looked at my watch. It was almost 8:00 PM. My brother had invited me to coffee at Starbucks just across CCP. I think it was Harbor View some seven years ago. I was booked at a hotel nearby so I just left my car and walked across to CCP on a chilly December evening. Young couples walking shoulder to shoulder, others hand in hand, the holidays really had an effect on people and it was good. Well, I was alone at the time but wished I wasn’t. I pulled up my coat as a slight drizzle started and hastened my pace. A cat suddenly darted across my path towards a bush nearby where muffled meows could be heard. She had to bring her litter to dry land. Circle of life.
I reached Starbucks and there was my brother alone sitting at a corner checking his phone. He looked up and saw me coming. Instinctively he stood up and hugged me which all Europeans do. My brother supports two citizenships now and one’s still a Filipino. He didn’t give that up. We exchanged pleasantries, the news, gossip, and dirty jokes. After an hour or so when the hype between us settled, we touched on the church, the scarcity of news regarding Ka Erdy and the long overdue ordination of new ministers. Like I earlier said, the year was 2009. We would never have imagined that a few months from now our dearest Ka Erdy would be laid to rest and the reins to the Church turned over to his eldest son Eduardo.
“I wonder how Ka Erdy’s doing? He hasn’t officiated a worship service in months? And it’s been years since the last ordination. Hope he isn’t sick or anything,” my brother softly spoke between sips of caffe americano (whatever that is. I was having capuccino, a strong blend, but frankly I still prefer the 3 in 1 kind but they don’t serve that at Starbucks).
“There are rumors,” I answered, “that old age has slowly caught up with him and that he is not in the best of health, but no official word from the Church.”
“How old is he anyway, 80 something? Unless he’s sick, which would explain his absence in worship services, I think however, that his reason to stall the ordination of new ministers is by choice.”
I pondered on his response and then asked, “Why would you say that?”
“Well I am of the opinion that he understands and have accepted his fate that time is running out for him. He knows for a fact that all our present crop of ministers owe loyalty to him having been ordained by him. And in the event that he unfortunately dies, there would be a vacuum and possible grab of power from different sectors. He remembers clearly the early years when he took over at the young age of what was it 33? Doubts by senior ministers his capacity to lead the Church at such a young age. To avoid a repeat of the scenario, Ka Erdy I think purposely delayed the ordination and made sure that the next crop of new ministers would be by his successor so that loyalty would shift to the next Executive Minister. Mind you the waiting list had already reached several hundred. Imagine, Regular Worker fathers waiting together with their now grown up sons also Regular Workers waiting to be ordained. The waiting period had already reached that long,” he explained.
Now, as I reflect on that meeting many years ago, we can say that Ka Erdy had made the right decision in delaying the ordination. The turn over of function was smooth and the ordination of new ministers finally pushed through. There were now so many. During that first ordination EVM even had to sit down and catch his breath before continuing. The second and third ordinations were carried out on a monthly basis until the waiting list was cleared.
Loyalty had shifted to EVM now. No one dared challenge his leadership. The original purpose of Ka Erdy was executed perfectly. No mistake about that. But unfortunately the expected outcome was totally different. Something went wrong, very wrong. Power and greed took over. Ka Erdy had missed the wild cards in his equation. The three 6s of Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades. The perfect 666 – the Lucifer touch. The card’s heart was deliberately missing.
Lucifer played those cards well, very well. The clutches of the three 6s extended beyond all boundaries. With the church finally at his feet there was nothing more to prove. Then I behold Lucifer slowly standing up, gazing up into the heavens and mockingly gloat, “The more people you love, the weaker you become! And you call yourself God almighty. How pathetic and weak your kind. The last messenger of God? Where is he now, where is his kingdom, where is yours?!” Lucifer commencing a snicker then a roar of laughter so loud that the mountains below him shake in his presence while declaring, “You are nothing!”
As Lucifer lie smug and content with his twisted version of victory, a sudden bright light from the sky breaks his vision as he strains to see what it is. Something ..what is it? A piece of paper floating down from above as it settles gently at his feet. Puzzled, he picks it up, looks at it and slowly begins crushing it with his tight and heavy grip as he tries in vain to control the steadily growing frustration and rage inside him.
It was the last wild card in Ka Erdy’s equation – the Joker. He made sure the last laugh would not be Lucifer’s. He had entrusted the card to God.