Batshit Bassel by Holly Day
✨ Guest Post ✨
Hi! thank you, Addison, for allowing me back on the blog! 🥰 Today we’re gonna talk soups. Yup, you read that right. I wrote Batshit Bassel to celebrate Soup it Forward Day, which is celebrated annually on March 3rd.
It’s been around since 2018, so not that many years, and was founded by the Soup Sisters. When I saw this day, I knew I wanted to write a story around it. Soup Sisters is a non-profit organisation who feeds the homeless and those who’s been forced to leave their homes behind.
Soup it Forward Day isn’t only about helping the homeless, though. It’s a day to give a loved one a bowl of therapeutic soup, and that’s exactly what Bassel in Batshit Bassel does – hands out therapeutic soup.
He has a food cart, and every day he sells two kinds of soup, one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian. Bassel is a defective psychic. His mother was a precog and his father an empath, but Bassel has no control over his gifts at all. Sometimes he can feel what the person next to him is feeling, and sometimes he gets premonitions about what’s about to happen.
He’s far more at ease with his empathic part of himself. When someone is out of sorts, he offers them a chair to sit on and serves them a bowl of soup – for free, he doesn’t charge for therapeutic soup. And he is convinced that he can make the world a better place one bowl at a time.
And one day, there is a little boy who’s drowning in grief. Bassel does what he always does, serves soup. The boy, Dag, has lost his mother and has been living with Thor, his uncle, for the last couple of months, but Thor’s life isn’t fit to take care of a child.
He owns a nightclub, works every day of the week, and hardly gets into bed before it’s time to get Dag ready for school. He’s at the end of his rope, so when Dag starts hanging around the soup stand, Thor lets him. He even starts talking to Bassel a little.
I loved writing this story. I had one tab of different soup recipes open at all times 😆
What’s your favourite kind of soup?
I have to go with a very simple veggie soup. My mum often made what she called vegetable soup, and there were vegetables in it, but she also had ground meat she browned and seasoned with salt and black pepper before adding it to the soup, so it wasn’t vegetarian. When I make it, I skip the ground meat since I’m a vegetarian.
It’s super easy. Add some water to a pot and throw in a broth cube or two depending on how much you’re making. Peel and chop carrots, potatoes, parsnip, and leek. Start with the carrots since they need a little more time than the potatoes and parsnip and take the leek last. Then add some salt and white pepper. Done!
Don’t ask how much of each thing you need, because I take what I have, and the numbers of potatoes, carrots, and parsnips vary every time I make it. Recipes aren’t my thing, I grow bored halfway through and add what I see fit, and this goes for both baking and cooking 😁
To people’s amazement, my kids eat this soup without blinking. They even ask for it at times when we’re planning our meals. To them it’s veggie soup, to me it’ll always be Mum’s soup. Someone, please make it with ground meat since Mum isn’t around to do it anymore.
Some people perform miracles, others serve soup.
Bassel Uxium will never save the world. He doesn’t have the skill. He’s the product of his parents’ sin, a psychic with no control over his powers. But he can serve soup, and soup works wonders in its own way. He isn’t bitter about it. Some people create miracles, others give a frozen soul a warm bowl of love.
Thor Espen’s life changed in a heartbeat. A few months ago, his sister died, and he became the guardian of his nephew. His life isn’t fit for a child. He’s the owner of a nightclub, and his schedule doesn’t leave room for a cub. When his nephew starts spending time with the weird soup guy with the food cart outside his club, he allows it.
Bassel aches for the little boy who is cloaked in grief and tries to ease his sorrows with soup, one bowl at a time. He aches for Thor too, but in a different way. Thor should focus on work, but he can’t get Bassel out of his head. Can a bear shifter and a defective psychic have something together, or will the budding relationship turn to ashes, along with Bassel’s predictions of a fire?
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Bassel forced a smile. “So, what brings you here? I haven’t seen you before.”
Riley glanced at Come Inside, then quickly away.
“Ah, going barhopping?”
Riley grimaced. “Normally, people aren’t welcoming or this generous.” They motioned at the bowl, and Bassel shrugged in reply. Anyone going through a rough time needed some soup, preferably made by another person, and Riley looked to be struggling. If the emotions were anything to go by, Bassel believed they needed help. He couldn’t put his finger on what it was other than something frantic he didn’t want to be part of.
They took a deep breath. “I’ve heard… They do drag shows in there.”
“Oh yeah, every Friday, I think it is. Do you wish to perform?”
Riley almost dropped their bowl. “Heavens no! I figured if they’re okay with drag queens, they might be okay with me.” They gestured at their short hair and the clothes no doubt bought in the men’s section, as self-loathing, thick as molasses, threatened to suffocate Bassel.
“None of that, precious.”
“What?” Riley stared at him as if he had rats in the attic—they weren’t wrong.
“I only meant love yourself. You’re a miracle, and I’m sure they’d welcome you with open arms.”
Before Riley could reply, a roar shook the sky, and soon a massive shadow engulfed him. Oh, shit. There was a bear in his personal space, a huge, angry bear. Bassel tipped his head back to be able to see his face. His eyes were brown with a hint of yellow near the pupils, and his teeth were too pointy to be human.
“Hello.” Bassel spoke low, not wanting to trigger the bear into doing something. He was drowning in guilt, grief, and fury—not a good combination. “Are you hungry? I have tomato soup and cubed beef and barley soup.”
“Where is Dag?” The growl had Bassel’s bones vibrating, a weird sensation.
“In school.” Was this Dag’s father? He didn’t look like a billionaire, but he didn’t look dirt poor either. And he’d come from Come Inside, had he not? Bassel wasn’t sure, but if he’d come from the street, he would have seen him approach in time to prepare.
Some of the man’s fury melted away, and he dropped his shoulders a fraction instead of looming over Bassel. For a second or two, he said nothing, then he made a slow, very bear-like blink. “In school?”
“Yes, in school.”
“Ed said he was here.”
Bassel didn’t know who Ed was, but since the hyena had walked by when Dag had been there and headed into the nightclub, he could guess. “He was, on his lunch break. Now he’s back in school.”
The bear took a step back and ran a hand through his hair, then he gave Bassel a look as if he’d realized what kind of creature he was and wrinkled his entire face. Bassel tried not to let it hurt him, but damn.
“What do you want with Dag?”
Huh? “Lure him into the soup business, of course.” He took a deep breath not to let the anger blossom. What the hell did he think he wanted?
Riley snorted a laugh, and the bear whirled as if not having noticed them before now.
“Riley was curious about the club.” Bassel nodded toward Come Inside. “Are you open all days of the week?”
The bear nodded. “Yeah, seven days a week, three P.M. to three A.M.”
“Wow, people are there till three in the morning on a weekday?” Bassel shook his head in disbelief. He went to bed around ten every evening unless he got caught up in a book or a movie, but he wouldn’t dream about being out of his house at that time of night.
He glanced at the bear again. No wonder he looked exhausted if he worked those hours, poor soul. “How about some soup? I only have one chair I’m afraid, but you look like you could need some—” He almost said love because he looked like he could use some, but he’d been beaten enough times in his life to risk uttering such words in the presence of big macho bears.
He needed to bring more chairs. He only ever brought one, so he could sit if he got tired, but once the chair was there, people appeared to be needing it. He could fit more folding chairs on the cart. He’d mount another few hooks to hang them on.
“Eh… no, thank you. I need to head back to work.”
It was not what he needed. He needed soup, but Bassel kept his mouth shut.
About Holly Day
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.