The father of the boy Victor got involved in a strike. He acts as though it was nothing and takes Victor to night walks around Manila. He takes Victor’s mind off vices and promises Victor a bright future some day. One day, during the strike. Victor’s father was shot dead in the heart. His wife mourned greatly and his son was subdued. The wife began to disappear late at night and come home early dawn. She refuses to take care of Victor. And then, she comes home with some goon, telling that the goon will be Victor’s new dad.
Victor didn’t like the stranger at all. As often as possible, he tries to stay out of his mom and her lover’s way. And then, Victor just woke up with his mother and the man gone. His Uncle Pedring introduces to take care of him. He recruits Victor to a newspaper job. The man does not treat Victor well unless he brings home money. During his job, Victor meets Nacio. Nacio was also a newspaper boy. He taught Victor various tricks in newspaper selling. They become close friends.
Victor’s job grew prosperous. Soon, his “Boss” starts to trust him with a ration of 20 papers a day. He becomes contented with his life until Nacio was run over a car. He was dead. Victor grieved for his friend just like the way he did with his father. He gets beaten up with the other kids. His colleagues beat him up whenever he refuses to smoke or say curse words… Victor was defiant at first. But after long, tired of being tossed around like a stray dog-Victor finally gave up.
The story ended when the author realized how cruel the world is… “… And Victor, swirled the life of the city: this city, flushed with triumphant charity campaigns, where workers were made to sign statements certifying they received minimum wage, where millionaire politicians received Holy Communion every Sunday, where mothers taught their sons and daughters the art of begging, where orphans and children from broken homes slept on pavements and under darkened bridges, and where best friends fell out and betrayed one another.
This world is mean indeed… people become the way they are, not because of fate, but of how the people around them revolve. Children of politicians study at universities and tend to get spoiled. Whereas, orphans are shunned downwards and are left to fill the streets and crawl under the powerful shoes. The story shows us the way life turns and how what we become rests upon our defiance and decisions. This has been a everyday phrase through the decades but it portrays some kind of truth.