Saturday, November 26, 2022

Teddy

He was known in the social media world as Teddy Faux, and one wouldn’t mistake his appearance: a rounded face with squinted eyes and a huge grin every time he posted his vlogs on YouTube.

Recent events uplifted his chest since his trusted patron won. Without their patron and each other’s support, they would never win and get to manipulate the masses as they were intended to. His commentaries on YouTube were meant to appease not just his companions, but all the others who were either ignorant or uneducated enough to realize the words coming out of his toothy lips.

Still, living in luxury was the best thing there is. He lived in a well-furbished apartment room where he was able to upload many of his genuinely biased opinions. The money he earned was more than enough for him to quit from his old job and compensate for both his necessities as well as the expenses for his residence. As he enjoyed the small glass of whiskey in his hand, Teddy strode across the tiled floor and went to the balcony overlooking the big metropolitan city before him. He smiled to himself, knowing that his years of endorsing his patron brought him to this high position in society. Even though he admired the smooth pressing of his shorts and white T-shirt, the attire reminded him of the years in which they were dirty with mud while he was huddled in the dark corners of the same metropolis before him. At that moment, the whiskey in his throat got bitter when he mistook it for sewage water, prompting him to spit it out while the aftertaste of the liquid remained. His teeth smirked at the glass surface while his right fist squeezed it.

When he went back inside, he turned to his laptop computer and checked on his YouTube page which was named “The Teddy-torials.” He shook his head while laughing softly as he saw the number of views on his latest vlog. The video had more than a hundred thousand views within half an hour. He couldn’t help but laugh at the “fools” who believed him. The term pertained to both his subscribers and viewers since they made him a lot richer by the day than what they earn through hard work for a long time. After scrolling through his YouTube account, he opened his bank account and found a deposit of a hundred thousand pesos. When he got back to his feet, he strode into the two bedrooms of his apartment. Both rooms had a king-sized bed with well-pressed bedsheets. He recalled the time when he had to lay down on a hard-surfaced rug that stung his skin. Whenever he laid the rug on the cemented floor, his eyes would fill with tears, swearing to bring himself he would get out of his hard predicament. His consciousness told him: This wasn’t just meant for me. This was for my family…

His eyes widening, he ran back to his couch where his laptop rested on the low coffee table facing the flat-screened television. Opening his Facebook account, he typed his son’s name and found it at once. He saw his eldest son arm-in-arm with a fine young woman in some sidewalk he couldn’t recognize. As he scrolled his son’s posted photos, his lips thinned when he didn’t find any picture with him on it. When he found yet another picture of his two sons, he muttered “bastard” when he read the photo’s caption: Dreams come true when you work hard for them. At the same time, his sons were lucky they weren’t here in the country to remind them of his sacrifices and everything he had done for their sake. His heart beat with disappointment at the audacity of his two sons since they supported another person contrary to his patron. Logging out from his account, he got back to his kitchen and poured another glass full of whiskey. After a quick gulp, he drank another glass before returning to his couch. He switched on the television just in time for the noontime newscast in which his patron was the center of attention. He nodded in response, knowing how he and his companions enabled their patron to win through social media. As he watched, the news suddenly turned to some news about a woman who was allegedly murdered for speaking against the local official in their community. His heart sank when the scene turned to a facade of a funeral parlor. The edifice reminded him of his wife who succumbed to a heart attack and multiple organ failure, partly because of his quarrel with his own children over differences in the political beliefs. Months after her tragic demise, the sons fled abroad away from their father whom they blamed for their beloved mother’s death.

Sensing the heaviness in his chest, he turned off the television as his eyes grew wet with tears. As he observed the white and gray walls of his apartment, he experienced another sting within himself. He opened the pictures folder on his laptop and saw the pictures stored in it. Unlike his son’s Facebook account in which he had no picture, this one had numerous photographs of him and their whole family together. He covered his mouth with his left hand as he opened the pictures one by one, each revealing a happy face. He closed his teary eyes and shook his head: Had I really cast my own family aside for all this? This was supposed to be for them. For us. I only supported my patron so that I could free my family from poverty. But not at this expense, at least.

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Even as he contemplated, his wife from the grave and his two children from abroad seemed to say otherwise: This was your fault. You were the reason why our family grew apart.

Without warning, he heard a buzz that took him out of his stupor. Following the sound, he found his phone ringing by the table lamp near his bed. Snatching it, he found a mobile number he recognized at once.

“Hello?” Teddy began.

“You saw the news and the money we brought you?” the caller inquired, its voice rather hoarse.

“Yes.” he answered “I’ll be uploading another one by tomorrow morning.”

“Good.” the caller responded “Keep up the good work.” Before Teddy could continue, the caller hung up.

Taking a deep breath, he took the phone with him back to the coffee table with the laptop. Returning to the pictures folder, he deleted them all at once as he took another deep breath. As he saw the pictures be deleted before him, Teddy only knew one person was to blame for all this: Himself.

Rodino Encarnacion
Rodino Encarnacion is an aspiring writer who likes to write poems and short stories. Inspired by numerous works, he hopes to convey his sentiments through literary works based on his everyday life.

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