COMMERCIAL: THE MADHOUSE
Down at the jailhouse, the sheriff sits at his desk, drinking his morning coffee. His hat is slung down low over his face.
Over his shoulder, a series of yellowing posters are tacked to the wall, each one showing a sinister face, along with the crime they are wanted for.
BIG IVAN – CATTLE RUSTLING, ASSAULT
MAGNUS DESTRUCTO – MURDER
“DOCTOR” DANIELS – QUACKERY
ANDREW MITCHELL – ASSASSINATION
RANDALL SCHWARTZ – MEDICAL FRAUD
EL TEMBLOR – FALSE ACCUSATIONS
And so on.
At that moment, the editor of the local newspaper barges in, carrying the most recent edition. Ink stains cover their apron, as well as their fingers. Some viewers might recognize them as Tanner Quest of RingDispatch.com, but of course that website won’t exist for another century. This must be an ancestor.
Tanner Quest: Sheriff!
Sheriff: Howdy. What’s the news?
The editor replies by tossing a newspaper onto the sheriff’s desk. The lawman picks it up; some of the ink smudges under his fingers. His eyes are drawn instantly to the headline: TRAIN ROBBED, PAYROLL STOLEN!
Sheriff: Huh. Folk ain’t gonna like that.
He continues reading the article. Just as he brings the tin cup to his lips, he sees something that makes it set it back down.
Sheriff: The witnesses who was on the train. You trust ‘em?
Tanner Quest: As much as anyone can be trusted, I suppose. Why?
Sheriff: ‘Cause this description sounds a lot like the gang that rode into town last night.
He stands up and turns toward the corner, where a young female deputy is watching curiously.
Deputy Barlow: Yes, Sheriff?
Sheriff: Round up the posse. Bring in some hired guns if you have to.
He turns to face the window, pulling his hat back out of his eyes. At last we see the weathered face, covered by its ceremonial paint.
Sheriff Bolamba: It’s high time we laid down the law.
FISTFIGHT AT HIGH NOON
April 29. 2023