The Long Vietnam of My Soul, Part 2

Writer Rafael Alvarez's serialized novel continues.

“When it’s good it’s really good and when it’s bad I go to pieces …” — Bowie

Every morning since Basilio had shown up unannounced and uninvited, Grandpop greeted him at breakfast with the same question.

"Why are you here?"

Basilio assumed his grandfather was failing and it made him sad and less guilty at the same time. He told himself he was there to help and that was part of it—he was willing to help anyway the old man would let him—but mostly he craved a place to sleep where the spirits were friendly.

One morning, after being asked for the 19th day in a row why he was there, Basilio shouted across the kitchen table: “No casa! No esposa!"


His grandfather smiled like a cat and said: “I smell a rat … and I think I’m looking at him.”

After Nieves arrived, the Spaniard never again asked his namesake why he was there.


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