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Number One Fan


Author: issabacsa Total hits: 5080 User hits: 24 Date: 05-15-2014

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EVERYBODY STOOD UP and went away from the table.

“Oh, my God! What’s that?” asked Nitz.

“Call the guards,” I ordered. “Quick!”

One male staff went out of the office and ran to call security personnel. We stood there, frozen to our places, staring at the box.

“I don’t think that’s a bomb,” said Lor, but his voice was quivering. “What if that’s a real gift for you?”

“We couldn’t be so sure, Direk,” I said.

The male staff returned with someone from Security. I knew him by the name: SG Lucero.

“There, Lucero,” said the male staff pointing to the wrapped gift on the table. “That’s the suspected bomb. It might have come from Miss Regine’s prank caller.”

The security guard observed the box on the table and inspected it.

“Sir, ma’am, please wait outside and I’ll radio our security officer,” Lucero said.

We left the room as instructed. I heard him call over the radio:

“Sierra Oscar, Serra Oscar, Lucero here. Over.”

“Go ahead, Lucero,” answered another man over the radio.

“Eyeball suspected bomb here at Beta Tango Charlie. Over.”

EMPLOYEES WAITED OUTSIDE the building. Because of the bomb scare that happened in our office, they obliged to evacuate the premises. They started to talk as they observed the members of the PNP Bomb Squad went out of the lobby, carrying the wrapped box.

A man went to the open driveway, far from us and from the parked cars. All were afraid of him, as he alone could be hurt in the process. Someone tapped on my shoulder.

“Are you alright?” asked David.

I did not answer. I felt his hands on my shoulders and tried to turn me to him.

“I think it would be better if we leave this place,” he said. “Let’s have coffee or something…”

“Thanks, David,” I said. “I’m okay. I wanted to see this myself.”

“I’m worried about you,” he said. “We’re not yet done with the investigation of Ka Rudy’s car explosion and then this. You’ve been through a lot of stress.”

I did not reply to his concerns. He might be making this up so I could divert my suspicion from him.

“I’m fine, David,” I said.

I looked around and saw the janitor, Jorge Morales, standing not far from us, observing the Bomb Disposal Team. He smiled and left, leaving me thinking.

With a careful motion, the police officer tore the wrapper from the box. He told his team that the box measured seven inches wide, six inches long, and four inches deep. He removed the wrapper, exposing a gift pack. He opened the gift pack and exposed bottles of cologne, lotion, shower gel, and hand soap. They lay on a crumpled pad of perfumed tissue paper. He inspected beneath the tissue paper. It contained nothing. It was a gift pack after all. He stood up and approached Inspector Carrillo.

I overhead their dialogue:

“What is it?” asked Inspector Carrillo.

“Negative, Sir,” said the police officer. “It’s a gift pack for Miss Sta. Maria.”

“Bring that to the laboratory,” the inspector ordered. “Get all fingerprints including that on the gift wrap.”

“COME IN, REGINE,” said Ka Rudy when I came to his office that afternoon. “Have a seat.”

“Thank you, Sir,” I said as I sat down on a chair across him.

“How are you?” asked Ka Rudy.

I gave a deep sigh and shook my head.

“I don’t know now what to do,” I answered. “Number One Fan is coming into my nerves. I looked so foolish a while ago. It was a shame!”

“Don’t mind it,” said Ka Rudy. “The PNP and the NBI are doing their job well. You’ll survive this problem.”

I nodded.

“I hope so.”

“By the way, I spoke with Nitz awhile ago,” he said. “Your program continues to have good ratings and reviews. Advertisements kept coming in, too. Management is happy so as a reward and birthday gift, they’re giving you something special.”

He opened his drawer and took something from it. He handed me a set of car keys.

“Accept this,” he said. “The Honda CRV is waiting for you at the parking lot.”

I do not know if I will accept the key or not. I just stared at the car keys.

“Get used to it, Regine,” said Ka Rudy smiling. “Welcome to the club of achievers.”

I smiled. Yet my mind thought of something else as he put the car keys to my hand.

What does he mean by this? Was this a part of success I dreamed of?

I have heard some successful newscasters and reporters received lavish gifts from Management. Now that I have received one, I could not believe it was happening.

“The reason why I called you is your new assignment,” Ka Rudy said. “Management asked me to create at the soonest time possible a TV talk show.”

“Talk show?” I repeated.

“Yes, it is a different talk show. It’s about the House of Representatives.”

I stopped to think.

“You see, Regine,” explained Ka Rudy. “The cable channel covers the Senate most of the time. They receive high ratings especially when senators debate over controversial topics on the floor. Why not cover the House? I think that would be a good idea. I already talked to Cory Florentino to produce the show. And I want you to write the concept paper and co-host the show.”

“Co-host?” I repeated.

“Yes, since we’re going to cover the House, we need a Congressman to host it,” said Ka Rudy. “Congressman Joey Guillermo will be your co-host. Both of you look good on camera.”

I knew Congressman Guillermo. He was still single at forty, son of a former senator and scion of a reputable political clan.

“Why did you stop, Ka Rudy?” I asked.

“Nothing. I was just thinking, both of you are single and look good off cam.”

I smiled and shook my head.

“Just joking,” he said.

“How about Behind the Crimes?” I asked.

“I see, you’re becoming attached to your show,” he said. “You will leave Behind the Crimes to concentrate on the talk show. Management wants you to famous as a political commentator rather than documenting crimes. You see?”

Was that how fast people disregard things you have worked hard for?

“And who will replace me in Behind the Crimes?” I asked.

“I am thinking of Abet Fortunato. He also deserves a good break.”

“And what is this that I’ve heard you’re moving the time slot of Behind the Crimes to give way for David’s new show?”

“Yes, that's true. These new shows will happen simultaneously. You see, Regine, News and Current Affairs team tries to do its best to come up with good TV shows.”

I could not reply any more. I could not believe that they were able to change the programming in just a short time. RMBN must have been desperate to increase its ratings to survive.

Ka Rudy stood up from his seat and went to my back. He held my shoulders and said,

“So how does it feel to be Number One?” he asked. “Happy birthday, hija.”

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