INTERMISSION: time for a cocktail: Try this Baja favorite:
The Blue Shark
--1.5 oz. Blue Iguana Silver Tequila
--1.5 oz. vodka
--1.5 oz. blue Curaçao
--to a cocktail shaker full of ice, add everything and shake well. Strain over rocks.
The pilgrimage to Tequila had certainly been epic so far, Hasenpfeffer thought as he trudged mile after weary mile along the railroad tracks. He had long since given up his fantasy of seeing the train reappearing in frantic reverse to reclaim such an important passenger…….an emissary from the United States of America, no less! At this juncture, he could only shake his head ruefully at having lost the quest, and the brotherhood of his fellow tequila knights, over a nasty train bathroom and a good ol’ outdoor country piss.
There was no one in sight, and the views were long. There was no habitations anywhere on the horizon. The sun beat down cruelly, and he had only the half bottle of Tres Equis he’s exited the train with. So at least there was that, he thought, although it was getting sort of back-washy. And so he kept walking.
After a period of time he was utterly unable to gauge, Hasenpfeffer thought he saw something way off in the distance, where the tracks disappeared over the edge of the world. Were those buildings? His pace quickened. Yes! The flat beer now long drained, he walked with a renewed sense of purpose. As the buildings got closer, he could tell that the train was there, and stopped! He began to run. After another twenty minutes, Hasenpfeffer staggered into the town of Tequila.
Hot, sweaty, thirsty (and maybe needing to pee again!), Hasenpfeffer clambered back onto the train. But the bar car was empty. Not even a note from the traitorous Seabiscuit and Snord. Feeling more than a little disgruntled, and starting to mutter ominously, he saw a figure approaching as he stepped back off the little train. It was the bartender, who displayed no surprise at seeing Hasenpfeffer standing there. In answer to a quick question in Spanish, the bartender replied “Senor, your amigos have left the train.” Trying to be polite in the face of such a stunningly-obvious observation, Hasenpfeffer asked if the man knew where they might have gone.
“The gringos are all drinking in the café in the square, senor.”
After hastily getting directions, Hasenpfeffer hurried off toward the town square. Although he was possibly not aware of it, his muttering increased in volume and vehemence. With a mixture of guilt and satisfaction, Hasenpfeffer realized that he had never paid his (quite substantial) bar tab from the train. This provided a welcome distraction for his simmering brain. After scuffing several blocks down the dusty streets of Tequila, he began to hear faint but increasing sounds of merriment.
His pace quickened.
Upon reaching the ubiquitous town square, so familiar from all the other small Mexican towns he had visited in his life, Hasenpfeffer zeroed in on familiar voices coming from a mass of gringos crowded around rickety metal tables outside a corner cantina. Amidst the rowdy and slightly woozy pale-faced throng, there sat Seabiscuit and Snord, feet up on the railing, cold beers in hand, drained shot glasses arrayed about the table between half-eaten bowls of carne en su jugo. Sitting between them was a gray-haired, dilapidated hippy with a maple leaf flag sewed onto his battered duffel bag. He seemed vague but content.
“Hasenpfeffer! Where you been buddy? “, hollered Snord. “Come over here and meet our new friend Scoot….he’s Canadian, man!” All three men smiled innocently in the new arrival’s direction.
Hasenpfeffer was speechless. Standing in the street, not even knowing where to begin. A vein throbbed on his forehead. He wanted to throw the Tres Equis bottle at them, but suddenly realized he no longer had it.
Just then, at this crux of the crisis, a beautiful young Mexican girl approached Hasenpfeffer and asked him a very pivotal question:
“¿Quieres algo a tomar?
Hasenpfeffer paused. I want to kill my two friends, of course, but yes……yes, I would like something to drink, he thought. And so following some very comprehensive ordering, he took the chair that Seabiscuit dragged over for him and sat at the table.
“Man, the food is great here!”, Snord raved. “After we eat and have some more beers, we’re taking a cab over to the place where they make the tequila. We made it, man!”, he enthused, slapping Hasenpfeffer on the back and smiling in an unfocused way. Seabiscuit smiled blearily at him from the other side of the table. Scoot seemed to doze. Then the waitress arrived with a tray full of cold Carta Blancas and some more chips and hot sauce. And just like that, his anger left him. All quests had their arcs of travails and the overcoming of staggering odds, right? And sure, I could have died and had my body eaten by iguanas by the side of the tracks, but I didn’t, right? And after all, Snord was right: we Made It. Made it to Tequila. Hasenpfeffer flagged the waitress and ordered four shots of the town’s namesake.
--CODA: part of the writing of a great saga is knowing when to end it. And so your humble scribe is omitting the denouement involving the ride to the tequila distillery, where the taxi driver proved remarkably tolerant until the banging on the roof of his cab that accompanied the full-throated singing of “Satisfaction” threatened the structural integrity of his conveyance/ livelihood. Suffice to say that our band arrived, was toured and feted with free añejos, reposados and even some bootleg pulque from a jug in the back of a truck out back. And it was Good.