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Friday, June 11, 2004

Knife-Wielding Maniacs

I was on my way home in a jeep one day when a big, dark and fat guy got on, facing the driver, while I was sitting at the end nearest the passenger exit at the back. I was a bit puzzled at his ragged and stained clothing, but dismissed it thinking he's a butcher or something.

My presumptions were proved wrong when he started talking to nobody in particular, sometimes even cursing to people who hasn't been talking with them. I still gave it no mind thinking he could be harmless.

As I faced his back, he hitched up and scratched his back, exposing a long kitchen knife tucked at the belt of his denim shorts, then pulled his shirt back down over the knife. I realized the stains on his shirt looked more like bloodstains, and they were right over where the knife was hidden.

That's when I turned at the girl seated across me, who was the only other person to see the knife, since everyone else in the jeep was seated between the crazy and the driver. The jeep was only half full, so everyone could afford to sit facing the driver.

I reacted to to the girl's alarmed look on her face by jokingly pretending to jump off the jeep. She smiled, somewhat relieved of some of the tension at the moment. I then texted my friend about the knife wielding crazy in a blood-stained shirt, who in turn quickly replied telling me to get off the jeep. Now. I guess they're afraid the crazy guy would suddenly decide to re-enact a Wasted scene.

I was not that keen on getting off the jeep. Call me silly, but it's because I already paid for my fare and I wanted to get my fare's worth. And also because I'm worried about the other passengers, which included a mother and her toddler son.

I was resolving to get off the jeep only when I'm sure everyone else has gotten off before me and are all safe when my friend called, ordering me to get off the jeep. I tried to protest but they wouldn't hear of it. When the girl across from me saw me call the driver to stop, she quickly moved to get off the jeep herself.

Still worried, I called out to the mother with her toddler to get off the jeep too. The mother just gave me a puzzled look. As we caught another jeep, I voiced my concern for the last 2 passengers with the crazy to the girl who got off the jeep with me. She said she's sure the two would get off themselves soon.

The girl recounted the story to the passengers of the new jeep why we got off practically in the middle of nowhere and transferred to another jeep, telling them about the crazy and his bright orange-handled knife hidden by his bloodstained shirt. I got home uneventfully after that.

Actually, this reminded me of a similar incident...

I was still in college then, and I was also on my way home, only I was riding a bus to San Pablo. The bus broke down so we had to transfer. The conductors was settling payments and figuring out who already paid and who did not when the tow truck came and started hitching up the bus to tow.

The passengers must have been scared getting dragged with the bus by the tow truck or something because they all got off the bus before the conductor was done settling accounts and tickets. Of course he got pissed and told the tow truck guys to at least wait until the passengers have transferred, shouting about the guys being so money hungry that they can't wait to get paid for towing.

I was actually pretty oblivious the whole time, minding my own business and sitting on my pretty little @$$ waiting for the next bus to tansfer to. Until I heard the lady beside me screaming about somebody getting a knife and she's scared for her baby and all. That's when I looked up and almost hit my nose against a bolo knife(itak).

Turned out the shouting match has escalated to something far worse that the tow guys ran to their truck to get their own bolos out so the conductor took out his own(I didn't know until then that most motorists such as they have big-@$$ knives hidden in their vehicles).

I found myself shocked and talking rapidly to the conductor to put his knife away, "MANONG! Itabi n'yo po 'yung itak!"("SIR! Please put the knife away!")

The conductor had fear in his eyes, unsure of what to do, "Aatake na sila e!"("But they're attacking!"). When I looked out of the bus windshield ahead, I saw one of the tow guys angrily running back to the bus, carrying his own itak. the mother beside me screamed and her infant daughter cried.

I turned to the driver and shouted, "Isara n'yo yung pinto!"("Close the doors!")

Man, it was like a freakin' movie. The door sealed shut the exact moment the towguy reached us and brought his itak down, the blade glancing off the metal doors. As the we, people trapped inside the bus(me, the conductor, the driver, the lady and her baby) watched the towguy banging against the door in futility, I quietly asked the conductor to put away his knife, which he was still clutching.

He slowly moved his hand to put it back in its hiding place, while I talked to him in a soft voice the whole time, telling him that they shouldn't get carried away and let such small things lead to too heavy consequences. He was concerned about the towguy still lashing out at the door. I told him his anger will pass when he tires out and regains his senses.

I stood before the door and faced the guy lashing out on the other side. I guess he got embarassed or something because he finally stopped a few moments later, and put his knife down. Barring the entrance I asked the driver to open the doors. Then softly asked the towguy, "Ok na po kayo?"("You ok now, sir?").

He sheepishly bowed his head as I gently joked, "Kayo talaga, tinakot n'yo po kami e!"("You silly, you scared us!") and we laughed as I told him not to do it again. I then told him that they can hitch up the bus after our busguys would see us transferred to another bus.

The towguy was saying the conductor started it calling him names. I said he was just grumpy because his bus broke down(wouldn't you?). I then pointed out to the towguy that the baby was smiling at him(OOOH! Lookie! The baby was smiling at you! Wheeeeee!).

By the time another bus came along for us to transfer to, the towguy was playing and making 'kootchi-koo' noises waving bye-bye to the baby :)

Of course, when I reached home and told the fam about it they all said I was crazy to put myself in danger like that and told me not to do it ever again ;D

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