To the eye that knew no better, Cuthbert Town was a thoroughly decent and thriving town. The good people went about their business in the comfort of knowing the marshall and his deputies kept the town safe from vagabonds and miscreants. The main street was kept clean from droppings and waste and the store fronts were scrubbed and nicely presented. Not far from the main town was a beautiful white church with a school house attached. The pastor was a true evangelical God fearing zealot. The pastor’s wife ran the school in a good Christian fashion.
The railroad sliced the town in two. On this side was a small station with a fine waiting room, on the other side and a little further along was the freight station.
Trade and industry blossomed on the other side of the line, often ripening in to the unsavoury sorts of business that thoroughly decent citizens didn’t discuss.
The summer sun gently warmed the morning as Jonah road in to town. Everything was as it should be, the ladies gossiping outside the general store, the post master fetching in his supplies and young Miss McGill, the pastor’s daughter, in her white flowing skirts. He cast a frown towards a poncho’d stranger lounging on bench, then frowned deeper as he saw little Jimmy Moloney idling at the side of the street.
Jimmy grinned and jumped up. He drew his fingers like guns and shot at Jonah. “Reach for the sky!” He yelled. Jonah put his hand over his heart and cried out “Argh, y’got me sheriff!”
A gasp echoed through the street, followed by disapproving mutterings. The stranger peaked up from under his wide brimmed hat then grumbled and settled down again. Jonah dismounted and strode over to ruffle the boy’s hair. “No school today Jimmy?” He asked. The boy shrugged “Causin shenanigans again.” He grinned. “I aint allowed in til I stop m’cussin.” Jonah grinned and look up along the boardwalk, “Top o’the mornin’ to ya, Miss McGill!” He called. She swirled around and blushed appropriately at being called after by a wandering man. The gossipers on the other side of the street muttered and shook their heads.
The stranger quietly watched from under his sombrero.