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Friday, March 8, 2013

ZOMBIES: Excerpt from 'The Cruel Fate of Dr. Brewster McGill'

by Bowie Ibarra

The following passages are from the story, 'The Cruel Fate of Dr. Brewster McGill' that will be available soon on in Kindle and paperback.


      In the year of our Lord, 1855

Eagle Pass, a trading post on the border of the New Republic of Texas

“And now, ladies and gentlemen, I, The Great Valdar, will wield power from beyond our world to perform my greatest feat.  It’s a piece of sorcery that will forever curse my soul to eternal damnation by our dear Christian God, forbidding my soul from ever setting foot in the Land of Milk and Honey.  Leave now, my friends, if you don’t want to be a part of this bittersweet piece of cruel blasphemy.  For I, The Great Valdar, am about to raise the dead!”

The captivated crowd gasped in awe as the mustachioed magician made a flourish with his purple-lined cape, walking back to his box that sat on a stool at the center right side of the stage.  The members of the audience had all paid a nickel to see the diabolical magic he promised to wield that had been promoted on sandwich boards around town.  The large bar was roomy.  A cool breeze whipped up every so often from the mouth of the cantina, providing relief from the warm south Texas air.

The Eagle Pass crowd immediately became agitated as they watched The Great Valdar prepare his dark sorcery.  The Eagle Pass crowd immediately became agitated at the sight of The Great Valdar preparing his dark sorcery.  Agitated voices began to dance around the wooden walls of El Gallo Loco Cantina #3, located just a short stroll away from the Rio Grande.  Perturbed whispers of distress and fear sang a song of paranoia in English and Spanish.  Whores gripped the arms of their johns.  Small children held themselves close to their mothers.  One man took a sip from his beer, snorting skeptically.

Suspicion laced the words of two men seated in the back of the dusty cantina.  They sat at a wooden round table, dirty from a full day of use without cleaning.  Two glasses laced with the remnants of L’Amour Whiskey stood beside the bottle of the fine Austin beverage.

“Is this guy playin’ aroun’, Jesus?” asked one man with a strong Texas accent.  When he pronounced Jesus’ name in Spanish, the only way he’d ever heard it said, it sounded more like ‘Hay-zeus’.

Yo no sé, Señor Johnson,” came the reply from under the flat-rimmed black hat.  Tiny orbs of fabric dangled fashionably around the rim.  Creo que no.”

“I don’t think so, either, Jesus,” said Johnson, blowing a puff of smoke out of his mouth he had inhaled out of a thick cigar.  “But ah reckon we’ll see wut this cabron kin do.  He ain’t shown too much jist yet.”

The Great Valdar returned to the downstage center position.  He held aloft a shrouded object with an aloof air.  He raised an eyebrow theatrically under his red turban, flashing a crooked smile between the whiskers of his well-kept goatee.

“In my hand is the most dangerous, most powerful, and most un-Christian thing you will ever see in your life, ladies and gentlemen.  It is the very thing that is going to raise the dead before your very eyes tonight.”

A general rush of whispers and light chatter filled the room yet again in Spanish and English.  Then a collective gasp took a massive amount of air out of the room temporarily as The Great Valdar unveiled the hidden object in his hand.

      Throwing off the red silk cover, The Great Valdar held a large multi-colored and finely crafted jewel aloft.  He slowly displayed it to the audience, who gazed at it with hypnotic fascination.

      Mr. Johnson turned to Jesus.  He raised his eyebrows, nodding.

      “This, ladies and gentlemen, is The Eye of Mictlantecuhtli.  I found this pagan relic while exploring a still-hidden ancient Aztec temple in the sweltering jungles of the Yucatan.  With it was a mysterious Aztec codex, the Mictlantecuhtli Codex I call it, that held the secrets of raising the dead.”

      “Is that right?” whispered Mr. Johnson, drawn in.  He inhaled the tobacco smoke from the cigar again, letting the smoke waft out of his nose.  Jesus took another shot of whiskey.

      The Great Valdar took on a melodramatic pose, holding the jewel by his face and running his hand by the jewel.  His fingers seemed to dance across the jewel as they passed.  Light passed through the beautiful prize and painted his face with the puzzlingly unnatural colors of the magical object.  He continued with his dramatic flare and inflection.

            “I found an old shaman in the mountains of Monterrey, Mexico, who was a descendent of the Aztecs who could decipher the codex.  He didn’t want to help, scared of the curse that might be unleashed on the world.  But I know the Mexican weakness for gold and silver, and it took only a few pieces of eight to convince him to help.”

Jesus turned to Mr. Johnson and grinned.

Valdar then said, “The shaman translated the pictograph into the native language of the Aztecs.  I wrote down what he said, verbatim.  He then added an additional spell in Spanish that would supplement the Aztec spell.  He told me yet again it was dangerous to learn the spell and use it.  But I simply passed him some silver.  He taught me.”

The audience chuckled.  An audience member shouted “¡Mira que cabron este!”

Then, The Great Valdar said, “I then showed the man The Eye.  All he said was, ‘El Ojo.  El Ojo.’  Then he ran away.  I never saw him again.  And now, I will show you its power.  The very same power from the past that the Aztec clerics used.  The same power that made a descendent of the Aztecs run away in fear. 

Valdar’s voice rose to a crescendo.  “Tonight, you will see the power of The Eye of Mictlantecuhtli.  Señorita Brenda,” he shouted, “Bring in the dead man that will rise today!”

The crowd fell into yet another round of jibber-jabber.  ‘A dead man?’ they whispered.  Mr. Johnson turned to Jesus.  Jesus just shrugged.

The Great Valdar’s assistant, the lovely Mexican woman, who was dubbed Señorita Brenda, wheeled out a  pine-box coffin that appeared to have been recently dug up.  Little chunks of dirt and grass tumbled onto the stage as she propped the closed coffin up at an angle.  The stench of the contents quickly proved to everyone there was truly a dead body in the box.

“This, ladies and gentlemen, is a coffin from a grave on the edge of town.  Inside is a body just a few months old.  Señorita Brenda,” he said with a flourish, “open the coffin.”

Señorita Brenda took out a crowbar.  She jammed the iron under the lid and started to jimmy the coffin open.  The muscles under her tanned-brown skin and fishnet-laced legs rippled as she jimmied the sections of the lid loose.  When she had maneuvered the cover loose, she stepped away.  Her red heels clicked across the wooden stage as she raised her hands in a manner to present the rotted contents of the coffin.  She flashed a smile that was a bizarre contrast to the upcoming gruesome revelation.

“And now,” said Valdar with yet another flourish, “welcome our deceased friend back from the grave.”

The Great Valdar flung open the coffin.  The crowd gasped as the corpse on the inside was revealed.  Its arms were folded across its chest.  Its skin was rotted and gray.  Its stiff legs seemed ready to buckle under the weight of its remains.  People began speculating on the identity of the dead person as The Great Valdar spoke.

Mr. Johnson poured himself another shot of L’Amour Whiskey, then took the shot.  He was excited at the prospect of seeing an event of supernatural proportions.

“Tonight, for a brief moment, I will bring life back to this poor soul before returning it to the dark world of death.  You will be witnesses.”

Señorita Brenda placed a stool in front of the coffin.  On the stool stood a small carved pedestal.  Valdar placed The Eye on the custom pedestal and stepped away.

“I need silence from the room,” he said melodramatically.  “Señora Brenda,  bring me the Mictlanteuhtli Codex!”

Señorita Brenda walked up to him with a book, her heels clicking with every step.  It was large, but not thick with pages.  It was elaborately bound with leather and gilded trim.  “This is the book containing the ancient spell,” he said, holding it aloft.  “It is the written translation of the words the shaman gave me, the words of the Mictlanteuhtli Codex.  It is supplemented with a spell from an alleged Mexican Book of the Dead.”

The crowd gasped and whispered again, ‘Book of the Dead?’ they muttered.

The Great Valdar raised an eyebrow, then said, “I will once again need silence to cast the spell with precision…”  He then paused dramatically.  “… or else he will be doomed to walk this earth forever.”

The crowd once again fell into a series of frightened murmurs followed by a series of ‘shushes’ before Valdar shouted “Silence!”  The audience responded, gazing at Valdar, waiting with bated breath to see if his claim were true.

Valdar bowed his head.  He took a deep breath in, then slowly exhaled.  A small child in the front row did the same, mesmerized by the act.

He then began to chant in the long-lost language.  The words were completely indecipherable to the locals.  Most of them had a general grasp of their native languages.  Their own writing skills were adequate at best.  Their faith and knowledge of the Bible was first and foremost on their minds.  They all knew they were watching something completely forbidden by their faith.  They stayed anyway, in spite of the earful they would get if their family pastor or priest found out about their misadventure.

But now, The Great Valdar was their priest, a shaman, channeling an ancient Aztec cleric whose words had not burst through the air for centuries, falling on the ears of the descendants whose relatives might have had a hand in their final annihilation.  They were the same descendants who had paid a nickel to be a part of the pagan congregation, the ritual.

Valdar repeated the chant.  Louder.  With deeper meaning.

All eyes were on the cadaver.  The dust of the dead lingered on its clothes, unlikely parts of the spectacle.

Mr. Johnson looked at Jesus.  Jesus just shook his head.

Then, The Great Valdar added the supplemental Spanish spell.  His fervor drew beads of sweat around his forehead just under his turban.

Every eye was still focused on the dead body.  Even the lovely Señorita Brenda was watching with curious fascination, as if she had never watched Valdar cast the spell before.  They were both all show business.

Then it happened.

It started with a twitch of the left hand.  The left index finger, to be exact.  The movement brought a gasp from the crowd, followed by ‘shushes’.  They focused in again.  Valdar was chanting both spells now.  The Eye began to shimmer, subtly at first, then very distinctly.

The corpse’s legs twitched, bringing dust to life with a puff.  Then again, bringing another gasp from the crowd.

Then with a sharp inhale, the corpse opened its eyes.  Its mouth opened, drawing in a strained breath.  It coughed.  Dust flew from its mouth.  The breathing was troubled, as if there was issue with its lungs.

But one thing was for sure:  the dead corpse had risen.

The crowd broke into cries of terror and shouts for Christian mercy in English and Spanish.  Bedlam fell on El Gallo Loco #3.  Even Mr. Johnson and Jesus were stunned.

Ay, carancho!” shouted Jesus.

“I’ll be goddamed,” whispered Mr. Johnson.  “It’s moving.”

“Eets alive, Señor,” said Jesus.  “¡Santa Maria!” he exclaimed, making the sign of the cross.

“Silence!” shouted Valdar.  “Silence, now, or this ungodly abomination will be stuck in our world forever.”

The crowd shushed itself back into silence, watching the cadaver try to focus on the crowd with hampered vision.  The sad way it was trying to figure out where it was sent shivers down the spines of the audience.

“Is this real?” asked Mr. Johnson in disbelief.

Sí, Señor,” said Jesus, flabbergasted.

“I will now command the ghoul to bend to my will before I send it back to the spirit world where it arrived from.  I need silence,” commanded Valdar.

The crowd obeyed and watched.

“Foul devil spawn,” shouted Valdar, holding his hands up in the air, ever the wild-west sorcerer.  “ You are under the spell of The Eye of Mictlanteuhtli, and under my command.  Speak now if you can hear me.”

The awakened ghoul moved its head before making a gurgling vocalization that brought another cry of terror from the audience.

“Silence,” shouted Valdar, turning back to the ghoul.  He gave the audience a moment to recover before delivering another command.  “Lift your right arm up in the air.”

It was a simple command.  One that Valdar seemed assured it would perform.  The act would be so simple, yet so effective in illustrating the revived ghoul’s new life.  The living dead creature accepting and performing the command would be enough to show the power of The Eye.

The ghoul looked down at its right arm, as if taking a moment to recall the fact it could actually perform the feat.

Then, to the amazement of the crowd, the ghoul raised the arm.

The audience applauded in shocked appreciation.

“Ya’ know what we could do to our business with somethin’ like that?” asked Mr. Johnson.

Jesus just nodded.

“We could do some thangs with that there Eye.”

Jesus just nodded.

Mr. Johnson poured out two more shots, one for Jesus and himself.  “Here’s to tha Eye of Mictaint-whatever tha hell,” he said, raising his glass.  “Tonight, that lil’ piece of magic will be mine.”


[] [] []


            “We made a dollar and fifteen cents tonight,” said The Great Valdar with excitement.  He sat before a table lined with silver coins and silver certificates in their tent near the Rio Grande.  The river continued to flow below as it had for centuries, carving itself into the walls of earth. 

Valdar smiled as Brenda walked up behind him.  She placed her hands on his shoulders.  “We’re going to make it, Brenda,” he whispered as her soft hands touched his skin.  “This will bring us to just over seventy dollars.

“I knew this time would come,” she said in a heavy Mexican accent.  “We can finally build a home and start our family.”

The Great Valdar rose from his seat.  He took Brenda in a warm embrace.  “I love you, Brenda,” he said, kissing her lips.  Brenda returned the kiss with equal affection.  The fire of their love was lit, and was about to burn hot under the cool light of the moon.

It wasn’t hard to find the campsite of The Great Valdar on the outskirts of Eagle Pass.  He had cordoned off an area for his carriage, horses, and tent.  The carriage was clearly marked with an artistic sign that read, “The Great Valdar, with The Lovely Señorita Brenda”.  The arrogance of his celebrity left him completely vulnerable.  It was a fact that was not lost on Mr. Johnson and Jesus.  They crept up to the tent.  The sound of vigorous rutting danced in their ears.

            “This is gonna be so easy,” whispered Jesus.  They infiltrated the tent.

            “I hope ya’ll ‘ill forgive us fer walkin’ in on ya’ll mid-poke,” said Mr. Johnson, guns drawn along with Jesus, who held both of his.  “But ya have somethin’ that yer gonna give ta’ me tonight.”

            Jesus held the cold iron of his two pistols directly on the warm flesh of The Great Valdar’s back.  He was flat on top of The Lovely Señorita Brenda, in full missionary mode, when Mr. Johnson and Jesus walked in on them.

            “What in God’s name is this?” protested The Great Valdar, meekly.

            Cayete lo sico, cabron,” growled Jesus, telling them very rudely to be quiet.

            “Forgive mah Mexican friend here fer bein’ short with ya’ll.  We’re just here on business.”

            “Let me up and I’ll help you,” offered Valdar.

            No te mueves, cabron,” snarled Jesus, jamming the guns into Valdar’s back, pushing him back down on Señorita Brenda.  Valdar groaned in pain, lacing the vocalization with fear like a small dog that had been kicked by a cruel owner.

            “Okay, okay,” groaned Valdar.  “Just… please don’t hurt us.”

            “All in good time, Valdar.  All in good time,” said Johnson, replacing his guns in their holsters.  “Now, I know yer name’s ain’t Valdar.  Whut is it?”

            “Billy Bob.  Billy Bob Hickman.”

            “Nice to meet you, Billy Bob.  My name’s Zibeon Johnson.  This here is my friend Jesus,” he said, indicating the cruel gunman scowling at the couple.  Zibeon removed his hat and placed it over his heart.  “We really enjoyed yer show tonight, Mr. Hickman,” said Zibeon with sincerity.  “We ‘preciate ‘cha bringin’ such fine innertainment to our border community.”

Billy Bob shivered.  “Thank you.”

Zibeon replaced his hat on his head.  “So, where ya’ from, Billy Bob Hickman?  Doesn’t sound like yer from these parts.”

            “Austin.  We’re from Austin.”

            “Austin, huh?” he said, leaning down near Valdar and Señorita Brenda’s faces.  “Weird folk up ‘ere in Austin, I reckon.  Well, if ya ever wanna git back ta good ol’ Austin, swim in that big ol’ Colorada River, you do what I say, ah’right?”

            “Alright,” Billy Bob groaned.  Señorita Brenda was already whimpering in fear.

            Billy Bob looked at Brenda, putting his finger to his lips.  “Shhh.”

            Zibeon frowned.  “Ya might wanna tell yer friend ta stop her belly-achin’.  Jesus here, he don’t like no belly-achin’.”

            Billy Bob looked Brenda in the eyes.  He could smell her fear.  He wiped away her tears with his thumbs, gently kissing her on the head.  “It’s going to be okay, sweetheart,” he whispered, trying to calm her.  “We’ll be fine.”

            Brenda looked into Billy Bob’s eyes.  She had known him long enough and well enough to know when he was lying.

“Now, tell me where that Eye is,” demanded Zibeon.

            Billy Bob hesitated.  Jesus pulled the hammers back on the large pistols he held steady on the magician’s back.

            ¡Díganos!” shouted Brenda, scared.

            “¡Sí!  Dígalo gringo baboso,” growled Jesus.

            “Okay, okay,” said Billy Bob, folding to the pressure to reveal the location.  “It’s in that box over there,” he said, indicating a box clearly marked, ‘The Eye of Mictlantecuhtli.’

            Zibeon walked to the box.  He reached down for it, then stopped.  It was too easy.

            He turned back to Billy Bob, skinning one of his lightning sticks.

            “Now, Billy boy,” he said, pointing his piece at Billy Bob, “I wan‘cha ta tell me where The Eye really is.”

            Billy Bob hesitated again.  So Zibeon discharged his weapon, sending a bullet just above Billy Bob’s head.  Billy Bob and Señorita Brenda screamed in terror.

            “Now, Billy Bob.  I’m gonna ask ya’ again.  An’ I wan’cha to tell me tha truth, or I’m gonna plug the hussy.  Compren-day?”

            “Under the cot,” said Billy Bob quickly.  “It’s under the cot.”

            Keeping the gun trained on Billy Bob, Zibeon leaned down to lift the blanket that was concealing not only the location of The Eye, but the naked magician and his assistant.  Zibeon glanced at Señorita Brenda’s naked body still smushed up against Billy Bob and poked her warm breast with the cold barrel of the pistol.  It was arousing, but he was more excited by the power he was soon going to wield with The Eye.

            Then, he saw it.  A black velvet bag was nestled up to the custom pedestal from the show.  The book with the spells stood under the items.

            Zibeon reholstered his sidearm and reached for the bag.  He lifted the bag upside down, dumping the large jewel into his hand.  It’s irregular colors caught minimal light from the lantern in the tent, sending small rays of color to his face.

            “It’s beautiful,” whispered Zibeon.  The rays of color emanating from the jewel were hypnotizing.

            “One of a kind,” said Billy Bob.

A necklace fell out of the bag.  Zibeon picked it up, asking, “What’s this?”

“The Heart of Mictlantecuhtli,” said Billy Bob.  “It controls the power of The Eye.  You need them both for its magic to work.”

“Handy,” said Zibeon, putting both items back in the bag.

            “But you won’t get away with this,” claimed Billy Bob, impotently.  “You won’t.”

            Zibeon picked up the spell book that was also nearby, then stood up.  “Considerin’ tha circumstance, I think we will.”

            “What do you mean?” asked Billy Bob.  “You mean to kill us?”

            “I ain’t gonna kill ya’, Billy boy,” said Zibeon, indicating his partner.  “Jesus, on tha other hand, is goin’ to,” he said, crouching down beside the two.  “See, Jesus here, he don’t like no gringos.  Especially ones that try ‘ta trick him.”

            “No.  No,” pleaded Billy Bob.

            “And he ‘specially don’t like no gringos who say they’re gonna report this… business deal… to the sheriff.  Compren-day?”

            “Please,” pleaded Billy Bob as Miss Brenda began to whimper again.  “You can’t do this.”

            Zibeon tipped his straw hat.  “Much obliged, Valdar.”

Turning around, Zibeon saw the table covered with silver and silver certificates.  “Hello,” he said before smiling.  “Well, then,” he said, refilling the leather bag by the table that the money had been placed in, taking it with him and saying, “I promise we’ll put this ta good use fer ya.”  Zibeon then walked out of the tent, leaving them at the mercy of Jesus.

            Por el infierno, cabrones,” growled Jesus as he pulled the trigger to both of the large pistols.

            The two bullets were slapped to life, flying down the long black barrel of their iron death dealer.  Hot flame licked Billy Bob’s back before busting the flesh open with cruel efficiency.  The two rounds raced right through his body, punching through his heart and a lung, popping out his chest and forcing their way through Señorita Brenda’s chest.  The thick mass of her breasts were ripped open as the bullets drove directly through her heart and a lung, passing through her back.  The bullets ripped a hole through the canvas cot.  They found a home in the dark brown and grassy ground, where the warm blood cooled the hot lead.

            The right bullet won the race.  Its reward was the stream of blood that flowed out of Billy Bob onto Señorita Brenda.  One of his exit wounds fell directly over Señorita Brenda’s.  Billy Bob’s blood poured out of his body and into hers, falling all the way through to the ground.  A stream of blood poured from that particular wound onto the ground below, even more so than the other exit wound.

            Jesus walked out of the tent, leaving Billy Bob lying on top of Señorita Brenda, a picture of death that would make the devil smile.


[]  []  []


“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the one and only cure-all elixir you and your family will ever need.”

The confident pronouncement from the old British dandy held the settlers of El Encino in the palm of his hand.  His educated air, sophisticated Victorian dress sentence, and seemingly sincere pronouncements held them on every word.  Even the smiling Mexican assistant in farmer’s white pants, long sleeved white shirt, and brown sandals held the audience’s attention.  The colorful zarape he held across his shoulder might have been one of the reasons their eyes were always drawn to him.

The crowd stood below his cart.  A sign was displayed across the front, near the wheels.  It read, ‘The Wonderful Dr. McGill’s Medicine Wagon.’

“Today is the only day you will have a chance to purchase this fine product,” continued Dr. McGill, planting the seeds of a sale in the minds of the crowd.

“What’s it made of?” shouted someone from the audience.

“I’m so glad you asked that question, my good man,” said Dr. McGill, talking to no one in particular.  He moved to a stack of picture boards on a wooden stand.  He reached for a wooden pointer and removed the first picture board.  It revealed a large map with the known world.  Dr. McGill gripped the slender pointer and began his promotional piece.

“My friend here… I say, sir, what is your name?”  He pointed at the man he thought made the comment with his wooden pointer.  That man pointed at the person who actually asked the question.

“Jed,” the man replied.  Jed was short.  His pants were held up by brown suspenders.

“My friend, Jed, asked me what the elixir is made of.  Well, I’ll tell you, Jed.”

Dr. McGill paused for impact with the skill of a theatre artist.  The crowd stared with intense curiosity.  Just what could this elixir have that the town apothecary didn’t have?

“Snake oil!” he pronounced, holding up a finger in a metaphorical exclamation point.  “The active ingredient in Dr. McGill’s Life Elixir is snake oil.  Now, its not made from just any Texas rattlesnake.  No.  We are talking the giant, deadly, man-eating python of the jungles of Siam.”  He pointed on the map to Siam.

The crowd of locals just nodded their head, fascinated that there was a world so far away.

“I have an exclusive contract with the Maharajah Pankot Singh for the skins of these fearsome creatures.  These skins have had healing properties for centuries.  In my journey to the savage land to procure the contract, I discovered the secret and bring it here to you now.”

The crowd broke into murmurs of curiosity and interest as Dr. McGill continued.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to have your very own bottle of Life Elixir for…”

“What does it cure?” came another voice.

Perturbed, but not discouraged, the doctor continued smiling.  He turned to his assistant, saying, “Good heavens, Isidro.  We have quite the enthusiastic crowd today.  I predict nothing but greatness from this fledgling township.”

The doctor then turned back to the crowd.  Using the wooden pointer, he indicated the man who asked the question.  “What is your name, good sir?”

“Jubel.”  A mop of blonde hair flared out from under a dirty derby hat.

“Well, Jubel, old chap, you will not believe the things it cures,” he said with a smile as he fell into a short list.  “Why, Dr. McGill’s Life Elixir is an effective remedy against gout, baldness, diarrhea, lady’s monthlies, cold, cough, sneezing, joint pain, rheumatism, bad breath, snake bite, consumption, TB, plague, leprosy, fever, mumps, measles, among other things.  And gentlemen,” he said, winking, “it is even good for those special moments that you get to share with your wife.”

“Whuda ‘bout pimples?” came a young voice.

“Yes,” came the reply.

“Sun burn?”



The doctor grinned.  As much as the ignorance of the redneck yokels annoyed him, he never showed it.  “While it won’t eradicate… boogers… from your nose, it will relieve a runny nose if that’s what you mean.”

The crowd broke into a smattering of chatter as the doctor continued.

“My dear assistant Isidro here can attest to the efficacy of the Life Elixir.  Isidro, old bean, tell them of your experience with my Life Elixir.”

Isidro humbly stepped forward, taking center stage with rehearsed confidence.  He spoke with a very heavy Mexican accent.

“De e-Life Elixir ees very good.  Eet help my yoint pain, and helped me smart.  When I learn English, it help.”

Then Isidro recited the same bit of information with eloquence in Spanish for the Mexicans and Tejanos in the crowd.

“¿Cuánto cuesta?” came a voice.

Isidro smiled at Dr. McGill.

“Yeah,” came another voice.  “How much for a bottle?”

Dr. McGill didn’t know a lot of Spanish.  But like the savvy businessman he was, he knew enough to know when someone was asking how much his product cost.

“This bottle goes for 25 cents, American, in India.  30 pence in my home country.  But in honor of this fine new Republic of Texas that you brilliant lot have put together with the grit of your hearts, the sweat of your brow, and the wisdom of this land, you can get this bottle for yourselves and family for only 10 cents.”

The crowd immediately ‘oooh-ed’, and began shuffling in their purses and pockets for change.

“Buy one at the regular price, get another of the same size for five cents more,” shouted Dr. McGill over the cacophony of eager customers.

For the next twenty minutes, Brewster and Isidro sold bottles and bottles of the elixir to the smiling and eager crowd.  As the crowd became smaller, a man in black approached.  His white collar clearly identified him as a man of the cloth.

“Dr. McGill, may I speak with you?” asked the priest.

“I can give you a discount and let you have two bottles for five cents a piece.  How many would you like, vicar?”

The priest smiled benevolently.  His thin lips spread across his deep brown face under his black hair.  “My concern is outside of business, doctor.”

McGill turned to Isidro to make sure he could handle the remaining customer’s orders.  When it was clear he could, the doctor stepped off the cart to speak with the kind priest.

“Doctor, my name is Father Ugalde.  I welcome you to the Republic of Texas.”

“It’s an honor, vicar,” replied Dr. McGill.  He glanced at Father Ugalde, catching his eye.  A twinge of guilt smacked McGill’s heart as he casually looked away.  He gulped.  He couldn’t figure out what the holy man was after.  And he certainly didn’t want him to spoil his business.

They walked a short distance away from the crowd when the priest stopped.  Then, Father Ugalde spoke with angelic gentleness.

“I’m concerned that you might be fooling my flock, doctor.”

McGill scoffed.  “Whatever do you mean?” replied McGill with the precision of  a master salesman.

“In my travels sharing the work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I have become familiar with those who… share information about health products they have to offer.  Those people were of an unscrupulous nature.  You wouldn’t be of unscrupulous nature, would you, Dr. McGill?”

“Vicar,” said Dr. McGill with pride, finding the proper direction to redirect the conversation.  “My work is to help my fellow man with all my heart.  And though your Pope might have issue with my most holy Church of England, rest assured my work and the work of my dear Isidro is done for the Glory of God on high.”

“Hallelujah, doctor,” said Father Ugalde.

“God be praised always, father,” said the doctor, handing the priest a silver piece.  “Use it as needed, father,” he said with a wink.

Walking back to the cart, the doctor helped Isidro finish the sales.

Father Ugalde sighed, watching the doctor walk back.  “God save this man,” he whispered before walking back to his church.


[]  []  []

'The Cruel Fate of Brewster McGill' is now available in Kindle and Paperback from  Connect with at the Official Facebook group or follow the author on his Twitter account @wingback20 for exclusive news and videos on the story's release.

For more networking opportunities and to explore the books, check out the official website at


BOWIE IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Shuster.  His books themes revolve around zombies, action/adventure, the supernatural, and combat sports.  Check them out at


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