The townsfolk stood at the border of Tumbleweed Station to provide their hero a proper sendoff. Emphatic hand waving, whistles and shouts, and plenty of tears let the hero know he would be missed. With a tear in his own eye, Davison Marrow watched the hero mount his horse and with a tip of his hat let the townspeople know they were going to be okay.
Davison clapped and clapped as the hero rode to the horizon surrounded by cacti and yucca. The desert would find a new adventure for the hero soon. Just a week ago the nameless wanderer rode into town, learned of a mysterious creature from the nearby hills and put an end to the nightly pillaging and murder the beast was known for. Davison himself helped the hero lop off one of the monster’s tentacles and mount it in town square for all to see. It was perhaps the proudest moment of his young life; being the sidekick to a real life enigmatic stranger bent on righting wrongs.
As the hero disappeared over the horizon, the crowd began to disperse and go back to their lives.
That was when Davison realized their lives had been changed forever. He stood at the entrance to his village, a town of wood buildings and thatched roofs, and stared, realizing only then that perhaps the hero had brought upon the town far more harm than good.
The carpenter, Will Redio, made his fortune by repairing the wood buildings every time the tentacled monster slapped one down. The doctor kept busy not by mending wounds earned in the salt mines, but rather by setting bone and bandaging lacerations for those able to escape the creature’s grasp. The mayor was killed when the monster wanted to send a message to the hero to stop his pursuit. Merchants relied on having to sell replacement horses twice a week. Journalists thrived on selling stories of the town’s misfortune to national papers. Children spent hours a day learning survival skills. An entire group of otherwise unemployable men and women spent their days collecting, cooking and serving the monster’s eggs.
“Huh,” Davison said, shrugging. “I ain’t going to tell anyone ’bout my little economical impact observation just now. Best to let the others figure that out for themselves.”
He marched back to town and wondered if his novelty “Monster of Tumbleweed Station” crocheted toys would remain a hot item at the train station shop.