Today, we hunt the elusive monster, Dr. Dog. I haven’t seen Dr. Dog but the older kids, including John and Orland, warn me that the beast can eat us raw.
“Tsssk,” a heavy-boned, light-skinned boy of thirteen mimics static noise as he presses a cassette tape player to his mouth. “John to Orland, over.”
At John’s heels, eight year olds Ivan and I shuffle. Twigs crunch under our feet, mud clings on our rubber flip-flops. Behind Ivan and me, Orland crouches forward and presses the second cassette tape player to his mouth. “Orland to John, copy.”
“Do you have the whip?”
“Got the whip,” Orland says, “Over.” Orland holds one end of a thick twig the length of a ruler. On the other end of the twig, Orland nailed a black, long, springy telephone cord that bounces in the air as he moves the stick around.
“All right, good. Now onto our search for Dr. Dog,” John says, “We’ll find that monster.”
My eyes dart from side to side. Every rustle of a grass blade sounds like a guttural roar, every tooth-edged leaf looks like a furry claw, and every twitch of a vine feels like an impending attack. I wait for a bear-size man with canine fangs, yellow eyes, a long wet nose and a black shiny stethoscope to jump out of the banana trees.
“Hoy,” a shrill, high-pitched voice pierces through the hunt.
Opening The Lampshade is a book of short stories about my childhood in the Philippines and my experience returning to the place and the people where I grew up. It was published through Life Rattle Press and printed in 2011.