Windi leaned against the bar, sipped her ginger ale with a straw so as not to smear her fantastic lipstick. Her eyes coasted over the empty black vinyl booths, the vacant luminous disco floor blinking its random pattern, the polished brass pole.  Under the music she could hear the the throb of jackhammers shattering the concrete outside.

“This place is a graveyard,” she told the barman.  He was languidly polishing a beer glass with a white towel. “When is all the construction supposed to end?”

“More like de-struction,” he said.  “Mayor is sending a message to Mr. Loung.”

“He forget to pay his fees or something?”

He shrugged. “How long have you been in Cebu City, Windi?”

“This is my second day.”

“You’re from where?”

“A tiny village. Near Catmon.”

He nodded. He did not need to ask why she had come here or if she had any future plans.


What Pegman Saw

In 2013, it was estimated that there were up to 500,000 prostitutes in the Philippines, from a population of roughly 97.5 million.  Another study show the number  could be as high as 800,000. 


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  1. Joy Pixley

    Great atmosphere on this one. The specific place or time is ambiguous (could be so many, really), yet I can clearly picture the setting — the crime, the corruption, the desperate times, the hopelessness of the everyday people trying to get by.

    • Joy Pixley

      After I wrote that, I saw the reference to the Philippines, which grounds it in one specific reality. But without that clue, I can still read it much broader (and sadly so).

Don't just stand there.