In The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas, Davy Rothbart's stories grow out of road trips and small towns and are populated by questionable heroes and gold-hearted thugs. Full of loneliness and hope, heartbreak and humor, Rothbart's tales blaze their way from midwestern farm fields to state prisons and border-town brothels.
Much like the lost, tossed, and forgotten items Rothbart collected in his acclaimed book, Found, the stories in The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas capture the oddity, poetry, and dignity of everyday life.
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August 01, 2005
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Excerpt from The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas by Davy Rothbart
One time Mitey-Mike tripped a silent alarm in a jewelry store. It was three-thirty in the morning. The cops came.
He told me about this the next day.
Mitey-Mike saw the cops at the front window. He didn't try to run or hide. He walked right up to them. "Hey!" he shouted through the glass. "You have to go around back. Through the alley. The back door. I don't have the key to this one." He met them at the back door -- the door he'd jimmied -- and invited them in. "I'll get some coffee going," he said. "Caf or decaf "
The cops wanted to know who he was. There were four of them. They said they were responding to an alarm.
"I'm Jerry's nephew," Mitey-Mike told them. "Come on in. Give yourselves a break. We've got chairs in here. There's coffee if you want. I'm going to have coffee. Actually, I'm going to have a beer. You know what I mean A late-night beer. There's beer in the basement. Here, let me get some lights on."
He roamed around the store looking for the light switches. Three of the cops sat down in chairs; the fourth remained standing and watched him. Mitey-Mike found the lights. He turned them on. He walked back over to the cops. "Listen here," he said to the cop who was standing, "have a seat. Mi casa, su casa." He brought a chair over. These were the chairs customers sat in to peer into the jewelry cases and try on rings and bracelets and talk to the jewelers. It was that kind of store. The cop finally sat down. "Now what can I get for you guys " said Mitey-Mike. "How 'bout a beer "
One of the cops said, "We'd like to see some ID, please."
Mitey-Mike stared at him, then stared at each of them, and laughed. "You mean Jerry didn't tell you about the boat " He paused. He looked them in the eyes. "The boat. You know about the boat, right " He laughed again. "You guys don't know about the boat. You probably have no idea why I'm here."
He pulled a chair up for himself. "This was the big weekend," he said. "Jerry decided it was time. Well, goddamn, he's been dating the girl the better part of three years. It was more than time. You know her Nika The surgeon No Okay. Anyway, he took her up to Drummond Island for the weekend. He's got the place there. The beach house. Comfy, but there's spiders. He got me to come along. Anne, too. He wanted us to videotape it when he popped the question. The idea was, we'll have the camera out and be messing with it. On the beach. Filming the sunset. Then he'll get down on one knee."