30 Sep

Spoiler Alert: The Abuelo

“Spoiler Alert” is a serialized short story, coming in 13 parts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. “The Abuelo” is part nine. It’s best if you know the end first, so go to part one if you haven’t read it yet.

“Wow, that’s weird.”

David put his palms to his eyes and started rubbing them. He looked like he was trying to push them into his head.

“What do you think it means?” I asked.

He slung his backpack over his shoulder and faced the Zapatero residence. “There’s only one way to find out.”

I watched him go, wondering whether I’d be hearing a gun shot soon. But as he approached the front door, he looked back at me and shouted, “What are you doing?”

I shrugged.

He motioned for me to follow him, so I jumped up and jogged toward the house. “You’re supposed to come with me.” It was an interesting choice of words (supposed to?) but I decided not to comment on them.

The woman/girl opened the door, saw me standing there, and began to close it again.

“Wait!” David shouted. “Yo soy Alan.”

She eyed us both and yelled something in Spanish. An older woman rounded a corner and came to stand by the first. I guessed they were mother and daughter.

David spoke with them. I couldn’t understand shit.

The women nodded and led us through a labyrinthine house — down one hall, through a kitchen, down another hall, out a door to a courtyard, and finally through another door to a solitary room.

Inside, an old man was lying on a bed, watching telenovelas on a small TV set that sat atop a dresser. He didn’t acknowledge us when we entered.

“Is that him?” I whispered.


The women spoke quietly, addressing the man as abuelo.

He caught sight of David and smiled. “Alan?”

I’m sure he had some form of dementia. He looked disoriented. But his English was pretty good, and when David nodded, the old guy seemed to brighten up a bit. “This must be your son,” he said. I chuckled.

David glared at me.

The old man wagged a shaky finger at David. “I told him, like you asked. I told him.” Then he looked at me. “Don’t worry, the door’s been broken for years.”

Of course, I had no idea what he was talking about, but I smiled and nodded anyway. I might have said thanks, which was kind of weird now that I think about it.

The old guy extended a feeble arm and held it there for David to take. “Alan, my friend. It’s good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you,” David said. He was crying.

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