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The sun beats through the humid air, upon the stone and dirt streets. High cumulus clouds drift above the heavy-forest limestone mountains.
The Sunday lanes echo with the sounds of today’s game. Once more, the Cobán Imperials (the Blues – the home county favourites) and the Guatemala City Communications (the Creams) battle for the championship after last Wednesday’s tied football match.
In the sala of the orange hospedaje, the family and beer-drinking foreigners watch. The announcer’s voice reverberates off the white-washed walls.
Communications has scored. It’s a tied game.
In a wood-plank store, the man behind the counter doesn’t notice his customer. He leans his greying head close to the staticky radio.
And up on the main street, at the windows and doors of a tiendita, boys, teens and adults watch a flickering TV inside, trying to see above, around each other’s head. The ice cream vendor’s cart is parked, abandoned by its owner watching this game.
And others come running to see what happened.
Score: Creams 2, Blues 1
And again, within minutes …
A burst of fireworks cracks on the cobblestones.
The clouds are growing. Bodies sweat under this hot sun. Another Super Helados vendor parks his cart, trying to see that TV screen in the shop. A young boy with pale limbs slips between legs, to the door.
A woman walks up the street. She stops and searches amongst the boys. Once she spots her son, she resumes her homeward-bound journey.
A transit truck pulls in. The lot assistant pulls himself away from the game just long enough to guide the vehicle into its place. Women board into the back of the camión. Young men have to leave the game, with barely ten minutes left. As the truck is leaving, one hops off the back and rejoins the audience, just in time to hear …
And time is over. Comunicaciones wins three to two.
Some of the teens leave, cursing beneath their breath. The truck returns. More men leave the post-game commentaries. Disillusioned, they board their transport. One of the ice cream men tries to make last-minute sales at the tailgate.
Finally, the woman of the tiendita turns off the TV set. The last of the crowd disperses.
Still, from a few shops, echoes the colour commentary from radios.