--- IN RESPONSE TO…CHALLENGE 15…KEL’S DEEP DARK SECRET---

 

  Dr. Kelly Brackett has a deep dark secret…

 

I accepted this CHALLENGE because I feel such special honor towards the tender heartedness in Mr. Fuller’s TV characters and wanted to find a deep dark secret to use that would not go against that tender heart in one of those characters. 

 

The character in this case, is Dr. Kelly Brackett from the Emergency show.  In this story, Kel’s deep dark secret happened by accident from a situation that was not his fault.  (I USED THE GOAT SURGERY EPISODE FOR A REFERENCE)

 

This is for my friend Linda…Here is the story:

 

 

--- THE OTHER PANCHO VILLA…KEL’S SECRET ---

 

---BY NEEBEESHAABOOKWAY---

 

   

 

 

---CHAPTER ONE---

 

---‘GOAT-CHOPS’---

 

 

 

Kel and Dix just looked at each other as they excused themselves.  It had been a great evening so far, and the first in a long time for the both of them to enjoy together. They got to dance a bit at Anna Montes’ home.  A close friend’s of Dixie’s’ but when the late dinner followed…of ‘goat-chops’…it was a bit much for them, having remembered operating on a goat and saving its life just last week.  Dixie’s old friend had the dinner party to share her new home with friends, and family.  The goat, or ‘cabrito’ was barbecued Tex-Mex style outside, but to be served on silver dishes by candlelight.  An elegant dinner of goat was the high light of the evening, with all of Anna’s finery.

 

“Bad timing” Kel said, smirking at Dixie.

 

“I know exactly what you mean, Kel” Dix replied.

 

“Well, that’s all for me now”, as Kel finished a glass of wine and handed it to the hostess.

 

“What do you mean by bad timing?” she looked over at Dixie with a twist of her face and a slight squint in her eyes.  “Didn’t they tell you at the hospital that it would be a late dinner, you seemed content with the dancing and wine so far.  You surely can’t be in a hurry to leave with the dinner all ready, and the places set and waiting.”  She seemed a bit taken back, but not offended, as she knew Dixie well. 

 

“Oh, no”, Dixie assured her, “its not that kind of ‘bad timing’…its just that its, well…bad timing.  I know it doesn’t make sense to you Anna, but please trust me, I will explain some time this week, as I get the chance.  Please, trust me on this, okay?”  With that she gave her a hug, and Kel shook her hand and graciously thanked her for inviting them.  It was a nice way to share their new home, he had said to her, as he and Dixie walked into the night.

 

“Yes, I had thought so too”, Anna said in a whisper, as she went in to seat the guest, with a wonder lingering in her mind.

 

“Well, now what?”, Dixie asked, staring at Kel, as they drove off.

 

“Guess I’ll take you home Dix, the dancing was great and all, but I think I’ll make a sandwich and go to sleep, tomorrow will be a long day” he said with a yawn.

 

Dixie just starred at him in disbelief.  “Well” she said as she shook her self out of it, “why shouldn’t that be so hard to believe.  That’s just like you, Kel, thinking of work again, instead about us.  This IS our free time, you know that don’t you Kel?”

 

But even as the words were out of her mouth, she realized that even though it WAS like him, there was something else that was like him, AND it was happening right now.   Something he did when something was wrong, and she knew Kel had other reasons for wanting to go home.  He wanted to be alone, and she wanted to know why.

 

 

 

 

 

---CHAPTER TWO—

 

 

---KEL VERSES KEL, AND IN THE RIGHT CORNER, WEARING BLUE PAJAMA PANTS… ---

 

 

Kel threw off his clothes bit by bit, in disgust.  Looks like a perfectly good night down the drain now, he thought, as he threw his shirt across the room.  He decided pajama pants, and no shirt was good enough, as he didn’t really know where the shirt was, and didn’t want to know either.  He didn’t feel like a sandwich and didn’t even feel like sleeping.  There was just too much on his mind.

 

Yeah, he thought to himself, something had triggered that creaky hinge on an old door somewhere in the back of my mind, something, as in GOAT.  He knew his thoughts were going to be haunting him again soon.  Thoughts he had tried to finish dealing with that one summer, many years ago.  He tried to make it right, then, but there was nothing he could do, nothing at all.

 

All these years he tried to console himself with those facts, but it never helped, so the best way to deal with it was to keep it to himself until he could solve it and make it right.  Right?  No, it wasn’t right, but it was out of his hands then and it was out of his hands now.

 

So…the ‘fight’ was on.  One medium size bed became the official sparring ring, no manager, no fans.  Kel faced himself, and wondered how many rounds he could go:

 

Kel lay on the bed and stared at the ceiling.  So why am I thinking of this now, if I had such a great solution to that very awful situation all these years?  Well, Kel, come on…I’m waiting for an answer now.  Am I going to have to wait all night?

 

No, Kel, if you wait all night, for an answer that’s not coming, you will loose.  You will loose a round in the ring, and the whole fight, as morning will be here, and you will be in no shape for work.

 

Yeah, Kel, I know your right, but stay with me here, okay.  I was fine all these years, until that goat showed up for surgery of all things.  And now, tonight, another goat.  This time in the form of dinner, and both bring a pretty accurate memory to mind, of goats, and a south Texas ranch, and…he tried to change the subject.  Hoofs, yeah, I was really hoofing it up dancing with Dix tonight.  It worked until the hoofs in his mind began to change into goat’s hoofs, and then horse’s hoofs. He threw himself sideways, rolled over and pounded the pillow.

 

Kel’s thoughts began to fade.  I think I’ll take a dive, end this fight right here and now.  He turned and stretched back and tried to relax, and felt his mind drift a bit.

 

Hey, WAKE UP Kel, I’m not finished with you yet.  Goats, goats, goats!  So what, a live sick goat, surgery on a goat, or cooked goat, damm it, at least you saved the goat.  And you didn’t even want to deal with it remember?  You were really glad you saved it, weren’t you!  You almost thought it would die, big expensive hospital and equipment, remember, and you felt helpless to save that poor goat.  Well it dragged up some memories didn’t it.  You saved the goat all right, yeah, you sure did, but YOU still know that YOU couldn’t save a HORSE. 

 

THE HORSE!  It had surfaced out of the darkness of Kel’s hidden thoughts, his own personal secret, shared only with Ben.  He knew the goat would lead his thought to the Texas ranch, and the Texas ranch would lead him to that summer with Ben and Rafael…and…the horse.

 

“I wish I could punch your lights out, Kel!” Kel yelled out as he threw the pillow to the wall, and shut his mind out to himself the best he could.

 

Kel finally fell asleep after a few more rounds with himself, looks like it’s

an even match, he vaguely thought as he fell asleep.

 

 

 

 

 

---CHAPTER THREE—

 

 

---WORK HORSE---

 

 

 

“So how’s it going Kel, you sure seem to be caught up more that usual in your work.  You hiding from something, maybe?” Dr. Joe Early peered down at Kel as he took a seat near Kel at the table in the lounge room.

 

“Now did I ask you to sit here, or did you just decide you were welcome here all on your own?”  Kel peered right back at him with a tilt of his head.

 

“Hey, I can take a hint” Joe was a bit surprised, and got up to leave, but then stopped cold.  He then looked back at Kel and studied his face.

 

“Joe” Kel said.  “You know, I do snap once in awhile, huh?  But I don’t bite now, do I?  Well, at least not too hard, if and when I do.  Sit down, you know you’re welcome here.”  Kel’s face betrayed him a bit though, but Joe sat down.

 

 

 

“Well, I won’t argue any of that” Joe answered.  He knew it wasn’t going to be a very social coffee break, but he also knew he belonged there with Dr. Brackett. “You know whiz-kid you still have a half a day left, and a long half at that.  I almost don’t think your going to make it.  I know your not sick, so, do you feel like telling me something I don’t know?”

 

“No.” Kel folded his hands around his coffee cup, as he spoke and looked straight over at Joe.

 

“ ‘No’, that’s it, ‘no’?”

 

“Yep. ”, said Kel as he took a big swallow of his coffee.

 

“ ‘Yep’, so you changed your mind now, have you” Joe said with a contented smile.

 

“NO, AND THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEAN AND YOU KNOW IT!” Kel shouted back at him, as he jumped up from table, leaving the coffee behind with a push.

 

“Well, then Dr., just what do you mean, you seem to be contradicting yourself right and left.” A new voice was now thrown into the conversation in the way of Dixie.  “I sure hope you don’t carry on diagnosis’s with you patients in this manner, or they could end up very confused.”

 

“I don’t confuse my patients, and I know what I mean, and I mean NO”…the Dr. turned around and looked at her… “Where did you come from anyway, have you been hiding in here all this time?”   

 

“Kel, Dixie was back in the corner when I came in, you mean you were in here getting coffee and never noticed her?”  Joe said in amazement.

 

“It’s like you said, okay.  I’ve been working too hard, and I’ve got a headache now.  I’ll be in my office if anyone needs me.  Kel shook his head a bit and left.  Half a second later he was back grabbing up his coffee, and clenching his jaw a bit, he made his exit for the second time.

 

“He’s a real work horse, when something’s bothering him isn’t he Joe?” Dixie folded her arms and remembered the other night.  “Usually we get it out of him much easier than this.  You know, Joe, I think he’s actually got a secret.  A REAL DEEP SECRET, going on here.”

 

“Kel’s not the secretive type, Dixie, you know that, he’s pretty much an open book.  What you see is what you get.”  Then, Joe offered up also “I do think he’s got a big problem and he’s just not ready to talk about it yet, as he liked to have a bit more of a handle on it first.  I was hoping to trip him up a bit there but I didn’t succeed.”

 

Joe smiled to himself as he thought the past situation over a bit.  He did, however, regret making his friend mad.

 

“Oh yes you did.  You succeeded more that you know, you made him mad, AND you gave him a headache.  Which proves to me, that there is more to this than Dr. Kelly Brackett working too hard.  Headache, yes…but mad from working to hard, no.  He’s a good dependable ‘work horse’ and he loves his work.  He’s mad all right, but it’s not from something around here.  I suspect it has to do with another time and another place, and he’s hurting.  I also suspect he may be a bit difficult to work with until we solve this mystery.”

 

“So now what?” Joe stood up to leave, just then a call came over the speaker, “well, THAT was perfect timing, looks like we’re off and running.”

 

“Yes, and our ‘work horse’ will be there, probably crossing the finish line just ahead of us, Dixie said with a bit of concern as they hurried to the ER.

 

 

 

---CHAPTER FOUR---

 

 

---THE DEEP DARK HIDDEN SEED---

 

 

 

“I don’t confuse my patients” Kel said out loud to himself, as he entered his place, and shut the door, “never have, and never will.  Well now, that’s the end of that.”  It sure felt good to be home, he thought, or does it?

 

His conversation that day with Joe, and Dixie was weighing heavy on his mind.  He knew why.  They were right to try and help, he was working too hard.  The time they spent sharing a moment of care and friendship at Rampart was one of the things he liked most about his job.  He had friends there who knew and understood him and how he felt about his work, and the manner in which he accomplished it.  A good talk among his partners always solved things in the long run, no matter who was guilty of being the ‘stubborn one’ at the moment.  But this was a different situation, and he knew it.

 

“Yeah, I’m the only one who knows it,” he spoke aloud again, as he grabbed a photo book off the highest shelf and sat down, alone with his thoughts.  “Well, Ben knows it too, but since he was a bit involved, that doesn’t count.”  I should have told my dad…he knew something was wrong…but I had to deal with it myself I told him.  That poor horse, and that poor old man, and I was all my fault.  If I hadn’t gone fishing it never would have happened.

 

I’ve kept it buried for so long, as there just wasn’t anything more I could do.  Actually there was NOTHING more I could do.  ACTUALLY, I still wish I COULD DO SOMETHING, and I can’t …I just can’t…its all over, and I buried part of myself.  If I don’t dig it up someday, part of me will just rot away, like a hidden seed that never gets to grow and see the light.

 

That little goat sure did help.  I really felt good after it was all over.  Dix sure did help too, looking at me with that “do or die” look she gave me, while holding that goat.  Another part of me would have died inside too, if I didn’t do it.  She just knows I’m a sucker for the underdog, or undergoat, as the case may be.  Sometimes I think she knows me better than I know myself.  Kel stopped in the middle of his thoughts, and smiled slyly, or at least lets just say, she discerns it a bit quicker, that’s all.  Unless, it’s that woman’s intuition thing, he thought, rubbing his hand on his chin, nahhh.

 

Kel sat looking at the pictures for quite some time.  He felt uncomfortable and began to take off his coat and tie.  He got up and stretched, took off his belt and took off his work shirt, went to the kitchen for a drink of water, but leaned on his hands over the sink instead.  He stared at the drain a few moments, and finally got a drink.  Well, that sure didn’t solve anything, he thought.  He sat the glass down, and stared at the drain again…water…drain…fishing hole  he walked back to the sofa, and kicked off his shoes, but his mind wouldn’t relax. 

 

Kel finally got up, and went for the phone.  Maybe its too late to be calling, he thought, maybe its to late to be problem solving.  Maybe…suddenly as quickly as he had dialed, he was interrupted by an answer on the other line.

 

“Maybe its not” Kel said.

 

“Maybe its not what?” Dixie answered.

 

“Maybe its not to late to do some gardening.  How are you at getting deep dark hidden seeds to grow, Dix?”

 

“I think, given the opportunity, I could coax that seed to come out of its shell, and it just might be ready to sprout new growth with the morning sunlight.  And, Kel… I have all night and plenty of coffee… if that’s what it takes.”

 

“I need to talk, Dix, I’ll be right over.”

 

Kel hung up the phone, and sent a quick glance at his clothes spread out all over the place, “sure didn’t need to do that now, did I” he said to the clothes, and proceeded to put them back on.

 

 

 

 

---CHAPTER FIVE---

 

 

--- ‘SEED/LIGHT’  =  ‘SECRET/FREEDOM’ ---

 

 

 

“Kel, that’s three cups of coffee, and I haven’t heard a peep our of you yet.  I strongly suspect the birds will be peeping before you do.  Now, cough it up, or spit it out, or sing, damm it.  It’s three in the morning.”  Dixie got up to make more coffee, and turned to look at Kel.

 

Kel stared at her a moment, looking a bit hurt and put his hand to his forehead, and got up to leave.

 

“No, Kel, wait… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.  But you’ve been sitting there for an hour now, and I just thought you needed a push.  I’m so sorry, Kel.”  Dixie put her hand on his shoulder.

 

“Dix, something happened back in the days of my medical training, it was a vacation with a friend.  His name was Ben.”  Kel sat down, and looked up at his friend, looking for help.

 

“I’m listening Kel.” Dixie sat down and held his hand.

 

It’s like this:” and Kel finally proceeded to open up.

 

“We went to his dad’s friend’s ranch, in south Texas.  His dad had died years ago, but this older man was like grandfather to Ben and his brother.  Each year he or his brother would go visit, and he asked me to go along.  The ranch was out side of a little town, no, not even a town, they called them little ‘colonias’…some didn’t even have running water.

 

Well, he was a really great guy, this older man, and he must have been about 89.  Hard to believe, he was in great shape for an old man.  He had a rough life, though, and all he had left on his ranch was a few cows, and some goats, and his horse.  He was really attached to that horse.  Its name was Pancho, he named it after Pancho Villa.  He was constantly telling us stories about Pancho, and we kept getting mixed up as to which Pancho he meant.  He was doing it to us on purpose, just to get a laugh.  I really liked that man a lot Dixie, I really did.  He made ‘cabrito’ for us about three different times.  That’s kind of like roasted goat.  He taught us how to milk the little critters too.  We had a great time there Dix, listening to the morning doves, and watching the sun go down, until…”

 

Kel stopped for a moment, and Dixie reached over and gave him a hug.  He was crying and it broke her heart.  After a bit, he continued, as he wiped his face with his shirt.

 

“Well, you see now, Ben…he left in the middle of the night.  We still had two days left.  I woke up and he was gone.  Well, it turned out he got a call in the middle of the night, and his wife was going in the have her first born.  We knew she had another month, so this was unexpected, he didn’t wait to tell me, he just left a note, and took off.

 

 I was going to go ahead and leave too, but the old man, Rafael, said ‘no’.  He told me he wanted me to go fishing first.  It was his favorite place, and he would feel really bad if I didn’t go.  Since our ride back wasn’t due yet, and I didn’t really want to go by cab, I thought ‘sure’ and it would make our host very happy.  He saddled up Pancho, and said I was to ride him.  He told me to take it slow, as he was very old, and didn’t want me to risk injury to him.  Since I was studying to be a doctor, and was Ben’s friend, he said he trusted me completely.” 

 

“I felt good about all this Dix, it was a great day.  The man was great with me, and very kind.  He was so happy for me to go out there and fish, so I went.  There was a deaf boy, who worked for Rafael, and he wanted to come to, so Rafael tossed him up on the horse, and off we went.  We must have been there an hour or so, and caught fish and even cooked them up there.

 

Just to the side of us there was a little bit of a rocky area, and the boy went to chase a rabbit, and started a landslide.  By the time I got there, he was stuck good, and hurt.  I knew he needed a doctor fast.  He was hurt very badly, and as I took off, more rocks fell.  I was hit in the head and found myself pinned down with my foot stuck in the rocks.  It felt like I broke my foot too but I wasn’t sure.  I got myself free with a few good shoves, and got on the horse.  I just threw myself up like the cowboys in the movies since I could hardly stand on the one foot.  It hurt so bad I though I was passing out for a minute, and then I took off for the ranch.  I just didn’t think …I just didn’t think

 

 Kel stopped with the words echoing in his brain ‘I just didn’t think’.  He then looked up and across the table into Dixie’s strong patient face.

 

 

He started up, “I just got on the horse, and didn’t think, Dixie.   I JUST DIDN’T THINK.  DO YOU HEAR ME DIX?  I just took off on that poor horse, as fast as I could, I just had to save that boy, and I didn’t think about the horse.”

 

 

“Oh, Kelly” Dixie sat and held him, and just waited.

 

 

“When I got back to the ranch, I was really feeling sick.  I had enough medical training to know I wasn’t sick from seeing the situation at hand, at that time, I didn’t know why I felt sick.  I jumped off the horse, and limped as best as I could into the house to make the call for an ambulance.  I told them how to get there, and where to find the boy.  Soon, I couldn’t even think straight, and I almost couldn’t even find the door.

 

Rafael was nowhere in sight.  I could hardly walk by now, and I went back outside to check the horse, as soon as I stepped out I saw it was lying on the ground.  I hobbled over to the horse and it was heaving Dixie, the horse was in pain, and dying and I couldn’t save it.  I rubbed its nose, and I talked to it real gentle like.  I told it I was sorry, I tried to comfort it.  I tried to get up and I yelled for Rafael, but he didn’t answer.  I looked back at the horse and it was dead, Dix, the horse was DEAD.

 

I KILLED IT Dixie, I killed that poor horse.  Rafael trusted me, and I killed his special horse.  I never got to tell him anything, I woke up in the hospital.  It turned out my head was hit worse that I thought.  That’s why I was feeling so sick.  I had lost consciousness right there next the dead horse, and that’s were I was found.”

 

Kel continued “ The boy lived.  They told me I saved his life.  I had a concussion, and a broken foot.  My wild ride had thrown me into shock. I was told later that the men from the ambulance found me first.  They picked me up and went up the road a ways for the boy.  Like I said, I woke up in the hospital.

 

I was there in the hospital awhile.  They called my father, and he came to help.  I couldn’t find anyone to get hold of Rafael.  They had flown the boy off somewhere, to some other hospital. I never did find out what became of him since then, as the boy’s family took him with them. His family was from Mexico, and he was just helping out there at the ranch until his parents went back.  I couldn’t even get hold of Ben, he was back up in Minnesota, and I didn’t know the name of his wife’s sister’s, which was where they would be staying.

 

When I finally was out of the hospital, and got someone to take me back there so I could face the man and try to apologize, he was gone.  Everything was gone, and no one knew where he was or what happened.  There was a for sale sign there Dixie.  I just stood there and stared at the ground where the dead horse was.  I looked around at the place where we all had enjoyed such wonderful times.  Eating roasted goats, barbecuing, trying to get our milk from the goats.  He even made us cheese from the milking we did.”  Kel sat with his head down, and played with the coffee mug, he noticed it was cold.

 

“The suns starting to come up now Kel, did you notice” Dixie said with a soft voice.  “How are you feeling now, Kel.”

 

I don’t know” Kel stopped to think a minute.  He looked very worn out, and disheveled.  “Well, better than yesterday, but not as good as I should be.  Not by a long shot.  When I finally got back up to Minnesota, and finally got hold of Ben, he sure felt bad about the whole thing.  He felt like it was his fault, and he sure tried to make me feel better.  Only he and I knew what happened.

 

Poor Rafael, he …or someone… showed up there and found that dead horse, just laying there all alone.  Like no one cared about it or Rafael.   What must have gone through their head?  He trusted me, Dix, he trusted me.  My father tried to get it out of me, but I just couldn’t bear to tell him.  I felt like a betrayer, and to my father also.

 

Ben couldn’t figure out what could have happened either.  He said that sometimes Rafael would get sharp pains, and take off for town to the hospital’s emergency.  He very well could have had an attack of some sort, and died.  That would explain the property being sold.  He had some land hungry relative he would always be joking about.  If he died, he said they would come ‘a hovering’.

 

I didn’t know that he had pains, or that he took off for the emergency or I would have checked, as we could have been in the same hospital.  By the time Ben told me, it was too late, and they would only release information to his family, anyway.”

 

“So that is why all this serious brooding started up with the goat being in the hospital, and then the ‘cabrito’ for dinner at Anna’s a few nights ago, isn’t it.  It was triggering some painful memories.  Maybe it was just good timing Kel, from the Man Upstairs.  He knew you needed to get rid of this secret.  Anytime you free yourself from a hurt, you will allow yourself to grow.  You know that Kel.  Something good will come of it.  YOU of all people should know that.  You’re in the healing business, you know.  AND YOU ARE FORGETTING SOMETHING?  The most important thing from this secret was that a boy’s life was saved.

 

 It was saved by the future Dr. Kelly Brackett who didn’t take time to think.  He acted on what he knew.  He knew he had to save a boys life, and you did that Kel.  Whenever this horse tugs at your heartstrings, you just remember that boy.  The one that you had so much fun fishing with, well, he lived to enjoy his family and future fishing, because you didn’t think about the horse.  That doesn’t mean you didn’t care about the horse, or Rafael.  It just meant that it WAS TIME TO THINK ABOUT THE BOY.  It was HIS TURN, it was HIS hour of need, and you were there.  He could have been hurt there from a similar accident, on any other day, and you would not have been there.  Did you ever think of that, Kel?”

 

 

“No…no, I never did Dixie, the last thing I remembered about that day, before I lost consciousness, was that horse, how much it hurt, and that I was responsible.  You know what, Dixie.  I just love horses, and I could never look at a horse after that.  I just stayed away from them.  I kept seeing that horse.

 

I could handle them on tv because I could keep myself detached from it.  It was in another world almost, and not here in mine.  Maybe now I can talk about horses again, and I won’t be hurting inside.  Maybe now, I can ride one again, maybe a step at a time I will get over this now.  I just wish I could tell Rafael how sorry I was, and still am.  I sure wish I could.”

 

 

“Kel, if Rafael was that old, all those years back, you know he must be with the Good Lord by now.  He knows your sorry, Kel, he’s free from hurt.  Now you need to forgive yourself, that’s your freedom from hurt.  Use your love of horses to do some good for someone now, Kel.  You can use this deep dark hidden seed, that we gardened tonight, to sprout into new hope and life for yourself, and maybe even others as well.  Now with all this morning sunlight, here, why don’t you take yourself, and this new life on home, and get ready for a hard days work, you work horse you!  That is if you’re feeling up to it, what do you think?”

 

“You know what I think?  I think you have a nice warm nose, not as warm and cozy as a horse’s snoot, mind you, but it’ll do for now.” Kel smiled at her, and gently nuzzled her, “thanks Dix…I really needed help, and you were there for me.  Thanks.”

 

He held her hand a bit longer, and turned to leave.  “See here now, Dix, our gardening worked here tonight…I can talk about horses again now…and I just bet it will come in handy some day, too.”  He threw her one of his special little grins, and was out the door.

 

 

 

 

---CHAPTER SIX---

 

 

--- ‘SURGEON’ to surgeon ---

 

 

 

“So you brought me way out here, for WHAT, now?”  Kel asked Dixie?  It had been a week since Dr. Brackett had freed himself of his secret.

 

After a full workload, they had a few hours left for an open evening, before heading back for some much needed sleep.  Kel had been in top form, and able to handle some of the oddest emergencies that for some reason seemed to be prevailing all week.  This evening was a welcomed break.

 

“Well, Kel, we’re going to try that goat, we never got that evening at Anna’s.”  Dixie calmly informed him.

 

“Just don’t be telling those goats that, over there, or they’re liable to make a run for it”, Kel said with a spark of fun in his eye, as he pointed towards the window.  “Looks like about eight of them, just up on the side of that hill there.”

 

They pulled up into the drive, and Kel noticed it was like a small ranch.  Dixie also informed him that this was Anna’s brother’s place.  Her brother used to live in Mercedes Texas, and moved up here to be near Anna and her husband.  Anna was a nurse also, as Kel already knew.  What he didn’t know was that she had grown up in one of the ‘colonias’, when she was very young.  She moved here when she met her husband.

 

As they parked and went out to the patio, Dixie said “Anna had an interesting story to tell me Kel, and I think you should hear it.  Kel noticed there was a medium sized group of people off to the side, the same ones that were at the house warming party at Anna’s, but they were too far off to come to his aid, as in the form of conversation. 

 

“Looks like I’m trapped here, goats over there on the hill, one on the fire, some horses in that barn down that trail over there, and TWO WOMEN.  Hmm, looks like I’ m done for.  Okay then, lets have it.” Kel took a drink from the outside bar, and sat down.

 

“Dixie shared your story with me the other day, Dr. Bracket.”  Anna ventured forth with her story, wondering how it would affect him.  She continued with,  “And, well… I think I have some information that just might help you.  The people in the ‘colonias’ all know each other very well, and know who the far off neighbors are also, in case they are in need of help.  They also see each other during shopping trips into town.  I knew relatives, and other people who knew Rafael.”

 

“What do you mean!” with that, Kel was up in a flash, and gently holding on to her shoulders, and searching her face.  “How do you know it was the same man?” he said as he tried to calm himself.  He looked over at Dixie for reassurance, which he quickly pretended like he didn’t need.  “Well, go on, now.”

 

“I know it was him, because of Panco Villa, the horse.  Everyone knew about Rafael and his old horse.  A relative of mine, Viviana, had Rafael show up at her door one day around 10: 00 am.  He said he was going to die, and he wanted to go to Mexico, and die with his family.  She wanted to take him to the hospital, but he wouldn’t go.  He said he would go to a hospital there.  She knew he wouldn’t, he just wanted to be with his two grandchildren, so she took him.

 

He said he left a note, in the kitchen cabinet all the money he had, and a note to give Pancho Villa to Pedro.   That’s the deaf boy who worked for him…his parents were staying in Harlingen, and with the address he wrote down, it would be easy to find them.  That’s the boy’s name, in case you didn’t know.  He was the same one you went fishing with that day, Dr. Brackett.  The same little boy whose life you saved that day.  Only a few people knew his name, most never cared to try and find out.” 

 

Anna looked at Dr. Brackett, and he seemed a bit lost for a moment.  He remembered how he tried to talk with the boy, and how he tried to ask him what his name was.  He had never really seen the boy until the day of the fishing trip.  He had heard Rafael speak of him many times though.  Rafael had always just called him ‘mi nieto’.

 

“Kel are you alright, let me help you sit down.” It was Dixie’s voice, and Kel focused on her then. He had been staring out over the field, at the goats.

 

He sat down, “no, its okay, I’m all right, see, Dix.  Please, Anna, continue.”  He then retrieved the drink he had placed under his chair just a few minutes ago and proceeded to stare at it instead, with occasional looks at Anna.

 

“Well, as you must surely suspect, when Pedro’s parents didn’t hear from Rafael by evening, which they usually did.  They drove out there to the ‘rancho’, and the found Pancho Villa dead.  No one was there, so they called the police, and checked the hospitals.  That’s how they found their son, and learned that you had saved his life.  You were not awake, and they had to leave because their son was being flown to Houston.  They didn’t know about Rafael, until they called my relatives a few days later.  One of Rafael’s ‘primos’, or cousins, put up his own for sale sign.  Actually the house was left to Pedro’s aunt, it wasn’t really for sale.”

 

“So after all these years, I finally know who found the horse.”  Kel was shocked.  “Who would have ever believed this Dixie.  After all these years.  I almost can’t quite believe it myself.  Well, what about Pedro?  What ever became of him?”

 

“We heard of him off and on, but my relatives mostly knew Rafael.  I think Pedro wanted to be a teacher, but it is hard for the deaf down there.  Hopefully the schools will become better for them.”  Anna smiled, “well, it looks like I served you a very special dessert, and before the main courses too…so how about some ‘cabrito’ now…just like Rafael would have made it, ‘si’?”

 

Kel watched Anna as she went toward the group of people.  Dixie noticed that his manner had become very quiet and pensive.  He spoke to her in a soft low voice, and said, “Dix… this is just like when a job of surgery fits together perfectly.  Something that looked so bad, and hopeless that you wonder if you’re able to fix it, and then it all falls into place as you begin working and you are completely amazed.  It makes you love being a doctor even that much more.”  Kel stood up and sat the drink down, and looked up into the evening sky.

 

“Kel, look at me” Dixie said.  As he did, and gave her his full attention, she said to him,  “That Man Upstairs has this world in the palm of HIS hand and doesn’t ever leave anything unfinished.  God was your surgeon all these years.  He started to heal that wound, but it just wasn’t His time to finish it.  Now He is sure that there is no infection, and He’s stitching you up starting today.  You may have a scar for a while, but you know what?  He doesn’t ever make mistakes, and He does a SUBURB job.  I firmly believe if you don’t rip at those stitches, you are GOING TO FIND OUT that you are going to be JUST FINE.”

 

“Dix, you sure have a knack for saying just the RIGHT things at the RIGHT time.”  Dr. Kelly Brackett looked down at the ground, and back up to the sky again and then out to the fields.  It was slowly getting a bit dark, and the goat smelled very good in the evening air.

 

“I think I’ll take a short little stroll before I eat with you all, if you don’t mind, Dix.  I have an appointment with a special Surgeon that I want to talk with, and it’s a bit over due.” Kel had teared up just a bit and Dixie took note of it as she watched him turn and walk down the path towards the horse barn.  She joined her friends, and allowed that special Surgeon the wrap Kel’s wounds.   

 

   

 

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