his hut. His name is Lucio and he is tired. Tired of having to wake up in the ungodly hours of each morning, and tired of having to find his goddamned slippers when he knows they will only get tainted by the wet white sands that surround his domain.
Lucio is a hardworking man, but to be hardworking, he needs his slippers.
Asa man to napadpad akong tsinelas, gi-atay ba oy —
An obnoxious rooster crow fills Lucio’s ears and he winces at the idea of having to cope with more of that the moment he leaves his hut. He’s no sabongero, but his neighbor Armando is.
Piste Armando, learn how to tame your cock.
Lucio finds his slippers and stumbles his way out of the darkness. He manages to find his flashlight, which needs a good whacking before it could work properly.
Whack whack. It flickers and goes out.
Whack whack. It stays on for a moment, then goes out.
Whack whack amidst swear words. It lights up the whole hut.
Lucio heads out into the cold air and rooster crows. He picks up his moldy sweater from the porch and puts it on, ready for another day.
The sea was calmer than usual, Lucio noticed. Too calm, that he felt that getting his bangka to the water would wake up the whole town — residents and all, man and animal, dead and alive. Initially he thought that the silence was because he was the first to arrive at the beach, but later on he realized that the eerie hush of everything was because…
It was as if the town of Burgos had been gagged and knocked out.