Lemon Juice

Because we are all catalysts of each other's creativity. This page features works of those who in some way, found something to react about in any of the pocket stories published in the main page.

A story creates another story.

This is how the world works.

If you have any bursting violent reactions, send it to writepenwrite@gmail.com and it shall be published, with permission of course.


by Alex Uypuanco
in response to Premonition

At the sound of wham! she turned away and buried her hands under the pillow.

She would have imagined, if she could imagine, the warmth of summer on her hands. Somehow, sunlight was in her mind. The first rays of the morning sun always brought on a fit of giggles. It was safe. It was light.

At the sound of bam! she wiggled her legs under her soft blanket.

She would have thought, if she could think, of comfort. Or the idea of it. Of being enveloped in quiet with only yourself and the sounds only she could make. And understand. There was quiet under her blanket. Always quiet.

At the sound of nooooo! she put the bolster over her ears.

She would have felt, if she knew what feeling was, the sound of the waves on a windy afternoon. And the fresh scent of brine that always tickled her nose. She loved being carried in loving arms to the edge of the ocean. She could see as far as she wanted. If she could see.

When the sounds stopped, she closed her eyes and a tear starts to fall.

She would have said, if she could talk, “No more, papa! No more, pleeeeease!” But she was only two years old and only her mama could talk.

At least after papa was done being angry.


by Alex Uypuanco
in response to Ga

Okay, this is going to be another one of those stories that are important to no one else but the guy who tells it. Another day, another story. Sort of like same shit, different day. But what the hell, my mom used to say that I couldn’t keep my mouth shut so I’m just being true to my nature.

My name is Martin Ozoa, thirty-six years old and I live in Manhattan. Or around Manhattan anyway. I do hedge-funds management and on Sundays, I write.

I’m Filipino. Cebuano actually and I’ve lived in New York five years. Twelve years total in the US of A. A long time for a boy from a small town in Cebu. I grew up there but ended up here. And it’s about “there” that I think about on Sundays. After I do the week’s laundry, that is.

I live alone and I guess I’m used to it. Have to if you’re in Manhattan. There’s a word for Manhattan and that word is “impersonal”. We’re all just staying for the money here. Friends (and lovers) come and go. Kinda like the people that go through the revolving doors at my office building.

So it’s another Sunday and here I am in the park as usual. A thermos of coffee and a cheap laptop from China in tow and I’m ready to go. Writing is sort of like a religion to me. Good for my soul. Keeps me out of mischief. And, it is a Sunday and I like watching ducks on a pond. (Yeah, right!)

Lots of people in the park on a Sunday. Lots of kids, dogs, frisbees, bicycles, girls in short shorts, varying musicians, Sunday athletes, girls in short shorts, balloons, ducks, and girls in short shorts!

I’m sitting here on my usual Sunday Bench thinking about what to think about. I mostly look around and hope something catches my eye that causes the synapses to snap. And then I think of Tonying. Or, more correctly, the memory of him just invaded my mind. Mine is not to reason why, mine is just to write and, well, the last word is “die” but I don’t feel like dying today so Tonying it is.

Tonying was this old man back in my home town. No one knew where he came from. He just kinda showed up one day and never left. He was maybe sixty when I met him. I myself was eighteen at that time. Studying at a university in the city and would only be a returning weekend warrior to my hometown. (You gotta replenish the cash and mom and dad lived full time in the old town so there you go.)

There was nothing truly remarkable about Tonying. Like I said, he showed up in town one day and just kinda made himself useful in the public market. Sort of like a general handyman at sixty. Tonying could do a lot. He could do small electrician stuff. General carpentry. And was known to carry someone’s heavy basket for loose change. He kept to himself but had a round or two of rhum with friends at times. He was always polite but never too polite. He smiled but no one ever heard him laugh. No one ever heard him get angry or anything close to angry either. He lived alone in a makeshift hut by the creek and was always clean. On Sundays, he’d be the first in church. Then he’d be back in the public market making himself useful again. Same shit, different day, seven days a week but you get the feeling that Tonying didn’t know the meaning of a shitty day and that was comforting.

Which brings me to why he entered my mind. Like I said, there was nothing remarkable about Tonying. He was about as average an old man as old men can be. Nothing spectacular or peculiar about his looks. He never dropped any philosophical bombs or anything like that. Everyone liked him but, then again, there wasn’t anything about him not to like. Or to hate. What was remarkable though was how the whole town took to him! And took to him is an understatement.

From Mayor Aldanese to Father Lim. From the spinster teachers to the town flirts. Even Karyo, who was as close to a gangland boss as you can get in a small town, seemed different with Tonying. None of the gruff and rough from Karyo that you’d expect. Tonying got a sort of kindness from Karyo. The old man seemed to bring out the generous in everyone in my small town. Even from me.

Here’s where we talk about “small” towns. A lot of people get this notion of an idyllic place where everyone knows everyone else, that people are neighbourly and ready to help. A somewhere where flowers bloom bright and animals graze and all that. There are animals alright and not all of them the four-legged kind. There were some kids my age then that I would have loved to hack to pieces. Maybe I’d still want to if I meet them in some dark alley now. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you don’t come from a small town, you think there’s a whole lot of love going around but, if you’ve ever spent half a life in some place like that, you know that there’s a lot of hate, too! Think dysfunctional family to the nth degree.

Now here’s the rub, all sorts of hate kinda disappeared when we get to how the whole damn town took to Tonying. As far as I could tell, no one seemed to have anything to even think against him. Everyone treated him like, well, like family. Or how I think family should treat family. Hell, if he ran for mayor, you get the feeling that he would win and win big.

I like the feeling of family, I guess. Mine was normal, I suppose. Strange at times but normal. And here I am, in Manhattan on a Sunday, looking at ducks and thinking of Tonying and family.

I haven’t been back to my town in a lot of years. I suppose Tonying would be worm bait by now. Maybe I should have been friendlier to him when I had the chance but that’s for another Sunday. Maybe what I should do is go back and pay the town a surprise visit. Be a no one from nowhere and just show up. Maybe that’d be family.

Like I said, nothing new in this story. Nothing life changing. Just a man, locked in a strange world, looking at ducks and girls in short shorts and thinking of family.

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