Lessons From the Road: He No Longer Lives in Brasil

images

The flight from LAX to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) had been a long one but while tired I was excited to be at last joining the movie company to film on location. I had been hired to train Jaguars and was the only America working for the British film. When I met Gabriel at customs, I soon discovered that I had stepped into a surreal world and time. He stared right through me wearing a sweat-stained t-shirt that read “Kill Them All and Let God Sort them Out.” I could just make out a faded French Foreign Legion logo on a worn canvas bag slung over his shoulder.

In a thick Portuguese accent, he said in rehearsed English, “Welcome to Brazil,” and commenced to orchestrate us through customs. This was the tone that the shooting of this movie would take for the better part of a year. We filmed in fifty-five different locations that year which took us from the coast to deep in the jungles of the Amazon. We were on a golden voyage, a real old school adventure and it was 1984. Each day took us further from what we knew to a world of wild animals, jungle darkness, danger, Voodoo and real outlaws. We were a long way from home.

The production company knowing we would be filming in the backcountry of Brazil decided to employ a fixer, a bodyguard to look after me and my crew. If you didn’t know the year you would have thought that Gabriel was playing an outlaw in a ’40s movie set in a Banana Republic. He wore a Panama hat tilted over one eye and a loosely fitting white linen shirt that covered the pistol which he always carried in his waist belt. Simply put, his job was to keep us safe and make things go smoothly. And he did it with dedication and vigor over the year of our filming. Gabriel and I developed a close friendship that grew out of sharing a dangerous adventure that required us to live by our wits and depend on each other.

He didn’t really speak English and I didn’t speak Portuguese. But fortunately most everyone in the country spoke Spanish so I relied on it to get us by. It didn’t take me long to observe that Gabriel was known and feared by everyone we encountered. He was closely connected to the cocaine trade of South America. This was after all the 1980’s.

Gabriel could get you almost anything and he could make almost anything happen. But his real specialty was making problems go away. But I didn’t realize how good he was at this or how seriously he took his job until one evening after a long day of filming.

We had found a great little open-air bar that was terraced on a river looking out into the jungle in a little village near one of our locations. Besides serving great local drinks, it had the best garlic, sautéed shrimp I had ever eaten. So most evenings you could find the production company there. We were young and single and as such fit right in with the young crowd in the village. But as we got more familiar this caused jealousies with some of the locals that we didn’t realize until that evening.

A mixed group of us were enjoying ourselves drinking and dancing on the terrace. It was late and most of us had had our share of the local drink, Pinga or Cachaça, a dangerously strong and delicious spirit distilled from sugarcane when a man barged in yelling that we had not given him a job and had taken all the women of the village.

My friend, Colin, who being Irish held his drink better than the rest of us, stood up holding a drink out as a peace offering. But the man picked up a bottle and threw it hitting him squarely in the forehead. Colin fell like a sack of potatoes bleeding profusely. Several of us including Gabriel jumped up to give chase, as the man darted out and into the cover of the jungle.

Several minutes later, I found Gabriel and a few of his men in a clearing where they had the man on the ground. Hastily, Gabriel sent me back with one of his men after assuring me he would take care of the matter. And trust me, there was no arguing with Gabriel when he was working. So we attended to getting Colin to a small clinic where they very efficiently sewed him up.

For days afterward, Colin who didn’t speak Spanish asked me to question Gabriel as to what happened to the man. Gabriel always gave a vague answer and quickly changed the subject. This didn’t satisfy Colin who pestered me to continue asking.

Finally, after about a month this, while having lunch, Colin pressed me to ask again. This time, Gabriel was at the end of his patience. He pulled his pistol out and laid it on the table, leaned forward and leveled his dark, hard eyes on me and said, “Tell Colin to stopped asking me about the past. Let’s just say the man no longer lives in Brazil.”

I never asked Gabriel again.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Post navigation

8 thoughts on “Lessons From the Road: He No Longer Lives in Brasil

  1. David Nygren

    The story is awesome, but the way you tell it is even better! Miss you, buddy! ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  2. captainjlhiii

    What happens in the jungle, stays…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve had some exciting adventures!! Thanks for sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. great story and very adventurous life! I am excited to follow and read more!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Book 'Em, Jan O

Ghosts, Tall Tales & Witty Haiku!

Sizzles & Strings

Hostel-friendly recipes from an aspiring little chef. Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble.

His Perfect Timing

My Incredible Journey with God

It's Riding Time!

Two travelling fanatics riding through different cultures, cuisines and places. Expect motorcycle adventures, “How To…”, food reviews & helpful tips.

INNER THOUGHTS

INNER THOUGHTS

Writing about Animals

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi -

A Note From Abroad

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

Festival for Drama in Film, Screenplays, Novels

Showcasing the of best of DRAMA stories from around the world.

The Blog of Travel

Motorbikes, dogs and a lot of traveling.

Cafe Book Bean

Talk Books. Drink Coffee.

SKYLARITY

Mindfulness, Spontaneity and Authenticity

The Story Factory

Dismantling my heart

deBlogTroop

It's never late to read

A Gentleman's Lifestyle

Men's Fashion, Inspiration and Lifestyle blog.

MovieBabble

The Casual Way to Discuss Movies

Milly Schmidt

The Cat's Write

Transit Address

YOU SHOP. WE SHIP.

A Girl With An Adventurous Fork

The story of a girl with her romantic adventure with food and travel.

the Confessions of a Wanderer

constantly searching for my next adventure

MY LENSCAPE

Travel Photography Blog

Food for Poetryy

eat, sip, travel, click, pen down poetry = Helps best reflect on life !

Rounded Nut

How We Get About

through the luminary lens

The sun is the great luminary of all life - Frank Lloyd Wright

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Hurricane Willem nu je hier bent. Welcome to the blog of Discobar Bizar, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Hurricane Willem whilst you are here!

I JUST WANT 2 RIDE!!

Our Motorcycle Blog about Motorcycle Stuff

The Edwardwrightblog.

THIS, IS NEW BENIGN.

Tooting Hustle

Everyday in London

Unlimited Choice

A canvas to tell your story

Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing

Making the world a richer place, one story at a time

Writer's Treasure Chest

A blog for authors, about authors, written by an author

firefly465

Writer of horror/fantasy/urban/worldbuilding. All those nice things which mean I get to use my imagination.

Simply Lavish

Live a Millionaire life on a Millennial Budget

Learn Fun Facts

An Archive of Curious Facts for the Curious

Pictures & Plane Tickets

A Wanderlust inspired Travel Blog

P e d r o L

storytelling the world

Kenneth Louis Decroo

Author and Adventurer

Reade and Write

Words and wine by Amy M. Reade

%d bloggers like this: