In the northern part of Texas, near the Oklahoma border, sits a small town of Canadian, Texas. With a population of less than three thousand, everyone seems to know everyone, making this story even harder to believe.
On a hot summer day in the middle of July, a man named Marcus Dorado was walking on the corner of Main Street and Purcell, a block away from the railroad tracks that passed through town. Marcus noticed a man standing still on the other side of the tracks. He could tell this man was talking to someone, but whoever it was, they were out of Marcus’ site. The only reason Marcus took notice was because of the way the man was acting. He seemed agitated and angry. Marcus could not hear what he was yelling about, but he could tell the man was upset.
Marcus decided to hang out at the corner and smoke the last cigarette he had been saving for when he arrived at the bar. He knew he was late for his scheduled walk on the other side of the street, but it did not matter. He would surely make that time up later in the day.
He lit up his cigarette with a matchbook he got from the local motel. As Marcus puffed on his cigarette, he felt the warm feeling of the smoke go down his throat. He blew it back out, giving him a buzz sensation. In Canadian, if you did not smoke, you certainly drank. Marcus had already tried drinking, and it would often get him in trouble with someone. When he took up smoking, he realized he did not get into as much trouble. So, he kept it up.
Marcus watched the man, still yelling at someone. He appeared to be getting madder by the second. With his arms flailing about and his mouth moving fast, he was upset about something. Within a second, the stranger took a more defensive move, like he was trying to talk his way out of a fight. He bent over slightly, and his arms fell halfway down. He looked like he was trying to tell someone to stop. And with one loud BANG, the stranger fell to the ground.
Marcus could not believe what he had just witnessed. “Not in Canadian,” he thought to himself. He looked around to see if there were any other witnesses to what he just saw. There were not. He quickly put his cigarette out on the ground and started to run toward the man. When he got to the railroad track, a train just happened to be rolling by. Marcus glanced in between each car as it went by. He would occasionally look underneath to see if he had a better view.
Sam, a store owner, noticed Marcus running by his shop and went outside to see what the matter was. He saw Marcus standing near the train tracks, trying to see through each of the cars as it passed. The store owner ran to Marcus. “Mark! Mark! What’s going on?”
Marcus turned around and saw Sam. “Sam, I just saw someone get shot on the other side of the tracks. Call the Sheriff.” Sam quickly turned around and ran back to his store to make the phone call.
Marcus looked down the track to see if he could tell when this train was going to end. It seemed like it was the longest train he had ever seen. He continued to try and look through each of the train cars. Marcus wanted to see if the man was okay or not. He was assuming he was not since he was shot by a caliber that lifted him off the ground before falling on his back.
After a couple of minutes, the end of the train finally passed. Marcus ran to where he saw the incident happen. He looked on the ground and saw nothing but gravel and dirt. There was no body. There was no sign of a shooting ever occurring. He looked frantically, knowing what he had seen, but could not find any evidence.
Sam returned, huffing and puffing from the run. “Now what happened, Mark?”
“I swear on my momma’s grave, I saw a man get shot. Right here,” Marcus said. He was still looking around, thinking maybe the man stood up and tried to walk away.
Sam joined him in the search. “Who was it? Anyone we know?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Marcus said. “I didn’t recognize him.”
“What about the shooter?” Sam asked.
“I didn’t see the shooter. I only heard the gun blast, and then the man fell to the ground.” Marcus was still convinced the man had to be around somewhere. “Come on, help me find him. He has to be around here somewhere.”
“I’m looking,” Sam said. “I’m looking.”
After about fifteen minutes of searching, the sound of a siren could be heard coming through town. Because it was a small town, sirens either meant a tornado or something terrible occurred. Some of the residents followed the Sheriff’s patrol car through town to see what was going on.
Sheriff Stan Castells stopped when he saw Marcus and Sam looking around. “What do we have, boys?” he asked in his heavy Texas drawl.
Marcus approached the Sheriff. “I swear to you, Stan, on my mamma’s grave, I saw a man gunned down right here.” Marcus was talking fast and nervously.
“Okay, okay. Calm down, Marcus,” the Sheriff said. “Let’s start from the beginning. Where were you when this happened?”
Marcus took a breath and tried to slow his speech. “I was standing over there by Stan’s store. On the corner. I was smoking my cigarette, and I saw two guys arguing. Then one pulled a gun and shot this guy. I didn’t recognize him. All I know is he fell to the ground. I ran over here and was held up by the train going by. When I got here, there’s nobody here. But I swear, Sheriff. I know what I saw.”
The Sheriff was looking around while listening to Marcus’ story. “Okay, let’s look around. He needs to be around here somewhere.”
By now, several other residences had arrived and heard the story. They all participated in the search. Nothing was ever found. No body. No blood. No shell casing. No shooter. The Sheriff called off the search after an hour had gone by.
“I don’t know what to say, Marcus,” the Sheriff said. “I’m not saying you didn’t see what you saw. All I’m saying is there no evidence to support it.”
The Sheriff left the scene and then all the other bystanders that helped in the search. Sam remained behind with Marcus. “I believe you, Mark. Maybe the shooter picked him up and took him to the hospital himself.”
“Yeah, maybe.” Marcus was still in a daze, not knowing how a murder could occur and not leave a trace.
Sam turned around and headed back to his shop, leaving Marcus staring into the empty field where he had seen the murder take place. He turned and started to walk back to town. He felt it was a good time for a whiskey.
As years passed, Marcus believed he was hallucinating that day. And because of the hot, humid air, combined with the cigarette and walking, his mind had played a cruel trick on him. After that day, Marcus quit smoking, and he started to drink more often, again. He felt getting in trouble with being drunk was better than seeing things that never happened.
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