“This is what we do at home. We find new markets,” Jimenez said. He didn’t waste any time approaching the men with tools to trade for food. Jimenez traded some of the church’s cargo in each village they passed through for the next seven days. The natives gave the few things they owned in exchange for the church goods. Some offered rough pulque liquor in exchange for their goods.
One native man (who seemed to be drunk on his own pulque) even offered to trade his daughter, a skinny pregnant girl who held her belly like a water jug.
“Do you think this is one of their customs?” Jimenez said. Sal blushed, embarrassed by the gesture. The memory of La Señorita Xichete came back to Sal. He resolved that he would never act like the other soldiers, abusive toward the native women.
“Want to trade for her?” Jimenez said. “Some things are better than más dinero, amigo. Let’s give her a try.” He walked around the girl giving her a close look from all angles. She kept her eyes cast downward, embarrassed for herself— or maybe, for her drunken father.
“The military uniform charms the girl,” Sal said. “Do you think the jacket would fit me?”
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