Lost Ambition is a Crime

Following is an excerpt from a project in which I provided structural story strategy and copyediting


Six years ago, I was hard up. Spent my days picking the pockets of corporate yuppies floating around the big industry buildings downtown. I’d case them for a few, enough to know my way around their overcoats. I’d follow them into restaurants, bars – anywhere they’d pull out their money clips. Then, I’d bump them on the sidewalk, shake off a few pounds. I felt bad sometimes. Especially when I studied the face on their driver’s license. These were real people. Hardworking stiffs. My mother raised me better. That’s why I did this for no more than three weeks. Just enough to hop a train headed west.

Ended up in a little town called Devil’s Acre, just outside Western Montana. The kind of place you could imagine raising a family. Watching your kids ride their bikes along the hot sidewalks in the summer, never worried about their safety. On my first night in town, I found myself at a joint called the Night Owl. The moment my boots hit the floorboards, I knew it was my kind of scene.

Behind the barkeep, the stage was pure thunder. Four pretty dolls with sky-high beehive ‘do’s belting rockabilly riffs. They called themselves the Wildcats. I got to know them well in my six years at the Night Owl. We still get together, now and then. The night always ends the same way: a heavy bottle empty, old stories told and re-told. Legendary tales about the best time of our lives working with the late, great Neville Fenton.