What Happened to
the Bandito Juan Garcia
When He Crossed Paths With Old Doc in Matamoras
by Samuel R.
were just standing nearby when Garcia threatened
the old lady? the policeman asked (with
suspicion?) as Doc methodically peeled an apple.
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
what happened next? the man said, sensing
that Doc might say no more. He needed more
information to put into his report.
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.
shot him with that gun? the official asked,
indicating the old Navy Colt in its original
holster at Docs side.
I did, Doc told him. He wondered if the
bandito had recognized him. He didnt think
so, but Doc had certainly recognized Garcia, he
could never forget that face. The policemans
pen was poised just above his notepad. He seemed
anxious to write something.
weapon drawn when you yelled to Garcia?
he drew first. I fired three times. He did not
return fire, Doc informed him calmly.
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
self defense, Doc heard him say as though
he were quite satisfied with the words of his