Tag Archives: creativity

The Loophole

6 Mar

Prayer

As Marie made breakfast, the rest of the house lay silent in slumber. Sometime had past and her husband appeared in the kitchen followed by her twin girls.

“Where’s Matt?” Marie asked her husband.

“Probably still sleeping, he’s all tuckered out from basketball practice last night” he answered.

“I’ll go check on him” Marie said.

As she approached the door, she heard sobbing. “What’s the matter, honey?” she asked.

“I’ve been praying every night for a bike, for two weeks now. Every single day. I wake up and there is never a bike here” he answered.

“Oh, honey, it doesn’t work that way” she said.

”When Aunt Betty had cancer, she prayed and had us pray too and it went away” he answered.

“Oh, that’s different” she answered.

“How? Remember when Dad lost his job? You two prayed for a new one and even for help with the bills” he defied.

“Yeah, that’s different too, dear” she answered. She really didn’t know what else to say. “Let’s get going, we’ll be late for church. You want to see your friends at Sunday school, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I do” he conceded.

*         *         *          *          *          *

“You can do anything?” Matt asked his Sunday school teacher, “And all you have to do is ask for forgiveness? And everything is ok? I still get to go to heaven?”

“That´s right, thanks to the sacrifice Jesus made for us!” his teacher dutifully answered.

*          *          *          *          *          *

Later that day, Matt was shooting hoops with his friends. He saw a group of kids he didn’t recognize and one of them had a shiny red bicycle that caught his eye. Matt couldn’t focus on the game. All he could think about was the bike.

Dinner time came and the kids started to disperse. Matt told his friends he was going to hang around a little longer and practice free throws. The other group of kids was on the other side of the park and the bike was left unguarded.

Matt snuck over, mounted the bike and took off. Matt had never felt so alive in his few years on the planet. “God answered my prayers!” he thought.

He hid the bike in the trash heap his family called a garage. No one but him ever entered so he knew the bike would go unnoticed.

Later that night as he lay down to go to sleep he prayed “Thank you Lord for my health, my home, my family and my new bike. Bless my friend, my family and one more thing; please forgive me for stealing today. I’m very sorry. Amen.”

The Injection

4 Mar

injecting

“What if I told you that what’s in here will make you strong as an ox, lean you out and make you bigger?” Mark paused, holding a little vial of golden liquid to the light for dramatic effect, “And there are no side effects, well, bad ones anyway”

“I´d say you’re full of shit for starters and then I’d ask what do you mean by ‘not any bad ones’?” Jeremy answered as he racked the barbell and sat up from the bench.

“I’m not going to acknowledge the first part, but the side effect is that it does something to your pheromones that make some people susceptible to your smell and they go crazy over you. It’s not everyone, but the ones who do, when they get a whiff of who’s using this stuff, watch out” Mark said.

“I’m sorry but that all sounds bogus to me” Jeremy insisted.

“Then try it. For free. One month, actually, this here vial is a one month dose. Just one stick and you are good to go. I guarantee results. You’ll be begging for another in four weeks”

Jeremy’s ears perked up at “free”. He has tried almost every steroid combination known to man. He was not a stranger to putting unknown substances in his body. Even though he was incredulous of the claims, he was certainly willing to pay nothing to find out if they were true or not. “Ok” Jeremy agreed, “Stick me”

*          *          *          *           *          *

The next morning Jeremy felt slightly different. He couldn’t put his finger on what it was but he believed the substance was having an effect. He reached for the chin-up bar in his door jam. He banged out 21 pull-ups, a significant increase from the already impressive 15 in a row he was used to doing.

He got dressed for work and headed out. On the bus, he noticed more people were looking at him than usual. He caught a woman close to him nervously averting her glance. She was staring until he looked over, then she would pretend she was not looking at all.

He arrived at the office, sat down at his cubicle and turned on his computer. His boss, the director of finance, passed by to say his usual good mornings.

“Hey Jeremy how are you…” he said, trailing off as if he had lost his train of thought.

“Great Richard. I’m ahead of schedule on that project you put me on” Jeremy said.

Richard just stared, making Jeremy momentarily uncomfortable. He finally broke his silence with “Did you get a haircut or something, there seems to be something different about you”

“No sir” Jeremy chuckled.

“Well, you’re looking good and hey, about that project, that’s great and all, but really, there is no rush. Get it to me when you can”

“Sure thing, sir” Jeremy smiled. Richard backed away slowly as to not break his privileged view of Jeremy.

Tiffany, Jeremy’s cubicle neighbor arrived in time to witness the awkward scene. “What was that all about?” she asked.

“I have no idea” he answered.

“You do look different” she said, “It’s kind of hot” she offered, half-jokingly.

Jeremy laughed it off, “Thanks Tiff”

*          *          *          *           *          *

A week had passed since the injection. Jeremy was clearly stronger than before. He was breaking all of his all-time best lifts by considerable amounts. His clothes were getting tighter. He felt more energy and he was getting more attention from people, everywhere he went. When he related this to Mark in a text message, the replay was four words: “I told you so”

Late Friday afternoon, Richard called Jeremy into his office.

“Yes, sir?” Jeremy said as he approached Richard’s desk.

“Please, close the door behind you” Richard said. “Let’s get right to this. Your work is impeccable but that’s not why I’ve called you here. This is personal” Richard confessed. Jeremy was very confused.

Richard continued, “I can’t stop thinking about you” he folded his hands together and waited for a response.

“Uh, I don’t know what to say” Jeremy said his face burning with embarrassment.

“Say you’ll go with me to St. Bart’s. Next week. Everything first class and everything paid. There is a big financial conference so we have cover” he said as he rose and approached Jeremy.

“Sir, you’re m-m-married and I’m not, w-w-well, that w-w-ay” Jeremy stuttered. He hadn’t stuttered since junior high school.

“What do you mean ‘that way’?” Richard asked, “Me neither but you have become an obsession of mine, I’ve never seen a man this way. I need you” he moved in for a kiss.

Jeremy bobbed and weaved and took a step back and left Richard’s pursed lips alone in the space between them, kissing air. “Sir!” Jeremy exclaimed.

“I’ll give you a thousand dollars right now. Cash. Just kiss me” Richard said as a crazed look grew in his eyes. Richard’s silky dress pants betrayed his tumescence.

“I have to go sir” Jeremy said as he tripped for the door. He could hear Richard’s pleas for him to return as he closed the door.

The next Monday, Jeremy showed up for work very tired. He didn’t sleep well the whole weekend. The scene in Richard’s office played in his head over and over like a .GIF file on a loop. He contemplated resigning.

Tiffany arrived with a strange look on her face. “Did you hear about Richard?”

Jeremy’s heart sank into the black hole that his stomach had become. The word “No” almost didn´t make its way out of the gravity and was almost sucked back into him.

“A hiker found him in his car by the fire tower. He attached a hose to the exhaust and fed it into the inside of the car through a crack in the window. He was already dead when the guy found him but it does look like booze was involved as well”

Jeremy just stared at Tiffany without even blinking.

“I guess the pressure of this place finally got to him. He was such a good man. He’ll be missed” Tiffany said to a hollow shell of a person. Jeremy decided that very moment he would stop treating his body like a science experiment.

What´s That Smell?

28 Feb

apartment

“What´s that smell?” Herbert thought as he started his day in his one bedroom apartment. He remembered perceiving a similar foul smell the night before but now it was considerably worse.

When he came back from work the smell was magnified tenfold. It had been a sweltering hot day, with a threat of afternoon rain that never materialized. He left the windows closed for fear of the rain encroaching upon his apartment.

He all but tore his apartment apart looking for the source of the effluvium. He ruled out his apartment as the font of the putrid stench. Then he put his nose to the floor.

He found where the smell was coming from. Then, his heart sank. Mrs. Santos, an 82 year old widow lived below him. Now that he´d thought about it, he hadn´t seen her for days. Nobody ever came to visit her, so he thought the worst.

As he dialed the police, bittersweet thoughts passed through his head. On one hand, 82 years is not a bad run. On the other, she died alone and was literally rotting due to her solitude.

The police and ambulance showed up quickly. Herbert showed them to Mrs. Santos’ apartment. As the police officer knocked on the door, Herbert wiped a tear from his eye. The tear had more to do with the parallels in his life with Mrs. Santos than for the loss itself.

A taxi pulled near the apartment block but nobody noticed. The police were ready to force the door open when a little old lady approached from behind “Oh my!” she exclaimed, “What´s all this fuss?”

“Mrs. Santos!” Herbert cried, “We thought something terrible happened. There´s a terrible smell coming from your apartment and I haven´t seen you for days!”

“Oh my goodness! I was on a seniors retreat the past few days. I´m so absent minded lately. I must have cleaned a metric ton of beef shanks and ribs the day before I left. I guess I forgot to take out the trash with the trimmings” she explained.

Everybody accepted the story and exchanged pleasantries. Upon entering, Mrs. Santos opened her suitcase. She pulled out a box of charcoal air filter cartridges, a case of aerosol air freshener and four dead cats.

As she threw the dead felines into a heap of already decomposing animals in the hall closet she muttered “I´ll rid the world of you evil beasts with the angels in heaven as my witness”

Fighting Chance

25 Feb

bus-stop

Amanda was mentally drained and a little irritated from a long day at her internship. As she waited for her bus, all she could think about was getting to her Muay Thai training so she could blow some steam off on the pads. She rolled her eyes as she caught an in-shape, handsome guy trying to pretend he wasn´t looking at her.

Brad was also waiting for the bus after what he thought was another exciting day at his internship. He was also thinking about his Jiu Jitsu training that he was on his way to. He was going over a move in his head when the most beautiful girl caught his eye. Brad was shy so he was avoiding looking at her at all costs.

A few minutes passed and Brad thought to himself, “Hey, you just got your brown belt, you´re kicking ass at the office, have a little self-respect. Be confident! Go over there and talk to her.” He took a deep breath. His feet felt like they were stuck in hot tar and his legs were frozen in plaster. His face was tingling. With great effort he freed himself from his mental mire and took a step towards her.

Amanda thought, “Oh no, he´s coming over here…”

“Hi. I´m Brad” he said to her offering a hand.

Amanda sighed and offered a limp offering of a hand in return, “I´m Amanda.”

“You work in the building?” Brad asked as he pointed back to the 50 story monolith standing behind them.

“Yeah, more like perform indentured servitude” she said, adding, “I intern.”

Brad nervously chuckled, “Yeah? Me too, that´s…”

Just then a lanky guy in a hooded sweatshirt appeared. His eyes weren´t quite looking at anyone or anything, it was more like they were looking out of, or into, a perverted void. He brandished a knife and muttered barely audible nonsense.

Brad and Amanda stood up off the bench and the assailant sliced at the air between them. He demanded they remain seated.

Brad saw an opportunity to act when the attacker had the knife in the hand furthest from them. He dove on the man´s lead leg and snapped him to the ground with lightning speed. He was shocked by the drug induced strength that the bean pole shaped man was able to produce.

He wrapped up the man´s legs and started to improve his position, pinning the man´s hips when he felt a searing pain in his shoulder. The man was cursing as he tried to free his knife from Brad´s flesh.

Amanda, having never for a second thought about retreating, was looking for her shot. Brad lost his grip due to the burning pain and the man was trying to get to his feet. With one hand still on the ground, the man was almost up. Amanda threw her hips into a kick that delivered a shin that all but caved the man´s exposed face in. He was immediately out.

Someone must have seen the tussle from afar and alerted the cops because they rolled up right on cue. Although he was in severe pain, Brad´s life was not at risk. The knife was still stuck in his shoulder though.

*     *     *     *     *      *     *     *     *     *

Amanda finished giving her statement to the police and went over to Brad who was being attended to by paramedics. “That was some takedown” she said.

“Thanks” Brad chuckled, pretending that laughing didn´t hurt. “You know, you kicked a down opponent, his hand was clearly down on the ground” he smiled.

Amanda jokingly rolled her eyes, “Yeah? Disqualify me”

“I´ll just give you a warning” Brad played back. “Maybe we can train sometime? I mean, together?”

“Well, I think it´ll be a while before you are training again” she said as she pointed to the shoulder being attended to. “Let´s get dinner sometime before that, I don´t want to wait that long”

Brad´s face lit up “I´d love that”

“We´re definitely driving, though” Amanda said.

Living on a Prayer (Part 3)

9 Jan

Living on a Prayer (Part 1)

Living on a Prayer (Part 2)

3 1

Judge sent Saul to procure native prairie dogs from Texas. He was given the instructions to come back with at least twenty and to make sure he saw them praying before picking them. A week later he came back with 50 Texas prairies dogs. In the meantime, the community was following Mary Ann´s recommendation, holding nightly prayer vigils around the prairie dog town.

*           *          *          *          *          *

Sammy turned to Julie “What is this all about?”

“I have no idea but I kind of like the songs” she answered.

“I love it!” Timmy said “Who knows, maybe you two will change your minds after all” he trailed off and started singing along to one of the hymns. He had memorized all of them after the third day.

“I have an uneasy feeling about this. The humans up to now have pretty much left us alone. The last time they paid a lot of attention to us, they killed us off, you know” Sammy said.

*           *          *          *          *          *

The townsfolk decided to introduce the native prairie dogs during one of the nightly vigils. They were going to release them on two separate nights, 25 each night. Rick hadn´t been seen for days and the whole town was a little worried about that.

*          *          *          *         *           *

“I don´t feel well” Sammy said.

“Me neither” Julie said.

3 2

“I told you guys not to eat that stuff we found! How many others ate it?” Timmy asked.

“Almost everybody” Julie answered.

Moans were echoing through the burrows. The sounds of vomiting and lamenting were deafening. Timmy immediately started praying.

*         *          *          *          *          *

 

3 3

Rick was in his basement in front of a monitor. He had hidden game cameras all around the burrows. He was rejoicing in the prairie dogs’ agony.

“Serves them damn heathen prairie dogs right!” he said to himself. “God wanted em dead and I shall be the hand of the Lord” he paused, “That sounds perty good” he added, cracking another beer and cackling over his own wit.

  (To be continued…)

Living on a Prayer (Part 4)

Living on a Prayer (Part 2)

8 Jan

Living on a Prayer (Part 1)

2 2

While Timmy was still deep in prayer, more prairie dogs started to come out of the burrow.

“Hey guys!” Julie said to Sammy and Timmy.

“Shhhhh…” Sammy said mockingly, “Father Dear is having a sacred moment over here”

“I can still hear you” Timmy said, opening his eyes “Ah, now I can start my day”

“You still doing that Timmy? You must be like, literally the only one left” Julie said, “I sometimes get the urge, but then I´m like ‘Why bother’” Julie said.

“You should go with that urge, Julie. It´ll make you feel good” Timmy said.

Julie and Sammy just looked at each other. They then turned to Timmy and in unison said “Nah!”

“Let´s go to work, guys?” Sammy said.

“Let´s” Timmy and Julie answered.

*           *          *          *          *          *

Back at the town hall, people were slowly filling the rows of foldable chairs. The back row was already occupied by sleeping seniors.

When everyone was seated, Judge banged the table with his hammer. “I hope everybody had a good lunch and your bellies are full. We got business to attend to. Let´s spitball some ideas”

Mary Ann stood and said “We could hold a prayer vigil at night around their holes and sing hymns. Maybe we can reinstill the Lord in them beautiful critters.

“All right, I like that” Judge said with a smile while simultaneously making and avoiding eye contact with her.

“I know the solution” Rick said as he stood up. He made his way to the front of the congregation as to address it head on, “We killed em off once and we can kill em again. It ain´t natural they ain´t praying. They´s prairie dogs. Pray is in they name. Maybe God didn´t want them back. Maybe it was a mistake and this is a sign it ain´t Godly”

The crowd was murmuring. Mary Ann stood up, “Surely you don´t mean that” she paused, “besides we spent a lot of money already to bring them back”

“We done spent a lot of money in Vietnam and that don´t mean we should have gone on being there and it sure don´t mean it was right” Rick answered.

“Rick, not everything is about Vietnam and killing” Mary Ann said.

“Well, that´s my idea” Rick said as he started for his seat again.

“Thank you Rick, anybody else?” Judge asked. Nobody stirred. “So we got prayin and killin. I ain´t one for killin, so…

“Suit yourself” Rick said with a sneer, “Ya´ll do what ya´ll gotta do, I´m gonna do what I´s gotta do”

A hand rose meekly from the middle of the room.

“Please stand up, Saul” Judge asked.

Saul obliged and nervously started, “This phenomenon has only been observed in reintroduced Cynomys, or prairie dogs if you will, correct?”

“Quit using them big words” Rick interjected.

Judge shot Rick a reprimanding look and turned to Saul, “Please Saul, go on”

“Yes, you see, native Cynomys across the region still pray in majority numbers. Only the reintroduced ones do not. I believe, if we could introduce some native Cynomys to our Cynomys’ town, they might get them to pray”

Some scattered applause erupted from the crowd. “That´s smart!” someone yelled. Rick just sat there with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face. 

Living on a Prayer (Part 3)

Living on a Prayer (Part 1)

7 Jan

1 1

 

Prairie dogs were once one of the most abundant mammals in the Great Plains region of the United States of America. They were thought of as a nuisance by the settlers and therefore brutally massacred, almost to extinction. In fact, at one point, Arizona did completely eradicate the critters inside its border.

Efforts have been to reintroduce the rodents to their natural habitat in the state of Arizona. It has paid off. Although their numbers are nowhere near their peak, there are many healthy, thriving communities that known as “towns”. There seems to be on anomaly with this second generation of prairie dogs that has the locals in an uproar.

*          *          *          *          *          *

1 2

Timmy and Sammy popped their heads out of their burrow at the same time as every other day, just at the break of sunrise. Timmy surveyed their vast dessert domain and said to Sammy, “Good morning! How about we pray a little?”

“No, I´m not feeling it today” Sammy answered.

“You´re not feeling it almost every day as of late”

“Yeah, I don´t know. I just don´t think it does anything” Sammy said, looking down at the warming, red clay desert floor.

“What do you mean? We are back from extinction! That´s a miracle, that´s God!” Timmy said with enthusiasm.

Sammy felt peeved by Timmy´s fervor “We were extinct. Millions of us were murdered. We wouldn´t have had to come back from extinction if we hadn´t been extinct in the first place!”

“Fair enough, but suit yourself” Timmy said, closing his eyes. “but I choose to stay positive, besides, believing gives me powers to not do some things that I would otherwise do” he said before falling into silent prayer.

“I prefer to be a realist. Face life and reality on their terms and I got discipline. I don´t need no ghost in the sky to get me to not do stuff”

Without opening his eyes Timmy put his index finger to his lips and said “Shhhhhh…”

1 3

*           *          *          *          *          *

Right before lunchtime, back in the town, the people were having a community meeting.

“Order!” Judge Barns said as he smacked the table with a hammer, an actual framing hammer, not a gavel.

“But we´re hungry Judge” Andy said.

“We need to get to the order of business, the damn heathen prairie dogs” he answered.

“Language” Mary Ann piped up.

“Sorry” Judge said, blushing, “These gosh darn prairie dogs”

“They ain´t prayin’! Why they ain´t prayin’?” shouted a concerned citizen.

“I have no idea” Judge said. “But Andy´s right. Let´s adjourn for lunch and meet back here in an hour and a half”

“Here, here!” the crowd shouted.

Living on a Prayer (Part 2)

1 4

 

The Teacher

21 Dec

teacher

Melinda dedicated her adult life to the education of children. Even as a teenager she volunteered to work with kids every moment she got the chance. It was a dream come true to open the doors of her very own pre-school. It was a conquest three years in the making from the time she wrote her business plan.

Her philosophy was to learn through play. She didn´t believe in disciplining behavior at all. She didn´t even believe in verbal reprimands. A child was to express themselves, no matter what. That was her creed.

Her first prospect came through the door during her open house event. Joann entered, dragging her son Chad by the arm. Melinda gave them the well-rehearsed tour followed by her even more well-polished sales pitch. Joann wasn´t even listening. She was going to sign on the dotted line, even if the tuition was her entire substantial life savings.

Chad had been kicked out of every child care facility in the 30 mile radius. Joann couldn´t take one more day with him at home. Every appliance was now broken, windows were shattered and the cat was dead; all by the hands of Chad. She thought about trying to lock him up in some kind of troubled youth facility, but her mother in law would in turn, cut off the checks. The checks were too big to waive off. She had to attempt to throw one more Hail Mary.

Melinda smiled at Chad and he snarled back “See you next week, Chad” she said, never breaking eye contact and ignoring the animalistic sounds coming from the boy.

The first day of classes came. Chad had been the only student matriculated. Melinda saw this as an opportunity. She realized he was going to need some special attention.

“Good morning Chad! Welcome to the first day of school” Melinda said.

“Where´s the TV?” Chad snapped.

His mother was gesturing as if to say “No!” She leaned towards Melinda and whispered into her ear “Don´t let him have any screen time, it agitates him”

Melinda answered with pride “This school is a screen free zone. Even my cell phone is in my car”

Chad moaned and sprinted towards the door that was still somewhat ajar from when he and his mother had entered. He went right for Melinda´s car. There were only two cars in the parking lot and the other was his mom´s. He picked up a fairly large rock for his size and launched it at the driver´s side window. “Phone!” Chad shrieked. Luckily, the rock bounced off without leaving a scratch.

“Chad!” his mom screamed.

“It´s ok” Melinda said, “You can go. I´ll handle this”

“Are you sure?” she asked with her keys already in her hand as she was inching towards her car.

“Yes” Melinda answered.

Melinda took Chad by the hand and led him inside. Once the door was secured shut, Melinda kneeled down to Chad´s eye level. She gave him a big hug. Chad wept. She explained at length why what he did was wrong and how he was still a good kid who just needs to make better decisions. She also discussed why there were no screens in the school. Surprisingly, Chad understood.

Chad acted out, to a lesser extent, three more times that day. Each time, Melinda used the same tactic. Chad started warming to her, a lot. When Joanna came to pick Chad up, he didn´t want to go. He screamed, he scratched the walls. He even peed in his pants.

“I don´t know what you did or how you survived today, but…” Joanna said, perplexed “but you did something right”

As the school year went on Chad´s behavior, in class, was impeccable. Like a yellow Labrador, he wouldn´t leave Melinda´s side. At home, on the other hand, he was spiraling out of control. He went as far as to try to burn the deck to the ground. He was even fairly successful. The school was flourishing. Melinda had to double staff and even had to put potential students on a waiting list.

One day, a fancy dressed lawyer showed up to the show. He sat in Melinda´s office and produced a photo of a child. “Do you know this student?”

“Yes, of course, that´s my Chad!” she answered.

The lawyer made an inquisitive face at her response. “Indeed. Your Chad. This is the meaning of my visit Miss…”

“Doce, Melinda Doce”

“Yes, Miss Doce. I represent Chad´s grandparents. His mother has past…”

“What?!”

“His mother has passed away. She overdosed on a mix of pills and alcohol. His father does not want to continue with custody. His grandparents feel they are too old to properly care for him and besides, they could not control him to save their lives. He speaks of you fondly. Quite often. They´ve noticed a lot of positive change in him since he has been studying here”

“Oh my God. What´s going to happen to him?” tears were flowing down Melinda´s face.

“That depends on you Miss Doce. His grandparents have a proposal”

“What kind of proposal?”

“You get full custody of Chad. They want to see him quarterly and perhaps a little more in the quarters that have a major holiday. You´ll receive $15,000 per month for the rest of your life from a trust they will set up. Besides this, all of Chad´s expenses will be taken care of, clothing, medical care, athletics, eventually college…”

“I´d take him for FREE!” Melinda cried.

“His grandparents said that if you were to imply such a sentiment that the monthly stipend shall increase to $20,000 per month”

The lawyer went over more details and Melinda signed some paperwork. Chad became not only her student, but became her son. Her school grew and eventually opened franchises all over the region. After completing university, Chad shared the reins of Melinda´s educational empire. They were a happy family.

 

 

 

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.  

Unwanted Wants Pt. IV

13 Dec

Please read Part III

 

Pay phone this

As Suzy walked back to her apartment, her thoughts were on how she could get Justin out of her home. The thought of confrontation made her shudder. She even joked to herself “What if I just moved out and took the loss?”

Just then her phone went off. It was a text from Amanda.

–CALL ME FROM A PAY PHONE!

Suzy walked for over ten minutes before finding a working pay phone.

“Hello” Amanda answered.

“What´s this all about?” Call from a pay phone?” Suzy asked.

“Did you?”

“Yes”

“I have an idea. There´s this contractor guy who illegally hooked up our cable box, you know, the one that unlocks all the channels; he told me he does all types of things. I think he meant shady things. He even winked at me when he said it!” Amanda told her.

“What are you getting at?” Suzy asked, perplexed, yet nervous.

“He could scare Justin. I´m not talking about hurting him. Just scare him into going away” Amanda said.

“I don´t know” Suzy said, but deep down she did know. She was relieved. This would avoid confrontation. She could throw a little money at the problem and it would go away.

While Suzy was thinking this, Amanda was pleading her case to deaf ears, and then Suzy cut her off. “What exactly are we talking about here?”

“The guy will do everything. The plan, the action, everything” Amanda paused, “I´ll even take care of this. I´ll call, I´ll set it up. Hell, if it isn´t too much, I´ll pay. You´ve helped me so much. It´ll be nothing”

“I´ll pay…but if you could set it up…that would be great” Suzy said.

“I´m on it. I´ll call you later with details” Amanda said, before adding “I love you, you´re going to get out of this soon”

“Thanks Amanda. I love you too”

*           *          *          *          *          *

Amanda found the crumpled piece of paper in her purse with the name “Sean” and a number scribbled on it. She reluctantly dialed the number from a pay phone.

“Hello?” answered a gruff voice that didn´t sound like it was very used to receiving calls.

“Sean?” Amanda stammered.

“Yeah. Who is this?” the voice barked.

“It´s Amanda, you hooked up our cable box a little while ago” she answered.

“Oh yeah, I remember” he answered and he did remember because he thought Amanda was hot “Is it working ok?”

“Yes, perfectly. I´m calling about something else. You said you did things. I think I have a job for you”

“You on a pay phone?” Sean asked.

“Yes, of course” she answered “And you, can you talk?”

“Yup, this is a burner phone” he answered.

Amanda went into details about the job she had for him. Sean was laughing to himself. At times, he even had to cover the mouthpiece of the phone. When Amanda was finished, Sean told her he´d reach out to her with the plan and his fee.

Sean hung up and immediately texted Justin.

“U ain´t gonna believe this shit”