Sitting on an empty table, holding in my right hand a little bag full of coins, with my gaze fixed on the jukebox of the only canteen in my neighborhood. I was thinking about… what would be the next song I would select to listen to? While my heart was shaking and the blood in my veins was burning to the beat of the music. I was about nine years old and didn’t know the word shame. So, no matter what the drunks said, I sang at the top of my lungs following the musical notes of the song the jukebox was playing at that moment.
When the music stopped, everyone present gave me coins. The owner of the canteen was an elderly man, a very good person. We called him “Don Chalo”, I helped him move the coffee beans while they dried in the sun, spread out on large cement platforms. He also assigned me the task of threshing corn, for which he paid me a fairly generous salary; considering that I did not have enough strength to move the huge amount of coffee beans exposed to the sun.
I lived with my sister, my brother-in-law, my niece, and my nephew in a place called Santo Tomas La Unión. While my sister went to study, a nanny took care of us. So, I took advantage of the time to go to work at Don Chalo’s place. When I finished my chores, I would go through the huge wooden door that separated the canteen from the grounds where the coffee was dried. Don Chalo knew what I was doing, and he was always close by taking care of me, so I didn’t have any problems. When it was almost time for my sister to return home, Don Chalo paid me for the day’s work and told me “Go home now, your sister is about to return.” (When my sister reads this, she will find out what I was doing when she was not there. The good thing is that she never found out when I was a child, otherwise the tremendous beating I would have received).
Music has always been a part of my life. In my childhood, I thought the inventor of the jukebox was a genius. I have never smoked any type of weed or consumed alcoholic beverages, which is why on many occasions I have been discriminated against at social events or parties at friends’ houses, considering me a boring person. Although the reality is that after having lived my entire childhood and adolescence with an alcoholic father and having seen him drink to the point of losing his self-control, I was never interested in consuming alcoholic beverages.
But that has not impeded me from having fun in a thousand different ways and enjoying the things I like to do. After living a couple of years in Santo Tomas La Unión, we returned to live in Jutiapa. Where one of my sisters had started her own fast food, overnight lodging, social and cultural entertainment business; in a very spacious house with a dance floor, live music, and the extraordinary musical invention called “JUKEBOX”. In other words, summarizing the nature of the business in a single word “Raw and Unadorned” I can say that my sister was the owner of a “BURDEL”.
Since I was a child, I have been a very observant and curious boy. Lover of good food and I must say that the food they sold there was EXQUISITE. I have tried to remember why I spent so much time in that place, but I don’t know exactly why? However, I do have a collection of gossip, anecdotes, and stories that I document. Even though I was always denied the opportunity to play hide and seek with the girls in that place, there are many things that I discovered that I want to share with all of you.
So, I want to invite all of you to discover the hidden adventures of the ephemeral merriment of happiness that many people experienced in one of the most famous houses in my town during the 1970s and 1980s. Reminding us that any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental.
Coming soon in January, I invite you to read the story of the “HAPPY BOY”