Tag Archives: cowboys

Somethings Just Go Right…

IMG_0333b…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.”

Pullman Coach? I think not.
Pullman Coach? I think not.

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

The ad campaign's slogan is "Do the Jew."
The ad campaign’s slogan is “Do the Jew.”

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.

Paris De Smet!
Paris De Smet!

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.

Playing dress-up the week before.
Playing dress-up the week before.

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.

Gunfight… The Barroom Chronicles… Episode 11

High Noon in our town!

Shots ring out.  Someone is dead. Blood flows from a single hole in the middle of a stranger’s forehead.  Crying, a toddler asks his mommy: “Is that man really dead?”

As to answer the lad’s question, a pine box is ushered from the shadows, the dead guy is stuffed inside and is whisked from the street.  The casket it stood against a nearby fence and its contents are displayed to warn out-of-towners that their nonsense will not be tolerated.

Believe me, there are times when I would like nothing better than to place a

Pucker factor waiting for the bottom to fall out.

bullet in some hemorrhoid’s forehead, but that particular afternoon last July that hemorrhoid was me and I had the experience of being stuffed inside a box.  Let me tell you, it’s creepy and a little bit terrifying – not because I was the dead guy, but we had built the casket the night before and I was wishing to my lucky stars that the bottom wouldn’t fall out and I would end up on the sidewalk.

Limp Along Larry – the bad guy

But that’s a risk of being the bad guy. And what a bad guy I was. Limp Along Larry’s the name, making kids cry is the game. I mean, I made two kids cry! Only one was part of the act.  I wish a picture exists of his expression when I popped his balloon and drew my six-shooter on him and robbed his candy.  Now I know where the saying comes from, it is easy and it’s fun, especially when a boatload of onlookers boo, hiss and call you nasty names.  Alas, it  takes a special breed to be a turd in the punchbowl.

My day would have been perfect if the kid’s dad wasn’t

Talking smack with the kid’s dad.

around.  The humorless fellow had to go and defend his son’s honor. Heck, if he hadn’t let the kid walk down the sidewalk by himself, he wouldn’t have had to challenge me to a duel.   I mean, I was teaching the kid a lesson: the world is a dangerous place you know.

Not that I was worried about a duel, I had never lost. I thought the fellow was a dead man walking and that his kid was an orphan in the making. Heck, even if he got a lucky shot in, I had a nasty surprise in store. On a nearby balcony, I had my right-hand man.  If something happened to me, well…  I never expected that the good guy would get two lucky shots in. My pardo ended up dead too!

One door closes, another opens…

Oh, that second crying kid.  He thought I was really dead. It took me eventually walking from the casket to prove that I was alive and that the gunfight was just a bunch of silly grown-ups playing.  Between me and you, I can’t wait to he gets older and learns about zombies. We could have fun with that!

Who knows what will happen on a mid-summer’s afternoon this July?