HOTSHOT: Dress Up your Wardrobe with a Gamo Silent Stocker IG .22 Air Rifle

August 9, 2012


Just the other day, walking down Independencia Av., a black rat ran across my path, and it brought back memories of the b&b…

The guests staying in the honeymoon suite were an ideal couple: appreciative, curious and open-minded Canadians. (I will say no more aboot that).

Prior to their arrival, rat droppings were spotted on the private patio of their room, a problem in the hospitality business paralleling armed robbery.  The traps had not been working, nor had the poison, and now I was unsure of the whereabouts of the rodent(s).  The house a late 1800’s colonial mansion with labyrinthine gardens, it was hard enough to keep track of my guests’ whereabouts, let alone maverick rodents looking for their next fix.

I welcomed the couple and showed them up to their suite, careful not to let on about the possibility, albeit small, of contracting a hemorrhagic fever from the other “visitors”.  While briefing them on the idiosyncrasies of the air-conditioning unit and great wine bars in the neighborhood, my eyes darted around for a hairless tail sticking out from a crack in the baseboard.  Nothing.

The guests went out in the afternoon to explore, and my boyfriend and I did a thorough search of the property and moved the traps to different corners, hidden behind jasmine vines and beneath the Baby Grand.  Satisfied with our work, we went up to the top terrace for a sunset cocktail and from there peered down on the rooms below.

Horror! Eight malevolent, leptospirosis carriers with long, slimy tails were scurrying up and down and around the walls and benches of the private patio, contaminating with every sticky step the idyllic (and plague-free) slice of paradise I made my living from.

I closed my eyes and thanked the Queen that the Canadians weren’t back yet when I heard the iron door bang shut downstairs.  I bounded down to meet the honeymooners only to learn that they had ordered dinner in so they could eat on their patio. Panic-stricken, I excused myself and conferred with my boyfriend, a super-powered handyman. We agreed it was best that he throw the circuit-breaker on the patio and I apologetically explain that the unfortunate power outage was a frequent but endearing occurrence for us in bohemia.

The couple was gutted, as they had planned the first evening of their honeymoon around the romanticism of an outdoor candlelit dinner on the patio.  I suggested that romance was not confined to the outdoors, and I set the dining room table with flowers and candles and all of the trappings for an unforgettable evening while they picked up their food.

But upon return, they shirked my efforts and insisted on dining by moonlight on the terrace next to theirs.

I could do nothing more than carry the plates upstairs and wait, refund in hand, for piercing screams when they found a rat dragging its pink gelatinous tail across their pizza.

My boyfriend and I went up to the top terrace and drank wordlessly while they ate.  I was so nervous that I could not bear to look down and so instead Hugo carried out surveillance while I concertedly kept my eyes on the horizon and fought off nausea.  Driven by fear for my Trip Advisor ranking, we hatched the ultimate plan:  we’d shoot the rats.  With good aim, we could permanently annihilate the rat problem in a matter of seconds, forever. And to boot, we’d just re-polished the ceramic tiles of the patio with a transparent varnish, so the ensuing mess would be easy to clean.

Miraculously, the honeymoon dinner was a romantic and ratless success, and the couple retired to their room holding hands. Grateful for the reprieve granted by the universe, I began to breathe again and became increasingly excited about our troubleshooting.

The next day, we went shopping.  In the morning for a gun, and in the afternoon for a dress.  The dress was not to wear while shooting rats though an event so pivotal in my career certainly could’ve called for a certain flair.  Rather, I had to go to a wedding in New York the following week and would have no other moment to go shopping.

Despite Hugo’s thoughts that it might be better if we dropped the gun off before going into dress shops, I insisted we keep it with us.  It made me feel capable, if not elegant, when walking into these boutiques, where I’d always found myself feeling mousy and out of my element.  Mouse no more!  The gun went with me to try on the gowns.  It seemed less suspicious than Hugo waiting outside the fitting room with it, and to be honest, I thought I was kind of a hotshot, accessorizing with a firearm.  The staff was remarkably helpful and we found a strapless number to die for.

At this point, the disaster had turned into adventure and I was enthusiastic about target practice that evening. The night was warm and perfect for a few beers, a gun and a rooftop.  We agreed that I would take a few shots at the satellite dish on the roof next door to hone my aim.  The dish belonged to a filthy residential hotel overflowing with nefarious characters and their precocious offspring, many of which who spent their days and nights tagging our walls and ringing the doorbell and running away. Since the rats came from their indifferent squalor , it seemed fair to return the favor.

Despite my summer camp target practice at haystacks, I was relatively unfamiliar with the feel of a gun, and my first few shots were nowhere close to the dish.  Claiming that it was the kickback, I insisted that my boyfriend reload for me and I kept at it while he gently indicated that BB guns have no kickback.  When finally I struck the dish, I was so excited that I froze pointing at the dish, rifle in hand, glowing. But my boyfriend hissed, “Put it down! Put it down! Don’t let them see you!” The noise of the BB striking the dish was significant enough for anyone who had heard it to open their window or step onto their balcony and look around, and had they done so, they would’ve seen a girl with a rifle on the roof and surely called the cops.

We waited a while until it started to get dark, and then he had a go and hit the dish without fail each time.  Though I was quite eager to deliver the death sentence to the rats and become the hero of the hotel, it was not worth risking headlines in the Buenos Aires Herald blasting “Hotel Owner Shoots Own Guest By Mistake While Aiming At Massive Rodent.”  So we agreed he’d be the sniper. I filled the cooler, he fired up the barbeque and we waited for Judgment Day.

We spent all night up there, staked out.  At 2 in the morning, without a sighting, and frankly disappointed, we decided to go to bed and try again the following evening.  But the rats were never seen nor heard from again.  Not a single dropping.

I’d being lying if I said I didn’t find the whole experience a bit anti-climactic.  After all, I’d always fancied myself a bit of a renegade, and I’d invested our monthly earnings in a gun.  But in the end, my hotel was saved from doom of a damaged reputation, the guests left happy and still married, and I now had a rifle. I suppose it was a win-win for everyone.

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