Chickens squawked in the yard early the next morning. Roberto passed among them, collecting eggs. His mama Maria and Chata, his sister, dragged gunny sacks through the yard and gardens collecting trash from the party the night before. Lupita was the first one to leave the house with baby Carlos on her hip. He was ready to eat the moment he awoke.
“Is Private Valdez here? I have some family news that may help him.” Alicia watched Lupita speak to Maria from the window in the sleeping loft. Could she be trusted with all she’d heard last night?
“Good morning to little Carlos.” Manuel Valdez approached the women. Lupita filled him in on all the family news of the previous night. He used the early hours to inspect the dock and hoped to linger until he saw Alicia. She spotted him from the window and rushed to dress.
It was the day after the big party. Mama and Papa came to grips with all that had happened in their absence. Alicia did not want to give up her role on the dock. Roberto assumed Papa would be his new boss now.
“Any ships expected today? Where
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