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by Zosimo Quibilan, Jr.

Atan twisted the faucet again. He had been waiting until the line of pails and other plastic containers had extended well into the next block. Still, nothing dripped. Carefully, he ducked and stuck his tongue into the tap, sucking vigorously.

He stood up and clucked and waited again. Before long, the faucet started leaking a yellowish-green liquid. It turned carmine. Then azure.

A boy shouted: Blue! Periwinkle? Like contestants in a TV game show, the people competed by shouting the color of the flow. Vermillion, shouted one. Ebony. Opal. Mauve!

The pail was almost full when the dripping stopped. The line only started to move again after Atan left.

Jopjop, who was next, imitated Atan. He ducked rather eagerly and slipped and slammed on the cracked ground. He was about to stand up when the other people waiting in line jumped and mobbed him. It caused another round of shouting color names. Burnt sienna, screamed one. Virescent. Gun-metal blue, spewed another as if the color were a well-deserved expletive.

Atan was tempted to look back. The vibrant commotion vibrated throughout the neighborhood. Atan whistled as he leisurely strutted home, his steps imitating a metronome. He would stop once in a while to expectorate and swallow, to spit then swallow.

Copyright © 2008 by Zosimo Quibilan, Jr.

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