I had paid for our beers, paid for the wine, and of course I was paying 100% of the cab fare too. In his defense EL Huaso Loco was on another planet anyway so it may not have been too intentional. On the other hand the gringo is always rich and gets his money off of a tree so why not let him pay for everything anyway, after all he gets his money for nothin’ & his chicks for free. So about a half an hour later and starting to get dark (it is winter in Chile so the days are short) and I’m thinking that this was not one of my better decisions. The cabbie did not seem to be too happy either – hauling two drunks out somewhere into the countryside.
About that time cowboy says, “There it is” as he points to his ranch house. We were already on a gravel road and now pull onto a dirt road in front of a gate. Cabbie decides that he doesn’t want to drive in the mud and he stops the car. We walk a couple hundred yards to his house. Outside on the porch were a bunch of red chili peppers drying on a table. I ask if they are spicy and cowboy says very. The taxi driver dares me to eat one and I tell him to pick the one out for me that he wants me to eat. I take a small bite of it and it seems manageable. Cowboy and cabbie dare me to eat the rest of the thing whole and I tell them to open a bottle of wine first. Wine bottle open – I pop the whole pepper into my mouth; chew it as few times as possible them swallow. As the smoke comes pouring out of my ears I chug a glass of wine, recharge my glass – lather, rinse, repeat.
About the time my eyes stop watering, cowboy goes into his house and re-emerges shortly after with a double barreled shotgun and a box of shells. I love to mix booze with golf, sailing, work, play, and just about everything except guns. Cowboy knows that I’m a former Marine and wants to see me bust some caps. I’m thinking that someone is going to lose a limb but cannot be seen as less macho than my host. I take the shotgun crack it open jam two shells into it and ask what I should shoot. He tells me to shoot into the top of a tree. I step off the porch aim at the tree and let both barrels rip. It didn’t kick as hard as my Dad’s ancient double barreled 12 gauge which used to put a golf ball sized knot on my shoulder after a day of dove hunting.
Now cowboy takes the gun and I’m sure that somebody is going to die. He covers me several times with a loaded shotgun before he finally points it at the same tree that I had just killed and pulls one trigger, then the other. OK the gun play is over with I’m thinking, but no – now cowboy wants the cabbie to shoot the damn thing. Wonderful – just effing fantastic, cabbie is 100% city slicker and has no clue even how to load the gun. Luckily for me though, he hasn’t been drinking. I’m flagged (covered) again with a loaded shotgun before cowboy and I can coach him to pull the trigger. He fires one chamber then the other, but he must have not had a proper stock weld so he is instantly complaining about the pain in his shoulder. I am thankful because I’m hoping that he won’t want to shoot any more, and he doesn’t. Out of self-preservation, I take the shotgun and keep shooting it until we are out of shells.