ZORRO, DR. AVILA, AND TERESA SOTO
COMMENCE .LE RAZ DE MAREE
Selena looked alarmingly at Teresa Soto who stood before
the commandante defiantly, with her hands on her hips. "Teresa,
please do not ...”
Glorioso pointed to Señora de la Vega with his whip.
"Sound advice, Teresa. Now, leave at once before I change my mind
and decide to really teach you a lesson."
Selena de la Vega again implored Teresa to be cautious,
but she felt compelled to speak the truth even though she risked another
depraved assault by Glorioso.
“Teresa, listen to me carefully. Capitán Glorioso is
insane.” Selena heard the commandante sputter angrily but she dared
not stop now. She motioned with a subtle nod of her head for Soto to
gradually make her way to the bedroom door. “Glorioso wants me so
badly he will murder anyone who opposes him. Please leave while you
“No, Señora de la Vega, I will not leave you alone
...” Teresa started to say.
Glorioso yelled curses at both women but hurled his whip
at Soto. The whip struck Teresa directly across her mouth. He quickly
flipped his wrist again and wound the whip around her neck, choking the
"C-can't b-breathe!" Teresa gasped as she
struggled to untangle the leather vise cutting into her flesh. She fell
to her knees as Glorioso dragged her towards him.
Selena, horrified by Glorioso's latest cruelty, rushed
him from behind. She collided with the commandante and the three of them
tumbled into a heap to on the floor. The impact forced him to release
the whip and Teresa managed to untangle the vicious weapon from her
Momentarily stunned, Glorioso did not see Teresa head
for his office door. When he regained his senses, he yelled her name,
but she had already fled.
Stunned by Señora de la Vega’s action, the
commandante rubbed his aching forehead as he stared down at Selena who
lay motionless at his feet. I will publicly thrash Teresa when I
catch her. But Glorioso could not fathom Selena’s concern for a
prostitute. Señora de la Vega you should not trouble yourself with
servants and putas. And like Teresa, you will pay many times over for
your insult. ‘Insane‘? No, my Selena, I am simply a very daring man
who takes whomever and whatever he desires My dear sweet Selena, I will
teach you, one or way or the other, the proper respect and deference I
demand from women. You are mine now in every sense of the word and I
will never return you to your “beloved”’ Diego de la Vega. He
swore silently as he deposited Selena’s limp form on his bed.
Glorioso bounded down the stairs out into the cuartel
yard, roaring commands to his lancers for the arrest of Señora Soto. In
his haste to capture Teresa, he forgot to tie up Selena after he placed
her on his bed. Once he was satisfied that the lancers were hustling to
carry out his orders, he rushed back to his bedroom to check on
How long the capitán stood over Selena de la Vega he
did not know. He knelt beside the bed and felt her wrist for a pulse. It
was weak but steady and her complexion was pasty. By the Virgin, if
Selena is seriously injured or maimed by Teresa Soto’s foolishness, I
will publicly flog her and then hang her in the center of the plaza!
Foul woman! To think I permitted that puta to touch such a highborn lady
as Selena! He muttered more oaths sotto voce. Again, he listened to
her breathing and was glad when Selena began moaning. I should summon
Dr. Avila now and as discreetly as possible. The capitán ran
outside and saw that the newly promoted Corporal Peldar was in charge of
the mid-morning guard duty shift. Glorioso waved to him to come into his
"Sí, mi Capitán?"
"Peldar, quietly very quietly, fetch Dr.
Avila. Tell him nothing but inform the old fool that the matter is
“At once Commandante!” Peldar eagerly replied. If
I continue to do my job well, perhaps the capitán will transfer Garcia
and Reyes to the Arizona colony and I shall be in charge of the all
lancers. The corporal smiled to himself as he sprinted down the main
street of the pueblo toward Dr. Avila’s office. Imagine, me, the
son of péons, a sergeant in the King’s Alta California army!
Glorioso shrugged. Why could he have not been blessed
with at least a dozen lancers with a sense of duty and loyalty such as
Corporal Peldar? Better tend to Señora de la Vega, the devil
take her for slipping and falling like that! Do not worry, he licked
his lips as he brushed the top of her bosom with a practiced hand, you
will soon be well and you shall forever remain mine!
Much to Glorioso’s disgust, Selena whimpered Diego’s
name repeatedly, but the next words utterly surprised him.
“Querido ... my baby... Dieu...” Selena
whispered. “My baby...”
The capitán grinned fiendishly. “So, you are
pregnant! Oh, my dear Selena this alters the situation. I am more
determined than ever to keep you. You shall never see your ‘corazon
Diego‘ alive again. You will soon be a widow and then we can begin our
lives together as the Vizconde and Vizcondessa de Estrada!”
Tornado snorted a warning as Zorro mounted the great
stallion in a side alley across the plaza from the cuartel. “Tornado,
what do you see or smell? Turning around, he saw the Cuartel gate swing
open. The Fox immediately jumped from the saddle and disappeared further
into the alley’s somewhat protective mid-afternoon shadows. Corporal
Peldar leading Dr. Avila into the Cuartel? Madre de Dios! Selena! He
felt his heart turn over at the thought that Glorioso had hurt her
enough to require the good physician’s services. Dios mi, give both
of us strength to help us through this terrible time! I have
already spoken with the alcalde but I better linger a little while
Capitán Glorioso relentlessly paced in his office,
fervently hoping that Señora de la Vega was not seriously injured. If
only she would not be so stubborn. Any woman of noble birth would be
ecstatic to become my wife. With the money I have collected from the
district taxes, bribes and the income from La Casa de Hospitalidad, I
can retire to Madrid and live on the interest. And the de Estradas are
long time friends of His Majesty Ferdinand VII. The king will soon favor
our family again with royal patents and commissions. With such a
beautiful -- extremely wealthy --descendant of the Grandees as my new
wife, my social position in the Spanish Court would be unassailable. Who
knows what offices, titles and loyalties could be purchased for the
The Vizconde de Estrada lit up a long puro cubano
and blew out circles of blue smoke into the air. Ay yi! Doctors, he
muttered derisively, doctors are for women and children, not for men
such as myself. He derisively mused as stabbed the air with more
staccato puffs of cigar smoke.
Dr. Avila opened the door to Glorioso’s private
quarters and angrily dropped his medical bag on the capitán’s desk.
He frowned heavily at the Commandante before speaking.
“Capitán, I have seen many cruelties and dealt with
all sorts of brutes in my time and I will no longer keep silent! I shall
inform Don Diego de la Vega immediately that you have assaulted his
wife.” Dr. Avila said thoroughly outraged. “ Now out of my way!”
But Glorioso was thirty years younger than Avila and
before the physician could shut his medical bag, the six foot tall,
well-muscled commandante had his hands around Avila’s throat.
“If you so much as think about going to de la Vega
with any news about my attacking his wife I shall kill her and you!
Dr. Avila nodded as much as he was able since the
pressure on his neck did not relax at all. Glorioso released him but
kept one hand on the physician’s shoulder as he escorted the elderly
man from his office. When the capitán opened his door he saw that
Peldar had obeyed his orders to the letter, for the only lancers in
sight were guarding the cuartel’s gates.
“Corporal Peldar!” the capitán said tersely,
pushing the physician next to the lancer, “Dr. Avila is ready to leave
now -- and -- he will not be returning!” He nodded wordlessly at
The ultra loyal Peldar snapped to attention. “Sí, the
commandante’s wish is my command! Dr. Avila, come with me now!”
Somehow Dr. Avila kept his balance after being shoved
through the Cuartel gate. He brushed off his chaqueta where
Glorioso had grasped his shoulder in a vain attempt to remove the
Commandante’s touch from his memory. Preoccupied as he was, Señor
Avila was surprised to see his office door ajar as he was about to use
“Buenos tardes, Señor Médico. Please come inside.”
The Fox welcomed the doctor from his comfortable perch on Avila’s
windowsill. “Your pardon, señor for this intrusion.”
“Dr. Avila, can you tell me, por favor, how badly
injured Señora de la Vega is?” Zorro saw the hesitation distorting
the physician’s face before the physician turned away.
“The capitán threatened you --?” he began to ask.
“Never mind what that raton told me! She has a
moderate concussion, Señor Fox. However given the little time I was
allowed to examine her ... we all are aware of the Commandante’s
cruel treatment of women.” Dr. Avila coughed nervously. “However, I
am positive he...” the physician deliberately left his thought
Zorro struggled to keep his face neutral but averted his
eyes for the pain burning within them would surely have given away his
secret identity. BY THE VIRGIN! THE SWINE! “But she will
...recover fully?“ he inquired after settling his emotions and
wholeheartedly praying the médico would not notice the desperation in
Dr. Avila stepped toward the Fox. “El Zorro you can
not possibly blame yourself for Capitán Glorioso’s barbaric
actions. I shall not allow you to assume the burden of that man’s
crimes when you have to deal with fighting tyranny and concealing your
real identity. Please inform Don Diego that indeed she and their child
shall be fine. If you can, Señor Fox, free the señora as soon as
possible! Glorioso is a vicious animal who must be stopped.”
“Gracias, Dr. Avila,” Zorro whispered.
“Uno momento, Señor Fox. Would you tell an old man
like myself why such a dashing young caballero as yourself
has deliberately chosen to become an outlaw? Why you would deny
yourself a wife, a family and accept this lonely way of life? I would
really like to know.”
Astounded by his acute perception Zorro turned to face
his father’s long time friend. “Sí, I will answer your question, Señor.
I decided to fight injustice for exactly the same reasons that you did
in choosing to become a doctor. The people needed help and there was no
one else to help protect them from evil men such as Monastario, Galindo,
Ortega, the Eagle and now Glorioso. You combat disease to aid mankind. I
fight unfairness and inequity so that people can live in freedom. Our
jobs are the same, Dr. Avila. Neither one of us was coerced into our
present duty. We both saw a real void that needed to be fulfilled so we
acted. Sí, our lives are lonely but do we not owe our fellow man help
when he is ill or enslaved?”
Dr. Avila did not expect to find such wisdom in a young caballero.
“You are correct, El Zorro. Now vaya con dios and do not forget
to pass along the information regarding Señora de la Vega.”
“I shall. And gracias, Dr. Avila for your time and
your courtesy,” Zorro saluted him.
The médico watched the Masked Avenger with a mixture of
admiration and anxiety for the young hero as the Fox plunged through his
office’s back window and moved with graceful ease from shadow to
El Zorro led Tornado back towards the safety of the
Church of the Blessed Sacrament where he knew the good friars had
prepared some hot food for Dons Alfredo, Alejandro and Cornelio’s
vaqueros. As he approached the church the warm aromas of tortillas, hot
chocolate and other wonderful foods caressed his nostrils. By
Santiago I am quite famished.
Zorro was wrenched from his pleasant thoughts of a hot
meal by the sound of a woman crying. He nudged Tornado closer to the
Posada. It was Señora Teresa Soto and she was sobbing bitterly. The
small and lithe figure in a white blouse rushed toward La Casa de
Hospitalidad, opened the Posada’s door and slammed it behind her.
“Tornado, my friend, I momentarily forgot Selena and
I are not the only ones suffering as a result of Glorioso’s madness.”
Zorro’s eyes misted again at the depth of Señora Soto ‘s
despair. True, she was a prostitute, but she was also a human being and
a child of God. In good conscience he could not sit idle and watch her
emotional breakdown. He and the great stallion carefully darted among
the sparse shadows behind the Posada until the Fox discovered Teresa’s
room. Between the slamming of doors and her anguished crying, her
quarters were not difficult to find. Lady Fortune was still favoring him
as her window was open. He found a stepladder propped against the wall
and in seconds Zorro lithely climbed on her windowsill.
“I will have my revenge on you Commandante! I will, do
you hear, I WILL!” Señora Soto sobbed all the way back upstairs to
her room. Teresa threw herself onto the bed, promising all the saints in
Heaven she would make novenas to each and every one if only they would
implore her Savior to strike down Glorioso. She remained oblivious to El
Zorro, who had climbed up to her room and was now perched on her
windowsill until the Fox’s pleasant baritone floated through the room.
“Señora Teresa Soto, it is I, El Zorro.” he said
softly in between her sobs, “What can I do to help you?”
“W--what? Who? Señor Zorro! W-hat are you
“Simple. I heard a lady crying and being a caballero,
I felt that it was my duty to offer any assistance I could.” He pushed
himself down to the floor. “It appears that you and I have a common
enemy, Commandante Glorioso.”
“Bastardo!” She bitterly exclaimed
“Murderer! He killed my Carlita, Señor Zorro! Oh, sí, she jumped
from her room to the stable yard below, but he was going to--” Teresa
threw herself into Zorro’s arms, almost knocking him down.
The Fox responded by embracing her and allowed Teresa to
continue crying a little while longer, then he then gently helped her to
“I apologize, Señor Zorro.”
“Most unnecessary Señora Soto. It must be terrible to
lose one’s child!”
“Gracias. Oh, El Zorro! You must rescue Señora de la
Vega. Glorioso is a brute! Why, I heard sounds of a struggle inside the
Commandante’s office. Then Corporal Peldar fetched Dr. Avila. I know
that Glorioso has seriously harmed her!”
The Fox nodded weakly, “I am aware of the Señora de
la Vega’s injuries.” Somehow he mastered his rage and asked her
“Will you help me, Teresa, to destroy the Commandante?”
She met his direct gaze. “Sí!”
END OF THIRTY-EIGHT