“Chico plays tricks on people but he also does nice things. You have to know how to get on his good side. One of the things he’ll do for you is make someone fall in love.”
“He uses worms for that?”
“Yes. If a young woman takes some worms down to that little bit of black beach at night, where Chico lives, and gives them to him, he will catch fish for her. The woman comes back at dawn and picks up her catch, usually six fish. If she takes them home and makes soup out of them, and then feeds the soup to any man she loves, the man will be hers in two days.” Carmen paused. “Or maybe it’s three days. Anyway, he’ll be hers.”
“Did this happen to your cousin Ramiro?” Jay asked drily.
“No, but have you heard of the Swiss doctor who married a woman here?”
“Or the Swedish professor? Or the Mexican poet? Or the two lawyers from Granada who came here on vacation?”
The barrio, Jay realized, had indeed married off a number of its women to outsiders. He furrowed his eyebrows just a little.
“Ha-ha, there are a lot of women here who married foreigners, aren’t there? People think Chico does this for the same reason he chased away the soldiers: He doesn’t like outsiders. But one way to get rid of an outsider is to tie him to the neighborhood, of course; make him an insider. So Chico connects the new people with local women.”
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