Having arrived in the town of Angeles, the birdman took lodgings. These were inexpensive, for he was only a peddler. Angeles was a town located near Clark Air Force Base. Outside the base were several housing areas occupied by Americans. The largest was Balabago, located just beyond the main gate.
The birdman always spent a week in this area, walking the dusty streets in his flip flops made from old tire rubber. He would carry half a dozen cages full of the birds he had brought from Manila. They would be suspended three on a side, balanced on a split bamboo pole that would cut into his shoulder. But he was used to it. It was his trade.
“I am very good with the birds,” he would tell himself. “The Americans will buy them.” But he was not sure. Some weeks he returned to Manila with almost his full cargo.
Copyright 2014 George Lowell Tollefson