The Tabaquero's Glossary 

Notes on "The Tabaquero's Squirrel" by the story's author

Tabaquero: Tobacco worker. Vicente Martinez-Ybor had cigar operations in Cuba and Key West, and expanded to what is now Ybor City, because of high costs, labor strife, and transportation issues. From Wikipedia: Cigar making was not just a job to the tabaqueros (literally, “tobacco workers”). The torcedores who rolled the finished cigars, especially, thought of themselves as “more of an artist than a worker.” The trade was closely regulated by the tabaqueros in a manner reminiscent of the artisan’s guilds of old Europe. Beginners trained through lengthy apprenticeships in the hopes of someday becoming a well-respected (and well-paid) master torcedor Ybor Cigar Workers or “Tabaqueros.”

El Circulo Cubano: The Cuban Club, a historic building constructed in 1917 (to replace an earlier structure on the same site that burned down) to serve as a gathering place for Cuban immigrants in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida.

Au Coup de Fusil: A statue of two dogs on the grounds of the University of Tampa, formerly the Tampa Bay Hotel. The statue(s) were commissioned by Henry Plant (who built the hotel), and supposedly represent his favorite hunting dogs. The bronze hounds, which were cast in France by Maurice Denonvilliers in 1890, originally faced south rather than north, and their rapt attention was focused on a small bronze squirrel placed in a low-hanging oak limb. However, the squirrel eventually was stolen and the dogs were moved to their current location in front of Plant Hall.

Maldito: "Damned” or “cursed.” In the context of the story, Vladi is basically saying, “I didn’t take no damned squirrel.”

Adelantado: Adelantado was a military title held by some Spanish conquistadores of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Monarchs granted Adelantados the right to become governors and justices of a specific region, which they were charged with conquering, in exchange for funding and organizing the initial explorations, settlements and pacification of the target area on behalf of the Crown of Castile.

Caya Hueso: Key West.

Cañones: Cannons. The cannons in the story are from Fort Brooke, the early 19th-century military post (established 1824) around which Tampa developed. In the 1890s, Henry Plant moved two of the long-abandoned cannons from the site of the old fort to the grounds of his new Tampa Bay Hotel as a curiosity for the hotel's guests. Later the guns were placed on plinths made of coquina blocks.

Claro: Of course

Mandame una carta: Send me a card

Yo no se que: I don’t know what (basically the Spanish version of “Je nais sais quoi”).

Escuchadores: Listeners

Locura: Craziness

Ee puta madre, donde has ido? “Holy shit, where have you gone?” or “Motherfucker, where have you gone?” Not exactly the same connotation, but close. Basically the sentence shows the narrator’s yearning for his departed friend.

Quedate, stay? “Quedate” means “stay.” So in this line, La Voz (which means “the voice”) is basically using Spanglish, and is being redundant by saying “quedate” and “stay” in the same sentence.


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