The next day, Raphael and Rat convince Gardo to lead them to the station. Gardo insists they go early to avoid any police. The train runs right by the dumpsite (and through towns where people’s homes crowd the tracks), so the boys jump on easily. Gardo tries to talk Raphael out of the plan—he’s worried about the police and he’s heard they’ve raised the reward—but Raphael is still convinced the police wouldn’t pay. Rat looks back and forth as they argue. Eventually, they agree to see what’s in the locker before deciding what to do. Rat convinces the boys to let him unlock the locker on his own—he’s more likely to outrun the police alone, and he knows the “station boys.”
The boys continued strategizing displays their sharp thinking once again, while Raphael’s lack of faith in the police emphasizes that they are not to be trusted. Raphael’s descriptions about the shanty towns along the railroad imply that there is a high level of poverty in this city, and that the impoverished are vulnerable because they are forced to live in cramped and potentially dangerous environments. Rat’s familiarity with the station boys shows that impoverished communities share a sense of solidarity, which Rat and his friends can leverage to ensure their safety.
The boys jump off the train right before it arrives in order to avoid the station guards. Gardo nearly falls on Raphael, whereas Raphael notices that Rat is agile and fast. The three of them are immediately herded into a corner by the station boys, who control the station—they keep the place clean and they don’t openly beg or sell, which keeps the guards off their backs. Rat goes forward and negotiates with them, eventually handing over 70 of Raphael’s pesos in exchange for five minutes’ passage. Raphael notices menacing guards in the crowd and he begins to get scared—the prisons are full of street kids whom the police round. Others aren’t so lucky: it’s rumored that the police break some kids’ legs and then they leave the kids to die on the train tracks.
Rat’s agility is a testament to the skills he’s picked up through a life of scavenging, implying that life can teach people many things even if they are not formally educated. The station boys similarly display a strong sense of organization and enterprising in controlling the station with their unified front and bribery. On the other hand, Raphael’s fear of imprisonment and police brutality suggests that poor children are highly vulnerable to abuse as soon as they make themselves more visible in public.
Rat knows exactly what he’s doing: he ducks behind some customers while Raphael and Gardo walk right past as if nothing happened. The lockers aren’t smashed, which meant the police haven’t gotten to them yet. Soon, Rat walks toward Gardo and Raphael with an envelope under his arm, cautioning them to walk casually. Gardo convincingly slows down to fiddle with a slot machine as they stroll toward platform four. They jump onto the tracks and run, relieved, before ducking into some undergrowth. Grinning, Rat hands over the envelope, which contains an ominous-looking letter addressed to a Gabriel Olondriz at Colva Prison. The letter is full of nonsense words and a code with numbers and slashes. At this, the boys realize that they’re involved in something serious.
Rat once again demonstrates a streetwise awareness of how to navigate public spaces without drawing attention to himself. Gardo’s self-control in slowing down to fiddle with a slot machine and look casual similarly displays both his intelligence and his streetwise strategic thinking. It’s clear that the boys have gleaned a lot from living on the streets despite being uneducated.