Don’t get me wrong, it’s not his face. I could imagine girls going for him, and somewhere in those out-loud fantasies of his must've been a girl or two who actually did go for him. Koj was earrings and muscles, was bad genie laughter and a shaved head. We loved him as far as love could go in the RO sergeants’ circle of the old university. We loved him though we never saw him coming, though he was always popping out of nowhere right smack into the middle of the tambayan, grabbing one of us by the jeans, shouting: Gang Rape!
His usual pick was wiry Mosqueda. And his pick was therefore ours, so when he rang the call – Gang! – we’d each grab a limb so Koj could rub his knee down Mosqui’s groin, and we could all chant Children of the Cornish: Gang Rape Gang! Gang Rape Gang! And Mosqui would whimper, guys, guys… Or shout, man! Not today! Please!
Koj would, in turn, ululate to his heart's content.
Then we’d be sated, all of us leaning back, laughing. Even Mosqui. We’d proceed to Magic Cards (graveyaaaard!) or Boy Bastos jokes (one about Boy in Australia exploring marsupials comes to mind). Or, listening to Koj describe the latest MTV or H-wood object of his masturbation. Or, asking Mosqui how life was with a penis as broad and squat as a can of Ma Ling – but maybe there was hope for him yet: the masturbatory technique that his Ma Ling necessitated could earn him a living as a DJ. “DJ Ma Ling, bring it on,” we’d cheer,” lemme hear some scratch! Tseekee tseek-tseek tseekee-tseekee…”
Once, we were bad-mouthing his penis when Mosqui got so damn piqued he outright threatened to unzip. Koj was suddenly in the middle, signalling Gang Rape Gang, but as far as we were concerned he didn't have to, we were already up and grasping, and thus it came to pass that wiry Mosqueda never wore his pants hiphop style after that day.
Khojee himself persisted with the style, wore his jeans loose and low even after I told him how, one day, a stupid Manuela mall-rat was posing hip-hop. He challenged a yuppie to a fight in the middle of the food court. The yuppie raised his fists, boxer-style, and the Manuela hiphopstah delivered a high kick.
His own seams were his undoing. The flight of the right leg pulled the lower pant-leg up and snatched the left leg off the ground, wham! Bust went the head.
All the yuppie had to do was cuss and spit and kick that bling all over the place. No sweat. Koj said thanks for the note of caution and called the gang down on me after to shove his jeans up my balls.
Then we laughed.
On the day of his longest afternoon, Khojee’s waist overflowed with belts and chains and baggy pants. He said it was a waste Mosqui was not around because he was all boned up about this new girl he saw in an MTV, a Claire Danes look-a-like and boy would he like to teach that girl-next-door the difference between a daisy and a rose.
Daisy? Rose? Uh-ohs.
We knew “the girl” he was talking about. We asked him if he’d already jacked off. He said of course, oh god, why the fuck not? Wasn’t that the point? He’d seen the video several times. He heard the song once while standing up on the bus and began rubbing himself down the pole! I was about to ask him how many times he saw the video when Mosqui suddenly appeared and asked Koj: “You know why that Taylor Hanson’s flat-chested?”
“Because she's a kid, stupid,” Khojee said. “My yum kind of kid.”
“Because he’s a boy, like his brothers in the Hanson brothers who are also as male as brothers go,” Mosqueda said.
Mosqui chanted Gang Rape Gang, then we chanted Gang Rape Gang, and the chains were off. Then the jeans. We couldn’t take Mosqueda off him. Maybe we did not try hard enough. We were cheering Mosqueda on even after he got Koj on his back.
There were stitches. There was graduation. And there was no keeping in touch after that.