Cinco de Bargain

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Every Cinco de Mayo, I think about my first trip to Mexico in 1984. My mother and I visited several places like Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, but my favorite memory happened in Acapulco. We were strolling along the beach when I spotted a young boy (about the same age as me) carrying the most spectacular toy: a plastic Spiderman with a parachute on its back. I had to have one. My little caballero was walking up and down the beach selling them.

“This isn’t like home, honey,” my mom warned me. “There aren’t set prices for things. People will try to bargain with you.”

She explained what bargain meant and I tented my fingers. This sounds like as much fun as the toy, I thought. I approached my comrade and asked how much he wanted for G.I. Spidey. He answered that it would cost the equivalent of eight dollars. After screaming “cuatro!” a few times and waving my arms maniacally I squinted into his eyes and talked him down to four. I felt like I’d won a spot on Star Search. I never could get that thing to fly but twenty-five years and a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish later I don't think I could have talked him down any lower.