“Otra vez, once again, what’s your complaint today?” Blas said. He secured the remaining cargo while he rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Dios mío. It’s too hot. The road is too rough. The bell is too heavy.” Blas could see Sal would never be content.
“¡Despierta, wake up, Blas!See this crowd, the vendors, the money,” Sal said. He twisted around in his seat and pointed toward all the activity in the crowded market. “Why are we sitting here doing nothing?” Sal said. He poked his finger at Blas’s chest, his patience running thin.
“The money, the silver, the women—all I ever hear is your big talk, ever since the pilgrimage to Santiago,” Blas said. “It did you no good at all. Your poor mother.”
“What have you ever done except follow me around?” Sal said. “I always protect you and figure out our plans.” Sal peered into the crowd looking for opportunities for easy profits.
“Who would you kick around if not me?” Blas said. “I’m the one who got us on the galleon with the Franciscans.” He eased toward the edge of the buckboard, ready for Sal’s temper to flare. “I even got us jobs and our food. You’re beginning to remind me of your dad, the drunkard.”
Sal threw a wild punch. Blas made a quick move to protect himself. “Cállate, shut your mouth. Enough of this,” Sal said. “Tell Brother David…,”
“Tell your own lies,” Blas said. He held his ground. “Okay, you’re the hero. Bueno, go ahead and find the silver.”
“I found it already,” Sal said. They both stopped to look into the crowd of shoppers. “See the chica, that girl over there?” Sal pointed to a young woman in the market with a basket of flowers on her head—her two silver earrings flashed in the sunlight. “Remember when Brother David told us to stay away from the Indians who work the silver mines, ¿y por qué, why? He wants all this for himself,” Sal jumped off the wagon.
“You are shameless,” Blas said. He grabbed for Sal’s sleeve to hold him back. “You know, I would have done anything to go on a pilgrimage when we were boys. They say your Mamà took you to protect you from your father’s drinking and womanizing.”
Those words hurt Sal even though he thought all the pain had faded long ago. “And you’re perfect?” Sal said.
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