When newly unemployed Patrick and Barbara McDougal decide a vacation in Florida is just what they need to put life back on the right track, awful accommodations, a robbery, and a not-so-helpful police department make them rethink their decision to drown their troubles in paradise.
Luckily, charismatic (and crazy!) tour guide Serge Storms and his sidekick, Coleman, are up for another action-packed adventure in this outrageous crime thriller that Tim Dorsey fans won't soon forget.
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The Riptide Ultra-Glide
By Tim Dorsey
HarperCollins PublishersCopyright © 2013 Tim Dorsey
All rights reserved.
ONE MONTH EARLIER
A fisherman found the body in the mangroves just before dawn.
Actually, tiny crabs found it fi rst. Th e tide had ebbed from an
inlet near the top of the Florida Keys, and the muck began to give off
that funk. Th e homicide was what authorities like to call a classic case
of overkill. But they were still stumped about the specifi c cause of death
because of the way . . . well, it's complicated. And all this didn't happen
until tomorrow. Right now the victim was still very much alive, and the
residents of Key Largo had their attention on something else . . .
At the very bottom of the state— below Miami and the zoo and the
Coral Castle and everything else— sits the tiny outpost of Florida City.
Last stop. Nothing below on the mainland but mangroves and swamp.
8 TIM DORSEY
Th ere was some agriculture and migrants on the outskirts, but
mainly it was just a short tourist strip where the end of the state turn-
pike dumps motorists into a cluster of economy motels and convenience
stores: a fi nal gas- up, food- up and beer- up before the long, desolate run
to the Florida Keys.
Sportsmen bashed bags of ice on the curb in front of a Shell station,
college students toted cases of beer, and a '72 Corvette Stingray fl ew
south doing eighty. It ran a red light and was pushing a hundred by the
time it passed the last building— the Last Chance Saloon— and dove
down into the mangroves.
Th e driver looked in the rearview. Faint sirens and countless fl ash-
ing blue lights a mile behind. He fl oored it.
Coleman leaned back and shotgunned a Schlitz. “Serge, do you
think we'll ever be caught?”
“ 'Caught' is a funny word,” said Serge. “Most criminals catch
themselves, like getting stuck at three a.m. in an air duct over a car-
stereo store, and the people opening up in the morning hear crying
and screaming from the ceiling, and the fi re department has to get him
out with spatulas and butter. If your arrest involves a lot of butter, or,
even more embarrassing, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, then you actu-
ally need to go to jail, if for nothing else just some hang time to inner-
“Th ose cops are still chasing,” said Coleman, fi ring up a hash pipe.
“Where did they all come from?” Serge leaned attentively. “Th ere
was nobody following, and then, bam! Th e road hits Florida City and
suddenly it's like a Blues Brothers chase back there.”
“Florida City?” Coleman dropped a Vicodin. “So that's what that
string of motels is called?”
Serge nodded. “Actually a funny story. Used to be called Detroit.”
Coleman swigged a pint of Rebel Yell. “Now you're making fun of
me because I'm wrecked.”
“Swear to God. You can look it up,” said Serge. “I wouldn't shit
“I know,” said Coleman. “I'm your favorite turd.”
“And naming it Detroit wasn't even an accident, like the other
THE RIPTIDE Ultra-Glide 9
times when two pioneer families set up shop in the sticks and there's
no one else around to stop them, and they're chugging moonshine by
the campfi re, 'What should we call this place?' 'Fuck it, I already spent
enough eff ort today running from wild pigs,' and then you end up
with a place called Toad Suck, Arkansas— you can look that up, too.
Except modern- day Florida City started as an ambitious land develop-
ment with hard- sell advertising and giant marketing geniuses behind
the project. Th en they had the big meeting to concoct a name: 'I got it!
What do people moving to Florida really want? To be in Michigan!' ”
“Bullshit on Michigan,” said Coleman.
“Th at was pretty much the universal consumer response back in
1910,” said Serge. “But I still can't wrap my head around that manage-
ment decision to name it Detroit. Th e brain wasn't engineered to deal
with that rarefi ed level of dumbness.”
“Sounds like they were all on acid,” said Coleman.
“Exactly,” said Serge. “So here's what I think really happened: Th e
top guy mentioned the name, and everyone else obsequiously nodded
and went along with the idea like they do around Trump, and then
months later they take the train south, and the main cat sees the signs
at the city limits: 'You idiots! Th at was sarcasm!' ”
“Th e cops are still back there,” said Coleman.
“Chasing is in police DNA memory, like Labradors running aft er
sticks,” said Serge. “Th ey probably don't even know why they do it.
Th ey just put the lights on and go, and a while later the partner who
isn't behind the wheel says, 'Why are we stopping?' 'Something inside
just told me to because there's a really cool crash up ahead. It's weird; I
can't explain it.' ”
“I hope we never get caught,” said Coleman.
“Th at would be my choice,” said Serge. “Unfortunately, a lot of
people are looking for us, and heading down to the Keys is never a good
call when you're on the run.”
Another Schlitz popped. “Why?”
“Geography. Th ere's just one road in and no way out, so it's a fool's
move,” said Serge. “Except in our case, because I can line up some boats.
I know these guys.”
10 TIM DORSEY
“Th e cops are getting closer.”
Serge gestured with the book he was reading. “Turn up the volume
on the TV.”
Coleman twisted a knob. “Th at Corvette is really fl ying.”
“I love watching live police chases on TV,” said Serge. “You usually
have to live in California.”
“Th ey have more helicopters out there,” said Coleman.
“But our Channel Seven whirlybird is staying right with him,” said
Serge. “Down the Eighteen Mile.”
“Th e name for
Excerpted from The Riptide Ultra-Glide by Tim Dorsey. Copyright © 2013 Tim Dorsey. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
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