The Caballero's Way (Henry)

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The Caballero's Way
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A notorious gunslinger, known as the Cisco Kid, falls in love with a half-Carmen, half-Madonna woman named Tonia Perez. A ranger lieutenant, Sandridge, also becomes infatuated with Tonia and plans to capture the Kid. Tonia sends a letter to Sandridge, asking him to kill the Kid when he arrives at her jacal. Sandridge mistakenly kills Tonia instead, leading to his devastation.

The Cisco Kid was a notorious outlaw who had killed numerous men and was feared by many. Despite his violent nature, a woman named Tonia Perez loved him deeply. Tonia lived in a small Mexican settlement near the Lone Wolf Crossing of the Frio River, where she cared for her elderly father and a herd of goats.

The Cisco Kid — notorious gunslinger; quick-tempered, skilled shooter, vain.
Tonia Perez — half-Carmen, half-Madonna woman; beautiful, loyal, humming-bird soul.

One day, a ranger named Lieutenant Sandridge arrived at the settlement, seeking information about the Cisco Kid. He met Tonia and was immediately smitten with her beauty and charm. Over time, the two developed a romantic relationship, and Tonia urged Sandridge to kill the Cisco Kid so they could be together without fear.

Lieutenant Sandridge — ranger lieutenant; infatuated with Tonia; determined, brave.

Tonia warned Sandridge about the Cisco Kid's arrival and the danger he posed. She asked Sandridge to wait for her signal before coming to her jacal.

Remember, then, you must not come again until I send for you. Soon he will be here. A vaquero at the tienda said today he saw him on the Guadalupe three days ago. When he is that near he always comes. If he comes and finds you here he will kill you. So, for my sake, you must come no more until I send you the word.

Meanwhile, the Cisco Kid continued his criminal activities, growing increasingly paranoid about being captured or killed. He decided to visit Tonia, hoping for reassurance and comfort. While hiding in the nearby pear thicket, he overheard Tonia and Sandridge discussing their plan to kill him. The Cisco Kid devised a plan of his own to test Tonia's loyalty and ensure his own safety.

He instructed Tonia to dress in his clothes and ride his horse to the main road, while he would wear her clothes and wait at the jacal. If Tonia was truly loyal, she would follow his instructions and no harm would come to either of them. Tonia agreed, but secretly sent a letter to Sandridge, revealing the Cisco Kid's plan and urging him to kill the outlaw while he was disguised in her clothes.

He must die, otherwise there will not be any peace in the world for thee and me. He has killed many. Let him so die. Bring your men, and give him no chance to escape.

Sandridge hid in a nearby wagon-shed, waiting for the opportunity to ambush the Cisco Kid. When he saw the figure dressed in Tonia's clothes, he opened fire, believing he had killed his target. However, upon returning to the jacal, he discovered that he had actually killed Tonia, who had followed the Cisco Kid's instructions in an attempt to prove her loyalty.

Distraught and filled with remorse, Sandridge threw himself on the ground beside Tonia's lifeless body. Meanwhile, the Cisco Kid, dressed in Tonia's clothes, rode away from the scene, singing a tuneless song as he continued his life of crime and violence.