A secondary character in a highly successful musical known as West Side Story. The script describes him as an explosive little ferret who enjoys everything and understands the seriousness of nothing. He is a rank and file member of the Jets gang. In the Prologue of the show, he gets jumped by the main force of the Sharks, getting his ear pierced by Puerto Rican leader Bernardo.

In the second act, after the death of Jet leader Riff, A-rab's personality does a complete 180. He mellows significantly, and has a very powerful scene with fellow Jet Baby John that impressively portrays the two Jets as frightened children.

From a subjective viewpoint, A-rab is one of the more powerful characters in West Side Story. Although not a principal, he is an exciting and dynamic quasi-protagonist.

In most American cities since the dawning of the age of the automobile, if you see a horse pulling something it will most likely be a carriage, giving quaint, old-fashioned rides to tourists or men trying to impress their dates. Not so in Baltimore, where an ancient brotherhood of produce vendors known as A-rabs (or sometimes A-rabbers) haul their wares in horse-drawn carts.

They're not Arabs, either. Most are old to middle-aged black men, carrying on a dwindling, centuries-old tradition. These equestrian produce salesman once plied every street in the city. Now largely relegated to poorer neighborhoods, the A-rabs announce their coming and going with singsong chants and sleigh bells. Sort of a cross between Santa Claus and the Good Humor ice cream man, these idiosyncratic peddlers offer fresher fruits and vegetables than can be purchased at a supermarket, often in areas that don't have supermarkets anyway.

Legitimate, independent businesspeople in an area where the quickest way to get ahead is to sell heroin to addicted neighbors, A-rabbers can nonetheless earn excellent incomes. The work is long and hard, though, and few young people seem interested in taking up the trade. Hounded by animal rights activists who believe urban stables and traffic-clogged city streets to be dangerous to the horses, the current generation of A-rabs may well be the last.

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