It was a warm afternoon in September when the foreigner entered Assumption. He approached from the west on foot, carrying his meagre belongings over his shoulder. Those who witnessed his arrival couldn’t help but stare. Most of them had never seen anything like it. Jim Cutler was fixing the fence at the livery when he looked up. He called up to the loft:
“Bert… ye’gotta come down and see this feller. He got long injun hair and is wearin his per-jammers in the middle of the day?”
At the other end of town, Sheriff Gunne strolled out of the office and called the stranger over. The man approached without any expression or response, and although Gunne wouldn’t have admitted it, the stranger’s silence unnerved him.
“Look for room. Place to sleep and work.” With that, the stranger turned and walked towards the Assumption Hotel.
After the foreigner disappeared inside the hotel, Bill Chafe walked out of the Dry Goods Store and found Tom Gunne, Cutler, and some of the stablehands talking about the odd arrival. Bill chuckled as he lit a cigarette and spoke.
“Any’ve you fellers been out west, California way? I tell you what.. that stranger thar is a chinermen. Comes from over the water.”
“Over Engerland way?” Cutler questioned.
“Not that water!” Bill responded. “The water off a’California way. Anyways… I gotta map at the store, I’ll show ya sometime.” He rolled his eyes and turned to the sheriff as he continued.
“Anyways Tom, these Chinermens are quiet, hard-workin folk. I reckon he’ll stick around, work a little, and move hisself on again.”
“I’m sure yer right Bill,” Tom replied. “I”m sure yer right.”
Thanks for reading,