"The Ghost Shepherds"
While it was tough for Alfredo and Juan Martinez to watch their poor mother succumb to mental illness in her final years, it was even worse to see that her ghost suffered from the same deranged insanity and that death did not cure her severe psychological problems.
Each night since she died, the ghost of their mother storms around the house screaming, yelling, and gaining more frustrated as she is incapable of actually inflicting serious bodily harm on either Alfredo or his younger brother Juan like she had grown accustomed to… the most her ghostly limbs can manage is a slight scratch, which just makes her even more furious and violent.
Her path through the house is random, so they try to watch her closely while simultaneously avoiding her (not always successfully), and one thing becomes clear— she doesn’t seem to realize she is dead.
Everything she does, no matter how irrational or mean, was something she did before she died.
While they were first used in self-defense, the Martinez Brothers soon discover that they can ‘herd’ their mother’s ghost with BB Guns— as long as they just wing her, and stay out of sight as they do so.
Working together, they hatch a plan to shepherd her ghost to the Mausoleum they bought for her (with the money from their paper routes) so she can both realize she is dead AND see that they still loved her (one of her favourite taunts before she would beat them was that they didn’t love her, so they hoped this will finally prove that they actually do).
Slowly and carefully, they successfully guide their mother with the BB pellets through the small town’s cobblestone streets and finally into the dark, rainy cemetery.
Hiding behind gravestones, they try to decipher their mother’s blue shimmering face as she sees her own name on the mausoleum… does she understand at last?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to say… the sight of her name on the giant tomb seems to enrage her, but the overwhelming proof of her own death appears to override her imbalanced reaction and she slowly fades away into the darkness.
The Martinez Brothers stand up, look at each other, and shrug.
They don’t know if their mother ever knew how much they loved her, but they know they did the best they could. And that has to be enough.
(Starring the amazing Alfredo and Juan Martinez!)
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