Therapy Room

Amigoland, the new novel by Oscar Casares, follows a retired postman named Fidencio Rosales as he escapes his senior home and heads for Mexico with his brother to explore a decades-old family mystery. In this exclusive excerpt, Fidencio daydreams his way out of the drudgery of exercise hour.
Therapy Room
Photograph by Todd Hido

Of the eight people waiting in line, Don Fidencio was the one person sitting in a regular chair and dressed in clothes decent enough to be worn out in public: black orthopedic shoes, blue jeans, checkered flannel shirt, red suspenders, red-and-black Astros cap. The One With The Hole In His Back wore his usual maroon pajamas and tan moccasin slippers, but now with his beige cowboy hat that normally hung off the headboard.

He motioned for his roommate to come closer.

WHAT DAY IS IT TODAY?”

Don Fidencio pulled away when he remembered the volume of his roommate’s voice. “Tuesday.”

¿EH?

Tuesday. Today is Tuesday,” he said a little louder.

TUESDAY?”

Yes,” he answered and nodded at the same time. “Today is Tuesday.”

ARE YOU SURE TODAY IS TUESDAY?”

Don Fidencio stared at his watch, focusing on the enlarged numbers and the date. “Yes,” he said, more confidently. “Tuesday, the third of February.”

THEY BROUGHT ME IN ON A TUESDAY.”

Pues, that must have been another Tuesday.”

The One With The Hole In His Back raised his cowboy hat and scratched his head, pushing the wisps of white hair to one side.

LAST TIME I ASKED THE NURSE WHAT DAY IT WAS SHE SAID TUESDAY. EVERY TIME I ASK THEY TELL ME THE SAME THING, ‘ TUESDAY, TODAY IS TUESDAY.’ YOU TELL ME, HOW MANY TUESDAYS CAN THERE BE? ARE THERE NO MORE DAYS OF THE WEEK? DID THEY CHANGE THE CALENDAR SINCE THEY PUT ME IN HERE? HOW CAN IT ALWAYS BE THE SAME? TUESDAY, TUESDAY, ‘ TODAY IS TUESDAY.’ THAT’S ALL THEY EVER TELL ME.”

Don Fidencio looked blankly at him.

Ask tomorrow and I bet you get a different answer.”

The One With The Hole In His Back shook his head and turned away.

Don Fidencio grabbed hold of the walker. If he was going to waste his morning sitting around, he preferred to do it in his own room. He had already taken his first step when The Filipina Who Looks Like A Boy came up to him and stood a couple inches from his face.

And good morning to you, Mr. Rosales. How are you feeling

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