- I think it’s enough
- NO! I want him to remember this for the rest of his life
- Hahaha you’re a psycho!
Over time, La Guitarra has attracted a community of long-term travelers. People who experienced it kept coming back, from every corner of the world. The kitchen served as the main socializing spot. There were two fridges, twelve food compartments and a large counter for cooking. The guests shared pans, condiments, and often meals. As Marius said in a spark of drunken clarity, “this place is awesome! You don’t need to bring friends. You make friends!!!”
Our days in La Guitarra began with coffee. When I walked in the kitchen, Sandra was trying the oven for brownies. We sipped our coffee and went surfing on an empty stomach. The entire time, I was fantasizing about the burrito I’d saved in the fridge. I came back from the water and still dripping, ran to my burrito. I opened the fridge, reached for the box, and stared at the scene in horror. The burrito was gone. A thief had soiled La Guitarra.
Sandra brushed off the incident like it wasn’t a big deal. “It’s a mistake” she said, and mistakes happen. That night, we celebrated our friend’s last day in La Guitarra with a dinner at a fancy restaurant. Wang took his meal to go and stored it in the fridge. The same thing happened to him, except it wasn’t a $5 burrito, it was a $35 seafood course. When I told him about the thief, Wang said “if somebody is stealing food, they have bigger problems than I do”. I admired his nobility but I was furious. And seeing someone take advantage of such a generous soul angered me even more.
Sandra’s brownies turned out exquisite, a delicacy worthy of the best French bakeries. There were so good I encouraged her to start selling them. Every person who tried the brownies confirmed the idea. I had a small fridge to keep the brownies fresh and she could sell them from her patio. And just like that, Tunco Brownie was born.
The closest supermarket was in the town of La Libertad, 5km away. A trip to the supermarket was an exhausting journey. One had to hustle through noisy traffic, toxic smells, overcrowded streets, and MS-13 territory. The simple thought of going to La Libertad gave me anxiety. But Sandra did not shy away. She carried her groceries in the bus, with the unbearable midday heat, like a prisoner in a forced labor camp. Sandra was an entrepreneur now, and she did what it took to feed her precious.
We came back from the afternoon surf, all excited to try the new peanut butter brownies. When she lifted the veil on the plate, three pieces were missing. Sandra was furious. I added oil to the fire, “That’s awful! After all the hustle you went through this morning… We gotta stop this. If we let it slide, Tunco Brownie is gonna die by the end of the week. Plus, La Guitarra is our special place, it’s our duty to protect it!” Bitter and vengeful, Sandra answered my call.
I wanted to give the thief a shameful scar he will carry for the rest of his life. A thief is a thief. He stole three times already and I knew he would steal again. Public embarrassment would be a fair price for my burrito, for Wang’s dinner, and for Sandra’s brownies. We started plotting.
On her next trip to La Libertad, Sandra got laxative oil. We poured it over the brownies and placed them on the counter under a kitchen cloth. A few hours later, we returned to an empty plate. The thief had struck again. The brownies were gone, and nothing happened.
Sandra was enraged. She was working extra-time AND losing money because of that fucker. The next day, we bought an industrial amount of laxative. We crushed the pills into a powder and mixed it with the oil to the peanut butter. Sandra spread extra toppings on the brownies and left the whole baking pan on the counter. Now we wait…
The thief made his move within the next hours. I was monitoring the hall to the toilet from the common office. “So?” inquired Sandra every ten minutes. We were giggling like children, scanning the guests for any hint of diarrhea. Soon.
In the afternoon, a snobby blond girl crossed the hall to the toilet. She went again a few minutes later, then a third time. Her bowels were screaming in agony, so loud she left the common toilet for her room. Her roommate fled, unable to withstand the torture, and probably the smell. She stayed locked up all afternoon and came once to the reception hours later, to ask for extra toilet paper.
I told EVERYONE about it. I shared the details with the local kids to spread the tale in town. La Guitarra's guests and staff laughed together. Even the owner, so solemn and distant, was shaking his head and laughing. Everywhere she went that afternoon, people giggled. I thought of pushing the shaming, but the thought of her anus burning with public embarassment gave me enough satisfaction. The guests laughed, the staff laughed, the kids laughed, and the thief shat. As soon as she was able to walk without leaking, she left la Guitarra.
If you ever meet an Australian blondie called Paige, who surfed El Salvador in the summer of 2019, please whisper to her ear:
“The Tunco Brownies send their regards.”