People don’t know Mr. Benaforte.
An affable, good-natured guy, Mr. Benaforte runs the Persian restaurant in Pasig City. He’s pretty serious about it, trading time between being with his lovely young wife—who teaches at a nearby school—and managing the restaurant.
Still, he manages to spare some hours surfing the Internet. He does that a lot, always searching the worldwide web. Right now, he’s just waiting for the head waiter to close shop downstairs. It’s a Wednesday night, a slow night for the restaurant so he’s letting the guy handle closing time. He does that every now and then.
He doesn’t have children yet. Not yet the right time, Mr. Benaforte would say. But what people don’t know, he would add, is that it’s all about priorities. You see, Bennie—as his friends call him—is actually straight-up serious about running the restaurant. He does catering for functions like weddings, debuts and graduation parties. He’s had a videoke machine installed for those who feel like singing, drunk and all. He’s also scheduled ballroom dancing two nights a week for the older set.
Just then, Mr. Benaforte’s cell phone rings. It’s his wife, asking what time he’s coming home. He reassures her that he’ll be home soon and tells her to go to sleep. She has classes early in the morning and he doesn’t want her too tired. He tells her he still has work to do.
He looks at the download screen: 80 percent left. He really wants to see if he can learn anything new from the Malleus Maleficarum, a book he heard from other references. Yes, he admittedly he dabbles in magic. Black or white, it really doesn’t matter. Mr. Benaforte uses it with a practical purpose in mind anyway.
For example, two restaurants—his competitors—have shut down after several months. Mr. Benaforte would say it’s just market forces at play. That, and he has better service. However, he isn’t saying anything about the incantations in the moonlight, the graveyard ceremonies, or the dead animals sacrificed in the attic of the restaurant. Likewise, he’s quite mum about how his restaurant-rivals have encountered bad—almost deadly—luck.
Mr. Benaforte also has a secret weapon. You see, there’s a reason why they don’t have children yet. Oh, Mr. Benaforte definitely loves his wife. But as one who uses magic, he needs something that only a virginal woman can bring to table. So he did the best thing he could think of: he married one.
Finally the download is done. As he prints out the book, Mr. Benaforte takes out his small blood-letting kit: syringe, rubber tube, etc. He thinks that his wife is probably asleep by now, thanks to the small dosage of tranquilizer he leaves in her meals. In fact, he probably has enough time to get a little blood and try out a new spell from the tome he downloaded earlier. In the meantime, the book once called the ‘Witch Hammer’ will continue printing.
You might say that the old adage– behind every man’s success is a woman– is quite true in Mr. Benaforte’s case.
(First posted Friday, April 15, 2005 at 12:49 P.M.)