by Susan Pearce
On a recent trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, I found myself constantly reflecting on Zorro as Walt Disney and Guy Williams created him. The ideas in this story seemed to flow naturally as a result.
This story is written as a tribute to what I call the "Zorro/Diego frame of mind", the Zorro/Diego as only Guy Williams can play him! It has blessed me with a feeling of freedom and joy that is unique. I will always be grateful to Walt Disney and especially to Guy Williams for giving this gift to me. This special feeling I have tried to convey here. I hope you enjoy........
(My apologies to Johnston McCulley for Zorro's comment about his creator, Senor Disney. This was not meant to slight Mr. McCulley, the creator of the original Zorro stories but was meant within the context indicated above.)
The storm blew up quite quickly and took everyone by surprise. She was no longer able to go to the beach as she had planned. Instead she found her way to a small, but charming patio nestled among the tropical trees and vegetation. This was the perfect place to get away and be alone with her thoughts. This holiday was to be her only vacation for the next year and she was determined to make the best of it.
As usual, she had her note pad and pen with her upon which she liked to jot down her thoughts and impressions.
She was at a turning point in her life and had a difficult decision to make. She had hoped things would become clearer now that she was away from the situation. Maybe she could be more objective about it all.
But the ideas were not coming easily at the moment. Her thoughts were fuzzy and quite unclear. She seemed even farther from a decision than ever before.
"Just what am I supposed to do?" she asked herself sternly.
Dampness was making the pages of her note pad curl at the edges. She looked at the blank page in frustration. The clouded sky brought a darkness that kept her from seeing the pages clearly. The palms above her, as well as the umbrella over the table in that small courtyard, kept her protected from the rain and wind.
"At least I can be grateful for that," she thought, trying to find something to be positive about. "How long will all this last?" she wondered out loud.
Just then an unexpected sound startled her and brought her head up sharply. Someone was coming up the path behind her. Through the foliage burst a man, on horseback and wearing a black cape, hat and mask. It was Zorro!!
She jumped to her feet, dropping the notebook onto the table, in a state of total shock and surprise.
Zorro quickly jumped down from Tornado and came under the umbrella to join her. He brought the horse as far under cover as he could so as to keep the saddle and tack protected from the drenching shower. Now the rain seemed to be coming down in earnest, looking like there would be no let up.
Zorro bowed slightly as he said, "Excuse me, Señorita, con permiso? If I may share this bit of refuge with you for the duration of the...."
A loud crash and echoing rumble cut him off abruptly and make her jump, falling backward as it caught her off guard. Zorro's own lightning reactions were so quick as to enable him to grab her by the waist and keep her from falling to the patio floor. She laughed slightly, embarrassed, yet inwardly delighted to be in the arms of such a dashing hero.
"I-I-I'm sorry..." was all she could muster. Then another clap of thunder again made her jump.
"I suppose I had better keep holding on to you, Señorita, as you appear to be rather shaken," he said with a smile that made her heart melt and she again went a bit weak in the knees. She felt as if she would never recover stability again. She also felt she would not be able talk again. She was speechless.
But Zorro saved her once again, for he spoke next. "This is turning out to be quite a storm, is it not?"
"Si, I mean, yes it is," she managed to blurt out. "Uh, wh-where..." her voice trailed off leaving only silence as the masked man looked at her with such a breath-taking look that she did not know how to continue her question.
"You are wondering where I have come from so unexpectedly, are you not? Well, I was created by the man named Disney, who has brought both of us to this spot for one reason or another. You, to find a bit of peace and happiness and joy to brighten your life at an otherwise dreary point. And I, well, I was sent here to help you find that joy." Holding her hands in his and looking deep into her eyes, he continued, "You see, Señorita, this is a magical world, this Disney World, and anything can happen. And here, you see it has. I am here to share with you this joyful experience. El Zorro at your service!!"
He drew his sword and made a deep bow in front of her. Tornado made a gentle whinny and nudged her gently on the shoulder. She smiled up at him and finally began to relax.
"Señor Zorro, I am honored. Gracias!"
Zorro flashed her a wide grin. "And now, I must go, but you must never forget that I will be with you always." He reached down and, taking her pen, drew a large "Z" across the blank page in her notebook.
"Whenever you feel alone and concerned, think of me and know that I am here. Always remember the magic, Señorita!"
With the quickness of the lightning of the storm, he leapt onto Tornado. But before he disappeared back into the foliage through which he had come, he raised his hand to his hat in a salute and a slight bow.
For a moment or two she just stood there looking at the place where he and Tornado had been. She could still hear his final words echoing through the air—-"Always remember the magic, Señorita!" She could still see his wonderful hazel eyes shining at her through the mask. She could still feel the warmth of his hands as he held hers, still feel his strong arms holding her up when she had faltered.
Suddenly it all made sense. She knew what she must do. The strength from this man in the dark cape and clothes gave her the strength to do what she now knew that she must do.
"Thank you, thank you, El Zorro!"
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