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By Rigoberto González

Winner of the yank ebook Award

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Extra resources for Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa (Writing in Latinidad)

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I was sitting in the back of the bus on a long trip down to Michoacán,” my father begins his implausible tale. He’s sitting in the back of the bus, exhausted into sleep, and his body is slumped down against the window. A hand shakes him awake and he’s startled to discover a police officer standing over him. ” the officer asks him. My father, drowsy and confused, says, “Yes, I’m on my way to Michoacán. Are we there yet? ” 30 Now Leaving Mexicali, Baja California, Norte The police officer, a fat man with a mustache, looks at him suspiciously.

In time a second bus arrives and we all transfer our luggage over. As we drive off, the mechanic seems unfazed by his defeat, watching us pull into the road, a bottle of beer in his hand, which he raises toward us as a sign of farewell. My father avoids eye contact at this point as if he’s expecting me to gripe about the second-class bus ride once again, but I don’t. I’m too worn out to complain. When he turns his head away from me, I know he’s trying to hide the smell of alcohol in his breath.

47 childhood and other l anguage lessons At one time they even kept a talking parrot that made its home in the lime tree. This pet was the cause of my mother’s consternation for months because my uncles had only taught it to cuss. The bird spewed out obscenities at every unsuspecting visitor. It never discriminated, squawking out ¡Chinga tu madre! at the neighborhood drunk with the same conviction as the insults he swore to our teacher-nuns from the parochial school, coming by to collect the monthly tuition.

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