The tavern was busy, as usual, filled
with the regular customers playing "bruha", several travelers waiting
for the morning coach to arrive and others who simply wished to stay
out of the hot sun. Don Diego acknowledged an acquaintance or two as
Sergeant Garcia and he strolled over to a table near the bar.
Bernardo, the ever-faithful servant of Don Diego, had already taken a
place standing at the bar where offered a peso for a glass of wine.
"Maria," Diego called out. "Please bring some wine for my guest and myself."
"A pleasure Don Diego," Maria smiled sweetly. "I shall be but a moment."
how are things going now that Capitan Monastario has returned to the
cuartel?" questioned Diego as he turned to face Garcia.
good, Don Diego," replied Garcia sadly. "For me that is. I was hoping
that I would be made permanent commandante. I believed the Capitan
would marry the Senorita Leonar and return to Monterey with the
Governor but now it does not seem likely."
"Well Sergeant things
are not over yet," grinned Diego. "The senorita has not left the
rancho to return to Monterey with her father so perhaps your dream is
"Oh I hope so Don Diego," sighed Garcia. "I
believe I have done a good job and have proven myself capable of being
commandante. You know I always feel better after we talk. Don
Diego...there is another small matter I wish to discuss with you...it
is about Zorro."
"Of course I would be happy to help," responded Diego. "However, I have never met the gentleman."
"Si...I understand, at least I think so...," hesitated Garcia. "I am sorry Don Diego but I must ask...are you Zorro?"
nearly choked on the wine he was swallowing after hearing the
Sergeant's inquiry. With eyes opened wide Bernardo turned to look into
the face of the young caballero he called friend. Anna Maria had made
Diego aware of the Sergeant's feelings but still it came as a surprise
to hear Garcia ask so bluntly. Holding his breath Bernardo waited for
Diego to answer.
Demetrio Lopez Garcia spent most of his adult
life as a soldier in the army of the King of Spain. Try as he might
Garcia's good nature could not make up for his bungling and inept
ways. Poor Garcia never reached the heights he had envisioned for
himself. One day purely by accident Garcia found himself hastily
promoted and shipped off to the New World. There in the small pueblo
de Los Angeles the story surrounding Garcia's years in Spain faded
away. Garcia, himself, never spoke of his duties in Spain nor finding
his superior officer in the arms of the Spanish magistrado's wife. In
the years that followed Garcia saw the comings and goings of many a
superior officer. Yet it was not until Capitan Monastario was caught
in political disfavor that Garcia found himself in reach of his goal as
commandante of the tiny pueblo. The Viceroy had appointed the
Sergeant acting commandante. Garcia's hopes for permanent assignment
seemed all but fulfilled. The pueblo thrived under the honesty and
justice Garcia brought to his leadership of the tiny pueblo. However
his dreams were ended when the governor assigned a new commandante and
Garcia was returned to rank of sergeant. Time and time again Garcia
only tasted brief moments of leadership until new commandantes could be
Leaning back in his chair Garcia waited for Don
Diego's explanation to begin. He knew that a revelation regarding the
identity of Zorro would catch the attention of both the viceroy and
governor. Surely he would receive a promotion to permanent commandante
as a reward. Yet Don Diego was his friend...how could he accept a
promotion this way? Poor Garcia so torn between his desires and
"Sergeant after all this time why would you believe
that I could be Zorro?" Diego said looking puzzled. "I am your friend
and you know me so well. Have I ever shown any interest in politics,
swordplay or any type of violence?"
"Oh no Don Diego," said Garcia. "But you are the same height and build as Zorro."
can you think of no one in the pueblo who might also resemble Zorro?
The commandante has many of the same attributes."
"Si, he is as
tall as Zorro, a fine swordsman but no he could not possibly be,"
Garcia said confused. "Don Diego, it is just that the Senora de la
Vega...the looks she shared with Zorro during the fight between the
Capitan and Ramirez...well it was personal."
"You know very well
that Anna Maria and Zorro were close friends," responded Diego. "It
was thought by some in Monterey that they might marry but of course
this was not so. Anna Maria is my wife and soon we are to have a
child. Do you believe Zorro would have time for a wife and child?"
no, Zorro has so much to do and the life he leads...," Garcia said
embarrassed. "My friend, I am sorry. Please forgive me?"
there is nothing to forgive," Diego patted Garcia on the hand. "It was
an honest mistake. Sometimes I wish I had the skills of Zorro for it
would make my father proud."
"You are a fine man, one your father can be proud of to be sure," added Garcia.
"Gracias Sergeant, I am glad we had this talk for I would want nothing to come between our friendship."
"Oh nothing shall," Garcia said lifting his glass for a toast. "To friendship."
"To friendship," said Diego with a quick nod to Bernardo.
on Diego and Bernardo rode back to the hacienda satisfied that Garcia
would not press the issue of Zorro's identity. However would something
else arise that would bring harm to the de la Vega family. Only time
held the answer to this and other unanswered questions.
A New Beginning