Chapter 30

This entry is part 31 of 44 in the series Smile

Chapter Thirty — Rosita

The motor of the Palace sounded sweet as we got going on dirt again. “Sure is a good truck,” I remarked, “and it’s taken a heck of a beating. How far have we traveled?”

Chuck glanced at the speedometer. “Four thousand, four hundred miles. That’s not counting the train ride.”

We had just passed a signboard, “MANAGUA, 100 KILOMETERS.”

I thought back, Guatemala, withal the washouts, detours and mud. Frank had been worth his weight in gold. Without him, I doubt if we could have made it, at least we would have had a very hard time doing it. His winning personality and knowledge of the language had made everything much easier. I wondered how Chuck and I would crossed the borders without him. After Guatemala we went through El Salvador, Honduras, and finally Nicaragua. It was a battle but we made it.

“I’m going to get a Spanish dictionary size thirty-six by twenty-four by thirty-six,” said Chuck and grinned.

“Blond or brunette?” Frank asked.

“That all depends. Maybe I’ll get a couple of them, maybe more. Joe tells me there are eight or ten Señoritas to every man in Nicaragua. A man should take care of his share, don’t you think?”

“I’ve been there before,” Frank said, “and I know how you feel. These Señoritas are much like a chocolate cake covered with frosting. When a man is really hungry and looks at the big cake, he thinks he can eat it all, but after a couple of pieces, he is no longer hungry.”

“I don’t expect to eat the whole damned cake in one evening, but give me time and I’ll eat it and howl for more,” laughed Chuck.

We enjoyed reading the signs along the road: “DRINK VICTORIA CERVEZA. CONTAINS MUCH VIGOR AND ENERGY.” “DRINK FLOR DE CAÑA. NEVER A HANGOVER WHEN YOU DRINK FLOR DE CAÑA.”

“They sure make it attractive.” Chuck said. How’s the beer here?”

“Good,” I told him. “There is a brewery on the left side of the road as we go into town, and there’s a big beer garden there too. I’ve never been in it, but I’ve passed it several times. Let’s stop and tip up a couple.”

When we came to the brewery, Chuck swung around and parked the Palace in front of the beer garden. As we started to walk in, I glanced back at the big letters on the front of the Palace. “SPORT KING,” I read proudly. Indeed, I felt like the King of Sport.

We went into a big open air patio containing dozens of tables and chairs. Leading from this was a large roofed patio about the same size. Between the two patios ran two bars, and drinks could be served from either side. The aisle between the two bars was just wide enough to allow the bartender to walk between them. The thing that impressed us most was the height of the bars. The darn things were at least five feet tall. The bartender stood about five feet, six inches and all we could see of him was the top of his head.

We climbed up on stools about four feet high and ordered beer. The bartender drew them, set the big frosty mugs in front of us and the gave us a puzzled look. Each of us had put some U. S. money on the bar, trying to be the first to pay for the drinks. The bartender shook his head, but we didn’t understand. Frank asked him a few questions.

“In Nicaragua you pay only when you leave,” The man explained. “It is the custom here.”

Come to think of it, I couldn’t remember having paid any bill in Nicaragua until I was ready to leave a hotel, bar, or any other place.

The beer was good, and we were on the third round when a fellow walked up to us. He was well-dressed and looked to be around forty. He smiled and asked, “Who are you? Where are you going? Where do you come from?” Then the famous words; “Who is the ‘King of Sports?'”

I introduced myself, Chuck and Frank, then told him we were here to mine gold.

“Good,” he said. “There is much gold here.”

He pulled out his billfold and gave me his card. The name on it was Ricky Muñoz.

“I am in the machinery business,” he said. “Do you need any kind of machinery?”

“We will need a tractor — either to rent or to buy one,” I told him.

“I have a D-8 tractor at Talpaneca,” he said. “I will either lease or sell it to you.”

This sounded good as it appeared that I was already getting a break.

The beer was fine and we sat swapping talk a long time. After about forty-five hundred miles of travel I thought it was time to celebrate. And celebrate we did. We sure emptied a lot of beer mugs, and Ricky Muñoz was the life of the party. “Today is my birthday!” he kept saying. “We shall drink to my birthday!” Later I learned that Ricky had a birthday at least once a week.

We were all becoming very buddy-buddy when I felt a tug at my leg. I looked down and saw a cute youngster. She was about three years old, had curly brown hair, brown eyes and was wearing a pretty red dress. She gripped my leg tight and smiled up at me. I reached down and lifted her up to sit on the bar. Her tiny fingers took hold of my nose. She giggled as she gave it a twist. I twisted her nose in-turn making her laugh. Then she started chattering to me in Spanish. I tried talking to her in English but she looked puzzled, so I started playing a game with her.

Gently, I twisted her nose again and told her to repeat after me, “nose.” She said it perfectly. With the word “eye” she did the same. Then I took her little hands and told her to repeat as I counted her fingers. In about twenty minutes she could speak more words in English than I could in Spanish. She sat there clapping her hands, her eyes bright and shinning, wanting to be taught more.

I turned to Ricky and asked, “who is this little doll?”

“We call her ‘Tiny’,” said Ricky, “because she’s so tiny and smart.”

“She certainly is,” I told him. “Does she have a mother?”

“Look behind you.”

I turned around. There stood a very lovely young woman about five-two wearing a red dress. She had short brown hair, brown eyes — and she was smiling.

“That is Tiny’s mother, Rosita,” said Ricky. “Isn’t she beautiful?”

I nodded. “Yes, Ricky — very beautiful.”

Rosita stood rocking back and forth in her dainty red slippers as though waiting for something.

Ricky said, “your camper, outside. She would like to see what it looks like on the inside.”

We were all getting a little bit “high” I guess. Chuck was showing Frank his teeth watch-fob and the scar on his chest. He had invented quite a colorful story. There had been many bandits and he had been very badly wounded and had fought for his life. He was getting to be a real showman.

I put little Tiny on my shoulder and Rosita followed. I unlocked the door of the Palace, pulled down the ladder and we went inside. Rosita’s eyes became big and round. Chuck and Frank had polished everything to a high luster. The cupboards of maple veneer were glistening and the full length mirror was spotless. I opened the refrigerator, turned on the stove, showed off the bathroom and turned on the hot water. Rosita held her hand under spigot for a moment, and then jerked it away, looking at bit scared.

After the tour of the Palace, we walked back to the bar and I ordered another beer. All of this time I had been carrying Tiny. Ricky and Rosita started chatting in Spanish, and finally Ricky said to me, “You like this little girl?”

“Sure,” I looked fondly at Tiny. “I’m in love with her.”

“Do you like her mother? I glanced up. There was Rosita standing nearby, swaying coquettishly side to side, looking very pretty, blushing a little and smiling at me again.

“Sure,” I said. “I think she is very nice.”

“She would like to marry you,” said Ricky. “Rosita and Tiny would like to go with you to mine the gold. Rosita would like to be your wife.”

I was flabbergasted. First stop at this place and I get a proposal!

“Maybe before you decide,” said Ricky, “you should get a little better acquainted.”

I told him I thought this was a good idea.

“I tell you what we shall do,” said Ricky. “You will take Rosita and I will take my number two wife who lives at Tipitapa, and we shall go to Talpaneca to look at the tractor.”

“That also seems a good idea,” I told him, “but I will have to phone my brother in the United States and talk to him first.”

Ricky nodded and said, “When you are ready to go, call me and I will make all the arrangements.”

I said to Frank and Chuck, “Let’s get out of here, quick before I end up a married man.”

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