On a bluff near the town Mr Foley and a large, plain casino employee – “Lazy” Lou Shoul – meet a gaunt one-armed gunslinger. Foley identifies him as one Roderick Hault, who carries an item of great importance to his employer Ms. Moreau.
Back in the Casino’s private rooms, Hault reveals his charge – a mechanical golden scarab beetle, disclosing the faint green emmissions of Ghost Rock. This device, explains Hault, when applied to the base of the target’s skull, places him entirely under it’s owner’s control. That target, supplies Mr. Foley, will be Ms. Moreau’s leading opponent in the upcoming Mayoral Election.
Beside Alicia Moreau, the posters lining the streets declare the cadidates as -
Inge Nielsen – champion of the farmers and homesteaders
Silas Owens – publicly supported by both Haskin and Hubbard, and champion of Wild Anne for Sheriff.
and Richard “Chops” Thistle – a mysterious figure, known to have associations with Obannon.
This last is the destined mark for the arcane device which Lazy Lou thinks is just the sort of lovely brooch he would like to give to his darling wife.
The Casino is disturbed by the fearsome bellowing of a drunken Roy Goodwin. He accuses Moreau and Foley of witchcraft and unspeakable villainy until he is escorted out. Goodwin yells a parting sally from the street, to which Foley responds with a single playing card, which flicks out from beneath his coat, and spins to rest directly between Goodwin’s feet – and roots him to the spot. Foley calmly informs the hissing, spitting, but immobile livery owner that he will, in future, keep these accusations to himself.
The following morning, after Lou and Hault’s abortive attempt to follow Obannon’s henchman Red Horse on a mysterious errand out of town and perhaps locate the elusive “Chops” Thistle, Foley decides the three should attend a rally for Inge Nielson in hopes of catching a glimpse of their mutual opponent. Lou narrowly saves Foley from unneccesarily harming poor innocent Charles Table, before chaos errupts.
Heckles and vegetable produce are hurled at Nielsen as she extorts on the importance of family and vegetable produce. Fights break out. One fight is broken up by Hault, the click of his revolver and a dry word. Another requires the use of Foley’s evil-looking knife, and some acrobatic gunspinning from Lou, before the two are able to march one of Obannon’s thugs back to the casino for a more private discussion.
This man, Cesar, under the persuasion of Foley’s gentle reason and Lou’s less gentle fists, admits that Thistle does not exist. He’s a figurehead, a mask for Obannon.
A new plan emerges – and a new target. Lou will forcefully eject Hault from the Casino. Hault, apparently furious at his treatment by Foley and Moreau, will go straight to their opponent, and ask for employment from Obannon, and when he gets close enough to the man himself, he will use the scarab.
After Hault is thrown yelling into the street, he storms into the salloon and addresses himself to Red Horse – he’s heard that he’s the man to talk to about work for Obannon.
Minutes later he is in Obannon’s house explaining his position, his merits and his grievance with the Casino to Obannon himself. Obannon leads Hault to the back yard of the house. He points out his wife and his young daughter sitting a little way off. They, he says, are what is important to him. He will do anything for them.
Hault, conscious of the weight of the scarab in his pocket, requests only a chance to prove himself. A Casino thug has insulted Obannon’s wife. A man called Cortez. Obannon has no wish to see the man dead, but if he were no longer walking by morning, he might be convinced of Hault’s character. Hault assures Obannon of his service. The small flower that the sickly one-armed man twirls between forefinger and thumb withers and dies. Hault melts into the darkness around the house leaving Obannon alone.