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Self-Review – The Myth of The Last Try

A Review of – The Myth of The Last Try

I wrote The Myth of The Last Try as a part of writing every day in 2021. This little story hit me pretty hard, so I added a few short chapters to it.

As a result, it has more body and depth to it. Could I stretch it into a novella? Maybe? But the truth is, at a certain point, it becomes obvious stretching. And then a story like this will break.

And I don’t want that to happen to this one. I like it far too much!


One of the best (I feel) parts of the multi-part short story is that it takes place in a location I know well. But it’s not called The Last Try.

Rather, the inspiration is a little place right by where I went to college—The Dugout Café.

The Dugout is a tiny hole in the wall, rumored to have opened right after Prohibition ended. Hence, the bar in the story got a rather similar back story.


Kel is just an old fellow nursing his beer when the bartender tells him to lift a particular crate. Little does Kel know, but he has been chosen. The very act of lifting the crate changes everything.


The characters are Kel (Dan Kelly), Dean, Fred, and Olivia. Kel mentions Julie, his late wife. Dean mentions Silas, a prior owner of The Last Try. There’s a little bit about Kel’s mother and his late brother, Rob. And… that’s it.

Kel is just an old man, going to his cousin’s bar. His cousin Dean is even more ancient and frail, but still running the bar. Fred is Kel’s great-grandnephew, and Olivia is his wife.

Every single one of these characters has a heavy Boston accent, although I hear Dean with a bit of a brogue.

Memorable Quotes {the first person talking is Dean}

Near the back window, there was a small door hidden by crates of supplies. “Can you get me one of those?”

Kel looked at the stack skeptically. At age 84, he wasn’t nearly as spry as he had been. “I’ll try. But you might want to get Fred or Olivia to do this.” He nodded in the direction of a great-grandnephew on his mom’s side, and the man’s new bride. Cute, if you liked scrawny. He bent over to pick up the crate.

“No, that one, over there.” Dean pointed to a truly old crate. It seemed to have been from the day Dean had opened the place. “See if you can lift it.”

“Deano, I can’t be throwing my back out, y’know. Seriously, Olivia may be a shrimp, but she’s got some moxie to her.”

“Hey, I heard that!”


“Kel,” Dean said, looking at Kel with watery blue eyes, “that crate is for you only.”

Kel furrowed his brow, trying to figure out what the hell that meant. “Okay. But I blame you if I end up at Mass. General again.”

“Fair enough.”

Kel bent down again, squatting this time. “Lift with your knees, not with your back,” he whispered to himself.

“You say something there, Uncle Kel?” Fred hollered.

“No, no.” Kel picked up the crate and it was far lighter than he had been expecting.<

The small door opened of its own accord, and Kel nearly dropped the crate on his foot as the scenery changed.


Dean reveals that one of the previous incarnations of the bar was in Ballyvaughan, in Ireland—which is the birthplace of Ceilidh O’Malley. Peri Martin is a graduate of Boston University (as am I!), the nearby university I reference in the story but never name.

Rating for The Myth of the Last Try

The story has a K rating.

Upshot for The Myth of the Last Try

When I was first writing this one, I was just kind of noodling around and had no plans for it. But once the small back door opens up, seemingly by itself, the story took shape.

Given the time frame and the location, there’s no reason why Kel can’t run into, say Noah Braverman and Elise Jeffries of Mettle, or even Peri Martin from The Obolonk Murders.

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Want More of The Myth of the Last Try?

If The Myth of the Last Try resonates with you, then check out my other articles about Boston short stories and Boston characters.

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Self-Review: The Boy in the Band