Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Manong Inting Padecio may just be a poor tricycle driver and he may have many faults, but he always did his best to make up for them by being a good father and husband.


Just before he put his pants back on, he peed on his tricyle’s front, thinking of his son Janmark. Smart boy, he thought. He’s graduating this March from Pilot, and he and his wife were able to save just enough to send him to CMC for high school. As he began digging up a pit to bury the bago-bo boy’s dead body, he felt a surge of excitement at the thought of seeing his son wearing a toga.


When the pit was deep enough to fit the dead body snugly, he kicked it in and covered it with soil. Then he looked around: this area of Baranggay Saguing, bordering Kidapawan and Makilala, is wild, uncultivated and deserted land, and save for the moon and his tricycle’s headlight, it was dark. There was not a soul around.


He saw the little bago-bo, probably around eight to ten years old, peeing on a car parked outside a house in Sandawa Phase 2 when he was about to garage his tricycle for the day. Chastising the little urchin, he dragged it by the ear in scolding to his tricycle and had planned to take it to DSWD. But when he reached Central Warehouse, he suddenly felt the itch for it, and seeing the dark skinned boy scowling beside him he could see that the little indigent was already starting puberty.


So he talked the boy into a deal: he won’t take it to DSWD if the kid agreed to come with him. Afraid of authority, the boy agreed.


The boy cooperated at first. In the overgrowth some way away from the highway in Saguing it agreed to take off its shorts and have its penis sucked (it wasn’t difficult to get boys this age up). The boy even came – the kid already had pubes as curly as the hair on his indigent head, but it seemed like that was the first ejaculation.


But when he asked the little botini to suck him, the kid refused.  So he broke the boy’s neck and, still being hard himself, relieved himself with the dead body’s mouth and anus. He was careful to come outside though so he can clean after himself. By the time someone finds the body all his traces would have decayed. As if anyone would look for a little bago-bo.


‘Nong Inting was experienced enough to clean after himself. On his way back to downtown Kidapawan he made a detour to Riverpark, where he found a dark corner to leave the shovel (he always left his shovel somewhere far from the spot every time he did this).


On the way back home he started feeling guilty again. Whenever he enjoyed little pleasures like this – with a few shots of Tanduay or, in spite of his wife hating the smell of it a few sticks of Fortune – he always felt bad for enjoying something he didn’t think he deserved.


But a bit of good will always justify gratifications, he remembered his late father once telling him. When he was alive, the man had been an unemployed drunkard whose frequent beating of his wife and effeminate son had often disturbed their neighbourhood in Baranggay Perez, and yet as Nong Inting grew up he always remembered his father around a circle of no less than five fellow tambays outside a sari-sari store laughing over Kulafu.


The man really did nothing for a living (his mother did the laundry to support them), so he thought if the oaf was allowed to enjoy some moment of gratification for himself, he, ‘nong Inting, who worked so hard for his wife and son as a tricycle driver would deserve it even more.


But so he won’t feel too bad he thought he ought to do something a little extra. Yes, maybe a dog. Poor Junmark always loved playing with the askals that their Ilocano neighbour Minyong was raising for adobo. Tricycle driving in Kidapawan made very little, but maybe he can scrape some for one of those mongrel puppies they sell in Mega.


When he arrived at their shabby little house in Bartolaba, he was surprised to see that the house lights were still on. It was already nine in the evening, and he had texted his wife he will be having dinner out because he had a passenger to Balindog (the other extreme end of the city from Saguing). He had expected his wife and son to be asleep now. Jumark came out from the door when he heard the tricycle and greeted ‘nong Inting with a mano. When he asked the boy why they were still awake the boy did not answer, but he noticed a faint smile on his son’s face.


When he entered the house, the wife was watching television, but it was obvious both she and Junmark seemed were waiting for him to get home.


The wife could not control herself. She told their son to tell him the news.


Junmark seemed at first to struggle finding the words. But it did not take him long to blurt it out – Pa, he said, his voice trembling. The Principal told me this afternoon. I will be graduating valedictorian.


Tears began welling in ‘nong Inting’s eyes as he hugged his son and muttered thanks to Lord Jesus for the fortune and blessings they had received. For all his faults and shortcomings as a person, thought ‘nong Inting, God can be so generous.




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