This is Clifton “Sagebrush” Lowe, reporting for the Prosperity Falls Futurist. As part of our continuing series on “People in the News” I interviewed Virginia MacNeil, late of the Prosperity Rangers, on the circumstances of her dismissal from that storied organization.

LOWE: To what gainful purpose have you put your so-called skills to now that the Rangers have permanently expelled you from their ranks for cowardice and recklessness?

MACNEIL: I’m working as a guard for the Chatham Stage Company now, and they’re lucky to have me. They know what the Rangers don’t: these skills are in the blood. It’s not about practice or anything like that; I come from a line of people who can shoot straight and hit hard, and that why I’m the best at what I do.

LOWE: This despite your well-known loss to young Mr. Sullivan at the Ranger Trials?

MACNEIL: He caught me off-guard, and is a low-down, dirty sneak and cheat. You can take that to the bank and cash it in.

LOWE: Could the words you had not moments ago for the convalescing Mr. Sullivan indicate a latent and passionate longing? What truly defines love for an ex-Ranger?

MACNEIL: Love is about being equal or better than somebody, and I don’t see a lick of that in Sullivan. He’s haughty, insulting, and superior, putting on more airs than a perfume factory and more full of insults than a whorehouse for a cheap john.

LOWE: So by her own definition of love, Miss MacNeil has been laid low by Ranger Sullivan!

MACNEIL: I hope for his recovery only that I might have a chance to show him up once more and that the Rangers might see that my so-called mistakes weren’t so bad. They’re between me and God, not me and the Rangers–who’re they to say I was wrong when I’m just doing what comes naturally, what I was made to do?

LOWE: There can be no secrets from the Great Watchmaker, it’s true.

MACNEIL: Well…I’m not sure if he knows about the stack of Horatio Alger pulps behind the loose board in my room, especially not the ones where the hero’s name is crossed out and I wrote my own in. If Adam knew that I was reading the same thing that the Prosperity Library burned in a heap last year…

LOWE: Salacious! I would opine that the Great Watchmaker does in fact know all about your stash of pulp rubbish. Then again, but your earlier argument, since he made the man who made them, the fault lies not with that pulp-peddler Alger but rather the Watchmaker himself.

MACNEIL: Yeah! I fit hadn’t been meant to be read, it wouldn’t have been written!

LOWE: And I suppose the same can be said of homemaking guides for young ladies?


LOWE: Fair enough. If you could tell your own story your own way, how would it go?

MACNEIL: Dashing, beautiful, and talented Ranger Virginia MacNeil, daughter of late Marshals Vincent and Patricia MacNeil, has risen from hardship to glory! People constantly underestimated her, called her stupid and boastful and idle and lazy and such, but she has proven them wrong in spectacular fashion by saving Prosperity Falls from forces that would destroy it from the inside and the outside! Like the hero of a Horatio Alger novel–and in fact Alger is hard at work adapting her own story for worldwide publication–she pulled herself up by her bootstraps and triumphed!

LOWE: So you count being the daughter of two of the most famous Rangers and being admitted to the Rangers despite failing the admission test and having your brother’s successful ranch at your back as Horatio Alger style hardship?

MACNEIL: Shut up.

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