The head gaoler sat at the large, shabby, oak desk in the middle of his large shabby plank built office. He sat and he waited for his one and only appointment of the week. A visit from some local military or law type. He wasn't sure which. There were that many scumbags trying to eke a living through mercenary endeavours that he was no longer able to tell the legitimate from the vigilante. Not that he cared anymore. All he wanted was passage home. Away from this infernal never ending desert-island hell where the air was like fire to his skin. This colony of the insane and evil, where madness perched like vultures waiting to infect the walking carrion they called member of the community.
Behind him, the window over looked a thousand miles of nothing, and through its open frame blistering heat seeped into the rancid smelling office to boil the sweat off his withered and sore ridden flesh. His desk lay virtually bare. There was little if anything for him to do in this place. Those who lived there were a law unto themselves. They were a danger only to themselves. The natives rarely visited the area for fear of being brutalised and slaughtered. His job was virtually none existent; his position a farce. He was an object of ridicule. He wanted out and that was it.
In another seven months a ship would arrive with more wretched prisoners for him to free into the killing landscape and he was determined to board that ship and escape the place for ever. He didn't care what lay at the end of his return passage. All he was sure of was that if he stayed in this building much longer would be his grave.
There was a harsh knock at the door. Before he answered it swung open and a blistered scarecrow strode up to the desk and threw something hard onto it.
"Found this," snapped the bloke and thrust out his hand expecting some kind of reward.
The head gaoler inspected the object. A bent piece of timber flattened and smoothed; the inside edge filed and hardened by fire until it had become sharp as a steel blade.
"Where?" he asked.
"One of them funny looking local fellers was carrying it," snapped the bloke.
"He gave it you?" asked the head gaoler.
"No I took it off him," snapped the bloke.
"Where is he?" asked the gaoler.
"He's dead," snapped the bloke.
"What is it?" asked the head gaoler.
"It's a weapon," snapped the bloke. "Some kind of wooded machete. He was swinging around so I shot him."
"Oh dear," said the head gaoler beginning to tire of the man and rapidly becoming sick of his putrid smell. "It looks like a very poor weapon."
"They haven't a clue. They're stupid. Savages the lot of them! We don't like them here," snapped the bloke.
"Quite so," said the head gaoler. "Would you mind opening that window?" He indicated the side window of the office and the man walked over and opened it whilst the head gaoler reached into his drawer and took out a silver coin. He wanted the man out of there fast. Then he would get drunk and maybe walk to the whore hut to bathe. "Here you are sir. Thank you for your citizenship." He held out the coin.
The bloke snatched it and turned to leave. "What about this?" said the head gaoler holding out the piece of bent timber.
"What you want me to do with it?" snapped the bloke
"Dispose of it. It's of no use here," said the head gaoler.
The bloke took the stick and threw out of the window he had opened. He turned to bid farewell and the stick flew in the other window slicing the head gaoler's head clean off at the neck. The head fell onto the table and bounced onto the floor where it rolled through dust until it came to rest at the bloke's feet looking up at him.
"I think we may have we underestimated these savages," said the head gaoler.