This semester I have become a branded man. Our Computerized Registration System (CRS) says so. I am now consigned to a special penal colony called MLL 203: Teaching Communication Arts. Fortunately for me, I am in good company.
One is a recidivist whose harrowing experiences in two MLL penal colonies have recently caused his adrenalin bursting, sending his academic juices to the heavenly heights, and gaining inspiration to write a rumored 800-page memoir which is now under review by the high chief of penology, the great DLT himself who is on furlough in the Amazon hacking his way to the Temple of Tomes. With such a distinguished career in gaol (no, friends in Alab, that doesn't sound like "sheol," but "jail"), and being a hulking balbas sarado, he could be easily mistaken as the prison mayor, but no. He had suggested that I take the position by virtue of seniority, which, of course, gave me unceasing fear and trembling being a newbie in the penal business.
Then, as if, on cue, some jailbird swinging from grapevine-bar to grapevine-bar whispered to me that the selda mayor is actually a she-who-knows-me who certainly cannot be named except for her initials, K.W. -- as in, well, "Kristina Wood." But for now she has to manage the bullpen via remote control as she has been granted parole for some junket abroad.
We share the can with five other inmates. Two of them are members of the Literati whose collective pledge is to not withhold secrets. One of them, by the way was midway into proclaiming "Estamos de luna de miel!" when she was nabbed by some literatinazis who decided that a semester-long torment in our hole was more than enough to set her straight. Two others are also first-time jailbirds who were initially uneasy ala Glaspell's canary but now seem to be getting the hang (or knot?) of it (or of the idea that they're gonna get hanged at the end of or as part of their ordeal).
A media practitioner also happens to be part of the gang. Being with a giant TV network, he is sure to keep tabs on any human and non-human interest story swirling in the cell and around its immediate vicinity. It would make it doubly hard, however, to hatch an escape plan ala Shawshank Redemption because this otherwise amiable broadcaster would have broken the details to Imbestigador before we could even begin chipping away bits of concrete.
The warden? Well, he is fresh from his intermittent tour of duty in Diliman where he earned his fourth star, PhD in Philippine Studies. And being known as a church guy, he might just do a good job in this attempt at reforming us sinner-scholars and save us yet from the hands of the angry gods and goddesses. But pastor or no pastor, who knows what he will do should he find us beyond redemption. For hell hath no fury like a warden scorned. (sms)