Jessica and I knew that Ella was a tad disappointed (though she would not admit it) that it was Ned (nice and good-looking as he was) instead of Carlo that we got to sit with her during Jessica’s birthday treat in Earthling.
Jessica and I were exchanging text messages just about that one day when we decided on the spot (and unknown to Ella) to drop by Earthling that night to “reserve” Carlo in advance for Jessica’s Christmas treat a few weeks later.
So there we were, the two giggly girls minus our brave general back in what was starting to feel like good ol’ Earthling. We were there so early too, just about 9 in the evening. Jess and I were timid about entering but after much hesitation, we braved it and proceeded to fulfill our mission.
I was fully conscious that with Ella not with us, it was my time to step up to the plate and “take care” of Jess. Between Jess and me, I was supposed to be “braver” or at least for that night’s mission I was.
Jess and I were right that were no customers yet in Earthling. It was bare. The floor manager we knew, Pipay, was not there as well. Another floor manager, Ruffa, talked to us and asked what we wanted.
As Jess and I agreed upon, we first inquired about the VIP room. We requested to see Earthling’s V.I.P. room and inquired about the rates. Ruffa ushered us to a tiny room in a tiny hallway (keyword: tiny). When Ruffa turned on the lights, he was partly jolted. Apparently, the light switch was grounded. Jess and I stifled a giggle as Ruffa was shocked and felt that he was nearly electrocuted.
The VIP room Ruffa showed us was no beauty. It was a tiny, congested room with a couch and table. The aircon was not even working. Hmm. Maybe the VIP room’s temperature would encourage the dancer or both the dancer and client to get undressed.
Jessica was creeped out by the VIP room’s appearance. We were talking to Ruffa along the hallway since the show hasn’t even started yet and it was very hot inside Earthling itself. A dancer in street clothes with a knapsack slung on his black walked in. It was Ramon.
I barely recognized Ramon. If Ruffa didn’t point out that it was Ramon passing by, I wouldn’t have looked twice. Ramon, in his striped big shirt and denim board shorts (more like capri pants since it stopped at an odd angle on his legs and made him look shorter), was far from the Ramon I remember. Definitely, Ramon looked better in a partially dark room than in a well-lit one. He looked like a twelve-year old adolescent in his street clothes and sneakers.
Jess and I greeted Ramon and he stood next to Ruffa while we tried to verbalize our purpose for dropping by Earthling so early that night. I was in charge so I told Ruffa we wanted to ask about reserving a dancer.
Ruffa interpreted reserving to mean that we wanted to take a dancer out of Earthling with us. Ruffa started giving us quotes on bar fine rates. Ramon was next to Ruffa the entire time. His face betrayed emotion but I wondered then if Ramon thought it was him that Jess and I were inquiring about.
I clarified that no, Jess and I were not asking about bar fine. Jess didn’t even know at that point what bar fine meant and looked lost. I hurriedly explained to Ruffa (with Ramon listening) that we wanted to make sure Carlo sits with Ella on a certain date and that was what we meant by “reserve.”
Unfortunately, Carlo has not been going to Earthling for a while already. Ruffa suggested that Jess and I wait another half hour in case Carlo shows up that night. Ruffa further suggested that in case Carlo is not available, we could get Colby instead. Being the always ready floor manager that he is, Ruffa whipped out his mobile phone and showed us a picture of Colby.
Ruffa also assured Jess and me that Colby and Carlo are known as the two Earthlings with the best bodies. Unfortunately, Colby’s picture was not at all enticing. Jess and I shared a look and thought Ella might not be pleased with Colby. And it is our goal to surprise and please Ella come our Christmas get-together.
Ramon assured us that Ella would like Colby if Carlo is unavailable. I told Ramon that Colby seems pale in the photo Ruffa showed us. Ella doesn’t like men who are fairer than she is. Ramon assured me that Colby is not paler or fairer than Ella.
Ruffa asked for my or Jess’s mobile number so we can communicate in case Carlo and Colby both do not show up. Jess and I were ready for that. Jess had a prepaid number that very few people knew about so she gave Ruffa that number.
Since Ramon was in front of us already and after Jess and I discussed that she will request Ramon to join her again the night of the Christmas get-together, we already told Ruffa and Ramon that Ramon too is someone we will reserve. Ramon nodded, unsmiling.
Getting more and more used to being the spokesperson, I told Ramon what Jess wanted to happen. I told Ramon that Jess is allergic to perfume and would prefer that he doesn’t spray too much. Last time, Jess apparently didn’t appreciate that Ramon was reeking of strong perfume when he returned to our table after his dance number (I was too loaded with alcohol then to notice). Ramon again nodded his understanding.
Ramon seemed very helpful even in his sartorially challenged state (sorry, Ramon, I just thought you knew how to style yourself better). He suggested that Jess and I look at the other dancers, too, so we could pick a back-up to reserve for Ella in case both Carlo and Colby fail to show up that night. We agreed.
Jess and I remained standing in the hallway while Ramon went inside, presumably to assemble the dancers in the aquarium for Jess and I to look at. Jess and I were chatting while Ruffa went elsewhere first when Ramon returned. I thought Ramon returned to tell us that we can now take a peek at the aquarium but no, that was not it at all.
Ramon returned with about seven boys in tow, still clad in their street garments and holding their shirts raised above their tummies. It so happened that Jess and I told Ramon that Ella liked Carlo in the first place because of Carlo’s toned abdomen.
Faced with seven men two feet in front of us with their shirts raised, Jess pushed me in front of her. I was a tad shocked myself that Ramon led a parade of Earthlings instead of taking us to the aquarium but I bravely put my game face on. I took a step forward, shielding Jess behind me and asked the boys to please put their shirts down. Ruffa returned then too and stepped in. Soon enough, the Earthlings left for their dressing room.
None of the boys Ramon brought out were the type Ella would be pleased to sit with in any case. It had to be Carlo otherwise the night would have been wasted for Jess and me. Colby? We had to see him first to see if his photos did not do him justice.
Jess and I took Ruffa’s suggestion to wait half an hour for either or both Carlo and Colby. The place was still bare and quite hot as Jess and I sat in our regular spot. We didn’t order drinks since we were just waiting for Carlo and Colby.
Jess seemed a little strange that night. I wasn’t sure if it was because we were there without Ella and so early at that. Or maybe she was still nursing a shock over the parade that Ramon caused us to witness. Ramon, though, complimented Jess by saying that she looks prettier without her glasses. Jess did not seem pleased with Ramon’s comment.
Apparently, the parade was not yet over. Ramon, still in his street clothes and looking every bit an adolescent, pulled out to the stage one of the Earthlings he brought out in the parade earlier. This guy, Jonas, was already in his leopard printed bikini briefs as he posed in front of Jess and me. Jess and I again nearly choked laughing. Jonas is a lanky moreno with less than average looks. His projected self-confidence though seemed immense.
While the people were setting up, getting dressed or otherwise as Jess and I sat there waiting for Carlo and Colby, Jonas again made several appearances. Jess and I definitely noticed Jonas when he tried to practice dancing onstage in his leopard printed bikini briefs sans music. Also when Jonas walked by, looking at us pointedly.
Jess and I were curious why Jonas was already dressed while Ramon and the rest were still in their street clothes. Maybe Jonas is an early bird.
Ruffa joined Jess and me as we waited. We told Ruffa we were worried that Carlo and Colby won’t show up. Ruffa told us to pick a third choice. Jess and I noticed a muscular looking dark man in an orange shirt and we pointed him out to Ruffa. We asked if we could see that person maybe through the aquarium so we could gauge if we would like to reserve him if Carlo doesn’t show up.
Ruffa looked at the man Jess and I were motioning to and was shocked. Apparently, the man in orange was Earthling’s Officer-In-Charge. He’s part of management and not among those available to clients. Jess and I giggled again. It was just like the famous joke wherein a customer randomly points to a foreign sounding word listed in a menu. Apparently, the customer tried to order the restaurant manager; it was the manager’s name that he/she pointed to.
Jess was getting restless. When Ramon passed by again, he asked how we were. I suggested maybe he can talk to Jess a bit and cheer her up. Ramon set next to Jess and tried to chitchat with her.
Ruffa came by lugging a dark model a while later. Ruffa introduced the model as Lito. Lito stuck his hand out for a handshake. Jess shook her head and clearly indicated through her actions that she does not want to shake hands. Jess’s mobile phone rang right then and she ran outside to answer it. Lito looked at me and stuck his hand out for a handshake. I took it and said hi. I have no problem shaking hands be it with the President or a dancer or whoever.
Jess later told me that she found Lito aggressive with that handshake he wanted to initiate. I don’t share the same opinion though. It was okay for me. Maybe I’m just more used to shaking hands?
When Jess and I passed by the aquarium again, we saw a dancer seated in front of a chessboard. Jess thought the dancer’s profile seemed okay. Ruffa brought him out and introduced him as Aljur. Aljur was pasty white, petite and had a nice smile. He had a nice face, too. Like Lito, Aljur wanted to shake hands with both Jess and me. Jess this time blatantly said “no!” to Aljur. I shook his hand and told him we’ll keep him in mind.
We were in Earthling for almost an hour that night yet no Carlo and no Colby either. Looks like they chose that night of all nights to be absent.
The program was already starting by then. A boy was already onstage dancing. I whispered to Jess that the boy must be new because he seemed to be scratching himself rather than moving his arms gracefully. Jess was beside herself with laughter when I labeled the dancer “Boy Kamot” (One who scratches himself). If I remember correctly, that dancer even scratched his back at some point during his number.
That night, Jess and I discussed the real reason why she chose Banjo the last time we were in Earthling. Jess admitted that when she went for a trip to the aquarium by herself, Pipay ushered in the dancers inside. Pushing ensued and Banjo tripped as a result. That caused Jess to laugh and notice him. Hence, Banjo was picked. I laughed after hearing that story. I told Jess we can secretly call Banjo “Boy Tisod” (the one who tripped). Jess and I had one too many giggle fests that night.
Unfortunately, Carlo and Colby were no-shows. Ruffa assured as that should Carlo show up later after we left, he would inform us via text message to Jess if the reservation has been made.
Jess and I left a nearly empty Earthling, giggling to ourselves over “Boy Tisod”, “Boy Kamot” and the parade Ramon causes us to witness, Jonas’s repeated individual parade in particular.
We kept our fingers crossed that the Carlo reservation will work out.