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  • Writer's pictureReuben Berger

A Gun Battle on the farm

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

I was going through old files that I hadn't looked at in years and came across this true story that took place on the coast of Brazil when I was in the town of Trancoso, Bahia. Enjoy the story...

Well, when I woke up from the wonderful sleep, hearing the rain, I thought that perhaps today would just be an ordinary day with not too much drama, little did I know what was just around the corner.

I had a bite to eat on the porch with Barbara and we chatted a bit about usual stuff -- the farm, her plans for going into town, etc. The morning wore on and since it was rather cloudy, I ended up heading down to the beach listening to some tunes as I strolled down.

When I got to the beach, I saw Susan, the massage woman sitting behind the bar on the left and so I went over and said a quick hello and she turned to her friend and said that I had a great heart.

I walked along the beach, the intense sun was hidden behind the clouds ~ I walked to a spot that I had gone to most mornings when I was last here. I sat on the beach for a while and then swam -- the ocean was quite calm, only slight waves breaking at the shore. I lay in the sun for a while and then moved over to the shade and tried to read the Celestine Prophecy which everyone had raved about a few years ago. I read for a bit but for some reason, it just did not grip me. I decided to head over to get a coconut where the guy works in the shade of the trees.

He smiled when he saw me and shook my hand warmly. I drank the juice and then he cut it open for me to eat. He suggested that I take a rest in the hammock but I had told Barbara that I'd be back by 2:00 because she was expecting the internet man. I strolled back to the house and when I got there, I saw the two internet dudes just finishing up their job. 'Great, I thought, I don't have to stick around anymore.' So, I figured that I'd hang out for a little bit, have a bite to eat and then head back down to the ocean a bit later.

About twenty minutes later the phone rang and since the maid was still there, she answered it and after she hung up, she said that Barbara wanted me to stay at the house. I hoped she wasn't upset about something and then a few minutes later it rang again and this time Barbara wanted to talk directly to me.

"You wouldn't believe it," she started off saying, "I am at the police station and I have just been informed that a gang is planning on stealing the horses and killing me and the cowboy and apparently they are coming tonight." I kind of just listened in somewhat stunned silence as she continued. "I would be eternally grateful to you if you could come with me to the farm and we have to get another gun. Stay there and I'll see you when I get home."

"See you later," I said and before I knew it, I had hung up the phone.

I began to think about this situation a little bit more deeply. Here is this very nice older woman from whom I have rented a room by her pool for the past two weeks. She is now asking me to go with her to her farm to potentially protect it from a gang of horse thieves who might be showing up tonight. At first I thought, 'Wow, this is really turning into quite the adventure story,' and so I started getting my bags ready for the journey to the farm. However, as time rolled on, I started thinking about this situation at a different level. I realized that I have worked so very hard to get where I am in life and there are people who really care about me and there are many things that I would love to still accomplish in life and if I got shot and killed on someone's farm in Brazil, no one might ever even know about what happened to me. At that point, I told the maid that I was going for a walk and would be back soon.

I headed into the Quadrado and walked over to where my hippy friends hang out hoping Alexandra was there. She is a Canadian woman who has been in Brazil for about one year with her Brazilian boyfriend making jewellery and other items. I really felt as though I needed to talk with someone about this situation. So I sat down beside her and told her what was going on.

She clearly was on my side agreeing that it is no use getting wrapped up in someone else's drama especially a woman from whom I am renting a room and have only known for a few weeks. Yes, it was confirmed that I really didn't want to put my life on the line for a situation that she somehow got herself into. She said that I should come for dinner at 7:00 at a restaurant on the way to the main square. I said that I'd see her there.

I walked back to the house ~ Barbara had not yet returned. The gardener and the maid were still there and at that point I decided that I was just going to split for the night or at least for a good few hours -- I was off to the beach.

I popped on my ipod and strolled down the tree-lined street and made my way down to the ocean. I was walking along the boardwalk through the mangroves and I saw a beautiful light up ahead and when I got to the beach, I just sat down on a wooden table and looked out to sea. There were gray clouds on the horizon and behind me the sky was paler and you could see the sun dropping behind the hills. The horizon above the ocean was all shades -- metallic blue, grey, dark and then a rainbow shone down from the clouds into the ocean horizon and I thought to myself, 'I could have been on my way to a farm with loaded guns and possible gunfights, wow, am I happy that I decided to forget about all that and just come to the sea.' Sitting there, listening to Van Morrison and seeing the waves roll in, a few people strolling in and the horizon, rainbow, and a slight breeze I really sensed that I knew that this is really what everyone dreams of -- just being at peace, your mind and heart kind of still and just absorbing the scene around you. The rainbow stayed there for 20 minutes or so and then I decided that I better head up to the Quadrado before it got too dark.

I got up and headed off the beach and towards the path that led to the Quadrado that was rather dark at the moment. I didn't see anyone ahead of me and it didn't seem as though anyone was behind me. I headed into the tree covered path and said a prayer that someone wouldn't jump out of the side somewhere and mug me. I looked behind me a few times as I walked, to see if anyone was there.

I was happy when I finally made it up to the Quadrado and up there, there was this beautiful light so I walked onto the field and saw the Western sky which was light blue and pink and absolutely beautiful.

I walked through the Quadrado and had a beer and a guy who does a kind of painting on ceramic tiles came by and sat down. He goes by the name of Crazy and hey, perhaps he calls it like it is.

I headed over to the place for dinner and had a nice meal and then on my way back I started feeling guilty that I hadn't gone with Barbara. You see, that is how the world is -- people often ask you to do things that you really don't want to do and if you refuse, they take it personally and perhaps even make you feel as though you did something that was wrong. I actually felt guilty and so decided to call Barbara at the farm and when she answered we had a bad connection and she said that she would see me the next day.

I walked back to the Quadrado and then at around ten or so went back to my place. I wasn't overly tired but I ended up going to sleep. The night wore on. I woke up a few times, once to a very heavy rain and finally I woke up around 5:00 a.m. There was only one thing on my mind -- the ocean.

Friday, February 27, 2009, Trancoso, Bahia, Brazil

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