Whitey Collins, leader of the Collins Gang, sat in her rocking chair and looked down from her attic window on the main street of Dodge. Townsfolk shuffled past wearing masks. There was a queue outside the supply store, and an even longer queue outside the saloon's bottle store.
The wind raised the corners of a poster stuck to the front of the post office. It read, HOWDY PARDNERS, STAY HOME AND STAY LIVES.
Whitey snorted. "Ain't no one can tell me what to do," she said, to the doll she held in her lap. The doll looked up at her with its glassy blue eyes. Whitey brushed its short fair hair. "You and me," said Whitey, "we gonna run this town one day. This town needs us. It surely does."
She sent for her carriage and gave the driver directions to City Hall. He hesitated. "But the plague, Whitey," he said. "It ain't right to be goin' no place durin' the plague."
She leaned forward, grabbed his whip, and cracked it over the horses. The carriage sped forward.
Whitey's footsteps echoed through the corridors of power at City Hall. No one was there.
She drank hot coffee from her thermos at a table in the cafeteria at City Hall. No one was there.
She looked closely at her reflection in the bathroom mirrors in City Hall. No one was there.
Indira Stewart from the Dodge Breakfast Gazette came to interview Whitey.
"What's your name?" she asked Whitey.
Whitey erupted, "Ain't none of ya business! This is a beat-up. I bet ya don't sass Sheriff Ardern like that! No, don't you try to interrupt. Don't you dare. Let me say my piece. Do me that much courtesy! Ya hear me? I said, d'ya hear me?"
Indira asked, "Are you all right?"
Whitey took out her rifle and fired at a barn door. She missed, but the loud retort of her Winchester excited her. She yelled, "Yeah, I'm all right! Why wouldn't I be? I'm married to the Pasifika community. I'm essential to the function and purpose of democracy. I'm Whitey Collins, leader of the Collins Gang, and they'll follow me to Hell and back! Ya hear me? I can say and do as I goddamn please!"
The reporter left the room. Whitey looked around her. No one was there – except her faithful and beautiful doll. She picked it up, and held it close. "You and me," she whispered. "You and me."
Whitey called for a caucus of the Collins Gang. No one came.
She asked Doc Reti were they were. "They followed you to Hell," he said, "but they haven't found their way back."
Whitey took the carriage back to Dodge. Back in her rocking chair in the attic, she stared out on to the street, and brushed her dolly's hair. "You and me," she crooned. "You and me."
Whitey caught her breath. She growled, "Don't you be saying that!"
She picked up the doll by its throat, and yelled, "I'm gonna give ya a spankin'! Oh yes I am! Ya hear me? I said, d'ya hear me?"
The doll stared up at her with its glassy blue eyes. Whitey held her gaze, and then stroked the doll's hair. Her tears fell on its face. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I didn't mean it. I'm sorry."