After spending nine months in the desert of Southern California, 19-year-old Excel Maxino ("like the spreadsheet") tries sneaking back into his old apartment via the fire escape but finds himself at the business end of a switchblade, wielded by his mother, Maxima.
A former D-list star of Philippine action movies, Maxima welcomes Excel back with leftover Panda Express and doesn't ask any questions about his reappearance. Instead, she must get back to work scamming men on online dating sites to make ends meet. Though Excel doesn't volunteer the truth of his nine-month excursion, the chapters alternate between his present-day struggles to raise money and his misguided adventure to the desert oasis of Hello City, where he and his girlfriend, Sab, tried to make a life for themselves.
Call number: F TENO