The Elegant Solution
Will enters through the window of Pauli’s bedroom. They hug, cuddle, tickle each other. Without speaking they make transcendent love, merging minds and meditating on the elegant solution. They are at peace. They rise and dress. There is a kettle of hot water in the fireplace and Pauli prepares a tea for Will.
Pauli whispers: “Grandmother says you should drink this before the devination is fulfilled.”
Will sits on the bed and drinks the tea. Pauli sits beside him. And desperation in what is, becomes faith in what is correct.
They whisper: “The feeling of desperation is gone, the time is now. The elegant solution will unfold.”
Sheriff Garrett pushes open the bedroom door and fires one bullet at the heart of Will, who falls into the lap of Pauli and says, “I love you.” Pauli, “I love you.” Sheriff Garrett rushes into the room followed by Patriarch and Dollar Bill. Garrett examines Will’s body which has gone colorless with seemingly no pulse and pronounces: “Will is dead, Billy the Kid is dead.” Pauli jumps out the window and onto Pegasus, flies into the night. Garrett looks alarmingly at Patriarch, “Tiger Canyon?” Patriarch shouts to Dollar Bill: “She threatened to throw herself into Tiger Canyon! Yes, if the kid is killed, she threatened to throw herself into Tiger Canyon!”
Garrett: “Y’all after her. I’ll take care of the body and follow.” Patriarch and Dollar Bill go out through the bedroom door and through the house, out the back, saddle their horses and ride until they see Pegasus atop the cliffs of Tiger Canyon. Dollar Bill is the first to arrive and dismount. He looks down into the steep center hole of the canyon and sees Paulita precariously hanging on to a broken branch and looking up at him. He reaches for her right arm with his right arm to help her up, but she hesitates and looks to her left and sees Patriarch as he arrives. As he looks down upon her there is the roar of a tiger in the distance from below. Paulita instead of taking Dollar Bill’s hand to be pulled up, lets go of the broken branch and reaches to her left, picks a strawberry growing in a crevice in the rocks and pops it in her mouth, smiles and closes her eyes, enjoying the sweet taste, as she falls horizontally into the darkness. Dollar Bill and Patriarch are shocked. Just then Pat Garrett, having handed the body of William Bonney over to Paulita’s grandmother, arrives on the scene. Patriarch and Dollar Bill do not mention Paulita’s suicide but instead Patriarch says she’s fallen accidentally into the canyon. Garrett doesn’t argue, and the two elitists think he knows his place and will back their lie. The three are speechless. Patriarch is white like the blood has run out of him. He unconsciously tries to rope Pegasus, but the horse rears and refuses to go with him, he gives up.
Patriarch: “There is nothing more we can do, she’s gone.” Stunned and silent, they all mount and ride back to the ranch. Because of Pauli’s suicide secret, there is an unspoken bond between Patriarch and Dollar Bill, an embarrassment to both if known, and therefore a secret and their business dealings must go on as planned to save face. Paulita’s death will be an unfortunate accident.
Meantime back at the ranch Paulita’s grandmother and three other wisecrackers have taken control of Will’s body. He is comatose. His body is drugged from grandmother’s tea. Pat Garrett’s doctored bullet proficiently lodged just above his heart has caused only superficial damage. Wisecracker Shane removes the bullet and stitches him up. His recovery will be quick. Grandmother’s tea had slowed his pulse to unrecognizable and his appearance to cold and dead, and along with Pat Garrett’s expertise firing has faked off Patriarch and Dollar Bill. Patriarch returns to the ranch and is told how Will’s body has been removed and will be photographed and buried quietly. Patriarch walks Dollar Bill to his horse.
Dollar Bill: “She preferred death to marrying me? I had no idea. Other women fawn over me. marriage is a facade to me.”
Patriarch: “I know any woman, any one of her sisters would jump at the chance to marry you and to live la dolce vida.”
Dollar Bill: “I don’t even want to marry, was my parents idea, they insisted. This will give me an excuse not to marry for a while. I can pretend to mourn. The death will allow you and I to continue with our business relationship and plans, no one will be the wiser.” [They shake hands and Dollar Bill departs. Patriarch is not so content, but he will hide any affection for his sister so as to be accepted by Dollar Bill and the new riche.]
Back at the cave…
As Pauli falls her skirt inflates like a parachute and the wind grows stronger and slows her fall almost to a standstill. To her right a ledge appears. She leans her back against the wind, she’s horizontal, suspended, then stretching reaches with her right leg and steps onto the ledge lightly touching the ground, then rolling horizontally, full body then straightening vertically on to the ledge with the impetus of the wind. But she does not somersault or stomp Terra with her fist, as before, but leans against the rock wall of the ledge and slows her breathe and heartbeat and focuses her mind and vision. After all, she is not a zombie with loss of affect like the mind controlled homo saps from which she has escaped. Pauli is a romantic and is passionate about all things good. She turns her back to the wall and carefully inches her way toward the roar of the tiger, where she expects to find the metaphorical rabbit hole, a bizarre unknown future full of animal wisecrackers, a tunnel to the cave dwellings of the wisecracker underground. Which she does and there waiting for her is her old friend, Tiger Art, grinning like a cheshire cat.