When Kat and I were in the amazon in ‘76 taking ayahuasca, we got in with this certain group of people in Peru that took it every week. and, you know cultures have different ways of handling hassle and in some cultures it’s confrontational, in other cultures not. The way these Peruvian country folk operated was if somebody was screwing up nobody would ever say so they would just talk about these people behind their back until the morphogenetic field of gossip was so strong that you'd basically awaken to the problem.
So, there was a complex social situation going on in this ayahuasca circle, which was: there was a master shaman, who we were apprenticed to, who was beloved by his neighborhood, but he had a nephew, a sobrino, who was a jerk. I mean, this guy was, as Don Fidel says, ambitious. He dealt a little weed, he did a little pimping, he was just sort of an edge runner type of guy. And every saturday night we would all get together and take ayahuasca, about 30 of us, older shamans, our guy, people from the neighborhood, and this sobrino, Don Jose.
So uh, I don't know what the real history of it was, ‘cause I had just arrived on the scene, but these old guys would sing these icaros, these magical songs on ayahuasca that appear as colored tapestries in front of your eyes and you know, they were, they had soul, they were into it, they were, and this guy would sing against them. I mean, it's the rudest thing you could possibly imagine, I mean, imagine if, if you know, lou reed were trying to give a performance and the guy in the third just launched into Old Man River, and kept at it! You know, I mean in this town I'm sure large guys would appear and say "sir." In Peru it didn't work like that.They just kept singing, he kept singing, and it was clear that this is how it was gonna be handled. That we had just divided into two separate entities here.
Well, um, my, uh, wife was sitting next to me and he was sitting across the room from us, the sobrino, and I had been watching him for a long time and I was loaded to the gills, and I could see he would get up on his haunches, he. he looked like a monkey. he, he, his face it was uncanny, he looked like a monkey and he also looked kind of like a jackal a dog with long teeth, he kept going through these changes, and.
And Kat leaned over to me and said something like “this guy is an asshole” and I just said, you know, “let it slide, what do we know, think of it as anthropology,” but she, she wasn't having it. So after a while he kept doing this and at one point everybody in the room, every person in the room was bummed out, and they were looking at their laps, all eye contact was broken, it’s actually. When I was a kid I invented a word. The word is Fardow, and it means: The embarrassment you feel when someone else fucks up, you know. and you happen to just be there and somehow the aura of it is so strong so, the entire room is awash in fardow and the old guys are singing and the guy is singing. So then, at the end of a particularly intense clash of these two styles, uh, my wife just looked across the room at this guy and, like, put the whammy on him. And I saw these red arrows leave her eyes and like, like, dotted lines going across there: unh unh unh unh unh, and they moved fairly slowly, you know, more slowly than you can throw a ball or something. Well when this line of red arrows got to this guy he was knocked off his feet. He, he fell backwards with his legs in the air there was a big noise and all the singing stopped and everybody in the room looked up and these three old shaman, who were sitting behind Don Fidel, who I to that point had not heard speak any language but Quetchua, one turned to the other and he says in Spanish "ooooh, the gringa sends the ziboodibooodiblugh!"