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Mr. Green

Shambling through paradise headerI was caretaking the mansion of my friend Carlton while he accompanied his obscenely wealthy family on another jaunt around the world. The mansion was amazing — high on a mountaintop, with a view of the Pacific that stretched from the Whale’s tail in Uvita all the way north to Playa Herradura. There were enough bedrooms and bathrooms to house a soccer team and the kitchen looked like chef Gordon Ramsay’s wet dream.

Carlton and I had met over drinks — we were sitting next to each other in a Quepos bar, watching college basketball, and we bonded because we both had a bet going on the same game. One thing that for me set the international community of Costa Rica apart from say, anywhere I had ever lived in the United States, was the absence of economic class distinctions. Working stiffs like myself rubbed elbows with rich kids like Carlton on a regular basis. In the states the only way I would have met someone like him would have been serving him drinks while I was bartending at some exclusive catered function. Here I might hang out with Carlton over beers, and then pay a night time visit to one of my gringo friends here on the other end of the economic spectrum — for example Vinny, who was camping on the beach in a tent, living on coconut water, bananas, and whatever he could pull in while shore fishing with his homemade line spooler.

And just as all economic classes of gringos are represented here, so are all mental and emotional classes, from the most sane and grounded, to the most frighteningly unhinged. Which brings me to Mr. Green. One morning, after 20 minutes in the lap pool Carlton never used, I received an email. “Mr Green is on the way to check out the house” it read. “Says he might want to buy. Humor him. He’s a little crazy. Something in it for you if he buys. Clean up any empties and throw away any roaches in the ashtray haha.” Carlton.

‘He’s a little crazy’. ‘Something in it for you’. I wondered if I should just lock up and leave at that moment. I had helped Carlton from time to time with important and time consuming issues, and my typical payment was a short smoke, a long drink, and a seafood dinner. The ‘he’s a little crazy’ part didn’t worry me as much. Whenever I have an encounter with someone acting crazy I either walk away or act crazier; both work.

Mr. Green arrived in a new Range Rover. He stepped out, dressed in white, button-down shirt, long polo pants, a man of about my age, ruddy drinker’s face topped with a mop of obviously dyed hair. He handed me a business card with 2 logos —  one was for “Internal Tattooing”, the other said “Taze me, Bro!”

I accompanied him inside for a tour of the house. He seemed to like what he was seeing. “This is quality’’ he said. “So many million dollar shitboxes out there, but this is the real thing.” We were on the terrace, taking in the view. I asked about the significance of the business card. “Internal tattooing — I invented it,” he said. I had never heard of such a thing, but he assured me it existed. “That was my first fortune. Then I opened up the first Taze me, Bro! site.”

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