Where to get RIDE 2
Jon Billman’s story in RIDE 2:
One of the things I like about RIDE, and intend to continue, is its broad depiction of cycling. I’d love to get a terrific racing story—so far, in the first two anthologies: no racing—but no more than I’d love to get a knockout noir tale about a Chinese restaurant deliveryman, or a Regency romance on dandy horses.
Jon Billman’s “Dert” is about a missionary with a lousy attitude.
The Oklahoma Mission was a bicycle mission. The other missionaries called Oklahoma the devil’s snake farm, an annexed, lower-calorie Hell. Kim said, Of course it’s where the not-so-good missionaries went, oh well. “Anyone can witness Hawaii.”
Dad had pulled some strings just to get me here; I wasn’t married, wasn’t twenty one, wasn’t a model Sister if you dwelled on that cigarette-theft business, which some people did. “Dert is pointed down a rough road to the military if something doesn’t change,” I heard him tell my mother. What changed is that Dad made a sizeable donation to the Church.…
Keith Snyder (“The Rambler, Part 1”)
asks three questions of
Keith: A Liahona bicycle figures prominently in “Dert.” Where’d that come from?
Jon: I have quite a few friends who are returned missionaries and most have bike stories and tricks–like covering your frame in duct tape to camouflage the bike’s value and make it less likely to get stolen. I love this entrepreneurial endeavor: There’s a bike company in Salt Lake called Liahona. They spec bikes for missions in the way that clothiers out there offer packages–two suits, three shirts, two ties, socks, etc. The bikes are decent but not exceptional, but are available at Missionary Depot for one-stop shopping on your way out of town. And they come standard with chain guards so they don’t eat your slacks. The Liahona is a powerful, magical compass in the Book of Mormon so it’s the perfect name for a missionary bike.
Keith: How does writing Westerns and sports literature compare to all the articles you’ve written for OUTSIDE magazine?
Jon: Well, speaking of Utah, I’m currently writing a magazine feature about a fugitive/survivalist living in the high country near Zion. The catch is that he breaks into cabins and eats from the pantry, helps himself to the liquor cabinet and burns the firewood. He’s still up there, eluding the authorities, so there’s a sober energy to the project that I like. Current events appeal to me. In fiction I like the 19th Century more.
Keith: If you had to pick one, what’s your favorite piece of outdoor gear?
Jon: Right now it’s cold and I just rode in on my bike so I’m gonna say my Jet Boil stove. That thing can make any situation bearable. It saved me and my buddy from hypothermia on a tour in Sweden last spring when it turned an envelope of powdered asparagus soup into the most exquisite meal on the planet. That’s magic.
Next week: Jon’s three questions for Jan Maher.