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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 463

This short story begins with the pregnant narrator bemoaning the loss of her lover, Chaq Uxmal Paloquin, who is supposedly descended from an ancient line of Mayan kings. Accordingly, the narrator's grandmother has sent her to live in Mexico to await the birth of her baby.

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As the story continues, the narrator says that her own mother also made poor decisions and inevitably ended up walking the "crooked walk." Meanwhile, the narrator's Abuelita blames Uncle Lalo for her granddaughter's downfall. For his part, Uncle Lalo refuses to take responsibility for his niece's predicament.

The narrator maintains, however, that she isn't a "bad" girl. After all, she doesn't sell her body like the prostitutes on the streets. She relates that she always wanted her first time with a man to be special, and she believes that she experienced that with Chaq, whom she nicknames Boy Baby. To her, Chaq is a combination of boy, baby, and man.

The narrator maintains that it was Chaq who pursued her. First, he made a few stops at her pushcart in front of a grocery store, where she sold produce. He purchased items from her and sometimes told her to keep the change. Her feelings for him intensified after he brought her Kool-Aid in a plastic cup.

What intrigued the narrator about Boy Baby was his mystery. He never revealed his past and sometimes spoke to her in a strange language she couldn't understand. According to the narrator, her lover lived behind an auto repair shop in a dingy room.

It was in this room that he showed her his twenty-four guns and made love to her. The narrator relates that she was proud to lose her virginity to such a lover. To hide her actions from her grandmother, she later made up a story about her cart being stolen.

Later, however, a neighbor woman exposed the truth, and the narrator's grandmother went in search of the owner of the car repair shop. She was furious to learn that Chaq had left town.

Eventually, Abuelita sends a letter to a convent, asking the nuns about the whereabouts of Boy Baby.

The nuns reveal that Boy Baby was actually born in a town called Miseria. His real name is Chato, and he isn't of Mayan descent. The narrator also learns from her Abuelita that Chaq returned to look for her, but the old woman chased him away.

Later, the narrator receives news about Chaq's arrest for murdering eleven women. She is speechless and can only stare at his face in the paper, the face of a man she still loves.

The story ends with the narrator proclaiming that she will likely have five children in life. She will name her youngest child Alegre because life will always be hard.

Summary

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 588

The narrator has been sent to a dusty town in Mexico to live with her cousins. She describes her lover, Chaq Uxmal Paloquin, who claims to be descended from Mayan kings, and explains that her grandmother, Abuelita, has burned her pushcart and chased Chaq away with a broom. The narrator met Chaq while selling cucumbers and other produce from a pushcart in front of a food store in the United States. She explains that she was not the first to go bad in this way; her mother also “took the crooked walk.” She struggles to describe her feelings for Chaq, seeing him as boy, baby, and man simultaneously. She says that she did not want her first sexual encounter to be like a prostitute’s and knew that it would be special with Chaq. Each Saturday, Chaq would come to buy fruit from her cart, and at night he would take her to his small room in back of Esparza & Sons Auto Repair. There he brushes her hair, tells the history of his people, and shows her his guns. He tells her how the stars foretell the birth of the boy-child who will restore the Mayan civilization. One night on his dirty cot, with the...

(The entire section contains 1051 words.)

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