Woman Wears a Banjo

She strode into town on a Thursday morning, killed the sheriff by lunch the same day, and established herself as the new law of the land by supper. By Friday afternoon, she was dead.

When she came into town, we all were lookyloos. With her horse and her banjo, we initially thought her nothing more than a traveling entertainer, looking to make a buck at the saloon. Yet, I do admit, in hindsight of course, that she had a look about her beyond that. A sense of determination. I s’pose we just hope that things will change, now and again, and that often blinds us to the current occasions.

She ate a small morning meal at my shop, and we chatted a bit, you know. She was pleasant, but didn’t say a whole heck of a lot. She never did take that banjo off. Again that hindsight comes in handy here, as I do know now she had her gun tucked inside that banjo, in a trapdoor on the back. I’d guess it sounded pretty bad, had she gone to play it.

Anyway, she told me that mornin’ that she was in town just to see the sheriff, to report a theft. I pointed her along to his office and didn’t think much of it, which is a bit embarrassing, considering the circumstances. Then, in the midst of my lunch rush—I serve the best grits in town, I’m told—I heard the gunshots from the sheriff office. My lunch crowd cleared out, and we all ran over to the jail, where the sheriff tended to keep himself. He was dead, and the woman just sat there, waitin’ for us to arrive.

She nodded at us as we did. She picked up his badge, put it on, and declared herself sheriff. Now, I’ve been around for a few of these such occasions, and while it is tradition in some towns to vote a new sheriff in, we prefer when one declares oneself sheriff, as it removed the need to vote.

It’s all the same to me, as the whole point of being sheriff is to die.

And die she did. The following morning, we found her dead inside a jail cell. A man with a mustache sat in her place. It is unclear to me why the daily cycle of the sheriff plays out like this, but it keeps us safe, and no harm ever comes to any of us in town over it, so we let it carry on. I did rather like that woman wearing her banjo, but I’m sure there will be more.