Cadman thought: This is better than the usual reaction I get. Hostility, especially in boom towns, was typical. Cadman nodded his thanks to Alexander.

Joseph didn’t share the old man’s enthusiasm; in fact, he seemed disappointed. The friendly demeanor faded. “A man-hunter?” he asked snidely. “Trinity Hill’s blessed with your presence.”

Cadman let the remark slide, but he knew he wouldn’t forget it. His ego was too large for the latter. If I catch roly-poly Joseph alone, he thought, he’ll get the worst pistol-whipping of his life. He winked his thoughts at the young man.

Joseph turned without a further word and walked back toward the front of the room.

“The boy’s got the idea that he’s important,” Alexander said, turning his back to the counter in imitation of Cadman. “It’s a hard disease to get rid of.”

“You might say that. How long you been in Trinity?” Cadman asked.

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