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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Juan and Pablo Face Pain

Yet another adventure of Juan and Pablo, the Gringo Brothers.

The year is 1980. Juan and Pablo are handgun hunting for bear in the high desert of the Umcompagrhe in North West Colorado. They are joined at their campfire one night by Pancho, an itinerate cowboy. As they sip boiled coffee, Juan, as is often the case, begins waxing eloquent.

"Amigos," he said, "I have faced great pain in my short life."

"And what pain was the worst you had ever faced?" Pablo asked.

"I once got burning jet fuel on my hands at a helicopter crash and had second degree burns up past my wrists." Juan replied.

"I suffered worse pain than that," declared Pablo. "Once when I was a horse wrangler at a dude ranch a horse bucked me off far from the ranch house and when I attempted to capture him, he kicked me in the right side breaking 5 ribs and puncturing my lung. I had to capture him again, outride his bucking and ride him back to headquarters in that condition."

Pancho, who had been silent the whole time, stirred the fire with a stick and said, "Amigos I have faced pain much worse than you describe. When I was a vaquero in the Sierra Madres I once went behind a lodgepole pine to answer the call of nature and squatted over a large bear trap hidden in the pine needles. At the moment the waste hit the trigger it snapped shut on my body."

Juan laughed out loud. "And Pancho, what part of your anatomy was caught in the trap?"

The air suddenly became still as Pancho's bowie knife appeared from nowhere and gleamed in the firelight.

"Senor," he said in a deadly quiet voice, "there are matters of delicacy about which no gentleman inquires."

There was an audible "pop" as Juan unsnapped the strap on the holster of his Ruger .357.

"Amigos, amigos" Pablo entreated. "Surely there was no offence intended."

Juan cleared his suddenly dry throat and said, "Of course not, of course not. Please overlook my indelicacy, por favor."

Pancho's teeth gleamed in the firelight and the bowie disappeared as quickly as it had materialized. "De Nada. When no offence is intended, none need be taken, eh? To return to my story, when the trap snapped shut I screamed 'Ai, carumba!' and took off running."

Then Pancho took another swallow of coffee and stared out into the darkness. The Gringo brothers waited patiently. Finally Pablo spoke. "And that was the worst pain you ever faced?"

"Oh no Amigos. That came when I hit the end of the chain."


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