Chicken for fish
Saturday morning, I learned that chicken had arrived at the rationed market and I went to the butchers where they usually sell eggs and soy “ground meat”. But there weren’t any customers there. The employee, with the muteness common among those who serve the public, called my attention with a pointed finger to the hundred people in line in front of the fish store.
For some time there’s been a shortage of products from the sea and the natural sources for obtaining the nutrient phosphorus are more lost than the ark in the Indiana Jones films. Thus, in the little grid in the ration book where they should mark a portion of mackerel or hake, they now enter a tiny portion of thigh, and next to thigh, chicken. I spent two hours waiting, and finally entered the place where nothing remains of the odor of the African coasts, which is where the Cuban fishing fleet captures its fish… in the idealized time of true socialism.
The seller was standing on a mat made of cartons where one could read—perfectly clearly—the providence of the merchandise: “Made in USA.” An old man with a malicious tongue didn’t miss this detail and commented, “These American chickens are certainly well fed.” The lady took our ration book where it specifies we are three people, and threw 33 ounces on the scale, none of which was breast, telling me the price was one peso fifty centavos. “When is the fish coming?” I inquired, but she didn’t answer me with words but rather with an index finger pointing to the sky.