Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Pen Pen De Sarapen

(Because I realized that I forgot to include one character in the script, I’ve re-written this episode. Those who have read it before can spot the difference. Those who haven’t, well, enjoy. I hope.)

* * * * *

The man at the Front Desk of the Manila Peninsula saw the group of fatigue-clad men charging towards him. He suppressed his instinct of raising one eyebrow; he has become quite good at that gesture, by the way. But as he assessed the situation, he realized that a professionally executed eyebrow-raise wouldn’t have any effect on these soldiers. Instead he performed a crisp salute.

“Good morning! How may I help you?” Front Desk asked politely as one of them, a serious looking man who was not in uniform approached him and returned his salute.

“I’m Thrillanez,” he said. “Me and my men need a room.”

Front Desk didn’t want to be impolite, but he couldn’t keep from staring at the man right behind Thrillanez. The man was wearing what obviously was a hideously used mop on his head.

“Right,” said Front Desk, eventually tearing his eyes off the man’s mop top. “Have you a reservation?”

“No,” Thrillanez replied.

“Riiight,” said Front Desk. “Okay, we have this room on the second floor—”

“We’ll take it,” Thrillanez said.

“We will need a deposit, sir. Will that be cash or charge?”

Thrillanez stared back at him.

“Will that be cash or charge, sir?” repeated Front Desk.

Thrillanez stared still.

How will you pay, sir? Cash or charge?” asked Front Desk.

A slight quiver crossed Thrillanez’s eyebrows. Then he replied: “Whateber.”

And he walked off and proceeded to the second floor, followed by his entourage.

As they passed him, Front Desk couldn’t help himself. “Must be very windy outside, eh?” he asked the man with the wig. The man didn’t even break his stride.

* * * * *

Front Desk saw a woman approach. She wore a short mannish hair-do, the kind that screams “Lesbo!” even if the owner isn’t.

“Where’s Thrillanez?” she asked brusquely.

“He’s in the second floor, ma’am,” Front Desk answered politely.

“I will go to him!” the woman turned around, ready to walk up the stairs.

“Er, ma’am?! Ma’am!” Front Desk called her back. “I’m sorry but they’re not to be disturbed.”

“What?! Of course I can go in!” shouted the woman. “Don’t you know who I am?”

“Actually yes—” Front Desk began, but she cut him off.

“I am Bilet Reyna!” Her voice echoed across the grand lobby. Several hotel patrons paused and turned to stare at her. “I am an award-winner! I am a popular comedienne! I am a woman! I survived breast cancer! I’d rather die here than die of cancer!”

“And I think you’re not funny anymore,” said Front Desk. “Your humor is as flat as your ch—”

“In here, Bilet!” Thrillanez called out from the second floor. “We’re billeted in here!”

Bilet threw a furious glance at Front Desk and then walked off.

* * * * *

Then a man ran up to the front desk of the hotel. “Puff! Puff! Where’s Thrillanez?”

Front Desk sighed. “They’re all upstairs, Father. Don’t tell me; you’d rather die with them, right?”

The man kept running in place. “Yes! We’re here to call on the illegitimate president to step down and let us take over!”

“Really, Father?” Front Desk asked. “You’ve been saying that for years now.”

“It is what’s right,” puffed the priest.

Front Desk raised his eyebrow. “You keep running to all these political activities. Why don’t you just run for office instead?”

The priest stopped in his tracks.

“Oh never mind,” Front Desk sighed.

* * * * *

A few hours later, with a glass door smashed down and tear gas all over the lobby, Thrillanez and company faced the cameras of the media who were still with them.

Bilet spoke first. “We would like to thank the media. Despite being asked to leave, they stuck by us to protect us from the police.”

“No we didn’t,” said one of the reporters. “We’re just doing our job.”

“Yes you did,” snapped Bilet.

“No we didn’t.”

“Yes, you did!”

No we didn’t.”

Yes, you did!

“Whateber!” Thrillanez butted in, ending the argument. Then he faced the other members of the media. “See how this illegitimate government will do anything and everything to stay in power?! They used excessive force!”

“Isn’t taking over our hotel excessive too?” asked Front Desk. “Why can’t you just take over the Senate or something? Why use our hotel?”

“Have you seen the insides of that aging Senate building lately?” snapped Thrillanez.

“Well, have you?” Front Desk snapped back.

“Huuu-whaaat?!” yelled Mars Magpayo, the woman whose wedding was interrupted by the take-over. She charged at Thrillanez. “You mean to tell me you just wanted a better interior design for your putsch?! Anaknam-putsch-a!

“Stay out of this!” Thrillanez yelled at her.

“Stay out of my wedding reception!” she yelled back.

“Stay out of things beyond you, missy,” former Vice Prez Guing-gone-na butted in.

You just stay out, has-been!” she retorted, dagger-eyes flashing.

“I think we should all stay out of here,” said Front Desk, as the tear gas floated upstairs.

“We will leave!” said Thrillanez. “As soon as the tear gas clears.”

“Why wait?” sniffed Ms. Magpayo, who will wait one more day as a “miss”.

“We won’t look good on TV if we’re squinting and teary-eyed,” said Thrillanez.

And eyes rolled.


AJ of said...

Panalo si Front Desk! lalo na yung sa "have you seen the senate building chenelar?"

pogi kaya siya?

Mugen said...


cant_u_read said...

i-cast mo ko dito pag ginawang musical ha? o kahit na straight play, ok rin. pag pelikula, i wanna play the front desk role. i won't let u down, i promise.

p.s. may time ka nang magsulat ng mahabang blog, in fairness. mag-comment ka na sa Bangkok Love Story Ep, nagtatampo na si dan sa yo! hehehe!

ponch said...

hahaha! ang galing! ;D

cant_u_read said...

vying for best cameo si vice prez? asa pa!

joelmcvie said...

@AJ: Truth be told, I had Mariano Andres Garchitorena, director of public relations of Manila Peninsula, in mind when I was writing Mr. Front Desk. I saw him on TV, and he is this very mestizo guy with a genuine Spanish accent (he rolled his "r's" so effortlessly). But after I finished writing it, I realized he could be played by other guys, like...

@RYE: Yes, you can play Front Desk! I can see you in the role. Most of the acting will be done by your eyebrows and the corners of your mouth. =)

AJ of said...

ay I saw him on TV din. Hotness si fafa! yumyum!

Thumper Art said...

hi mcvie.... HAHAHAHAHA!!!

okay. i do apologize but i emailed your twist on the manila pen siege to mariano (garchitorena) and he's rolling with laughter... :-)

ahluvit!!! :-)

Nelson said...

Your blog entry is being passed around by email brigade (I just got one). Naku, mas sisikat ka na! Wag mo kaming kalimutan pag me nag-offer sa iyong magsaulat sa mga major dailies! ;-)

pat said...

the front desk person must be gay. kaloka siya.

nice story.

fish said...

i would rather believe this version of what may have transpired