It was a long day on the road and the salesman’s throat was parched. He spied a small, ramshackle, two storey building up ahead and was relieved to see that it was a bar. The place was empty save for a thin, emaciated-looking barkeep. The salesman sat on a stool and ordered a beer. The bartender poured the beverage into a chilled mug and introduced himself.
“Name’s Bernard C. Hyatt. Folks around here call me Red.”
The salesman laughed and extended his hand to the bartender. “Chester Fullerton. Folks around my parts call me Chet.”
“Please to meet your acquaintance, Chet. Welcome to Red’s Place.”
Chet peered behind Red at an enormous pickle jar, nearly eighteen inches high and almost a foot wide, stuffed – crammed, actually – with $20 bills. He figured there must have been thousands of dollars worth of cash in the jar. As it happens, Red kept a running tabulation and saw the look on Chet’s face.
“That jar contains $24,920 dollars in cash for the taking if anyone can pass the test.”
Chet was intrigued. “What’s the test?”
Red smiled and said, “That information will cost you twenty bucks.”
Suspecting a scam, Chet said as much.
“Suit yourself,” Red replied and returned to washing a sink full of glasses. Chet stared at the jar and imagined what he could do with almost $25,000 in cash. After two more beers, his avarice overpowered his common sense and he fished a $20 bill from his wallet, slapping it down with a flourish.
“I’ll take the test. What do I have to do?”
Red crammed the bill into the pickle jar then reached under the bar and produced a corked bottle. “You have to drink all of this pepper tequila in one shot.”
Chet gazed in astonishment at the clear glass bottle. On the bottom lay two dozen bright red habanero chilli peppers, contentedly macerating in nearly a fifth of 150-proof Mexican tequila. He gulped hard and asked, “And the next test?”
The bartender pointed to another screen door – one that led to a yard in back of the building. Out there is our pit bull, Cujo. Had him for five years before he started turning ornery. Got him chained up cause he’s got a awful toothache and the tooth has gotta be pulled. That’s your job.”
“That figures,” Chet replied glumly. “And the third test?”
Red pointed up to the ceiling. “My sister-in-law. She’s bed-ridden, what with her 8oo pound weight and all and ain’t had much lovin’ since she smothered my brother to death six months ago. You gotta…um…please her in an intimate sort of way, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh dear God,” Chet uttered – he knew perfectly well what the bartender meant. “Give me a shot of Jack Daniels and keep it coming.” Half an hour and seven shots of bourbon later, he made up his mind.
“The hell with it,” he said. “That money is mine!” Chet grabbed the bottle, uncorked it and chugged away. The liquor screamed down his gullet like a 150-proof rocket. His tongue swelled from the heat of the peppers and tears streamed down his cheeks. After a few more seconds, the bottle was empty and he placed it back down on the bar in triumph.
“Done! Now for the dog.” The salesman slid off the stool and staggered toward the back door. Almost immediately, the pit bull began barking viciously, but Chet was undeterred.
Red continued washing the glasses in the sink, unfazed by the screaming, caterwauling, howling and shrieking that emanated from the back yard. Twenty minutes later there was dead silence. Chet staggered back into the bar – his suit was shredded and torn; he was bleeding heavily from lacerations and bites on his head, his arms and his legs.
As he zipped up the fly on his trousers he hollered in a loud voice, “Now where’s the fat chick with the toothache?”