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CHIQUITA BANANA MUY BONITA / Will Baker DEDOS AND HE LOOKED at each other only once when the couple strolled out of the ruin and then along the dusty road through the market. The camera was still in its case around her neck, while the man carried a blue nylon bag slung from his shoulder. They were talking animatedly about the great stone figures they had just seen. The two young men stayed twenty yards back, apparently idling away the afternoon. Children they knew called out and ran alongside, grinning and teasing. Some of the market women muttered and glared, but the two men only bowed mockingly at these old crones, who brooded all day long above the dark toadstools of their voluminous skirts, surrounded by plastic buckets or sacks of coarse-ground corn, heaps of sweaters or small replicas of the gods inside the ruin. "Holy Mother," Dedos whispered, watching the woman bend to examine a blanket. "I could camp a long time in that quebradita." "Fresh tuna," Mario agreed. The woman's blouse had pulled away from her belt, exposing a strip of skin just at the beginning of the soft ravine between her compact buttocks. She was not a bright blonde, a Hollywood, but wonderful all the same. She had the amazing small breasts of North Americans, very sharp and high. And that certain expression she had too, when she looked around and her eyes skipped over all the men in the street. Go blind, the look said to Mario. I spit on you. And I can be had any way you want. Her man had removed his sunglasses and was arguing with a blanket seller. He was going bald and yet had a beard and very hairy white legs below his khaki shorts. The man spoke also a freakish Spanish, full of odd idioms and Mexican radio i^s trilled with exaggerated flamboyance. Mario no longer marvelled that a man so dumbfoundingly ugly could possess such an exquisite creature. He took it as one of the conditions of life in the fabulous North. He looked away then, for they had slipped past the couple and were approaching the corner where Rosa would be waiting with their baby. In a moment he spotted her at the food stand where The Missouri Review ยท 125 her friend Consuelo fried potato cakes and made coffee over a kerosene stove. Rosa squatted on her heels, talking, her manta spread in the dirt and their daughter lying on it, singing and kicking at the sky. The two men drifted to the cart and stood against it, looking the other way from the couple, who had replaced the blanket and now were retreating from the merchant, who reached after them, supplicating, calling as if in pain, "Good price! Pure alpaca!" "You look like two little dogs running after that skinny bitch," Rosa said, not looking at him but teasing their daughter with a stalk of weed. "Why not?" Dedos said and sucked in his cheeks as if he were pondering. "She already has a monkey." Consuelo, kneading batter with her fingers, laughed out loud. "Maybe that would be something," Rosa said. "A bald monkey between your legs." Then she glanced at Mario. "So?" He nodded. Immediately she tossed the weed stalk aside, gathered the four corners of the manta and tied them loosely. In one motion she stood up and swung the bundled baby onto her back, ducking her head so the knotted ends nestled under her chin. When her hands were free again she took from Consuelo two of the hot, spicy cakes wrapped in paper. Dedos and he had already pushed away from the stand and were drifting again down the street. "Don't get your thing caught in that little bone-bag," Rosa called. "She'll pinch it off." Just before turning the corner to the bus stop, where a crowd had already collected, Mario glanced back and saw the couple, both of them laughing and looking fondly toward his daughter, who was riding beside them on Rosa's back. "No taxis," Dedos said and gave a sudden soft whistle of anticipation. "God likes us today." From his pocket he had...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 125-130
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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