Darna, Corporate Superheroine

by Mico Subosa

(500 words)

“So, Ms. Darna***, why don’t you tell me about your strengths and weaknesses?”

Well, obviously this interviewer doesn’t watch the news, Darna thought. Who doesn’t know what Darna’s strengths are? She had a whole roster of strengths to enumerate – she could lift elephants with her pinkie, she could run from Quiapo to Magallanes in a minute or two, and most importantly, she could fly, which meant she won’t ever have to be stuck in 9 a.m. Makati traffic, and thus, will never be late. That was easy for her. But weaknesses? She wasn’t like Superman who’d wilt away in the mere sight of Kryptonite, or Spider-Man, whose weakness was his own emotional insecurity; she was literally invincible.

But of course she couldn’t say she didn’t have weaknesses. She’d read somewhere on the Internet to never say you don’t have weaknesses. That would sound arrogant.

“Well, to start on a positive note, let me tell you about my strengths. Or to be more accurate, maybe… my super-strengths.” She eased in a chuckle. She’d also read somewhere that a little humor during an interview shows personality, and HR reps love people with personality. She ran down her list of super-strengths.

“As for my weakness, I find it hard to multi-task. I get lost in all the things I have to do—doing the dishes, taking care of laundry, keeping my kids in check, saving the world.” She remembered reading, always follow up a weakness with an action to improve.

“Which is why I’ve begun keeping a planner. That way I can keep track of what I’ve done and what still needs to be done.” Nailed it.

The interviewer stole a glance at the wall clock. Were they going over schedule? Have they been talking for that long already?

“Well, Ms. Darna, that about covers everything I want to talk about. Do you have anything you want to ask me?”

She didn’t have questions. To be honest, she really wasn’t interested in this job. She’d be perfectly content with her current job – saving San Martin from Medusa’s Filipina relative or beefed-up women who come from outer space – if only it paid her more than domestic fame and the occasional Startalk guesting. She had mouths to feed, however, and unfortunately, not everyone can survive on a diet of magic pebble.

She wore her prettiest smile. This was the fifth time this week that she’d shed her signature stars and loincloth for an Oxford shirt and a pencil skirt.

“What is the company culture like?” A LinkedIn influencer said that that was a “smart” question.

The HR rep went on about how dynamic and entrepreneurial their company was, and how people constantly collaborate, and how they compete with themselves and not anyone else, and how their people always seek a higher purpose in what they do. The HR rep loved that about the company. Darna just kept nodding.

“Anything else?” Darna shook her head, the same smile plastered.

“No? Great! Okay then, we’ll call you.”

—–

***NOTE (to non-Filipino readers): Darna is a Filipino comic-book superhero first conceived by Mars Ravelo. Her alter-ego is Narda, a regular woman who transforms by swallowing an enchanted white stone. Below is an image of Darna, drawn by Ryan Orosco:

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Bathe, Drown

by Mico Subosa

(337 words)

When Cupid fired that arrow, he’d actually intended for Mara to fall in love with the sunbathing lifeguard, but instead, she fell in love with the Sea.

And the Sea loved her, too. She knew this because, while she sauntered toward Her, She kept whispering, in the language of sea-breeze, Her pining, Her desire for her.

She lay naked by the Sea. She marveled at how beautiful her lover was that night, wearing the sky like a pearl-sequined robe. Together they gazed at the moon and the constellations, the Sea tickling the webs between her toes, and running Her amorphous, sandy fingers through her hair as they did.

She felt the Sea’s salty lips creeping all over her body. She caressed her everywhere – her back, her belly, her waist, her neck, her arms, her thighs. In her excitement, she was soaked in the seawater she had perspired. She could tell the Sea was getting excited, too; the surf was getting bigger every second, the waves, more rapid and more forceful. And true enough, in a tide of raging want, the Sea pounced on her and pulled her away from shore. She choked on some saltwater, and through the few split-seconds of her submersion, she felt like she was drowning.

Mara was terrified. She waded against the undercurrents in hurry back to shore. She knew the Sea did not intend to drown her, though; She loved her, and thus could not do that to her. The Sea had only lost Herself to a throe of mad passion, she understood that. However, this was not enough to keep her by the Sea.

She still hadn’t learned how to swim, and felt it was unfair for the Sea to always worry about drowning her each time they would make love. She had to walk away. If and when she learns to swim, she would come back for Her, she promised. But for now, she had to walk away.

And so she walked away from Her, ignoring the breeze’s begging whispers.

Falling Down the Elevator

by Mico Subosa

(330 words)

She entered his life on the eighth floor and left it on the ground floor.

The moment she got in the elevator, removed her blazer and undid her ponytail, he had begun to fall in love. Her scent was that of citron and hibiscus, infused with maybe two or three drops of lust, which made it very difficult for him to resist pulling himself nearer and nearer to her as the elevator descended. That entire time, he also wondered what her coral-pink lipstick must taste like. He could also hear her stilettos going tap, tap, tap, tap, beating in sync with the velocity of his heartbeat.

All his life, he’d been preparing for this moment – that moment he would bump into the love of his life; it was the reason why he made sure his neckties were always perfectly dimpled and perfectly Windsor-knotted, his shirts and trousers always iron-pressed and unwrinkled, his shoes always polished to look like he just bought them off the shelf from Zara the morning on the way to work. He hoped that she noticed how kempt he looked.

“Hi, how are you?” he said.

“Hi, I’m good, thanks.” Her voice was a smoky alto.

Their eyes met for a split-second. She had such deep, dark brown eyes he wanted to swim in.

“It’s been pretty cool outside the past couple of nights, hasn’t it?” She merely smiled and nodded, not even glancing to his side.

“Do you work—

The bell rang as the elevator opened to the ground floor lobby. Her high heels tap, tap, tap, tapped away from the elevator. The door slowly closed, he, slowly losing sight of her. He didn’t expect that meeting the love of his life would be so unexciting and so confined to usual perfunctory talk of local weather conditions.

He was now alone in the elevator as it descended to the basement, she, leaving no trace but the faint tinge of citron, hibiscus and lust in the air.