An Affair of Honor
The Missing Scene
Speculating is wonderful; speculating with such a wonderful character is even more wonderful. I love this episode, I love everything about it, but it really needed to be at least an hour long to fill in the gaps in plot. I had a great deal of fun with this and I hope you have fun reading it. November, 2001.
Exasperated, Diego followed the sergeant out of the
patio. Although Garcia had
said that his horse was lame, the animal seemed to be comfortable
enough. There was no
favoring of any foot.
Garcia was going through the motions of the manner
of his horse’s limp. “Which
foot, Sergeant?” Diego asked.
“This one,” Garcia said pointing to his own
“No, I mean the horse,” Diego said, wishing to
get this over with. If he
was to get into the pueblo and take care of Avila, then get back,
get ready for the ‘duel’ and return to town before noon, he would
need to leave soon.
one,” Garcia said, pointing to the horse’s front left leg.
Nodding, Diego bent over and picked up the
horse’s hoof, trying to see what the problem might be.
There still seemed to be nothing wrong.
But just as he was about to report that to the sergeant, he heard
a slight noise behind him, then he felt the explosion of something
hitting his head. Then he
The morning sun hit him in the face.
Diego opened his eyes and immediately shut them again.
The world seemed to be tilting crazily and his stomach with it.
The sun’s rays were like hot pokers stabbing into his head,
making it pound even more painfully.
The throbbing matched the beating of his heart and he groaned.
Sitting quietly for a moment, he tried to remember what had
happened. He felt the foul
taste of the cloth that had been forced between his teeth.
Ropes cut cruelly into his wrists, numbing his fingers and
causing them to tingle and burn. What, by all that’s holy, has happened to me? he
thought, trying to remember.
Diego ignored the insistent nausea, and the
pounding in his head. Zorro!
He was supposed to go out
as Zorro. Why? As he
took deep breaths, his rebellious stomach settled somewhat and his mind
traveled the paths of his recent memory.
Señor Avila! That
was it! I was supposed to go into the pueblo and ‘discourage’ Señor
Avila from fighting this duel of extortion.
He shifted his body out of the glare of the sun that
persisted in shining through the cracks in the adobe.
Better, much better. It
even felt cooler out of the sun’s heat.
But what happened?
I never went into the pueblo, he thought, looking down at the
same clothes he was wearing last night.
He racked his brain for more memories.
Horses. But what
about horses? Sergeant
Garcia and Corporal Reyes came with horses.
Diego struggled with the ropes binding his wrists.
Sharp pain told him that such an action was futile.
Sergeant Garcia wanted me to look at his horse.
Lame, he said. But…
But the horse had not been lame and before he could
say anything, he had been hit over the head.
That was it! He
would have laughed if the situation weren’t so terribly desperate.
The sergeant had thought, by getting him temporarily out of the
way, to stop the duel. Diego
groaned. Little did the
well-meaning sergeant know, that if he could not be there to fight the
duel, his father would.
Damn, he thought, struggling again. If
I cannot get loose, Father might possibly die trying to uphold the
family’s honor. Honor,
he thought morosely. At
what point did honor become foolish pride. In his father’s case, there was no point.
The honor must be maintained at all costs.
He felt something trickling down his hands and realized that all
he was accomplishing struggling against the bonds was useless injury.
He tried calling over the foul gag, but what little noise he
could make was hardly making it past the cloth.
What can I do? There has to be something!
Desperately, Diego looked around the dim room.
He was in the woodshed, the building where wood was stored up for
the cook. If there had been
need for more wood for the morning meal, he would have been found by
now. The position of the
rays of the sun through the cracks and the heat in the building told him
that dawn had been several hours earlier.
That meant only a few hours before the noon hour!
Slowly Diego eased himself upright, careful not to lose his
balance and fall over, since his feet were tied together at the ankles.
Using a pile of freshly cut logs and branches behind him as
leverage, he finally was able to stand up.
He fought the returning dizziness for a moment before the world
stood still once more. Looking
around he saw an ax hanging high on the wall.
In despair, he realized that it was much too high for him to kick
it down, even if his feet were loose.
Diego looked around some more, trying to find
another way. The door!
Maybe if he could work the latch, he could get out and find
someone to untie him. Carefully,
he shuffled over to the door and turned around.
His numb fingers could barely feel the latch, much less work it,
but he persisted. The heat
climbed in the small room, becoming almost unbearable.
Flies buzzed around his face, a slight rustling told him of mice
and snakes trying to find places that were cooler.
The gag was well named and he had to swallow
several times to control the urges of his rebellious stomach. He continued to move his fingers, trying to get a grip on the
leather latch. There was a
slight shifting and a rasping of the leather against the wooden beam
holding the door shut. Move
fingers! Get it!
That’s it . . . more, more.
Get a hold of the leather. Yes!
he encouraged himself. Then
the leather thong slipped. Cursing
silently, he felt the sting of sweat rolling in his eyes.
Again! Get it
this time! he ordered his fingers.
A slight feeling told him that he had the piece of leather
between his fingers once more. Pulling
and tugging, he moaned behind the gag, feeling the horrific minutes
slipping away. Was his father already going into town, expecting him to be
there? Santa Maria, Holy
Mother of God! Help me get
out of this. Tug, pull.
Suddenly the small board lifted out of its cradle
and the door creaked open slightly.
He pushed against it and lost his balance, falling backward to
the ground. He landed
heavily and felt the pain and nausea returning threefold.
Groaning, he opened his eyes and gazed up at the crystal clear
blue sky, a sky that seemed to be dancing and spinning in some kind of
an unholy dance.
“Ai, Don Diego!” a voice, a blessed angelic voice called out. “Whatever happened to you?”
Trying to speak, Diego again struggled against his
bonds. Juanita’s face
suddenly came into view. Her
eyes were filled with fear and concern.
She worked the foul gag off and then began working on the ropes
binding his feet.
“Juanita, has my father left for the pueblo
yet?” he asked desperately, fearing her answer.
“Sí, patrón, he left not over an hour
ago,” she said, working with frustrating slowness.
“He seemed worried. I
understand why now.”
“Get a knife, Juanita.
Get a knife and cut the ropes tying my hands together,” he
ordered, sitting up.
“But what happened?
Why did someone tie you up like this, Don Diego?” she asked as
she pulled her vegetable knife from the pocket of her apron.
It was sharpened to cut the squash and dried beef and it quickly
sliced through the ropes around his swollen wrists.
Diego grabbed it away from her and slashed the ropes at his
“It would seem that someone thought that by
incapacitating me, they would stop the duel,” he said tersely.
“But Don Alejandro…”
“Exactly, Juanita,” he answered, both of them knowing how his father would react. “Have Jorge saddle my horse, quickly!” he ordered, having to keep up pretenses while wishing he could just rush to the secret room and change immediately. As the cook scurried to do his bidding, he stood up, pausing a minute, having to wait for his equilibrium to regulate itself. Everything in his body seemed to beat in time with the pounding in his head. Then he followed after her, arriving at the stable just in time to see a peon leading his horse into the courtyard.
“Hurry!” he ordered, grabbing the gelding’s
bridle from its peg and pulling it over the horse’s head.
The stable boy was just carrying the saddle over when he
finished. “Quickly!” he
cried out, frustrated. The
saddle was soon cinched. Gathering the reins and a fistful
of mane, Diego swung on, and kicking the horse’s flanks, galloped out
of the stable yard and toward the pueblo. As soon as he was able, Diego turned toward the secret cave.
He had no hat and the sun beat down mercilessly, making his head
pound even more. Within
minutes he was in the cool dimness of Zorro’s lair.
He immediately began feeling better.
Leaping off the gelding, he took the steps three at a time to the
tiny room where the costume of the night hung, oblivious to the
emergency that had arisen.
Bernardo was flabbergasted as he heard the
conversation between Corporal Reyes and Sergeant Garcia.
So that’s what happened to Don Diego, he thought.
He had to get back out to the hacienda as soon as
possible. Don Alejandro’s
life may depend on it. Running
out of the cuartel, he saw that there were very few people in the
plaza. He couldn’t
take the carriage horses . . . they were exhausted, worn by the rush
into the pueblo. Don
Cornelio’s horse was tethered in front of the tavern.
Looking around him, Bernardo saw no one watching him.
Untying the horse, the mozo mounted and kicked the animal
into a gallop. It was
a fast horse and made good time, but as he rushed into the stable yard
and jumped off, he saw the door of the woodshed already open.
Don Diego was already free.
Hurrying into the kitchen, he motioned to the cook.
She tried to sign to him, but her fingers could not form the way
his could and he was unable to understand her.
Thankfully, she also spoke.
“Don Diego left just a little while ago.
I am surprised you did not see him.”
Perhaps he was still in the secret cave, Bernardo
thought and rushed up to the bedroom.
The black clothing was gone, and when he ran down the steps, he
saw only the palomino gelding.
Tornado was not there. He
only hoped that his patrón had no lasting effects from being hit
over the head. What was
even more important, he hoped that Zorro got to the tavern in time to
save Don Alejandro.
Zorro rushed down the steps and almost leaped into
the saddle, grateful that the stallion still had his tack on.
Tornado snorted, but didn’t complain at the rough treatment he
received as Zorro hurriedly guided him out of the cave and up the steep
incline of the nearest hill. The
wind whistled under the brim of his hat and caused the cape to snap
behind them as they flew along the dusty roads into Los Angeles.
Zorro only hoped that he was not too late.
His head still throbbed, but even that was easing as purpose
overcame physical discomfort. He
rushed into the streets leading into the plaza, only barely
avoiding the stands of peons selling their wares.
He pulled Tornado to quick halt just outside the back gate of the
tavern. Climbing to the
wall, he saw in horror Avila’s sword point at his father’s throat.
He also saw the cuts to his father’s arm and his anger
blossomed dangerously. Quickly
squelching it as counter productive, he took a deep breath and called
out, “Señor!” leaping down from the wall at the same
The fight was fast and furious, but it was quickly
obvious, that while Avila was very good, he just did not have the
ability to control this duel. Zorro
danced this way and that, his saber flashing in a dangerous blur.
The cocky assurance on his opponent’s face had quickly changed
to frustration, as Avila tried continuously to gain an advantage.
Despite the headache, despite the slight nausea that persisted,
despite all of that, Zorro had purpose, deep and abiding purpose.
There were several times when the duel could have officially
ended, but the dark clad man wanted this fighter for money-- this
extortionist to feel the same humiliation that his father had felt.
This would be no fight to the death, only a fight of absolute and
total supremacy. Avila would know exactly who he was fighting when the duel
was finished. During one
such moment, when he had stripped his opponent of his sword, and dumped
the flowerpot on Avila’s head, Zorro smiled brightly.
It was a smile of satisfaction for him, but a cold and deadly one
for the man lying on the ground covered with dirt and half dead flowers.
For a moment, Zorro thought that his father would
refuse to hand Avila his sword, but his authoritarian demand cut through
Father’s anger and the fight resumed.
Finally it was over, his final threat having been given to the
defeated man spluttering in the fountain, honor assuaged on all fronts.
When Garcia and Reyes approached, demanding his surrender, Zorro
was still feeling the euphoria of the occasion.
He smiled and bowed to them, supposedly signaling submission, but
then he snatched his cape, leaped to the carriage, then to the wall and
onto Tornado’s back.
As he dashed out of the pueblo, he felt the
rush of the moment fade, consciousness of the pounding in his head
return and he knew that he needed to get home.
It would not be hard to pretend to have been hurt, thus offering
excuse for not being at the duel.
When his father returned home, his arm bandaged and
a great smile on his face, he found Diego in the sala, a cold
cloth on his forehead. “I
tried to get into the pueblo after Juanita untied me, but the
pain was too much,” Diego explained for anyone nearby to hear.
“I even had trouble staying on my horse’s back.”
When they were alone, Diego smiled slightly, took the fresh cloth that Bernardo held out for him, and said, “I would thank the good sergeant for this wonderful alibi, if my head was not hurting so much.”