Cupid Wears Black
Is the Mountain
Man set of episodes the part of the series that most of us love to hate?
Are these the episodes that we are most likely to miss when they air?
Does Don Carlos annoy you as he does me? Well, let me tell you...
the other thing that annoyed me was the fact that poor Carlotta was left
hanging at the altar, so to speak.
Strange are the paths of true love.... Who would think that someone as sweet as dear Carlotta would want someone as uncouth as Joe Crane to steal kisses from her?
Diego/Zorro, Tornado, Bernardo, Joe Crane, Lobo, and all the other characters in this little story belong to Zorro Productions and/or Disney. I thoroughly enjoyed using them and tried to be very nice to one and all, (except Don Carlos, perhaps.) The only character that was wholly mine was the vaquero and you all can have him. I don't want him back.
Now on to the story!!!
My thanks go to Wendell Vega for this wonderful picture of Zorro, and to Jill Panvini, who enhanced it for me.
stealthy figure slipped furtively from bush to rock to tree. If one blinked, one might miss the spectral apparition, or if
one didn’t blink, then one might think it was a coyote, curious to
check out the human habitation sitting beyond the edge of civilization.
The wraithlike form lingered under the front window of the tiny
house, and when it heard nothing suspicious, it slipped to the doorway,
and almost silently worked the latch loose.
In another instant it was gone.
Suddenly there was a squealing cry of delight from inside, cut
off quickly. “Señor
Joe!” the voice next whispered.
quickly lit a candle and set it in the middle of the table.
Her father rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and pulled a chair
out for their enigmatic visitor.
Joe, what are you doing back here in the pueblo.
You know that Don Carlos has never forgiven you and would like
nothing more than to catch you. You
must leave, por favor,” Carlotta said anxiously.
lass,” Joe Crane said in his broken Spanish.
“You are beautiful when you are worried. But you are the reason I am back. I cannot sleep, eat, trap; why Señorita, I am not
even interested in that frog juice you all call liquor.
I am back to ask you to marry me.”
stepped back a pace and put her hand to her mouth in surprise.
“Señor Joe, you want to marry me?"
ma’am, that’s what I said and that’s what I mean.
You are the woman of my dreams.”
Señor Joe. I do not
know what to say.”
yes,” Joe told her quickly.
she answered without hesitation, then turned to her father.
“Oh, Papá, that is if you approve.”
Carlotta. You have been
mooning around here for three months.
Señor Joe this and Señor Joe that.
If I arranged a marriage with Don Diego de la Vega, you would not
be happy, because I know you love Señor Joe.
Of course, you have my permission.”
Papá,” she cried, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing his
don’t the groom get a bit of huggin,’ squeezin’ and kissin’?”
Joe asked in protest. Promptly
Carlotta jumped up and threw herself into Joe’s arms.
gived-away kisses are every bit as good as the stolen ones, Señorita,”
Joe said with a great smile. “Let’s
go get hitched."
Carlotta asked, unfamiliar with the term.
Tie the knot. Jump the broom. Get
married,” Joe replied.
married. Well, Señor
Joe, I realize that we cannot have a big church wedding, and we must do
this secretly, but I do want to be dressed nicely, and we must take the
time to go see Father Felipe or Father Manuel.
It will be at least two days,” Carlotta explained.
days!” Joe exclaimed. “All
you got to do is say ‘I do’ in front of the preacher and that’s
that. The Indians do it simpler.”
here, they don’t, Señor Joe,” Carlotta said in a voice that
brooked no argument.
one day, Señorita?” he asked, looking hopeful.
perhaps tomorrow evening would be long enough,” Carlotta said with a
knowing smile. “Papá can
go into the pueblo tomorrow and talk to Padre Manuel.
I will have to go to work as usual, although I suspect that by
early afternoon I can easily get a headache, so I can come home and get
ready for our wedding. When
I go to the tavern in the morning, you come back here and clean up.
No one will see you, Señor Joe.”
well, I s’pose so, Señorita,” he acquiesced, rubbing his
chin and squinting up at his intended.
since we are getting married, would you at least call me Señorita
Carlotta, or just Carlotta?”
if you will call me Joe.”
Joe. I will,” she said
and gave him another quick kiss.
Suddenly the howl of a wolf echoed through the little valley, as
the mountain man laid back his head and cried out in celebration.
“Tarnation, Carlotta. That
kiss would make a coyote want to step in a trap and smile doin’ it.
I surely cannot wait to see what a long kiss will do.”
Carlotta just giggled and blushed.
smiled. While this was not
exactly what he had in mind for a son-in-law, he still liked Joe Crane
and felt he would take good care of his daughter.
Besides, Carlotta was fast approaching post eligibility and one
couldn’t be too choosy under those circumstances.
next day, Papá went into town to talk to the padre, also stopping to
buy a few things Carlotta had asked him to pick up for her. Some of the merchants he purchased from were curious and
asked him what the happy occasion was.
In confidence, he told them the joyous news, and within the hour
the whole pueblo had heard about the wedding, including the morose and
taciturn Don Carlos.
that animal thinks he can just prance right back into the area without
any repercussion. He will
soon find out that one does not humiliate me without feeling my
retribution. That insolent Americano
will pay for what he did to me,”
Don Carlos, I can get some information from the cheerful señorita,”
Marcos, the new head vaquero said, as Carlotta moved to the next
Try and see, but however we get the information, I want that dog
in my grasp before tonight.”
few minutes later, the vaquero admitted defeat.
“Well, go and get it from her father.
That seems to be where the news came from in the first place,”
Don Carlos suggested.
very good suggestion, patrón,” Marcos said, turning and
leaving the tavern.
is why I am a landowner and you are a scraper of horse dung,” Don
Carlos muttered at the vaquero’s retreating back.
Leaving a few centavos on the table, the hacendado slowly
got up and walked out of the tavern a few minutes after Marco.
she cleaned up the table, Carlotta looked at the money in surprise.
Don Carlos never left a tip.
It is just another manifestation of a wonderfully beautiful day,
she thought happily.
Señorita,” a voice sounded softly behind her.
Turning, Carlotta looked into the smiling face of Don Diego de la
Vega. “Would it be
permissible for me to attend your wedding, or am I too presumptuous?”
wedding?” she asked, wondering where he had found out that
your wedding. I had been
told that Señor Crane has proposed to you and you have
accepted,” he reiterated his information in a low voice.
“Understandably you are being wed in secret, but since I have a
bit of a liking for the Americano, I thought that perhaps, I
could serve in some capacity. Every
wedding needs well-wishers anyway, Señorita.”
chills began climbing up and down her spine.
If the word had gotten out, then Joe might not be safe anywhere.
“Oh, Don Diego, I am afraid that Papá’s indiscretion may get
Joe killed before there is any wedding.
He is at my house until we go to see Padre Manuel this
I should go out and check on him. I
think he trusts me as much as he trusts anybody around here,” Diego
reassured her, patting her hand.
Don Diego. Please hurry.”
Crane was bathing quietly in the water barrel, not wanting to attract
attention despite assurances from Carlotta that the house was too remote
for anyone to be coming by. But as he was emerging he heard the sound of several horses.
Lobo growled and jumped to his feet.
“Watch,” he commanded the wolf/dog, knowing that Carlotta and
her papa only owned one old horse and a cart, and her papa had taken it
to the pueblo this morning.
Jumping out as fast as he could, he grabbed his long underwear
and had only pulled on the bottoms when the end of a musket was stuck
under his chin. Glancing
out of the corner of his eye, he saw Lobo lunge for his assailant.
The faithful companion never reached his destination, another vaquero’s
musket stock laid the animal out cold.
Joe looked at the sneering man on horseback.
“That’s a lowdown, dirty trick, Don Carlos, catching a man
with his pants down, and then laying into his dog, to boot. You are a
yellow snake, sitting up there on that horse and lettin’ these boys of
yours do your dirty work for you. Why,
you wouldn’t be sneering so much if I had my knife in my hand.” He spat on the ground and growled again.
“I believe I just insulted a snake.”
Carlos pressed his lips tightly together at the slurs, and glared even
harder at the American. “You
will regret ever coming back, you swine.
And you will doubly regret those words.”
Turning to Marcos, he added, “Bind him so he cannot use his
arms, but I want you to leave his legs free.
I want to see how well this animal can run.”
struggled against the vaqueros, but a pistol butt against the
side of his head dazed him enough for them to bind him successfully.
When he had fully come back to his senses, he saw that there was
no chance of escape at the moment.
He was jerked to his feet and the horses were spurred into a slow
gallop. All of his
concentration was focused on staying upright, because he didn’t care
for the alternative at the moment.
His mountain man existence helped him to ignore most of the pain
that shot up from his feet when he stepped on stones and thorns.
However, Joe realized it would be hard to make it all the way to
Don Carlos’ hacienda, if, in fact that was where they were
going. He also knew
that he would rather be slowly eaten by a grizzly bear, than to show
that pompous, pig-headed weasel any weakness.