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07.10.2005 - It was late... Really late when I woke up at 7:45AM. Forgive me my tardiness I only slept for only two hours after my shift at work. I've got all the wrong things, that made me stand up and I realize it was today.

I have to go to Promenade in Greenhills to have all of my two books signed. I was waking up not to the alarm, but to the constant meows of my two pet cats. As crazy they are I got to the service area, and saw frenzied stuff being scattered.

After feeding them and dressing up I was off to Promenade in Greenhills.

(Please CLICK on the title for the full article)

I left the house by 8:30AM sending a text message to Azrael (Coladilla) that I was on my way. I got his batteries charged and ready, but I was counting on mine to be recharged too. Unfortunately he has my pair of reserved batteries.

I got there an hour later, and there was already a long line made. Like life size dominoes standing. There where others who camped out as early as 5AM, with their folding chairs and beds. I got there wondering if this is worth the trip. Azrael sent me messages that he is on his way. Indeed he does after three hours later.

I promised him the other day, that I will treat him for lunch just to accompany me to the book signing. I was asking his girlfriend Lace to allow him to go. I know she would say yes because she knows me, but I don't know anyone who'll be there besides him. Well that changed, and I saw the rest of the Artists' Den & Deviant Art people. I saw Josele & Cheska too but they where beyond the 200 number earlier. Azrael came chatted with friends namely Gerry Alanguilan and his wife. A couple of guys who I don't personally know was there too.

I saw people from the first day, who never got their books signed. They have these colored stubs and I heard, that last night's frenzied madness ended at 1:25AM. Neil Gaiman signed for 700 people as what they read in his journal. It must be phenomenal with regards to how he accommodated all these people, with regards to 300 people from that day who failed to get their books signed.

It was very long and hot day in between the hours I saw Nelz Yumul, and he was one of the people. who also never got his books signed in the first day, and hoping he gets his chance today. All the while the crowd has begun to grow Azrael introduced me to Noli who also knows Alf. He had this cool customized Morpheus statue, that he hand sculpted. In the hours as Neil Gaiman arrives he will be asked to sign it and give it to him, where Noli will be walking like he lost a close friend.

The crowd what used to be a long line from the time I came. Its now a huge crowd of more than 600 individuals, who has lined-up to get Neil Gaiman's autograph. His unique dedication to fans who have read his works stood there. If yesterday was a total mishap for me its a nightmare of a long day.

All the way up the 2nd floor of the newly opened Fully Booked branch at a Promenade in Greenhills, where the line continues. Stuck standing in line, while others baked in the sun, I was still chatting with friends. I was given the blue #176 stub, where its actually not the number being counted for.

In the middle of a chaotic day talking to Alf (Alfonso), Azrael (Coladilla), and Ariel (Atienza) a girl in distressed came. She claims that she took a cab and was from Pampanga. It was her first time to get to Greenhills.

No friends nor anyone had accompanied her and I was there standing beside Azrael. She was asking if there was still available numbered stubs. Unfortunately it was too late. Until I decided to give up one of my books to be signed, just to accommodated the girl (her names Robyn Mirasol). If some of us didn't paid attention she would have had it. Crying all the way back she must have broken to tears, but actually she was on a verge of going to that direction until I approached her.

"... I'm not in it for saving the damsel in distress. I'm just being honest..."

I never expected it to happen in the middle of hot Sunday, that I'll be meeting someone, who almost cried in the crowd. She was so in distress asking for anyone's help, and here I'm on my way to line-up. A few friends who knows me thinks, that I'm into this "super hero thing". Even Azrael is giving me the hard time to decide. Personally I don't feel bad about myself not getting one of books signed. I'm not in it for saving a damsel in distress. I'm just being honest to give someone a hand, and this is not one of the first things I've done for a total stranger. I'm the one who should say who needs saving and I know your reading this.

"...I'm the one who should say who needs saving..."

The hours count after Neil Gaiman has read a part of the ANANSI BOYS, which will be out sometime in August or September. As the long line moves slowly days turns into night. We got Lyndon Gregorio (of Beerkada) was walking back and forth as he criticize, and make jokes about Neil Gaiman. The guy is a regular stand-up comedian. Some of us was carrying an umbrella wondering, and asking "what are we doing here?" Baking in the sun was not fun at all with the exception of all the jokes we've been making while standing in line.

"I was wide awake sweating, and having the stickiest feeling from the whole afternoon."

A few hours has passed and we got in the Promenade where the long line of people continue to move. We where running out of jokes to tell when we got up to the second floor. It was now starting to filter out. As tired as I maybe I was wide awake sweating, and having the stickiest feeling from the whole afternoon.

"then I asked him if he'll be coming back. He replied "let's hope so..."

Finally! I'm close to getting the finish line and when I got there Neil Gaiman started stretching his right arm. Tired but happy he continues until I was next in the line. When I got there I was just like the usual individual not a die hard fanatic. He started signing my books and we had a little talk, then I asked him if he'll be coming back. He replied "let's hope so..." As ANANSI GIRL (a friend from Via-Astris) takes my picture. Even as blurred as it gets I saw myself having a good laugh with the man in black. I gave him Cheska's gift and asked me to open it. I said that maybe its better you open it to not spoil the surprise, and then I walk out after saying my thanks.

I got out of the door searching for Robyn and Alf until she ran towards me, who got very quiet for a second. Alf on the other hand was quite happy about the situation. I on the other hand was tired and sat in front of the store staring at the huge line. Hector followed who I was with me, when we where standing in line for almost four hours. Its already dark and Robyn has been getting text messages from her mom. After a few minutes staying there exchanging personal stories I decided to accompany Robyn back to Ayala where I'm off too.

It was a long day and before Robyn and I left Alf mentioned that she hasn't had her lunch. So I persuaded her to have dinner somewhere, but this girl wont eat just some place. We went to Genji have it there until we left. We separated at the Ayala MRT station, where hopefully is not the last time I'll be seeing her. She has an exam tomorrow and I was telling her, that I'm doing this for you to be motivated when you look at Neil Gaiman's signature.

I got home by 9:25PM tired and exhausted, but I still have plans to go to Gateway Mall in Cubao. I promised Ariel I'll accompany him because he never got his books signed. I dared him that we go by 4AM. Let's just see what happens...

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