Greener Grass

19 Dec

Beach city

Rodrigo lived in a poor neighborhood in the small city of Sorocaba in Brazil. His father was a street vendor, he sold popcorn and his mother was a housekeeper. Rodrigo was never satisfied with his lot in life. He wanted more. He dreamed of one day moving to the United States.

Stan lived in an upper middle class neighborhood in New Jersey. He worked as a lawyer in Manhattan. His life consisted of a commute, work, sleep, a minuscule amount of time reserved for eating and little else. He had no family. He wanted to live more but he never turned down the firm when it needed him. He dreamed of one day moving to a tropical location and having daily adventures.

A step in Rodrigo´s dream came true at the U.S consulate in São Paulo. He was awarded his B-2 visitor visa. He could only stay six months and was not eligible to work, but as his grandmother used to say, “those are man´s laws and not God´s laws.” It was this convenient reasoning that he and his family used to skirt a lot of rules.  

Stan was called to H.R. one Friday afternoon and was given news that he wanted to hear for a long time. “Due to the negative financial climate in our great nation, we are going to have to lay you off.” With that news came a fat severance package. He immediately booked a trip to Rio de Janeiro. He was going to test the waters for a longer term move with this prolonged vacation.

After three months, Rodrigo found that the US wasn´t all he thought it would be. First of all, he arrived in the Boston metro area in December and it was already colder than his freezer back home. Secondly, he had to work. Work hard. Hard work was an even more foreign concept to him than the awful microwave dinners he was subsiding on. Lastly, he missed his friends and family.

In the same period of time, Stan was having a similar experience in Brazil. First, it was HOT. He sweated through three shirts a day. He also wasn´t learning Portuguese as fast as he thought he would. This isolated him. Lastly, he couldn´t get over how nothing worked properly. There were always lines to nowhere. Everywhere he went the system was always down and he found the workers to be unhelpful or incompetent. There was unavoidable corruption at every level of daily life.

Rodrigo decided he needed to pray. Nothing else was working and he figured it wouldn´t hurt. He walked to the nearest Catholic Church and to his surprise, they were having a mass in Portuguese. He took off his down coat and took a seat.

After repeating some sentences in a lifeless droning fashion and transitioning between kneeling, standing and sitting for what felt like fifty times minimum, Rodrigo felt better. That feeling went away quickly when he heard screams and shots. Rodrigo took five bullets from a self-proclaimed patriot who was tired of people praying to his God, in his country and in another language.

Stan realized that he was spending so much time dealing with bureaucracy of trying to get his affairs in order that he had taken very little time to go to the beach and live life. This was specifically why he chose to move to Brazil in the first place. He got his things together and went off to Copacabana Beach.

Stan sat in a chair in the sand under the sun with a delicious cold beer in his hand. He felt that he could get used to this. He watched beautiful women in bikinis walk by while he slowly rounded the corner from buzzed to drunk.

One lovely lady stopped to make small talk. It was a ruse to distract him. Her boyfriend came from the side with a knife and demanded all of Stan´s belongings. Stan refused. The thief plunged the knife into Stan´s heart with such precision he barely felt a thing. The murderous thief laughed with his girlfriend about how stupid the gringo was as they surveyed their booty while walking away from the scene.  

13 Responses to “Greener Grass”

  1. Bruce Goodman December 19, 2018 at 5:27 pm #

    Was it meant to finish so suddenly? without even a period? I was more than excellent until it hit the unperioded end! The parallel narrative idea was brilliant.

    • Ryan December 19, 2018 at 6:50 pm #

      Fixed! Thanks again. This is the second time your keen eye helped me out!

  2. Ryan December 19, 2018 at 6:43 pm #

    Shiiiiiiiit! No! Thanks for picking up on that. This was a scheduled post. I must have not pasted the text correctly from Word. It gets much more intense. I’m gonna get my computer now and fix this.

    • Bruce Goodman December 19, 2018 at 7:41 pm #

      Fuuuuuck! I had no idea you were going to kill off these characters – and violently. The story moved to an excellent conclusion – one I wasn’t expecting.
      Regarding your “keen eye” comment: Shouldn’t Shiiiiiiiit have another “i” in it?

      • Ryan December 19, 2018 at 8:23 pm #


  3. bgddyjim December 19, 2018 at 10:02 pm #


    • Ryan December 19, 2018 at 10:03 pm #

      I’ll take that as high praise! Thank you my friend.

      • bgddyjim December 19, 2018 at 10:10 pm #

        Definitely meant that way, brother.

  4. Eric Tonningsen December 20, 2018 at 5:48 am #

    You’ve caused me to rethink an increasingly likely, long trip to Lisbon. To your title, maybe the grass ain’t greener… 🤭

    • Ryan December 20, 2018 at 10:50 am #

      It’s not always greener, but that shouldn’t stop an adventure! I say go for it. Lisbon is beautiful!!!! And the history…

  5. Eric Tonningsen December 20, 2018 at 7:35 pm #

    Been there. Going back because everything about Portugal *is* beautiful. The intention is to soon rent an apartment for six months or so. Would love to learn some Portuguese in advance but already know it’s a challenging tongue. Stay tuned for related developments. And thanks for the encouragement. 🍻

    • Ryan December 20, 2018 at 7:38 pm #

      Lembra, eu falo português fluentemente. Se precisar de uma ajuda, só me chama irmão! Abraços 😉

      • Eric Tonningsen December 20, 2018 at 8:47 pm #

        Achei que você fez. Sua oferta para ajudar é generosa; muito Ryan!Olhando para uma tarde de verão ou início do Outono de tempo.Obrigado. Abraços retornado

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