Groveston is a small, Midwestern town. Its residents are mostly local farmers and small business owners without many ambitions in life. That, however, was not always the case with Jonathan Perry - a mid-thirties, married man, who had once dreamed of becoming a professional screenwriter. But the sudden death of Jonathan’s father, who had always thought his son's ambitions were somewhat ridiculous, meant the responsibility of taking care of the family’s butcher shop now fell on Jonathan’s shoulders.
And that is what Jonathan had been doing for the past few years. Getting married to the beautiful Mary Ann made up for some of the disappointment Jonathan carried initially - he had always thought she was the love of his life, though her exaggerated "Midwestern way of being" got to his nerves from time to time. But he felt he couldn't complain about life.
One day, on his way to the butcher shop, Jonathan finds himself marveling at the beautiful sunny sky when he sees a strange object flying through his sight. Not knowing what to make of it, he immediately asks some of the people around him if they had seen the strange object as well, but to his despair, no one else had. So he goes about his day at the butcher shop, not being able to forget about what he thought he had seen that morning, and yet not being able to tell exactly what it was, until an old lady walks into his shop and asks him to cut her "the nicest pork chops” he has in the store.
"No, that is ludicrous," he told himself. "Pigs can't fly!"
And so he goes about his day, not sharing what he thought he had seen with anyone else, thinking it may make him look silly.
The following day, Jonathan walks to the store with his sight fixed at the sky. "The only way I can tell whether I've gone nuts or not is by seeing what I saw again," he rationalizes.
All of sudden, there it is! As Jonathan crosses a street he sees a beautiful, fat, flying pig make its way through the sky! He looks around to see if there’s anyone he can share his vision with, but finds himself standing alone in the middle of a deserted street.
Jonathan makes it to the store but can't seem to concentrate on anything else other than on what he had seen. When a customer walks in late that morning and asks for a “freshly-cut pork loin” Jonathan finally loses it, telling his customer the store is closed for the day – but being careful enough to tell him the store would resume operations the following day.
Jonathan makes his way to his favorite coffee shop not being able to think clearly about what had been happening. Why was he the only one who had seen those flying pigs? Could the fact that he sold pork meat lead to the flying pigs’ desire for some kind of vengeance on him? Or had he gone completely mad?
Lost amid his thoughts, two of his closest friends walk in and, noticing the confused expression he wore on his face, ask him what is wrong. Not entirely sure how to respond, he asks them to sit down and tells them the truth. The two men immediately burst into loud laughter. Not wanting to call attention, Jonathan tells them to be quiet, and swears to them he had told them the truth. The two men carefully explain to him that, if he’s being serious, then he’s gone crazy. Jonathan thanks them for nothing and leaves.
On his way home, Jonathan is still angry at his friends for not believing him. All of sudden he hears a strange noise coming from behind him. When he turns around he sees a flying pig coming directly towards him. Jonathan starts running, but the pig won’t give up on the chase. After a few blocks, a tired Jonathan is finally able to reach his front steps and make his way into the house. The sound of the door slamming alarms Mary Ann, who immediately comes to the living room to check on what had happened.
“Jon, what are you doing in here?” she asks.
Jonathan decides to trust his soul-mate and tells her the entire story.
“But Jon, pigs can’t fly. At least I know they can’t in Groveston…. You must be having hallucinations. Why don’t you go lie down for the rest of the day?” she responds.
Jonathan agrees that may be the best option – he just couldn’t keep thinking about all this, and he had barely slept the night before. Perhaps it was all a nightmare, and he’d wake up the following day realizing none of this had been real.
The following day Jonathan wakes up feeling much better. His memories of the flying pigs don’t seem as vivid as they had earlier. He has his breakfast, with Mary Ann spoiling him by preparing his favorite pancake recipe, and leaves for work.
This time around he decides to focus exclusively on the path in front of him, fearing him looking around for something unusual in the sky may be encouraging his bizarre hallucinations. But strangely enough he can’t help but notice that some of the people who pass by him in the streets give him funny stares.
He makes his way to the store without any problems, but, 3-hours in, no customers had yet come by. He decides to shut his store for one hour or so and makes his way to his favorite coffee shop again. As he enters, everyone in the shop stops doing whatever they had been doing to stare at him. Uncomfortable, he sits at a booth and asks for some coffee – even though Carla, his favorite waitress, seems to pretend she doesn’t know him. Jonathan has his coffee and decides to leave. As he exits the door he hears a drunken man’s voice coming from his right:
“Hey, it’s the man who sees flying pigs!”
Jonathan turns to the homeless man sitting on the ground and asks him to repeat what he had just said. The homeless man does.
“How the hell do you know that?” Jonathan asks.
“Well, it’s Groveston, everybody knows everything about everybody’s life!” responds the homeless man.
Feeling humiliated, Jonathan can’t help but ask the man “and I suppose seeing flying pigs in the sky makes me the town’s crazy person, doesn’t it?”
“Well, if you’re crazy or not, I can’t be sure. But I’ve been called a lot worse than that. And I can tell you one thing: when pigs fly, that’s when anything becomes possible!”
Angry and disillusioned about being perceived as the town’s crazy man, Jonathan decides to go for a walk. He makes his way to Freemont Park, a beautiful place located in the town’s western border, but which, for whatever reason, was never as packed with people as it should have been. Walking alongside the lake, Jonathan relaxes hearing the birds singing around him, until he hears a different, familiar noise: the sound of a pig.
The sound appears to come from behind some bushes. Being careful enough not to make any noises himself, Jonathan makes his way through the bushes and, to his astonishment, finds a group of winged pigs lying and running around the grass. So surprised is Jonathan that, in trying to get his cell phone out of his pocket to take some pictures of what he saw, he falls forward and reveals himself to the group of pigs.
“I’m dead” he says to himself as the pigs slowly walk towards him.
One of the pigs comes within inches of his face, stares at him for a couple of seconds, and then turns away to resume his playful activities with the others.
Jonathan is stunned. The pigs are harmless! In fact, they seem to him almost friendly. So surprised and excited is he that he tries to make his way back to the city to give everyone the good news without remembering to take a picture of what he had witnessed. Perhaps the drunken homeless man was right. The day that pigs fly perhaps is the day that anything becomes possible. Jonathan now starts wondering whether those pigs are not a blessing in disguise, a reminder to people that anything may indeed be possible. Thoughts immediately flood his brain about closing down the butcher shop he never liked to move out West and give his old dream a try. And perhaps the flying pigs would encourage others in town to follow their dreams as well!
But would anyone believe him?
© Carlos Frederico Rosenwald, 2017. All rights reserved.