Lallie lived with her husband and son in the same Pasay City neighborhood she grew up in. They rented an apartment a block from a catholic church, three houses away from a convenient store and right next door to a Mahjong gambling site.
Whenever she was bored Lallie hung out as ‘miron’ (watcher) around the Mahjong games with her little baby in her arms waiting for a chance to play for free when a player needs to eat or go for restroom break. She didn’t gamble, couldn’t afford it anyway. She just enjoyed the chatter around the tables where players gossip, flirt with each other or fight over the game. Gamblers teased each other about a family problem or personal imperfection to distract the opponent. In a neighborhood where homes are too close to each other anybody’s family situation is common knowledge. Personal imperfection included age, looks, smell, hair loss, etc.
Another ‘miron’ whispered to Lallie. “His name is Tamboy, a policeman’s son. He’s a legend, you know.”
Lallie looked at the young man the gossip was referring to. He looked nice, wore glasses with round rims like John Lennon wore. He was quite neat and decent looking despite the shoulder length hair. He was thin, no tattoo or mark of any kind. He spoke with a very hip tone like “Ye eh eh eh, how are you Mrs. L?” Tamboy was the only one who calls her Mrs. L.
“When he was a young boy, you know, he used to wait for the school children to pass by. He would put a big empty can on the middle of the street and children would drop some of their lunch money in the can. I asked what that was for and one of the kids said if anyone is being bullied Tamboy would set it straight and the bully would have to donate to the can as part of the punishment.” The gossip continued with her information. Lallie felt a new respect for the young man who looked so harmless.
The gossip whispered a new update the following week. “Tamboy caught his father once hitting his mother. He waited for the old man to leave. Out on the street he jumped the old man, put a knife to his throat and told him if he ever hit the mom again he’s going to get it. The father learned his lesson.” Lallie’s jaw dropped.
The next time Lallie crossed path with Tamboy she was on her way to the fresh market. The boy as his usual greeted the bored young mom with “Ye eh eh eh, Mrs. L, you’re too pretty to go to that dirty wet market.” That made Lallie’s day.
She didn’t see Tamboy for a while then one day she heard that he had died in a shootout. With a couple of friends, they carjacked a taxi, tied the driver, unhurt and left him at the cemetery. The plan was to use the taxi for a joy ride / road trip. The driver was able to get himself free and notified the authorities. During Martial Law carnapping was punishable by death. Police shot to kill with no questions asked. It was said that Tamboy came out of the cab unarmed with his hands up. He was shot with high powered rifles that almost cut him in half, the final act in the life of a legend on his own street.