As I was siting in my spot waiting for the sun to come up, out of nowhere, two tall men arrived. They were in motorcycle masks and gloves (both in black). They were oddly wearing sunglasses. I thought it was a fashion statement. I was so relaxed as I was siting there, resting right after preparing my art materials, beside my Louis Vuitton over-sized paper bag. Man A asked if I was Paul. I answered.
In less than one minute all of this insanity would end.
He grabbed my head and pushed it towards the floor. My chest, front torso, and face were laying in the cobble-stoned floor. I overheard Man B ransacking my bag. I later discovered he took the hongbao (red envelop with money) which was given to me as a gift by a friend, that I intended to bring to the bank later that day. Also, the finished painting in the Louis Vuitton paper bag. While I was laying there frozen with fear, all thoughts ran through my head. Man A put a knife in my left clavicular area, and grabbed my neck tightly with his right hand then uttered "If you don't stop what you're doing, we will kill you" in the vernacular.
Afterwards, both stormed off, not before Man A registered his footprint in the canvas on the floor beside me. Meanwhile, I continued to lay there catatonic, like a spastic victim of pimp violence. For like three minutes, which felt like an hour, my mental capacity was in full throttle. Grateful and fearful. Grateful that I was still alive, fearful that they might come back.
I gathered my stuff quickly, forgetting my obsessive compulsiveness, not bothering to check if I left anything, I quickly hailed a cab and went home. As the sunlight was on its way, and the cabbie drove towards home, I felt like I've just been in a Kurosawa film scene. I saw blood staining my shirt, coming out from both of my elbows. It was crazy as fuck! I checked my bag and saw everything was there minus the hongbao. My Louis Vuitton paper bag was damaged. The finished painting was stolen.
Later that morning I was on my to the hospital, after taking a bath, I felt a huge pain in my neck and head. I decided to visit the hospital, no need to worry about costs anyway since my job thankfully provides me with good health insurance.
On my way to Makati Medical Center, I thought what and who was behind all of this? I knew it wasn't my August painting from last year that depicted Mohammad, Jesus, and other gods, in an orgy that infuriated them, I mean probably, how could I discount their motives? This was obviously a hate-crime. I thought maybe it was my association with some agrarian rights activists from the north that did it. Perhaps, this was a fascist attack. Perhaps, it was an anti-Semitic attack? Perhaps, an Anti-Zionist attack? Who knows? The freakiest thing was that they knew my name and took my painting, I mean why? Am I totally being random here or what? Am I totally being a neurotic slutty speculator here or what?
In the emergency room, I told my story. The doctors and nurses were very helpful. They gave painkillers for my head. Not surprisingly, they radiographically examined my neck and head just to be sure there wasn't gonna be any permanent damage done to my head. Once I was nauseous and a bit dizzy, I had a hypochondriac attack! I thought I was gonna be one of those people in sensationalist news reports wherein a child gets a seemingly innocent bump in the head as a 7-year old and wakes one day, in the midst of a successful and happy family a suburban classic yuppie in his 30s, comatose after leaning. Then the discovery of that crack that was left unchecked from yesteryear.
Objectively, this was an attack designed and perpetrated to deter me from being who I am, to silence me, to stifle me, to neutralize me, to normalize me. Well, I only know one way of living, and that is in being the best and doing what I think is right, is necessary, is civilized, er go, no quitting. After all, I'm no quitter.
Yesterday, I visited the crime scene to take pictures and to put this episode in the past, to move on. Remembering only the lessons of that attack. To live the extra mile. I have a new lease on life. I want the world to know that this has happened to me. I'm not a sadist to keep this to myself and allow a cycle of victimization-in-perpetuity to run its course.