Bodega Dreams – Book III, Eulogy

Ernesto Quinonez

Bodega Dreams

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Bodega Dreams – Book III, Eulogy

Book III: A New Language Being Born 

Eulogy: Pa’lante, Siempre Pa’lante 

Now that Chino has all the pieces of the puzzle, he realizes that Nazario and Vera had planned it all along. Vera no longer wanted to be married to Vidal, and Nazario was in a position to make this happen. Vera used Bodega to teach her to fire a gun, then killed her husband with Bodega’s gun, knowing that Bodega would willingly accept the blame. He also realizes that it was Nazario who set fire to the apartment building in order to frame Fischman, and that the trip to visit Cavarelli was designed to fool both Chino and Bodega.

Chino expects more of a public outcry over Bodega’s death, but life in Spanish Harlem goes on. On the day of Bodega’s funeral, Chino finds Sapo flying a kite on the roof of a building. Although Sapo knows the truth, he has chosen to keep a low profile. He tells Chino that “‘Bodega might be dead but his empire is out there for the taking’” (204). Sapo reminds Chino of when they used to play Kid Comets, a game that involved setting a pigeon on fire and sending it to the ground below like a fireball. Sapo observes that pigeons are nothing but “rats with wings” (205) and that there are plenty of them around.

To protect himself, Chino goes to the precinct and tells the police what he knows. He hates that he has to tell the police, but knows that eventually, Nazario will come for him.

The entire barrio shows up at Bodega’s funeral to pay their respects, and afterwards, Bodega’s body is displayed for public viewing at a minimarket in Spanish Harlem. Chino observes that “The entire Latin content was represented, including the thin waist of Central America and all the islands that decorated it like a string of pearls. Everyone was there like in some pageant for a dying monarch” (207). After three days, a funeral procession snakes through el barrio to the cemetery in Queens. This is somewhat satisfying for Chino, who realizes, “the people had taken to the…

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