Jorge Milanes Despiagne
The game of dominos is one of our popular traditions. On any Cuban street corner you’ll usually see a group of people playing it. Yesterday my neighbors invited me to play a game.
We arranged a table and four chairs outside, sat down and distributed the “bones.” As we began, one player shouted, “You’re not going to win with what you got. Here you go!” slamming down his first domino in the middle of the table. “I think I’d better go look for a bottle of rum to give things a little ambiance,” he then added.
We continued talking around the table.
“I’m gonna go knock down some coconuts” said his nephew, who immediately got up from the table, rolled up his pant legs and went to get a machete. He then put on his belt, went up to the coconut tree, wrapped his arms around it, and climbed up to the very top.
“Be careful. Don’t fall. Hold on tight!” we all yelled from below as several of the coconuts fell to the ground. I picked up one to make “Saoco” (coconut milk and rum). I continued watching, my eyes fixed on the adventurous boy up high.
“Watch out for the electri…!”— but it was too late. He had already hit the electric line with the machete. His whole body twinged as smoke came off his feet, but he didn’t let go of the tree.
We all were confused, hysterical.
“Quick, call the electric company to cut off the current, or the fire department, I don’t know,” said one person there. It was so bewildering that none of us could act coherently. We couldn’t even remember the cell phone on the table.
“What happened?” asked a man who was walking down the street when he saw us looking up.
“My God…!” Trembling, the stranger took out his own cell phone and tried to dial.
“Miss, this is an emergency,” he said in a shaking voice. He then tried to explain to her what had happened…
My friend’s nephew stayed up there for fifteen minutes with his machete stuck to the cable. The firemen arrived, as did a truck from the electric company and an ambulance. They asked the large crowd of people that had converged on the scene to step back and they erected a ladder. Gradually they got the boy down.
With only a burnt finger on one hand and a broken voice, he whispered to us, “I’ll be back. It’s still not my turn.”