I’m going to tell you an idea I had for a novel. Why would I tell you this rather than write it? Because, sadly, world events have rendered the premise a bit moot. I call it “Maneira Brasileira” or “The Brasilian Way”.
The story is told through “newspaper” clippings from three sources: one set in London and called “The Dismal Scientist”, one set in the US and called “America Today”, and the English language version of “Hora do Sao Paulo” from Brasil. In this way, it unfolds the way real news events unfold around us.
The setting is 2021. In this world, the United States has continued to maintain a high standard of living by constantly selling bonds. No one would buy them after a while, potentially putting an end to the big party. One day, the Brasilian Finance Minister and main character Carlos de Silva realized that Brasil could buy them with money they simply printed and thus tie themselves to the US in a way no other nation could. Brasil became the main exporter to the US, and the economy of the nation boomed. It was a time of great prosperity for everyone.
An aging Hugo Chavez is jealous, and makes one simple announcement: he will price Venezuelan oil in Euros, not dollars, and that the time has come for all nations of Latin America to choose between his “Bolivaran Way” and the United States. Gradually, the effects of this sink in. The first event is that Mexico collapses into chaos, and asks for help from other nations to restore order. Then, the United States announces that they have no choice due to the rampant inflation and must suspend bond repayments. Carlos de Silva realizes that Brasil’s happy time is over. He tries to find, one more time, a “Brasilian Way” out of the problem.
Brasil sends troops to Mexico, and some sense of order is restored. But the problem with the United States is deeper, and it is clear that Brasil is left holding worthless paper. A Brasilian General gets an idea: use the troops in Mexico to march north and seize the oil fields of West Texas as collateral.
They assemble in the Chihuahuan Desert and begin their march. The US becomes aware of this, and begins to send a force to stop them. The Brasilians soon realize that without stealth they cannot succeed, but they cannot pull back. They spend a few days attempting to find a “Brasilian Way”. Finally, late at night among the men passing the time in camp with by practicing their Samba, an idea hits him.
They march forward the next day with no weapons at all, save a few bottles of Tequila. When they reach the mostly dry Rio Grande, the US has no idea what to do. They can’t shoot at unarmed people. So the Brasilians stand on the south shore playing Samba non-stop, and the Americans attempt to blast pop hits back at them. It is no use. In time, the Americans start to dance, and eventually the samba bands move across the river. An enormous party ensues.
Carlos de Silva was horrified at the idea of attacking the US, and since the tremendous loss of life would be his fault he contemplated suicide. Before putting the gun in his mouth, he flips on the television and sees the footage of soldiers all dancing together. He starts to laugh, and calls out “Maneira Brasileira!” (Brasilian Way).
What can I say? I thought we might be ready for the first post-apocalyptic comedy. Let me know what you think.