“¿Dónde estàmos, where are we? I’m sunk to my knees in sludge,” Sal said. He and Blas herded the stinking animals off the landing craft.
“I can’t tell the sticky mud from the pig shit,” Blas said. Sand and sea swallowed their feet as they slogged across broad mudflats.
“It all stinks, brother,” a nearby soldier said. “They call this place Vera Cruz—very cursed, we say.” Soldiers shoved them forward as deep muck sucked at Sal’s feet.
“God help us—these bugs,” Sal said. The air carried swarms of pesky mosquitoes that rushed into his mouth each time he gasped for breath. “Is this el Nuevo Mundo or just some kind of purgatory?” Sal wondered. He grumbled as they scrambled for dry land. “First, the stinking jail, then the rotten ship, now another punishment from God.”
Layered with grime, Blas trailed behind. Even in the worst circumstances, he managed to surprise Sal with his idiotic behavior. Somehow, he mustered the energy to bellow an old ballad.
“This life full of sorrow…” Blas sang.
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