…especially when you have the taste of gold in your mouth. Especially when you’ve been planning a heist for six months and it works out better than you ever expected. No, I haven’t gone over to the dark side. I haven’t traded my soul for the riches of an arch-criminal, though some in our town believe that I am the evil personified. No, I’m talking about the stage coach robbery my gang pulled off at our little Montana town’s annual celebration.
The planning for the heist started on a bitter January night when the only sound on the dark streets was falling snow. Back then the plan was to knock off a Pullman Car. Being that Alberton is an old railroad town and the celebration is named Railroad Day, building a train to rob made sense. As things go, sometimes ideas get garbled in communication, and what is intended isn’t what is delivered.
After months of procrastination, the knot in my stomach reminded me it was time to start working out the details, especially after the guy who was suppose to build a Pullman Car had a life event and his availability went kaput. As what happens so often in my life, my wife said why don’t you call this person or why don’t you call that person. Me being me, I internalized my angst and imagined worst case scenarios for weeks before listening to her advice. Then one night I called the person who always bails me out, my Mexifriend. His real identity is under lock and key but he may or may not be the security guard in the attached video.
Mexifriend said: “Of course brother, we can build that. It would be a lot of fun.”
Then I did another thing out of character, I posted on the internet that I was looking for used lumber. The idea was to go rustic. New stuff wouldn’t cut it, plus, it’s just
too expensive, especially for someone who is known as the Mountain Jew. Don’t take offence, I don’t. It’s a family secret that I was born 1/8 Jewish but my ancestors talked me down to 1/16th. I’m so proud of my heritage that I renamed the Mountain Dew Machine in front of the bar the Mountain Jew machine. Anyway, two weeks before the big day, Mexifriend Emailed me the first pictures and my jaw hit my desk. The picture didn’t look like a frame of a Pullman Coach, it was a stage coach. Now, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and my first impulse was to call and ask what the hell was that? But I paused, counted to ten and smiled. Truth be told, potential was written all over it and it’s a lot easier to change a script that wasn’t written than change a prop that was half built. It was the moment that changed the energy of the entire project. Instead of pointing the finger and barking about the difference between a Pullman Coach and a Stage Coach, I accepted responsibility for not being specific and went with the flow. After all, there was only about a dozen people that knew what was up our sleeve and if it was a train or a stagecoach wasn’t going to make a bit of difference to anybody but me.
Other things went haywire too, I ordered wrong bullets for the blank guns, but quick thinking on the vendor’s side fixed the problem and got us the right ammo with time to spare. I wasn’t so lucky with the gold and silver coins. I ordered a half-ton of bubble gum wrapped to look like loot, but as of this writing, it still hasn’t arrived. I’m thinking someone is never getting my business again, but like the stage coach we just adapted and made good with penny candy. Even the day of, one of the gunfighters overslept and didn’t make the first gunfight. Again, a slight adjustment was made to the script and we ran with it. Short of a catastrophe like Yellowstone blowing up, nothing was going to derail the project. Such was my energy. The gal who played Sally Six-Shooter commented that during the week before the gunfight I was like a kid before Christmas. It was true, I was giddy with anticipation, which is unlike me. I usually anticipate what can go wrong. Maybe approaching my fiftieth year has made me realize that it’s time to enjoy and stop worrying about things. Like a virus, the feeling was contagious, even over on the wardrobe side my wife hit a grand slam. Such was her energy that during a meeting of the High Colonics – my writer’s group – at our house the Wednesday before the big day, Tammy roped Paris and Nancy into dressing up and within five minutes had them convinced to play. Lucky for us, because Parris, the exorcist looking priest to the left stole the show in the second gunfight.
What happened to the plan to knock off the Pullman Car. Oh my, you’re going to have to make plans to visit little ole Alberton, Montana next July to see what we have up our collective sleeve. If it’s half as good as what I’m picturing, it’ll be worth the trip. In the mean time, enjoy the video of the Dust Puddle Gang’s stage coach caper. I promise that it’ll make you chuckle.
PS… Just in case you’re interest, here’s the link to the gunfight page on Facebook. Swing over and give it a like and you’ll be kept up to date what’s going on with the project throughout the year.