“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. Sal recognized the song, one they learned as boys begging for pesos outside the cantina. The disembarking soldiers also recognized the tune and joined in the singing. The Brothers moved toward shore, holding their skirts high after the landing party cleared the way. No one expected the Brothers to help herd the swine.
“Gracìas a Dìos, thank God,” the Brothers said. Their prayers to celebrate deliverance from the sea voyage competed with Blas’s barroom tunes. The soldiers kept singing along with Blas’s bawdy songs, celebrating the landing with wine drizzled from boda bags held high.
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