Who would have poisoned the old man’s dog?



written yesterday in a workshop



a real wolf

The old man in question is my ex father-in-law who died of heart complications when he was sixty. He had a big dog, its name was Wolf, and it was an Alsatian.  The doctors actually wanted to operate more but he decided to quit. They had operated three times and his heart just kept on getting bigger, that is more swollen like his head. How can I – or anyone for that matter – call a sixty-year-old an old man, the old man for this story?

      I did reflect during those long years of separation and divorce when her family gave me very limited access to my son that when I met Aldo Bassan, the old man, he was old because he had so little time left. That’s why in a sense people can be old outside of or beyond statistical analysis.

     Aldo Bassan was a tragedy. He was a highly gifted documentary film producer with two flats in Rome and a villa in the Dolomites called Villa Bassan. He proudly claimed he’d built it with his own flesh and blood, thumping his broad chest with his hand. “L’ho costruita con il mio sangue e la mia carne!” That villa had three floors, one for each of his children as he never tired of telling everyone. It certainly didn’t have a floor for me, and the whole family came to see me as a mere, irritating flaw. I had to go and I went.

      I never did meet Wolf the dog in question but I saw the photos. It lived up to its name. The postmen in Rome never tasted its wrath but Villa Basssan had a very large garden and Wolf roamed it. It was the postman in Castelrotto who got very frightened, quarrelled with the family especially with Aldo Bassan and gave Wolf poisoned meat. Who would have poisoned the old man’s dog? Well, the family said it was the German-speaking postman. Aldo began a law suit against him but it was just one of many that he left pending. The family paid for all of them after he died.

flag not appreciated by Aldo, dog fine!!!      

      I’m glad I never met Wolf. Aldo Bassan was enough. I will always remember him shouting that he’d seen the Americans machine-gunning his mother and father. They were Jews who betrayed Jews to the Germans in Aquila and when the Americans began their final battles in Italy, they put a curfew on the villages and towns. No one out or death. Aldo Bassan’s family was fleeing the villagers’ wrath. They had to be out and the idea was to get to the Eternal City in time to avoid scrutiny as German sympathisers and informers against their own Jewish town folk. They met eternity but not the Eternal City. It was death from the skies as Aldo engraved on their tombstone and the giver was a black American in his Allied Forces’ aeroplane.

      Yes, Aldo was a big man, a tragic man, with his dead Wolf.

Aquila in the Abruzzi

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