In the middle of Torrent Town, a small town in the West, stood The Post.
The Post itself was an old, rotting wooden pole, sticking up from the ground. It was a birch pole slowly being eaten by termites. An owl had made a pecking spot of its eye, and it was known for its splintering core. The Torrent Townspeople found The Post half-sunk in a puddle that was shaped like the entire English alphabet – no kidding – so now The Post was holy.
One point for English!
Holy or not, Rayna “Renegade” Clarksby, famed outlaw and undercover chef, was standing by the thing, an outcast in her own town, being yelled at by an 8 year-old child.
“Now you wait here at The Post,” yelled little missy Clementine. “My Mama will be back for you, Ma’am, and she won’t forgive a single sin you’ve done!”
At that, little missy Clementine skipped over to the steps of the Justice Building, took them like an elevator, and ran inside.
Rayna Clarksby stayed there, across the street from the Justice building with The Post at her back, great shame and sweat trickling down her forehead. She was going over every single sin she’d done in her mind. Nothing but the shackling weight of her reverie tied her to the spot.
She had stolen a sheep. A newborn baby sheep.
She ate a bag of pinto beans. Dry.
She denied selling a miner ore. That she owned.
It was her ore, dammit! It was her ore and she’d played tug of war with it and won! What was her sin exactly? Withholding her own ore? Shit. Fucking property rights.
Rayna Clarksby couldn’t imagine what her sin was. Gluttony? Yes, she was a secret chef, but she wasn’t a glutton! Suddenly this morning, as she was peeing in the forest and humming an old folk tune about a locust monster, along came little missy Clementine, the Justice’s daughter, calling for a citizen’s arrest.
(Yes, it was a savage world, but did they ever comply to the citizen’s arrest.)
The members of Torrent Town eyed Rayna standing by The Post. The renegade milling about their very camp like an average citizen was circumspect – she denied Stanley her ore, didn’t she? – but Rayna standing by The Post? The Torrent Townspeople loitered; something big was going on.
See, Louie and Michelle got married by The Post. Doctor Marnie Brown cured the common cold by The Post. Vanus Irving circumcised himself by The Post and all 12 of Darren Gerling’s horses died – one a month, over the course of a year – by The Post. It was a place of ceremony and important events, and something big was about to happen. Rayna “Renegade” Clarksby was STANDING BY THE FUCKING POST. WHAT THE FUCK WAS GOING ON.
“Here she is, Mama!” cried little missy Clementine, with the force of a thousand megaphones. Everyone in Torrent Town crowded The Post like ants and gasped.
“I didn’t do it!” said Rayna, thinking about the secret gumbo meal she would secretly make later as a secret chef.
Justice Manners towered over Rayna. With the force of justice behind her, she pointed at Rayna Clarksby and said: “DO YOU ADMIT TO KILLING ALL 12 OF DARREN GERLING’S HORSES?”
Oh. That’s what this was about?
“Well, sure!” replied Rayna. “They were hanging out by this dang post all year, acting like they owned the place.”
Shit – it had nothing to do with ore at all! Or dried beans. Or sheep. Or cheffery! What a relief!
Rayna laughed and the townsfolk, equally perplexed, laughed too.
“Ha! You’ve pleaded guilty!” said Justice Manners, and little missy Clementine snarled like a feral cat in agreement.
“Well, fucking duh,” said Rayna. “It ain’t a crime to kill a horse. Nor is it a sin. If anything, it’s a gift.”
And the entire vile town of Torrent laughed in agreement because horses were stupid, and Justice Manners and little missy Clementine were the only ones who cared about the horses because even Darren Gerling had gotten bored by this whole thing.
As the sun set in Torrent Town, everyone went home. Rayna “Renegade” Clarksby left The Post untouched and went on to steal sheep and dried pinto beans and all of her own ore she could get her hands on and make secret gumbo for the rest of her life.
Darren Gerling went on to buy 12 snakes, which, also, mysteriously died – one a month for the course of a year.
And Justice Manners was placed under citizen’s arrest by little missy Clementine, who soon learned how to use the laws to her favor, as she was growing up in a Justice’s home and wanted to push back an unfair curfew of 7 fucking 30. Justice Manners had no choice but to comply.
Because even the evil respond well to a citizen’s arrest.
And like everything in Torrent Town, Justice Manners was tried at The Post.