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HE went just like that. No long goodbyes, no adieux to his readers. Manuel Festin Martinez didn’t exactly endear himself to readers. Their heads are embroiled in the labyrinthine twists and turns of a Kris Aquino’s life, or a breath-taking Vic Sotto-Pia Guanio union.

That guy could get a lot of things for his kind of writing. A lot. Say, get shot. Get sued for libel. Get mauled to an inch of his life. Get threats. Get fixed to shut him up. Get jailed—uh, he was a political detainee in the ancien regime.

His very few friends wish that the chap just get paid for his writings.

He caught me once too buried between a book’s pages so like a lecher lapping in sheer gusto at the coy lips between a maiden’s splayed thighs. I ought to be writing novels, he chided, instead of reading novels.

I’ll come to that, I shot back, and come inside a woman’s downy mound’s silken depths I will.

Unlike Manoling, I’ve never had a liking for the political front. Too tacky. The labor front? Rather toilsome. The waterfront’s simply seedy. The women’s front—ah, luscious!

Rather do erotic than erratic writing and I’m not passing up the chance a book publisher offered me sometime this week.

Isn’t that obscene? Uh, the pay I asked for fits that word. As lewd as howling one’s lungs out to the beloved in a fit of angina: “I love ya majora!”

Our readers hardly misses the guy with the Frontline tombstone. The hits are somewhere, dead smack like a rain of .12 gauge buckshots or a feast of flies on whatever passes as reportage on, say, another Mark Herras-Jennylyn Mercado sex video, if there’s any. Such writing isn’t exactly pap for the mentally challenged—but readers lap up all that hogwash.

A few years back, Bobby T. Capco’s Plain & Simple earned the most hits in the op-ed’s online version. Jojo Acuin’s Oracle plays second fiddle to Capco. Mangkokolum is a near third. Manny’s Frontline isn’t even fifth or sixth.

A fan of this space-filler is a UP Diliman alumnus who was graduated magna cum laude. Another fan is a nuclear physicist. Sala’am at salamat po sa inyong pagtangkilik!

This page ballast won’t be missed, I assure you.

I’ve just got to move on to another job after my contract with this outfit expires on December 31st this year. Yeah, it’s an election year in 2007—snow jobs will also do my pockets nicely.

So suffer me to post this ad for self-aggrandizement: “Dentally deranged multi-awarded professional fictionist-playwright-journalist qua agronomist and short-order cook with 150-170 I.Q. seeks a clutch of writing jobs on the side. Send proposals—decent or otherwise—to tagakataga@yahoo.com.”

There.

Why should I seek ‘em jobs? They ought to seek me.

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