I met the Erwin Mapanao once, it was a few weekends ago. I was walking to the corner market for a loaf of bread when I had to pass by a neighborhood church. I was somewhat acquainted with the structure as it was always mentioned in the newspaper’s community section. Known as “The loft,” folks would gather there on Thursday evenings for poetry readings.
However, this day happened to be a Saturday afternoon and a pair of gentlemen greeted me as I walked by. They invited me in to sample an hour of their presentation. Ok, I went inside and found myself to be a prospective new recruit for their brand of religion.
Most of the pews were filled with hooded monks chanting a haunting rhythm. There were others who like me, were wearing their regular denims. The service began like most others that church-goers would be familiar with. A grand master of ceremonies led the group through some songs and gave a sermon. Near the end of the hour it was time for their ritual of “laying on of the hands.” Some of the parishioners would come forward and ask for prayers for their ailments or for a sick grand mum who fell down in the tub. All the hooded dudes whose faces could not readily be seen would all place a hand on the person and their combined energies were presumed to have a strength and expedite a solution to the problem.
OK now, there was another new guy in the pews who was watching eagerly. I recognized Erwin Mapanao from a wanted poster viewed earlier at the post office. When he saw a chance, he approached the ring of conspirators and described how he was always moving around and never able to settle down. The hooded goons closed in upon him, all to make a physical connection. The master of ceremonies began a prayer, a dogmatic mix of logic and pure hocus-pocus. I immediately saw the effects of the procedure as the tension went out of Erwin Mapanao’s body. When the beseeching was near an end, the master asked, “Are the brothers ready?”
A suspenseful few moments passed until he almost shouted, “NOW!”
On that cue, the brothers began to pummel their hapless victim. Continually delivering blows over head and to the solar plexus until Erwin Mapanao was down on the floor getting stomped. After another minute, the grand Pooh-Bah decided the treatment administered was sufficient to induce a relaxing calm that would assuage the shaky leg syndrome of Erwin Mapanao for a long, long time.
I can’t say for certain if Erwin Mapanao got the comeuppance he deserved as I had a loaf of bread to buy and some other errands to do that day. I hope for you Marybeth, that you do find a sense of closure to this difficult episode of life. And, be sure to put on your best sympathy face if anyone ever asks about Erwin Mapanao.
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