V I R G I L ´ S U A R E Z Arroyo Naranjo, Cuba, Circa 1969 He rang a bell he rigged by the wooden slat of his cart, where the cracks came together with wire and rusty nails. Twice he rang it, then his voice boomed down the street: "Maní tostado, maní. Se afilan cuchillos, tijeras, achas." He sold roasted peanuts. He also sharpened scissors, knives, axes. "Pan dulce, pan dulce y caliente." Sweet, hot bread. The boys in the neighborhood snuck up and rode on the back of his cart as he wound up and down the street, around the corner. Hilario knew we were back there, dangling our legs from the back, giggling. It was fine with him as long as we didn't steal a cucurucho de maní, his peanuts, or a piece of his bread. The bread looked like the arms of angels under the pieces of wax paper held down with clothespins and rocks so that the wind wouldn't blow them off or flies get on the bread. When our parents gave us money, we bought the bread, such sticky, sweet, caramel-scented bread, which we ate with great gusto in the
Manoa – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Apr 1, 2002
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