Insurance investigator Charlie Rogan travels to the small Mexican town of Camafeo, home to the shrine, De Nuestra Senora de Camafeo.
From the hotel bar, Rogan watches as the suffering gather to pray for a
miracle. A woman, Gay Melcor, comes to the bar and Rogan sits down next
to her and buys her a drink. He then tells her a story, overriding her
In Rogan's story, a man named Joe Melcor was walking in Chicago when a bus hit him. After being checked and found healthy at the hospital, Joe claimed that he was crippled, sued the transit company, and won $500,000. Gay, Joe's wife, insists that he's injured, but Rogan figures that it's a scam. He's following the Melcors to Camafeo to confirm that Joe is crippled. When Gay tries to leave, Rogan finishes his story by saying that Joe now needs a way to avoid living his life as a total paralytic, so he came to the shrine at Camafeo to receive a cure. Guy walks away and Rogan warns her that he'll be waiting for her husband to make a mistake.
After Gay leaves, the bartender comes over and asks if Rogan enjoys harassing woman. The investigator says that he was tough on her because he's seen the faithful coming to Camafeo for miracles, but what Joe is doing is sacrilege.
Gay goes to her room where Joe, able to move, is waiting for her. He knows about Rogan but is unconcerned. As he lies on his bed and fakes being paralyzed, Joe says that Rogan won't catch him out. Gay begins to have second thoughts, but Joe insists it's the only way they can have a normal life. When he suspects that she's going to back out, Joe tells her that he'll beat her unless she goes along.
The next day, Rogan walks to the shrine and helps a mother and her blind son make the trip. He carries the boy up and tells his mother that he'll pray for a miracle. As they kneel before the shrine, Rogan goes into the shrine and looks at the abandoned crutches of those who have been healed. The priest says that miracles do occur at the shrine, and that even those who were not cured still have their faith. Rogan asks about the blind boy, and the priest says that God may not cure the physical ills of those who come to the shrine, but He can cure their sicknesses of the souls. A skeptical Rogan warns that there is one visitor whose soul will remain uncured.
The villagers bring Joe in on a stretcher, and he tells Rogan that he's there to pick up a little miracle. Rogan asks if he feels ashamed, but Joe just smiles and has the villagers take him in. The priest offers to pray for Joe, but the conman insists that God will hear him and he doesn't need any help. Outside, Gay approaches Rogan and says that when Joe is "healed," he'll have to walk on his own because she won't be there for him. When Rogan asks her to testify against her husband, Gay says that she will no longer help him, but she doesn't have the courage to harm him any further.
The people outside wait, and the blind boy's mother cries as she realizes that her son's blindness has been cured. Inside, Joe is also "cured," and walks outside. He squints in the sunlight and puts on a pair of sunglasses. As he continues, he shrieks in shock. Rogan and Gay hear him and return, and watch as Joe removes his glasses to show that he is now blind. He begs them for help, and the boy hands him his own pair of sunglasses.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 9, 2018