( This is the fourth of five storylines which won the 1st FAP Screenplay/Storyline Contest to be reprinted in our website. The first three winners had been printed in previous postings The fifth and last winner will be coming out next week.—JNC)
SILING LABUYO SA KABILUGAN NG BUWAN (Hot Pepper in Full Moon)
Ni Lito Casaje
The story’s concept will have a magical realist touch, a literary style very similar to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novels. It is about a woman who has this uncanny way of pleasing a man’s heart albeit in a fatal but passionate way.
Premise: that the pleasures of love is equated to one’s passion for food. Yet on the other hand, what really matters is love’s essence in which its pleasure cannot simply be defined because love, after all, is more than a sensual act. It is, first and foremost, an act of a forgiving and compassionate heart.
Salome who hails from the enchanted islands of Siquijor, has this unusual penchant for exotic food. The concoction is a special recipe made of snake’s blood and monkey’s brain spiced with various herbs like garlic, onion, ginger and hot chili pepper, among others.
The story is set in the islands of Siquijor, where its rainforest serve as metaphor for passion and lunar mystique. The full moon inebriates magical madness of love amidst the intoxicating culinary concoction and other gastronomic galore.
Salome has always been unlucky with men since feeding them (or is it over feeding them) with good food after sex, they simp0ly don’t wake up the next morning. The culprit: the illness that only young, male and healthy Filipinos are susceptible in being victimized with— bangungot of the medically known acute pancreatic disorder. But only under the full moon does this happens. And the tragedy is that no one knows, not even Salome, not even the myriad stars in heavens.
Her unique concoction serves as their aphrodisiac before and after sex, but unfortunately, the men don’t last later than the following morning. With the orgasmic experiences they indulge themselves in, they are willing to take risks since these deaths do not happen all the time. Men try their luck in courting danger because getting a taste of Salome’s recipe make them achieve perfect orgasm thirty times in a period of three glorious hours, not discounting the foreplay that lasts for three hours before every orgasm and compounded by their phalluses’ non-stop erection. But of course, they take the risk of probable sudden death before sunrise.
Salome is a household name among the men in the village. In fact, even the seemingly barren wives ask for her advice as to how they can have children through effective positioning in sexual intercourse. Women who have problems with their philandering husbands too seek lessons from her as to how they can make their husbands sexually satisfied so that they can avoid them from fooling around with other women, or men as the case may be.
Even her childhood sweetheart, Crisanto, who initially understood her mission to help distressed women and sexually disabled men finally decided to leave her after being convinced by those who insisted on Salome’s seemingly distorted view on her so-called altruism.
One day, she decides to stop this weird practice since the male population in her village dwindles by the day. So she goes to confession, receives Holy Communion, asks the help of the saints and angels for help so that her guilt in being held accountable to all these deaths be atoned for and forgiven.
But it was all too late. Without saying goodbye to her friends, she leaves the village of San Isidro as her way of forgetting the past and forgiving herself of her so-called sins, not mentioning too her way of escaping from the angry lovers, girlfriends, wives and mothers whose husbands and boyfriends have died in the course of taking the fatal elixir. In short, she has become a cursed woman or a woman cursed by an almost entire village. She leaves the village through a banca by the sea while being stoned into oblivion.
Salome is in despair. She throws herself down the bottom of the sea but is mysteriously saved by a strange creature, a seemingly half-man half-fish, or what you may call, a merman. His name is Fernando.
Her romantic chapter with Fernando follows suit. He tells Salome that his ailing dather, Haring Nemo, the God of the Seas, needs resuscitation and that the only way to revive his father’s old aged malaise is through the magical herb from the elixir that she is best known for except that she has to have sex with the man whom she will be healing. But Fernando asks Salome if he can be the recipient of the sex part since he has already requested his father that he be made proxy to it. Salome begs off an says that the elixir will not be effective if the person whom she will be healing is not the same person whom she will have sex with and partake of the elixir at the same time. An argument ensues. Fernando says all she has to do is accede to his request since this should be her way of paying back what he did for her, that is, saving her life from drowning. But Salome argues that there was no such favor granted because she simply didn’t want to live anymore and that she instead should be exempt from these impossible conditions. Fernando counters her by making her realize that all these sex parts was nothing but to satisfy her sensual desires and that nothing of which was really meant to complete whatever healing was needed. She slaps him and insisted that she is neither a maniac nor a whore. “I may be a nymph but certainly not a nymphomaniac!” Fernando kisses her torridly. Salome bites his lips. He bleeds.
To make the long story short, Salome prepares the concoction for Haring Nemo but in the sex part, Fernando switches with his father in the dead of night and little did Salome know that it was Fernando whom she had sex with. Because of the switch, the healing did not work. Haring Nemo dies.
Fernando is in despair. He realizes that everything was his fault. So he lets Salome free. But it was already too late. Salome has already fallen in love with Fernando. And so is Fernando to Salome. But the problem is that Salome has to join the family of amphibians in order to consummate her full happiness with Fernando. With that condition, Salome doesn’t agree. She realizes that she didn’t love Fernando enough to allow herself to live under the sea for the rest of her life. But Fernando respects Salome’s decision. He instead asks her if there is one wish which she wanted that he can grant her. Immediately, Salome wishes for Crisanto to understand her and that she hopes to be back in Crisanto’s arms. Fernando grants her wish. Fernando magically transforms from his merman self into Crisanto, the human form of Fernando whom Salome really loves.
And they live happily ever after.