He believes that on November 23, 1963, John F. Kennedy woke well-rested in Dallas and boarded a private plane headed to Puerto Rico. He still lives there as Juan Cubano and is often seen sitting near the docks in Fajardo feeding passion fruit to a curvaceous blonde named Norma Morteno. No one has ever seen him with any other woman.
He believes that while he was in Vietnam a movie director forced him to act out war scenes for future movies. He says he heard the director shouting over the explosions: “More fucking blood. Jesus, make it look real.”
He believes my mother did not leave us in 1976 after he returned to Little Rock. She’s been locked in the basement for thirty-four years and lives off rats and rain water. He says he sometimes hears her when he makes breakfast. She scratches and snuffles. She’s particularly active when he makes coffee. She always liked his coffee.
He believes his room at the VA is that house.
He believes that when I was gone for fifteen years, I spent my time in Puerto Rico looking for Juan Cubano. My father had always wanted me to go during those years in the car. He wanted me to ask the old president why he gave up. Why he ran away when he could’ve stopped a war.
He believes Juan Cubano told me, “It’s always more important to love a woman.”
He believes that was a message. Now he lies on the floor and shouts through the linoleum. “You can come up now,” he says. “You can come up, sweetie.”
He believes a movie director still follows him around. He says everyone is an actor. That’s why all the people who come into his room look so familiar. He once told me that I was just the guy hired to play his son. Sometimes I feel like that’s true. But most of the time I just feel like lying on the linoleum with him. And seeing if we can get my mother to come back.