TITLE: Sergeant Garcia: The Dumbest Man In Los Angeles?
AUTHOR: icyfire
DISCLAIMER: I don't own them. I don't make money off them. I
simply earn pleasure writing about them.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: One of only two Disney fics that I have written.
FAM is my favorite, but I admit to loving Guy Williams' grin.

Thanks to the GWFriendsList for the conversation that sparked this
idea.

***


It was another night of patrol for him. The young ones were off
celebrating the fact it was not their assignment, but he was
content. He enjoyed it, and often volunteered for night patrol.
However, he understood the others' feelings, although he suspected
they would not understand his. When he had been their age, he had
hated night-sentry duty. For most people, including soldiers, the
falling of the sun signaled a time for gambling, talking,
drinking--usually at the tavern--and flirting. He remembered well
the many ladies he had flirted with as a young man. Works of
beauty they had been.

Now, he was an old man. Night meant something different to him.
Oh, he would still gamble, talk, drink, and flirt, but he often
enjoyed the silence of the day's end more than anything. While
guarding the walls of Los Angeles, with only himself as company,
he could reflect upon recent events and dream of days when life in
this wonderful, hard territory would be different.

His late night thoughts had helped him piece together many half-
formed ideas into whole plans that he could follow. His last
night of sentry duty had brought to his mind a desire that had
startled him; he wanted to retire. As a child, he had yearned to
be a soldier, fantasized about helping people and being the hero.
Shaking his head, he thought of the reality that had turned out to
be so different from those boyhood flights of fancy. Instead of
being a hero, he was often seen as a villain. The sight of his
uniform inspired fear, not confidence, in the people.

Reaching the end of the plaza, he turned. He caught a brief
glimpse of Miguel and Bebe heading towards the cemetery. Shaking
his head, he rubbed his belly, and thought of the stupidity of
some men. Miguel had a wonderful woman waiting for him at home,
and his little ones could use that money far better than Bebe. He
briefly thought of *accidentally* interrupting them, but he knew
it would do little good. Bebe was not the type of woman to
embarrass easy, and it was obvious Miguel was thinking with
something other than his brain.

The muted sounds of people laughing in the tavern, along with the
sound of his own footsteps, were easy to ignore. He continued his
lonely walk, thinking of a man who had been the smartest person he
had ever known. The hardest working man in the entire *pueblo*,
people said at his funeral. He knew his father would have been
shocked at how many people came to cry over his coffin. He was
loved by everyone, including his youngest son. Even after all
these years, that son still missed his father's wise words and
warm hugs.

Making another turn, his mind returned to thinking about
retirement. Life had provided little time to consider the idea
since his startling realization a few nights ago. Sighing sadly,
he remembered what had ignited his desire to be a soldier. In his
mind, he could hear his father's soft, melodic voice, gone from
this earth for far too long. Every night, his father crawled into
his sons' bed and read to them from one of the mission's borrowed
books.

He had loved hearing his father read about the great Roman
general, Julius Caesar. As a young boy, he had cried when he
heard the words of the Englishman's play describing the death of
his hero. Sometimes, even now, his father's voice seemed to echo
in his mind, repeating the immortal words of the play--"Et tu,
Brute?" Laughing softly, he remembered *Don* Diego's friend and
the prank he had pulled. Looking over the complaint signed by
"Julius Caesar", it had been all he could do not to burst out
laughing. Fortunately, he had been more in control when he met
with Diego and his mischief friend later. Diego himself had not
been amused to learn he had been arrested because Julius Caesar
was claiming that Diego had stolen his horse.

Turning the final corner of the *cuartel*, he shivered. He
wondered if his father looked down upon him and was disappointed
by what he saw. His papa had been a wonderful man, a peasant
farmer, but he had been unique. Poor by monetary standards, he
was rich in education. Having been raised by the monks, he had
almost taken a vow before realizing that their life was not meant
for him. He knew how to read, do math, and some basic science.
The science and math helped him sometimes in the fields. It was
in those same fields that he instructed his sons. He taught them
Latin, addition, and subtraction. They would spend an hour every
night, after returning from the fields, lying on the floor in
front of the fire learning to write. His father had shared with
them an education that had surpassed many *caballeros'*.

Stopping to take a drink from the plaza's well, he looked around
the *pueblo* of Los Angeles, his home for many years. It was so
much like the home of his youth, and yet so different. He could
not help grinning as he thought of his friends from childhood.
They would not recognize the big, fat dumb sergeant of today as
the too intelligent boy they had known.

They would not understand the necessity of playing so dumb, but
then they had not understood a lot of things. Before learning of
the power he could have by hiding his intelligence, he had been
blind, too. He could still remember laughing at his first
Sergeant, a man so dumb that a stick could outsmart him. He had
snickered behind the man's back until he had been forced to
realize the truth. The man was as smart as he was, but he acted
stupid.

He had dared to ask why, and the sergeant had, for some strange
reason, decided to share. "Look around you. Where are we? Who
are we?" the man asked in his big booming voice. "We are in the
territories of Spain. The outskirts--so far away that little
Spain says or does can affect us. We are peasants, and no matter
how smart we are, we are not going to rise above that stigma. In
fact, our intelligence will only make those in power fear us.
Corporal, look around at the soldiers and the *commandante*. See
how they treat me, how they *really* treat me."

He had followed his Sergeant's advice. He had watched, at first,
seeing as he had always seen--both the man's superiors and his
inferiors laughing at him. No one took him seriously because he
was so dull-witted. Then, as he continued to watch his Sergeant,
he began to realize what the man had been trying to teach him.
The *commandante* did yell at him and call him names, but there
was no man that he trusted more. Their commander believed that
any man so dumb would not be able to betray him. The lancers all
followed his orders without a fight. They liked him, and they
often felt sorry for him. Playing dumb had brought the sergeant
what he wanted--trust from his superior and obedience from his
men.

Sometimes, he had to admit that he hated people believing he could
be so dumb. Could *any* man be as stupid as he played himself to
be? And still make it to the rank of sergeant in the King's Army?
He remembered his recent conversation with *Don* Diego, about his
apparent lack of desire to capture Zorro. He had warned the young
*caballero* that he had a suspicion of Zorro's identity. Did his
friend really believe that he had only narrowed it down to "he's a
man and lives near by"? Diego's laughter had said he did.

The idea of taking a break and sitting on the stool by the jail
began to appeal to him just before he noticed the black cape
floating in the wind. Zorro was leaving, having evidently already
released the prisoner. Barely hiding his grin, he hollered for
his lancers to saddle up because the chase was about to begin
again. *Ah, that Don Diego--he's a man who's almost as clever as
myself*, he thought as he carefully climbed into his saddle.

It was time for another chase of the fox by a hound that was far
smarter than the fox believed him to be. A hound with a nose that
could lead the hunters straight to his door. A hound who loved
the fox and admired him for daring to be a hero. A hound working
hard, in his own way, to protect his master's prey.

He loved night sentry duty! It was a great time to think, and
with Zorro nearby, it was the most exciting time of the day.