Third Zone by Boboy Yonzon
Third Zone


Feb 13, 2023, 6:42 AM
Boboy Yonzon

Boboy Yonzon


Marina’s elder brother, Teroy, was our driver for more than 15 years. We hired him as a messenger until he rose to become a driver. He was able to build a house and buy himself a tricycle. He was sharp and trustworthy. But he was matulis. Much married to a second wife, with children, he got one of the helpers pregnant. We later learned, so clueless of us, he had affairs with numerous ladies in our crew. We lost him when he had to go into hiding because the husband of one of his girls went to our house with a gun hunting for him.

Meanwhile, we heard that Marina and her husband, Monching, were getting in debt. For what reason, I do not know. They came to us borrowing a huge sum but, based on experience, you know it is money you would rather say goodbye to. Besides, the wife has been inviting Marina to come back and work for us, but she has been snubbing this. Believing in the saying “teach one to catch a fish,’ we hired her husband to do paint jobs for us. So I had to think of work for him to do. Spanning a number of years, he did the Vigan chairs, the front door, the ceiling, the stairwell, the basement, our bedrooms, the garage, other natural color wooden furniture, and so on – practically everything that could be painted or varnished in the house.

Monching was a good painter. Malinis gumawa. But I discovered, through the course of his work, that he did not know how to mix colors! One time, we had to put aside (waste) two big cans of good paint because he got the hue of blue for the office wrong. Hmmm. That was why he couldn’t get the olive green for our room right.

Every time Monching reported for work, his daughter had to be with him. That was Marina’s way of getting him home sober. You could glean that he was a responsible father. Somewhat. When he did not come for work, you can be sure that he had a hangover. Nakatakas na naman. He started to report at 10a.m. and go home at 3p.m. So, if a job stretches for two or three weeks, you do not only feel you are shortchanged, you feel cheated.

Monching was the epitome of vale, the bane of people who hires people. As sure as the sun rises in the East, he will make vale on a Monday or Tuesday and tells you to deduct it from his wages on Saturday. On Saturday, he will tell you, with his dog eyes, huwag nyo na muna ibawas, boss, kailangan ko. But just to send your message across, you deduct a fraction of what he owes you. Come Monday, he will make vale a bigger amount than what you deducted. And because you want to understand and to help and avert what could be a real emergency in their household, you become a willing party to this vicious cycle.

As they say in television talk shows: Naubusan na po tayo ng oras.

We take a stand
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