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What Happened to the Bandito Juan Garcia
When He Crossed Paths With Old Doc in Matamoras
by Samuel R. George

“And you were just standing nearby when Garcia threatened the old lady?” the policeman asked (with suspicion?) as Doc methodically peeled an apple.

“Correct, officer. I was buying some laudanum from this farmacia when he raised a stool against that helpless seņora yonder.” Doc was creating a long spiral of red. He held the knife still in his right hand, as he turned the apple across the blade with his left. It created a slow continuous rhythm of which Herodotus was not unaware. He began to fidget, rearranging the weight on his hooves.

Well, seņor, what happened next?” the man said, sensing that Doc might say no more. He needed more information to put into his report.

“I hollered at him,” Doc replied, and stopped peeling. Herodotus stamped his hoof in the dirt. “Then the damn fool turned around and pulled a gun on me.” He made the final twist of the apple, and then turned around to greet a horse that was in a near demonic state, seething with anger directed at Old Doc. But all was forgiven when he was presented his daily bribe of manna.

“So you shot him with that gun?” the official asked, indicating the old Navy Colt in its original holster at Doc’s side.

“Yes sir, I did,” Doc told him. He wondered if the bandito had recognized him. He didn’t think so, but Doc had certainly recognized Garcia, he could never forget that face. The policeman’s pen was poised just above his notepad. He seemed anxious to write something.

“Was your weapon drawn when you yelled to Garcia?”

“No sir, he drew first. I fired three times. He did not return fire,” Doc informed him calmly.

“Two in the heart and one in the center of the forehead,” the official said, writing the words into his report. He tapped his pen against the notepad, studied it. “It was clearly self defense,” he told Doc, “you are free to go seņor.” The young policeman turned to leave, still studying.

“Clearly self defense,” Doc heard him say as though he were quite satisfied with the words of his report.