A Montana story in Vice Magazine



A few months ago, Missoula writer Theodore McDermott published an interesting short story with Vice. We didn't link to it before, but if you're lounging around on Labor Day, now's as good a time as any to catch up with it.

The saddest part about "The Minor Outsider" is that we didn’t discover it sooner. Beyond the tight prose and contemplative inner-thoughts of the main character, the coolest part of reading is seeing how accurately McDermott describes Missoula and subsequently Great Falls. You know exactly where and what he’s talking about without him ever naming it outright, and his perspective is refreshing.

All he knew about Great Falls was what everyone knows about Great Falls: there’s a bar with mermaids there. He stopped at a gas station to ask for directions. The bar, it turned out, was in a motel. He arrived and gave his ID to a steroid-swollen bouncer perched on a stool. He went inside, and the place felt as false and sinister as a plastic Halloween mask. It had a sort of twilight Polynesian theme. A roof of fake reeds extended over the bar and the booths in the back. There were no windows, and the carpet looked as black as a still lake at night.

Even by short story standards it's a pretty quick read.

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