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Daddy, Daddy.”

My eyes crack open.

Daddy.” My bed slightly moves.

Son, what is it?”

My little sombrero man is saying bad words.”

I reach over, tapping the top of his head. “Son, go back to bed.”


Be quiet, you’ll wake Mommy in the other room.”

Daddy,” he whispers.

I said go to bed.”

But he is saying bad words.”

Son… please.”

Daddy, he said mother fucker asshole.”

My eyes open wide. “What did you say? You’re only eight, son.” I grab his arm. “Where did you learn those words?”

Don Poncho, my little sombrero man said these.”

I glance at the clock on the wall. “It’s only five, go back to bed. We’ll talk about this later.” I let go of his arm.

But Daddy.”

Now, before I spank you.”

With his head down, he runs out of the room.

----- later on -----

I wake to a slap on my forehead.

“Get up asshole! It’s already lunch.”

I open my eyes. My wife is standing over me.

“This needs to stop. Since you lost your job, all you do is go out at night and party with your friends and sleep all day,” she adds.

I cover my head with my pillow. “Go away.”

“And you need to talk to your son.”

I lift my head from under the pillow. “Where is he?”

“At school, idiot.”

I sit up, remembering what happened last night.

“He said that stupid doll you brought him from Mexico was saying bad words,” she says.

“It’s not a doll. It’s a wooden man, and his name is Don Poncho.”

“I don’t give a shit about his name. Your son thinks the doll is saying bad words, but we both know that’s just an excuse.”

“What excuse?”

“Our son is saying bad words that you taught him, and he’s blaming that stupid doll.”

I look up and fall back on my bed, covering my face with my pillow.

“Don’t roll your eyes at me.”

I feel her kick the bed.

“Okay, stop. I’ll talk to him,” I say.

“And get rid of that stupid doll.”

“It’s not a doll!”

She walks out of my bedroom and down the stairs. “I’m leaving!” she shouts.


“Get cleaned up and find a job, lazy ass.”

The front door slams shut as I close my eyes, thinking of where my son learned those bad words. I roll onto my side, pulling the blankets over my head when I hear something. I stay still. What is that? It sounds like something tapping across the wooden floor. I sit up on my bed, trying to focus on the sound, but now the house is silent. I get off the bed and again I hear it. Then, the sound stops. What the fuck? I sneak down the hall and look into my son’s bedroom. Surprised that his room is clean, I walk in and there is Don Poncho leaning against the bedpost. I pick him up, moving his little wooden legs and arms, noticing his faded blue poncho and cheap black sombrero.

Why do you smirk with beady eyes and have a long curly mustache?” I ask, moving him back and forth, making him dance in midair like a silly monkey. “My son thinks you’re teaching him bad words.”

“No I’m not,” I reply in a Mexican accent. “And my wife wants to get rid of you. Maybe I should just hide you from her. I’ll tell my son that you ran away because of your bad mouth.”

I start to laugh, walking out the room. I place Don Poncho in my closet and do what my wife said. I shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, and within thirty minutes, I’m out the door, thinking of getting a new job, but all I do is drive myself to the bar to meet my friends.

----- later that night -----

Daddy, Daddy.”

I open my eyes to a slight pain in my head.

Daddy.” My son shakes the bed.

“What?” I look at the clock on the wall. “Son, it’s four in the morning.”

“Daddy, my little sombrero man wants me to do bad things.”

“Son, go back to bed. You’re having bad dreams, and Don Poncho is not here anymore. He ran away because of his naughty mouth.”

“No Daddy, he’s in my room. He said Mommy was a stupid bitch, and that Mommy wants to get rid of him.”


He places his arm around me. “Please, Daddy, don’t let Mommy get rid of Don Poncho. He’s my only friend, please Daddy. He said he won’t say bad words anymore, please.”

Suddenly the lights turn on in my room. My wife is standing at the door.

“Justin! What are you doing awake in the middle of the night?” she asks.

“Mommy, please don’t get rid of Don Poncho.”

“What?” She looks at me. “I thought I told you to get rid of that stupid doll.”

“He’s not a doll, Mommy.”

I sit up from my bed and notice the closet door. “Why is my closet door open?” I ask.

“Don Poncho was in there, Daddy, and he told me to let him out. He said it was not nice to put him in there, and Mommy, that bitch, would find him.”

My wife enters the room and grabs Justin by his arm. “What did you just say?”

“No Mommy! Don’t hurt me? It was Don Poncho that said it, not me.”

She drags Justin back to his room.

“I’m sorry, Mommy.”

Justin starts to cry as I follow them into the other bedroom.

“Now, go to bed!” she shouts.

“Don’t hurt him. It’s not his fault,” I say.

She turns around and shoves me. “I know it’s not his fault, it’s yours. You taught him to say all those bad words and to call me a bitch.”

“It’s not his fault, Mommy.”

“Go to bed, Justin!” she shouts.

Suddenly, there is a ruckus coming from Justin’s closet. I look at my wife and she looks right back at me. For a moment, we all stay still, not saying a word. She then quietly walks to the closet and opens the door. And there is Don Poncho, sitting on top of a toy box with his beady eyes and curly mustache. My wife grabs him by his head.

“Didn’t I tell you to get rid of this stupid doll?” She swings Don Poncho up into the air and throws him against the wall.

“Mom, you’re going to hurt him.”

“That’s right.”

She then grabs Don Poncho, runs out the room and down the stairs. My son and I follow.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

She doesn’t respond as she opens the front door of the house and walks outside. We follow her.

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

“What I should have done a long time ago.” She throws Don Poncho in the garbage can.


“Now… There are new rules in this house. The first rule is no more bad words. No one in this house can say bad words. And no more dolls in the house. And you, Daddy, need to get a job. No more hanging out at the bar with your friends, staying out late, and sleeping all day,” she demands.

My son and I look at each other.

“Do we understand?” she asks.


“Now let’s go back to bed. Tomorrow is a new day,” she says.

Without saying another word, we go inside the house and back to bed.

----- the next morning -----

A loud scream wakes me.

“Scott, Scott!”

I rush to my wife’s bedroom, and she is desperately trying to free herself as her wrist is firmly taped to the bedpost. My son is holding a kitchen knife.

“Justin!” I knock the knife out of his hand and push him to the floor.

“I’m sorry Daddy. Don Poncho made me do it.”

I reach for my wife.

“He said Mommy must die.”

Justin then points towards the dark corner of the room. There is Don Poncho, standing up, holding his little black sombrero, staring at me.

“Justin, that doll is not real. It’s just a wooden toy that Daddy bought in Mexico. It’s not real,” she murmurs as she continues to struggle to free herself.

“Son, it’s not real.”

“Yes he is! He taught me new bad words in Spanish. He helped me tape Mommy to the bedpost.”

Then I see Don Poncho smile and I can’t help but run for him.

“Daddy, don’t!”

I’m about to grab him when the wooden doll jumps to the side of me, and stands next to the door.

“Ha, ha, ha, you missed,” Don Poncho says.

I stay still, not believing what I am seeing.

Gringo estupido!” Don Poncho shouts.

I slowly walk to the bed.

Pinche familia más loco que la chingada,” he adds.

“See, I told you!” my son yells.

I step towards him, and Don Poncho runs out the room, his little boots tapping on the floor.

“Well, get him!” my wife yells.

I run after him, and as I enter the kitchen, he is standing on the counter next to the sink, opening the window.

“Get back here, you little asshole!” I yell.

He jumps through the window, landing in the grass. He gives me the finger as he runs out of the yard and through the bushes.

----- a few weeks later -----

A car drives up. The window rolls down. It’s my wife.

Hi, babe,” I say.

How’s your new job?”

I walk out of the garage, cleaning my hands with a rag. “Actually, being a mechanic is not bad.” She smiles as I approach the car. “It’s after lunch. Why are you here?”

I just wanted to thank you.”

For what?”

For not telling anyone what happened.”

Yeah, but I’m still worried.”

She grabs my hand. “It’s okay.”

I just can’t believe it. I’ve looked everywhere. I can’t find him.”

You need to stop. You won’t find Don Poncho. He’s gone.”

I just don’t want him to return.”

She laughs. “I don’t think he will, especially after the traps you set up around the house, and the cats we have now.”

Was that extreme?”

A little bit, but it is fine. Justin loves the animals.”

I look into her eyes. “Damn! I wish I could tell someone about Don Poncho.”

You know you can’t. We made a promise.”

People won’t believe me anyways.”

They’ll think you’re crazy. This is a small town, and we don’t want attention.”

Yeah, you’re right.”

She reaches over and gives me a kiss. “Bye, and don’t forget that tonight is Justin’s first baseball game.”

I’ll be there.”

She rolls up the window and drives away. I then look at the distant mountain hills, reaching into my front pocket and pulling out his sombrero—thinking one day I’ll catch that little shit and pull his head off for what he did to my wife and son.

-The End-


Inspired by The Cask of Amontillado, Vidal started writing fiction about death, horror and suspense. In February 2017, he published his first novel: Walking in the Shadows of Death and the Supernatural. In 2020 he published his second book: The Art of Being Useful. He lives in Las Vegas, New Mexico which is located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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