Under the Table and Off the Books

If you're desperate for work, if you must see a doctor, if you need shelter, Miami's shadow economy will provide

At this moment the streetlight has turned red and the cars have stopped. But Willy stands still. From under the hardware store's awning he motions with his eyes to the line of traffic, where a Miami police cruiser idles. "La policía," Willy whispers. If they spot him they might ask to see his street vendor's permit, which he doesn't have. He's already received one $28 ticket from a Miami cop, so he sits this one out and lets the line of potential customers drive off.

That's tough. He says he's under the gun to sell all his mamoncillos today. "They won't be any good tomorrow," he explains. "And if I have any left over, there's going to be trouble with the boss."

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